Publicity photos from the 1950s showing a range of portable Camp Equipment managed by the RNZAOC
A required item to preserve meat in Field Kitchens in the days before portable refrigeration.
Stands Ablution Portable
This item is designed so that soldiers when in a field camp environment can have a place to carry out their daily ablutions.
Consisirtng of a sink top with a drain trough and bar to hang towels and mirrors, soldier would wash in shave using a basin. OIn completion if their business the contents of the basin wold be tipped into the drain from where it would flow into a sump dug into the ground
Stand Ablution laid with its compontrs laid out;
Bar Towel/Toprail, Qty 1
Leg Ablution Stand End, Qty 2
Leg Ablution Stand Center, Qty 1
Brace Ablution Stand, Qty 2
Drain Sink, Trough, Qty 1
Drain, Lavartory pipe, Qty 1
Bolt securing, Qty 4
Mess Kit Washup
Used in conjunction with a kerosene heater, theses tubs would be assembled over a small trench with the chimney device drawing heated air under the tubs heating them up.
This set up was base on the three pot cleaning method.
Prior to washing. plates and utensils would have to be thoroughly scrapped clean into a rubbish bin.
Sink 1: Wash sink – Full of hot soapy water, utensils would be given a good scrub with a brush r dish cloth.
Sink 2: Hot-rinse sink -,Filled with clear, hot water, utensils would be rinsed in this sink.
Sink 3: Cold-rinse sink – Utensils would undergo a final rinse in water which would have had a few drops of bleach or other sanitising argent added to it
Field Cook House
In the background to these photos a Field Cook House can be seen. This was a portable building designed to be used as a Field Cookhouse which could easily be assembled from components.
Military conscription in New Zealand was first introduced in 1910 to build and maintain a credible force that would allow New Zealand to play its part in defence of the British Empire. Initially intended to feed the Territorial Army, conscription was extended in 1916 to allow men to be conscripted directly into the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF). Conscription would be suspended during the lean post-Bellum years and re-established in 1940 as a wartime measure to satisfy New Zealand’s wartime personnel commitments.
New Zealand’s 1945 post-war commitments required the raising and mounting of a Division for service in the Middle East. The only way the personnel requirements for a Division could be met would be through conscription. A referendum was conducted in1949, resulting in a yes for Compulsory Military Training (CMT), which would commence in 1950.
The CMT scheme would train 63033 men up to 1958 when the Labour Government ceased CMT. In 1961 the National Government introduced a new National Service Act, which would require all males to register with the Labour Department on or before their 20th birthday. Following registration, ballots would be conducted to select individuals to undertake military training.
Training would consist of three months of initial full-time training, during which the men would be given the choice of three weeks part-time training in a Territorial unit for three years or one year’s service in a Regular Force unit. The National Service Scheme would last until 1972, when it was discontinued due to a changing social and economic environment.
Since 1972 there has been no Military conscription in New Zealand. Since 1972 there have been many calls for the re-introduction of Military conscription to instill a sense of citizenship and discipline to reduce unemployment and youth crime. However, no major political party has made any significant policy statements on the re-introduction of military conscription.
The following are the remanences of John Mudgway, who at the age of 19, was selected by Ballot to undertake National Service as part of the first intake in 1961.
My Military Career by John Mudgway
When the National Government brought back military service in 1961 it was named National Service. We had to register with the Labour Department and the Golden Kiwi lottery marbles were used to draw certain birth dates. The “winners” of these birth dates were ordered into Waiouru Military Camp for 7 weeks basic training and were then posted to a Territorial Unit to complete their 3-year term. This was done in 3 annual camps, plus local parades. They then went to reserves for a further three years.
There was an option offered to us – which was we could serve one-year regular force and then be put on reserve for a further 3 years. I chose the latter.
Waiouru Camp 10 May 1962 – 27 June 1962
I was posted to Waiouru Military Camp and arrived on 9th May 1962, along with 549 other young lads.
I did seven weeks basic training – learning the military way of life, marching, shooting, and cleaning boots and weapons etc. One lasting memory I have is of being told that – in the event of an atomic blast, lay on the ground, cover myself with my greatcoat, have no skin exposed – and I would survive!
Trentham Military Camp 28 June 1962 – 9 May 1963
When I arrived in camp, RSM Ordnance Schools, School Sergeant Major Alfred Wesseldine, decided they would not run the school for just me, so I was posted direct to MT Spares for the duration of my service.
Myself (Pte John Mudgway) (on left) and Dennis Leslie Goldfinch (who retired as a WO1). We are facing the main building of MT Spares in the MOD Compound. August 1962. Behind us in part of the wavy roof building, was the Uniform Store and smoko room. On our left is a large, grassed area that was covered in 25 pounder artillery pieces that were being cut up for scrap by a private contractor. Further to the left was the Tyre Store that “Goldie” was in charge of.
During my service in RNZAOC I participated in several events.
I was part of a Guard of Honour for the Chief of the Imperial General Staff at Wellington Airport when he flew in. I was also in a Guard of Honour for the NZ Chief of Staff at Wellington Airport when he flew in.
I was part of the street lining contingent that paraded on the streets of Wellington City for the Queen when she visited in February 11 & 12 1964. (I saw her 23 times). We drove the streets of Wellington in 2 RL Bedfords, to places in streets she was to move through, detrucked and stood at attention on the road-sides while she passed, back to the trucks and on to our next destination. She must have thought there were a lot of handsome young lads in our army.
Escorted a prisoner the Ardmore Prison, by overnight train in 1964. I was the junior escort.
I was dragged out of the barracks at 2am one morning and trucked over to Mangaroa, Whitemans Valley Tent Loft to drag tents from a burnt-out building.
One of my jobs during my service was to sit out between two of the stores buildings and empty the brass fire extinguishers that had been returned to us from all the other stores round the country. These extinguishers were filled with carbon-tetrachloride and after spraying the contents into buckets for several days we were quite “high” ourselves. I presume the brass containers went for scrap.
During my time in M T Spares I worked with Staff Sgt Kevin Anderson, Goldie of course, and Pte’s Vic Fletcher and Tammy Tamihana. Our Stores Officer was Geoff Atkinson first, then latterly Captain R G H Golightly. Our C S M was WO 1 Maurie Bull. We also had some civilian workers in our stores, one of whom was retired Sgt Bert Royal. Also there were a group of prisoners from Waitako Prison that used to come and do the “dirty jobs” that we didn’t have to do.
I also did a couple of Camp Patrols in the MOD Compound. We had to patrol the compound several times during the night and were supposed to sleep in the Gate House.
Not a bad years work for a 19/20 year old Hastings lad.
This would be a significant period for the RNZAOC. The RNZAOC School would be established, and challenges with officer recruitment identified. This period would also see the fruition of plans to re-shape the Army into a modern and well-equipped Army with the first tranches of new equipment arriving to replace much of the legacy wartime equipment.
Director of Ordnance Services
Temporary Lieutenant Colonel H. McK. Reid
Chief Inspecting Ordnance Officer
Major JW Marriot
Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot
Major Harry White, from 1 May 1959
Chief Instructor – Major Harry White
Regimental Sergeant Major – Warrant Officer Class One Alfred Wesseldine
2nd Battalion, the New Zealand Regiment
Reformed at Waiouru in July 1959, the 2nd Battalion of the New Zealand Regiment would undertake workup and training that would see the Battalion deploy to Malaya in November 1959 to relieve the 1st Battalion. To enable the 2nd Battalion to conduct its training and work up the RNZAOC would equip the Battalion for the ground up with its necessary entitlement of equipment from existing holdings.
Establishment of RNZOAC School
Under discussion by the Army Board since 1956, the RNZAOC School was established in September 1959. Established within the Peacetime Establishment of the Main Ordnance Depot, the RNZAOC School would be under HQ Ordnance Services’ direct control and independent of the Army Schools.
The initial school organisation would be.
Chief Instructor – Major Harry White
School Sergeant Major – Warrant Officer Class One Wesseldine
Stores and Vehicle Wing
The function of the RNZAOC School would be to run courses and training for RF and TF personnel of the RNZAOC, including
Star Classification Courses – particularly for Storeman/Clerks RNZAOC and Ammunition Examiners.
Promotion courses for both officers and ORs.
Recruit training RNZAOC Personnel, including Recruit training for Group 2 personnel.
Advanced training for both officers and ORs, in all types of Ordnance activities.
Technical training in ordnance subjects, e.g. Inspecting Ordnance Officer courses.
Preservations and packing etc.
Refresher training for qualified personnel.
Other course notified in the annual Forecast of Courses.
Additionally, as directed by DOS, the RNZAOC School was required to.
Plan and hold conferences and training exercises.
Draft procedure instructions.
Test, or comment on new procedures, materials, or equipment.
Research various aspects of Ordnance activities.
The first course conducted by the RNZAOC School would be an Instructors Course conducted in late 1959.
A forecast of the planned retirement of RNZAOC Officers up to 1962 showed that Seventeen officers would be retiring. Up to this period, the principal means of filling RNZAOC officer posts had been thru the commissioning of Other Ranks with Quartermaster Commissions, with only three officers joining the RNZAOC as Officers since November 1956. When the planned Officer retirements had been balanced against the RNZAOC officer establishment, it was found that the RNZAOC was deficient six Officers with two significant problems identified.
The RNZAOC Officer Corps was becoming a Corps of old men, with 83% of Officers in the 39 to 54 age group
The RNZAOC Other Ranks Structure was denuded of the best SNCO’s and Warrant Officers.
To rectify the situation, the following recommendations were made.
The RNZAOC press for an increased intake from Duntroon and Portsea of graduates to the RNZAOC.
Suitable officers no older than 30 years of age, and in the two to four-year Lieutenant bracket, be encouraged to change Corps to the RNZAOC.
Further commissioning of QM officers be strongly resisted unless there was no other alternative.
Over the period 1 -3 September 1959, DOS hosted a conference at Army HQ for the District DADOS, Officer Commanding MOD, and the Ordnance Directorate members. The general agenda of the meeting included.
Local purchase of stores by DADOS
Training of group 2 Personnel
Personnel – postings and promotions
DADOS and OC MOD were required to provide in duplicate, personnel lists by unit containing.
Regimental No, rank, and name
Establishment statue, either PES, CSS or HSS
Purchases for RF Brigade Group
Small Arms Ammunition
The 7.62mm rifle introduction would require the Colonial Ammunitions Company to convert manufacture from the current 303 calibre to the new 7.62mm calibre. The CAC had been the supplier of Small Arms Ammunition to the Defence Force since 1888 and to maintain this long relationship had purchased and installed the required tools and machinery to allow the production of 7.62 ammunition, with the first production run completed during this period. Although the NZ Army had sufficient stocks of .303 ammunition for the foreseeable future, CAC would retain the capability to manufacture 303 ammunition if required.
Introduction of New Equipment
As new equipment was introduced, the RNZAOC would play an essential role in the acceptance processes. Upon delivery from the supplier, the equipment, accessories, and spares would be received into the Main Ordnance Depot. The equipment would be inspected and kitted out with all its accessories before distribution to units. Several examples may have been retained in RNZAOC Depots as War Reserve/Repair and Maintenance Stock depending on the equipment. Maintenance stocks of accessories and spares were maintained as operating stock in RNZAOC depots. If the new equipment contained a weapon system, ammunition specific to the equipment was managed by RNZAOC Ammunition Depots. During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;
110 Land Rover Series 2a 109.
144 Truck 3-Ton Bedford RL, 48 fitted with winch
3 Ferret Mark 1/1 Scout Car
270 Wireless Sets. C45 – VHF transceiver,
2000 9mm Sub Machine Gun Sterling Mk4 L2A3.
500 7.62 mm Self Loading Rifle, L1A1 (SLR).
The Clothing and Equipment Committee accepted as the basic training uniform for New Zealand soldiers in all conditions in NZ to be;
Boots (Fory types under trial and development)
Anklets (Australian pattern)
Shirt (light wool)
Trouser ( Green drill material cut to UK pattern)
Hat (Jungle Type)
In August 1958 a new disposal organisation was established within the Army to manage the declaration and disposal of surplus and obsolete equipment. Since August 1959 over 9000 lines covering thousands of items had been declared to the Government Stores Board for Disposal through this new disposal’s organisation.
The disposal of dangerous or obsolete ammunition continued with over 900 tons of obsolete ammunition dumped at sea. An additional 130,000 rounds of dangerous artillery ammunition were destroyed by burning or detonation.
Where possible the maximum amount of recyclable metal was salvaged, with around £10000 (2020 NZ$243,276) received for the scrap and containers sold.
Following successful user trials, the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps (RNZASC) assembled 24000 one-person 24-hour ration packs during 1959. Along with new solid fuel cookers, these new ration packs were extensively used by the 2nd Battalion the NZ Regiment in the build-up Training for Malaya and the Territorial Force during the Annual Camp.
Staff Sergeant I.G Campbell, RNZAOC was selected by the National Rifle Association as a team member representing New Zealand at 91st Annual Prize Meeting at Bisley in the United Kingdom, 4- 20 July 1960.
Award of Army Sports Colours
In recognition of his contribution to Army Sport, Major D.E Roderick of Auckland was a recipient of the 1960 Army Sports Colours. Major Roderick has represented Army at cricket, hockey and badminton and was instrumental in developing the sports facilities at Trentham Camp. Within the RNZAOC Major Roderick had been a long-term member of the Upper Hutt Cricket Club and a player and administrator of the MOD Cricket team. 
Honours and Awards
British Empire Medal
Sergeant (Temporary Staff Sergeant) Maurice William Loveday, Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Regular Force), of Trentham.
Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Officers of the RNZAOC
Major Ronald Geoffrey Patrick O’Connor is transferred to the Reserve of Officers, General List, Royal NZ Army Ordnance, in Major’s rank, 4 May 1959.
Major and Quartermaster K. A. Bailey, M.M., having reached retiring age for rank, is transferred to the Supernumerary list, and granted an extension of his engagement until 12 January 1960, 11 August 1959.
Captain Frederick George Cross is transferred to the Reserve of Officers, General List, Royal NZAOC, in the rank of Captain, 1 September 1959. 
Captain L. C. King is re-engaged for a period of one year, as from 4 October 1959.
Captain (temp. Major) J. Harvey relinquishes the temporary rank of Major, 6 March 1960.
Regular Force (Supernumerary List)
Major and Quartermaster K. A. Bailey, MM., is granted an extension of his engagement for one year from 13 January 1960.
Captain and Quartermaster S. H. E. Bryant is re-engaged for one year as from 28 October 1959.
Captain and Quartermaster R. P. Kennedy, E.D., is re-engaged for a period of one year as from 13 April 1960.
Lieutenant and Quartermaster George Witherman McCullough is posted to the Retired List, 12 February 1960.
2nd Lieutenant J. T. Skedden to be Lieutenant, 12 December 1959.
Lieutenant and Quartermaster R. H. Colwill to be temporary Captain and Quartermaster, 9 February 1960.
Captain Keith Stothard Brown relinquishes the appointment of OC, Technical Stores Platoon, 1st Divisional Ordnance Field Park, RNZAOC and is posted to the Retired List, 4 August 1959.
Reserve of Officers
Captain Hugo Sarginsone posted to the Retired List, 10 July 1959.
Captain Noel Lester Wallburton posted to the Retired List, 10 August 1959.
Captain Sidney Paxton Stewart posted to the Retired List, I September 1959. 
Major Percival Nowell Erridge, MBE posted to the Retired List, 25 December 1959.
Major Alexander Basil Owen Herd, from the British Regular Army Reserve· of Officers, to be Major, 3 October I 959.
Major Frank Owen L’Estrange, from the British Regular Army Reserve of Officers, to be Major, 11 November 1959.
Captain Cyril Peter Derbyshire, from the British Regular Army Reserve of Officers, to be Captain, 1 January 1960.
Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Warrant Officers, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers, and men of the RNZAOC
H594833 Private David Orr NZ Regiment Transferred into the RNZAOC, November 1959.
B31685 Staff Sergeant Ian McDonald Russell promoted to Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two, 23 June 1959.
 “Charter for the Rnzaoc School,” in Organisation – Policy and General – RNZAOC (Archives New Zealand No R173115371960); Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 176-77, 252.
Conferences – Ordnance Officers, Item Id R17188101 (Wellington: Archives New Zealand, 1950).
 “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1959 to 31 March 1960,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives (1960).
From the earliest years of the New Zealand Army, supply at the Regiment or Battalion level has been the responsibility of the unit Quartermaster (QM) and his staff. Traditionally QMs were commissioned from the ranks and assisted by the Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant (RQMS) and a staff of clerks and Storeman with Company Quartermaster Sergeants (CQMS) providing support at the sub-unit level. Typically, the QM and associated staff would be drawn from within the ranks the regiment or corps in which they worked, providing an intimate level of knowledge of how the unit worked and thus were well suited to providing the best support. As the New Zealand Army began to take shape in the nineteenth century the “Q” staff of units tended to be older more experienced men who although past their prime in the field had an intimate knowledge of their unit and were able to provide a useful management functions of the units weapons and equipment. In volunteer units, many of which were more akin to social clubs, annual elections would be held to elect officers and “Q” Staff and as a result many of the unit stores accounts were in disarray with many discrepancies from what had been provided by the crown to what was in unit stores.
Measures to address administrative training across the army was addressed in 1885 with the Army School of Instruction established at the military headquarters at Mt Cook in Wellington. The primary task of this Army School of Instruction was training in musketry, with courses on Tactics and Staff Duties conducted at the School from 1886 onwards. However it is unknown if rudimentary stores accounting was included in the curriculum.
Following the South Africa War, the NZ Army began to undertake a transformation into a force better trained and equipped to participate in the Imperial Defence Scheme. Uniforms, weapons and equipment was standardised, and following the Defence Act of 1909 the Volunteer forces were replaced with a robust Territorial force that would be maintained by compulsory military training.
In 1895, The Dress Regulations, New Zealand Defence Forces, authorised for use of an eight-pointed star as a identifying embellishment to be worn by Regimental and Company Quartermaster Sergeants. The badge would remain in use until 1917.
Lord Kitchener who was considered as “”The Empire’s foremost soldier” visited New Zealand in 1910. Kitchener reviewed New Zealand’s Forces and made several recommendations from which several alterations to the NZ Army were made, including the establishment of the New Zealand Staff Corps and Permanent Staff. The New Zealand Staff Corps (NZSC) and New Zealand Permanent Staff (NZPS, when established in 1911 provided a professional cadre of officers (NZSC) and men (NZPS) able to provide professional guidance and administration to the units of the Territorial Force. Kitchener’s visit reinvigorated the military to review itself, with the care, maintenance and responsibility of equipment found to be lacking, and that the current cadre of RQMS not up to the task, and the need for a professional cadre of RQMSs identified.
To rectify the situation, late in 1911 thirty young men, selected from the various military districts spent three weeks undertaking a course of instruction on “Q” matters at the Defence Stores Department in Wellington. Undergoing practical and theoretical instruction in the duties of the office of RQMS. Instruction conducted under the supervision of the Head of the Defence Stores, Major O’Sullivan and the senior staff of the Defence Stores Department as instructors. The course was thorough with instruction including;
Armorers providing instruction on weapon storage, inspection, maintenance and accounting,
The Saddler providing instruction on the correct methods of storage, inspection and maintenance of leather items such as horse saddlery and harnesses.
The Sailmaker providing instruction on the correct methods of storage, inspection and maintenance of canvas and fabric items such as tents, other camp canvas and fabric camp equipment.
The Stores Foreman providing instruction on the Packing of stores.
The ledger-keeper providing instruction with the keeping of accounts and maintenance of documentation used throughout all the departments.
Examinations were held on the various subjects in which instruction had been given, with records showing that at least 18 of the 30 candidates passed the exams successfully and were appointed Quartermaster Sergeants in the New Zealand Permanent Staff under General Order 112/10.
This course of instruction was notable as although the Army School of Instruction had been established in 1885, this was the first course specifically designed to instruct on the duties of RQMS, and as such was probably the first dedicated “Q Store” trade-related course conducted in New Zealand.
With the declaration of war against the Central Powers in August 1914, New Zealand was well prepared and rapidly mobilised and a Expeditionary Force dispatched overseas. To maintain the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), a reinforcement plan was implemented with Trentham and later Featherston camps established as the principle reinforcement training camps. In late August 1914, Lieutenant (Temp Captain) T McCristell NZSC was appointed as the Camp Quartermaster of Trentham Camp. In his role as Camp Quartermaster, McCristell with a cadre of men from the Permanent Staff held back from the Expeditionary Force, would establish the “Camp Quartermaster Stores”. Established as an distinctive unit with its own Badge the “Camp Quartermaster Stores” had several responsibilities, including;
EVERYTHING movable in Camp, except the A.S.C and its wagons, is kept track of by the Camp Quartermaster—everybody and everything, from a soldier to an electric light bulb. The Camp Quartermaster knows where they all should be; and if they aren’t where they ought to be, he generally knows where they are.”
Another important and essential role of the “Camp Quartermaster Stores” was in the training of suitable men as Quartermasters for service overseas. Within each reinforcement draft, each Regiment was allowed one RQMS and each company was allowed one CQMS. Based on their civilian occupations and with due regarded to their business ability, McCristell would select suitable men to be trained as RQMS and CQMS. Training would include;
Stores Training dealing with every duty related to clothing and equipping the men.
Camp Equipment Training, including the methods of constructing field kitchens, incinerators, latrines, washing and cleaning arrangements, striking and pitching camps, making bivouacs, billeting men.
Water supplies, and the drawing and distribution of food to troops.
On completion of the training the candidates were required to pass an examination, which if successful they were deemed qualified for appointment as a RQMS or CQMS.
McCristell would remain as the Camp Quartermaster until 1916, after which he was transferred to the Defence Stores Department as the Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores. In this role he would oversee the establishment of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) in 1917 as the Chief ordnance Officer.
In 1918 a Conference of Defence Department Officers in response to a report by the Defence Expenditure Commission found that the accounting, care, and custody of stores by units had in the main, been unsatisfactory with units not carrying out their responsibilities as detailed by the Regulations of New Zealand Military Forces. To address the situation, eleven NZAOC Staff Sergeants were seconded for duty as Quartermaster-Sergeants with units. They were appointed to units to make the necessary adjustments and get the units stores accounts onto a working basis. This was a successful arrangement with further audits disclosing few if any deficiencies. It was however evident that the storage accommodation for units was inadequate, with many units having no accommodation where stores could be secured, resulting in the backloading of many items to the regional Stores Depots.
Due to the success of the emergency measures of NZAOC Staff Sergeants into units as Quartermaster-Sergeants, an amendment to Army regulations was published on 3 October 1918 to make the management of Quartermaster Sergeants a NZAOC responsibility. The amendments were as follows;
83. Group and Unit Quartermaster-Sergeants will belong to and be trained by the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, and when posted for duty in districts will be borne as supernumeraries on the establishment of that corps. They will be included in the effective strength of the group or unit in which they are actually serving and will be so accounted for in periodical returns for those groups or units. In so far as the questions of efficiency, leave, and duty are concerned, Quartermaster-Sergeants will be under the direct supervision of the A.Q.M.G. of the district, and will be directly responsible to the Group or Unit Commander, as the case may be, for the performance of their respective duties as Group or Unit Accountants. They will devote the whole of their time to the accounting, care, and custody of public property on issue.
The post war tenure of the NZAOC managing unit Quartermaster accounts would be short and despite the benefits it brought, Force reductions and budget restraints would see Quartermaster system revert to pre-war arrangements with instruction conducted by the General Headquarters School (GHQ School) that would be established in Trentham camp in 1919.
Established in 1919, and placed on a permanent footing in 1920 the GHQ School in Trentham would conduct training on a range of subjects for Officers of the NZSC and men of the NZPS who were responsible for the training, equipment, and administration of the Territorial and Senior Cadets.
In 1937 the Army School at Trentham was established, and was supported by District Schools of Instruction that were established at Narrow Neck, Trentham, and Burnham. Administration instructors at the Army School and at the three District Schools of Instruction were involved in training the following groups of servicemen:
Regimental Sergeant Major,
Regimental Quartermaster Sergeants,
Ordnance and Company Clerks,
Storemen, Storemen-Clerks, and
In the lead up to the Second World War the Army School of Instruction would form a separate Administrative Wing staffed by; a Major, two Captains, a Warrant Officer Class One, a Staff Sergeant and a Sergeant.
Officer courses conducted by the Wing were Senior Staff Duties and Adjutants courses, while Senior Non-Commissioned Officers attended drill, duties, and Tactics Courses. Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers could also attend the Quartermaster’s and Quartermaster Sergeant’s courses conducted by the Wing.
After World War II, training for officers, clerks and storemen centred around peacetime administration. Emphasis was placed on the training of Regular Force Staff of the Army, and as a result clerks and storemen recruited through Compulsory Military Training or National Service, received only an introduction to their trades. The policy of decentralisation of training from a central school to the District Schools of Instruction resulted in a reduction in the establishment of the Administrative Wing by 1947 to a Major, a Captain or Lieutenant, a Warrant Officer Class Two and a Corporal who could be WRAC.
In July 1950 the Administrative Wing was disbanded and the new School of Army Administration was formed. The School which was still located in Trentham, conducted courses in both peace and war administration, as well as conducting the Regular Force Officers Lieutenant to Captain Promotion Course. At this time the Chief Instructor of the School of Army Administration held a dual appointment as Staff Officer (Administration) on the staff of Headquarters Army Schools.
On 31 Jan 1952 the School of Army Administration moved from Trentham Camp to Waiouru and was located in a building on Foley Street, where Crete Barracks now stand. Although there were established posts for a staff of three officers and four Other Ranks, the School was manned by a staff of; two officers, (one of whom was employed as CI and Staff Officer (Administration) at Headquarters, Army School) and two Other Ranks.
The School workload increased steadily over the years from a total of 13 courses in 1953 to 21 courses in 1961. The establishment was changed to reflect the increase in the number of courses and by 1967 there were established posts for; three officers, five other ranks, and a civilian (clerical assistant) at the School.
The School of Army Administration was later relocated in the building opposite Headquarters Army Training Group, Waiouru. It had established posts for; three officers, seven senior non-commissioned officers, and two civilians.
The School conducted courses for the following personnel:
Junior Staff Officers,
From 1974 the staff of the School of Army Administration, photographed most courses passing through the school, many of these photos can be viewed by clicking on respective course link;
The early 1990s would be a period of significant change for not only the Q Storeman trade but also the RNZAOC Supplier trade as both trades would undergo considerable transformation due to the rebalancing of the logistic and support functions of the NZ Army, which would eventually lead to the formation of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR). Included in the scope of work of the rebalancing was a review of the two supply trades, which concluded that given the development of the computerised Defence Supply System Detail (DSSD), it would be viable to combine the two trades into one. Initial integration of logistic units occurred in 1993, where units of the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport (RNZCT), RNZAOC and Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RNZEME) combined into Logistic Regiments. Integration of the logistic training functions occurred in 1993/94 when the individual Corps schools amalgamated into the Army Logistic Centre (ALC). This would see the Quartermaster Wing of The School of Army Administration integrated into the RNZAOC School.However, at this stage despite the RNZAOC School been at Trentham the Quartermaster Wing remained in Waiouru. On 13 December 1993 after a 41-year absence from Trentham, the Quartermaster Wing moved left Waiouru.
In July 1994, the RNZAOC School was disestablished, and the Trade Training School (TTS) was established in its place. This change saw the amalgamation of the Supply and Quartermaster functions combined into the Supply/Quartermaster (Sup/Q) Wing as the Supply and Q Sections. The main aim behind the amalgamation was to foster the development of training required to produce an Army with an effective logistical supply system at all levels, with the first combined Sup/Q Courses been conducted during the 1994/95 training year. With Supply and Q training combined, the first personnel postings between RNZAOC and consumer units were progressed with mixed results. Some individuals thrived as the experience allowed them to expand their knowledge and expertise. In contrast, others found the adjustment difficult and outside of the comfort zones that their previous positions have provided. However, on 4 December 1996, all RNZAOC Suppliers and Q Storeman were incorporated into a new base trade known as the Supplier/Quartermaster (Sup/QM) trade. Given the diverse nature of the Sup/QM Trade, with members drawn from each Corps and represented in almost every unit of the New Zealand Army, the amalgamation of the two trades would not be easy , and would take time to consolidate.
In October 2007 the Sup/QM Trade was renamed as the RNZALR Supply Technician (Sup Tech) Trade, followed by the adoption of a top of trade Supply Technician Badge in 2009.
 Depending on the type of Regiment or Corps, variations of Company Quartermaster Sergeant (CQMS) could also be; Battery Quartermaster Sergeant (BQMS) in artillery units or Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant (SQMS) in Mounted/Calvary units
 “The School of Military Instruction,” New Zealand Herald, Volume XXII, Issue 7328, 14 May 1885.
 Gary Ridley, “Quartermaster Origins,” Pataka Magazine (1993).
New Zealand Military Forces Dress Regulations, ed. New Zealand Military Forces (Wellington1905).
 Will Lawson, Historic Trentham, 1914-1917: The Story of a New Zealand Military Training Camp, and Some Account of the Daily Round of the Troops within Its Bounds (Wellington1917), 35.
 “H-19d Conference of Defence Department Officers (Notes by) on Criticisms, Suggestions and Recommendations as Contained in the Report of the Defence Expenditure Commission,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives (1918).
This period would see the RNZAOC. Continue to support Regular, Territorial and Compulsory Military Training. Ongoing support to Kayforce would continue.
Director of Ordnance Services
Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE
Technical Assistant to the Chief Inspection Ordnance Officer
Captain N.C Fisher (Until 24 July 1953)
Warrant Officer L Smith (From 25 July 1953)
Northern Military District
District Inspecting Ordnance Officer
Captain E.D Gerard (until 9 Aug 1953)
Captain E.D Gerard (from 28 Aug 1953)
Officer Commanding Northern District Ammunition Repair Depot
Captain Pipson (From 28 Aug 1953)
Central Military District
District Inspecting Ordnance Officer
Captain N.C Fisher (From 9 Aug 1953)
Compulsory Military Training
During this period three CMT intakes marched in;
9th intake of 2954 recruits on 9 April1953
10th intake of 2610 recruits on 2 July 1953
11th intake of 2610 recruits on 24 September 1953
12th intake of 2200 recruits on 5 January 1954
On completion of CMT recruit training, recruits were posted to Territorial units close to their home location to complete their CMT commitment, with RNZAOC CMT recruits posted to either
1st Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Hopuhopu
2nd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Mangaroa.
3rd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Burnham
Ordnance in the New Zealand Division
The RNZAOC elements of the Territorial Force had been reorganised in 1948, this had been a reorganisation that had taken place over three stages with Officers and then NCOs recruited, followed by the soldiers recruited through the CMT scheme to fill the ranks. By September 1953 the RNZOAC units within the Division had rapidly grown and the CRAOC of the NZ Division provided clarification in the organisation and duties of the RNZAOC units in the NZ Division.
RNZAOC representative at Division Headquarters.
Exercised Regimental command and Technical control of RNZAOC unit in the Division.
Divisional Ordnance Field Park
The functions of the OFP were.
Park HQ – Technical Control of the OFP
Regimental Section – Regimental Control of the OFP
Delivery Section – Collects and delivers operationally urgent stores
MT Stores Platoon – Carried two months of frequently required spare and minor assemblies for vehicles held by the Division
Tech Stores Platoon – Carried two months of frequently required spares for all guns, small arms, wireless and Signals equipment of the Division.
Gen Stores Platoon – Carried a small range of frequently required items of clothing, general stores, and the Divisional Reserve of Industrial gases.
Mobile Laundry and Bath Company
The functions of the Mobile Laundry and Bath Company was to provide bathing facilities and to wash troops under clothing.
RNZAOC Stores Sections
One RNZAOC Store Sections was attached to each Infantry Brigade Workshop, maintaining a stock of spares required for the repair of the Divisions equipment. The Stores sections would demand direct from the Base or Advance Base Ordnance Depot not the OFP.
Brigade Warrant Officers
RNZAOC representative at Brigade Headquarters
Presentation of Coronation Trophy
In celebration to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the Coronation Trophy was presented to the Central Districts Training Depot by All Ranks of the RNZAOC from the Central Military District. The exact criteria for the presentation of the trophy has been long forgotten, however from the 11th CMT intake the Coronation Trophy would be awarded to an outstanding student of each CMT intake. 76
Acquisition of additional Training areas by NZ Army
To provide suitable training areas in all three military districts, firing and manoeuvre rights were obtained over 30000acres of land adjoining the Mackenzie District near lake Tekapo. The allowed all South Island units the ability to carry out realistic tactical training during their summer camps.
In July 1953 Serious flooding affected the Waikato with soldiers from Hopuhopu Camp taking a prominent part in the relief operations. Solders from the 1st Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park, utilising vehicles with extended air intakes and exhausts and operating in areas that had been flooded to a depth of 1.4 meters deep assisted in rescuing families and livestock and distributing fodder to marooned animals.
Tangiwai Railway Disaster
The Tangiwai disaster occurred at Christmas eve 1953 when the Whangaehu River Railway bridge collapsed as the Wellington-to-Auckland express passenger train was crossing it with a loss of 151 Lives. With Waiouru in proximity, the army was quick to respond, with rescue teams deploying from Waiouru with the first survivors admitted into the Waiouru Camp Hospital by 4 am. Representing the RNZAOC in the search parties were Warrant officer Class One P Best and Corporal Eric Ray.
Royal Tour 23 December 1953 – 31 Jan 1954
Emergency Force (Kayforce)
The RNZAOC continued to support Kayforce with the dispatch of regular consignments of Maintenance stores and with all requests for stores by Kayforce met.
This period saw the first RNZAOC men rotated and replaced out of Kayforce;
Out of Kayforce
Private Dennis Arthur Astwood, 8 December 1953
Lance Corporal Thomas Joseph Fitzsimons, 6 January 1954
Lance Corporal Owen Fowell, 2 September 1953
Private Gane Cornelius Hibberd, 13 May 1953,
Corporal Leonard Ferner Holder, 4 September 1953
Corporal Wiremu Matenga, 6 January 1954
Into Kay force
Private Richard John Smart, 25 June 1953
Private Abraham Barbara, 30 December 1953
Private Ernest Radnell, 29 December 1953
Sergeant Harold Earnest Strange Fry, 29 January 1954
Corporal Edward Tanguru, 25 February 1954
Gunner John Neil Campbell, 24 March 1954
Seconded to Fiji Military Forces
Lieutenant and Quartermaster Rodger Dillon Wederell remained seconded to the Fiji Military Forces.
Ordnance Conference 18-19 August 1953
The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Districts DADOS and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Army Headquarters over the period 21-23 April 1953. No detailed agenda remains.
Routine Ordnance Activities
Over this period the RNZAOC in addition to its regular duties of provision, holding and the issue of multitudinous stores required by the Army including the additional issue of training equipment to the territorial Force allowing all unit’s enough equipment for normal training.
Ammunition Examiner Qualification
The following soldiers qualified as Ammunition Examiners
Corporal G.T Dimmock (SMD)
Corporal M.M Loveday (CMD)
Corporal Roche (MMD)
Lance Corporal H.E Luskie (SMD)
Lance Corporal Radford (NMD)
Small Arms Ammunition
Production of small-arms ammunition had met the monthly target, with the ammunition, fully proofed and inspected before acceptance.
Support to the French War in Vietnam
During this period the RNZAOC prepared a second consignment of stores and equipment for transfer to the French in Vietnam. Transferred from surplus and obsolete stocks held in RNZAOC depots, the following items would be dispatched to Vietnam;
As new equipment was introduced, the RNZAOC would play an essential role in the acceptance processes. Upon delivery from the supplier, the equipment, its accessories and spares would be received into an RNZAOC Depot. The equipment would be inspected and kitted out with all its accessories before distribution to units. Depending on the equipment, several examples may have been retained in RNZAOC Depots as War Reserve/Repair and Maintenance Stock. Maintenance stocks of accessories and spares were maintained as operating stock in RNZAOC depots. If the new equipment was or contained a weapon system, ammunition specific to the equipment was managed by RNZAOC Ammunition Depots.
During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;
57 M20 Mk 2 3.5-inch Rocket Launchers
Anti-Tank Grenade No 94 Engera
1 120mm BAT L1 Recoilless Rifle
3 Centurion Tanks
150 Series 1 80″ Land-Rovers
Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.)
PrivateGeorge Thomas Dimmock to Lance Corporal – 1 April 1953
Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two Alick Claude Doyle to Substantive WO2, 1 April 1953
Lieutenant J. Harvey to Captain. 9 December 1953.
Captain (temp. Major) H. McK Reid to Major. 22 January 1954.
Lieutenant-Colonel (temp Colonel) A. H. Andrews, OBE, BE, to Colonel. 21 October 1953.
Lieutenant and Quartermaster T Rose to be Captain and Quartermaster. 1 May 1953.
Enlistments into the RNZAOC
John Gunn, 21 September 1953
Leonard T Conlon, 16 June 1953
Keith A Parker, 17 July 1953
Appointments into the RNZAOC
Edward Francis Lambert Russell, late Captain RAOC, appointed as Lieutenant (on prob.), with seniority from 26 November 1949, posted as Vehicle. Spares Officer, Vehicle Spares Group, Main Ordnance Depot, 26 November 1953.
The following RNZAOC soldiers were re-engaged into the New Zealand Regular Force;
Sergeant W.J Smith for one year from April 1953, in the rank of Private
Warrant Officer Class One W.S Valentine, on a month to month basis until 31 March 1954
Corporal H.H Regnault, on a month to month basis until 31 March 1954
On 16 July 1953 Maurice Richard John Keeler, Ordnance Officer, Northern; District Ordnance Depot, RNZAOC Ngaruawahia, was authorized to take and receive statutory declarations under section 301 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1927.
“Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.” New Zealand Gazette No 9, 4 February 1954.
“Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.” New Zealand Gazette No 13, 25 February 1954.
“Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.” New Zealand Gazette No 15, 11 March 1954.
“Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.” New Zealand Gazette No 72, 17 December 1953.
“Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.” New Zealand Gazette No 35, 3 June 1954.
“Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.” New Zealand Gazette No 48, 20 August 1953.
“Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.” New Zealand Gazette No 1, 7 January 1954.
Cooke, Peter. Fit to Fight. Compulsory Military Training and National Service in New Zealand 1949-72. Auckland: David Ling Publishing, 2013.
“Coronation Honours List.” New Zealand Gazette No 33, 11 June 1953.
Fenton, Damien. A False Sense of Security : The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978. Occasional Paper / Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand: No. 1. Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, 1998. Bibliographies, Non-fiction.
“H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “. Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives (3 July 1955 1955).
“Officer Authorized to Take and Receive Statutory Declarations “. New Zealand Gazette No 42, 23 July 1953.
Rabel, Roberto Giorgio. New Zealand and the Vietnam War : Politics and Diplomacy. Auckland University Press, 2005. Bibliographies, Non-fiction.
 “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives (1955).
 Peter Cooke, Fit to Fight. Compulsory Military Training and National Service in New Zealand 1949-72 (Auckland: David Ling Publishing, 2013), 539.
 Damien Fenton, A False Sense of Security : The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, Occasional Paper / Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand: No. 1 (Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, 1998), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 8-9.
 Roberto Giorgio Rabel, New Zealand and the Vietnam War : Politics and Diplomacy (Auckland University Press, 2005), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 16.
 Possibly surplus 37mm rounds used on New Zealand’s Stuart tanks which would have been compatible with weapon platforms in use with the French
 Fenton, A False Sense of Security : The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, 21.
 “Coronation Honours List,” New Zealand Gazette No 33, 11 June 1953, 911.
 “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 9, 4 February 1954, 180.
 “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 13, 25 February 1954, 294.
 “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 15, 11 March 1954, 384.
From 1920 to 1996, Trentham Camp in Wellington’s Hutt Valley was home to the New Zealand’s Army’s principle Ordnance Depot. During its 76 year tenure as a Ordnance Depot, also every New Zealand Army Ordnance Officer and Soldier would at some stage of their career work at, pass through or have some interaction with the Trentham Ordnance Depot.
Using a 1983 Depot plan as a reference point , this article takes a look back at how the Trentham Ordnance Depot developed from 1920 to 1996.
In 1920 the NZAOC had its Headquarters and main depot located at Alexandra Barracks at Mount Cook, Wellington. In the regions Ordnance Stores were maintained at Mount Eden, Palmerston North, Trentham Camp, Featherston Camp, Mount Cook, Christchurch and Dunedin.
As part of the post war reduction of the Army and the rationalization of the the Ordnance Services, the early interwar years would be a period of transition. In the South Island, the Dunedin and Christchurch Ordnance Stores would close and relocate to Burnham Camp. In the North Island the Palmerston North Depot would close and the main depot at Mount Cook would relocate to Trentham Camp to establish the Main Ordnance Depot.
The Featherson Camp and Mount Eden Ordnance Stores would remain in operation until 1928 when a new Purpose built Ordnance Depot at Hopuhopu in the Waikato was constructed.
With no purpose built storage accommodation, the NZAOC Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham Camp would in the years leading up to the Second World War would utilise up to one hundred different existing camp administrative and accommodation structures as its primary means of warehousing.
Seen here shortly after is construction in late 1940/early 1941, this warehouse (Building 73) was constructed as part of a wider nationwide program of defence works. With the contracts for construction let in 1938 and construction beginning in 1939, Building 73 was constructed using reinforced concrete and designed with nine bays that allowed the loading and unloading of Trains on one side, and Motor transport on the other. The design and layout of building 73 would be utilised as the model for new warehouses that would later be constructed at Burnham and Waiouru.
From this November 1941 photo the full size of Building 73 can be appreciated in comparison to the World War One era buildings in which many of the Main Ordnance Depots Stores had been held in during the inter war years. Under construction is Building 68, which in later years would become the Direct Support Section (DSS), Building 87 (Dental Stores) and Building 88 (Detention Block)
Although Building 73 provided a huge increase in storage capability, wartime demands soon necessitated further increases in storage infrastructure, immediately obvious is Building 74. Building 74 was a near duplicate of building 73 with the main exception that due to wartime constraints it was constructed out of wood instead of reinforced concrete.
Building 86 has been completed and connected to it is Building 70, which would later become the Textile Repair Shop.
Buildings 64, 65 and 66 have been completed with Building’s 60 and 61 under construction.
By 1944, despite the wartime expansion of the Main Ordnance Depot, storage requirements still exceeded available storage at the Main Ordnance Depot, with a large amount of items held in Sub Depots at Māngere, Linton Camp, Whanganui, Waiouru, Lower Hutt and Wellington.
Twelve addition warehouses can be seen to the East of Buildings 73 and 74, and Building 26 is under construction.
These two photos from late 1945 show the extent of the wartime expansion of the Main Ordnance Depot.
The latest additions are Buildings 27,28,29. 30 and 31. These buildings has originally been built for the United States Forces at Waterloo in Lower Hutt by the Public Works Department. Surplus to the United States requirements due to their downsizing in New Zealand, the buildings had been transferred to the NZ Army. The first building was disassembled and re-erected at Trentham by the end of September 1945 with the follow-on buildings re-erected at a rate of one per month, with all construction completed by February 1946
Twenty Years later much of the wartime infrastructure constructed for the Main Ordnance Depot and much of the First World War camp accommodation remains in use. During the 1950’s the compound at Dante Road had been developed for the Central Districts Vehicle Depot. When that unit relocated to Linton in 1958 the compound became the Main Ordnance Depot Vehicle Sub-Depot. On the right side of the photo, the large building the Ordnance Depot is the General Motors Plant.
By 1974, much of the central infrastructure remains, however, the eleven sheds constructed in 1943/44 have been demolished.
1n 1979 the Main Ordnance Depot was renamed as as 1 Base Supply Battalion, RNZOAC. There has been little change to the WW2 Infrastructure.
In one of the largest infrastructure investments since 1939 and the first modern warehouse built for the RNZAOC since 1972, a new warehouse was opened in 1988. Designed to accommodate 3700 pallets and replace the existing WW2 Era Storage, the new award winning warehouse was constructed at a cost of $1.6 million. In addition to the high rise pallet racking for bulk stores, a vertical storage carousel capable of holding 12,000 detail items would be installed at a later date.
On 8 December 1996 the RNZAOC was amalgamated into the the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment, bringing to an end the Ordnance Corps association with Trentham Camp that had existed since 1920.
Further developments would occur in January 1998 when the the entire military warehousing and maintenance functions in Trentham camp were commercialised and placed under the control of civilian contractors.
This article is republished with the permission of the Facebook page “Upper Hutt War Stories“. Upper Hutt War Stories is a Facebook page dedicated to commemorating the war service of Upper Hutt’s citizens and those with strong connections to the City. It remembers those who put their lives on the line for the defence of our Nation.
Buried beneath a weathered brass plaque in the graveyard of Trentham’s St John’s church is a former Commander of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps. A veteran of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force North Africa and Italian campaigns, he was wounded in action and continued to serve as a Territorial Force officer after the War.
Born in Petone, Don Harper attended Wellington College, where he was exposed to military life as a member of the school’s cadet corps for six years. After leaving school and graduating from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in accounting, he joined the public service as a clerk with the National Provident Fund in 1932.
When the Second World War broke out Don was living with his parents in Russell Street, Upper Hutt and working as an auditor with the Government’s Audit Department. He enlisted straight away, entering camp at Trentham on 3 October 1939 as a Private with the 4th Reserve Motor Transport Company. A week later he was sent on the Potential Officers Course, and after six weeks training was commissioned as a second lieutenant.
Don was subsequently posted to the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham for training and departed Wellington for the Middle East on 5 January 1940. He was attached to the headquarters of the 2nd New Zealand Division as they established themselves at Maadi in Egypt, and at the beginning of June 1940 was promoted to Lieutenant.
The New Zealand Division had seen little action up to this point and Don was active helping establish the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force’s Base Ordnance Depot at Maadi Camp in September 1940. Promoted to Temporary Captain to fill the Base Ordnance Officer post, he remained with the Depot in Egypt for almost a year, missing out on the campaigns in Greece and Crete.
Then at the beginning of August 1941, Don was posted back to the headquarters of the 2nd New Zealand Division to be Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (DADOS) in the rank of Temporary Major. This was a critical logistics role resupplying the Division and marked a stunningly quick progression from private to major in less than two years.
Don experienced the realities of warfare for the first time in November 1941, when the Division was attached to the newly formed 8th Army and attempted to relieve the beleaguered garrison at Tobruk. Despite losing all their tank support the Kiwis succeeded in reaching Tobruk, but suffered horrendous casualties in what was described as some of the hardness fighting of the War at Sidi Rezegh and Belhamed, when Rommel’s Africa Corps counterattacked.
Withdrawn to Suez to recover and retrain, Don and the 2nd New Zealand Division were subsequently rushed to Syria in February 1942, to protect against an Axis invasion of the Northeastern flank. But in April he was back in Cairo, where he married Elisabeth Rothschild in a short ceremony. Don and Elisabeth were fortunate to be able to spend time together, as in May he was posted back to Maadi.
Don took over command of the New Zealand Engineers and Ordnance Training Depot, where he was responsible for training reinforcements. Then two months later he was posted as Deputy Director Ordnance Services with 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force headquarters and base depot. His efforts in helping establish and maintain the New Zealand contribution to the campaign were recognised with a mention in despatches on 15 December 1942.
After the fighting in North Africa came to a close, Don was deployed to Italy in October 1943. He arrivied at Taranto as the Kiwis began operations against the Germans, and was tasked with conducting a review of New Zealand Division ordnance support. He recommended a significant reorganisation, including establishing a new base deport at Bari, as an extension of the main depot back in Egypt.
Promoted to temporary Lieutenant Colonel, Don was appointed Assistant Director Ordnance Services in March 1944, and worked in resupplying the 2nd New Zealand Division in action at Cassino. In early June he was caught in an enemy artillery barrage and received shrapnel wounds in his back. Fortunately, the wounds were light, and once the small chunks of metal were removed under local anesthetic he returned to his unit.
At the end of 1944 Don was told that due to his lengthy war service and changes to the furlough scheme he would be returned home. Appointed commander of the returning draft he boarded ship with his wife and their young child, arriving in New Zealand on 3 January 1945, where he reverted in rank to Major.
Don was advised that his services were no longer required and that he could return to civilian life. However, he chose instead to be the posted to the New Zealand Temporary Staff in the rank of Captain in April 1945 and continued contributing to the war effort. In July he was advised he had received a second mention in despatches, this time for his services in Italy.
Considered unfit for deployment to the tropics due to service induced hearing loss, Don served at the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham Camp until the end of the War, when he was posted to the retired list in the Rank of Major. He then returned to his life as an accountant and auditor, and moved his family to Lower Hutt.
Continuing to serve in the Territorial Army, Don was formally promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 1 December 1948 and appointed Commander Royal New Zealand Ordnance Corps. He served in this part time role with the headquarters of the 1st New Zealand Division based out of Linton until October 1951, when the death of his business partner and failing health forced his resignation.
Don remained proud of his time in the military throughout his life, and after passing away in 2002 he was buried in a family plot at St John’s Church with his wife, under a plaque commemorating his war service. A key member of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force for an extended period of the North Africa and Italy campaigns, his grave gives little indication of the scale of this contribution. Lest we forget.
This article is republished with the permission of the Facebook page “Upper Hutt War Stories“. Upper Hutt War Stories is a Facebook page dedicated to commemorating the war service of Upper Hutt’s citizens and those with strong connections to the City. It remembers those who put their lives on the line for the defence of our Nation.
A small bronze plaque in the St John’s churchyard in Trentham gives only a small hint as to the amazing story behind its epitaph. Two small brass letters were added after the plaque was cast, but sadly one has come loose and been lost. The letters MM denote the award of a military medal for gallantry in the field. But little is shown of the long and dedicated service of its recipient, and his involvement in one of the deadliest battles on the Western Front.
Born in Somerset and raised in Exeter, Devon, England, Oliver Avis had come to New Zealand when he was 20. Throughout his childhood, he was always referred to as George and used this name throughout his life. It wasn’t until he was 39 years’ old that he discovered that his name was officially Oliver. An issue which created some confusion for the Army and those now trying to interpret his service files.
George had been working as a storeman in Taranaki and enlisted into the Army on 16 November 1915. He was initially posted to the 11th Mounted Rifles reinforcements and trained with them for four months, before the New Zealand Expeditionary Force decided to change its force composition before heading to France, and he was transferred to the Infantry.
Departing Wellington on 2 April 1916, George and his reinforcement arrived in Egypt a month later. Then, after only three weeks he departed Alexandria for France with the Main contingent of the New Zealand Division. Completing further training at the New Zealand Depot at Etaples, George was posted to 4th (Otago) Company of the 2nd Otago Infantry Battalion in the frontlines at Armentieres on 7 July 1916.
The Kiwis were engaged in raids and reconnaissance activities across no-man’s land, and suffered casualties from enemy shelling. Conditions were difficult and after only four weeks in the line George was withdrawn to the New Zealand Field Ambulance station with conjunctivitis. He attempted to rejoin his unit, but was evacuated sick to the hospital at Boulogne in mid-August, just as the New Zealand Division was withdrawing from the line in preparation for a major attack.
George’s illness meant he missed the Kiwi’s first major assault on the Western Front at the Somme in mid-September. After recovering and being released from hospital, he was posted back to the New Zealand Depot at Etaples, for further recuperation and training. He finally rejoined the 2nd Otago Battalion on 18 October 1916, just as the heavily depleted New Zealand Division returned to Armentieres for another difficult winter in the frontlines.
The unit was withdrawn to rest and reorganise in March 1917, and in late May George was temporarily appointed as his Company’s Quartermaster Sergeant (QMS). He fulfilled this role during the 2nd Otago Battalion’s attack at Messines on 6 June and against the German positions at Sunken Farm eight days later. Having survived his first major battle, he relinquished the role in July, just before preceding to England on leave.
On return to the Battalion, George helped defend the Warneton sector, and when withdrawn to the Lumbres area for training was inspected on parade by Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haigh, in a ceremony watched by Winston Churchill. Then the New Zealand Division was moved into the Ypres area in preparation for their next major offensive.
After the successful but costly Divisional attack at Gravenstafel Spur towards Passchendaele on 4 October 1917, the 2nd Otago Battalion attacked up the Bellevue Spur eight days later. In what turned out to be the deadliest day of the War for the Kiwis, George was caught with many others in a murderous wall of defensive machinegun fire.
Shot through the right side of his back, he was carried to the rear through a sea of mud which now defined no-man’s land. Lucky to make it to the New Zealand Field Ambulance station, George was evacuated to No. 46 Casualty Clearing Station, before being transferred to No. 5 General Hospital at Rouen. In a serious state he was sent back to England and admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley, near Southampton.
As George’s condition improved, he was transferred to the New Zealand General Hospital at Brockenhurst, and then to the New Zealand Convalesce Hospital at Hornchurch. After a long period in Codford and Sling Camps, he finally returned to France in mid-May 1918. The New Zealand Division had amassed a large number of reinforcements by this stage of the War, and George spent two months in an Entrenching Battalion before finally rejoining 4th Company, 2nd Otago Battalion in late July 1918.
Promoted to Lance Corporal, he was immediately thrown into the Battle for Bapaume and what would turn out to be the decisive last 100 days of the War. During an attack near the Forest of Mormal just south of Le Quesnoy on 5 November 1918, George was acting as a Company runner, carrying messages from the front lines back to Battalion Headquarters. He made several trips through heavy enemy machinegun and artillery fire and was commended for his coolness under fire.
A month later, George was notified he would be decorated with the Military Medal in recognition of his gallantry and devotion to duty, although the award wasn’t officially gazetted until after his return to New Zealand in mid-1919. By this time, he had already made the decision to try and stay in the Army. George volunteered for the temporary section of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps and was attested as a Private on 26 May 1919.
Promoted to Lance Corporal and posted to Trentham Camp in April 1921, George married Catherine Reid 18 months later. They settled into a house at Heretaunga and welcomed a son in September 1923. George transferred to the permanent section of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps in 1924 and rose quickly through the ranks, being promoted to Corporal two years later, and Sergeant two years after that.
Unfortunately, the military downsizing which accompanied the great depression saw him lose his uniformed role in January 1931. He volunteered to stay on as a civilian staff member at lower pay, and remained in that role performing critical work in the main supply depot at Trentham Camp up until New Zealand entered the Second World War.
Due to the need to rapidly expand the New Zealand Army, George was recalled to the military in December 1939 and commissioned as a Lieutenant in the New Zealand Temporary Staff. Made a temporary Captain he was appointed as the Ordnance officer in charge of Clothing in the Main Depot at Trentham. He was responsible for the management of all Army clothing and lead the transition from First World War era service dress to the new battledress uniform early in the War.
After recovering from an operation for acute appendicitis, George was promoted to temporary Major in February 1942. But the demands of his job began to take a significant toll. After 5 years’ service he was worn out and suffering ill health. At his own request he transferred to the Reserve of Officers in October 1944, and in recognition of the excellent service he had provided so far during the War was awarded another role in the Public Service.
On reaching the age of 67 in July 1955, George was posted to the retired list in the rank of Major. He passed away in Upper Hutt in November 1964 and his ashes were interned at the cemetery of St John’s Church Trentham, where his wife joined him eleven years later. His memorial plaque gives little indication of his incredible military career, gallantry, and total of 28 years’ service to the New Zealand Army. Lest we forget.
Citation for the Military Medal, London Gazette 3 July 1919.
“Operations: British front in the vicinity of the Foret de Mormal – 5th November 1918. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During the above operations, Lance Corporal Avis, who is a runner, was engaged in carrying reports and messages between forward Companies and Battalion Headquarters. He made several trips and although the enemy machine gun and artillery fire was most intense, he delivered his reports and messages expeditiously. Throughout he showed great gallantry and continuous devotion to duty.
Over a fifteen-year period from 1978 to 1992, the staff of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps School took over 180 photos of the school staff, courses, conferences and other activities, providing a unique record of the activities of the RNZAOC School. This article provides some background on the RNZAOC School, some examples of the RNZAOC photo collection and a link to the catalogue.
Upper Hutt City Library (29th Jan 2020). Trentham Camp; Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps School sign.. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 12th Jul 2020 01:51, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/1335
Established at Trentham in 1959 the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps School would be the most important unit of the RNZAOC, through which every Ordnance soldier would pass.
The RNZAOC school charter gave the school the responsibility of delivering the following types of courses for Regular and Territorial Force members of the RNZAOC;
Star Classification courses for Storeman/Clerks RNZAOC and Ammunition Examiners
Recruit Corps training for RNZAOC personnel
Advanced trade training for both Officers and Other Ranks in all types of Ordnance activities
Technical training in Ordnance subjects
Refresher training for qualified personnel
Additionally, as directed by the Director of Ordnance Services, the school would also;
Plan and hold conferences and training exercises
Draft procedure instructions
Test or comment on new procedures, materials or equipment’s
Carry out research into various aspects of Ordnance activities
The maintenance of Corps history and heritage
NZ Army Supply training underwent a major transformation in 1993 when the Quartermaster functions of the School of Army Administration became the “Q” Wing of the RNZAOC School.
Further changes occurred in July 1994 when the RNZAOC, RNZEME and RNZCT Schools were disestablished and the Trade Training School stood up in place of the individual Corps schools. As part of the transition into the Trade Training School, the RNZAOC School would be reestablished as the Supply/Quartermaster Wing and the Ammunition Wing.
Click on the following links to view the RNZAOC School photo collection;
The catalogue of these photos can be viewed here RNZAOC SCHOOL PHOTOS. If copies of individuals photos are required, please order by using the appropriate Reference Number from the catalogue.
RNZAOC School Staff 9 MAy 1979 Back Row L – R: LCpl Chamberlain, SSgt Blackburn, SSgt Warwood, Sgt Rogers Front Row L – R: WO1 Orr, Capt Bolton, Maj Hansen, Capt Crafts, WO2 Balsillis, WO2 Russell. Absent: Cpl Robinson, Cpl Bray. Robert McKie Collection.
RNZAOC RF OR Clerk/Storeman 5 March – 2 April 1980 Back Row L – R: LCpl Hassan, LCpl Clifton, WO2 Shahar (Malysian Army), SSgt Aziz (Malaysian Army) Front Row L – R: Pte Naicker (Fiji), Pte Naulutegu (Fiji), WO2 Calvey, Pte Russell, LCpl Rolfe, SSgt Reti Robert McKie Collection.
RNZAOC School Staff 12 July 1980 Back Row L – R: SSgt J.M Murray, Cpl W.T Bray, Sgt E.D Lee, Sgt W.D Scobie, SSgt W.R Bensemann, Sgt M.D Hutley, SSgt L.R Warwood Front Row L – R: LCpl W Bush, Capt J.S Bolton, Maj J.R Hicks (C.I), WO1 D.A Orr, WO2 B.W Calvey. Robert McKie Collection.
RNZAOC RF OR Senior Ammunition Technician Band 5 15 September – 20 October 1981 Back Row L – R: Cpl Boustridge, Cpl Evans, LCpl Thomas Front Row L – R: Cpl Lawrence, Capt Juno, WO2 Murray, Sgt Davidson. Robert McKie Collection.
RNZAOC Advanced Field Operations 10,0- 28 June 1991 Back Row L – R: WO2 D.T Lyes, WO2 J.P Fletcher QGM, WO2 P.J Roche, WO2 M.R Lawrence, WO2 M.T Heemi, WO2 Riesterer, WO2 S.N Sanders, WO2 B.C Kearney, WO2 M.L Smith, WO2 M.G Kiddie, WO2 J.W Thompson WO2 M.J Roberts Front Row L – R: WO2 W.N Vince, Capt W.T Steel, Lt B.T Grant, Capt H.B Cockburn (SI Supply), Maj D.H Watmuff (CI), WO2 W.F Davis, WO2 G.S Rolfe, Lt W.P Boustridge. Robert McKie Collection.
RNZAOC RF Supply Management Course 15 July – 2 August 1991 Back Row L – R: SSgt K.B Sigglekow, SSgt C.M Ballard, SSgt P.J Byrne, SSgt S.A Bruckner, SSgt S.W Corkran, SSgt N.T.A Merriman, SSgt W.D Epiha Front Row L – R: SSgt B.R.J Law, SSgt B.J Madgwick, Major D.H Watmuff (CI & Course Manager) Lt W.P Boustridge, Lt O.M Raureti. Robert McKie Collection.
RNZAOC Phase One Corps Training, 10 February -13 March 1992 Back Row L – R: Pte D.C Manson, Pte M.A Mckenzie, Pte A.P.M Newton, Pte K.M Craig, Pte A.J Henry, Pte G.J Cummings, Pte P.D McMillan, Pte M.A Hanson Front Row L – R: Pte N.J Fulcher, Pte O.M.A Moke, Pte A.M Ward, SSgt K.B Sigglekow (Course Manager), Pte P.A Cook, Pte M.M.J Te Ahu, Pte N Pohoiwi. Robert McKie Collection.
1] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 177.
Charter – Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps School, Trentham, Item Id R383324 (Wellington: Archives New Zealand, 1960).