New Zealand Army Logistics Corps Stable Belts

Worn by some New Zealand Army units since the mid-1960s, it would not be until 1973 that wearing of stable belts (commonly referred to as Corps or Regimental Belts in the New Zealand Army) was authorised across the New Zealand Army. In adopting a stable belt, A small number of units would adopt belts of a unique design, however most New Zealand corps, regiments, and infantry battalions would choose designs based the regimental colours of parent or allied units of the British Army. The three Logistics Corps of the NZ Army would adopt stable belts of a British design and it would not be until 1996 and the formation of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR) that a unique New Zealand Logistic stable belt would be adopted.

Stable belts have their origins in the British Army. Cavalrymen (and ASC and AOC personnel from trades associated with horses) found that by modifying a Cavalry “Surcingle,” they would have a belt that was very useful in providing lower back support when cleaning stables and tending horses. As British military uniforms became more utilitarian, lacking the colour and flair of earlier patterns, the wearing of coloured “stable belts” in regimental colours evolved, adding a splash of colour and individuality to the drab khaki working uniforms of the period.

The use of coloured stable belts in regimental colours spread to all branches of the British Army, becoming established as a uniform item following World War Two. Most commonwealth countries would follow the example of the British Army and adopt the coloured stable belt of the Corps or Regiments to which they had links or alliances. The adoption of stable belts by the NZ Army was far from enthusiastic, and it was not until the mid-1960s that stable belts started to make their appearance. It would not be until 1973 that the Army Dress Committee officially approved the universal wearing of stable belts for all Regiments and Corps of the NZ Army.

Stable Belts have generally been manufactured from a 21/2- to 3-inch-wide belt of a heavily woven material with horizontal stripes in two or more colours. Buckle types would vary with six main types used.

  • Single tongue leather buckle. In NZ only used by the 4th Otago and Southland Battalion
  • Multi tongue leather buckle. Consisting of two leather buckles
  • Single Locket
  • Triple Locket. In NZ only used on the 5th Wellington West Coast Battalion Other Ranks Stable belt.
  • Rectangular plate (Matt colour or Chromed) and Cap Badge design.
  • Web Belt clasp. Used on Interim RNZALR Stable belt.

RNZASC stable belt

Photographic evidence suggests that the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps (RNZASC) adopted the British Army Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) stable belt sometime around 1970. However, the exact year is unknown. Until its disestablishment in1965, the RASC had worn a stable belt with a blue base with two central white stripes and two yellow stripes on the borders. A stable belt with a multi tongue leather buckle, the RASC stable belt was worn with two leather buckles worn on the right hip. The same pattern stable belt was worn by the Canadian ASC up to 1968 and continues to be worn by the Malaysian Kor Perkhidmatan Diraja (Royal Logistics Corps).

RASC/RNZASC stable belt. Angus Kirk Collection

In late 1974 early 1975 the RNZASC retired the RASC belt and adopted the Royal Corps of Transport (RCT) stable belt. Adopted by the RCT in 1965 and then by the Royal Australian Corps of Transport (RACT) in 1973.

RCT/RNZCT stable. Robert

RNZCT stable belt

On 12 May 1979, the RNZASC ceased to exist, as its Supply functions were transferred to the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (RNZAOC), while the Transport, Movements and Catering functions were reformed into the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport (RNZCT). The RCT pattern stable belt would continue to serve as the stable belt of the RNZCT throughout the RNZCTs existence within the NZ Army. The only change to the belt throughout its life would be some subtle changes to the design of the buckle.

Early Pattern RCT/RNZASC/RNZCT stable belt. Robert McKie collection
Late Pattern RCT/RNZCT stable belt. Robert McKie collection

RNZAOC stable belt

There is much photographic evidence of RNZAOC officers and soldiers in Singapore unofficially wearing British (Single locket) and Malaysian (multi tongue leather buckle) Ordnance Corps stable Belts during the 1970-72 period. The RNZAOC would initially discuss introducing stable Belts in 1969, with approval for the RNZAOC stable belt granted in 1972. The RNZAOC Belt would be the same pattern as the RAOC belt but would have a rectangular chrome plate mounted with RNZAOC Badge.

RNZAOC stable belt. Robert McKie collection

RNZEME stable belt

With its distinctive dark blue background with red and yellow stripes, the stable belt of the Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RNZEME)was introduced in 1967 and was based on the Royal and Electrical Mechanical Engineers (REME) stable belt. The upper portion of the right-hand buckle carried the Corps motto (Arte et Marte). The right-hand piece had the RNZEME badge.

RNZEME stable belt. Robert.McKie Collection

RLC stable belt

In 1993, in the most significant reorganisation of its Logistic Support since 1965, the British Army formed the Royal Logistic Regiment (RLC) by combining the RCT, RAOC, Catering and Pioneer Corps into the new Regiment. Eager to retain the values and traditions of its foundation Corps and Regiments, the RLC retained many elements of its founding corps Regimental colours and the history they represented in the design of the RLC stable belt. The REME would remain a separate Corps outside of the RLC.

RLC stable belt

RNZALR stable belt

In a similar initiative to the British Army’s formation of the RLC, the NZ Army would also combine its logistic functions into a single Logistic Regiment. The significant difference between the British and New Zealand logistical changes was that the RNZEME would also be disestablished and included in the NZ Logistic Regiment.

On 9 December 1996, the Officers and Soldiers of the RNZCT, RNZAOC and RNZEME marched onto parade grounds on each camp and base. Corps flags were lowered, headwear and stable belts exchanged, and the Officers and Soldiers marched off as members of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR).

With the colourful stable belts of three RNZALR foundation corps and the collective history of service to New Zealand since 1840 that they represented retired, the RNZALR would take a different approach to the RLC in selecting a new stable belt. While the RLC had embraced its foundation Corps’ values and traditions, the RNZALR would divorce itself from the past and adopt a plain navy-blue stable belt

As stock of the new RNZALR stable belt were not available on the formation of the New Regiment, a temporally belt was issued. Consisting of a navy-blue belt with Web Belt clasps, the interim belt would be retired within a year as stocks of the new RNZALR Stable belt became available.

The only distinctive feature of the RNZALRs stable belt is locket style Chrome buckle, which includes the following features

  • The RNZALR Corps badge on the male side of the buckle
  • The RNZALR motto “Ma Nga Hua Tu Tangata”, on the female side of the buckle.


Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment Insignia

Starting in 1992 the New Zealand Army underwent a series of re-organisations, and the three New Zealand Logistic Corps: the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport (RNZCT), the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (RNZAOC), and the Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RNZEME), came under the spotlight for potential change as increases to efficiencies became the priority.[1]

Observing developments in the United Kingdom where on 5 April 1993 the British Army amalgamated the Royal Corps of Transport, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, Royal Pioneer Corps, Army Catering Corps and the Postal Branch of the Royal Engineers into the Royal Logistic Corps the stage was set for a change in New Zealand.[2]

The practice of having the separate New Zealand Logistic Corps remaining as small independent units under different administrative structures was inefficient, and the decision was made to follow the British lead and amalgamate the Logistic Corps of the New Zealand Army into one Logistic Regiment. On 4 April 1996, the Chief of General Staff, Major General P.M. Reid, signed CGS Directive 07 /96, authorising the formation of the New Zealand Logistic Regiment.[3]

RNZALR FAMILY TREE
Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment – Family Tree

The RLC Badge

When the British Army formed the Royal Logistic Corps, a new badge was designed by Sergeant R.R Macneilage of the RAOC in 1991, incorporating aspects of all the forming Corps.[4]

  • The outer star form the Royal Corps of Transport badge
  • The wreath from the Royal Engineer badge
  • The crossed Axes from the Royal Pioneer Corps badge
  • The Shield and garter from the Royal Army Ordnance Corps badge, and
  • The mottos from the Army Catering Corps badge
Badge of the Royal Logistic Corps. Robert McKie Collection

The RNZALR Badge

The RNZALR was to amalgamate not only the RNZCT, RNZAOC and RNZEME Corps but also the All Arms Storeman trade personnel from across all Corps and Regiments of the New Zealand Army. To break down the resistance to the new Regiment and extinguish the perceived traits of tribalism that existed amongst the corps and trades about to be amalgamated, [5]  a neutral badge was to be adopted. Following a design competition encompassing 110 designs, a design with no connection to the forming Corps and that was acceptable to the Herald of Arms was selected and approved on 21 October 1996.

Herald of Arms

The RNZALR badge consists of the following elements;

  • A set of green ferns unique to New Zealand providing the main body,
  • Crossed Swords representing the Army supporting an oval shield.
  • The oval shield has a blue background displaying the stars of the Southern Cross. The Southern Cross is an identifier long associated with New Zealand Army logistics in that it was used as an identifier by;
    • 2NZEF for non-divisional vehicles, primary logistics at Maadi in 1942
    • The Logistic Support Group from the 1960’s
    • Headquarters Support Command up to the early 1990’s
  • A riband embossed with “Royal N.Z Army Logistic Regiment.”
  • All surmounted with a St Edwards Crown, which represents the ties to the Monarch.
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Cap and collar badges of the RNZALR. Robert McKie Collection

Distinguishing Patches

The formation of the RNZALR saw the introduction of coloured regional distinguishing patches to be worn behind the badge on berets or attached to the left-hand side of the puggaree on the Mounted Rifles hat.[6]

  • 1st Base Logistic Battalion, Trentham Camp (Disbanded 30 January 1998)
1 Base Logistic Battalion.2
  • 2 Combat Service Support Battalion (Previously 2 Logistic Battalion)
2 Logistic Battalion
  • 3 Combat Service Support Battalion (Previously 3 Logistic Battalion)
3 Logistic Battalion
  • 4th Logistic Battalion, Waiouru Camp (Disbanded 30 June 2001)
4 Logistic Battalion.2
  • 5th Base Logistic Support Group, Trentham . Retitled to Trentham Regional Support Centre 1 July 2001 and restructured as Trentham Regional Support Battalion on 17 July 2006. (Distinguishing patch no longer used)
5 Base Logistic Group
  • 5 Force Support Company, Auckland (Patch approved but never adopted, unit disestablished)
1 Logistic Battalion

RNZALR officers and soldiers posted to units other than Logistic Battalions wear the badge with no coloured backing. An exception is the 2/1 Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment where attached RNZALR Officers and Soldiers wear the 2/1 white and black backing.

Interim Embroidered Badges

At the time of the formation of the RNZALR, interim embroidered badges substituted for metal badges, which had not been manufactured at the time.

Backings for metal badges

When metal badges become available in late 1997, a mixture of cloth and plastic regional distinguishing backings were adopted, although the patch was meant to be a 50mm square, units adopted either a rectangular backing or one in the shape of the badge.

Pugaree Flashes

Until the withdrawal of the Mounted Rifle Hat in 2017, backing flashes were not worn behind the badge but were worn on the left-hand side of the Pugaree.

RNZALR Officer Badges

Variations of Badges

In the time since the introduction of the RNZALR metal Badge, different productions runs have resulted in slight variations of the badge.

RNZALR Stable Belt

Dispensing with the traditional colourful stable belts based on the parent British Corps, the new RNZALR stable belt includes the following features

  • The RNZALR Corps badge in the centrepiece
  • The RNZALR motto “Ma Nga Hua Tu Tangatain the outer piece[7]

At the time of the formation of the RNZALR, the new stable belts were not available, the interim use of blue webbing pistol belts were utilised until the provision of the correct items.

Formation Parades

Her Majesty the Queen approved the disestablishment of the foundation corps to take effect on 8 December 1996 with the formation of the RNZALR to take effect from 9 December 1996.[8] Marked with simultaneous formation parades at the main camps.[9] Officers and soldiers marched on in the embellishments of their parent Corps and marched wearing the embellishments of the RNZALR.[10]

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018

Notes

[1][1] Carol J. Phillips, “The Shape of New Zealand’s Regimental System” (, Massey University, 2006), P.99.

[2] Royal Logistic Corps Museum, “The Royal Logistic Corps and Forming Corps,”  http://rlcmuseum.co.uk/docs/history.html.

[3] “Why? ,” New Zealand Army Publication, Chapter 1, Section 10, Para. 1393.

[4] The Royal Logistic Corps YouTube Channel, “What Makes up the Royal Logistic Corps Cap Badge.,”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6MNuiVm2E4.

[5] Phillips, “The Shape of New Zealand’s Regimental System,” P. 98.

[6] New Zealand Army, NZ P23 – New Zealand Army Orders for Dress (Wellington: New Zealand Defence Force, 1997), Chapter 3, Section 2, Para 30321, Sub-paras f to J.

[7] English translation  “By Our Actions We Are Known.”

[8] “New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette  (1997): P. 4723.

[9] NZ Army Public Information Officer, “Forming of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment,” news release, 5 December 1996.

[10] “Regiment Forms,” Dominion Post, 7 December 1996.


British Commonwealth Ordnance Corps Stable Belts

Stable belts (also known as Corps or Regimental Belts in the New Zealand Army) have their origins in the British Army. where they were initially worn by cavalrymen as part of their working dress.

saddle07

Cavalry “Surcingle,” which is a leather or webbing strap when is placed over the saddle as an extra means of keeping the saddle secure and in place.

During the mid 19th Century, British Cavalrymen realised that by modifying a Cavalry “Surcingle,”  they would have a belt that was very useful in providing lower back support when cleaning stables and tending horses.

Initially worn by cavalrymen (and ASC and AOC personnel from trades associated with horses) the modified Surcingles were wider at 4″ than the 2½” width of modern stable belts. predominately made out of canvas, the buckles were worn on the left so not to scratch and catch on on horses and equipment.

With the adoption of coloured belts by officers in the British Indian Army in the mid-1800’s, the British Army at home started to adopted the practice in the late 1800’s as the coloured belts added a splash of colour and individuality to the drab khaki working uniforms the use of stable belts spread to other branches of the British Army during the 1950’s.

A modern stable belt is a wide webbing belt, usually of a single solid colour or horizontally striped in two or more different shades. Worn around the waist, either through the trouser belt loops or over a jersey.

With the original cavalry stable belts having the buckles at the side, later versions of stable belts were buckled at the front with a metal buckle bearing the badge of the Regiment or Corps.

Royal Army Ordnance Corps

The 1st pattern RAOC Belt was introduced before World War II and would be continued to be worn into the early 1950’s.  This pattern of belt was 4” (10cm) wide and was fitted with leather side fastening straps (worn to the left)

UK 1st type

1st Pattern RAOC Stable Belt. Mike Comerford Collection

The 2nd pattern RAOC Belt was introduced in the mid-1950’s and was fitted with the buckles at the side. It had a single yellow stripe bordered on either side by thin blue and red stripes and a broad blue stripe on the outside edges

raocearly

2nd Pattern RAOC Stable Belt http://www.stablebelts.co.uk

The 3rd RAOC Belt adopted at around 1961 was initially fitted with buckles at the side, the leather side buckles were soon replaced with a brass buckle bearing the badge of the RAOC on the Right (male) fitting and the words ‘Royal Army Ordnance Corps’ in a circlet on the left (Female) fitting. The belt had four wide blue stripes with 3 narrow red stripes and would become the pattern for most Commonwealth Ordnance Corps Stable Belts. The Brass buckle was in time replaced with a chrome metal buckle.

RAOC Patt2

2nd Pattern RAOC Stable Belt with brass buckle. Robert McKie Collection

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3rd Pattern RAOC Stable Belt. Robert McKie collection

RAOC personnel posted to the Commando Ordnance Squadron and 82 Airborne Ordnance Company, exchanged the RAOC buckle for the buckle of the parent unit they belonged to.

commandoordnancesquadron

Commando Ordnance Squadron, RAOC (1972-1993) http://www.stablebelts.co.uk

commandoordnancesquadronbuckle

The buckle of Commando Ordnance Squadron, RAOC (1972-1993). http://www.stablebelts.co.uk

82airborneordnance

82 Airborne Ordnance Company RAOC – 5 Airborne Brigade http://www.stablebelts.co.uk

82airborneordnancebuckle

Buckle of 82 Airborne Ordnance Company RAOC – 5 Airborne Brigade http://www.stablebelts.co.uk

Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps

The RNZAOC was slow to introduce stable belts, and it is mentioned in a 1969 edition of the Pataka magazine that plans for the introduction of a stable belt had been rejected and would not proceed.

Stable belts for the RNZAOC were approved for use in 1972. The Belt was based on the RAOC belt having four wide blue stripes with 3 narrow red stripes, the buckle departed from the RAOC pattern, having a 7–6 cm chromed buckle on which a RNZAOC Badge was mounted.

20181015_1302311297273255.jpg

RNZAOC Stable Belt. Robert McKie Collection

Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps

The Australian Army adopted the stable belt in the late 1970s; however, they were removed from service in 1995 and are no longer worn.

Based on the 2nd pattern RAOC Belt, the RAAOC belt was fitted with a buckle with the RAAOC badge on the Right (male) fitting and the words ‘Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps’ in a circlet on the left (Female) fitting.

royalaustralianordnance

Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps. http://www.stablebelts.co.uk

Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps

Used by the Royal Canadian Army Ordnance Corps between 1953 and 1974, the RCOC stable belt was based on the 2nd pattern RAOC Belt. The RCOC belt was fitted with a buckle with the Ordnance Shield mounted with a St Edwards Crown on the Right (male) fitting and the words ‘Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps’ in a circlet on the left (Female) fitting.

20181015_124148396588582.jpg

Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps Stable Belt. Robert McKie collection

Malaysian Kor Ordnans DiRaja (Royal Ordnance Corps)

Based on the 2nd pattern RAOC Belt, the Malaysian belt is fitted with the buckles at the side.

malayordnance

Royal Malaysian Army Ordnance Corps http://www.stablebelts.co.uk

Ghana Army Ordnance Service

Based on the 2nd pattern RAOC Belt, the Ghana Army Ordnance Service belt is fitted with the buckles at the side.

GhanaOrdnance

Ghana Army Ordnance Services http://www.stablebelts.co.uk

Kenya Armed Forces Ordnance Depot

Departing from the traditional RAOC colour pattern, the Kenyan belt is fitted with the buckles at the side.

kenyaarmedforces

Kenya Armed Forces Ordnance Depot http://www.stablebelts.co.uk

SULTAN OF OMAN’S LOGISTIC CORPS

tn_omanlogistics

Sultan of Oman’s Logistics Corps http://www.stablebelts.co.uk

Logistic Support Group

The Sultan of Oman’s Logistic Corps Buckle. http://www.stablebelts.co.uk

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017