New Zealand Army Combat Boots – 1945 -1980


Up to the Second World War, New Zealand Army boots generally had leather-soled ankle boots whose design had only undergone minor changes since 1912. Military boot development was catapulted during the Second World War with new designs and materials providing boots suitable for all terrains and climates found on Battlefields worldwide. As the post-war New Zealand Army was reorganised and reequipped to provide a division to fight in the Middle East, the decolonisation conflicts that swept Southeast Asia drew New Zealand into an unfamiliar type of warfare. New Zealand was not experienced or equipped to fight in harsh tropical environments but adapted quickly and became experienced practitioners of Jungle warfare. Initially equipped with British and Australian stocks of tropical equipment, it soon became apparent that New Zealand troops needed modern equipment. By 1959, the New Zealand Army undertook various research and development initiatives to improve its equipment in conjunction with scientific institutions and industry. This article provides an overview of the New Zealand Army’s post-war boot development, transitioning from a boot originating in the 19th century to a modern mid-20th century Combat boot.

Flush with wartime stocks of boots, the post-war New Zealand Army had no immediate need to upgrade its boots. However, by the mid-1950s, the limitations of the current range of leather-soled boots were becoming evident, especially in the jungles of Malaya, and the search for alternatives began for an improved boot design. To achieve this, the Quarter masters branch of the army called on the New Zealand Leather and Shoe Research Association for assistance in developing a boot with increased waterproof properties that could withstand prolonged wear without undue fatigue.[1]

Jungle greens and Jungle boots as worn by New Zealand Forces in Malaya from 1955. NZ National Library Ref: EP/1956/0031-F

In conjunction with footwear manufacturers and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, the New Zealand Leather and Shoe Association developed four types of boots, which were trialled by the 2nd Battalion, New Zealand Regiment, in 1958. The latest type of ankle boot with a Directly Moulded Sole (DMS) from the United Kingdom was also tested alongside the four New Zealand samples.[2] From this initial user trial, feedback shaped an interim specification for two types with identical uppers but different soles, one of rubber and the other of leather. Thirty pairs of each type were made, and a further series of trials began with the 1st Battalion at Burnham Camp in early May 1960. Thirty trial subjects were chosen to wear each boot type for three days to see how easily they could be broken in. After that, they tested the boots for wear and comfort until February 1961.[3]

1956 Ankle Boots. Lee Hawkes Collection
Sole of 1956 Ankle boots. Lee Hawkes Collection

The result of the trial was the adoption of the Ankle Boot Rubber Sole (Ankle Boot RS). An ankle boot similar in design to the current boot, the Ankle Boot RS was several ounces lighter than those currently in use, also included was rotproof terylene stitching and nylon laces. The nylon laces were so popular with the troops that all the boots returned after user trials came back without laces. The new design had a “Commando” style rubber sole. The Commando style rubber sole was developed in the 1930s by English rubber maker Itshide, who switched from producing toys and brushes to producing this new kind of rubber sole for use on army boots during WWII. The benefit of the Commando sole was the grip provided by the shape of the jagged cleats on the sole, which proved ideal for providing stability on the roughest terrain. The New Zealand version of the Commando sole had slightly shallower cleats with an angled edge to prevent mud or small stones from wedging between them and was marketed as the “Kiwi Army Boot”. Production of the New Zealand Ankle Boot RS began in August 1961; however, with large quantities of the previous type of boot still in the supply system, it would take until 1964 to waste out the old stock.[4]

As with the previous boot design, the Ankle Boot RS required wearing a gaiter to prevent mud and derbies from entering the boot. The type of gaiter then in use was the 37-pattern web gaiter. Concurrent with the boot trial, thirty pairs of Australian Army gaiters were also tested. The long dark green Australian gaiter was introduced into Australian service in 1945 and had a light metal stiffener up one side to prevent wrinkling and a strap passing under the boot’s instep. Finding favour with the troops, these were also planned to be adopted for the New Zealand Army. However, problems in adopting the Australian gaiter would drive the development of the next iteration of New Zealand’s Army Boot.[5]

A pair of Australian Army canvas gaiters painted black. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C993356

Although the Australian gaiter could have probably been purchased off the shelf directly from Australian manufacturers, such items should have been manufactured in New Zealand. However, it was found that due to the exorbitant costs encountered in producing the Australian pattern gaiter in New Zealand, this project was abandoned, and the gaiter requirement was re-evaluated. Although no specific General Staff requirement was stated, it was decided to develop a calf-length boot to replace the Ankle Boot RS and 37-pattern gaiters with a calf-length combat boot.

New Zealand 37-pattern Gaiter. Lee Hawkes collection

Based on the new Ankle Boot Rubber Sole (Ankle Boot RS), two high boots, type A and B, were manufactured by experienced New Zealand footwear manufacturers Sargood, Son and Ewen.[6] The type A and B boots included hooks instead of eyelets and a strap and buckle arrangement similar to the American M-1943 Combat Boot.  

United States Army M-43 composition sole combat service boot, or “double buckle boot”. https://www.usww2uniforms.com/BQD_114.html

As a result of the initial user trials in New Zealand and Malaysia using the Type A and B boot, the design of the boot was refined into the Type C boot. In May 1964, ten examples of the Type C Boot were manufactured, incorporating improvements suggested by the user trials:

  • The sole and foot portion to be exactly the same as the Ankle Boot RS.
  • The height from ground level to the top of the boot was to be 101/2 inches.
  • There were to be six eyelets on the lower portion of each side of the closure and six boot hooks on the higher portion of each side (similar to the green jungle boot issued in Malaya).
  • The boot tongue was to be of a thinner variety and should not be longer than the height of the boot.
  • There were to be no straps or buckles.
  • The measurement around the top of the boot was to be no greater than 121/2 inches from edge to edge.[7]

Successful feedback on the Type C boot saw a small number purchased and introduced into service in June 1966 to enable further trials to be carried out to determine if the new pattern boots were suitable for combat in tropical conditions. Further trials by New Zealand Forces in South Vietnam and selected units in New Zealand commenced in November 1967

With the New Zealand contingent in South Vietnam serving alongside the Australians, the length of the New Zealand contingent’s supply chain and its low requirements made it necessary to modify the clothing replenishment system and link into the Australian lines of supply, resulting in New Zealand troops in Vietnam receiving Australian tropical clothing and boots.[8] This was a modification of the system used in Malaysia since 1955, when New Zealand troops in Malaysia drew their tropical clothing requirements, including jungle boots, from British sources.

Concurrent with New Zealand’s combat boot development was an Australian programme to develop a modern combat boot. Initially utilising jungle boots left over from the Second World War, the Australians soon developed and trialled a new DMS boot design with leather uppers and a moulded sole. After some initial user trials, an initial order of 10,000 pairs of the new Australian DMS Combat boot was placed in July 1956 for delivery to Australian troops in Vietnam by December 1965.[9]

Australian Black leather general purpose (GP) boots. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1195209

By 1968, New Zealand troops in South Vietnam were officially utilising the trial New Zealand combat boot and the Australian DMS Combat boot. Unofficially many New Zealand troops also wore the America Jungle boot. A survey conducted at the start of the November 1967 trial showed that 108 New Zealand soldiers preferred the Australian boot and only 42 the New Zealand boot. A further survey conducted in March 1968 revealed that 121 New Zealand soldiers preferred the Australian boot. The most significant reasons given for the preference were that the Australian boot was:

  • Lighter and more robust than the NZ item.
  • Had a directly moulded sole.
  • It was made of better-quality leather.
  • Had a vastly superior appearance.
  • It had a very good and snug fit when broken in.
Private Wayne Lindsay, Whiskey One Company, inspects an RSA Christmas parcel from New Zealand circa 1968. Note that Private Lindsay is wearing the American Pattern Jungle boots, and there are Australian DMS Combat boots and New Zealand Combat boots under his bed. Image courtesy Noel Bell via https://vietnamwar.govt.nz/photo/private-wayne-lindsay-rsa-christmas-parcel

Feedback also included the increasingly evident requirement for a Jungle boot similar to the United States pattern to be provided to New Zealand Forces in tropical environments.[10]

After the November 1967 operational and training trials of the New Zealand combat boot, it was found that the recommendations of the various trial teams were not in agreement, and a Footwear Study Group was appointed to review the trial information.[11] In July 1969, the Footwear Study Group concluded that the New Zealand Combat boot, with certain modifications, was superior to the ankle Boot RS in meeting New Zealand training conditions. However, it was agreed that the New Zealand Combat Boot did not meet the tropical operational requirements, and further research was required to find a boot to meet New Zealand’s tropical requirements. US, Canadian, and UK policies supported this, concluding that one boot could not satisfy both a temperate and tropical requirement. It was noted that the Australians restricted their DMS combat boot to South Vietnam, with troops in other theatres outside Australia continuing to wear ordinary boots and gaiters; however, the US tropical combat boot was procured for issue in South Vietnam to the Australian SAS only. Overall, the New Zealand findings were that the main advantage of the New Zealand Combat Boot was that it could replace two items (Ankle boot RS and gaiter); it provided superior ankle and instep support and improved appearance, and it should be accepted as a replacement for the Ankle Boot RS. A tropical patrol boot was also recommended to be developed to meet the specific environmental conditions found in Southeast Asia.[12]

There was little doubt that the Australian DMS combat boot was more popular with New Zealand troops. It was accepted that the DMS production technique proved a superior product, but at the time, New Zealand’s footwear industry did not yet have the required technology to manufacture DMS boots, but there was no doubt that the New Zealand Combat boot would incorporate a DMS sole at a future date as New Zealand industry caught up. However, adopting the New Zealand Combat boot would be based on fiscal reasoning. Based on the 1969 production run of 2893 pairs for New Zealand Vietnam Force maintenance, the cost of a pair of New Zealand combat boots was $10.50 (2022 NZ $200.20), compared to $19.23 (2022 NZ $366.64) for the Australian DMS boots. With the Ankle Boot RS priced at $8.18 (2022 NZ $156.61) and Garters at $1 (2022 NZ $19.15), it was considered that a superior boot was replacing two items (Ankle boot RS and gaiter) with only a slight increase of the cost. [13]

On 3 December 1969, the New Zealand Combat Boot was renamed as the Boot GS (High) and formally introduced into service to progressively replace the Ankle boot RS and gaiter as existing stocks of those items wasted out and all period contracts for their manufacture terminated.[14]

With a stock of 19,120 Ankle Boots RS and 21,612 Web Anklets held in Ordnance Depots and Clothing Stores, the priority of issue for the introduction of the Boot GS (High)was to:

  • NZ Forces in Southeast Asia
  • Regular Force Recruits
  • Regular Force maintenance in New Zealand
  • The Territorial Force

The Boot GS (High) nomenclature had been changed to Boot Mans General Purpose (Boot Mans GP) by February 1971. With 12,126 pairs of Ankle Boot RS remaining in stock, it was anticipated that with issues to National Service intakes and the Territorial Force, stocks would be exhausted by the end of 1971.[15]

During the New Zealand Combat Boot trial, it was identified that cooks of the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps (RNZASC) required a boot with a flat sole for safety on wet surfaces. Fortunately, the Government Footwear Inspector had developed Cooks Galley Boots at Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) instigation in the mid-1960s. First adopted by the RNZN and then the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), consideration to issuing RNZASC Cooks Galley boots were first made in 1968.[16] With a non-skid pattern rubber sole and a continuous leather front to stop spilt boiling fat and other liquids from entering the boot, RNZASC user trials were conducted from 1970 with initial issues to all RNZASC cooks from 1972.[17]

By February 1974, New Zealand’s Forces in South Vietnam had been withdrawn, and the tripartite Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom (ANZUK) Force based in Singapore had been dissolved. The 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1RNZIR) and its supporting units remained in Singapore as the New Zealand army components of the New Zealand Force Southeast Asia (NZFORSEA). Logistic arrangements in place since 1955, which allowed New Zealand to rely on the British for tropical clothing and equipment, had progressively been wound down from the late 1960s as New Zealand developed and grew its line of tropical clothing. Although the development of a tropical patrol boot had been recommended to be developed to meet the specific conditions found in Southeast Asia, the transition of New Zealand Army units in Singapore to a peacetime garrison and peacetime funding restrictions saw the requirement for a New Zealand jungle boot placed on the back burner. The Boot Man GP was found to be sufficient for most training in the tropics. Although many individuals purchased surplus American, British or Malaysian jungle boots and some small-scale unit trials did occur, the development of a New Zealand jungle boot ceased.

In 1980 the New Zealand footwear manufacturer John Bull won the contract for the supply of combat boots to the New Zealand Military. Already a manufacturer with a high reputation and experienced in producing military footwear, John Bull’s manufacturing processes were enhanced through a significant equipment and modernisation program. The John Bull-manufactured Boot Man GP was a DMS boot that retained the same style of leather uppers as the previous boot. New Zealand also supplemented stocks of the John Bull Boot GP with the Australian pattern DMS Combat Boot manufactured in New Zealand by King Leo. Both patterns of Boot GP were progressively introduced into service from 1980, with stocks of the previous Boot GP wasted out by 1985.

The New Zealand Army finished the Second World War with pretty much the same boot that had been issued to soldiers in 1912. However, the lessons of the Second World War and developments in boot technology had not gone unnoticed. With the assistance of the New Zealand Leather and Shoe Association, footwear manufacturers and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, a New Zealand Combat boot was developed. Due to the limitations of the technology available to New Zealand’s footwear industry, New Zealand’s efforts would always be five to ten years behind those of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. However, a viable and cost-effective boot that met most of the training and operational requirements of the New Zealand army throughout the 1970s and 80s resulted from New Zealand’s limited resources. Although this article only provides an overview of New Zealand’s combat boot development, it provides a starting point for further research into this overlooked aspect of New Zealand’s military history.

Boot Man GP (DMS)
New Zealand-made Australian pattern Boot GP

Notes

[1] “General News – Army Boots,” Press, Volume XCVIII, Issue 28883, 1 May 1959.

[2] Although the United Kingdom accepted and introduced it into service in 1961, the UK DMS boot was rejected by New Zealand because, at this stage, it could not be made in New Zealand. “Many Changes in Gear for Modern N.Z. Soldier,” Press, Volume XCVIII, Issue 28958, 28 July 1959.

[3] “New Army Boots Now in Production,” Press, Volume C, Issue 29594, 17 August 1961.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Army 213/19/69 Footwear for the NZ Army Dated 7 August 1969. “Boots and Shoes – Development of Combat Boots,” Archives New Zealand No R17187902  (1963-1969).

[6] 213/19/55/Q(D) Purchase of High Boots for user trials 26 May 1964. Ibid.

[7] 213/19/69 7 May 1964. Ibid.

[8] “New Combat Clothes Being Tested,” Press, Volume CIV, Issue 30802, 14 July 1965.

[9] “Boots Trouble Aust. Troops,” Press, Volume CIV, Issue 30801, 13 July 1965.

[10] HQ NZ V Force 212/19/69 Footwear Trials 9 April 1968. “Boots and Shoes – Development of Combat Boots.”

[11] Army 213/19/69/SD Footwear Study Group 23 October 1968. Ibid.

[12] Army 213/19/69 Footwear for the NZ Army 14 July 1969.Ibid.

[13] Army 213/19/69 Footwear for the NZ Army 7 August 1969. Ibid.

[14] Army 213/19/69DQ(M) dated 3 December 1969. Ibid.

[15] HQ Home Command HC 8/6/1/ORD 1 Introduction of Boots Mans GP 26 April 1971. Ibid.

[16] Army 213/19/69 Footwear for the NZ Army 7 August 1969. Ibid.

[17] HQ Home Command HC 8/6/1/ST Boots Galley Cooks 11 May 1972. Ibid.


New Zealand Military Load Carrying Equipment, 1945 – 1975

Military Personal Load Carrying Equipment, often referred to in the New Zealand vernacular as “webbing”, is the assortment of belts, straps, pouches and other accessories which, when assembled, allows an individual soldier to easily and comfortably carry the tools of their trade, such as ammunition, rations and water to sustain them for short periods. Many period photos of New Zealand soldiers on operations and training from the Vietnam War era to the 1990s provide the impression of an army equipped with an eclectic range of Australian, British and American equipment. This view of New Zealand’s army’s equipment was partly correct. To see how this view was shaped this article provides an overview of the evolution of New Zealand’s military load-carrying equipment from 1945 to 1975.

Commander-in-chief, United States Army of the Pacific, General R.E Haines (right) watching weapon training at Waiouru. 2 May 1970 Evening Post

During World War Two, Operations in Malaya, Burma and the Pacific identified many shortfalls in the suitability of training, tactics and equipment, resulting in the Lethbridge Mission to the Far East during the late war. As a result of the report of the Lethbridge Mission, it was decided to modify the standard 37-pattern equipment to make it lighter in weight, rot-proof and more water-repellent and thus more suitable for use in tropical conditions. This development of the 37-pattern equipment led to the approval of a new pattern known as the 1944-pattern.[1] Post-war, further development of the 37 and 44-Pattern equipment led to troop trials of the Z2 experimental Load Carrying Equipment, which transitioned into the 1958-pattern equipment.[2]

Following World War Two, the Load Carrying Equipment in use by the New Zealand Army was the British 1937-pattern equipment. The 37-pattern equipment was introduced into New Zealand service in 1940, replacing the 1908-pattern equipment that had been in service since 1912. As 37-pattern equipment remained the standard web equipment of the New Zealand Army, the deployment of New Zealand troops to Malaya placed New Zealand in the position of deploying troops to a theatre with equipment that had long been identified as unsuitable. To maintain compatibility with other commonwealth forces in Malaya, 44-pattern equipment from British stocks in Malaya was issued to New Zealand troops in Malaya.

Example of 37-pattern equipment. Image: Simon Moore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwnMIdynO8Y

. Given the environment that New Zealand troops could be expected to operate in and aware of the developments in load-carrying equipment, the New Zealand Chief of General Staff (CGS) requested and received one set of M1956 Web equipment from the United States for trials in 1959.[3]  The American M1956 Load-Carrying Equipment (LCE) had been accepted for United States Army service, with distribution well underway by 1961.

In October 1960, the New Zealand Director of Infantry and Training demonstrated the following web equipment to CGS.

  • 44-pattern Equipment
  • 58-pattern Equipment
  • M1956-pattern Equipment

A report by a New Zealand Officer attached to the Australian Jungle Training Centre at Canungra supported this demonstration with a comprehensive report describing the research and development of Infantry clothing and equipment undertaken by the Australians. The New Zealand report described the Australian trials of the M1956 LCE alongside the 58-pattern equipment. The M1956 was chosen by the Australians, who intended to manufacture it in Australia.[4] However, it was considered unlikely that either the 1956 LCE or 58-pattern equipment would be available to New Zealand until at least 1965 when the initial distribution to the United States and British armies was expected to be completed. Aware that all 44-pattern equipment had been earmarked for use in Malaysia and that it was still in production, New Zealand’s CGS approved the purchase of 6000 sets of 44-pattern equipment to re-equip elements of the New Zealand Army.[5]

Example of 44 pattern equipment, British Corporal, Malaya, Early 1950s. Image Simon Moore https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=2346362332163840&set=a.421629590114595

Following advice from the UK, the 44-pattern equipment in use with the Fare East Land Forces (FARELF) was to be wasted out as the 58-pattern equipment was introduced, implying that the New Zealand Battalion would need to be equipped with the 58-pattern equipment before the ceasing of maintenance of the 44-pattern by FARELF. With this in mind, a recommendation was made to purchase 6000 sets of 58-pattern equipment instead of the 44-pattern equipment.[6]

Example of 58-pattern equipment. Image Simon Moore. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=2080097568790319&set=pcb.2080098398790236

In a June 1961 memorandum to Cabinet, the Minister of Defence highlighted that the current 37-pattern equipment used by the New Zealand Army was not designed for Jungle operations and was unsuitable for carrying the extra equipment the soldier engaged in this type of warfare required. No longer used by the British Army in any part of the world, the stage had been reached where the replacement of the 37-pattern should be delayed no longer. As the 58-pattern could not be made available to New Zealand for some time and field trials had cast doubt on its suitability for use in the Southeast Asia theatre, it was considered that re-equipping of the New Zealand Army should proceed with the 44-pattern equipment. The 44-pattern equipment had proved itself and was known to be suitable in the theatre where New Zealand troops were most likely to be employed. It was assumed that by the time the 44-pattern equipment needed replacement, the full facts on the suitability of the 58-pattern and the M1956 web equipment would be available to make a more informed decision on its adoption by New Zealand. It was recommended that Cabinet approve £45645 plus freight to purchase 6000 sets of 1944 Pattern equipment. [7]

By October 1961, it became clear that the 58-pattern was to be the standard issue web equipment for all United Kingdom forces worldwide and that distribution to the forces in Malaya was to happen much earlier date than earlier expected. Because of this, the Army secretary desired further investigations on the suitability of 58-pattern web equipment and, if favourable, confirm costs and potential delivery dates. With the requirement for web equipment again in flux, the submission to purchase 6000 sets of 44-pattern equipment was withdrawn pending further research.[8]

By May 1962, plans for reorganising the New Zealand Army from a Divisional to Brigade Structure were under implementation.[9]  With approximately 50000 complete sets of 37-pattern equipment distributed to units or held in stores, this was deemed suitable to equip the bulk of the Territorial Force and Training units. The 58-pattern equipment was now in serial production and was the standard issue for all United Kingdom troops, with distribution to operational units in Malaya and Germany underway. Information received earlier was that because of limited production, stocks of 58-pattern would not be available for release to New Zealand for some years had been revised. It was now possible that the release of 58-pattern equipment to meet New Zealand’s requirements could be achieved earlier than anticipated. Based on this revised information, New Zealand’s Cabinet approved funding of £58750 on 10 October 1961 for 6000 sets of 58-pattern Web Equipment. [10]

Before placing a firm order for New Zealand’s requirements of 58-pattern equipment, reports received from Malaya in late 1962 indicated that the 58-Pattern equipment was, in its present form, unsuitable for use in operational conditions in South-East Asia.[11] It was anticipated that modifying the 58-pattern equipment to suit the conditions would take two to three years, an unacceptable delay in procurement as far as New Zealand is concerned.[12]

As the decision on New Zealand’s web equipment remained in flux, the New Zealand Battalion in Malaysia continued to be equipped with the 44-pattern equipment maintained under a capitation agreement with the United Kingdom. At New Zealand’s expense, one hundred sets of 44-pattern equipment were also maintained at New Zealand Battalion Depot at Burnham Camp to support reinforcements.

M1956 Web Equipment

As the time factor involved in modifying the 58-pattern equipment was unacceptable, and New Zealand was receiving an increasing amount of American equipment, the decision was made to trial the American M1956 pattern web equipment. The M1956 equipment had already been introduced into the Australian army, so twenty sets were purchased from Australian stocks for New Zealand’s trials.[13]

Following user experience in Malaya revealing that the 58-pattern equipment was falling short of the requirements for jungle operations, a series of investigations and user trials established that the US M1956 pattern equipment was suitable for use by the New Zealand Army. The funding for 6000 sets of 58-pattern Web Equipment was requested to be reprioritised to purchase 10000 sets of M1956 equipment direct from the United States and 400 sets of 44-pattern equipment to equip the increment for the FARELF held in New Zealand.[14]

With funding endorsed by the Minster of Defence and approved by the Cabinet, orders were placed for 10000 sets of M1956 web equipment direct from the United States. The first consignment arrived in New Zealand in early 1964, with 289 sets immediately issued to the New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) and 16 Field Regiment, Royal New Zealand Artillery.

Instructions for distributing the M1956 web equipment were issued in June 1964 by the Quartermaster General. The initial purchase of 10000 sets of M1956 web equipment was to be issued to the Combat Brigade Group (CBG) and Logistic Support Group (LSG) units. Units of the Combat Reserve Brigade Group (CRBG) and Static Support Force (SSF) were to continue to use the 37-patten webbing.

 NMDCMDMOD (for CMD Trentham UnitsSMDMOD StockIssued SAS/ 16 Fd Regiment
CBG & LSG312230304012028310289
1st Reinforcement Reserve3162606198  
School of Infantry 40    
TOTAL343833304072226310289

As the issue of M1956 equipment progressed, units of the CBG and LSG were to hand back stocks of 37-pattern equipment to their supporting District Ordnance Depot except for

  • 08-pattern packs and straps
  • 37-pattern belt, waist web
  • Frogs bayonet No 5[15]

The 37 Pattern belt, waist web, was to be retained by all ranks as a personal issue authorised by NZP1 Scales 1, 5, 8 or 9. The belt and bayonet frog were to be worn with Nos 2A, 64, 6B, 7A and 7B orders of dress when other equipment items were not required to be worn.

Equipment Maintenance Policy Statement (EMPS) 138/67 issued by Army Headquarters on 20 November 1964 detailed that except for the CBG and LSG, 16000 sets of 37-pattern equipment were to be maintained for use by remaining elements of the New Zealand Army.[16]  EMPS 145/65 was issued on 12 February 1965, detailing the management of 44-pattern equipment in New Zealand. The First Battalion of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1RNZIR) in Malaysia was to remain equipped with the 44-pattern web equipment maintained by the UK under the existing capitation agreement. Other than 100 sets of 44 Pattern Web equipment maintained at the Battalion Depot in Burnham, there was no provision for equipping 1RNZIR Reinforcements and increments of 31 Medium Radio Sub Troop who could be expected to deploy to Malaysia at any time. EMPS 145/65 rectified this by establishing a stockholding of 400 sets of 44-pattern equipment at the Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Trentham

Approval was granted in November 1965 by Army HQ for the Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps (RNZAC) and NZSAS to blacken their M1956 web equipment. The Royal New Zealand Provost Corps (RNZ Pro) was also approved to whiten their M1956 web equipment. This approval only applied to unit holdings, not RNZAC, NZSAS or NZ Pro members attached or posted to other units.[17]

By April 1967, most of the New Zealand Army was equipped with the M1956 equipment. The exceptions were.

  • The New Zealand Forces in Malaysia and South Vietnam, who used both the M1956 and 44-pattern equipment
  • The SSF, National Service Training Unit (NTSU) and New Zeeland Cadet Corps (NZCC), who still retained the 37-pattern equipment

The manufacture of 37-pattern equipment had long been discontinued, and New Zealand stocks had reached the point where although having considerable holdings of individual items, based on the belts as the critical item, only 9500 sets of 37-pattern equipment could be assembled.

Based on the projected five-year supply to the NTSU, Army Schools, Camps and the NZCC plus 10% maintenance per annum, there was a requirement for 12000 sets of 37-pattern equipment. Arranging production to meet the shortfalls was deemed cost-prohibitive, and as continued maintenance could not be guaranteed, it was decided that additional sets of M1956 equipment were to be purchased. The additional sets were to be purchased on a phased program over several financial years, with 5000 sets of 37-pattern retained for the NZCC.

Disposal of the 37-pattern was to be phased over three years.

  • 1967 all items surplus to 9500 sets
  • 1968 3000 Complete sets
  • 1969 all remaining 37 Pattern equipment less 5000 sets for the NZCC.[18]

M1967 Modernized Load-Carrying Equipment (MLCE)

In 1967 the New Zealand Army trialled three sets of the M1967 Modernized Load-Carrying Equipment (MLCE). Not specifically designed to replace the M1956 equipment, the M1967 equipment was designed for use in tropical environments and was introduced into the United States Army service in 1968.

The New Zealand trials found that the M1967 equipment was comfortable and weight-wise was similar to other web equipment in use. The pack worn on the belt was found to be heavy when fully loaded, and a pack similar in size to the 44 Pattern should be introduced, and the belt pack reduced in size by one-third.

It was identified that all the pouches required stiffening and that the plastic fasteners were not firmly attached to the pouches, although easy to operate. While using Velcro was found simple to operate, it was seen as a disadvantage due to noise and its inclination to pull apart when wet or under stress.[19]

As the M1956 was still being introduced, no further action was taken towards large-scale procurement of the M1967 equipment. However, many elements of the M1967 equipment were included in the design of the M1972 All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE), which was introduced into New Zealand Army service in the 1980s.

Example of M-1967 MLCE. Image Simon Moore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pwj59bifFMk

Although the 44-pattern web equipment continued to be used by New Zealand units in Southeast Asia, by October 1967, the decision had been made to standardise the M1956 equipment across the New Zealand Army, and no stocks of the 44-pattern equipment were to be retained in New Zealand.   All stocks of 44-pattern web equipment held by the MOD in Trentham for 1RNZIR Reinforcements and increments of 31 Medium Radio Sub Troop were issued to 1 RNZIR based at Terendak camp in Malaysia. As this stock held by 1RNZIR was wasted out, it would be replaced by M1956 web equipment. [20]

Large Ammunition Pouches

The Australian experience had shown that although the L1A1 Self Loading Rifle (SLR) Magazines fitted inside the M1956 ammunition pouch, it was a tight fit, especially when the webbing was wet. The initial solution was to modify 37-pattern pouches and fit them to the M1956 equipment. By 1967 the Australians had developed an indigenous ammunition pouch for the M1956 equipment., The Australian Ammunition Pouch Large (8465-66-026-1864) was manufactured out of cotton duck material and measured 81/4 Inches high by 4 inches wide and 3 inches deep.

Australian Pouch Ammunition Large

To ascertain the suitability of the Australian large ammunition pouch for New Zealand service, fifty Australian pouches were sourced as a standardisation loan in 1968.[21] Feedback for the troop trials identified a lack of stability in the closure of the lid, causing the loss of ammunition and magazines. Following an investigation by the R&D Section, the RNZAOC Textile Repair Sections (TRS) modified the Australian pouches by replacing the lid fasteners with the same fasteners found on the standard American M1956 pouch and stiffing the fastener tabs. The modifications proved satisfactory in further Army Trials, and a new specification (DRDS-ICE-1) was produced with four Standard Samples provided to 1 Base Ordnance Depot (1 BOD).[22]  The modified New Zealand Pouch was codified in the New Zealand supply system as Pouch Ammunition Large (6746-98-103-4039).[23]

Detail of New Zealand Large Ammunition Pouch riveted lid fasteners

Although the R&D Section had ascertained that the manufacture of the pouches was possible in New Zealand using imported components, the initial production run of 20000 pouches was contracted through the Australian Department of Supply to be included in the current Australian production run.[24]  By 1974 the first production run of 20000 had been completed and returned to 1 BOD for distribution, with 2/1 RNZIR in Burnham one of the first units to receive the new pouches. In May 1974, 2/1 RNZIR submitted defect reports stating that the pouches were poorly designed, with the canvas tongue used to secure the lid failing, pouches becoming insecure, and magazines dropping out.[25]

The investigation by the Directorate of Equipment Policy and the R&D Section found that the faults were not a design problem but a quality assurance issue in that the pouches had not been manufactured following the specification.[26]   Comparing the Australian-manufactured pouches against the specification, the R&D Section identified the following visually detected defects.

  1. Canvas used to manufacture strap-holding assembly instead of webbing.
  2. Clip end strap is wrongly sized.
  3. Release tab is of incorrect thickness.
  4. Polypropylene stiffener not inserted in release tab.
  5. The male fastener is not secured to the PVC stiffener.
  6. The reinforcement piece behind the male fastener is not included (between the PVC stiffener and lining).
  7. Additional smaller reinforcement piece inserted between the outer cover and the male fastener.
  8. Broad arrow marked on the outer cover and not specified.

Of these defects, only serials 3 to 7 were directly considered to contribute to the deficiencies and the initial concerns raised by 2/1RNZIR and would require rectification, and a modification instruction was produced.[27]  Modification of the pouches would take until September 1977 to be completed.[28]

Due to the Broad Arrow Mark included on the first batch of 20000 New Zealand Large Ammunition Pouches, these items are often misidentified as Australian pouches by collectors.

White Web

By 1973, 37-pattern belts, rifle slings and bayonet frogs remained in use as ceremonial items. Whitened using proprietary shoe cleaner and paint, these items were badly worn with the whitener flaking easily and were easily marked by weather, fingerprints and the rubbing of other equipment. The M1956 pattern web belt was not considered suitable as a replacement as it was operational equipment requiring the breaking up of complete web sets to provide items for ceremonial events. Following the British lead, a polythene, four-ply woven fabric of similar appearance and texture to the 37-pattern equipment was approved for use by the Army Dress committee in October 1973 as a replacement for the whitened 37-pattern equipment. With the sling and bayonet frog designed for the SLR, these would be purchased with either chromed or brass fittings. The material for the belts was provided on rolls which could be cut to the required size. Buckles and keepers were 37-pattern buckles and keepers drawn from existing stocks that had been chromed and polished.[29]

Combat Pack

By 1974, one of the few pre-1945 items of load-carrying equipment remaining in New Zealand service was the 08-pattern pack. Long identified as an unsuitable item, several trials had been conducted since the mid-1960s to find a replacement combat pack. Although a few alternative items had been investigated as a replacement, the 08-pattern pack remained the principal combat pack of the New Zealand Army.

In 1969/70, the requirement for 15000 combat packs to replace the 08-pattern pack was identified. Following evaluation by the equipment sponsor, the Australian Army Combat Pack was selected as a basis for developing a New Zealand combat pack. The Australian pack was chosen from a wide range of military and civilian packs, with the design modified to meet the particular training requirements of New Zealand. The modifications to the Australian pack were limited to comply with the following:

  • The pack must be compatible with Australian Army equipment.
  • The pack must be compatible with M1956 equipment currently in New Zealand service.

Against the advice of the R&D section, the Australian pack was modified by the New Zealand Army without a proper study being conducted.[30] The decision to bypass the R&D process resulted in a prototype process that extended from 1972 to 1974.[31] By June 1974, trials on the prototypes resulted in the setting of a standard design for a production run of one hundred packs for further trials.[32]

The New Zealand version of the Australian combat pack was eventually accepted into service in 1975/76. Never a satisfactory pack, the R&D section began investigations to find a replacement in the early 1980s, with the American ALICE pack introduced as an interim replacement in 1984.[33]

New Zealand modified Combat pack

Conclusion

Entering the Second World War with web equipment of the same pattern used since 1912, New Zealand’s Force soon began to be re-equipped with the most modern British web equipment, the 37-pattern from early 1940. Near the end of the war, New Zealand was kept abreast of the development of web equipment, and when New Zealand troops arrived in Malaya in the early 1950s, they were issued with the most modern type available for jungle warfare, the 44-pattern. As the New Zealand Army reorientated from providing a Division to serve in the Middle East to providing a Brigade Group to serve in South East Asia, it could not wait for the British to develop their new 58-pattern for tropical conditions and examine other types. Following Australia’s lead, the American M1959 equipment was adopted in 1964, with components of this type serving thought to the early 2000s. With five different types of web equipment either adopted or trialled between 1945 and 1974, it is no surprise that components got intermingled. This led to Kiwi soldiers’ preferences and experiences leading them to create webbing sets that they found practicable rather than options prescribed in SOPs or instruction books leading to the outside impression of the New Zealand army been one equipped with an eclectic range of Australian, British and American equipment.


Notes

[1] 86/Development/47 (SWV1) Report on the Development of Personnel Fighting and Load Carrying equipment 1942-48 February 1949. “Cookers – Web Equipment: New Pattern,” Archives New Zealand No R17189098 (1944 -1966).

[2] 86/Dev/54 (SVW1) Instruction for troop trials of Z2 Experimental Load Carrying Equipment ibid.

[3] New Zealand Joint Services Mission Washington DC JSM 1/3/13 ARM US Army Load Carrying Equipment (Web) dated 23 September 1959ibid.

[4] Attachment to JTC – Canungra dated 21 October 1960 “Stores – New Infantry Equipment for New Zealand Army,” Archives New Zealand No R17189007 (1959-1970).

[5] Army 246/60/12/SD Web Equipment dated 20 December 1960 “Cookers – Web Equipment: New Pattern.”

[6] Army 246/60/12/SD Web Equipment dated 20 December 1960ibid.

[7] Memorandum Minister of Defence to Cabinet dated June 1961ibid.

[8] 246/60/12/adm Army Secretary to Minister of Defence 2 October 1961ibid.

[9] 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), 111-20.

[10] Army 246/60/12/Q(E) Brigade Group Equipment Replacement Web Equipment dated 8 May 1962 “Cookers – Web Equipment: New Pattern.” -pattern equipment

[11] BM 2 to FE16002SD General HQ FELF to The War Office (Brig Q Eqpt) 1958 Pattern Web Equipment dated 4 October 1962: ibid.

[12] 57/62 NZ Army Liaison Staff, London to Army HQ dated 17 October 1962 ibid.

[13] Army 246/60/12Q(E) Sample US Pattern Web Equipment dated 12 December 1962 ibid.

[14] 246/60/12/SD Web Equipment for the Field Force dated 18 October 1963 ibid.

[15] Army Reqn 208/63/Q(E) dated 9 June 1964 -Distribution of M1956 Web Equipment “Cookers – Web Equipment: Pattern ’37,” Archives New Zealand No R17189095 (1940-1971).

[16] EMPS 138/64 of 20 Nov 1964 ibid.

[17] Army HQ Army246/60/12/PS3 of 19 Nov 1965 ibid.

[18] Defence (Army) 246/60/2 of 26 April 1967 ibid.

[19] 1 Ranger Squadron NZSAS, Trial Report US Lightweight Equipment dated 21 March 1968″Cookers – Web Equipment: New Pattern,” Archives New Zealand No R17189099 (1966 -1969).

[20] Army 246/60/12/Q(E) EMPS 145/65 Frist Revise dated 5 October 1967 ibid.

[21] “Cookers  – Web Equipment: Slings, Bandoliers, Ammunition Pouches: Development,” Archives New Zealand No R17189101 (1968-1970).

[22] Def HQ/R&D Section 82/1974 dated 28 Jun 1974.”Equipment Administration: Research & Development – Projects Personal Load Carrying Equipment: Ammunition Pouches,” Archives New Zealand No R17231111 (1972-1977).

[23] 246/60/2 of 122055ZNOV70 NZDWN to 1BOD Trentham “Cookers – Web Equipment: Pattern ’37.”

[24] Army 246/60/70 dated 9 December 1971. “Equipment Administration: Research & Development – Projects Personal Load Carrying Equipment: Ammunition Pouches.”

[25] FF 65/38/18/SD Modification of Ammunition Pouch item 10 May 1974. “Cookers – Web Equipment: New Pattern.”

[26] Army 246/60/17/EP. “Equipment Administration: Research & Development – Projects Personal Load Carrying Equipment: Ammunition Pouches.”

[27] R&D Section Minute no 160/1975 dated 21 November 1975. “Cookers – Web Equipment: New Pattern.”

[28] Army 246/60/17/SP 22 Pouches Ammunition 22 September 1977. “Cookers – Web Equipment: New Pattern.”

[29] “Army Dress Committee Decision – White Web,” Archives New Zealand No R17188112 (1973).

[30]  R&D Section 67/1974 Packs Combat date 13 June 1974. “Equipment Administration: Research & Development – Projects Personal Load Carrying Equipment: Waterproof Pack,” Archives New Zealand No R17231110 (1972-1974).

[31] Army 246/60/12/EP Sponsor Enquiry Field Pack Olive Green 2 July 1972. Ibid.

[32] Army 246/60/12/ EP Minutes of the final meeting on the acceptance of the Combat Pack held at Army General Staff on 8 June 1973. “Conferences – Policy and General – NZ Army Dress Committee 1984,” Archives New Zealand No R17311893 (1984).

[33] Inf 26.3 Minutes of a meeting to consider Project Foxhound developments held at Army General Staff 8 June 1984. Ibid.


Puggarees of New Zealand’s Logistic Corps

From 1912 to 1958, the sight of New Zealand Soldiers in felt slouch hats was commonplace. In addition to providing a practical form of headdress, the use of a coloured headband known as a Puggaree allowed easy identification of the Regiment or Corps of the wearer.

Origins

The Puggaree origins lay in the Hindu word, ‘Pagri,’ which is used to describe a wide range of traditional headwear worn by men and women throughout the Indian Sub-Continent, one of the most recognisable being the Dustaar or Sikh turban.

Soldiers, by their nature, are creatures of innovation and British troops serving India soon found that by wrapping a thin scarf of muslin around their headdress, not only could additional protection from sword blows be provided, but the thin cloth scarf could also be unravelled to provide insulation from the heat of the sun. Like many Indian words, “Pagri” became anglicised into Puggaree.

By the 1870s, the practical use of the Puggaree had become secondary, and the Puggaree evolved into a decorative item on British Army headdress, which, when used with a combination of colours, could be used to distinguish regiments and corps. First used by New Zealanders in the South African war, the use of Puggaree on slouch hats was formalised in the New Zealand Army 1912 Dress Regulations. These regulations detailed the colours of the distinctive Puggaree used to indicate different service branches. Although not stated in the 1912 regulations, the design of New Zealand puggarees was based on three pleats of Khaki/Branch colour/Khaki. The exception was the Artillery puggaree. The puggaree colours detailed in the 1912 regulations were

  • Mounted Rifles – Khaki/Green/Khaki)
  • Artillery –Blue/Red/Blue
  • Infantry – Khaki/Red/Khaki
  • Engineers – Khaki/Blue/Khaki
  • Army Service Corps – Khaki/White/Khaki
  • Medical corps –Khaki/Dull-Cheery /Khaki
  • Veterinary Corps – Khaki/Maroon/Khaki[1]

When first New Zealand troops went overseas in 1914, the NZ Slouch hat was a headdress that had been first used in the South Africa War and had a crease running down the crown from front to rear. From 1914 the Wellington Battalion wore their hats with the crown peaked, and after a short period where cork helmets were also worn, General Godley issued a directive that all troops, other than the Mounted Rifles, would wear the slouch hat with the crown peaked, in what became known as the “Lemon Squeezer”.[2]

Worn with both the Mounted Rifles Slouch hat and the Lemon Squeezer, the Puggaree became a distinctive mark of the New Zealand soldier, identifying them as distinct from soldiers from other parts of the Empire, although Australian and Canada would both use coloured Puggaree on their respective headdress, it was not to the same extent as New Zealand.[3] From 1917 the New Zealand puggaree also proved helpful in distinguishing New Zealand troops from the Americans, who wore headwear similar to the New Zealand Lemon Squeezer hat.[4]

Following the First World War, Dress regulations published in 1923 detailed an increased range of puggarees available to identify the other corps added to the army establishment during the war.

  • Permanent Staff – Scarlet
  • Mounted Rifles – Khaki/Green/Khaki)
  • Artillery –Blue/Red/Blue
  • Engineers – Khaki/Blue/Khaki
  • Signal Corps – Khaki/Light blue/Khaki
  • Infantry – Khaki/Red/Khaki
  • Army Service Corps – Khaki/White/Khaki
  • Medical Corps –Khaki/Dull-Cheery /Khaki
  • Veterinary Corps – Khaki/Maroon/Khaki
  • Ordnance Corps – Red/Blue/Red
  • Pay Corps – Khaki/Yellow/Khaki
  • Cadets – Khaki
  • Chaplains – Black/khaki/Black[5]

A common feature of military dress embellishments was that often there was a high-quality version made for officers and a lesser quality version for the Rank and file, with puggarees also adhering to this practice. Requestions for puggarees from 1943 indicate that the following corps and regiments utilised officer puggarees.

  • Artillery
  • Engineers
  • Infantry
  • Army Service Corps
  • Medical Corps
Example of Infantry Officers Puggaree (Top) and Infantry Rank and File Puggaree (Bottom)

The felt slouch hat and Puggaree would remain a fixture of the New Zealand Army until 1958, when the Lemon Squeezer was withdrawn from services and replaced with a new and unpopular Battle Dress cap. The lemon squeezer style felt hat returned serviced in 1977 as a ceremonial item with a plain red puggaree. The Mounted Rifles style slouch hat returned to service with Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles (QAMR) in 1993 with the traditional Mounted Rifles khaki/green/khaki puggaree.

The Mounted Rifles hat with the Mounted Rifles khaki/green/khaki puggaree was adopted as headwear across the New Zealand Army from 1998 to 2012. However, corps puggarees were not reintroduced, becoming the standard army puggaree, with some units utilising coloured patches affixed to the Puggaree as unit identifiers.

In the forty-six years from 1912 to 1958 that puggarees were utilised as a uniform item, each corps adopted different coloured combinations. However, this article focuses on the use and history of Puggarees by New Zealand’s Logistic Corps,

•             The Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps

•             The Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps,

•             The Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and

•             The Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment.

Puggarees of the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps

The origins of the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps (RNZASC) puggarees are established in the Regulations of 1912. The RNZASC wore the Khaki/White/Khaki puggarees through the First World War and into the interbellum period.

New Zealand Army Service Corps Puggaree. Robert McKie collection

On 1 June 1924, the NZASC was split into the New Zealand Permanent Army Service Corps, consisting of the Regular ASC NCOs and soldiers, and the NZASC consisting of the Territorial Officers, NCOs and Soldiers.[6] The only uniform difference between the NZPASC and NZASC were their respective brass shoulder titles, with both branches retaining the Khaki/White/Khaki Puggaree

During the Second World War, the NZASC Khaki/White/Khaki remained in use throughout the war

In late 1942, 2NZEF placed a requisition on New Zealand to manufacture 50,000 Officer and Rank and File hat bands (puggarees) for all the different units of the NZEF. As the 3rd Division was in the process of standing up in New Zealand, the Ministry of Supply increased the requestion to 60,100, including

  • 10,000 NZASC Rank and File puggarees, and
  • 1000 NZASC Officer puggarees. [7]
NZASC Puggaree Size Ranges ordered 1943

In early 1944 the decision was made by 2NZEF to replace the lemon squeezer hat with more practical forms of dress, and the requirement for puggarees was adjusted. Considering puggarees already manufactured and the requirement for puggarees by forces in New Zealand and the Pacific, 14590 puggarees from the original order of 61,100 were cancelled.[8] 760 Rank and files NZASC puggarees had already been manufactured, so based on revised calculations, the NZASC order was reduced to 6000 Rank and file and 300 Officer puggarees. [9]

The NZPASC and NZASC were reconstituted on 12 January 1947 and a combined regular and Territorial NZASC, retaining the use of the Khaki/White/Khaki puggaree.[10]

The NZASC was granted royal status on 12 July 1947, becoming the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps.[11]

Puggarees of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps

The New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) was formed as a unit of the NZEF in early 1915 and established as a unit of the New Zealand Permanent Forces in 1917. It is assumed that as a new unit, a distinctive puggaree was adopted for the NZAOC, but the limited photographs of NZAOC personnel are black and white, making identification of colours difficult.

A Newspaper article from December 1918 does provide evidence that an Ordnance puggaree of red/blue/red existed. The article published in the Press on 5 December 1918 stated, “There are only two units in the New Zealand Division with red in the puggaree. They are the Artillery and Ordnance, and in both units, the colours are red and blue”. This sentence identifies that the Ordnance Puggaree was red and blue.[12]

Ordnance Puggaree, RNZAOC 1947-53 Badge. Robert McKie collection

The NZAOC red/blue/red Puggaree was formalised as the Puggaree of the NZAOC in 1923 when the New Zealand Army updated its Dress Regulations for the first time since 1912.[13]

By October 1939, the expansion of the NZAOC and formation of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC) for service with the 2nd NZEF created a requirement for NZAOC puggarees that could not be satisfied from stocks held by the Main Ordnance Depot. An urgent order was raised for 288 NZAOC puggarees

As part of the 2NZEF requestion of 1942, orders to manufacture 2200 NZAOC puggarees were raised.

NZAOC Puggaree Size Ranges ordered 1943

By 1944, 270 NZAOC puggarees had been manufactured and delivered, and despite the order quantities for other corps being reduced, some adjustment was made to the size range required, and the remaining 1930 NZAOC puggarees were manufactured.   

Puggarees of the Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

The youngest of the three New Zealand logistic corps, the Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RNZEME), progressively evolved into a corps from 1942 in three stages.

  • The New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME) formed as a unit of the 2nd NZEF in November 1942.[14]
  • The formation of the NZEME as a new unit of New Zealand’s Permanent Forces on 1 September 1946, amalgamating and co-ordinating ordnance workshops, mechanical transport workshops, and armourers’ workshops, which in the past have been under separate command.[15]
  • The granting of “Royal” status on 12 July 1947.[16]

As the RNZEME established itself as a Corps, it utilised three types of Puggaree.

Red/Blue/Red Puggaree

As a corps predominantly drawn from the NZAOC, on its establishment in 1946, the NZEME adopted the existing NZAOC Red/Blue/Red Puggaree and NZOC badge. This was a temporary measure until NZEME Puggaree and badges were manufactured.[17]

NZ Ordnance Puggaree with NZOC Badge

Red/Green/Red Puggaree

By 1948 a distinctive Red/Green/Red puggaree with its origins in the NZEME of 2NZEF had replaced the NZAOC Puggaree.

NZEME pattern Puggaree. Robert.McKie Collection

As part of the 2NZEF requestion of 1942, orders were raised for 3000 puggarees for the NZEME.[18]

NZAOC Puggaree Size Ranges ordered 1943

As the NZEME puggaree was a new pattern, its design was described

  • Shades of red material as per Kaiapoi pattern range 7443x (as used in Artillery and Infantry bands).
  • Shades of green material as per Kaiapoi pattern range 18153B 9 (as used in NZMR bands).

The NZEME puggarees were not included in the reduction and cancellation of the 1943 order, and it can be assumed that the complete order of 3000 was manufactured and placed into storage at the Main Ordnance Depot. [19]  A 1945 report places the cost of a dozen NZEME puggarees at £1.3.0 (2022 NZD $107.07).[20]

Blue/Yellow/ Red Puggaree

By 1948 the RNZEME decided to update their Puggaree with one that reflected their corps colours of blue, yellow and red, with an order for 4000 placed on the Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company. With competing manufacturing demands, the Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company could not satisfy this order but could provide the required materials. In June 1949, the War Asset Realisation Board District Officer in Auckland selected a Mrs V.I Banton of 117 Lynwood Road, New Lynn, to manufacture the RNZEME puggarees. At the cost of 1/6 each (2022 NZD $6.65). [21]

RNZEME Puggaree. Robert McKie collection

With the initial order for 4000 paced in June 1949, it was not until January 1950 that Mrs Banton provided suitable samples that met the required specifications to allow her to begin production, with the first batch of 704 provided in April 1950.

With the new RNZEME puggaree becoming available, the question of how to dispose of the 1800 red/green/red pattern NZEME puggarees in the Ordnance clothing stores was raised.

It would not be a case of a new pattern in, old pattern out, but one where the old pattern was to be progressively wasted out as stocks of the new pattern became available. The priority was to be RNZEME Territorials Force units first, then distributed to RNZEME Regular Forces units.[22] Photographic evidence suggests that the transition from the NZEME puggaree to the RNZEME Puggaree had been completed by 1951.

Farewell to the Puggaree

A 1947 survey of New Zealand Soldiers found that the Lemon Squeezer was the most popular form of headdress utilised by the New Zealand Army.[23] However, it was not the most suitable type of headdress, and for many of the same reasons 2NZEF discontinued its use during the war, the army began to look for a replacement.

In 1954 the Cap Battledress (Cap BD), commonly referred to as the Ski Cap, was introduced into service. The Cap BD progressively replaced the Lemon squeezer so that by 1960 except for its use by the New Zealand Artillery Band, the Lemon squeezer ceased to be an official uniform item of the New Zealand Army.[24]

NZ Army Cap Battledress (Cap BD), introduced in 1954, was withdrawn from service in 1964. Robert Mckie Collection

With several thousand unused puggarees sitting in Ordnance Depots as now dead stock, unlikely to ever be issued, Army HQ issued instructions that except for  150 RNZA Puggarees of a balanced size range, all other stocks were to be destroyed.[25]  By August 1961, all stocks of puggarees had been destroyed.[26]

The Lemon Squeezer was reintroduced as a ceremonial headdress in 1977, utilising the red Puggaree utilised by the Staff Corps, Permanent Staff and 1953 Coronation Contingent.

Puggaree of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment

The Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR) was established in 1996 by amalgamating the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport, RNZAOC and RNZEME while also absorbing all the All Arms Quartermaster Storekeepers from every corps of the New Zealand Army. A diverse regiment of officers and soldiers from across the army, a means to shape the regiment’s heritage and acknowledge the importance of its and predecessors’ role, was required. An opportunity to coalesce the RNZALR was provided in 1998.

In 1998, the RNZALR was presented with a banner providing a regimental focal point. Several unique dress items, including a puggaree, were introduced to provide the RNZALR Banner escort party with distinctive RNZALR dress embellishments. Missing the opportunity to adopt a new puggaree that reflected the role that the RNZALR’s predecessors had performed with courage and resilience in the past, the leadership of the RNZALR took the cautious and lazy option of adopting a Puggaree with no connection to the legacy corps. The Puggaree adopted was a  blue puggaree, last been utilised by the NZ Provosts in the First World War.

Also, in 1998 the New Zealand Army reintroduced the Mounted Rifles Felt hat as an item of headdress across the army. Already in service with QAMR since 1993, the Mounted Rifles hat retained the Mounted Rifles Khaki/Green/Khaki puggaree. The reintroduction of the Mounted Rifles hat could also be considered a missed opportunity by the leadership of the RNZALR for not advocating the adoption of a unique RNZALR puggaree to be worn by RNZALR units. A compromise was provided through the adoption of a unit flashed affixed to the left side of the Puggaree. While retained by QAMR, the Mounted Rifles hat was withdrawn from general army use in 2012.

In conclusion, the demise of the coloured Puggaree in 1958 removed a valuable means of identifying soldiers and their units. It was an embellishment that by 1970 was missed, and to fill the gap, some corps lobbied for the introduction of corps lanyards while others introduced regimental stable belts. The opportunity was open to reintroducing regimental Puggarees between 1998 and 2022. However, this was missed. Today Puggarres are a reminder of a time of more colourful uniform embellishments and a curiosity for collectors of militaria.


Notes

[1] New Zealand Military Forces Dress Regulations, ed. New Zealand Military Forces (Wellington, 1912). https://rnzaoc.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/1923-nz-army-dress-regs.pdf; “Formation of New Unit and Corps, Constitution of Generals’ List and Colonels’ List, Amalgamation, Redesignation, and· Disbanding of Corps, New Zealand Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette No 2, 11 January 1947, http://www.nzlii.org/nz/other/nz_gazette/1947/2.pdf.

[2] D. A. Corbett, The regimental badges of New Zealand: an illustrated history of the badges and insignia worn by the New Zealand Army (Auckland, NZ: Ray Richards, 1980 Revised enl. edition, 1980), Non-fiction, 47-48.

[3] “Local And General,” Dominion, Volume 9, Issue 2610,, 4 November 1915, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/DOM19151104.2.38.

[4] “Visit to Paris,” North Otago Times, Volume CV, Issue 14001, 11 December 1917, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NOT19171211.2.58.

[5] New Zealand Military Forces Dress Regulations, ed. New Zealand Military Forces (Wellington, 1923). https://rnzaoc.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/1923-nz-army-dress-regs.pdf.

[6] “Formation of New Zealand Permanent Army Service Corps.,” New Zealand Gazette No 46, July 3 1924, http://www.nzlii.org/nz/other/nz_gazette/1924/46.pdf.

[7] Main Ordnance Depot O.S.56/40/1/2499 Dated 28 June 1943. “Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision,” Archives New Zealand No R17187892  (1939).

[8] Chief Ordnance Officer 56/40/1/439 Dated 14 April 1944 “Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision.”

[9] Chief Ordnance Officer 56/40/1/439 Dated 14 April 1944 “Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision.”

[10] “Formation of New Unit and Corps, Constitution of Generals’ List and Colonels’ List, Amalgamation, Redesignation, and· Disbanding of Corps, New Zealand Military Forces.”

[11] “Designation of Corps of New Zealand Military Forces altered and Title ” Royal ” added,” New Zealand Gazette No 39, 17 July 1947, http://www.nzlii.org/nz/other/nz_gazette/1947/39.pdf.

[12] “Soldiers and Dress – Ordnance Pugaree,” Press, Volume LIV, Issue 16387 (Christchurch), 5 December 1918, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP19181205.2.6.1.

[13] New Zealand Military Forces Dress Regulations.

[14] Peter Cooke, Warrior Craftsmen, RNZEME 1942-1996 (Wellington: Defense of New Zealand Study Group, 2017).

[15];”Formation of Unit of the New Zealand Permanent Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 60, 29 August 1946, 1199, http://www.nzlii.org/nz/other/nz_gazette/1946/60.pdf.

[16] “Designation of Corps of New Zealand Military Forces altered and Title ” Royal ” added.”

[17] “New Unit of Permanent Forces,” Press, Volume LXXXII, Issue 24979 (Christchurch), 13 September 1946, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP19460913.2.16.

[18] Main Ordnance Depot O.S.56/40/1/2499 Dated 28 June 1943. “Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision.”

[19] Chief Ordnance Officer 56/40/1/439 Dated 14 April 1944 “Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision.”

[20] Ministry of Supply 10/59/367 dated 13 September 1945 “Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision.”

[21] War Asset Realisation Board SCB.Q900 Dated 14 June 1949.”Clothing: Puggarees and Hat Bands RNZEME,” Archives New Zealand No R22496567  (1950).

[22] MOD 14/1/19 dated 22 Apr 1950.”Clothing: Puggarees and Hat Bands RNZEME.”

[23] “Lemon squeezer Most Popular NZ Army Hat,” Northern Advocate,, 22 December 1947, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NA19471222.2.17.

[24] Malcolm Thomas and Cliff Lord, New Zealand Army distinguishing patches, 1911-1991 (Wellington, N.Z. : M. Thomas and C. Lord, 1995, 1995), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 128-29.

[25] Army 213/15/1/OS3, dated 1 April 1961.”Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision.”

[26] SMD 5/20/1/ORD 13 July 1961, “Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision.”


RNZAOC Lanyard

New Zealand’s military usage of lanyards has been practical, with lanyards used for securing pistols, compasses and whistles to a person. Aside from the practical use of lanyards, there are also examples where lanyards have been adopted as a coloured uniform accoutrement by some New Zealand Regiments and Corps, some examples being:

  • The Regular Force Cadets’ red lanyard
  • The New Zealand Provost and Military Police white lanyard
  • The Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport blue and gold lanyard

Almost included in this short list of New Zealand Army regimental lanyards was the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (RNZAOC), which applied for permission to adopt a regimental lanyard in the 1960s.

The word lanyard originates from the French word ‘lanière’, which means ‘strap’, with accounts from the late 15th century French describing how soldiers and privateers utilised ropes and cords found on ships to keep their swords, cutlasses and pistols close at hand whilst working in ships’ rigging and during combat.

As with any functional military kit, lanyards evolved, with French Cuirassiers using a braided lanyard to hold their swords in place, with adoption by most militaries following. In British use, lanyards became common, used to attach pistols to uniforms, and Gunners used them to fire artillery. In widespread use for practical purposes, the adoption of lanyards as a decorative uniform item soon followed, with coloured lanyards denoting regiments and corps and gold lanyards used to identify senior officers.

In 1941 the British Army introduced coloured ‘Arms of Service’ (AoS) strips to be worn on both arms of the Battle Dress uniform with the primary colour facing forward. The Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC), AoS strip was initially a Dark Blue AoS strip which was hard to see, and in early 1943 it was changed to a Red/Blue/Red strip, which remained in use for the rest of the war. The RAOC adopted the AoS colours for the RAOC lanyard, which was approved for wear by all ranks on 2 June 1950.[1]  In 1960 the RAOC Lanyard was formalised for use with the 1960 Pattern No2 Dress, and within a short time, the RNZAOC applied for a similar dress distinction.

On 24 July 1962, the Colonel Commandant of the RNZAOC, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Reid, submitted a proposal to the New Zealand Army Dress Committee to adopt a unique dress embellishment for specific Regular Force RNZAOC personnel. The submission reads:

1.         R&SO Vol II paras 3359 refers

2.         I wish to refer the following proposal submitted by 4 Inf Bde Gp OFP, for consideration for the adoption of a special embellishment to the dress for specific Regular Force RNZAOC personnel.

3.        The proposal is that personnel posted to field force units, ie, 4 Inf Bde Gp OFP and 4 Inf Wksps Stores Sec be permitted to wear a lanyard on the left shoulder, with all orders of dress other than numbers 1, 4 and 5.

4.          The proposed lanyard has three cords, twisted, two scarlet and one blue, with a loop at each end. A suggested sample is enclosed.

5.         The reasons for this proposal are as follows:-

  1. 4 Inf Bde Gp OFP and 4 Inf Wksps Stores Sec are new RNZAOC RF units, in fact, it is the first time these types of units have been formed within the Regular Force in the NZ Army. The personnel have been drawn from the older District Ordnance Depots and many of them continue to think in District terms. It is considered that an embellishment such as the lanyard, would create a high unit feeling and help to raise and maintain high morale in these RNZAOC units within the field force.
  • It is anticipated that the employment of personnel in these units will occasionally be by assisting RNZAOC static depots. Under these circumstances the embellishment would maintain a unit feeling when the personnel are mixed with other RNZAOC units.
  • During Bde Gp concentrations, when summer dress is worn and thus corps shoulder titles are not worn, the lanyard would further foster unit spirit within the formation.

6.          The purchase of these lanyards, if approved, would be undertaken entirely from Unit resources, with Public Funds not being involved in any way.

7.         I strongly recommend this proposal and forward it for your favourable consideration.[1]


[1] RNZAOC Colonel Commandant, “Request to adopt special embellishment to dress,” Archives New Zealand No R17187826  (24 July 1962).

Replying to the RNZAOC Colonel Commandant on 10 October 1962, the Army Dress committed agreed to the desirability of having a unique dress embellishment to identify Regular Force Field Force Personnel. However, as a universal shoulder patch for all Field Force personnel was under consideration by the Army Clothing Development Section, approval was not granted for an RNZAOC-specific lanyard. However, the proviso was set that if shoulder patches were rejected as a dress embellishment, further consideration of lanyards was possible, and the Dress Committee welcomed the re-submission of the proposal for an RNZAOC lanyard. The Sample provided to Lt Col Reid was returned.[3]

It would take a few more years, but on 10 September 1964, approval was given for the wearing of Formation Patches by all ranks, other than 1 RNZIR and 1 Bn Depot, who continued to wear the red diamond. The approved patches were circular 11/2 inch in diameter and dived by operational grouping,

  • Combat Brigade Group – Black
  • Logistic Support Group, 3 NZEF and Base Units – Red
  • Combat Reserve Brigade Troops – Green
  • All others – Blue

The blue Formation patch for other units was discontinued on 3 December 1968. Approval for the wearing of the remaining patches was withdrawn on 6 August 1971.[4]

Regardless of this initial setback, the idea of an RNZAOC lanyard remained popular within the RNZAOC. In November 1969, the DADOS(D), on behalf of the RNZAOC, pitched to the Army Dress Committee the desire of the RNZAOC to have a lanyard as a distinctive dress distinction. By 1969 the corps had been reorganised and instead of a lanyard being an item of dress for those Regular Force personnel posted to Field Force units, it was intended to issue lanyards to all RNZAOC personnel. By 1969 Stable belts were starting to become a popular addition to the range of army dress accoutrements. However, wearing Stable belts was limited by the dress orders available, leading the RNZAOC to favour a lanyard as a dress distinction with broader utility. As in 1962, a sample was again provided.

The chairman of the Dress Committee was not in favour of lanyards as he wished to avoid a proliferation of dress embellishments. However, based on the argument put forward by the DADOS(A), he reserved his decision until a future meeting of the Army Dress Committee and invited the DOS to attend to support this item on the agenda.[5]

The next meeting of the Army Dress Committee with the discussion on an RNZAOC Lanyard was on 1 March 1971. In this meeting, the DOS again proposed an RNZAOC lanyard, mentioning that most other Corps of the NZ Army had adopted some form of distinctive dress, for example, Stable belts. However, the RNZAOC remained in favour of an RNZAOC lanyard.

The proposed lanyard was not to be purchased at public expense and was to be worn on the left shoulder of no 2,3,6 (except 6D) and 7 orders of dress. The majority approved the proposal of members of the Army Dress Committee. However, the chairman again reserved his decision until a clear policy directive on Corps Dress Distinctions was issued from Army HQ, as again, he felt that an introduction of an RNZAOC lanyard “might open the door form other corps submissions”.[6]

The proposal for an RNZAOC lanyard was not approved. In 1972 the RNZAOC reconsidered its position on Stable belts and, following a submission to the Army Dress Committee, was granted permission to adopt an RNZAOC specific Stable belt in April 1972.[7]

The sample lanyards were returned to the DOS and eventually found their way into the RNZAOC School memorabilia collection as a reminder of what could have been. Following the disestablishment of the RNZAOC in 1996, the RNZAOC School memorabilia collection was handed over to the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR) for safekeeping and future preservation. Unfortunately, as a nondescript item whose story had been forgotten and a lack of a robust management policy led these lanyards and many other RNZAOC items to find their way to the open market.


Notes

[1] Len Whittaker, “Lanyards,” The Military Historical Society  (November 1985).

[2] RNZAOC Colonel Commandant, “Request to adopt special embellishment to dress,” Archives New Zealand No R17187826  (24 July 1962).

[3] “Army 220/5/103/AAC Army Dress Committee Meeting 1 March 1971,” Archives New Zealand No R9753141  (July 1971).

[4] “Clothing – Dress Embellishments: General 1960-1976,” Archives New Zealand No R17187826  (1960).

[5] “Army 220/5/103/AAC Army Dress Committee Meeting 1 March 1971.”

[6] “Army 220/5/103/AAC Army Dress Committee Meeting 1 March 1971.”

[7] “Army 220/5/103/AAC Army Dress Committee Meeting 1 March 1971.”


New Zealand Army Logistics Stable Belts

Worn by some New Zealand Army units since the mid-1960s, it was not until 1973 that the 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 few units adopted belts of a unique design; however, most New Zealand corps, regiments, and infantry battalions choose designs based on the regimental colours of a parent or allied units of the British Army. The three Logistics Corps of the NZ Army adopted stable belts of a British design, and it was not until 1996 and the formation of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR) that a unique New Zealand Logistic stable belt was 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 had a belt that was particularly 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 followed the example of the British Army and adopted 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 appear. It was not 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 are generally manufactured from a 21/2- to a 3-inch-wide belt of a heavily woven material with horizontal stripes in two or more colours. Buckle types 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 Canadian ASC wore the same pattern stable belt 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 June 1973 the New Zealand Director of Supply and Transport requested from the Colonel Commandant of the Royal Corps of Transport (RCT) permission for the RNZASC to adopt the RCT stable belt. Adopted by the RCT in 1965, permission for the RNZASC to adopt the RCT pattern belt was granted by the Colonel Commandant of the RCT in September 1973. Concurrent with the adoption of the RCT stable belt by the RNZASC, was the adoption of the same belt 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 continued 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 was 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 initially discussed introducing stable belts in 1969. However, at the time, the available orders of dress did not provide much opportunity to wear a Stable belt, and the preference of the RNZAOC was to adopt a coloured Lanyard. Approval for a Lanyard was not granted, so the Director of Ordnance Services submitted to the Amry Dress Committee on 4 April 1972 requesting authority for the RNZAOC to adopt a stable belt. Permission was granted due to the Army Dress Committee’s 4 April 1972 meeting. The RNZAOC Belt was to b the same pattern as the RAOC belt but had 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 remained 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 also combined its logistic functions into a single Logistic Regiment. The significant difference between the British and New Zealand logistical changes was that the RNZEME was also 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 took 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 divorced itself from the past and adopted a plain navy-blue stable belt.

As stock of the new RNZALR stable belt was not available on the formation of the New Regiment, a temporary belt was issued.

Consisting of a navy-blue belt with Web Belt clasps, the interim belt was retired within a year as new RNZALR Stable belts 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.


RNZAOC 1 April 1959 to 31 March 1960

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.

Key Appointments

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

RNZAOC School

  • 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

Upper Hutt City Library (29th Jan 2020). Trentham Camp; Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps School sign.. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 14th Jul 2020 11:51, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/1335

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.[1]

The initial school organisation would be.

  • A Headquarters,
    • Chief Instructor – Major Harry White
    • School Sergeant Major – Warrant Officer Class One Wesseldine
  • Ammunition Wing
  • 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.

First Instructors Course, 1959. Chief Instructor Major Harry White is seated 3rd from left. Officer in the front Centre id Makor K.G Cropp. Robert Mckie RNZAOC Collection

Officer Shortfall

 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.

Conferences

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.[2]

  • Local purchase of stores by DADOS
  • Training of group 2 Personnel
  • RNZAOC School
  • Provision Problems
  • Surplus Stores
  • Personnel – postings and promotions
    • DADOS and OC MOD were required to provide in duplicate, personnel lists by unit containing.
      • Regimental No, rank, and name
      • Marital Status
      • Establishment statue, either PES, CSS or HSS
      • Present posting
  • Purchases for RF Brigade Group
  • District Problems

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;[3]

  • 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).

Uniforms

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)

Disposals

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.

Ammunition Disposal

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.[4]

Ration Packs

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.

Shooting Competition

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. [5]

Honours and Awards

British Empire Medal

Sergeant (Temporary Staff Sergeant) Maurice William Loveday, Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Regular Force), of Trentham.[6]

Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Officers of the RNZAOC

Regular Force

  • 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.[7]
  • 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.[8]
  • Captain Frederick George Cross is transferred to the Reserve of Officers, General List, Royal NZAOC, in the rank of Captain, 1 September 1959. [9]
  • Captain L. C. King is re-engaged for a period of one year, as from 4 October 1959.[10]
  • Captain (temp. Major) J. Harvey relinquishes the temporary rank of Major, 6 March 1960.[11]

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.[12]
  • Captain and Quartermaster S. H. E. Bryant is re-engaged for one year as from 28 October 1959.[13]
  • Captain and Quartermaster R. P. Kennedy, E.D., is re-engaged for a period of one year as from 13 April 1960.[14]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster George Witherman McCullough is posted to the Retired List, 12 February 1960.[15]
  • 2nd Lieutenant J. T. Skedden to be Lieutenant, 12 December 1959.[16]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster R. H. Colwill to be temporary Captain and Quartermaster, 9 February 1960.[17]

Territorial Force

  • 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.[18]

Reserve of Officers

  • Captain Hugo Sarginsone posted to the Retired List, 10 July 1959.[19]
  • Captain Noel Lester Wallburton posted to the Retired List, 10 August 1959.[20]
  • Captain Sidney Paxton Stewart posted to the Retired List, I September 1959. [21]
  • Major Percival Nowell Erridge, MBE posted to the Retired List, 25 December 1959.[22]
  • Major Alexander Basil Owen Herd, from the British Regular Army Reserve· of Officers, to be Major, 3 October I 959.[23]
  • Major Frank Owen L’Estrange, from the British Regular Army Reserve of Officers, to be Major, 11 November 1959.[24]
  • Captain Cyril Peter Derbyshire, from the British Regular Army Reserve of Officers, to be Captain, 1 January 1960.[25]

Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Warrant Officers, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers, and men of the RNZAOC

Regular Force

  • 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.

Notes

[1] “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.

[2] Conferences – Ordnance Officers, Item Id R17188101 (Wellington: Archives New Zealand, 1950).

[3] “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).

[4] Ibid.

[5] “Army Sports Colours,” Upper Hutt Leader, Volume XVII, Number 11, 24 March 1960.

[6] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 35, 18 June 1959.

[7] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 31, 28 May 1959.

[8] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 56, 17 September 1959.

[9] Ibid.

[10] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 59, 1 October 1959.

[11] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 23, 7 April 1960.

[12] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 63, 22 October 1959.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 68, 4 November 1959.

[14] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 4, 21 January 1960.

[15] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 15, 3 March 1960.

[16] Ibid.

[17] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 41, 7 July 1960.

[18] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[19] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 51, 27 August 1959.

[20] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 53, 3 September 1959.

[21] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[22] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[23] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 70, 19 November 1959.

[24] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 78, 17 December 1959.

[25] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 8, 11 February 1960.


RNZAOC 1 April 1958 to 31 March 1959

This period would see a significant shift in the focus of the Army’s effort. The Government had decided to retain the force structure to meet the requirements of a global war and transform the regular Army into a force capable of meeting the needs of limited War. This would see Compulsory Military Training end, and Territorial Training becoming Voluntary and the Regular Force’s operational framework modified, with recruiting initiated to build up the force and new equipment purchased within the limits of available finances.[1]

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel H. McK. Reid.

Commanding Officer Main Ordnance Depot

  • Major O.H Burn to 21 July 1958
  • Major G.J.H Atkinson from 21 July 1958

United Nations Posting

Major O.H Burn took up a posting as a United Nations military observer in the Middle East from July 1958 as a Temporary Lieutenant Colonel. Due to a typographical error, Major Burn was listed in the New Zealand gazette as promoted to Lieutenant General and New Zealand’s only peacetime Lieutenant General. Correction of the typographical error, demoting Lieutenant-General Burn to the correct rank of temporary lieutenant-colonel would be published in the Gazette. However in the meantime, many messages of congratulation were sent to Lt Col Burn by facetious friends, but they were likely to have puzzled him as he left New Zealand before the Gazette notice appeared.

Compulsory Military Training

During this period one CMT intakes marched in with the RNZAOC recruits posted to 1 (NZ) Division Ordnance Field Park on completion of initial training;[2]

  • 27th intake of 1542 recruits on 1 May 1958
  • 28th intake planned for August 1958 but not held

After 63,033 men were trained under the CMT Scheme, the Labour Government halted the CMT scheme and replaced the 1949 Military Training Act with the National Service Registration Act 1958 in early 1958.

Conferences

DOS Conference 27-29 May 1958

Hosted by the DOS at Army HQ, the agenda for this meeting included.[3]

  • DOS Instructions
    • New format and reprint
    • Drafts of instructions C/1 and C/2
  • Local Purchase
    • Spares for post-war vehicles
    • Officer Commanding Depots £25 authority (2020 NZ$1250)
    • Purchase of stores by DADOS
  • Disposal of Stores
    • Produce and items from Boards of Survey
    • Survey of Stores – Army 246/37/1/Q(Org) of 6 October 57.
  • Accounting
    • Clothing
  • Demands
    • Identification of items
    • Bright Steel nuts and bolts
    • Trade names and trade equivalents
  • Finance
    • Vapour proof packaging of stores
    • Use of export cases
  • General
    • District problems
    • Further Army HQ problems if necessary

Uniforms

During this period, RNZAOC ordnance Depots and clothing stores would introduce the following new uniform types.[4]

  • Males Other Rank Service Dress – this uniform was issued to all-male soldiers of the Regular Force.
  • Jungle Green Drill – the issue of Jungle Green uniforms to replace uniforms previously produced in Khaki Drill also commenced.
  • NZWRAC Uniform – The issue of new summer dress consisting of a green short-sleeved frock commenced. Production of a new pattern green went into production.

Disposals

Vehicles

One hundred ninety-five vehicles from 5-ton trucks to motorcycles were declared surplus to the Government Stores Board.

Ammunition

By the end of December 1958, the Makomako, Waiouru and Belmont Ammunition areas had concluded the destruction of 317,440  items of ammunition ranging from detonators to 9.2in Cartridges; this included the detonation of 108 tons of Explosives with an additional 1217 tons of ammunition dumped at sea. Makomako was cleared of dangerous ammunition.

Move of Central Districts Vehicle Depot to Linton

As part of the Central Districts Vehicle Depot (CDVD) move to Linton during 1958, consideration was given to retaining some of the functions of the CDVD within the Main Ordnance Deport. To this end, the MOD Vehicle group was established. The MOD Vehicle group took over the existing CDVD compound at Trentham and had the following responsibilities:[5]

  • Receipt, processing, and issue of all new vehicles.
  • Custody of vehicles that were considered as part of the Army Reserve Stocks.
  • Custody and disposal of vehicles held by CDVD Trentham that were considered surplus or had or been declared for disposal.

This ensured that when the CDVD completed its move to Linton, only the vehicles and equipment needed to operate were transferred to Linton.

Linton Camp Ordnance Depot Issues

Since its establishment in 1946, the Central Districts Ordnance Depots had occupied accommodation buildings in the North West corner of Linton Camp in what had initially been the wartime RNZAF Base Linton. Two additional warehouses had been assembled in 1949; however, storage space remained at a premium. Some example of the issues faced by the Ordnance Depot was; [6]

  • Block 1 Clothing Store – unable to be heated and uncomfortable for staff due to the risk of fire caused by the large quantity of clothing packaged with Naphthalene. This created a potential fire risk due to the Salamander heaters used for heating buildings.
  • S&T Block Tent Store – a multi-purpose building, used as a tent Store, repair shop and Traffic Centre. This building required repairs and was in such a state that it could not be secured against illegal entry. As the MOW estimated repairs to this building to cost at least £2000 (2020 NZ$49,882.32), the authority to repair would require approval from the DCRE. However, the DCRE had advised that this building was not worth repairing, with no alternative accommodation the Ordnance Depot was in a difficult position.

It was advised in December 1958 that because of the preliminary site investigation for a new Ordnance Depot conducted the previous year, a new building covering 125,000 sq. ft be constructed for the Ordnance Depot over the next three years.

Pending decision on the new Ordnance Depot building, the decision was made that the number of prefabricated buildings then been erected for the CDVD be increased from three to Four with the additional structure allocated to the Ordnance Depot as storage accommodation.

Ration Packs

Over the period of the1959 annual camp, the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps (RNZASC) conducted trials of a four-person, 24-hour rations pack that had been specifically designed to simplify the feeding of Armoured units. Manufactured by items readily available on the commercial market, feedback from 1 and 4 Armoured Regiments was favourable.

Based on the NZ SAS’s and NZ Regiments experience Malaya, operations in the jungle required the individual soldier to carry and cook his rations. To meet this developing requirement, the RNZAOS was also developing a lightweight 24-hour ration pack.[7]

Cricket Tour

In February 1959 the RNZAOC would host a cricket tour to New Zealand by the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps (RAAOC). Major Derrick Roderick, a leading player for the RNZAOC tour to Australian in 1955, would act as the RNZAOC Liaison Officer for the RAAOC tour.[8]

Over a period of three weeks, the RAAOC Cricket team would tour New Zealand, playing matches at;

  • Devonport Oval vs Ordnance Northern Military District, NZ Lost by 20 Runs
  • Linton Camp vs Ordnance Central Military District, Draw
  • Trentham camp vs RNZAOC XI, NZ lost by 11 Runs
  • Burnham Camp vs Ordnance Southern Military District, NZ Lost
  • Trentham Camp vs Main Ordnance Depot, NZ lost

The tour was finalised on 19 February with a farewell Ball at the Trentham Camp Badminton Hall. The New Zealand Director of Ordnance Services, Lt-Col H. McK. Reid made presentations to all Australian tour members on behalf of the RNZAOC. The Australian team manager, Colonel C. V. Anderson, OBE, on behalf of the RAAOC team thanked the RNZAOC for the hospitality and entertainment provided throughout the tour, presenting magnificent silver salvers to the Trentham Officers and Sergeants messes. The visitors were farewelled the following day, returning to Australian on the MS Wanganella.[9]

Honours and Awards

Long Service and Good Conduct

  • 31259 Warrant Officer Class One Maurice Sidney Phillips, 26 March 1959

Secondment to British Army

On 27 March 1958 Major Francis Anness Bishop RNZAOC began a secondment with the British Army. Attached to the 17th Gurkha Division/Overseas Commonwealth Land Forces (Malaya), Major Bishop would be the Divisions Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General (DAQMG).[10]

Staff College, Camberley

Captain C.L Sanderson, RNZAOD represented the New Zealand Army on the 1959 Staff College Course at Camberley in the United Kingdom.[11]

Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Officers of the RNZAOC

Regular Force

  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster A.F James to be Captain and Quartermaster, 1 April 1958.[12]
  • [13]
  • Captain Ellis Charles Green MBE., is posted to the Retired List in the rank of Major, 12 May 1958.[14]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster J.E Hutchinson to be Captain and Quartermaster, 1 April 1958.[15]
  • Major 0.H Burn to be Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel, 26 July 1958.[16]
  • Captain G.J.H Atkinson, MBE., to be Temporary Major, 21 July 1958.[17]
  • Captain and Quartermaster S.H.E Bryant is transferred to the Supernumerary List on reaching retiring age for rank, 27 October 1958.[18]
  • Major Patrick William Rennison is transferred to the Reserve of Officers, General List, RNZAOC, with the rank of Major, 21 October 1958.[19]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster A. Fraser to be Temporary Captain and Quartermaster, 16 September 1958. [20]
  • Major (Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel) H McK Reid to be Lieutenant-Colonel, 30 October 1958.[21]
  • Lieutenant J.B Glasson to be Temporary Captain, 16 September 1958.[22]
  • Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) J.B Glasson to be Captain Dated 9 December 1958. [23]
  • Captain C.C Pipson is transferred to the Supernumerary List on reaching retiring age for rank and is re-engaged for a period of one year, 22 February 1959.[24]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster R.J Crossman to be Captain and Quartermaster, l 5 March 1959.[25]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster G.W Dudman to be Captain and Quartermaster, 15 March 1959.[26]
  • Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) and Quartermaster A Fraser to be Captain and Quartermaster, I 5 March 1959.[27]
  • Captain (Temporary Major) G.J.H. Atkinson, MBE., to be Major, 6 March 1959.[28]

Regular Force (Supernumerary List)

  • Captain and· Quartermaster G.A Perry, E.D., re-engaged for a period of one year, as from 1 April 1958.[29]
  • Captain and Quartermaster S.H.E Bryant re-engaged for a period of one year, 27 October 1958. [30]
  • Captain and Quartermaster Alfred Golian posted to the Retired List, 17 January l 959.[31]

RESERVE OF OFFICERS

  • Lieutenant J.H Mead relinquishes his commission, 1 July 1958.[32]
  • Major William Patrick Chester-Dixon, from the British Regular Army Reserve of Officers, to be Lieutenant-Colonel, 16 May 1958.[33]
  • Captain F.H Pike relinquishes his commission, 5 November 1958.[34]

The under-mentioned were posted from the General List to the Retired List:

  • 2nd Lieutenant Francis Edwin Clark. [35]
  • 2nd Lieutenant Ernest Ivan Meggett. [36]
  • 2nd Lieutenant Henry Charles Foster. 
  • Lieutenant Morris James Goodson.[37]
  • Lieutenant John· Clyde Graham.[38]
  • Lieutenant Frank Whittington Jull. [39]
  • Lieutenant Graham Wootton Clark.[40]
  • Lieutenant John Ivor Martin. [41]
  • Lieutenant Francis Thomas Thorpy. [42]
  • Lieutenant Albert William Buckley.[43]
  • Lieutenant Albert Arthur Burrows. [44]
  • Lieutenant James Stewart Jamieson. [45]
  • Captain William Arthur Pascoe.
  • Captain Austin Whitehead. 
  • Captain William Mervyn Rowell. 
  • Captain Stanley Copley Bracken.[46]

Territorial Force

  • Alan Ernest Osborne to be 2nd Lieutenant and is posted to the Technical Stores Platoon, 1st Divisional Ordnance Field Park, RNZAOC, 1 August 1958.[47]

Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Warrant Officers, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers, and men of the RNZAOC

  • A30054 Sergeant Bryan Nelson Jennings promoted to Staff Sergeant, 13 October 1958.[48]
  • 31383 Staff Sergeant Hector Searle McLachlan promoted to Warrant Officer Class Two, 1 April 1958.[49]
  • 31259 Warrant Officer Class Two Maurice Sidney Phillips promoted to Warrant Officer Class One, 14 October 1958.[50]
  • 31246 Warrant Officer Class Two Douglas Keep Wilson promoted to Warrant Officer Class One, 13 October 1958.[51]

Notes

[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1958 to 31 March 1959,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1959).

[2] Peter Cooke, Fit to Fight. Compulsory Military Training and National Service in New Zealand 1949-72 (Auckland: David Ling Publishing, 2013), 539.

[3] Conferences – Ordnance Officers, Item Id R17188101 (Wellington: Archives New Zealand, 1950).

[4] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1958 to 31 March 1959.”

[5] “Organisation – Policy and General – Rnzaoc “, Archives New Zealand No R17311537  (1946 – 1984).

[6] Buildings, Linton Camp, Central Ordnance Depot, Item Id R9428308 (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1955 – 1968 ).

[7] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1958 to 31 March 1959.”

[8] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 177-78.

[9] “Australian Ordnance Farwelled,” Upper Hutt Leader, Volume XVI, Number 7 26 February 1959 1959.

[10] “Recommendations for Honours or Awards,” The National Archives (UK) Ref WO 373/135/420 1960.

[11] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1958 to 31 March 1959.”

[12] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 28, 8 April 1958.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 34, 5 june 1958.

[14] Ibid.

[15] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 36, 12 june 1958.

[16] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 52, 21 August 1958.;”Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 56, 11 September 1958.

[17] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[18] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 58, 25 September 1958.

[19] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 68, 6 November 1958.

[20] Ibid.

[21] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 76, 11 December 1958.

[22] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 8, 19 February 1959.

[23] Ibid.

[24] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 19, 25 March 1959.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 22, 16 April 1959.

[28] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 25, 30 April 1959.

[29] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 21, 2 April 1958.

[30] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[31] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 17, 19 March 1959.

[32] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 48, 7 August 1958.

[33] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 41, 3 July 1958.

[34] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 2, 15 January 1959.

[35] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 38, 26 June 1958.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 43, 10 July 1958.

[39] Ibid.

[40] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 64, 3 October 1958.

[44] Ibid.

[45] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[46] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 71, 20 November 1958.

[47] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 7, 12 February 1959.

[48] Howard E. Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994 ([Wellington, N.Z.]: H. Chamberlain, 1995), 242.

[49] Ibid., 289.

[50] Ibid., 367-68.

[51] Ibid., 512.


Uniforms and Equipment of the NZ Army Contingent in Somalia

The New Zealand Army’s contribution to the UNITAF and UNOSOM Missions consisted of.

  • NZ Supply Detachment, November 1992 to July 1993
  • Army personnel attached to 42 Squadron RNZAF, January to May 1993
  • NZ Supply Platoon July 1993 to January 1994
  • NZ Supply Platoon January 1994 to June 1994
  • Staff attached to UN Headquarters 1992 to 1995

Uniforms worn by the NZ troops in Somalia were based around the standard NZ Army Disruptive Pattern material (DPM) temperate uniform that had been introduced in the late 1980s. Shirts were worn with sleeves rolled up and shirts untucked.

Each contingent had variations of what and how items could be worn, but, the combinations worn were not too dissimilar between contingents.

Ceremonial or Parade Dress

On rare ceremonial occasions, the DPM Uniform was worn with the shirt tucked in with.

  • Blue UN Beret
  • Blue UN cravat
  • Stable Belt of the individual’s Corps

Working Dress

Due to the harsh environment, a relaxed and comfortable working dress was adopted, which was worn in several variations, including

  • T-Shirt/Singlet, Shorts, Boots
  • T-Shirt/singlet, DPM Trouser, Boots

The Green T-Shirt was the standard issue NZ Army PT Shirt, however on occasion some individuals wore DPM T-Shirts or green civilian T-Shirts.

Although issue of the Green Single had ceased in the early 1980’s, some of the longer serving solders wore these older items.

The Black Shorts worn were either the standard NZ Army issue PT Short, “Singapore” Shorts or civilian items such as Canterbury Rugby Shorts.

Issue Green T-Shirt and Singapore Shorts
Old issue Single and DMP trou

Headdress

Headdress won by NZ Troops in Somalia consisted of.

  • NZ Army Beret with Corps Badge
  • UN Blue Beret
  • UN Blue Baseball cap
  • PASGT Kevlar Helmet

NZ Army Beret with Corps Badge

Usually only worn in transit from NZ to arrival in Somalia

UN Blue Beret

Issued from UN Stocks in Theatre, apart from Ceremonial occasions, rarely worn

UN Blue Baseball cap

Issued from UN Stocks, worn daily.

PASGT Kevlar Helmet

Worn daily. Use of covers on Kevlar helmets was not standardised, some were worn with covers others without covers.

NZ Manufactured Blue Covers designed for the PASGT helmets were utilised, these were plain blue with no markings.

Blue Covers designed for the M1 Steel helmet were also utilised, as were covers designed for the M1 Helmet in the various types of NZ DPM Pattern.

Blue UN Cover
No Cover
M1 Helmet DPM Cover

Boots

Although the DMP uniform was not designed for the climate, some consideration to climate appropriate footwear was given and Desert Boots were issued. Manufactured by New Zealand boot manufacturer John Bull, the Desert Boots were made of Tan Suede with synthetic rubber soles.

Each soldier was issued with two pairs of Desert boots; however a few individuals also wore the standard Black GP Boot.

Dress embellishments

Rank Insignia

As per the NZ Military conventions of the day, Rank insignia was worn as follows.

  • NCO Rank worn on a Brassard on the right shoulder,
  • Warrant Officer Rank on a wristband on the right wrist,
  • Officer Rank worn on a rank slide on the shoulder epaulettes of the DPM Shirt.

Mission Brassard

The Mission Brassard was worn on the Left shoulder and consisted of the UN patch above an NZ Flag. There is evident of examples of the mission Brassard worn with the badges reversed as well. As Officers and Warrant Officers wore their rank on the shoulder and wrist, there are also example of the Mission Brassard worn on the right shoulder.

National Insignia

 In addition to the NZ Flag on the Mission Brassard, a variation of the standard New Zealand shoulder tab that had been worn on overseas mission since the Second World War was worn affixed to the epaulets of each shoulder.

Trade and Appointment Badges

Some trade and appointment badges, such as the Ammunition Technician Badge and Medic Red Cross, were worn on the Mission Brassard.

Protective Vests and Body Amour

The New Zealand Army Body Armour of choice at the time was the Light Fragmentation Vest. A piece of kit unsuitable of the operating environment, which served more as confidence booster than as a practical protective measure.

From 1994 some of the Staff posted to the UN HQ were issued with the much more capable Bristol Type 23 Body Amour.

Load Carrying Equipment

Each NZ Soldier deployed to Somalia with the standard NZ Harness Webbing, being the early 90’s there was no set configurations with a variety of different pouches utilised with a basic set consisting of a minimum of Two Magazine pouches and Two Water Bottles and First Aid Pouch.

Due to the operating environment and the impartibility of wearing harness webbing in vehicles at the workplace, most individuals seldom used their webbing, with most sets spending the entire tour sitting under the individual’s cot, only to be dragged out for the occasional stand to.

Early on when the threat was perceived as low, a single spare magazine was carried in the pocket of the Frag Vest. As the treat level increased and the need to have additional ammunition at hand, many contingent members utilised a simple belt order consisting of pistol belt, Ammunition pouch and water bottle.

With the Infantry sections attached from July 93, some of the infantry lads utilised chest Rigs.

One set of unofficial purchased vest webbing was worn by a member of the Third Supply Contingent from January 1994. This vest was worn over the Frag Vest and allowed the wearer to carry additional ammunition and items with no loss of movement when in vehicle or carrying out physical tasks. This set of vest webbing become a communal set and was also utilised the Infantry Section Commander if his tasks necessitated it.

Example of Belt Order with Ammo Pouch and Water Battle, Magazine in Frag Vest pocket
Example of Vest Webbing

Weapons Systems

The New Zealand Contingents in Somalia utilised the standard range of New Zealand Small Arms, including

  • Steyr AUG 5.56mm Rifle with 508mm barrel.
  • Steyr AUG 5.56mm Carbine with 250mm barrel.
  • C9 Minimi 5.56 mm Light Machine Gun.
  • Pistol 9 mm Automatic P226, note as this weapon had only been introduced into NZ Army Service in 1992, existing holsters for the retired Browning pistols were utilised.

Gallery

Photo credits.

  • The Somalia Journal 1992-1995
  • Authors Collection


RNZAOC 1 April 1957 to 31 March 1958

This period would see the RNZAOC continue to support Regular, Territorial and Compulsory Military Training. This period would also see the formation and deployment to the 1st Battalion, the New Zealand Regiment to Malaya

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Temporary Lieutenant Colonel H. McK. Reid from 1 April 1957.[1]

Commanding Officer Main Ordnance Depot

  • Major O.H Burn

Inspecting Ordnance Officer, Northern Military District

  • Captain J.H Doone, from 19 July 1957.

Inspecting Ordnance Officer, Southern Military District

  • Captain E.D Gerrard, from 19 July 1957.

Compulsory Military Training

During this period three CMT intakes marched in with the RNZAOC recruits posted to 1 (NZ) Division Ordnance Field Park on completion of initial training;[2]

  • 24th intake of 1775av recruits on 2 May 1957
  • 25th intake of 1300av recruits on 22 August 1957
  • 26th intake of 1300av recruits on 3 January 1958

1st Battalion, the New Zealand Regiment

Reformed at Waiouru in July 1957, the 1st Battalion of the New Zealand Regiment would undertake workup and training that would see the Battalion deploy on operations in Malaya on 28 November 1957.[3]

The RNZAOC would equip the Battalion from the ground up with its necessary entitlement of equipment provided from existing holdings, including Eighty-Nine vehicles and trailers. However £59000 (2020 NZD $ $2,999,351.94) was expended to procure additional theatre specific items not held in the New Zealand inventory from the United Kingdom authorities in Malaya.[4]

In addition to providing the stores and equipment for the Battalion, RNZAOC Officer Major Jack Harvey was seconded to the 1st Battalion NZ Regiment for the duration of its Malaya tour as the Officer Commanding of C Company. [5]

Major Jack Harvey, RNZAOC Officer Commanding C Company, 1st Battalion, New Zealand Regiment, 1957-59

Members of the 1st Battalion who would later serve with the RNZAOC included;

  • Brian Crafts
  • David Orr

Fiji Military Forces

Warrant Officer Class One Murray Alexander Burt was posted on 15 July 1957, on an accompanied posting with his family to the New Zealand Cadre at Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Suva. WO1 Burt and Family would depart Auckland on the Union Steam Ship Company vessel the MV Tofus on 31 August 1957. WO1 Burt would return to New Zealand on 15 December 1959 and be posted to Hopuhopu camp.[6]

Uniforms

A new Service Dress uniform similar to the Officer pattern Service Dress was approved for Other Ranks by the Army Board in 1954  had is design finalised and placed into production during this period. This uniform’s approval satisfied a long-standing requirement for a ceremonial and walking out order of dress to replace the existing Battle Dress.[7]

Manufacture of the new uniforms was well advanced by closing this period with the District Ordnance Depots in a position to issue the new uniforms by the end of 1958.

With this new Service Dress uniform, Battle Dress would become winter working dress with Khaki Drill the summer working dress.

Other Ranks Service Dress

Ammunition

The demolition of the 17000 rounds of unsafe 3.7inch Anti Aircraft Ammunition that had been initiated in June 1955 was concluded in December 1957. The destruction had proceeded without incident with the local residences thanked for their considerable forbearance in putting up with the noise of explosions nearly every day.

During this period, demolitions were also successfully conducted at the Makomako Ammunition area to dispose of a large quantity obsolete and unsafe ammunition and explosives.[8]

Move of Central Districts Vehicle Depot to Linton

The move of the Central Districts Vehicle Depot (CDVD) was planned to occur during 1958. Before the move could happen, adequate storage had to be constructed at Linton Camp, and this was to be achieved by re-locating war surplus buildings from other locations. By June 1957 the second “W” Type prefabricated building for the CDVD was re-located from Fort Dorset to Linton Camp.[9]

Construction Of New Ordnance Depot for Linton Camp

Since its establishment in 1946, the Central Districts Ordnance Depots had occupied accommodation buildings in the North West corner of Linton Camp in what had initially been the wartime RNZAF Base Linton. Two additional warehouses had been assembled in 1949; however, storage space remained at a premium. In June 1957 Army HQ authorised the expenditure of £100 (2020 NZ$5,059.84) to conduct a preliminary site investigation for a new Ordnance Depot for Linton Camp. Given the deficiencies of adequate Storage accommodation and the erection of buildings for the CDVD, the Linton Camp Command issued instructions that the CDOD were not to utilise the new buildings, even temporarily as this would become permanent and prejudice the business case for constructing a new Ordnance Depot.[10]

Honours and Awards

Meritorious Service Medal

  • Warrant Officer Class One Bernard Percy Banks, 13 June 1957. [11]
  • Warrant Officer Class One Athol Gilroy McCurdy, 10 October 1957. [12]

Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Officers of the RNZAOC

Regular Force

  • Regular Force Major H. McK. Reid to be temp. Lieutenant-Colonel, and is appointed Director of Ordnance Services, dated 1 April 1957.[13]
  • Captain E.C Green, MBE, is re-engaged for one year, as from 1 April 1957.[14]
  • Lieutenant-Colonel F. Reid, OBE, relinquished Director of Ordnance Services’ appointment, pending retirement, 31 March 1957.[15]
  • Captain P.N Erridge, MBE., transferred to the Reserve of Officers, General List, The Royal N.Z. Army Ordnance Corps, in the rank of Major, 2 May 1957.[16]
  • Captain A.B West to be Major, 1 July 1957,[17]
  • Lieutenant F.G Cross to be Captain,  13 August 1957.[18]
  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, O.B.E., posted to the Retired List, 16 August 1957.[19]
  • Captain H.P White to be Major. Dated 18 October 1957.[20]
  • Captain and Quartermaster R.P Kennedy, E.D., granted an extension of his engagement for a period of one year as from 13 April 1958.[21]
  • Captain (Temporary Major) F.A Bishop to be Major. Dated 12 December 1957.[22]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster (on probation) L.E Autridge is confirmed in his present rank and seniority.[23]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster (on probation) 0.C Prouse is confirmed in his present rank and seniority.[24]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster (on probation) D.H Rollo, MBE., is confirmed in his present rank and seniority.[25]

Regular Force (Supernumerary List)

  • Captain and Quartermaster R.P Kennedy, E.D, re-engaged in the Regular Force for one year from 13 April 1957.[26]
  • Captain and Quartermaster E.R. Hancock posted to the Retired List, 30 March 1957.[27]
  • Major and Quartermaster I.S. Miller, E.D., is posted to the Retired List, 20 April 1957.[28]
  • Captain and Quartermaster G.A Perry, E.D.,  re-engaged for one year from 1 April 1957.[29]
  • Captain and Quartermaster A.A Barwick posted to the Retired List, 3 August 1957.[30]
  • Captain and Quartermaster A Gollan granted an extension of his engagement for one year, as from 19 December 1957.[31]

Reserve of Officers

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Maurice Salam Myers. posted to the Retired List, 1 January 1958.[32]

Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Warrant Officers, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and men of the RNZAOC

Regular Force

  • 31266 Warrant Officer Class One, Cyril Austin Baigent to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster, 15 July 1957.[33]
  • 33297 Warrant Officer Class Two, Henry Williamson to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster, 15 July 1957.[34]
  • 33635 Warrant Officer Class Two, William Edwin Smith to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster, 15 July 1957.[35]
  • 31261 Staff Sergeant Ernest Maurice Alexander Bull, Promoted to Warrant Officer Class Two, 30 October 1957.[36]
  • 31257 Warrant Officer Class Two  Murray Alexander Burt, Promoted to Warrant Officer Class One, 15 July 1957.[37]
  • B31695 Sergeant Ian McDonald Russell promoted to Staff Sergeant, 23 April 1957.[38]

Notes

[1] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 35, 2 May 1957.

[2] Peter Cooke, Fit to Fight. Compulsory Military Training and National Service in New Zealand 1949-72 (Auckland: David Ling Publishing, 2013), 539.

[3] Brian Clamp and Doreen Clamp, 1st Battalion the New Zealand Regiment (1957-59) Association 50th Anniversary. The First of the First (B. Clamp, 2007), Non-fiction.

[4] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1957 to 31 March 1958,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1958).

[5] Clamp and Clamp, 1st Battalion the New Zealand Regiment (1957-59) Association 50th Anniversary. The First of the First.

[6] Howard E. Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994 ([Wellington, N.Z.]: H. Chamberlain, 1995), 69-70.

[7] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1957 to 31 March 1958.”

[8] Ibid.

[9] John Mitchell, Buildings, Linton Camp, Central Ordnance Depot, Item Id R9428308 (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1955 – 1968 ).

[10] Ibid.

[11] Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994.

[12] Ibid., 283.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[14] Ibid.

[15] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 38, 16 May 1957.

[16] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 42, 30 May 1957.

[17] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 45, 1 August 1957.

[18] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 62, 29 August 1957.

[19] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 66, 12 September 1957.

[20] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 3, 16 January 1958.

[21] Ibid.

[22] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 13, 20 February 1958.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 27, 4 April 1957.

[27] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[28] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[29] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 46, 20 June 1957.

[30] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[31] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 86, 14 November 1957.

[32] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[33] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 60, 15 August 1957.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid., 410-11.


RNZAOC 1 April 1952 to 31 March 1953

This period would see the RNZAOC. Continue to support Regular, Territorial and Compulsory Military Training. Ongoing support to Kayforce would continue.[1]

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Southern Military District

Ordnance Officer

  • Captain A.A Barwick

Compulsory Military Training

During this period three CMT intakes marched in;[2]

  • 6th intake of 2850 recruits on 19 Jun 1952
  • 7th intake of 2645 recruits on 11 Sept 1952
  • 8th intake of 2831 recruits on 8 Jan 1953

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.
  • 1 Armoured Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon.

Territorial Force

The Ordnance Headquarters of the New Zealand Division, was on 19 Apr 1952 re-designated as Headquarters CRNZAOC New Zealand Division (HQ CRNZAOC NZ Div).[3]

Kayforce

The RNZAOC continued to support Kayforce with the dispatch of regular consignments of Maintenance stores and with all additional requests for stores by Kayforce met.

This period saw the first RNZAOC men rotated and replaced out of Kayforce;

Out of Kayforce

  • Staff Sergeant Neville Wallace Beard, 3 Jun 1952
  • Lance Corporal James Ivo Miller, 21 Jun 1952
  • Lieutenant Colonel Geoferry John Hayes Atkinson, 15 Jan 1953
  • Corporal Desmond Mervyn Kerslake, 18 Mar 1953

Into Kay force

  • TEAL Flight from Auckland,15 May 1952
    • Private Dennis Arthur Astwood
  • TEAL Flight from Wellington, 7 Jun 1952
    • Corporal Wiremu Matenga
  • TEAL Flight from Wellington, 14 Jun 1952
    • Sergeant Barry Stewart
  • TEAL Flight from Auckland, 30 Jun 1952
    • Lance Corporal Thomas Joseph Fitzsimons
    • Private Gane Cornelius Hibberd
  • TEAL Flight from Wellington, 30 Aug 1952
    • Staff Sergeant James Russell Don
  • 1 Sept 1952
    • Corporal Gordon Winstone East
  • TEAL Flight from Auckland, 23 Dec 1952
    • Captain Patrick William Rennison
  • TEAL Flight from Auckland, 3 Mar 1953
    • Lance Corporal Alexander George Dobbins

Coronation Contingent

On 2 Jun 1953, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned as monarch of the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth of nations. To commemorate the coronation, New Zealand provided a contingent of 75 Officers and men. RNZAOC soldier Temporary Staff Sergeant Earnest Maurice Alexander Bull was appointed as the Contingent Quartermaster Sergeant.[4] T/SSgt Bull would travel with the contingent on the long and uncomfortable return trip to the United Kingdom on the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney. Despite some controversy on the inadequate accommodation provided on the HMAS Sydney and quality of the New Zealand uniforms compared to the Australians, it was still considered a privilege to be part of the contingent.[5] A highlight for Bull was when he held the appointment of Sergeant of the Guard at St James Palace.

At Sea. 1953. Army members of the Australian and New Zealand Coronation Contingent engaged in rifle drill aboard the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney, while en route to England for the coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Copyright expired – public domain

Ordnance Conferences

Ordnance Conference 16 – 18 September 1952

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 16-18 September 1952.[6]  

Ordnance Conference 21-23 April 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. 

Items discussed at the conference included;

  • Corps Policy
  • Corps Establishments
  • Estimation of expenditure
  • Provision
  • Vehicles and Spares
  • LAD tools
  • Standard packages
  • District problems

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 units sufficient equipment for normal training.

Ammunition Examiner Qualification

Private Luskie qualified as an Ammunition Examiner as AE No 75

Small Arms Ammunition

Production of small-arms ammunition had met the monthly target, with the ammunition, fully proofed and inspected before acceptance.

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, 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;[7]

  • 384 Series 1 80″ Land-Rovers
  • 11 Daimler Mk 2 Armoured Cars[8]

New Headdress trial

It was announced in December 1952 that a trial to replace the famous “Lemon Squeezer” hat was to be undertaken.[9] Reintroduced in 1949 as the official peacetime headdress, the Lemon Squeezer was found to be unsuitable because it could not be rolled up or placed into a pocket without losing its shape.[10]  One it the items to be trialled was a Canadian style peaked ski caps made of brown serge wool used in the Battle Dress uniform.

Trentham Camp Commandant

For the first time since 1931, the appointment of Trentham Camp Commandant would be filled by an Ordnance Officer. In December 1952, Major D Roderick the incumbent Officer Commanding of the Main Ordnance Depot would take up the additional appointment of Trentham Camp Commandant.[11] Assisting Major Roderick as the Regimental Sergeant Major of bothTrentham Camp and the Main Ordnance Depot was Warrant Office Class One Alfred Wesseldine.[12]

Linton Fire

A fire in the ordnance store at Linton Military Camp on 15 February destroyed a quantity of Army stores and records and left a large part of the building gutted with losses valued at £11695 (2021 NZD$706492.66).

Hope Gibbons Fire

On 29 July 1952, fire broke out in the Hope Gibbons building in Wellington. Located in Dixon Street, the eight story Hope Gibbons office block became a towering inferno after a vat of industrial thinners caught alight in an adjacent building to the rear. One of the unsatisfactory and dispersed locations of the government archives, the building held numerous public records from the Public Works, Lands and Survey, Labour and Employment, Agriculture, Marine and Defence Departments.  Many of the paper records dating back to 1840 were destroyed or damaged. Some records were salvaged and are still undergoing conservation work.

Included in the Defence Department files were many of the records of the Colonial Storekeeper, Defence Stores Department and the early Ordnance Corps, including records from the 1st and 2nd World Wars. The destruction and damage of these records created a significant gap in the historiography of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps.

The tremendous loss of public records in this fire prompted the establishment of the National Archives in 1957.[13]

Honours List

Long Service and Good Conduct

  • Warrant Officer Class One Bernard Percy Banks, Southern Districts Vehicle Depot, 16 Oct 1952.[14]
  • Warrant Officer Class One William Galloway, Central District Ordnance Depot, Waiouru Sub Depot, 25 Sept 1952

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

  • Brian Gush –16 May 1952
  • Robert J Plummer – 16 Sept 1952
  • John B Glasson – 9 Dec 1952
  • Thomas Woon – 17 Jun 1952

Transferred into the RNZAOC from other Corps

  • Warrant Officer Class One William Galloway from NZ Regiment to RNZAOC, June 1952
  • Warrant Officer Class One Ronald William Stitt from The Royal New Zeland Artillery to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster, RNZAOC from15 March 1953.[15]

Re-Engagements into the New Zealand Regular Force

With effect 1 Apr 1952, the undermentioned members of the RNZAOC were re-engaged into the NZ Regular Force;

  • Staff Sergeant M.J Ayers (NZWAC), 2 years
  • Sergeant B.N Evans, three years
  • Sergeant A, Grigg. Three years
  • Sergeant S.F Pyne, one year
  • Private (Temp LCpl) M.J Somerville (NZWAC).

Promotions

To Lieutenant and Quartermaster

  • Warrant Officer Class One Arthur Fraser [16]
  • Warrant Officer Class Two (Temp WO1) Ronald John Crossman [17]
  • Warrant Officer Class One  George William Dudman[18]

To Lieutenant

  • 1952, Lieutenant (on probation) J. H. Doone, with seniority from 25 Oct 1948.[19]

Transferred to Reserve of Officers

The following officer was transferred to the Reserve of Officer with effect 17 Nov 1952;[20]

  • Lieutenant R. K. Treacher

Notes

[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1952 to 31 March 1953 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1953).

[2] Peter Cooke, Fit to Fight. Compulsory Military Training and National Service in New Zealand 1949-72 (Auckland: David Ling Publishing, 2013), 539.

[3] Chief of Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps “Units Resignated,” New Zealand Gazette No 32, 19 April 1953, 554.

[4] Howard E. Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994 ([Wellington, N.Z.]: H. Chamberlain, 1995), 67-68.

[5] ” N.Z. Contingent Protests on Coronation Voyage,” Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 – 1954)  7 May 1953

[6] Conferences – Ordnance Officers, Item Id R17188101 (Wellington: Archives New Zealand, 1950).

[7] 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, 21.

[8] Ibid.

[9] “NZ Army May Get Ski Cap,” Burra Record (SA : 1878 – 1954) 16 Dec 1952.

[10] “Lemon Squeezer Back as Official Army Hat,” Northern Advocate, 16 February 1949.

[11] Howard Weddell, Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History (Howard Weddell, 2018), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 226.

[12] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 266.

[13] Stuart Strachan, “Hope Gibbons Fire, Archives – Government Archives,” Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand  (2014).

[1 4]Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994, 32-33.

[15] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army “, New Zealand Gazette No 35, 9 June 1949.

[16] Ibid., 569.

[17]Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army “, New Zealand Gazette No 75, 27 November 1953, 1959.

[20] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army “,  569.