Frederick Silver was a British Royal Marine Artilleryman who settled in New Zealand, serving in the Armed Constabulary, Permanent Militia and Defence Stores Department. Silver played an instrumental role in installing and maintaining New Zealand’s early coastal defence artillery and mobilising New Zealand contingents for the war in South Africa. The following is an account of his life and achievements.
The son of William and Jane Silver, Baker and Beer Retailer of Cheshunt, England, Frederick Silver was born on 28 August 1849, in Cheshunt, near Waltham Abby Hertfordshire. Initially a baker by trade, at the age of eighteen, Silver enlisted in the Royal Marines Light Infantry (Portsmouth Division) on 9 May 1865. Transferring into the Royal Marine Artillery on 5 April 1866, Silver served on board HMS Pandora on the West Coast of Africa from March 1868 to April 1870. Silver was promoted to Bombardier and transferred on 12 November 1869, HMSSeringapatam, awaiting passage to Headquarters. On 17 April 1872, the muster roll of HMS Audacious lists Silver as a crew member, followed by a move to Headquarters on 24 September 1872.
It is possible that Silver served on board HMS Monarch, the first sea-going turret ship and the first British warship to carry 12-inch guns, for the Spithead review in 1873. He then deployed to the Gold Coast on board HMS Simoon.
During the Ashanti campaign, Silver served ashore and was in charge of all the Naval Stores landing at Elmina (capital of the Komenda/Edina/Eguafo/Abirem District on the south coast of Ghana). He was later attached to the force under Colonel (Later Field-Marshall Sir Evelyn Wood). In his memoir “From Midshipman to Field-Marshall,” Wood wrote about Silver’s courage during the heavy fire in the clearing of Faisowah.
The reference in “From Midshipman to Field-Marshall” reads,
“When we came under heavy fire in the clearing of Faisowah, I extended Woodgate’s Kossoos to the east of the track, and Richmond on the west side with the Elmina company, in which there were 25 Haussa Ashanti slaves, whom we had taken in previous reconnaissances. The Haussas I extended in line behind, intending to pass through them if I were obliged to retire. Sergeant Silver and two white Marine Artillerymen were with me, using a rocket tube, and their cool courageous bearing was an object lesson to the blacks who could see them. “
Field-Marshall Sir Evelyn Wood “From Midshipman to Field-Marshall”, (Vol 1 pages 270-271).
After his Ashanti War Service, Silver served on HMS Monarch in the Channel Fleet from April 1874 until October 1875. He was discharged, by purchase, as a sergeant, on 9 November 1875 and set out to seek a new life in the colony of New Zealand.
After a 160-day eventful voyage during which the sailing ship Bebington Silver had collided with another ship, endured a typhus and typhoid outbreak, and ran short of provisions, Silver arrived in Auckland on 15 July 1876.
Soon after he arrived in New Zealand, Silver joined the Armed Constabulary (AC) as a constable on 29 September 1876. He remained in the AC until 1886 when the Defence Act (1886) established the Permanent Militia.
Silver married Sarah Mair on 28 August 1878 in Auckland, and they had four sons.
As a result of the 1882 Russian War scare, Silver was transferred to Wellington and employed as a Drill Instructor. The Garrison Artillery was formed from the AC in 1884, and Silver was appointed Sergeant on 1 November 1884.
New Zealand had received twenty-two breech-loading, 7-ton, and 64-pdr Rifled Muzzle Loading (RML) in 1874. However, as interest had waned by the time of their arrival in 1878, they had not been mounted and were placed into storage. In conjunction with Sergeant Major Robert George Vinning Parker, formally of the Royal; Garrison Artillery, Silver helped develop a system using tackles and timber to take these guns out of storage and mount and install them in Auckland and Wellington. This system, developed by Silver and Parker, was adapted for mounting all other similar guns throughout New Zealand. In addition to mounting the guns, Silver instructed the Gunners in the various drills at Wellington before they were detailed for the four main centres.
As New Zealand modernised its coastal defences with modern 8-inch and 6-inch breech-loading guns at Wellingtons Fort Ballance, Point Halswell and Kaiwarra Batteries, Silver supervised the mounting of these guns while also providing instruction on their use to the Permanent Staff and Volunteers. Silver oversaw mounting the first Breech-loading gun at Auckland’s Fort Cautley, Auckland. Under Silver’s supervision, mounting New Zealand’s early Coast Artillery guns was achieved at no extra cost to New Zealand.
Establishing the Garrison Artillery and introducing new guns, equipment, ancillary equipment, and ammunition required new accounting and management procedures. As this was out of the scope and experience of the Defence Stores Department, in conjunction with the Defence Storekeeper Captain Sam Anderson, Parker instigated the system of Artillery Stores Accounting, which was to remain in place well into the early 20th Century. Silver was appointed Regimental Sergeant Major and Instructor in Gunnery on 13 March 1885. Following Parkers posting to Port Chalmers in 1889, Silver, in addition to his regimental duties, was placed in charge of all the Artillery stores at Auckland, Wellington and Lyttleton.
Following the death of the Defence Storekeeper, Captain Sam Anderson, in December 1899, Silver applied for the position of Ledger keeper in the Defence Stores. Silver had had a long association with Anderson. Although he felt he could assume the position of Defence Storekeeper, he recognised that Thomas Henry Sewell, the Assistant Storekeeper or James O’Sullivan, Chief Clerk of the Defence Stores, had a firmer claim on the appointment. By applying for the position of Ledger Keeper in the Defence Stores, he believed that it would place him in contention for the appointment of Assistant Defence Storekeeper. Ultimately Sewell was too ill to succeed Anderson, and O’Sullivan was appointed Defence Storekeeper.
Appointed as a temporary clerk in the Defence Stores, Silver was discharged from the Permanent Militia on 25 June 1900 and immediately assumed his new position in the Defence Stores. Although his new position entailed some new duties, Silver’s duties in managing the Artillery Ledgers were seamlessly carried over from the Permanent Militia to the Defence Stores.
During the South Africa war mobilisation, Silver oversaw clothing stores at Christchurch, Dunedin, Auckland and Trentham camps. The first contingent was required to supply their horses and saddlery equipment, with the remainder of their equipment supplied by the Government. Later contingents were supplied with their equipment from public subscriptions and Defence resources, putting the Defence Stores under considerable strain. However, due to the efforts of the Defence Stores, each contingent sailed well-equipped as the circumstances allowed. As Silver prepared and distributed the kit for the Eighth Contingent at their Auckland Camp, the observation was made that Silver was “as sleepless as a time-piece and as methodical as a cash register”.
Following the death of the Assistant Defence Storekeeper, John Henry Jerred, on 20 December 1902, as Silver’s current appointment was still temporary, Ministerial authority was granted for Silver to be appointed Assistant Defence Storekeeper on 27 December 1902.
1906 was a significant year of transformation for the Defence Stores Department. The Defence Act Amendment Act 1906 was passed on 28 October, establishing the Defence Council and providing the New Zealand Military Forces with a headquarters organised with specific staff functions, including
Director of Artillery Services (Ordnance): Responsible for Artillery armament, fixed coast defences, and supplies for ordnance.
Director of Stores: Responsible for clothing and personal equipment, accoutrements, saddlery, harnesses, small-arms and small-arms ammunition, machine guns, material, transport, vehicles, camp equipment, and all stores required for the Defence Forces.
On 26 December 1906, it was announced that O’Sullivan had been confirmed as the Director of Stores for the colony of New Zealand and appointed as Quartermaster and an Honorary Captain in the New Zealand Militia. For now, Silver’s appointment remained designated as the Assistant Defence Storekeeper. Although the Artillery ledgers should have reverted to the Director of Artillery Services (Ordnance), they remained a Defence Stores responsibility under Silver’s care.
The passing of the Defence Act 1909 heralded a transformation of the Defence Forces of New Zealand, establishing a military system that influenced the organisation, training and recruitment of the New Zealand army into the early 1970s. On 28 February 1910, The Act abolished the existing Volunteer system, creating a citizen-based Territorial Army from the units, regiments and Corps of the Volunteer Army. The Territorial Army’s personnel needs were to be maintained by a Compulsory Military Training (CMT) system, requiring the registration of all boys and men between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one. The challenge for O’Sullivan, Silver and the Defence Stores Department, an organisation already markedly transformed since 1900, was to continue to transform to meet the needs of the growing citizen army that New Zealand was creating. On 1 June 1910, Silver’s position was redesignated as the Assistant Director of Military Stores, and he was appointed a Quartermaster with the rank of Honorary Lieutenant in the New Zealand Militia.
On the appointment of Major General Alexander Godley as the Commandant of the NZMF in December 1910, Godley revitalised New Zealand’s military organisational framework, including the reorganisation of the Headquarters Staff. O’Sullivan’s position of Director of Stores was redesignated as the Director of Equipment and Stores (DEOS) and included as a branch in the Adjutant and Quartermaster General Branch staff. The Director of Ordnance and Artillery remained a separate branch, with the Godley’s’ new regulations detailing the division of responsibilities between the two directors. Unlike 1906 this reorganisation saw the Director of Ordnance and Artillery assert responsibility for managing Artillery Stores. On 14 July 1911, Lieutenant Colonel Johnston, the Director of Artillery, requested that Silver and the Artillery ledgers be transferred from the Defence Stores to the Director of Ordnance and Artillery Staff.
As the Artillery Ledgers had been Silver’s principal duty at the Defence Stores, the transfer between the branches was immediate and seamless, with the pressing question being the title of Silver’s new appointment. Silver’s initial designation was to be Armament Quartermaster. However, to bring Silver’s appointment into line with the Armament Ledgers in the British Army, he was redesignated as the Artillery Stores Accountant on 11 August 1911.
As Artillery Stores Accountant, Silver’s duties were:
Post up and balance the Headquarters, field and Garrison Armament ledgers.
Audit all Field Artillery Brigade District Ledgers.
Prepare annual demands for armament equipment and ammunition for the Dominion.
Prepare annual return of armament for the War Office.
Compile half-yearly returns of ammunition in stock and under order.
Check all local purchase requisitions affecting artillery stores.
Prepare circulars embodying all List of Changes in War Materiel affecting the armament of the Dominion.
Have knowledge of all technical artillery questions that may arise.
Keep corrected and up-to-date all textbooks and have all amendments duly made.
Keep records of all periodic tests of explosives and enter “sentence” in accordance with regulations.
Check stores in Districts and inspect Armament and equipment magazines, &c. , under the instructions of the Director of Ordnance.
By June 1913, Silver was 64 and had served for 47 and a half years, ten years of Royal Marine service and 37 years in the New Zealand Forces. Having suffered a physical breakdown, he recognised that he could not devote the required attention to his duties and requested permission to retire. Silver’s request to retire was granted, and on 17 June 1913, he retired with the Honorary rank of Captain. Silver’s severance date was 31 October 1913, and he was granted an annual pension of £165 (2022 NZ$31,360.16) per year commencing on 1 November 1913.
Silver died at his home at Karaka Bay, Seatoun, Wellington, on 5 May 1925 and is interned at Karori Cemetery Wellington.
Frederick Silver, a British Royal Marine Artilleryman, settled in New Zealand and served in the Armed Constabulary and later in the Permanent Militia. He was appointed Regimental Sergeant Major and Instructor in Gunnery on 13 March 1885 and played a crucial role in installing and maintaining New Zealand’s early coastal defence artillery. He supervised mounting modern 8-inch and 6-inch breech-loading guns at various locations, including Wellington’s Fort Ballance, Point Halswell, and Kaiwarra Batteries. As a foundation member of New Zealand’s Garrison Artillery, he helped to introduce new accounting and management procedures. He managed the Artillery ledger account from 1889 until his retirement in 1913. In 1900, Frederick Silver transferred to the Defence Stores Department and significantly contributed to mobilising all New Zealand contingents to the war in South Africa. He returned to the Artillery in 1911 and retired in 1913 after 47 and a half years of service, including ten years of Royal Marine service and 37 years in the New Zealand forces. Frederick Silver’s contributions to New Zealand’s early coastal defence artillery and mobilisation efforts during the South African War were invaluable. His service is a testament to his dedication and expertise.
Since 1971, Ammunition Technical Officers (ATOs) and Ammunition Technicians (ATs) of the New Zealand Army have proudly worn the Flaming “A” Badge, a symbol of the dangerous and skilful nature of the AT trade. The AT trade evolved from managing powder magazines in the 19th century to managing the full range of ammunition and explosives available to the modern New Zealand Army. The Flaming “A” Badge is more than a symbol of the dangerous and skilful nature of the AT trade but an acknowledgement to those who wear it of their trade’s long and proud whakapapa.
In early Colonial New Zealand, Ammunition and explosives were imported from the United Kingdom and Australia. To safely store and distribute powder and shot, Powder magazines were established at Wellingtons Mount Cook and Auckland’s Mount Albert, with specialist expertise required for the handling and storing of these stocks provided by qualified and experienced individuals from the British Military Stores Department and Royal Artillery and Engineer officers. As the Imperial Forces completed their withdrawal from New Zealand in 1870, full responsibility for New Zealand’s Magazines and Ammunition was passed to the Defence Stores Department.
From 1873 the powder magazines at Mount Albert and Mount Cook were replaced by new facilities at Auckland’s Mount Eden and Wellingtons Kaiwharawhara, both of which remained in use through to the 1920s. Supporting the dispersed Militia and Volunteer Forces, magazines were maintained by the Defence Stores Department at most provincial centres.
With the formation of the permanent Garrison Artillery in 1884, Frederick Silver and Robert George Vinning Parker, Sergeant Majors with considerable experience in the Royal Marine Artillery and Royal Garrison Artillery, then serving as constables in the Armed Constabulary, were transferred to the Garrison Artillery as instructors. Providing a solid base of experience, Silver and Parker were instrumental in mounting much of New Zealand’s Garrison artillery, compiling books and manuals and, in conjunction with the Defence Storekeeper managing the stocks of Artillery ammunition.
With the government’s encouragement, Major John Whitney established Whitney & Sons as an ammunition manufacturing company in Auckland. With additional investors, this company became the Colonial Ammunition Company (CAC) in 1888, the first ammunition manufacturer in New Zealand and the first in Australasia. Entering a contract with the New Zealand Government to produce Small Arms Ammunition (SAA), the deal was that the government provided the powder with the CAC providing the components for manufacturing complete cartridges. The Government retained the right to inspect and conduct quality control inspections on each batch before acceptance by the New Zealand Forces. The testing regime was a simple one which consisted of testing only a small percentage of a batch by test firing. The test results were based on the performance of this percentage that the ammunition is accepted or rejected.
With the production of .577 Snyder Ball Ammunition underway by 1890, the first testing, inspection and acceptance of the initial batches were conducted by Major John Pirie of the New Zealand Militia. Formerly a Major in the Guernsey Militia, Major Pirie immigrated to New Zealand, becoming the Auckland District Musketry Instructor in 1881 and conducting inspections of manufactured Ammunition until July 1891. From July 1891, ammunition inspection was passed to the Officer Commanding the Auckland District, Major Goring. In 1893, Lieutenant J E Hume of the Permanent Militia was responsible for examining ammunition. Hume held this responsibility in addition to his other duties until 1898.
On 6 February 1898, a formal request was placed on the United Kingdom for the recruitment of a suitable Warrant Officer from the Royal Artillery to “Take charge of the testing operations of SAA and the supervision of the manufacture of the same”. Quartermaster Sergeant Instructor Arthur Duvall, Royal Garrison Artillery of the Artillery College, was selected as the Small Arms Testing officer for the New Zealand Forces. To be promoted to 3rd Class Master Gunner on appointment, it was to be a three-year engagement at a rate of Nine Shillings a day with free quarters or a £50 per annum housing allowance. Arriving in New Zealand in July 1898, Duvall was soon at work at the CAC premises at Mount Eden in Auckland. Extending his engagement every three years, Duvall completed twenty years of service with the British Army in 1911. Taking his discharge in New Zealand, Duvall was immediately attested into the New Permanent Staff as an Honorary Lieutenant on 26 April 1912 and then promoted to Honorary Captain on 1 April 1914.
In 1902, Silver was discharged from the Artillery and was appointed as the Assistant Defence Storekeeper. While taking on the duties of Assistant Defence Storekeeper, Silver also retained responsibility for managing all the Artillery’s stores and ammunition. Following the implementation of the Defence Act 1909 and subsequent reorganisation, Silver transferred from the Defence Stores to the office of the Director of Artillery. He was appointed as Quartermaster (Honorary Lieutenant) into the post of Artillery Stores Accountant, retaining responsibility for all artillery stores and ammunition. Retiring in June 1913, Silver was replaced as Artillery Stores Accountant by Parker, who was promoted from Warrant Officer to Quartermaster (Honorary Lieutenant).
With the Colonial Ammunition Company in Auckland manufacturing SAA, thus allowing a measure of self-sufficiency, the same could not be said for artillery ammunition which all had to be imported from overseas. Parker conducted a cost-benefit analysis to assess the virtues of locally made-up artillery ammunition compared to imported items. Parker estimated that by cleaning and refilling casings, inspecting and refurbishing propellant bags, and manufacturing new ones as required, annual savings of £3,333 (2022 NZD$633,605) could be made. To achieve these savings, a recommendation that a specialist Royal New Zealand Artillery Ordnance Corps Section be established to manufacture and modify ammunition was made. General Godley approved the proposal in mid-1914, and on 1 March 1915, authority was granted under New Zealand Defence Forces General Order 90 to raise the New Zealand Army Ordnance Section with effect from 1 April 1915.
On 31 May 1917, regulations constituting the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC), backdated to 1 February 1917, were approved and published in the New Zealand Gazette of 7 June 1917, concluding forty-eight years of service provided by the Defence Stores Department,
Administrative control of the New Zealand Artillery Ordnance Section was passed to the NZAOC, and Parker was commissioned as Captain in the NZAOD as the Inspector of Ordnance Machinery. However, his time in this post was short, as he retired on 30 September 1919.
On 10 January 1918, Duvall was transferred from the Permanent Staff to the NZAOD, graded as an Ordnance Officer Class 3 with the rank of Captain as the Proof Officer SAA. The post of Proof Officer SAA was to be a continuous appointment in the New Zealand Army ammunition supply chain until 1968, when the CAC shifted its operations to Australia, ending its long relationship with the New Zealand Army.
Experience during the 1914-18 war highlighted the need for specialist officers trained in the technical nature of ammunition. Undertaking several courses of instruction in the United Kingdom, Captain William Ivory, RNZA, returned to New Zealand at the end of 1919 to assume the role of Inspecting Ordnance Officer (IOO). Lieutenant A de T Nevill, RNZA, took the post of Acting IOO in 1925 to allow Ivory to undertake regimental duties within the RNZA, with Ivory reassuming the position of IOO on 2 January 1927. On Ivory’s retirement in 1933, Lieutenant Ivan Roberts Withell, RNZA, assumed the appointment of IOO, a role held until his death on 31 August 1946.
On the formation of the NZAOC in 1917, the Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA) Ordnance Section at Fort Ballance passed to NZAOC control, continuing with its task of storing, repairing, and refurbishing ammunition under the control of the RNZA. With The Kaiwharawhara Magazines closed in the early 1920s, Watts Peninsular on the north end of Wellingtons Miramar peninsular became the first large-scale ammunition depot of the NZAOC. The ammunition infrastructure consisted of 19 magazines, one store and a laboratory spread out across the peninsula at Shelly Bay, Kau Point, Mahanaga Bay, Fort Ballance and Fort Gordon. These were not purpose-built ammunition magazines but repurposed submarine mining and coastal artillery fortifications dating back to the 1880s. In the case of Kau Point and Forts Ballance and Gordon, the large six- and eight-inch disappearing guns had been removed in the early 1920s, and the gun pits roofed over, becoming ad-hoc magazines. This accommodation was far from ideal as temperature and moisture control could not be adequately controlled, resulting in potential damage t ammunition stocks.
A smaller Ammunition section was also maintained at Mount Eden in Auckland until 1929, when along with some staff from Fort Balance, the Mount Eden Ammunition Section was transferred to New Magazines at Hopuhopu Camp. Envisaged to be the principal ammunition depot for New Zealand, eleven magazines and a laboratory were constructed between 1925 and 1927. Built into the hillside to contain any blasts, the magazines were made of concrete, with double walls forming an inspecting chamber. The intent of the inspection chamber was for sentries to observe thermometers and adjust the ventilation to maintain the stock at optimal temperatures by consulting a chart.
The NZAOC Ammunition sections were civilianised in 1931 when nearly all of the NZAOC military staff were transferred to the Public Service as civilian staff at a lower rate of pay or placed on superannuation as the result of government budgetary restraints.
When New Zealand entered the Second World War in September 1939, the responsibility for ammunition was shared between the RNZA and the NZAOC.
The Director of Artillery was responsible to the General Officer Commanding for.
The provision and allocation of gun ammunition,
The receipt, storage, and issue of gun ammunition and explosives other than small-arms ammunition
The Director of Ordnance Services, assisted by the IOO and the SAA Proof Officer, were responsible to the Quartermaster-General for.
The inspection and repair of gun ammunition,
The provision, receipt, storage and distribution of small arms ammunition.
NZAOC Ammunition facilities and personnel shared by the RNZA and NZAOC in September 1939 consisted of.
The IOO, Captain I.R Withell, RNZA
The Proof Officer, SAA Mount Eden Auckland, Honorary Lieutenant J.W Fletcher, NZPS
19 Magazines, 1 Store, and an Ammunition Laboratory at Fort Ballance managed by
an RNZA WO1 seconded to the NZAOC
five members of the NZAOC civilian staff
11 Magazines and an Ammunition Laboratory at Hopuhopu Camp managed by
an RNZA WO1 seconded to the NZAOC and
two members of the NZAOC civilian staff.
Single SAA Magazines at Trentham and Burnham Camps.
From 1940 as the New Zealand Army moved from a peacetime to a wartime footing, the Ammunition trade grew exponentially as new infrastructure was constructed to accommodate the extensive range of ammunition required for training and home defence, with Modern Explosive Store Houses built at.
Burnham – 8 Magazines
Ohakea – 6 Magazine
Papakura (Ardmore)- 28 Magazines
Hopuhopu and Kelms Road – 55 Magazines
Waiouru – 45 Magazines
Makomako – 39 Magazines
Trentham (Kuku Valley) – 22 Magazines
Belmont – 62 Magazines
Glen Tunnel – 16
Mount Somers – 10
Fairlie – 9
Alexandra – 9
In 1942 a conference of the QMG, DQMG2, AQMG5, COO, DCOO and IOO reset the wartime policy and organisation of New Zealand Military Ammunition services in which,
The COO and the Ordnance Ammunition Group were responsible for the management and storage of ammunition
the Chief IOO (CIOO) was responsible for all technical management and inspection of ammunition.
With the role of the IOO branch now defined, from January 1943, the establishment of the IOO Branch was steadily increased to more robust levels.
From mid-1945, discussions started taking place on the post-war shape of the NZAOC. Some thought was given to returning the NZAOC to its pre-war status as a predominantly civilian organisation. Reality prevailed, and the future of the NZAOC was assured as a permanent component of the post-war Army.
The Proposed establishment of NZAOC Ammunition units saw the first widespread use of Ammunition Examiner (AE) as the ammunition trade name. AEs had existed in the British Army since 1923, evolving from the trade of Military Laboratory Foreman that had been established in 1886. Although the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) authorised the use of a specialist AE badge consisting of an ‘AE in Wreath’ in 1942, permission to wear this badge was not granted to New Zealand AEs.
The first New Zealand AE were in the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary (2NZEF), where New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC) AEs were included as part of the 2nd New Zealand Division NZASC Ammunition Company establishment. Little information is known about the 2NZEF AEs. They were likely recruited from within 2NZEF, given some rudimentary training by the RAOC and set to work.
From 1 June 1945, the Artillery Headquarters element responsible for managing Gun Ammunition, the Ammunition and Equipment Section, was transferred to the control of the Chief Ordnance Officer (COO), ending the RNZA roles in the management of ammunition that had existed since the 1880s and the employment of Parker and Silver. As a result of the transfer, 11 Officers and 175 Other Ranks of the Royal New Zealand Artillery were absorbed into the NZAOC establishment.
On 15 November 1945, the QMG directed that the care, maintenance, accounting and storage of all ammunition and explosives was the responsibility of the COO. Under the COO, these duties were to be undertaken by
The IOO Section
The NZAOC Ammunition Section
Under the CIOO, the IOO Section was responsible for.
The control of all work on ammunition for all purposes other than accounting and storage,
Maintenance of Ammunition and explosives in stock in a serviceable condition and ready for use,
Provision of personnel for inspection and repair and for working parties to carry out repairs,
Provision of all equipment and stores required for the inspection and repair of ammunition,
Provision and accounting for Motor Transport necessary for the transport of stock for inspection and repair,
Administration and control of Repair Depot Trentham,
Maintenance of buildings at Repair Depot Trentham.
The NZAOC Ammunition Section was responsible for.
The accounting, storage and care of ammunition and explosives,
Maintenance or magazines areas and of buildings and services connected with the storage of ammunition and explosives,
Administration of personnel of the IOO Section, while attached to ammunition depots concerning pay, rations, quarters, clothing and discipline,
Transport arrangements for the movement of ammunition not connected with the inspection and repair of ammunition at depots.
The provision of suitably trained personnel was a constant problem for the CIOO. A course for IOOs was conducted over November/December 1945 to provide sufficient Officers to fill the IOO establishment. Graduates included
Captain John Gordon Renwick Morley
Captain Gerald Arthur Perry
Lieutenant W.G Dixon
Lieutenant Eric Dudley Gerard
On 1 September 1946, Army Headquarters “Q” Branch underwent a significant reorganisation which included the formation of the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME) and the reorganisation of New Zealand’s Ordnance Services under the Director of Army Equipment (DAE) which became the senior NZAOC appointment.
Under the DAE, Ordnance Services were divided between the,
COO, responsible for Headquarters New Zealand Ordnance Services, including the Provision Group
CIOO, responsible for the IOO Group
On the retirement of the incumbent DAE, Lieutenant Colonel C.S.J. Duff, DSO, RNZA, on 3 July 1947, the appointment of DEA was renamed Director of Ordnance Services (DOS), with Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Huia Andrews, RNZAOC, appointed as the first post-war DOS on 1 October 1947.
By 1949 the Ammunition organisation had further evolved, combining the IOO and NZAOC Section into a single ammunition organisation, with
The CIOO and staff providing DOS with the required technical advice on ammunition
District IOOs appointed to each District Headquarters as the Ammo advisor to the District DADOS
District Ammunition Sections now renamed as
Northern District Ammunition Depot
Central District Ammunition Depot
Southern District Ammunition Depot
Army Ammunition Repair Depot
Army Ammunition Supply Depot
To facilitate the further reorganisation and refinement of the Ammunition functions, the DOS hosted the first conference of Senior Ammunition Officers at Trentham Camp from 21-24 June 1949.
With the role of Inspection Ordnance Officers and Ammunition Examiners now embedded into the structure of the New Zealand Army, The Ammunition trade remained an under-resourced trade, struggling to fill its establishments despite having a high operating tempo. Typical activities supported during the 1950s included,
Continuous inspection of wartime ammunition held depots
Disposal of surplus and obsolete ammunition by
Dumping at sea
Destruction within depots
Sale to the public (SAA natures)
Transfer to allied nations
Supply of Ammunition to support Compulsory Military Training
Disposal of Blinds and unexploded Ammunition discovered in wartime training areas
Trials and introduction into service of new natures of ammunition
Technical Ammunition support to the Fiji Military Forces
In the United Kingdom, a competition was held in 1948 to design a new badge for RAOC Ammunition Examiners, with a design by Major Leonard Thomas Herbert Phelps accepted. Rumoured to be based on the Elizabeth Arden Cosmetics Company logo, the new Ammunition Examiner badge, consisting of a 3″ x 2″ Red, Black and Gold Flaming Grenade superimposed with the Letter A in the body of the Grenade signifying the AE trades position as an “A” Class trade, and was the first three-colour trade badge in the British Army.
In 1950 The British Army Dress Committee gave authority for AEs of the rank of Sergeant and above to wear the ‘Flaming A’ Trade Badge as a ‘Badge of Appointment’. However, it took time for this badge to be approved for wear by New Zealand’s Ammunition Trades.
In 1959 a comprehensive review of army dress embellishments was conducted to provide a policy statement on the wear embellishments such as
Badges of Appointment
In reviewing Badges of Appointment, it was found that in comparison with the British Army, some badges of appointment worn by the British Army were also approved for wear by the New Zealand Army. Worn below the rank badge by WOs and above the chevrons by NCOS, examples of British badges of appointment worn by the New Zealand Army included,
Gun, worn by WO2s, SSgts and Sgts of the RNZE
Grenade, worn by WO2s, SSgts and Sgts of the RNZA
Hammer and Pincers, worn by WO2s, SSgts and Sgts of the RNZEME
Lyre, worn by Bandsmen
In the case of the RAOC AE flaming “A” badge, it was felt that there was merit in supporting the use of the same badge for wear by RNZAOC ammunition trades, and the adoption of the flaming “A” badge was recommended.
Despite the many recommendations for the army dress embellishment review, the only decision was to adopt shoulder titles and formation patches. The Army Dress Committee invited the Adjutant General to prepare a paper on dress embellishment and draw up a policy on Badges of Appointment, Instructors Badges, Skill-at-Arms Badges and Tradesmen’s badges. The wait for a badge for AE’s was to continue.
As the RNZAOC organisation matured in the late 1950s, it became apparent that the system in place of having separate Ordnance, Vehicle and Ammunition Depots located in the same locations but under different command arrangements was impracticable and not an efficient use of resources. Starting in 1961, a reorganisation was undertaken to consolidate administrative, accounting and store functions under one headquarters. The restructuring resulted in only one RNZAOC depot in each district, which consisting of,
To achieve this, all the existing District Ammunition Depots became sub-depots of a District Ordnance Depot, designated as.
In 1960 the RAOC renamed their Ammunition Trades, and concurrent with the 1961 reorganisation, the RNZAOC decided to align the Ammunition Trade with the RAOC and adopt the same trade names, making the following changes.
Chief Inspecting Ordnance Officer became Chief Ammunition Technical Officer
Senior Inspecting Ordnance Officer became Senior Ammunition Technical Officer
District Inspecting Ordnance Officer became District Ammunition Technical Officer
Inspecting Ordnance Officer became Ammunition Technical Officer
Ammunition Examiner became Ammunition Technician
Up to 1961, Ammunition Technical Officers (ATOs) were usually only employed in Ammunition-related duties. However, as a result of this reorganisation, ATOs were now used across all of the RNZAOC and, as such, were required to balance their regular duties with their Ammunition responsibilities.
1968 saw further reorganisation with the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham was renamed 1 Base Ordnance Depot and the District Ordnance Depots renamed
Northern District Ordnance Depot to 1 Central Ordnance Depot
Central District Ordnance Depot to 2 Central Ordnance Depot
Southern District Ordnance Depot to 3 Central Ordnance Depot
A significant aspect of the 1968 reorganisation was the Disestablishment of The Small Arms and Proof Office co-located at Mount Eden when the CAC closed down, ending the ammunition trades’ long relationship with the CAA. Additionally, the Ammunition Proof and Experimental Centre operations at Kuku Valley was closed down, and its operations moved to the new Joint Services Proof Establishment at Kauri Point in Auckland.
Keen to provide the Ammunition trade with a suitable trade identifier Major D.H Rollo, the CATO, sent a message to the New Zealand Defence Liaison Staff in London in September 1968 requesting the following information from the UK Chief Inspector of Land Service Ammunition (CILSA) on the RAOC AT Badge
Do other ranks and officers wear it
Conditions of entitlement to wear
Cost of badge
Possibility of procuring samples
Any other pertinent details which may guide in adopting a similar badge
By the end of November 1968, through the New Zealand Defence Liaison Staff, the UK CILSA provided the following information on the RAOC AT badge to the New Zealand CATO,
Worn by all Ammunition Technicians on No 1 and No2 Dress. It is not worn with any other form of dress.
No1 Dress – 7/6d each,
No 2 Dress – 5.1/4d each
Samples of each badge to be provided
Armed with this information that the RAOC badge was only approved for wear by ATs and not ATOs, CATO raised a submission to the 77th meeting of the Army Dress Committee in April 1969 for approval to introduce the Flaming “A” badge for New Zealand ATs. However, it was not a robust submission and was declined because it was contended that there was not sufficient justification for the badge, with the following reasons given.
Other trades in the Army were equally deserving of such a badge
The low standard to qualify for the badge
The Dress Committee agreed to reconsider the matter if further justification could be supplied.
By 1969 developments in the United Kingdom and the troubles in Northern Ireland saw the unofficial wearing of the RAOC AT badge by ATOs, and by 1971 an ATO badge consisting of a small ‘Flaming Circle’ without the superimposed A was introduced in the June 1971 DOS Bulletin.
Moving forward from Major Rollo’s initial submission, New Zealand’s CATO, Major Bob Duggan, reconsidered the earlier proposal and, on 13 July 1970, through the DOS, submitted the following for a combined AT/ATO Badge,
6. R & SO Vol II provides for the wearing of qualification badges, and a study of that publication reveals that a large proportion of Army Corps already have these. Many badges require less effort for qualification than would the exacting trade of Ammunition Technician. In addition, and supporting the acceptance of an ATO/AT Badge, these technicians are frequently required to deal with other services and members of the public.
7. The low standard required to qualify for this badge has been reconsidered in light of information obtained on similar standards received from overseas. In addition, it was never the intention to cheapen the significance of this badge in the RNZAOC or those of any other Corps. The standard required to qualify for the ATO/AT badge would now be as follows:
a. Technical Officers who have practised for a minimum of one year.
b. All Ammunition Technicians, regardless of rank, who have qualified in all ways for four stars in their trade.
8. The Public Relations side of the duties of ATO/Ats, as mentioned in paragraph 6 above, is further explained. This aspect concerns the collection and disposal of stray ammunition and explosives as well as involvement with the Police and other Government Departments in bomb scares. The average annual number of items, all natures and types of stray ammunition which have been collected over the last three years is 5750, which represents approximately 450 calls by ATOs or four-star ATs. ATO/ATs are requested by Police Stations throughout New Zealand
a. To visit many private homes to identify-stray ammunition.
b. Assess whether or not the items are in a dangerous state, and
c. Remove such items for disposal. If an item is in an armed state, it could mean disposal in situ’.
9. The request is therefore not for a trade badge, but one of recognition and identification as to the dangerous and skilful nature of their specialist work.
With the Support of the Army Q Branch, the Army Dress committee approved the introduction of the AT Badge for qualified RNZAOC ATOs and ATs on 31 May 1971
The New Zealand AT badge adopted in 1971 was identical to the RAOC AT Badge. The criteria for being awarded was for Officers to have completed one year of practical experience after graduating from the ATOs Course in Australia or the United Kingdom. For ATs to qualify, they were required to be qualified in all aspects of the trade, which could take up to six years.
The New Zealand AT Badge was approved to be worn with the following orders of dress;
No 2 Dress Mess Kit, No 3 Dress Summer Mess Kit. On the left lower sleeve, 165mm above the bottom of the cuff
.No 4A Dress Service Dress. On the left lower sleeve, 165mm above the bottom of the cuff, except with warrant officers, it was worn immediately above the badge of rank on the left sleeve.
The United Kingdom continues to maintain different ATO and AT badges. The Australian Army utilises an RAOC style, ATO badge with a stylised Wattle for ATOs and ATs.
Examples of New Zealand ATO/AT Badges
On 24 May 1985, the Army Dress Committee endorsed a proposal that all New Zealand Army Qualification Badges eventually conform to a common heraldic motif as an initiative to develop insignia with a unique New Zealand flavour. The common heraldic motif consisted of the qualification badge surrounded by fern fronds providing a badge with a distinct national character.
Although a scroll could be included, if this was not necessary, the fronds continued and stopped just short of the centre point.
Approved for adoption by the CGS on 6 November 1985, the request went out to trade sponsors to prepare drawings of the current qualification badges encompassing a surround of fern fronds for consideration by the Army Dress Committee.
Although tasked with providing a design of the AT badge incorporating the common motif, on 1 April 1987, CATO provided a submission including the current AT Badge with the common motif, as well as an alternative design in keeping with the requirement to ‘New Zealandise’ qualification badges.
At the Army Dress Committee meeting on 12 May 1987, it was agreed that to ensure uniformity of design, the AT badge design incorporating the fern fronds was recommended for approval by CGS. This badge was introduced into service in 1988.
In April 1987, the New Zealand AT Badge was approved for wear with Sumer Dress (Dacrons) on the left arm 50mm below the point of the shoulder
New Zealand ATOs and ATs matured into a highly specialised trade that, on the amalgamation of the RNZAOC into the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR) in 1996, had a wide range of responsibilities, including
The inspection, storage and maintenance of all ammunition and explosives used by the Army
The conduct of technical trials on new ammunition,
The conduct investigations into ammunition incidents and accidents,
The disposal of unserviceable or obsolete ammunition,
The management of Explosive Ordnance Devices and Improvised Explosive Devices.
New Zealand’s Ammunition trade has progressed from storing and managing black powder magazines in the 19th century to managing the many modern ammunition natures available to the 21st century New Zealand Army. Although introduced in 1971 to recognise and identify the specialist, dangerous and skilful nature of the Ammunition trade, the flaming “A” badge is a fitting symbol of the trade’s progress.
The passing of the Defence Act 1909 heralded a transformation of the Defence Forces of New Zealand, establishing a military system that influenced the organisation, training and recruitment of the New Zealand Army into the early 1970s. Coming into effect on 28 February 1910, The Act abolished the existing Volunteer system, in its place creating a citizen-based Territorial Army from the units, regiments and Corps of the Volunteer Army. The Territorial Army’s personnel needs would be maintained by a system of Compulsory Military Training (CMT), requiring the registration of all boys and men between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one years of age. The challenge for Captain James O’Sullivan and the staff of the Defence Stores, an organisation already markedly transformed since 1900, was to meet the material need needs of the growing citizen army that New Zealand was creating.
The following article published in the New Zealand Times on 8 December 1911 provides an eyewitness account of the activities of the Defence Stores in support of the growing citizen army.
While politicians are prating about the cost of the defence scheme, and its more direct enemies are peregrinating from street corner to street corner with soap boxes, the scheme itself is being steadily proceeded with. Some people probably fail to realise what it means to inaugurate an entirely new system of military defence. The necessary legislation came first, then the mapping out of the requirements in men and money, then the excitement of enrolling, and now there is proceeding the part, of which the public see little and hear little, but which perhaps is the most troublesome of all, and materially the most important, viz., the arming and the equipment of themen.
This task is being carried out at the Defence Stores in Buckle Street, Wellington. It requires a visit there to realise the thought, the work, the experience, that are necessary to carry out a big work of this description. When you enter the Buckle Street stores and see the busy toilers and the preparations for the distribution of arms and clothing over the Dominion, you realise that a big work is in progress.
For instance, the uniforms for the territorials have for the past week or two been arriving. So far the outfits for about nine thousand men in a more or less state of completion, have come, to hand. These all have to be sorted out and shelved. They are in graded in sizes, an ingenious system of measurement, the product of the brain of Captain O’Sullivan, Director of Defence Stores, has been applied, whereby almost any sized youth be fitted. Measuring has been proceeding in the various centres. A form is filled up by the regimental quartermaster for each recruit, and these forms are now arriving at the depot. Next weak commences the task of sending out the uniforms. Each man also gets an overcoat, a felt hat, and a forage cap. Every branch of the service will wear putties instead of leggings. The uniforms in hand at present fill multitudes of shelves—indeed, the place wears the appearance of a busy warehouse. Every article of clothing is the product of New Zealand mills. There is a absolute uniformity of colour, so that the whole New Zealand defence force, from the North Cape to the Bluff, will on mobilisation, present no spectacle of detached units, but one uniform whole. Distinguishing colour badges and trouser stripes will mark the branches of the service, green denoting the mounted, men, and red the infantry. The senior cadets will have neat blouses and long trousers. So far the uniforms in stock comprise only a small portion of what yet remains to be handled. A new brick building is in the later stages of completion for their safer storage. The felt hats are the product of the National Hat Mills, Wellington, and are really a very excellent article. Many large packing cases are stacked in the yards waiting to be dispatched with these goods to the territorial centres.
But this is only one branch of the industry. In other sheds are stacked camp paraphernalia, tents, marching outfits of the latest pattern, containing, in addition to bayonet, water-bottle, overcoat, etc., a handy trenching tool, bandoliers, field outfits, including telephones and heliographs; much leather goods; service boots, which the department is selling, at option, to the men at a low fee, and many other requisites. Outside in the yard is a new pontoon bridge, lately come to hand, a rather bulky apparatus that has not yet been used. Elsewhere are stored transit water tanks, a sample transport waggon (from which others will be manufactured in the Dominion). Necessary appliances for the eighteen-pounder guns have also been coming to hand, though the guns themselves have not yet arrived.
In other sheds are many large black cases. These contain the service rifles. It is not permitted that the public should know what stock of these is kept. It is a state secret that not even an Opposition order for a “return” could cause to be divulged. Recently, however, ten thousand were added to the stock. Just at present workmen are spending busy hours cleaning up and inspecting the rifles that have been received from the old volunteer corps. Every Government arm in the Dominion has been called in, and as a result every, man will have issued to him a nice clean rifle. It will be a new start over the whole Dominion. It would grieve the heart of the military enthusiast to see the condition in which some of the rifles have been sent In. There is undoubtedly great need for the new quartermasters in the various regiments, to see that this sort of thing does not recur. Some of the Wellington corps have been rather bad offenders. The comparatively slow process of cleaning these arms has been the cause of the delay in their reissue. Every rifle has 104 parts, and these parts are stocked in large quantities.
Of the Dominion’s ammunition store, also, the outsider can know nothing. This much, however, is for public information, that every Saturday morning the Director of the Defence Stores produces his ammunition balance book, to the Commandant, who then known from glancing over the pages exactly how every packet has been distributed and how each part of the Dominion is served.
The Buckle Street stores do not yet present the aspect of a Woolwich Arsenal, but things are very busy there; the will of the people is being given effect to at as rapid a rate as opportunity will permit; evidences are offered of the effective defence scheme now in active operation; and pleasing, indeed, is the outstanding fact that local industries are benefiting to an enormous degree from a new departure in defence that after all, is an admitted necessity.
Arms and Uniforms,” New Zealand Times, Volume XXXIII, Issue 7978, 8 December 1911
 Peter Cooke and John Crawford, The Territorials (Wellington: Random House New Zealand Ltd, 2011), 153.
 I. C. McGibbon and Paul William Goldstone, The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History (Auckland; Melbourne; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, 2000), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 109-10.
 “Arms and Uniforms,” New Zealand Times, Volume XXXIII, Issue 7978, 8 December 1911.
It is said that a picture says a thousand words, and this postcard of the Takapau Divisional Camp of April-May 1914 is such a picture. While it tells part of the story of the neatly 4839 Territorials who attended the camp, it also provides an insight into the tremendous logistical effort by the Defence Stores Department to provide the stores and equipment required by the largest Territorial camp ever held in New Zealand.
Between April and May 1914, 18,882 Territorial Soldiers of New Zealand’s citizen army attended five main camps across New Zealand.
the Auckland Military Districts camp was at Hautapu, near Cambridge,
the Canterbury Military Districts camp was split between Kowai, near Springfield, with the Marlborough and Nelson units camping at Tapawera, near Nelson.
the Otago Military Districts Camp was at Matarae, in Central Otago
The Wellington Military Districts were held at Takapau in Hawkes Bay.
To oversee the management of the Camp Equipment and other Ordnance Stores required, the District Storekeepers of each Military District were appointed as Ordnance Officers for the duration of the camp and provided with a staff of eighteen Territorial Soldiers trained in the duties required of an Ordnance Depot.
The District Storekeepers were
Honorary Lieutenant William Thomas Beck, District Storekeeper, Auckland
Honorary Lieutenant Arthur Rumbold Carter White, District Storekeeper, Christchurch
Honorary Lieutenant Mr Owen Paul McGuigan, District Storekeeper, Dunedin
Mr Frank Edwin Ford District Storekeeper, Nelson
Honorary Major James O’Sullivan, Defence Storekeeper Wellington
Based on the numbers that attended the Takapau Camp and the Camp Equipment scale of 1913, the following quantities indicate the Camp Equipment required. Provided from the Defence Stores in Wellington, two trainloads were required to move the stores from Wellington to Takapau to pre-position before the camp.
Axes, felling, helved, 122
Axe. Pick, 160
Buckets, Water, 1937
Basins, Wash hand, 2023
Boilers with lid, 20 Gal, 100
Boilers with lid, 9 Gal, 100
Candlesticks, bayonet, 2023
Choppers, Meat, 100
Crowbars (if required) 190
Dishes, meat, 1711
Kettles, camp, 1543
Lantern s, stable, 348
Racks, arm, tent (Large loop), 1259
Tents, circular, complete, 1773
Ropes, picket, 20 yards 115
Brooms, bass, 128
Sheets, ground, 8350
Rakes, iron 16in ,128
How much of this equipment was available in the District Storehouses is unknown. However, it is known that in 1914 the NZ Military had a sufficient stock of tents to accommodate the whole Territorial Force at the full establishment, including
3651 tents (circular)
30 operating tents, and
98 bivouac tents
The concept of the Camp Ordnance Depots was that as the unit advance parties arrived, the required number of camp equipment stores were issued from the Ordnance Depot to the unit Quartermaster Staff, usually under the control of the Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant.
On completing the camp, the RQMS was required to return all the stores to the Ordnance depot and remain available to finalise any accounts for losses and damages. Following the closedown of the camp, the stores were then loaded onto trains and returned to the District Stores, ready for the next activity.
The Ordnance Depots also held a stock of clothing and equipment available as replacements or for sale. For example, the Takapau Camp Ordnance Depot sold 1000 boots and 250 blankets.
The Divisional Camps of 1914 were only the second time Ordnance Depots had been established at annual camps and proved successful. There is no doubt that they would have stood up again for the planned camps in 1915. However, the logistical framework of the 1914 Divisional Camps served as a dress rehearsal for the August 1914 mobilisation and contributed to the raising and dispatching overseas of the largest, best trained and equipped force to be dispatched from this country in the 20th century.
Following the war in South Africa, the British Empire was at the height of its power and prestige. The Royal Navy ruled the oceans, and if British interests were threatened on land, Canada, Australia and New Zealand had proven their commitment to support the empire by contributing men and materiel. As the economic powerhouse of the empire, British India was the most significant jewel in the British Imperial crown. However, British India’s confidence that it had the support of British dominions was put to the test in 1909 when it was discovered that firearms from Australia and New Zealand were being provided to tribes on the North-West Frontier who were actively opposed to the interests of British India. So how did firearms from New Zealand end up in the hands of Pathan Tribesmen on the borders of modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan?
As the New Zealand military reorganised and reequipped following the war in South Africa, new uniforms and equipment were introduced, and the .303inch cartridge adopted as the standard calibre for rifles, carbines and machine guns, resulting in the Defence Stores holding over 17,000 Snider, Martin-Henry and Remington Lee rifles, carbines and accoutrements and just under a million rounds of obsolete ammunition. The disposal of this stockpile was the most significant disposal of Arms and Ammunition undertaken by the Defence Stores throughout its existence which had the unintended consequence of arming Pathan tribesmen on the borders of British India.
Snider rifles were introduced into New Zealand service starting from 1868.
The Sniders served thru to 1890, when they began to be superseded by Martini-Henry rifles and carbines.
The introduction of cordite or smokeless powder ushered in the introduction of the .303 Martini-Enfield rifle leading to the progressive withdrawal of the Sniders and Martini-Henrys following the introduction of bolt action Lee Metford and Enfield rifles. With sufficient .303 calibre Martini-Enfield’s and an increasing amount of bolt action, magazine-fed Lee Metford and Enfield rifles available to arm the forces and provide a reserve, the Defence Council authorised a Board of Survey to be formed to investigate the disposal of the obsolete Sniders and Martinis in store. In addition to Sniders and Martinis, there was also a quantity of .340 Remington-Lee rifles. In a bold move to provide New Zealand’s forces with the most modern of rifles, these were imported into New Zealand in 1887. However, due to unsatisfactory ammunition, the Remington-Lees were withdrawn from service in 1888.
Sitting in early 1907 and consisting of three officers, the Board of Survey weighed up the options for the disposal of the stockpile of obsolete weapons. Dumping the entire stock at sea was considered, but an anticipated outcry from the New Zealand press, as this means of disposal, would have been seen as another example of needless government waste, and this option was ruled out. A small but guaranteed financial benefit resulted in sale by tender being decided upon as the most practical means of disposal.
The early 20th Century was a turbulent time in world history. The late 19th-century race by the European powers had left them all fighting colonial bush wars to suppress opposition and maintain control in their various colonial possessions. In Eastern Europe, the Balkans were aflame as the former European vassals of the Ottoman empire fought the Turks and each other as they struggled to gain their independence. Closer to New Zealand, as the emerging American and Japanese empires undertook colonial expansion in the Philippines and Korea, conflict and insurrection followed and were only quelled by the most brutal measures.
In this environment, the New Zealand Government was cognisant that there was a ready market for firearms, however as the Arms Act of New Zealand limited the bulk export of weapons from New Zealand, the conditions of the tender were clear that for any arms not purchased for use in New Zealand, the remainder were not to be exported to any country or place other than Great Britain.
The entire stock of firearms was stored at the Defence Stores at Wellington and packed 50 to 90 weapons per case. The tender terms allowed tenderers to quote for not less than 100 of any weapon. The quantities and types of weapons were,
.577 Snider rifles, short sword bayonets with scabbards – 6867
.577 Snider rifles, long – 978
.577 Snider carbines, artillery; sword bayonets with scabbards – 1957
.577 Snider carbines, cadet – 849
.577 Snider carbines, cavalry – 669
.577/450 Martini-Henry rifles, sword bayonets with scabbards – 4686
.577/450 Martini-Henry carbines – 520
Enfield carbines, Sword bayonets and scabbards – 103
.340 Remington Lee Rifles – 840
Swords, cavalry, with scabbards – 600
The ammunition was all of the black powder types, which, when fired, created a large amount of smoke exposing the rifleman’s position. An interesting ammunition type included in the tender was 106,000 rounds of Gardner-Gatling ammunition. This ammunition had been imported in the late 1880s as part of a demonstration lot, resulting in the purchase of a single Gardiner Machine Gun by the New Zealand Government. The ammunition was stored in the magazines at Wellington and Auckland, with the tender terms allowing bids of less than 50,000 rounds of any mixture of ammunition. The ammunition types tendered were.
.577/450 Martini-Henry, ball, rifle, solid case – 189000 rounds
.577/450 Martini-Henry, ball, rifle, rolled case – 170000 rounds
.577/450 Martini-Henry, ball, carbine, rolled case – 120000 rounds
.577/450 Martini-Henry, blank – 240000 rounds
.577 Snider Ball – 150000 rounds
.45 Gardner Gatling, ball – 106,000 rounds
Notice of the tender was published by the Director of Military Stores, Captain James O’Sullivan, in the New Zealand press from 4 June 1907, with 14 June set as the final day for bids.
The Tender Board accepted the highest tender in July 1907 with all the arms purchased by a Manchester firm through their New Zealand agents.
Much of the powder within the ammunition had caked and was unsuitable for use, leading to a significant part of the stocks being broken down into salvageable components in New Zealand. Under the supervision of Captain O’Sullivan, a record of each weapon was taken, recording the brands and serial numbers stamped on each weapon. As the weapons were packed into cases, the contents of each case were also recorded. The entire consignment was loaded onto the S.S. Mamari at Wellington, which sailed directly to London via the New Zealand Shipping Company’s usual route. Included in the mail carried on the same voyage was a notification to the War Office in England providing complete shipment details. Providing these details to the War Office was not obligatory and only made on Captain O’Sullivan initiative. Four months later, the War Office received a reply asking why they had been sent all that information.
Captain O’Sullivan’s attention to detail in dispatching the New Zealand firearms to England proved wise when in May 1909, the Calcutta Englishman, the leading daily newspaper in India, published an article stating that Weapons bearing Australian and New Zealand markings had been smuggled across the Pathan border.
While the Calcutta Englishman was accurate in its report that weapons bearing Australian and New Zeland Military markings had been found in the hands of Pathan tribesmen. The path the New Zealand weapons had taken to India was not the result of poor accounting by New Zealand’s Defence Stores, but rather the shady dealing of British second-hand arms dealers.
 “Defence Forces of New Zealand: Report by the Council of Defence and Extracts from the Report of the Inspector-General of the NZ Defence Forces, for the Year Ended 28th February 1908,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1909 Session II, H-19 (1909).
 “The Smuggled Rifles,” Star (Christchurch), Issue 9546, 19 May 1909.
 “Obsolete Arms,” New Zealand Times, Volume XXIX, Issue 6231, 10 June 1907.
 “Australasian Arms Smuggled into India,” Evening News (Sydney, NSW ) 12 May 1909.
Hidden in an alcove under some stairs at New Zealand’s Army’s Trade Training School is a surprising item of memorabilia not generally associated with the Army, a Ships Bell belonging to the M.V Rangitata.
With no labels or tags identifying its origins, its mounting cradle indicates that it was mounted in a social club or smoko room and used to call the room to attention for important announcements.
The journey of this bell and why it now rests at Trentham has long been forgotten. However, it does hold a surprising place in the whakapapa of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistics Regiment.
Established in 1873, the New Zealand Shipping Company (NZSC) helped pioneer the trade of frozen goods from New Zealand to England and became one of New Zealand’s premier shipping companies with domestic and international routes.
In the late 1920s, the NZSC undertook a significant investment in its fleet for the Wellington to London route and had three modern diesel-powered passenger/cargo ships built, the Rangitane, the Rangitiki and the Rangitata.
Known as the “Rangi” ships, from 1929, these 16,737-ton diesel-powered vessels dominated the service between England and New Zealand with a four-weekly service, making the voyage via the Panama Canal and Pitcairn Island in 32 days.
All three Rangis served in various war-related roles from 1939.
whilst transiting from New Zealand to England was sunk three hundred miles east of New Zealand by the German surface raiders Komet and Orion on 27 November 1940.
In November 1940, as its sister was facing German raiders in the Pacific, as the largest vessel in the thirty-eight vessel trans-Atlantic convoy HX 84, the Rangitiki encountered the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer, and although eight merchant vessels were lost, the Rangitiki completed the voyage. In December 1940, as part of Trans-Atlantic convoy WS 5, the Rangitiki then survived an encounter with the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper. In 1945 the Rangitiki returned to the New Zealand -England route as it undertook repatriation voyages returning Servicemen and War brides home from Europe. Following eighty-seven peacetime return voyages between New Zealand and the United Kingdom, the Rangitiki was retired and broken up as scrap in 1962.
In 1937 the Rangitata transported troops to England for the coronation of King George VI, and in 1939 was requisitioned for war service. During the war, some of the Rangitata’s eventful voyages included transporting 113 child evacuees from England to New Zealand. Later in the war, it transported United States soldiers from the USA to England. Following the war, the Rangitata was fitted out as a war-bride ship and, in 1947, transported the first post-war draft of immigrants to New Zealand. Returning to peacetime service with its sister ship, the Rangitiki, the Rangitata was also scrapped in 1962.
The wartime voyage of significance to the RNZALR is the Rangitata’s participation in carrying the First Echelon of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2nd NZEF) from Wellington to Egypt in January/February 1940.
Six merchant vessels made up Convoy US.1 sailing from Wellington on 4 January 1940, carrying 345 Officers and 6175 other ranks of the Second Echelon of the 2nd NZEF.
As part of Convoy US.1, the Rangitata transported the following units to Egypt.
Divisional Cavalry: A and B Sqns (369 men)
NZANS Nursing Sisters (3)
Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve ratings.
2 NZEF Overseas Base
13 Light Aid Detachment, New Zealand Ordnance Corps (1 Officer + 12 Other Ranks)
13 Light Aid Detachment, New Zealand Ordnance Corps (1 Officer + 12 Other Ranks)
The following members of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps have been identified as sailing on the Rangitata. As the war progressed, several of these men held significant positions in the NZOC and from November 1942, the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME). A small number continued to serve in the post-war NZ Army.
Lieutenant Donald Edward Harper, NZOC, Base Depot,
finished the war as Lieutenant Colonel and the 2nd NZ Div Assistant Director of Ordnance Services.
2nd Lieutenant John Owen Kelsey, NZOC, 13 LAD
Served as an Ordnance Mechanical Engineer (OME), Senior Ordnance Mechanical Engineer (SOME), Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (ADOS) and acting Chief Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (CRÈME). Completed the war as a Colonel and was awarded an MBE and MID
2nd Lieutenant Robert Hassell England, NZOC, 14 LAD
Promoted to Captain and served as OC 3 NZ Field Workshop and NZ Divisional Ordnance Field Park
Warrant Officer Class One Kevin Graham Keith Cropp, Base Depot
Remained in the RNZAOC post-war and retired as a Major in 1955
Warrant Officer Class One Francis Reid, NZOC, Base Depot
He was commissioned and served throughout the war. Remained in the RNZAOC after the war and as a Lieutenant Colonel, was the Director of Ordnance Services from November 1949 to March 1957.
Warrant Officer Class Two Andrew Gunn, NZOC, 13 LAD
KIA Greece. 18 April 1941
Corporal Randal Martin Holmes, NZOC, 14 LAD
Corporal Robert William Watson, NZOC, Base Depot
Private Rodger Langdon Ashcroft, NZOC, Base Depot
Private John Noel Shadwell Heron, NZOC, Base Depot
Private Mark Edwin Ivey, NZOC, Base Depot
Private Edward McTavish MacPherson, NZOC, Base Depot
Private Lionel Edward Campbell, NZOC, 14 LAD
Private Lionel John McGreevy, NZOC, 14 LAD
Although this list is not exhaustive, the few highlighted names indicate the logistical talent onboard the Rangitata during its voyage as part of Convoy US.1. Officers such as Harper, Kelsey and Reid went on and play a significant role in shaping the future of New Zealand Military Supply and Maintenance Support trades.
Although the journey of the MV Rangitata’s Bell and how it ended up in Trentham may never be known, the hope is that given its relationship to the Logisticians of the First Echelon, in the future, the RNZALR will place and display this bell in a position of significance.
Having a traditional reliant on the United Kingdom for military equipment, the rapid expansion of New Zealand’s military and the threat of invasion by Japan during World War Two necessitated New Zealand to seek and receive substantial war material from the United States. As the New Zealand Army reorganised in the post-war era, it soon became apparent that New Zealand’s military warehouses and ammunition depots were overflowing with surplus war material. In a move to enhance New Zealand’s national security by abetting our allies in their efforts to contain Communism in South-East Asia, New Zealand transferred free of charge to the French authorities in Indochina much of the surplus arms and ammunition held in RNZAOC Depots across New Zealand.
The post-war NZ Army was based on the 2nd NZEF of WW2 and consisted of an Infantry Division with integral Artillery, Armoured and Logistics elements. Based on the era’s strategic thinking, it was expected to deploy an NZ Division to the Middle East alongside British formations. Despite the reliance upon the United States for war material in the previous war and the large stock of American equipment in storage, the NZ Army was to remain armed and equipped with British pattern weapons, uniforms and equipment By 1952, France was struggling to hold onto Indochina, and although receiving 7200 tons of material a month from the United States, it was still falling short of its requirements. Realising that large stockpiles of British and American equipment had been declared surplus or abandoned across Asia and Australasia, the French established purchasing missions to acquire this equipment.
Responding to French requests, it was announced in September 1952 that New Zealand was to provide at no cost weapons and ammunition of American origin that were of a different calibre used by New Zealand forces. This shipment of firearms and ammunition were lend-lease weapons that had urgently been provided to New Zealand in 1942 and used by the Home Guard and some New Zealand units in the pacific, notably with RNZAF units co-located with American Forces, been lend-lease in origin, concurrence on the transfer had been sought and obtained from the United States. The Minister of External Affairs, T. C. Webb, stated that a substantial part of the consignment had been delivered to Singapore on HMNZS Bellona and then on shipped to French Indochina.  This first shipment included
13000, .30inch calibre Springfield M1903 rifles
700, .30inch calibre Machine Guns, and
670000 rounds of .30inch calibre Small Arms Ammunition (SAA).
Early in 1953, the Chief of the NZ General Staff, Major General Gentry, met with the French Commander-in-Chief, General Henri Navarre, at Saigon and discussed the transfer of surplus military equipment. Following Gentry’s report on this meeting, the NZ Government offered surplus equipment to the French authorities. With the war going badly for the French with the battle of Dien Bien Phu underway, a French Military mission consisting of Lieutenant-Colonel Cathala and Captain Mugg arrived in Auckland on 10 September 1953 for a two-week visit to examine the equipment and consider its suitability for use in Indochina.
With equipment identified and agreed upon, it was concentrated that Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham and following final inspections loaded onto a British vessel at Wellington in early March 1954. Equipment dispatched to Indochina included
3000 .30inch calibre Springfield M1903 rifles
750 .30inch calibre Machine Guns,
50 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns and ammunition,
10000 round of 37m armour-piercing shot,
Assorted Uniform Items
670000 rounds of .30inch calibre SAA
With the French surrendered at Dien Bien Phu on 7 May 1954. and the final withdrawal of French Forces from Vietnam concluded by April 1956; it is doubtful that the small New Zealand contribution of weapons and equipment assisted the French in any way. However, it might have found some utility in the new nation of South Vietnam or on some other French colonial battlefield.
Despite the small quantity of material provided, the French Minister to New Zealand, Mr Noel Henry, conveyed the French Government’s gratitude to New Zealand, acknowledging that New Zealand had done all it could do within its limited means.
 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.
N.S. Nash, Logistics in the Vietnam Wars, 1945-1975 (Pen & Sword Military, 2020), 63.
 Charles R. Shrader, A War of Logistics: Parachutes and Porters in Indochina, 1945-1954, Foreign Military Studies (University Press of Kentucky, 2015), Non-fiction, 134.
 “NZ Gives Arms to French,” Press, Volume LXXXVIII, Issue 26838, 17 September 1952.
New Zealand Foreign Policy: Statements and Documents 1943-1957, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Wellington: Government Printer 1972).
 “Arms for Indo China,” Press, Volume LXXXIX, Issue 27192, 9 November 1953.
 “Arms Aid for Indo-China,” Press, Volume XC, Issue 27332, 24 April 1954.
 Roberto Giorgio Rabel, New Zealand and the Vietnam War: Politics and Diplomacy (Auckland University Press, 2005), Bibliographies, Non-fiction.
In British and Commonwealth military doctrine, there has long been a separation of responsibility for Supplies and Stores
Supplies – The provisioning, storing, and distributing of food for soldiers, forage for animals; Fuel, Oil and Lubricants (FOL) for tanks, trucks and other fuel-powered vehicles and equipment; and the forward transport and distribution of ammunition. In the NZ Army, Supplies were managed by the New Zealand Army Service Corps (NZASC) from 1911 to 1979.
Stores – The provisioning, storage and distribution of weapons, munitions and military equipment not managed by RNZASC. Stores were the Responsibility of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (RNZAOC) until 1996.
Despite the separation of responsibilities, the RNZASC and RNZAOC had a long and cooperative relationship.
During early colonial days, the early actions of the New Zealand Wars proved that the New Zealand bush and the elusive tactics of the Māori presented unfamiliar problems of supply and transport. An Imperial Supply and Transport Service was established and operated with the Imperial troops.
From the end of the New Zealand Wars until 1910, there was no unit of ASC in New Zealand, with the supply functions required by the New Zealand Military provided by the Defence Stores Department. However, in 1911 the formation of the Divisional Trains saw the beginnings of the NZASC as part of the Territorial Army. NZASC units served in World War One, during which the NZASC and NZAOC would, especially in the early years of the war, often share personnel, facilities, and transportation.
In 1917 the NZAOC was established as a permanent component of the New Zealand Military Forces, however, it would not be until 1924 that the Permanent NZASC was formed. The alliance between the NZASC and the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) was approved in 1925.
The RASC has its roots much deeper in history. Up to the time of Cromwell, armies lived by plunder. The RASC came into being in 1888. but the work it would perform was being done long before that.
Cromwell and then the Duke of Marlborough, and later Napoleon organised a system of civilian commissaries. The Duke of York established the Corps of Royal Waggoners in 1794. This purely transport organisation continued until 1869 under various names, eventually, as the Military Train, fighting as light cavalry in the Indian Mutiny.
The birth of the Supplies and Transport Service dates from 1869. when the Commissariat and the officers of the Military Train along with the Military Stores Department came under one department called the Control Department, it remained for General Sir Redvers Buller, in 1888, to organise the first Army Service Corps. Since its formation, the RASC has been a combatant corps, trained and armed as infantry and responsible for its own protection. Considered a more technical Corps the NZAOC was not granted the status of a combatant Corps until 1942.
During World War Two, many units and establishments represented the NZASC in all the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) theatres. Again, as in the earlier World War, the NZASC would have a cooperative relationship with New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC) Ammunition Examiners (AEs) were on the establishments of the RNZASC Ammunition platoons, with NZASC Warrant Officers attached to the NZ Divisional Ordnance Field Park (OFP) to provide technical advice on vehicle spares. As a tribute to the service of the NZASC in WW2, the title, “Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps,’’ was bestowed in 1946.
In the post-war era, the NZASC and from 1946 the RNZASC would serve with distinction in J Force in Japan and then contribute the second-largest New Zealand contingent to K Force in Korea by providing 10 Transport Company.
Throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the RNZASC would be an integral part of the New Zealand Army. Its functions ranging from the everyday task of cooking and serving food to the more spectacular operation of dropping supplies by air.
To purchase, store, rail, ship, and otherwise distribute the amount of food, fuels and oils needed to supply a modern army, the RNZASC maintained Supply Depots and employed many kinds of tradespeople, including Butchers. Supply Depots located in Papakura, Waiouru, Linton, Trentham, Burnham, and Singapore, holding supplies in bulk and distributing them as required. A section of the RNZASC would be a feature of every army camp with smaller Supply and Transport depots to handle goods received from the central supply depots and provide drivers and transport for many purposes at Devonport/Fort Cautley, Hopuhopu, Papakura, Waiouru. Linton. Trentham, Wellington/Fort Dorset, Christchurch/Addington, and Burnham.
Following the Macleod report that recommended the streamlining of logistic support for the British Army, the RASC merged in 1965 with the Royal Engineers Transportation and Movement Control Service to form the Royal Corps of Transport (RCT). This would see the RASC Supply functions transferred to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC). In 1973, following the British lead, the Australians also reformed their Royal Australian Army Service Corps (RAASC) into the Royal Australian Army Corps of Transport (RAACT).
Acknowledging the British and Australian experience, the RNZASC would also undergo a similar transition, and on 12 May 1979, the RNZASC ceased to exist, and its Supply functions transferred to the RNZAOC, while the Transport, Movements and Catering functions were reformed into the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport (RNZCT).
The RNZASC supply functions would be integrated into the RNZAOC, with the Camp Supply Depots becoming NZAOC Supply Platoons numbered as.
14 Supply Platoon, Papakura/Hopuhopu
24 Supply Platoon, Linton
34 Supply Platoon, Burnham
44 Supply Platoon, Waiouru
54 Supply Platoon, Trentham
NZ Supply Platoon, Singapore
In recognition of its long RNZASC service, 21 Supply Company was retained as a Territorial Force(TF) unit, initially as the TF element of 4 Supply Company in Waiouru and later as the TF element of 2 Supply Company, Linton. Today 21 Supply is the main North Island Supply unit of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR).
For a brief period following the RNZAOC assumption of Supply functions, some RF and TF RNZAOC would periodically be employed within the RNZCT transport Squadrons Combat Supplies sections.
The RNZAOC Butcher trade inherited from the RNZASC would be discontinued in the mid-1980s, with the last of the butchers reclassifying as RNZAOC Suppliers. By the mid-1990s, it was decided as a cost-saving measure to allow the RNZCT catering staff to order directly from commercial foodstuff suppliers, effectively ending the RNZAOC foodstuffs speciality. The only RNZASC trade speciality remaining in the RNZAOC on its amalgamation into the RNZALR was that of petroleum Operator.
The RNZASC and RNZCT like the RNZAOC, have passed their combined responsibilities to the RNZALR. However, the RNZASC and RNZCT maintain a strong association that provides many benefits and opportunities for comradeship to RNZASC/CT Corps members and past and present members of the RNZALR. Another role of the RNZASC/CT association is to ensure that the rich and significant history of the RNZASC/CT is not lost to the future generations of the RNZALR.
Copies of the RNZASC/CT association newsletter from issue 92 can be viewed here
Due to the reorganisation of the New Zealand Army Headquarters “Q” branch and the formation of the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME), new establishment tables for the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) were approved for use from 1 October 1946.
Under discussion since 1944, the 1 October 1946 Establishments provided the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps with a framework within the interim post-war New Zealand Army that woud allow future growth.
Responsibility for the NZ Army’s Logistic Functions fell to the Quartermaster-General who delegated responsibility for Ordnance Services to the Director of Army Equipment (DAE).
Under the DAE the NZ Army Ordnance Services were organised as;
Headquarters NZ Ordnance Services
Chief Ordnance Officer (COO) & Staff
Main Ordnance Depot, Trentham
Three District Sub-Depots
No 1 Ordnance Sub-Depot, Hopuhopu
No 2 Ordnance Sub- Depot, Linton
No 3 Ordnance Sub-Depot, Burnham
Inspection Ordnance Group, comprising:
Ammunition Repair Depot, Kuku Valley
IOO Section Northern Military District (NMD), Hopuhopu
IOO Section Central Military District (CMD), Trentham
IOO Section Southern Military District (SMD), Burnham
Serving the nation for 44 years, Henry Erridge served at Gallipoli before being invalided back to New Zealand. Continuing to serve throughout the interbellum, Erridge assisted in shaping the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps for the Second World War. During the war, Erridge played a significant role in providing New Zealand’s contribution to the collective logistics efforts of the British Commonwealth
Henry Earnest Erridge was born in Dunedin on 18 December 1887 to Henry and Jane Erridge. The fifth of seven children, Henry was educated in Dunedin and received commercial training. A keen military volunteer Erridge had joined the Dunedin Engineer Volunteers as a Cadet in 1904, transferring into the Otago Hussars in 1909, gaining Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Rank. On 6 April 1914, Erridge joined the New Zealand Permanent Staff (NZPS) with the rank of Staff Sergeant Instructor as the Orderly Room and Quartermaster (QM), No 15 Area Group, Oamaru.
On the outbreak of war in August 1915, Erridge was seconded for duty with the NZEF and left New Zealand with the Main Body, Otago Infantry Battalion. As a Signals Sergeant in the Otago’s, Erridge saw service during the Turkish attack on the Suez Canal in February 1915 and later took part in the landings at Gallipoli. Stuck down with enteric fever, Erridge was evacuated from Gallipoli to Alexandria in June and, in August, invalided back to New Zealand for further convalescence.
Returning to duty as a Warrant Officer in the QM Department at Featherston Camp on 10 January 1916, Erridge was appointed Stores Forman responsible for managing the QM Stores accounts for Featherston and its subsidiary camps. Reclassified as Class “A” fit for overseas service on 5 July 1918, it was intended to attach Erridge to a reinforcement draft and returned to the front. Deemed as essential, the Director of Equipment and Ordnance (DEOS) Stores appealed to the Chief of the General Staff, stating that
The accounts of the Camp Quartermaster, Featherston Camp, have not been completed and balanced. The principle causes for this state of affairs are:
(1) The inferior class of clerks posted for Home Service duties. (2) And ever-changing staff, thus throwing the bulk of work on SSM Erridge, who has been employed in the capacity of foreman.
It is essential that SSM Erridge be retained until 1 November at least
Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores to Chief of the General Staff. 14 August 1918
The DEOS appeal was successful, and Erridge was granted authority to delay his placement into a reinforcement draft until November on the proviso that every endeavour was to be made to have all accounts in connection with the QM Branch Featherston and subsidiary camps completed to the satisfaction of the proper authority. Following the Armistice of 11 November 1918, Enridges employment was reassessed, and he was provided orders to remain with the QM Department at Featherston. Seconded to the Ordnance Stores in Wellington in June 1919, Erridge was permanently transferred into the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) with Conductor rank on 1 October 1919.
Recommended for the Supplies and Purchasing Officer position with the civil administration in Samoa, Erridge was accepted for service with the Samoan Administration for three years from 24 May 1920. Due to a misunderstanding of the secondment rules, Erridge was discharged from the New Zealand Military. However, this was reviewed, and the discharge was rescinded, allowing Erridge to retain his rank and seniority on return to New Zealand.
Completing his service in Samoa in August 1923, Erridge returned to New Zealand and, following three months leave, resumed duty with the NZAOC, where he was posted to the Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) and placed in charge of the Stores on 1 December 1923. In an example of his experience and utility, Erridge temporally relieved Captain F.E Ford, the Ordnance Officer of Featherston Camp, over the period 4-31 Jan 1924.
During the 1920s, the Quartermaster General (QMG) vested command of the NZAOC to the Director of Ordnance Service (DOS). Assisted by the Chief Ordnance Officer (COO), the Inspecting Ordnance Officer (IOO), and the Ordnance Mechanical Engineer (OME), the DOS was responsible for:
The provision, receipt, storage, distribution, repair, examination, and maintenance of small-arms, machine guns, vehicles, clothing and necessaries, equipment and general stores (including medical and veterinary), and camp and barrack equipment,
The inspection and repair of armament and warlike stores, and the inspection of gun ammunition.
The provision, receipt, storage, and distribution of small arms ammunition.
The receipt, storage, issue, and repair of fixed armament, field armament, and artillery vehicles.
The organisation and control of ordnance workshops
The preparation and periodic revision of Equipment Regulations and barrack and hospital schedules
The organisation, administration, and training of the NZ Army Ordnance Corps Forces
The maintenance of statistics of the Ordnance Department.
The DOS was also the Commanding Officer (CO) of the NZAOC and was responsible for the interior economy, including enlistment, training, pay, promotion, postings transfers, clothing, equipment, and discharges within the unit.
In 1924 the incumbent DOS, Lt Col Pilkington, was appointed QMG in Army Headquarters. Major T.J King, then acting COO, was appointed DOS, with Major William Ivory acting as the IOO and OME. By 1925 King recognised that he could not provide complete justice to both the DOS and COO posts, but with no Ordnance Officers immediately available to fill the COO position, he recommended that the QMG give some relief by granting Erridge an officer’s commission. In his recommendation to the QMG, King noted that
Conductor Erridge is a man of wide experience in Ordnance duties and stores works generally and is eminently fitted for appointment as Ordnance Officer with the rank of lieutenant. He is a man of unblemished character, with a very high regard for the interests of the Corps and the services, and in the last few months gained sufficient insight into the duties I propose transferring him to.
Director of Ordnance Stores to Quartermaster General 11 December 1925
The QMG supported King’s recommendation on the proviso that Erridge pass all the required commissioning examinations. On passing the examinations needed, Erridge was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the NZAOC on 23 July 1926. However, the question then arose of where to place Erridge on to the Army List. Technically the COO appointment was still vacant with Erridge for all intents acting as King’s assistant and only performing part of the COO duties with the work of the COO divided between King and Erridge. It was not desired to add to the establishment an Assistant COO, so it was decided to show Erridge as Ordnance Officer (Provision). Following several years as the Ordnance Officer (Provision), Erridge was appointed to the dual roles of Ordnance Officer MOD and Ordnance Officer Central Military District (CMD) on 14 May 1929.
In December 1930, the incumbent Ordnance Officer Southern Military District (SMD)and Camp Commandant of Burnham Camp, Captain A.R.C White, faced compulsory retirement. To allow some continuity while White’s replacement was decided, Erridge was temporarily sent to Burnham. Although initially only a temporary posting, Erridge remained at Burnham until 1934 in the dual roles of Ordnance Officer SMD and Officer in Charge Burnham Camp (Camp Commandant).
By 1935 in his role of DOS, King was looking forward and preparing his organisation for war. In a submission to the General Headquarters, King requested authority to reorganise his staff. Regarding Erridge, King started.
Owing to the large amount of new equipment that is on order and is likely to be ordered soon, it is essential that the staff of the Ordnance Depot, Trentham, be strengthened to the extent that I should again have the assistance of my most experienced Ordnance Officer.
There is a great deal of work of a technical nature in connection with mobilisation, rewriting of Regulations, etc., which I am unable to find time to carry out myself, and which Mr Erridge, by virtue of his long experience and training, is well qualified to undertake. This work is most necessary and should be put in hand as soon as possible; I have no other Officer to whom I could delegate it.
Again, King’s recommendations were accepted, and on 30 June 1934, Erridge relinquished his Burnham appointments and was appointed as the Ordnance Officer (Provision) at the MOD, with promotion to Captain following on 1 December 1934.
When the war was declared in September 1939, the NZAOC underwent a significant transformation as its mobilisation plans were implemented. The DOS, Lieutenant Colonel King, was seconded to the 2nd NZEF as the Deputy Director of Ordnance Services (DDOS). Accompanying King was a small staff drawn from the military and civilian staff of the NZAOC who formed the nucleus of the Ordnance Corps in the 2nd NZEF. Kings’ responsibilities of DOS and COO were handed over to the Ordnance Officer CMD, Lt Col Burge.
On 2 December 1939, Erridge relinquished the appointment of Ordnance Officer (Provision), was granted the Rank of temporary Major and posted to Army HQ with substantive Major confirmed in February 1940. In June 1940, the NZAOC underwent further reorganisation when Lt Col Burge relinquished the appointment of DOS when he was appointed as Deputy QMG in Army HQ with the position of DOS placed into abeyance for the duration of the war. Appointed as Staff Officer Ordnance and CO of the NZAOC, Erridge took over responsibility for the NZAOC.
With the national economy transitioning from peacetime to a war footing, the Government took a series of initiatives to ensure international trade and commerce security. Representing the New Zealand Military, Erridge accompanied the New Zealand Minister of Supply and a small entourage of officials of the New Zealand Munitions and Supply Delegation on a tour of Australia for a series of talks with their Australian counterparts in July/August 1940.
While the mission of the New Zealand Munitions and Supply Delegation to Australia was focused on strengthening cooperation between New Zealand and Australia, the Eastern Group Conference held in Delhi in October 1940 had the broader goal of organising a joint war supply policy for the countries of the “Eastern Group.” The countries represented at the Eastern Group Conference included the United Kingdom, Australia, India, South Africa, New Zealand, East Africa, Palestine, Ceylon, Burma, Malaya, and Hong Kong, with the Government of the Netherlands East Indies attending as observers. The New Zealand delegation included.
The Chief of the General Staff, Major-General Sir John Duigan,
Major H. E. Erridge,
Mr F. R. Picot, Director of the Internal Marketing Department,
Mr J. R. Middleton, assistant-Secretary of supply,
Mr B. Taylor, assistant to the chief investigating officer of the Treasury Department.
As a result of the October conference, the Eastern Group Supply Council (EGSC) was established to coordinate and optimise the production and distribution of war materiel in the British colonies and dominions in the Eastern Hemisphere. The New Zealand members of the council who were to be based in New Delhi were.
Mr F.R Picot, Director of Internal Marketing and Food Controller,
Mr W.G.M Colquhoun (Munitions Department).
Mr R.J Inglis (Supply Department).
Mr R.H. Wade (of the Treasury).
A Central Provisions Office (Eastern) was also set up in Delhi, with national offices established in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, East Africa, Southern Rhodesia and the Middle East. The Central Provision Office (Eastern) was a military organisation consisting of about 40 to 50 Army officers from all countries constituting the Eastern Group. Headed by the Controller-General of Army Provisions, who was also the military member of the EGSC and acted as the agent of the Imperial General Staff and various Commanders in Chief. The role of the Central Provision Office (Eastern) was coordinating with the controllers of the national provision offices to obtain military stores to maintain the British and Commonwealth war effort. From March 1941, Two NZAOC Officers, Temporary Major D. L. Lewis and Lieutenant D.I Strickland were attached to the Central Provision Office (Eastern) staff in New Delhi.
Before the Central Provision Office (Eastern) assumed complete provision control, it was necessary for all the controllers of the national provision offices to meet to ensure that uniform procedures were adopted. A coordination conference for the various Provision Group Controllers was held at New Delhi in July 1941, with Erridge attending as New Zealand’s military representative. Based on this conference, on 5 August 1941, the New Zealand War Cabinet approved the establishment of the New Zealand Defence Servicers Provision Officer (DSPO), with Erridge appointed as its Controller with the rank of Temporary Lieutenant Colonel. Relinquishing the appointment of Staff Officer Ordnance and handing over the Commanding Officer NZAOC duties to Major E.L.G Bown, the COO MOD.
By April 1945, the DSPO thought Central Provision Group (Eastern) had shipped for the British Ministry of Supply equipment to the value of £10,000,000 (2021 NZD $8,988,577,362.41) with additional equipment to the value of £8,520,761 (2021 NZD $765,895,194.35) that was surplus to the requirements of NZ Forces overseas transferred to the War office. During a visit to New Zealand in January 1946, Major-General R.P Pakenham-Walsh, CB, MC., a member of the Eastern Group Supply Council and the Central Provision Office(Eastern), stated that “Stores from New Zealand which had been made available to the Eastern Group Supply Council had been of great importance in the prosecution of the war” adding that “the Dominion’s contribution had compared more than favourably with that of various larger countries.” Following the surrender of Germany in April and Japan’s defeat in August 1945, the Eastern Group Supply Council and Central Provision Office, although serving their purpose well, had become irrelevant and were dissolved on 31 March 1946. However, it took two years for the DSPO to transition to a peacetime footing. Seconded to the War Asset Realisation Board (WARB) on 1 May 1947, Erridge started to wind down the work of the DSPO while also coordinating the disposal of equipment through the WARB. On 17 December 1948, Erridge handed over the remaining stocks to the WARB and closed the DSPO.
At 62 years of age and following 45 years of volunteer, Territorial and Regular service, Erridge retired from the New Zealand Army and was placed onto the Retired List with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on 29 May 1949. Never marrying, Erridge spent his retirement in his hometown of Dunedin. On 30 March 1962, a resident of the Dunedin’s Ross Home, Erridge, passed away at 74. Following his wishes, he was cremated, and his ashes scattered.
Throughout his service, Erridge was awarded the following decorations
NZ Long Service and Efficient Service (1925)
British War Medal
War Medal 1939-45
NZ War Medal, 193-45
 Archives New Zealand, “Henry Earnest Erridge- Ww1 8/1004, NZAOC 888, Ww2 800245, 30293,” Personal File, Record no R24097640 (1904-1948): 2708.
 “Regulations for the Military Forces of the Dominion of New Zealand,” New Zealand Gazette, May 19, 1927.
 “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfers of Officers of the NZ Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette No 61, 19 July 1926.
 “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette No 48, 27 June 1929.
 “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers and Retirements of Officers of the NZ Forces “, New Zealand Gazette No 16, 5 March 1931.
 “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers and Retirements of Officers of the NZ Forces “, New Zealand Gazette No 55, 19 July 1934.;”Appointment, Promotions, Transfers and Retirements of Officers from the NZ Forces,” New Zealand Gazette No 87, 29 November 1935.
 “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers and Retirements of Officers of the NZ Forces “, New Zealand Gazette No 1, 11 Jan 1940.;”Appointments, Promotions, Transfers and Retirements of Officers of the NZ Forces “, New Zealand Gazette No 75 (1940).
 “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers and Retirements of Officers of the NZ Forces “, New Zealand Gazette No 70 (1940).
 “Unity in War Effort,” Evening Star, Issue 23622, 8 July 1940.
 East Africa consisting of the territories of (Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Northern and Southern Rhodesia, Nyasaland; Bertram Stevens, “The Eastern Group Supply Council,” The Australian Quarterly 13, no. 3 (1941).
 “Eastern Group Supply Council,” Otago Daily Times, Issue 24640, 23 June 1941.
 “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Retirements of Officers of the New Zealand Military Forces.,” New Zealand Gazette, No 30, 9 April 1941.
 “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Retirements of Officers of the New Zealand Military Forces.,” New Zealand Gazette, No 74, 11 September 1941.
 “War Supplies,” Evening Post, Volume CXXXIX, Issue 126, 30 May 1945.
 “Production Problems,” Evening Star, Issue 25690, 14 January 1946.
 “Supplies – the Eastern Group Supply Council,” Northern Advocate, 1 April 1946, 1 April 1946.
 “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army “, New Zealand Gazette No 37, 16 June 1949.