Morgan and John O’Brien

A small memorial plaque placed just below a soldier’s headstone at Palmerston North’s Terrace End Cemetery provides a hint to a fantastic story of two brothers who served in the First World War. One, who as a result of illness attributed to the war, would have a short life, passing away seven years after the war. The other would have a long and exciting life, that would exemplify the ideals of the American Dream.

Morgan Joseph, John Goutenoire and Mary Agatha (b April 1903) were the three children of Morgan and Isabel O’Brien and were born in Nelson between 1891 and 1903. Shortly after the birth of Mary, Morgan O’Brien took up a position as a Health inspector in Palmerston North which would see the O’Brien Family settle in there.

Morgan Joseph O’Brien

Born on 13 August 1891 Morgan would attend Nelson College, and like most men in New Zealand at the time undertake his compulsory military service in the Territorial Army.  A foundation member of the Palmerston North J Battery of the Artillery, Morgan would also serve in the Poverty Bay Company of the 9th (Hawkes Bay) Infantry Regiment. Morgan was well known in Palmerston North and later Gisborne as a keen Footballer and Cricketer.

At around 1913, Morgan took up a position with the Gisborne Branch of J.J Niven, taking charge of that branches customs and shipping department.  With the onset of the First World War, Morgan entered Trentham Camp for training with the Artillery in November 1915. Sailing with the 10 Reinforcements on 4 March 1916, Morgan would join the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in France in April 1916 and posted to the Divisional Ammunition Column (DAC). It is likely that due to Morgan’s civilian clerical exercised that he was involved in the area of ammunition accounting, managing the substantial quantities of ammunition required by the New Zealand Division.  Serving with the DAC for the remainder of the war, Morgan would be struck down with influenza several times but would finish the war in Sling Camp in the United Kingdom. Morgan would be transferred into the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) on 13 February 1919. Promoted to Corporal and posted to the London Ordnance Depot. Morgan would have been working closely with his brother John, who was the Chief Clerk of the NZAOC. Morgan’s clerical skills were recognised, and in July 1919 he was promoted to Sergeant. With the bulk of the demobilisation work required of the Ordnance Depot in London completed by August 1919, Morgan was repatriated to New Zealand in September 1919 on the SS Ruahine. After Three Years and Two Hundred- and Ninety-Seven-Day of overseas service Morgan was struck off the strength of the NZEF on 22 January 1920, returning to his civilian employment with J.J Niven in Gisborne.[1]

Morgan would only remain in Gisborne for just under two years, when in December 1921 he was promoted to be the Accountant at JJ Nivens Palmerston North Branch. Sadly, like many of his peers, Morgan’s health and been affected by the war and would plague him with continuing problems and periods in Hospital. On 24 August 1926 at the age of Thirty-Five, Morgan passed away at his parents’ home at 163 Fitzherbert Street Palmerston North. Morgan’s funeral was held at St Patrick’s Church, with many beautiful wreaths received and representation from his former employer, military and sporting associates.[2]

John Goutenoire O’Brien

John O’Brien was born on 3 April 1895 (some sources state 1896) and would attend Palmerston North High School, Nelson College and Palmerston North Technical college.[3] Following a similar vocational path as his brother, John would take up a clerical position as Clerk with the Bank of New Zealand in Palmerston North. Called up for military service in the Territorial Army, John would spend two years with the Palmerston North based C Company of the 7th (Wellington West Coast) Regiment.

John would enlist into the NZEF on 20 April 1915, joining B Company of the 6th Infantry Reinforcements at Trentham Camp. Embarking for Egypt on 11 August 1915, the 6th reinforcements would be the last to reach Egypt before the end of the 1915 Gallipoli campaign. John as part of the Wellington Infantry Battalion would be amongst the last of the New Zealand Troops committed to the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign; however, after a short period fighting on Gallipoli, John was evacuated early in December due to suspected appendicitis and dysentery.[4]

After recuperation in Alexandra, John was posted to the New Zealand Base Depot at Ismailia as the New Zealand Division was reorganised. Possibly as a result of his clerical background, John did not re-join the Wellington Infantry Battalion but instead transferred into the NZAOC. Serving with the New Zealand Division in France, John would be promoted to Corporal on 4 June 1916 and then Sergeant on 31 March 1917.

On 13 February 1918, John was transferred from the New Zealand Division in France and taken on the strength of the New Zealand Ordnance Depot in London. Audits had found several inadequacies in the running of the store’s account which John described as “a system of recording and accounting that was absolutely hopeless”.[5] Appointed as the NZAOC Chief Clerk in the United Kingdom, John was promoted to Temporary Warrant Officer Class One (Temporary Sub Conductor) on 5 October 1918.

New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Badge, 1916-1919 (Robert McKie Collection 2017)

Promoted to Warrant Officer Class One (Sub Conductor) on 25 November 1918, the priority due to the end of the war had shifted from supporting the NZEF to demobilising the NZEF, including the closing of accounts and the final balancing of the books. Appointed as a Conductor on 1 February 1919, John in addition to his existing staff of two would be allocated an additional six men to assist in the reorganisation and rewriting of the ledgers to an acceptable standard. John’s older brother Morgan, an accountant by trade was on 13 February 1919 transferred from the New Zealand Field Artillery into the NZAOC and posted to the London Ordnance Depot, where it is of no doubt that his skills as an account were put to use.[6]

New Zealand Ordnance Depot, 30-32 Farrington Road, London. Map data ©2018 Google, Imagery ©2018 Google

By the middle of 1919, John and his staff had made progress in the closing of the NZEF accounts, with the ADOS Colonel Pilkington satisfied that the whole team would be repatriated in September on the SS Ruahine. However, due to changes of Department heads in NZEF Headquarters, John elected to remain to follow through in his efforts and ensure that his responsibilities were handed over.[7]

In recognition of the valuable services rendered in connection to the war, John was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal on 9 December 1919.

In January 1920 it was anticipated that with the planned sailing of the “Corinthic” on 20 February 1920 that there would only be twenty-four members of the NZEF remaining in the United Kingdom to be repatriated on the “Ionic” on 31 March 1920. However, much work remained to be done, and the three remaining Ordnance Staff; Captain Simmons, John and Sergeant Edwards were each allocated specific tasks by the departing ADOS. John was to;

Remain to settle all claims preferred against the NZEF, by the Imperial authorities for stores and equipment issued from time to time, also to obtain credit for stores returned to Imperial Ordnance by NZEF Units and Depots. This WO will deal with all claims for outstanding stationery issued to the NZEF, and will arrange credit for all stationary etc., returned to HM Stationery Office. He will pass for payment, all accounts for goods etc., brought under this Office Local Purchase Orders Authority. All matters relating to the equipment for the Post-Bellum Army in New Zealand will be dealt with by him, and he will submit any idents which have to be preferred, and will also assist the High Commissioner with the arrangements for shipping all new equipment and stores for the Dominion.[8]

Having been overseas for over four years, John was becoming anxious about his future employment. He had resigned from his position with the Bank of New Zealand in 1915, with it seems a gentleman’s understanding that his job would be held open for him on his return. However, after five years of military service, correspondence with the Bank of New Zealand indicated that his re-employment was not guaranteed but would be favorably considered. With a strong case to return to New Zealand, Johns demobilisation was approved. On handing his remaining duties over to Captain Simmons and the New Zealand High Commission, John departed for New Zealand on the last official troopship returning to New Zealand the “SS Ionic”. Leaving the United Kingdom on 31 March 1920 the Ionic would transit the Panama Canal, arriving back in Wellington on 28 May 1920. It is interesting to note that during Johns tenue in London in addition to his military duties, he undertook a course of study at the London Hugo College of Languages.[9] 

On 8 June 1920 John was stuck off the strength of the NZEF and after five years returned to civilian life. Concurrent to John been demobilised, the Director of Ordnance Services, Lt Col Pilkington, who as the NZEF ADOS had intimate knowledge of Johns abilities, was working to find John employment. Early in June, Lt Col Pilkington recommended in a letter to the Chief Ordnance Officer that John would be an outstanding and qualified candidate to fill the position of Chief Clerk in the Christchurch Ordnance Deport, then located at the King Edward Barracks. Accepted for this role John was attested for service in the Temporary Section of the NZAOC as a sergeant on 8 June 1920.[10]

After five months, John decided to resign from the NZAOC and pursue other interests and was discharged at his request on 19 October 1920. John would then travel to the United States where he would study law at DePaul University Chicago from 1921 to-24. During his time at Chicago, John would write several articles on the peoples of the earth, articles on foreign lands and subjects in general and was one of a group that published two volumes on the recent World War.[11]

Nearing the end of his studies, John found employment with the Continental Trust and Savings Bank of Chicago, where in 1923 he was appointed as the manager of the Bond and Coupon Division.

Relocating to Shreveport Louisiana in 1926, John was then appointed as the Trust Officer for the Commercial National Bank.[12] Under his leadership, the trust department would become recognised as one of the most outstanding in the South with John later serving as a vice-president of the bank.

John O’Brien 1926

In 1926 John would marry Katharine Kramer and in the same year celebrated the birth of his son Joseph. However, this must has been tempered with the news of the early death of his elder brother in October 1926. Having found a career and established a family in the United States, John was naturalised as a US Citizen on 22 February 1928.[13]

Old Commercial National Bank Building in Shreveport, Louisiana. Wikimedia Commons

It is known that John made two return visits to New Zealand, the first in 1930 and after the death of his father in 1937, the second trip in April 1941. Arriving from the United States via the American Clipper air route, Johns visit would be a combined holiday and business visit which would be wildly covered by the press.[14]

During his visit, John would describe the positive reporting in the United States of the New Zealand Division in the Middle East and provide a first-hand account of the increasing amount of war material produced in the USA for export to the British Empire. John would also provide insight into American insights into the war and how although the Southern States were firmly behind Britain, the Northern States with their large immigrant populations were less supportive, but John had confidence that President Roosevelt and United States Congress would make the right decision when the time came.[15] An astute businessman John was found to be correct in his prediction, and after the 7 December attack on Pearl Harbour, the United Stated threw its entire strength into the effort to defeat not only the Empire of Japan but also Nazi Germany.

As the United States mobilised, John would be recalled to the colours, and on 27 July 1942 was inducted as a Major into the US Army and assigned to the Staff of General Harmon, Commanding General of US Army Forces in the South Pacific area. [16]   As the US Army Forces in the South Pacific area were initially Headquartered out of Auckland, John likely spent some time in wartime New Zealand. Johns promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in 1943 was widely covered by the New Zealand Media which no doubt brought much pride to his New Zealand family.[17] In November 1943 after eighteen months in the Pacific John was assigned to the Intelligence Division, Fourth Air Force, San Francisco California and as new regulations were put in place to start releasing personnel, John was transferred to the active reserve on 2 May 1944.[18]  In regards to Johns service, Major General William Lynd, Commanding General, Fourth Air Force stated that “Colonel O’Brien entered the service at a time when our nation faced its darkest days. The valuable experience he brought with him contributed much to our victories in the pacific”[19]

Lieutenant Colonel John O’Brien, United
States Army Air Force, 1944

Returning to his pre-war position with the Commercial National Bank, John would remain there for another two years before taking up another role with the industrial manufacturing company J.B Beaird. Resigning from the bank in 1946, John would serve as vice-president and treasurer of J.C Beaird until his retirement In November 1958.

During his lifetime, John assumed leadership roles in many charitable drives held senior positions in many civic clubs. Posts her filled included;

  • Chairman of the trust division of the Louisiana Bankers Association,
  • Member of the executive committee and board of the Chamber of Commerce,
  • Chairman of the United Fund,
  • Chairman of the Caddo Community Chest,
  • President of the Caddo Chapter of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis,
  • Member of the board Caddo Chapter of the American Red Cross,
  • Member of the board and president of the Little Theatre,
  • Member of the finance committee of Centenary College.

Always keen to pass on his knowledge and experience, John was also at times an Instructor of economics, corporate finance and various banking subjects for;

  • YMCA schools,
  • The American College of Underwriters,
  • The American Institute of Banking,
  • The Wholesale Credit Men’s Assn

As a veteran of two wars, John was active in veteran affairs and an active member of the American Legion, and held top offices in the;

  • Lowe-McFarlane Post 14 of the American Legion,
  • The Rotary Club,
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars.

During 1952, John was the chairman of a civilian advisory board assisting the United States Air Force in an audit of Reservists in Northwest Louisiana and Southwest Arkansas.

A year into his retirement and at the age of Sixty-Two years, John died of a heart attack on 21 October 1959.[20] Buried in the Forest Park in the centre of Shreveport, a memorial plaque was also placed below the headstone of his brother in the Terrace End cemetery in his New Zealand Home town of Palmerston North.

Sua tela tonanti


Notes

[1] “O’brien, Morgan Joseph,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1916.

[2] “Personal,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLVI, Issue 279, , 26 October 1926.

[3] “Nelson College School Register, 1856-1956,” Ancestry.com. New Zealand, School Registers and Lists, 1850-1967 ; ” Bank Selects Trust Officer,” The Shreveport Times, 5 March 1926; ibid.

[4] “O’brien, John Goutenoire “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

[5] “Demobilisation – Organisation of Ordnance Service, 4 September 1918 – 8 March 1920,” Archives New Zealand Item No R25103117  (1920).

[6] “O’brien, Morgan Joseph.”

[7] “Demobilisation – Organisation of Ordnance Service, 4 September 1918 – 8 March 1920.”

[8] Ibid.

[9] ” Bank Selects Trust Officer.”

[10] “O’brien, John Goutenoire “.

[11] ” Bank Selects Trust Officer.”

[12] Ibid.

[13] “Naturalization Petitions, 1925 – 1927,” Ancestry.com. Louisiana, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1836-1998.

[14] “New Zealand Born,” Auckland Star, Volume LXXII, Issue 77, 1 April 1941.

[15] “Aid for Britian,” Evening Post, Volume CXXXI, Issue 84, , 9 April 1941.

[16] “News About Those in Military Service,” The Shreveport Journal  9 August 1943.

[17] “Personal,” Manawatu Standard, Volume LXIII, Issue 207 31 July 1943.

[18] “Army Praise Given Banker for Service,” The Shreveport Times, 2 May 1944.

[19] Ibid.

[20] “Local Civic Leader Dies,” The Shreveport Journal  22 October 1959.


The Quartermaster trade

From the earliest years of the New Zealand Army, supply at the Regiment or Battalion level has been the responsibility of the unit Quartermaster (QM) and his staff.  Traditionally QMs were commissioned from the ranks and assisted by the Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant (RQMS) and a staff of clerks and Storeman with Company Quartermaster Sergeants (CQMS) providing support at the sub-unit level.[1] Typically, the QM and associated staff would be drawn from within the ranks the regiment or corps in which they worked, providing an intimate level of knowledge of how the unit worked and thus were well suited to providing the best support. As the New Zealand Army began to take shape in the nineteenth century the “Q” staff of units tended to be older more experienced men who although past their prime in the field had an intimate knowledge of their unit and were able to provide a useful management functions of the units weapons and equipment.   In volunteer units, many of which were more akin to social clubs, annual elections would be held to elect officers and “Q” Staff and as a result many of the unit stores accounts were in disarray with many discrepancies from what had been provided by the crown to what was in unit stores.

Measures to address administrative training across the army was addressed in 1885 with the Army School of Instruction established at the military headquarters at Mt Cook in Wellington. The primary task of this Army School of Instruction was training in musketry, with courses on Tactics and Staff Duties conducted at the School from 1886 onwards.[2] However it is unknown if rudimentary stores accounting was included in the curriculum.[3]

Following the South Africa War, the NZ Army began to undertake a transformation into a force better trained and equipped to participate in the Imperial Defence Scheme. Uniforms, weapons and equipment was standardised, and following the Defence Act of 1909 the Volunteer forces were replaced with a robust Territorial force that would be maintained by compulsory military training.  

In 1905, The New Zealand Military Forces Dress Regulations, authorised for use of an eight-pointed star as a identifying embellishment to be worn by Regimental and Company Quartermaster Sergeants.[4]  The badge would remain in use until 1917.

Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant-Major, 1905-1915. Robert McKie Collection
Company Quartermaster Sergeant, 1905-1917. Robert McKie Collection

Unknown photographer (1910) The Empire’s foremost soldier: Field-Marshal Lord Kitchener. Auckland War Memorial Museum call no. D503 K62

Lord Kitchener who was considered as “”The Empire’s foremost soldier” visited New Zealand in 1910. Kitchener reviewed New Zealand’s Forces and made several recommendations from which several alterations to the NZ Army were made, including the establishment of the New Zealand Staff Corps and Permanent Staff. The New Zealand Staff Corps (NZSC) and New Zealand Permanent Staff (NZPS, when established in 1911 provided a professional cadre of officers (NZSC) and men (NZPS) able to provide professional guidance and administration to the units of the Territorial Force. Kitchener’s visit reinvigorated the military to review itself, with the care, maintenance and responsibility of equipment found to be lacking, and that the current cadre of RQMS not up to the task, and the need for a professional cadre of RQMSs identified.

To rectify the situation, late in 1911 thirty young men, selected from the various military districts spent three weeks undertaking a course of instruction on “Q” matters at the Defence Stores Department in Wellington. Undergoing practical and theoretical instruction in the duties of the office of RQMS. Instruction conducted under the supervision of the Head of the Defence Stores, Major O’Sullivan and the senior staff of the Defence Stores Department as instructors. The course was thorough with instruction including;

  • Armorers providing instruction on weapon storage, inspection, maintenance and accounting,
  • The Saddler providing instruction on the correct methods of storage, inspection and maintenance of leather items such as horse saddlery and harnesses.
  • The Sailmaker providing instruction on the correct methods of storage, inspection and maintenance of canvas and fabric items such as tents, other camp canvas and fabric camp equipment.
  • The Stores Foreman providing instruction on the Packing of stores.
  • The ledger-keeper providing instruction with the keeping of accounts and maintenance of documentation used throughout all the departments.

Examinations were held on the various subjects in which instruction had been given, with records showing that at least 18 of the 30 candidates passed the exams successfully and were appointed Quartermaster Sergeants in the New Zealand Permanent Staff under General Order 112/10.

This course of instruction was notable as although the Army School of Instruction had been established in 1885, this was the first course specifically designed to instruct on the duties of RQMS, and as such was probably the first dedicated “Q Store” trade-related course conducted in New Zealand.

With the declaration of war against the Central Powers in August 1914, New Zealand was well prepared and rapidly mobilised and a Expeditionary Force dispatched overseas. To maintain the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), a reinforcement plan was implemented with Trentham and later Featherston camps established as the principle reinforcement training camps. In late August 1914, Lieutenant (Temp Captain) T McCristell NZSC was appointed as the Camp Quartermaster of Trentham Camp. In his role as Camp Quartermaster, McCristell with a cadre of men from the Permanent Staff held back from the Expeditionary Force, would establish the “Camp Quartermaster Stores”. Established as an distinctive unit with its own Badge the “Camp Quartermaster Stores” had several responsibilities, including;

EVERYTHING movable in Camp, except the A.S.C and its wagons, is kept track of by the Camp Quartermaster—everybody and everything, from a soldier to an electric light bulb. The Camp Quartermaster knows where they all should be; and if they aren’t where they ought to be, he generally knows where they are.”[5]

Another important and essential role of the “Camp Quartermaster Stores” was in the training of suitable men as Quartermasters for service overseas. Within each reinforcement draft, each Regiment was allowed one RQMS and each company was allowed one CQMS.  Based on their civilian occupations and with due regarded to their business ability, McCristell would select suitable men to be trained as RQMS and CQMS. Training would include;

  • Stores Training dealing with every duty related to clothing and equipping the men.
  • Camp Equipment Training, including the methods of constructing field kitchens, incinerators, latrines, washing and cleaning arrangements, striking and pitching camps, making bivouacs, billeting men.
  • Organising ammunition
  • Water supplies, and the drawing and distribution of food to troops.

On completion of the training the candidates were required to pass an examination, which if successful they were deemed qualified for appointment as a RQMS or CQMS.

Camp Quartermaster Stores Badge

McCristell would remain as the Camp Quartermaster until 1916, after which he was transferred to the Defence Stores Department as the Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores. In this role he would oversee the establishment of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) in 1917 as the Chief ordnance Officer.

In 1918 a Conference of Defence Department Officers in response to a report by the Defence Expenditure Commission found that the accounting, care, and custody of stores by units had in the main, been unsatisfactory with units not carrying out their responsibilities as detailed by the Regulations of New Zealand Military Forces.[6] To address the situation, eleven NZAOC Staff Sergeants were seconded for duty as Quartermaster-Sergeants with units. They were appointed to units to make the necessary adjustments and get the units stores accounts onto a working basis. This was a successful arrangement with further audits disclosing few if any deficiencies. It was however evident that the storage accommodation for units was inadequate, with many units having no accommodation where stores could be secured, resulting in the backloading of many items to the regional Stores Depots.[7]

Due to the success of the emergency measures of NZAOC Staff Sergeants into units as Quartermaster-Sergeants, an amendment to Army regulations was published on 3 October 1918 to make the management of Quartermaster Sergeants a NZAOC responsibility. The amendments were as follows;

83. Group and Unit Quartermaster-Sergeants will belong to and be trained by the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, and when posted for duty in districts will be borne as supernumeraries on the establishment of that corps. They will be included in the effective strength of the group or unit in which they are actually serving and will be so accounted for in periodical returns for those groups or units. In so far as the questions of efficiency, leave, and duty are concerned, Quartermaster-Sergeants will be under the direct supervision of the A.Q.M.G. of the district, and will be directly responsible to the Group or Unit Commander, as the case may be, for the performance of their respective duties as Group or Unit Accountants. They will devote the whole of their time to the accounting, care, and custody of public property on issue.[8]

The post war tenure of the NZAOC managing unit Quartermaster accounts would be short and despite the benefits it brought, Force reductions and budget restraints would see Quartermaster system revert to pre-war arrangements with instruction conducted by the General Headquarters School (GHQ School)  that would be established in Trentham camp in 1919.

Established in 1919, and placed on a permanent footing in 1920 the GHQ School in Trentham would  conduct training on a range of subjects for Officers of the NZSC and men of the NZPS who were responsible for the training, equipment, and administration of the Territorial and Senior Cadets.[9]  

In 1937 the Army School at Trentham was established, and was supported by District Schools of Instruction that were established at Narrow Neck, Trentham, and Burnham.[10] Administration instructors at the Army School and at the three District Schools of Instruction were involved in training the following groups of servicemen:

  • Adjutants,
  • Quartermasters,
  • Regimental Sergeant Major,
  • Regimental Quartermaster Sergeants,
  • Ordnance and Company Clerks,
  • Storemen, Storemen-Clerks, and
  • Cooks.

In the lead up to the Second World War the Army School of Instruction would form a separate Administrative Wing staffed by; a Major, two Captains, a Warrant Officer Class One, a Staff Sergeant and a Sergeant.

Officer courses conducted by the Wing were Senior Staff Duties and Adjutants courses, while Senior Non-Commissioned Officers attended drill, duties, and Tactics Courses. Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers could also attend the Quartermaster’s and Quartermaster Sergeant’s courses conducted by the Wing.

After World War II, training for officers, clerks and storemen centred around peacetime administration. Emphasis was placed on the training of Regular Force Staff of the Army, and as a result clerks and storemen recruited through Compulsory Military Training or National Service, received only an introduction to their trades. The policy of decentralisation of training from a central school to the District Schools of Instruction resulted in a reduction in the establishment of the Administrative Wing by 1947 to a Major, a Captain or Lieutenant, a Warrant Officer Class Two and a Corporal who could be WRAC.

In July 1950 the Administrative Wing was disbanded and the new School of Army Administration was formed. The School which was still located in Trentham, conducted courses in both peace and war administration, as well as conducting the Regular Force Officers Lieutenant to Captain Promotion Course. At this time the Chief Instructor of the School of Army Administration held a dual appointment as Staff Officer (Administration) on the staff of Headquarters Army Schools.

On 31 Jan 1952 the School of Army Administration moved from Trentham Camp to Waiouru and was located in a building on Foley Street, where Crete Barracks now stand. Although there were established posts for a staff of three officers and four Other Ranks, the School was manned by a staff of; two officers, (one of whom was employed as CI and Staff Officer (Administration) at Headquarters, Army School) and two Other Ranks.

The School workload increased steadily over the years from a total of 13 courses in 1953 to 21 courses in 1961. The establishment was changed to reflect the increase in the number of courses and by 1967 there were established posts for; three officers, five other ranks, and a civilian (clerical assistant) at the School.

The School of Army Administration was later relocated in the building opposite Headquarters Army Training Group, Waiouru. It had established posts for; three officers, seven senior non-commissioned officers, and two civilians.

The School conducted courses for the following personnel:

  • Junior Staff Officers,
  • Accounting Officers,
  • Clerks, and
  • Storeman.

Course Photos

From 1974 the staff of the School of Army Administration, photographed most courses passing through the school, many of these photos can be viewed by clicking on respective course link

There was little change to the School’s structure until 1992 when a trade review was completed on the Q Storeman trade. This review enabled a more focused aspect in Q Storeman training and outlined a new scope for changes to the training of Q Storeman. Following this review an assessment was then conducted into the viability and implications of an amalgamation of the training of the All Arms Q Storeman and RNZAOC Suppliers, as at that stage both trades had their own individual trade schools.

1993 would be a year of significant change for the Q Storeman trade which would be transformed as a result of the New Zealand Army re-balancing. As consumer units began to come online with the development of the computerised Defence Supply System Detail (DSSD) this change brought about discussions towards a more common supply system.

In 1993 the Quartermaster Wing of The School of Army Administration became part of the RNZAOC School and the All Arms Q Storeman trade and the RNZAOC Supplier trade were merged into one trade known as the Supply-Quartermaster Trade (Sup/QM). However, at this stage despite the RNZAOC School been at Trentham the Quartermaster Wing remained in Waiouru. On 13 December 1993 after a 41-year absence from Trentham, the Quartermaster Wing moved left Waiouru.

In July 1994 the RNZAOC School that had been established in 1959 was disestablished and the Trade Training School (TTS) established in its place. This change saw the amalgamation of the Supply and Quartermaster Wings into the one wing called the Sup/Q Wing. The main aim behind the amalgamation being to foster the development of training required to produce an Army with an effective logistical supply system at all levels with the first combined Sup/Q Courses been conducted in 1995.

In December 1996 all members of the Sup/QM Trade, regardless of Corps were transferred into the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR) on its formation. Given the diverse nature of the Sup/QM Trade, with members drawn from each Corps and represented in almost every unit of the New Zealand Army, the amalgamation of the two trades would not be easy , and would take time to consolidate.

In October 2007 the Sup/QM Trade was renamed as the RNZALR Supply Technician (Sup Tech) Trade, followed by the adoption of a top of trade Supply Technician Badge in 2009.


Notes

[1] Depending on the type of Regiment or Corps, variations of Company Quartermaster Sergeant (CQMS) could also be; Battery Quartermaster Sergeant (BQMS) in artillery units or Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant (SQMS) in Mounted/Calvary units

[2] “The School of Military Instruction,” New Zealand Herald, Volume XXII, Issue 7328, 14 May 1885.

[3] Gary Ridley, “Quartermaster Origins,” Pataka Magazine  (1993).

[4] New Zealand Military Forces Dress Regulations, ed. New Zealand Military Forces (Wellington1905).

[5] Will Lawson, Historic Trentham, 1914-1917: The Story of a New Zealand Military Training Camp, and Some Account of the Daily Round of the Troops within Its Bounds (Wellington1917), 35.

[6] “H-19d Conference of Defence Department Officers (Notes by) on Criticisms, Suggestions and Recommendations as Contained in the Report of the Defence Expenditure Commission,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1918).

[7] “Defence Stores,” Dominion, Volume 12, Issue 10, 7 October 1918.

[8] “Amending the Regulations for the Military Forces of New New Zealand,” New Zealand Gazette No 135, 3 October 1918.

[9] “Ghq School,” Evening Post, Volume XCIX, Issue 23, , 28 January  1920.

[10] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the Chief of Thr General Staff,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, (1938).


RNZAOC 1 April 1953 to 31 March 1954

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

Key Appointments

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Technical Assistant to the Chief Inspection Ordnance Officer

  • Captain N.C Fisher (Until 24 July 1953)
  • Warrant Officer L Smith (From 25 July 1953)

Northern Military District

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain E.D Gerard (until 9 Aug 1953)

IOO NDAD

  • Captain E.D Gerard (from 28 Aug 1953)

OC District Ammunition Repair Depot

  • Captain Pipson (From 28 Aug 1953)

Central Military District

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain N.C Fisher (From 9 Aug 1953)

Compulsory Military Training

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

  • 9th intake of 2954 recruits on 9 April1953
  • 10th intake of 2610 recruits on 2 July 1953
  • 11th intake of 2610 recruits on 24 September 1953
  • 12th intake of 2200 recruits on 5 January 1954

On completion of CMT recruit training, recruits were posted to Territorial units close to their home location to complete their CMT commitment, with RNZAOC CMT recruits posted to either

  • 1st Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Hopuhopu
  • 2nd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Mangaroa.
  • 3rd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Burnham

Presentation of Coronation Trophy

In celebration to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the Coronation Trophy was presented to the Central Districts Training Depot by All Ranks of the RNZAOC from the Central Military District. The exact criteria for the presentation of the trophy has been long forgotten, however from the 11th CMT intake the Coronation Trophy would be awarded to an outstanding student of each CMT intake.

Acquisition of additional Training areas by NZ Army

To provide suitable training areas in all three military districts, firing and manoeuvre rights were obtained over 30000acres of land adjoining the Mackenzie District near lake Tekapo. The allowed all South Island units the ability to carry out realistic tactical training during their summer camps.

Flood Relief

In July 1953 Serious flooding affected the Waikato with soldiers from Hopuhopu Camp taking a prominent part in the relief operations. Solders from the 1st Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park, utilising vehicles with extended air intakes and exhausts and operating in areas that had been flooded to a depth of 1.4 meters deep assisted in rescuing families and livestock and distributing fodder to marooned animals.

Robert McKie RNZAOC School Collection
NDOD Flood Assist 1953. Robert McKie RNZAOC School Collection

Tangiwai Railway Disaster

The Tangiwai disaster occurred at Christmas eve 1953 when the Whangaehu River Railway bridge collapsed as the Wellington-to-Auckland express passenger train was crossing it with a loss of 151 Lives. With Waiouru in proximity, the army was quick to respond, with rescue teams deploying from Waiouru with the first survivors admitted into the Waiouru Camp Hospital by 4 am. Representing the RNZAOC in the search parties were Warrant officer Class 1 P Best and Corporal Eric Ray.

Royal Tour 23 December 1953 – 31 Jan 1954

Camp Commandants Bodyguard 1954. Robert Mckie RNZAOC School Collection

Emergency Force (Kayforce)

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

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

Out of Kayforce

  • Private Dennis Arthur Astwood, 8 December 1953
  • Lance Corporal Thomas Joseph Fitzsimons, 6 January 1954
  • Lance Corporal Owen Fowell, 2 September 1953
  • Private Gane Cornelius Hibberd, 13 May 1953,
  • Corporal Leonard Ferner Holder, 4 September 1953
  • Corporal Wiremu Matenga, 6 January 1954

Into Kay force

  • Private Richard John Smart, 25 June 1953
  • Private Abraham Barbara, 30 December 1953
  • Sergeant Harold Earnest Strange Fry, 29 January 1954
  • Corporal Edward Tanguru, 25 February 1954
  • Gunner John Neil Campbell, 24 March 1954

Seconded to Fiji Military Forces

  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster Rodger Dillon Wederell remained seconded to the Fiji Military Forces.

Ordnance Conferences

Ordnance Conference 18-19 August 1953

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Districts DADOS and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Army Headquarters over the period 21-23 April 1953. No detailed agenda remains.

Headquarters Group, Main Ordnance Depot, 1954. Robert McKie RNZAOC School Collection
Main Ordnance Depot, NZ Royal Womens Army Corps, 1954. Robert McKie RNZAOC School Colection

Routine Ordnance Activities

Over this period the RNZAOC in addition to its regular duties of provision, holding and the issue of multitudinous stores required by the Army including the additional issue of training equipment to the territorial Force allowing all unit’s enough equipment for normal training.

Ammunition Examiner Qualification

The following soldiers qualified as Ammunition Examiners

  • Corporal G.T Dimmock (SMD)
  • Corporal M.M Loveday (CMD)
  • Corporal Roche (MMD)
  • Lance Corporal H.E Luskie (SMD)
  • Lance Corporal Radford (NMD)

Small Arms Ammunition

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

Support to the French War in Vietnam

During this period the RNZAOC prepared a second consignment of stores and equipment for transfer to the French in Vietnam.  Transferred from surplus and obsolete stocks held in RNZAOC depots, the following items would be dispatched to Vietnam;[3]

  • 500 Revolvers,
  • 3000 Rifles,
  • 750 Machine Guns,
  • 50 Bofors anti-aircraft guns and ammunition,
  • 10000 rounds of 40mm armour piercing shot,[4]
  • Wireless Sets,
  • Field Telephones,
  • Charging Sets,
  • Assorted Uniform Items,
  • 670000 rounds of small arms ammunition.

Introduction of New Equipment

As new equipment was introduced, the RNZAOC would play an essential role in the acceptance processes. Upon delivery from the supplier, the equipment, its accessories and spares would be received into an RNZAOC Depot. The equipment would be inspected and kitted out with all its accessories before distribution to units. Depending on the equipment, several examples may have been retained in RNZAOC Depots as War Reserve/Repair and Maintenance Stock. Maintenance stocks of accessories and spares were maintained as operating stock in RNZAOC depots. If the new equipment was or contained a weapon system, ammunition specific to the equipment was managed by RNZAOC Ammunition Depots.

During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;[5]

  • 57 M20 Mk 2 3.5-inch Rocket Launchers
  • Anti-Tank Grenade No 94 Engera
  • 1 120mm BAT L1 Recoilless Rifle
  • 3 Centurion Tanks
  • 150 Series 1 80″ Land-Rovers

Honours List

Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.)

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Reid.[6]

Promotions

  • Private George Thomas Dimmock to Lance Corporal – 1 April 1953
  • Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two Alick Claude Doyle to Substantive WO2, 1 April 1953
  • Lieutenant J. Harvey to Captain. 9 December 1953.[7]
  • Captain (temp. Major) H. McK Reid to Major. 22 January 1954.[8]
  • Lieutenant-Colonel (temp Colonel) A. H. Andrews, OBE, BE, to Colonel. 21 October 1953.[9]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster T Rose to be Captain and Quartermaster. 1 May 1953.[10]

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

  • John Gunn, 21 September 1953
  • Leonard T Conlon, 16 June 1953
  • Keith A Parker, 17 July 1953

Appointments into the RNZAOC

  • Edward Francis Lambert Russell, late Captain RAOC, appointed as Lieutenant (on prob.), with seniority from 26 November 1949, posted as Vehicle. Spares Officer, Vehicle Spares Group, Main Ordnance Depot, 26 November 1953.[11]
  • Lieutenant J. B. Glasson, 13 April 1954.[12]

Transferred out of the RNZAOC to other Corps

  • Captain W. G. Dixon transferred to the Royal N.Z. Artillery. 6 July 1953.[13]

Transferred to the Supplementary List, NZ Regular Force

  • Captain and Quartermaster R. P. Kennedy, E.D., having reached the normal age for retirement, 13 April 1953.[14]

Transferred to the Reserve of Officers General List

  • Captain A. Whitehead, 17 December 1953.[15]

Re-Engagements into the New Zealand Regular Force

The following RNZAOC soldiers were re-engaged into the New Zealand Regular Force;

  • Sergeant W.J Smith for one year from April 1953, in the rank of Private
  • Warrant Officer Class One W.S Valentine, on a month to month basis until 31 March 1954
  • Corporal H.H Regnault, on a month to month basis until 31 March 1954

Civic Appointments

On 16 July 1953 Maurice Richard John Keeler, Ordnance Officer, Northern; District Ordnance Depot, RNZAOC Ngaruawahia, was authorized to take and receive statutory declarations under section 301 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1927.[16]

Notes

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

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

[3] Roberto Giorgio Rabel, New Zealand and the Vietnam War : Politics and Diplomacy (Auckland University Press, 2005), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 16.

[4] Possibly surplus 37mm rounds used on New Zealand’s Stuart tanks which would have been compatible with weapon platforms in use with the French

[5] Damien Fenton, A False Sense of Security : The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, Occasional Paper / Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand: No. 1 (Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, 1998), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 21.

[6] “Coronation Honours List,” New Zealand Gazette No 33, 11 June 1953, 911.

[7] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 9, 4 February 1954, 180.

[8] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 13, 25 February 1954, 294.

[9] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 15, 11 March 1954, 384.

[10] “Coronation Honours List,”  906.

[11] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 72, 17 December 1953.

[12] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 28, 6 May 1954, 678.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 48, 20 August 1953, 1354.

[14] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 1, 7 January 1954, 29.

[15] Ibid.

[16] “Officer Authorized to Take and Receive Statutory Declarations “, New Zealand Gazette No 42, 23 July 1953, 1184.


A retrospective view of the Main Ordnance Depot, Trentham

From 1920 to 1996, Trentham Camp in Wellington’s Hutt Valley was home to the New Zealand’s Army’s principle Ordnance Depot. During its 76 year tenure as a Ordnance Depot, also every New Zealand Army Ordnance Officer and Soldier would at some stage of their career work at, pass through or have some interaction with the Trentham Ordnance Depot.

Using a 1983 Depot plan as a reference point , this article takes a look back at how the Trentham Ordnance Depot developed from 1920 to 1996.

Depot Plan, 1 Base Supply Battalion. Robert McKie Collection
Entrance to the Ordnance Depot 1998, Upper Hutt City Library (19th Mar 2020). Trentham Camp buildings, unidentified; barrier in fence. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 11th Oct 2020 08:03, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/29474
Building 73. Upper Hutt City Library (19th Mar 2020). Trentham Camp building; multi-bay warehouse. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 11th Oct 2020 08:05, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/29475

1920

In 1920 the NZAOC had its Headquarters and main depot located at Alexandra Barracks at Mount Cook, Wellington. In the regions Ordnance Stores were maintained at Mount Eden, Palmerston North, Trentham Camp, Featherston Camp, Mount Cook, Christchurch and Dunedin.

As part of the post war reduction of the Army and the rationalization of the the Ordnance Services, the early interwar years would be a period of transition. In the South Island, the Dunedin and Christchurch Ordnance Stores would close and relocate to Burnham Camp. In the North Island the Palmerston North Depot would close and the main depot at Mount Cook would relocate to Trentham Camp to establish the Main Ordnance Depot.

The Featherson Camp and Mount Eden Ordnance Stores would remain in operation until 1928 when a new Purpose built Ordnance Depot at Hopuhopu in the Waikato was constructed.

With no purpose built storage accommodation, the NZAOC Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham Camp would in the years leading up to the Second World War would utilise up to one hundred different existing camp administrative and accommodation structures as its primary means of warehousing.

Upper Hutt City Library (31st Mar 2018). Trentham Camp 1920; aerial view looking east.. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 10th Oct 2020 15:04, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/464

1940

Seen here shortly after is construction in late 1940/early 1941, this warehouse (Building 73) was constructed as part of a wider nationwide program of defence works. With the contracts for construction let in 1938 and construction beginning in 1939, Building 73 was constructed using reinforced concrete and designed with nine bays that allowed the loading and unloading of Trains on one side, and Motor transport on the other. The design and layout of building 73 would be utilised as the model for new warehouses that would later be constructed at Burnham and Waiouru.

Upper Hutt City Library (5th Mar 2018). Trentham Camp 1938-1943 (approximate). In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 10th Oct 2020 15:28, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/25874

1941

From this November 1941 photo the full size of Building 73 can be appreciated in comparison to the World War One era buildings in which many of the Main Ordnance Depots Stores had been held in during the inter war years. Under construction is Building 68, which in later years would become the Direct Support Section (DSS), Building 87 (Dental Stores) and Building 88 (Detention Block)

Trentham Camp, November 1941. National Archives, AAOD,W3273, Box 19, Record WDO 9811, R18059582

1943

Although Building 73 provided a huge increase in storage capability, wartime demands soon necessitated further increases in storage infrastructure, immediately obvious is Building 74. Building 74 was a near duplicate of building 73 with the main exception that due to wartime constraints it was constructed out of wood instead of reinforced concrete.

Building 86 has been completed and connected to it is Building 70, which would later become the Textile Repair Shop.

Buildings 64, 65 and 66 have been completed with Building’s 60 and 61 under construction.

1944

By 1944, despite the wartime expansion of the Main Ordnance Depot, storage requirements still exceeded available storage at the Main Ordnance Depot, with a large amount of items held in Sub Depots at Māngere, Linton Camp, Whanganui, Waiouru, Lower Hutt and Wellington.

Twelve addition warehouses can be seen to the East of Buildings 73 and 74, and Building 26 is under construction.

Upper Hutt City Library (14th Feb 2018). Aerial view; Trentham Military Camp 1944.. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 10th Oct 2020 14:56, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/625

1945

These two photos from late 1945 show the extent of the wartime expansion of the Main Ordnance Depot.

The latest additions are Buildings 27,28,29. 30 and 31. These buildings has originally been built for the United States Forces at Waterloo in Lower Hutt by the Public Works Department. Surplus to the United States requirements due to their downsizing in New Zealand, the buildings had been transferred to the NZ Army. The first building was disassembled and re-erected at Trentham by the end of September 1945 with the follow-on buildings re-erected  at a rate of one per month, with all construction completed by February 1946

Upper Hutt City Library (27th Feb 2018). Trentham Camp overall view 1945; Carman block, 1945. Panoramic view.. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 10th Oct 2020 14:57, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/565

1966

Twenty Years later much of the wartime infrastructure constructed for the Main Ordnance Depot and much of the First World War camp accommodation remains in use. During the 1950’s the compound at Dante Road had been developed for the Central Districts Vehicle Depot. When that unit relocated to Linton in 1958 the compound became the Main Ordnance Depot Vehicle Sub-Depot. On the right side of the photo, the large building the Ordnance Depot is the General Motors Plant.

1974

By 1974, much of the central infrastructure remains, however, the eleven sheds constructed in 1943/44 have been demolished.

1980

1n 1979 the Main Ordnance Depot was renamed as as 1 Base Supply Battalion, RNZOAC. There has been little change to the WW2 Infrastructure.

1988

In one of the largest infrastructure investments since 1939 and the first modern warehouse built for the RNZAOC since 1972, a new warehouse was opened in 1988. Designed to accommodate 3700 pallets and replace the existing WW2 Era Storage, the new award winning warehouse was constructed at a cost of $1.6 million. In addition to the high rise pallet racking for bulk stores, a vertical storage carousel capable of holding 12,000 detail items would be installed at a later date.

2020

On 8 December 1996 the RNZAOC was amalgamated into the the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment, bringing to an end the Ordnance Corps association with Trentham Camp that had existed since 1920.

Further developments would occur in January 1998 when the the entire military warehousing and maintenance functions in Trentham camp were commercialised and placed under the control of civilian contractors.


Equipping the 1st NZ Contingent to South Africa

On 28 September 1899, the New Zealand Premier ‘King Dick’ Seddon offered to the Imperial Government in London, in the event of war with the Boer Republics, the services of a contingent of Mounted Infantry for service in South Africa. The offer was accepted, and when war broke out on 11 October 1899, New Zealand was swept up in a wave of patriotic fervour. This short article will examine the forgotten contribution by the predecessor to the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, the Defence Stores Department in equipping the first New Zealand Contingent to the war in South Africa.

With a small Permanent Militia and few reserve stores to mount an Expeditionary Force, the New Zealand Military establishment including the Defence Stores Department was unprepared for the rapid mobilisation that was about to be undertaken.[1]

Although most members of the First Contingent were drawn from the Permanent Militia or Volunteer Forces, it was expected that they would supply their own equipment from their unit stocks and shortfalls were expected. These would have to be satisfied from Defence Stores Department Stocks.[2]

The Defence Stores Department had insufficient uniforms and equipment available for the assembling Contingent,  requiring the recall and donation of items from volunteer units as well as the placing of orders for the urgent manufacture or purchase of over 20,000 items of equipment, uniforms, underclothing, horse equipment, saddlery on the local market.

Clothing for a New Zealand Contingent being distributed at the Defence Stores, Wellington. Auckland Libraries Heritage Images Collection
Fitting out a New Zealand Contingent at the Wellington Defence Stores. Auckland Libraries Heritage Images Collection

The first task of the Defence Stores was to prepare the camp stores for the mobilisation camp that would be established at Karori, just outside of Wellington. On 6 October 1899, three waggon-loads of camp equipment had been prepared and dispatched to Karori in the care of a work party from the Permanent Militia, the stores included;[3]

  • 31 tents for the men
  • 6 Officers tents
  • Kitchen tent
  • Stores Tent
  • Mess Marquee
  • picket fences for tethering the horses

From the 6th to 21 October 1899, under the direct supervision of the Under-Secretary for Defence, Sir Arthur Percy Douglas, the Defence Storekeeper Captain Anderson and his small staff spent up to 16 hours daily, receiving, recording, branding and then dispatching all manner of essential items to the assembled Contingent at Karori Camp.

Receiving the Stores at Karori Camp from the Defence Stores Department was the Camp Storekeeper Corporal Butler and two assistant gunners of the Permanent Artillery. [4] Corporal Butler and his two assistants ably carried out their duties ensuring that as equipment received from the Defence Stores Department, each member of the Contingent was issued with a set scale of kit, including blankets, several changes of underwear, three sets of uniform, overcoat, several pairs of boots and shoes, numerous other articles, rifle and accoutrements. In addition to these articles, saddlery and other equipment for each trooper’s horse were also issued. Total equipment issued to the Contingent was as follows;[5]  

Officers Equipment

  • Khaki tunics, 22 
  • khaki trousers, 22
  • cord breeches, 44
  • slouch-hats, 11
  • field-service caps, 11
  • Sam Brown belts (sets), 11
  • waterproof sheets, 11
  • spurs, 11
  • cloaks, 11
  • boots (pairs), 22
  • shoes (pairs), 22
  • haversacks, 11
  • water-bottles, 11
  • also, complete underwear

Men’s Personal Equipment

  • Khaki tunics, 400
  • slouch-hats, 200
  • forage-caps, 200
  • gaiters, 200
  • riding-breeches, 400
  • boots (pairs), 400
  • shoes (pairs), 400 
  • socks (pairs), 600
  • undershirts, 600 
  • flannel shirts, 600 
  • drawers, 600
  • cholera-belts, 600
  • braces, 200
  • spurs, 200
  • greatcoats, 200
  • holdalls complete, with brush and comb, knife, fork, spoon, and housewife, 200
  • clasp-knives and lanyards, 200
  • blankets, 400
  • waterproof sheets, 200
  • towels, 600
  • blue jerseys, 200
  • serge trousers, 200
  • kitbags, 200
  • button-brushes, 200
  • button-sticks, 200
  • shoe brushes (sets), 200
  • blacking-tins, 200
  • woollen caps, 200
  • dubbing (tins), 200
  • horses, 250, with stable equipment complete.

Horse Equipment

  • Saddles complete with wallets, leather numnahs, shoe-pockets, breastplates, girths, surcingle’s, stirrup-leathers, stirrup-irons, bridles complete, 211
  • surcingle’s, with pads, 250
  • headstalls (for ship use), 250
  • head-ropes, 250
  • heel-ropes, 250
  • picketing ropes, 250
  • picketing pegs, 250 
  • mallets, 62 
  • forage-nets, 250
  • nosebags, 250
  • forage-cords, 211
  • horse blankets, 250
  • hoof-pickers, 211
  • currycombs, 211
  • horse-brushes, 211
  • stable-sponges, 211
  • horse-rubbers, 400

Camp Equipment

  • Tents, 30
  • camp-kettles, 24 
  • axes, 4 
  • pickaxes, 8 
  • crowbars, 2
  • spades, 8
  • field-forge, complete, 1
  • farriers’ tools (sets), 4
  • horseshoes (cases), 3
  • horseshoe-nails (case), 1
  • saddlers’ tools, complete (case), 1
  • saddlers’ leather (roll), 1

Arms, Accoutrements

  • Carbines, Martini-Enfield, 200
  • sword-bayonets, 200
  • waist belts fitted for service, 200
  • oil-bottles, 200
  • haversacks, 200
  • water-bottles, 200
  • rifle-buckets, 200
  • mess-tins, 200
  • whistles for officers and /ion-commissioned officers, 17
  • revolvers, 17
New Zealand Contingent in marching order at Karori, 10 minutes before leaving to board their troopship.NZ Archives reference: AEGA 18982 PC4 Box 16 1899/37

With the SS Waiwera due to sail on 21 October, most deadlines were achieved, and the first New Zealand Contingent to South Africa sailed from Wellington on schedule. Many personal belongings were left behind at the Karori Camp by the members of the Contingent for return to the owner’s home locations. The Defence Stores Department had received lists and directions from the troopers and undertook to see that the things were sent to their homes.

In recognition of the outstanding effort exerted by the Defence Stores Department and the stress and strain of equipping the Contingent, Sir Arthur Douglas the Under-Secretary for Defence, feeling that a letter of thanks would have been an inadequate acknowledgement of the special services rendered, personally thanked the staff of the Defence Store Department at their Buckle-street Store Office on the 24 October 1899. In a hearty speech, Sir Arthur acknowledged the untiring energy and zeal displayed by the staff. He informed them that he had recommended the Minister of Defence show recognition of the work done in some substantial manner.[6]

‘Defence Department and Alexandra Barracks, Wellington’, URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/buckle-street-wellington, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 21-Apr-2016

With the first Contingent departing New Zealand in October 1899, The Defence Stores Department with only a modest increase in its workforce would continue to provide ongoing mobilisation support to the further nine contingents that were dispatched to South Africa. The lessons of the initial mobilisation would not be forgotten. In the years leading up to the 1914 mobilisation, sporadic improvements would be made to the Defence Stores Department allowing it to equip a much larger and technically diverse Force to Samoa and Egypt in a limited timeframe.

Notes

[1] “New Zealands Contingent,” Evening Post, Volume LVIII, Issue LVIII, , 28 October 1899.
[2] “New Zealand’s Response,”  https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/south-african-boer-war/new-zealands-response,
[3] “The Camp at Karori,” Evening Post, Volume LVIII, Issue 85, , 7 October 1899.
[4] “New Zealand Contingent: Letters from Commander of the Forces and Undersecertary for Defence “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1899 Session I, H-06  (1899).
[5] Ibid.
[6] “Contingent Notes,” Evening Post, Volume LVIII, Issue 100, 25 October 1899.


Donald Edward Harper

This article is republished with the permission of the Facebook page “Upper Hutt War Stories“. Upper Hutt War Stories is a Facebook page dedicated to commemorating the war service of Upper Hutt’s citizens and those with strong connections to the City. It remembers those who put their lives on the line for the defence of our Nation.

Buried beneath a weathered brass plaque in the graveyard of Trentham’s St John’s church is a former Commander of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps. A veteran of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force North Africa and Italian campaigns, he was wounded in action and continued to serve as a Territorial Force officer after the War.

Born in Petone, Don Harper attended Wellington College, where he was exposed to military life as a member of the school’s cadet corps for six years. After leaving school and graduating from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in accounting, he joined the public service as a clerk with the National Provident Fund in 1932.

When the Second World War broke out Don was living with his parents in Russell Street, Upper Hutt and working as an auditor with the Government’s Audit Department. He enlisted straight away, entering camp at Trentham on 3 October 1939 as a Private with the 4th Reserve Motor Transport Company. A week later he was sent on the Potential Officers Course, and after six weeks training was commissioned as a second lieutenant.

Don was subsequently posted to the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham for training and departed Wellington for the Middle East on 5 January 1940. He was attached to the headquarters of the 2nd New Zealand Division as they established themselves at Maadi in Egypt, and at the beginning of June 1940 was promoted to Lieutenant.

The New Zealand Division had seen little action up to this point and Don was active helping establish the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force’s Base Ordnance Depot at Maadi Camp in September 1940. Promoted to Temporary Captain to fill the Base Ordnance Officer post, he remained with the Depot in Egypt for almost a year, missing out on the campaigns in Greece and Crete.

View of the working area of the Ordnance Depot at Maadi Camp in 1941. Photo H.J Gilbertson

Then at the beginning of August 1941, Don was posted back to the headquarters of the 2nd New Zealand Division to be Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (DADOS) in the rank of Temporary Major. This was a critical logistics role resupplying the Division and marked a stunningly quick progression from private to major in less than two years.

Don experienced the realities of warfare for the first time in November 1941, when the Division was attached to the newly formed 8th Army and attempted to relieve the beleaguered garrison at Tobruk. Despite losing all their tank support the Kiwis succeeded in reaching Tobruk, but suffered horrendous casualties in what was described as some of the hardness fighting of the War at Sidi Rezegh and Belhamed, when Rommel’s Africa Corps counterattacked.

Withdrawn to Suez to recover and retrain, Don and the 2nd New Zealand Division were subsequently rushed to Syria in February 1942, to protect against an Axis invasion of the Northeastern flank. But in April he was back in Cairo, where he married Elisabeth Rothschild in a short ceremony. Don and Elisabeth were fortunate to be able to spend time together, as in May he was posted back to Maadi.

Don took over command of the New Zealand Engineers and Ordnance Training Depot, where he was responsible for training reinforcements. Then two months later he was posted as Deputy Director Ordnance Services with 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force headquarters and base depot. His efforts in helping establish and maintain the New Zealand contribution to the campaign were recognised with a mention in despatches on 15 December 1942.

After the fighting in North Africa came to a close, Don was deployed to Italy in October 1943. He arrivied at Taranto as the Kiwis began operations against the Germans, and was tasked with conducting a review of New Zealand Division ordnance support. He recommended a significant reorganisation, including establishing a new base deport at Bari, as an extension of the main depot back in Egypt.

Promoted to temporary Lieutenant Colonel, Don was appointed Assistant Director Ordnance Services in March 1944, and worked in resupplying the 2nd New Zealand Division in action at Cassino. In early June he was caught in an enemy artillery barrage and received shrapnel wounds in his back. Fortunately, the wounds were light, and once the small chunks of metal were removed under local anesthetic he returned to his unit.

Lieutenant Colonel Donald Harper Bull, George Robert, 1910-1996. Lieutenant Colonel D E Harper – Photograph taken by George Bull. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch :Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: DA-05919-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23233849

At the end of 1944 Don was told that due to his lengthy war service and changes to the furlough scheme he would be returned home. Appointed commander of the returning draft he boarded ship with his wife and their young child, arriving in New Zealand on 3 January 1945, where he reverted in rank to Major.

Don was advised that his services were no longer required and that he could return to civilian life. However, he chose instead to be the posted to the New Zealand Temporary Staff in the rank of Captain in April 1945 and continued contributing to the war effort. In July he was advised he had received a second mention in despatches, this time for his services in Italy.

Considered unfit for deployment to the tropics due to service induced hearing loss, Don served at the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham Camp until the end of the War, when he was posted to the retired list in the Rank of Major. He then returned to his life as an accountant and auditor, and moved his family to Lower Hutt.

Continuing to serve in the Territorial Army, Don was formally promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 1 December 1948 and appointed Commander Royal New Zealand Ordnance Corps. He served in this part time role with the headquarters of the 1st New Zealand Division based out of Linton until October 1951, when the death of his business partner and failing health forced his resignation.

Don remained proud of his time in the military throughout his life, and after passing away in 2002 he was buried in a family plot at St John’s Church with his wife, under a plaque commemorating his war service. A key member of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force for an extended period of the North Africa and Italy campaigns, his grave gives little indication of the scale of this contribution. Lest we forget.

References

https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/…/online…/record/C136496
https://rnzaoc.com/2020/08/31/rnzaoc-1950/
https://rnzaoc.com/…/new-zealand-base-ordnance-depot…/
P.J. Beattie & M.J. Pomeroy, Gallant Acts & Noble Deeds: New Zealand Army Honours and Awards for the Second World War, Fair Dinkum Publications: Auckland, NZ, 2016.


Major Oliver ‘George’ Avis, MM

This article is republished with the permission of the Facebook page “Upper Hutt War Stories“. Upper Hutt War Stories is a Facebook page dedicated to commemorating the war service of Upper Hutt’s citizens and those with strong connections to the City. It remembers those who put their lives on the line for the defence of our Nation.

A small bronze plaque in the St John’s churchyard in Trentham gives only a small hint as to the amazing story behind its epitaph. Two small brass letters were added after the plaque was cast, but sadly one has come loose and been lost. The letters MM denote the award of a military medal for gallantry in the field. But little is shown of the long and dedicated service of its recipient, and his involvement in one of the deadliest battles on the Western Front.

Born in Somerset and raised in Exeter, Devon, England, Oliver Avis had come to New Zealand when he was 20. Throughout his childhood, he was always referred to as George and used this name throughout his life. It wasn’t until he was 39 years’ old that he discovered that his name was officially Oliver. An issue which created some confusion for the Army and those now trying to interpret his service files.

George had been working as a storeman in Taranaki and enlisted into the Army on 16 November 1915. He was initially posted to the 11th Mounted Rifles reinforcements and trained with them for four months, before the New Zealand Expeditionary Force decided to change its force composition before heading to France, and he was transferred to the Infantry.

Departing Wellington on 2 April 1916, George and his reinforcement arrived in Egypt a month later. Then, after only three weeks he departed Alexandria for France with the Main contingent of the New Zealand Division. Completing further training at the New Zealand Depot at Etaples, George was posted to 4th (Otago) Company of the 2nd Otago Infantry Battalion in the frontlines at Armentieres on 7 July 1916.

The Kiwis were engaged in raids and reconnaissance activities across no-man’s land, and suffered casualties from enemy shelling. Conditions were difficult and after only four weeks in the line George was withdrawn to the New Zealand Field Ambulance station with conjunctivitis. He attempted to rejoin his unit, but was evacuated sick to the hospital at Boulogne in mid-August, just as the New Zealand Division was withdrawing from the line in preparation for a major attack.

George’s illness meant he missed the Kiwi’s first major assault on the Western Front at the Somme in mid-September. After recovering and being released from hospital, he was posted back to the New Zealand Depot at Etaples, for further recuperation and training. He finally rejoined the 2nd Otago Battalion on 18 October 1916, just as the heavily depleted New Zealand Division returned to Armentieres for another difficult winter in the frontlines.

The unit was withdrawn to rest and reorganise in March 1917, and in late May George was temporarily appointed as his Company’s Quartermaster Sergeant (QMS). He fulfilled this role during the 2nd Otago Battalion’s attack at Messines on 6 June and against the German positions at Sunken Farm eight days later. Having survived his first major battle, he relinquished the role in July, just before preceding to England on leave.

On return to the Battalion, George helped defend the Warneton sector, and when withdrawn to the Lumbres area for training was inspected on parade by Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haigh, in a ceremony watched by Winston Churchill. Then the New Zealand Division was moved into the Ypres area in preparation for their next major offensive.

After the successful but costly Divisional attack at Gravenstafel Spur towards Passchendaele on 4 October 1917, the 2nd Otago Battalion attacked up the Bellevue Spur eight days later. In what turned out to be the deadliest day of the War for the Kiwis, George was caught with many others in a murderous wall of defensive machinegun fire.

Shot through the right side of his back, he was carried to the rear through a sea of mud which now defined no-man’s land. Lucky to make it to the New Zealand Field Ambulance station, George was evacuated to No. 46 Casualty Clearing Station, before being transferred to No. 5 General Hospital at Rouen. In a serious state he was sent back to England and admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley, near Southampton.

As George’s condition improved, he was transferred to the New Zealand General Hospital at Brockenhurst, and then to the New Zealand Convalesce Hospital at Hornchurch. After a long period in Codford and Sling Camps, he finally returned to France in mid-May 1918. The New Zealand Division had amassed a large number of reinforcements by this stage of the War, and George spent two months in an Entrenching Battalion before finally rejoining 4th Company, 2nd Otago Battalion in late July 1918.

Promoted to Lance Corporal, he was immediately thrown into the Battle for Bapaume and what would turn out to be the decisive last 100 days of the War. During an attack near the Forest of Mormal just south of Le Quesnoy on 5 November 1918, George was acting as a Company runner, carrying messages from the front lines back to Battalion Headquarters. He made several trips through heavy enemy machinegun and artillery fire and was commended for his coolness under fire.

A month later, George was notified he would be decorated with the Military Medal in recognition of his gallantry and devotion to duty, although the award wasn’t officially gazetted until after his return to New Zealand in mid-1919. By this time, he had already made the decision to try and stay in the Army. George volunteered for the temporary section of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps and was attested as a Private on 26 May 1919.

Promoted to Lance Corporal and posted to Trentham Camp in April 1921, George married Catherine Reid 18 months later. They settled into a house at Heretaunga and welcomed a son in September 1923. George transferred to the permanent section of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps in 1924 and rose quickly through the ranks, being promoted to Corporal two years later, and Sergeant two years after that.

Unfortunately, the military downsizing which accompanied the great depression saw him lose his uniformed role in January 1931. He volunteered to stay on as a civilian staff member at lower pay, and remained in that role performing critical work in the main supply depot at Trentham Camp up until New Zealand entered the Second World War.

Due to the need to rapidly expand the New Zealand Army, George was recalled to the military in December 1939 and commissioned as a Lieutenant in the New Zealand Temporary Staff. Made a temporary Captain he was appointed as the Ordnance officer in charge of Clothing in the Main Depot at Trentham. He was responsible for the management of all Army clothing and lead the transition from First World War era service dress to the new battledress uniform early in the War.

After recovering from an operation for acute appendicitis, George was promoted to temporary Major in February 1942. But the demands of his job began to take a significant toll. After 5 years’ service he was worn out and suffering ill health. At his own request he transferred to the Reserve of Officers in October 1944, and in recognition of the excellent service he had provided so far during the War was awarded another role in the Public Service.

On reaching the age of 67 in July 1955, George was posted to the retired list in the rank of Major. He passed away in Upper Hutt in November 1964 and his ashes were interned at the cemetery of St John’s Church Trentham, where his wife joined him eleven years later. His memorial plaque gives little indication of his incredible military career, gallantry, and total of 28 years’ service to the New Zealand Army. Lest we forget.

Citation for the Military Medal, London Gazette 3 July 1919.

“Operations: British front in the vicinity of the Foret de Mormal – 5th November 1918. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During the above operations, Lance Corporal Avis, who is a runner, was engaged in carrying reports and messages between forward Companies and Battalion Headquarters. He made several trips and although the enemy machine gun and artillery fire was most intense, he delivered his reports and messages expeditiously. Throughout he showed great gallantry and continuous devotion to duty.

”References:

https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/…/online…/record/C66901
http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/name-418731.html


Warrant Officer Class One Douglas Keep Wilson

This article is republished with the permission of the Facebook page “Upper Hutt War Stories“. Upper Hutt War Stories is a Facebook page dedicated to commemorating the war service of Upper Hutt’s citizens and those with strong connections to the City. It remembers those who put their lives on the line for the defence of our Nation.

Buried right next to his longtime friend and fellow serviceman on the gentle slope of Wallaceville Cemetery is a soldier with nearly 40 years’ service with the New Zealand Army. Doug Wilson and Gordon Bremner served in the same unit and played cricket together for the Central Military Districts team. Like his friend, Doug Wilson’s grave gives no clue as to his time in uniform, his participation in World War Two or his extensive Regular Force service.

A local Wellington Boy, Doug was raised in Upper Hutt, attending the Silverstream and Trentham Schools. His father John was serving as a member of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps at Trentham Camp at the time. Unfortunately, the military downsizing which accompanied the great depression saw John Wilson lose his uniformed Army role in 1931. But he was able to stay on as a civilian member of the Civil Service at the camp, until he was reinstated as a soldier again in 1935.

Once Doug finished secondary school at Hutt Valley High, he managed to also get a job at the camp with his father, as a civilian storeman in January 1937. After working for a short period in the Main Ordnance Depot he moved into the clerical section, then volunteered to serve part-time as a soldier in the Territorial Force from mid-1938. A Gunner in the Royal New Zealand Artillery, he underwent training with an Anti-Aircraft battery at Fort Dorset as the clouds of another war in Europe began to gather.

As member of the Defence Department, Doug was not immediately called up for service when war broke out in 1939. Largely because he was already busy helping with the massive expansion of the military which occurred at this time. Starting with equipping and supplying the initial echelons of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force which began departing for Europe from 5 January 1940.

As New Zealand’s contribution to the war increased, Doug was formally drawn into the Army in September 1941 and posted to the New Zealand Temporary Staff. He served there throughout the Second World War, working in the Defence Services Provision Office, part of the Army Headquarters in Wellington. Because his role and expertise were in critical demand in New Zealand, he was never allowed to deploy to an overseas theatre of war.

This decision was lucky for Vera Rasmussen, who Doug met during the War, proposed to in 1944 and married in November 1945. As the Army reduced in size after the conflict, Doug decided to stay on, enlisting into the Regular Force in April 1947, just days before his wife gave birth to the first of their five sons. A storeman clerk in the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps he returned to Army Headquarters, and began slowly progressing up through the ranks.

By 1952 Doug was a Warrant Officer Class Two, and considered a senior and experienced member of the Ordnance Corps. Although not deploying overseas himself, he was involved in the preparation and sustainment of several operational forces, including those sent to Korea, and later Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam.

A keen sportsman he played in several Army and regional teams, including the Army Cricket team. It was here that he played alongside Gordon Bremner, who had served with Doug’s father and Doug had worked alongside during his early days at Trentham. Three years later they found themselves working within the same unit, when Doug was posted back to the Main Ordnance Deport at Trentham Camp in November 1955.

Attaining the Army’s most senior enlisted rank of Warrant Officer Class One in 1958, Doug sadly lost his wife Vera four years later, just six months after the birth of their youngest son. Despite the challenges this loss imposed on the young family, Doug was well supported by his Army colleagues and would continue to serve with the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps until February 1975.

He was awarded the New Zealand Military Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1964, which recognised more than 15 years’ unblemished service since gaining the Territorial Efficiency Medal, which he had qualified for at the end of the War. Then in 1969 Doug was singled out for the award of the prestigious and highly regarded Meritorious Service Medal (MSM).

An exceptionally scarce award for those with more than 21 years regular service, the MSM could be held by no more than 20 serving members of the New Zealand Army at any one time. It was generally reserved as special medallic recognition for the longest serving and most prominent Warrant Officers of the Service. With a total of 37 years uniformed service to the nation (38 years with the New Zealand Army if his time as a civilian storeman at Trentham is also included) Doug was certainly considered a worthy recipient.

Remaining in Upper Hutt after retiring from the military, Doug sadly passed away in 2012. His family laid him to rest in Wallaceville Cemetery with his wife Vera, and close to his old colleague and cricket team mate Gordon Bremner. The plain headstones giving no indication of the amazing stories of dedication and extended service to our nation of these two old soldiers. Lest we forget.

For the story of Gordon Bremner see: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=161882235428299&id=108826077400582

References

https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph/record/C145653

https://rnzaoc.com/2020/04/19/ordnance-cricket-team-1934-35/

https://rnzaoc.com/2018/10/28/gordon-cummin-bremner/

Howard E. Chamberlain, Service lives remembered: the Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and its recipients, 1895-1994, H.E Chamberlain: Wellington, NZ, 1995, p. 512.

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19440421.2.106.3 .


RNZAOC 1 April 1952 to 31 March 1953

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

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

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

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

On completion of CMT recruit training, recruits were posted to Territorial units close to their home location to complete their CMT commitment, with RNZAOC CMT recruits posted to either;

  • 1st Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Hopuhopu
  • 2nd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Mangaroa.
  • 3rd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Burnham

Territorial Force

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

Kayforce

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

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

Out of Kayforce

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

Into Kay force

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

Coronation Contingent

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

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

Ordnance Conferences

Ordnance Conference 16 – 18 September 1952

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Districts DADOS and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Army Headquarters over the period 16-18 September 1952.[6]  

Ordnance Conference 21-23 April 1953

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Districts DADOS and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Army Headquarters over the period 21-23 April 1953. 

Items discussed at the conference included;

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

Routine Ordnance Activities

Over this period the RNZAOC in addition to its regular duties of provision, holding and the issue of multitudinous stores required by the Army including the additional issue of training equipment to the territorial Force allowing all units sufficient equipment for normal training.

Ammunition Examiner Qualification

Private Luskie qualified as an Ammunition Examiner as AE No 75

Small Arms Ammunition

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

Introduction of New Equipment

As new equipment was introduced, the RNZAOC would play an essential role in the acceptance processes. Upon delivery from the supplier, the equipment, its accessories and spares would be received into an RNZAOC Depot. The equipment would be inspected and kitted out with all its accessories before distribution to units. Depending on the equipment, several examples may have been retained in RNZAOC Depots as War Reserve/Repair and Maintenance Stock. Maintenance stocks of accessories and spares were maintained as operating stock in RNZAOC depots. If the new equipment was or contained a weapon system, ammunition specific to the equipment was managed by RNZAOC Ammunition Depots.

During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;[7]

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

New Headdress trial

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

Trentham Camp Commandant

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

Hope Gibbons Fire

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

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

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

Honours List

Long Service and Good Conduct

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

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

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

Transferred into the RNZAOC from other Corps

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

Re-Engagements into the New Zealand Regular Force

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

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

Promotions

To Lieutenant and Quartermaster

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

To Lieutenant

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

Transferred to Reserve of Officers

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

  • Lieutenant R. K. Treacher

Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

[7] Damien Fenton, A False Sense of Security : The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, Occasional Paper / Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand: No. 1 (Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, 1998), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 21.

[8] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[16] Ibid., 569.

[17]Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

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

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


RNZAOC 1 April 1951 to 31 March 1952

This period would see the RNZAOC continue to support Regular, Territorial and Compulsory Military Training, while also providing ongoing support to Kayforce.[1]

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

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

  • 3rd intake of 3011 recruits on 2 August 1951
  • 4th intake of 2981 recruits on 3 January 1952
  • 5th intake of 2694 recruits on 27 March 1952

Unlike the previous intakes of 18-year-olds, the 4th intake consisted of a large number of 20-year-olds.

On completion of CMT recruit training, recruits were posted to Territorial units close to their home location to complete their CMT commitment, with RNZAOC CMT recruits posted to either

  • 1st Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Hopuhopu
  • 2nd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Mangaroa.
  • 3rd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Burnham

Kayforce

During July 1951 the New Zealand Government decided to increase its commitment to Kayforce with an expansion draft. Between July and 2 August 1951, the RNZAOC would outfit and equip the expansion draft with the necessary clothing and personal and equipment along with many additional stores and equipment for Kayforce including,

  • 12 Twenty-Five pounders[3]
  • A Battery truck
  • Tentage and camp equipment
  • Gun Ammunition

The expansion draft of 579 officers and men departed Wellington on 2 August 1951. However, on 15 August 1951, a day after departing Darwin, the Wahine ran aground in the Arafura Sea. All the crew and soldiers safely evacuated, continuing their journey to Korea by air, in what would be the first mass airlift of troops conducted by New Zealand. In an attempted salvage attempt a small number of personal kitbags and thirty cases of rifles were saved, with the 25 Pounder Guns disabled by the removal of their breech blocks, the remainder of stores and equipment remaining in the hold of the Wahine to this day.[4]

The loss of stores shipped on the Wahine threw an unplanned and additional task onto the RNZAOC. Within fourteen days, RNZAOC units would assemble and pack the required replacement stores to ensure that no hardship would be occasioned to the Force in Korea.[5] The replacement stores were dispatched by sea from Auckland on 4 September 1951.[6]

“Wahine” aground on the Masela Island Reef off Cape Palsu in the Arafura Sea

During this period the RNZAIOC provide the following reinforcements to Kayforce;

  • 3rd Reinforcements, SS Wanganellella, 21 January 1952
    • Lance Corporal Owen Fowell
    • Corporal Leonard Farmer Holder
    • Private Desmond Mervyn Kerslake

New Zealand Army Act, 1950

The New Zealand Army Act 1950, together with the Army regulations 1951 and the Army Rules of Procedure 1951 issued under the authority of the Act, came into force on 1 December 1951, Placing the administration of the New Zealand Army entirely under the legislative control of the New Zealand Government and independent of the United Kingdom

Ordnance Conference 11 -13 April 1951

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Districts DADOS and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Army Headquarters over the period 11 -13 April 1951.[7]

Items discussed at the conference included;

  • Corps Policy
  • Kayforce
  • TF Recruit intakes
  • Estimation of expenditure
  • Payment of Accounts
  • Provision
  • Vehicles and MT Spares
  • Personnel
  • Ammunition

Pay and Allowances

During this period, new scales of pay and allowances for the Armed Forces were authorised. The new pay code provided an opportunity for the introduction of an improved system of “star” classification for all Other Ranks. The “Star” Classification system would by utilising trade tests allow pay to be related to trade ability.

Routine Ordnance Activities

Over this period the RNZAOC in addition to its regular duties of provision, holding and the issue of multitudinous stores required by the Army and the issue and dispatch of equipment and personnel for Kayforce had undertaken several other significant tasks;

The relocation of stores from Waiouru and Seaview to Mangaroa

The transfer of stores from Waiouru to Mangaroa was completed during this period. The transfer of stores from Seaview to Mangaroa and Trentham continued, with a further 10000 square feet (930 square meters) of storage at Seaview made available to other Government departments.

Inspection of Ammunition

The Inspection Ordnance Officers Group (IOO Gp), which remained considerably understaffed, was fully extended in the inspection of ammunition required for ongoing training requirements.

Small Arms Ammunition

Production of small-arms ammunition commenced in December 1951 at the Colonial Ammunition Company factory at Mount Eden in Auckland. The Proof Officer reported that ammunition so far received was of high quality.

Introduction of New Equipment

As new equipment was introduced, the RNZAOC would play an essential role in the acceptance processes. Upon delivery from the supplier the equipment, its accessories and spares would be received into an RNZAOC Depot. The equipment would be inspected and kitted out with all its accessories prior to distribution to units. Depending on the equipment, several examples may have been retained in RNZAOC Depots as War Reserve/Repair and Maintenance Stock. Maintenance stocks of accessories and spares were maintained as operating stock in RNZAOC depots. If the new equipment was or contained a weapon system, ammunition specific to the equipment was managed by RNZAOC Ammunition Depots.

During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;

  • Four 5.5-inch Mark III Medium Guns.[8]

Support to the French War in Vietnam

In a move to calculated to enhance New Zealand’s national security by been seen abetting our allies in their efforts to contain Communism in South-East Asia, The New Zealand government in 1952 provided tangible support to the French in Vietnam by authorising the transfer of surplus and obsolete lend-Lease weapons and ammunition to the French Forces. Transferred from stocks held in RNZAOC depots, the following items would be dispatched to Vietnam;[9]

  • 13000 rifles, and
  • 670000 rounds of small arms ammunition.

The rifles, machine guns (and ammunition) were lend-lease weapons that had urgently been provided to New Zealand in 1942 when the threat of Japanese invasion was very real. Chambered in the American 30-06 calibre the weapons served with the Home Guard and New Zealand units in the pacific, notably with RNZAF units co-located with American Forces.

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

  • George Thomas Dimmock – 2 August 1951

Discharged 31 March 1952

  • Corporal R.C Fisher (Ammunition Examiner IOO Branch)

Notes

[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1951 to 31 March 1952 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1952).

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

[3] Howard Weddell, Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History (Howard Weddell, 2018), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 184-5.

[4] I. C. McGibbon, New Zealand and the Korean War (Oxford University Press in association with the Historical Branch, Dept. of Internal Affairs, 1992), Non-fiction, Government documents, 199.

[5] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1951 to 31 March 1952 “.

[6] McGibbon, New Zealand and the Korean War, 200.

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

[8] A total of 16 guns, delivered in groups of Four on a mixture of MkI and MkII carriages would be supplied to the NZ Army between 1951 and . Damien Fenton, A False Sense of Security : The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, Occasional Paper / Center for Strategic Studies: New Zealand: No. 1 (Center for Strategic Studies: New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, 1998), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 21.

[9] Roberto Giorgio Rabel, New Zealand and the Vietnam War : Politics and Diplomacy (Auckland University Press, 2005), Bibliographies, Non-fiction.