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).


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.


The role of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, 1914-1920

This article was initially published in the Journal of the New Zealand Military History Society “The Volunteers” in July 2020

The role of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) during the First World War, is one that has remained untold if not forgotten. While the contribution of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), its commanders, battles and significant units is well recorded, the narrative on the Logistic Services of the NZEF has been universally biased towards the larger of the Logistic Services; the New Zealand Army Service Corps (NZASC), with the contribution of the NZAOC, seldom mentioned.The significance of the NZAOC is that from 1914 to 1919, the NZAOC was the body charged with supplying and maintaining the weapons, ammunition, clothing and equipment of the NZEF, and as such was a key enabler towards the success of the NZEF. The main NZAOC functions were within the NZ Division under the control of the NZ Division Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (DADOS). Additionally, as part of the NZEF Headquarters in London, the NZAOC would manage a range of ordnance functions in support of the NZEF.  This article examines the role of the NZAOC as it grew from an initial mobilisation strength of two men in 1914 into a small, but effective organisation providing Ordnance services to the NZEF.

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

Unlike the Australians who were in the early stages of establishing their Ordnance Corps under with the assistance of a British Ordnance Officer in 1914, New Zealand was without a uniformed Ordnance Corps on the declaration of war in 1914.[1]  The formation of the NZAOC had been a topic of discussion and indecision from as early as 1900, and despite the transformational reforms of the New Zealand Defence Act of 1909, there was little appetite to decide on the formation of the NZAOC.[2] However, the need for personnel trained in Ordnance duties was understood, with some training and experimentation in the provision of Ordnance Services carried out in the Brigade and Divisional Camps of 1913 and 1914, laying the foundation for the mobilisation of August 1914.[3]

Section 5 of General Order 312 issued in August 1914 would establish Ordnance Services as part of the NZEF. This order authorised as part of the Division Headquarters establishment; a DADOS, one clerk and a horse.[4]  Appointed to the position of DADOS was Honorary Captain William Thomas Beck of the New Zealand Staff Corps,[5] with the position of Clerk filled by Sergeant Norman Joseph Levien, a general storekeeper who had enlisted into the 3rd Auckland Regiment on the outbreak of war.[6]  Beck and Levien would assist in equipping troops for overseas service at the Avondale camp before embarking with the main body of the NZEF.[7]

Disembarking in Egypt on 3 December 1914 and armed with The Ordnance Manual (War) of 1914, Beck was provided with the following guidance on his role as DADOS;

“To deal with all matters affecting the Ordnance services of the division. The DADOS would manage the state of the clothing and equipment on the charge of the units composing the division and would from time to time advise the officers in charge of the stores which in all probability would be required for operations”.[8]

NZAOC Captain W T Beck, Ordnance Depot Shrapnel Gully Gallipoli 1915

One of Becks first tasks was to establish a shared depot with the NZASC at Zeitoun,  with NZEF Order No 9 of 10 December 1914 detailing the instructions for submitting demands to the DADOS Ordnance Depot.[9] Working alongside their Australian and British counterparts, Beck and Levien would have their staff enhanced with the addition of six soldiers from 28 December 1914.[10]  With no experience of the British Ordnance systems and procedures, Levien was attached for a short period to the British Army Ordnance Corps Depot at the Citadel in Cairo to study the ordnance systems in use and adapt them for use by the New Zealand Forces.[11] As the preparations for the Dardanelles campaign began to unfold, the NZAOC begin to take shape with Levien, and Sergeant King from the Wellington Regiment commissioned from the ranks to be the first NZAOC officers on 3 April 1915.[12]

To support the upcoming Dardanelles operation and ensure the flow of stores forward, Alexandra was to be the main Ordnance Base Depot. The cargo ship ‘SS Umsinga’ which had been fitted out in the United Kingdom with many of the Ordnance Stores anticipated to support the operation, would act as the forward Ordnance Depot.[13]  As part of the New Zealand preparations, Beck would be the DADOS for the New Zealand & Australian Division (NZ & A Div). At Alexandra, Levien secured premises at No. 12 Rue de la Porte Rosette and Shed 43, Alexandra Docks for a New Zealand Ordnance Depot. The Australians would also establish a similar Depot at Mustapha Barracks and at No 12 Bond Store on Alexandra Docks.[14] King would remain at Zeitoun as the Officer in Charge of the Ordnance Depot at Zeitoun Camp to manage the reception of reinforcements and bringing them up to theatre scales as they arrived from New Zealand.

Rue de la, Porte Rosette, Alexandria, Egypt. Public Domain

Concentrating off the Island of Lemnos from April 10, the ANZAC, British and French invasion fleet would invade Turkey at three locations on the morning of 25 April. The 1st Australian Division would land first at around 4 am on 25 April, with Godley’s Headquarters leading the NZ & A Div ashore at around 9 am, with Beck, according to Christopher Pugsley the first New Zealander ashore as part of Godley’s Force.[15]

As Beck landed, the 1st Australian Division DADOS Lt Col J.G Austin was supervising the cross-loading of ammunition and Ordnance stores in a rudimentary Logistics Over-the-Shore (LOTS) operation using a small fleet of lighters.[16]  As the lighters unloaded, and the stores transferred to a hastily established ordnance dump just off the beach, issues of ammunition had begun to be issued to replenish the men fighting in the hills,[17] and Beck would have been immediately committed to establishing his domain as DADOS of the NZ & A Div. Under Austin who had taken control of the Ordnance operations in the ANZAC sector,[18] Beck would remain as the DADOS of the NZ & A Div until August.

Supplies on the beach at ANZAC Cove 1915. Athol Williams Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library
Ordnance Depot Shrapnel Gully, Gallipolli. Alexander Turnbull Libary

Assisting Beck with the more onerous physical work and the management of the depot staff, was Staff Sergeant Major Elliot Puldron.[19]  Becks service at Gallipoli was reported in the Hawera & Normanby Star on 24 June 1916.

“Finally, there was Captain William Beck, an ordinary officer. “Beachy Bill” was in charge of the store – a miserable little place – and whenever he put his nose out of the door bullets tried to hit it. The Turkish gun in Olive Grove was named after him, “Beachy Bill.” The store was simply a shot under fire, and Bill looked out and went on with his work just as if no bullets were about. He was the most courteous and humorous, and no assistant at Whiteley’s could have been more pleasing and courteous than the brave storekeeper on Anzac Beach. General Birdwood never failed to call on Captain Beck or call out as he passed on his daily rounds, asking if he were there, and they all dreaded that someday there would be no reply from a gaunt figure still in death. But Captain Beck was only concerned for the safety of his customers. He hurried them away, never himself”. [20]

As a result of the rigours of the campaign, Beck was evacuated from Gallipoli in August with Levien replacing him as DADOS. From mid-September, the exhausted New Zealanders withdrew to Lemnos for rest and reconstitution. King and Levien switched roles with Levien appointed the Chief Ordnance Officer (COO) of Sarpi camp with the responsibility for re-equipping the depleted NZ & A Div. Returning to Gallipoli in November, King would remain with the NZ & A Div as the DADOS and Levien would remain on Lemnos. Both men would return to Egypt in December after the NZ & A Div withdrew from Gallipoli.

Now with sufficient New Zealand reinforcements available, the NZEF was expanded and reorganised into an Infantry Division which would serve on the Western Front and a Mounted Rifle Brigade, which would remain in the Middle East.[21]  As a consequence of the logistical lessons learnt on the Western Front by the British Army Ordnance Corps(AOC), the existing NZ Ordnance cadre would expand into a modest unit of the NZEF.[22]  In the NZ Division, the Staff of the DADOS would expand from the original officer, clerk and horse in 1914, into a staff of several officers, warrant officers, SNCOs, men and dedicated transport.[23] The NZAOC in the Mounted Rifle Brigade would work under the Australian DADOS of the ANZAC Mounted Division, with the Ordnance establishment for each Mounted Brigade Headquarters consisting of a warrant officer, sergeant clerk and corporal storeman.[24]

Beck had been identified to continue as the NZ Division DADOS, but continual ill-health had resulted in his return to New Zealand in November. Godley selected Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert as an officer with the right business acumen to replace Beck. Herbert was the first Mayor of Eketahuna, and a successful business owner who ran a chain of general stores in the north Wairarapa, the challenge of managing the NZAOC would be one well suited to his experience.[25] Herbert had previously commanded the Maori Contingent and then the Otago’s on Gallipoli, and in January 1916 was transferred into NZAOC as the NZ Division, DADOS and Officer Commanding of the NZEF NZAOC.[26] As Herbert took command, additional officers and soldiers were transferred into the NZAOC to complement the men already serving in the NZAOC.[27]

Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert, NZAOC. aucklandmuseum/Public Domain

As Herbert prepared his men for the move to France, he had the formidable task of instructing them in the necessary ordnance procedures and duties that they would be expected to carry out in France, almost all of Herbert’s men had seen service on Gallipoli and adapted themselves to their new circumstances to provide their mates on the front the best possible service. Not all the original NZAOC officers would remain with the NZ Division; King would become ill with enteric feverand invalided back to New Zealand, and would be a foundation member of the NZAOC in New Zealand on its formation in 1917.[28]  Levien (and two Other Ranks) would remain in Egypt attached to NZEF Headquarters where he would close the Alexandra Depot and dispose of the vast stockpile of stores that the NZEF had accumulated over the past year. Departing Egypt in May 1916, Levien would not re-join the NZ Division but remain with the Headquarters NZEF as the NZEF COO in the United Kingdom.[29]

A significant duty of the DADOS and his staff was to vet all indents that were submitted by units of the NZ Division. Herbert and his staff were to exercise a check on these indents and keep records of the receipt and issues of stores to prevent the placing of excessive demands. Herbert’s role was not to obstruct legitimate demands but to accelerate their processing and see that the stores, when received, were issued without delay. Herbert would later reminisce at a Returned Servicemen’s meeting that his role was “to see that all units were properly equipped, at the same time endeavouring to ensure that no one ” put it across him ” for extra issues”.[30] The DADOS would not typically hold stocks of any kind, but as experience grew, the DADOS would hold a small reserve of essential items.[31] An example of the items held by the DADOS were gumboots and socks.[32]

A crucial role of the DADOS was to ensure that all damaged or worn stores that were fit for repair were exchanged for new or refurbished items and the damage items returned to the appropriate repair agency. Under the responsibility of the DADOS, an Armourer Staff Sergeant was attached to each infantry battalion in the early years of the war. It was later found to be a much better plan to remove the armourers from Battalions and form a division armourers shop equipped with all the tools and accessories necessary for the repair of small arms, machine guns, bicycles, primus stoves, steel helmets and other like items, allowing them to be repaired and reissued with much higher efficiency than if left with an individual Battalion armourer.[33] Also under the supervision of the DADOS were the Divisional boot repair shop and Divisional Tailors shops. These shops saved and extended the life of many hundreds of pairs of boots and suits of clothing.

In May 1916, shortly after arriving in France the DADOS was directed to provide one officer, one sergeant and two corporals for the Divisional Salvage Company, with the OC of the Pioneer Battalion providing four Lance Corporals and 24 Other ranks. The duties of the NZ Divisional Salvage Company were;

“The care and custody of packs of troops engaged in offensive operations; The care of tents and canvas of the Division; The salvage of Government property, and also enemy property, wherever found; The sorting of the stuff salved, and dispatch thereof to base.”[34]

Although initially reporting to the Corps Salvage Officer, entries in the DADOS war diaries indicate that the Divisional Salvage Company was an integral part of the DADOS responsibilities.[35]

The appointment of Divisional Baths and Laundry Officer was another DADOS  responsibility from December 1916.[36] The Division would endeavour to maintain facilities to provide the entire Division with a Bath and a change of clothing every ten days.[37]  The Divisional Baths and Laundry provided a welcome respite for solders from the front; soiled clothing was handed in as solders arrived and undressed, provide a hot bath or shower, solders would then be issued a clean uniform. The soiled uniform would be inspected, cleaned and repaired if necessary and placed into stock ready for the next rotation of soldiers to pass through.[38]

9/39 Temporary Major Charles Gossage OBE. National Library of New Zealand/public domain

Herbert would remain as DADOS until 31 March 1918 when he relinquished the appointment of OC NZAOC and DADOS NZ Division to be the Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (ADOS) of XI Army Corps.[39] Herbert was replaced as DADOS by Lieutenant Gossage who had recently completed an Ordnance course at Woolwich and was granted the rank of Temporary Captain while holding the position of DADOS. The appointment of OC NZAOC was taken up by Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Edward Pilkington. Pilkington was a New Zealand Artillery Officer with a flair for administration. Pilkington had acquitted himself well as the ADOS of XIX Corps during the retreat of the British 5th Army in March 1918 and was considered the most experience Ordnance Officer in the NZEF and was appointed NZEF ADOS on 30 June 1918.[40]

Prior to the arrival of Pilkington as NZEF ADOS, the headquarters of the NZEF in London had evolved into a self-contained administrative unit, with capably managed departments providing the full range medical, pay, postal and other administrative services to maintain a the NZEF training camps in the United Kingdom as well as the NZEF units in France and the Middle East.[41] In his role as the NZEF COO, Levien would undertake several initiatives to improve the logistical situation of the NZEF. Levien’s initial work included the establishment of the Sling Ordnance Depot and smaller sub-depots at all of the NZEF Training Camps and Hospitals throughout the United Kingdom.[42] To support these Depots, Levien would also establish an Ordnance Depot at Farringdon Road, London.[43]  Levien was always keen to reduce costs, and an example of his cost-saving efforts is that by a combination of switching clothing suppliers from the Royal Army Clothing Department (RACD) at Pilimlco to commercial suppliers and by repairing damaged clothing, these changes resulted in savings of 2019 NZD$9,788,232.00 in the period leading up to December 1917.[44]

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

Levien would also study the stores accounting procedures employed by the Australians and Canadians, and after discussions with Battalion Quartermasters and the Ordnance Officer at Sling, Levien submitted a modified stores accounting system that was adopted across the NZEF to provide a uniform and efficient method of accounting for stores. So successful was this system that it was adopted by the post-war NZAOC and proved very successful with losses becoming comparatively negligible against the previous systems.[45] Levien also instigated the establishment of an independent NZEF audit department and a purchasing board to supervise purchasing by the NZEF. For his efforts, Levien who finished the war a Major was awarded an MBE and OBE.[46]

The armistice of 11 November 1918 brought a sudden end to the fighting on the Western Front leading to the NZ Division marching into Germany to take up occupation duties at Cologne soon afterwards. Gossage and his staff would initially be concerned with closing down or handing over the ordnance stores and infrastructure in France and Belgium and establishing the ordnance mechanisms required to support the NZ Division in Germany. The New Zealand occupation would be short, and the NZ Division had disbanded by 26 March 1919.[47] With all of the NZ Divisions equipment requiring disposal, Gossage and his men were ordered to remain in Germany to manage the handing back of the Divisions equipment to British ordnance and dispose of the items unable to be returned by sale or destruction.  Gossage would eventually march out for England on 2 May 1919.[48]  Concurrent with the mobilisation activities undertaken by Gossage in Germany, the NZAOC in the United Kingdom would swiftly switch activities from equipping the NZEF to demobilising the NZEF and all the ordnance activities associated with that task.

Army clothing at a New Zealand military ordnance store, England. Alexander Turnbull Library

Additionally, the NZAOC would manage the return to New Zealand of the considerable amount of war trophies that the NZEF had accumulated,[49] and the indenting of new equipment to equip the New Zealand Army into the early 1940s.[50] Under Captain William Simmons the final OC Ordnance from 20 Feb 1920, the final remnants of the NZEF NZAOC would be demobilised in October 1920 closing the first chapter of the NZAOC.[51]

In conclusion, this article provides a snapshot of the role of the NZAOC and its place within the NZEF. Charged with the responsibility of supplying and maintaining the weapons, ammunition, clothing and equipment of the NZEF, the NZAOC provided the NZEF with a near-seamless link into the vast Imperial ordnance system. The responsibilities of the NZAOC as part of the NZ Division would extend from the traditional ordnance supply and maintenance functions to the management of the Divisional Baths, Laundries and Savage. In the United Kingdom, the NZAOC would not only provide ordnance support to the troops undertaking training and casualties in hospitals but under a process of continual improvements streamline logistics procedures and processes to enable the NZEF to make considerable savings. However, despite its success as a combat enabler for the NZEF, the legacy of the NZAOC would be one of anonymity. The anonymity of the NZAOC was as a consequence of its small size, and its place in the organisational structure as part of the NZEF and Division Headquarters.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

Australia & New Zealand Army Corps [2ANZAC], Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (ADOS) – War Diary, 1 December – 31 December 1916.” Archives New Zealand Item No R23487340  (1916).
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“Little, Edward Cullen “. Personal File, Archives New Zealand, 1914.
“Lofts,Horace Frederick “. Personal File, Archives New Zealand, 1914.
“Macrae, Kenneth Bruce “. Personal File, Archives New Zealand, 1914.
“New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Regulations.” New Zealand Gazette No 95, June 7 1917, 2292.
“New Zealand Expeditionary Force – Army Ordnance Corps Daily Order No. 1 “. Archives New Zealand Item No R25958433  (1916).
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New Zealand Ordnance Corps demobilisation Staff at Mulheim, Germany, Febuary1919. Alexander Turnbull Library/Public Domain

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Forbes, Arthur. A History of the Army Ordnance Services. London: The Medici society, ltd., 1929. Harper, Glyn. Johnny Enzed: The New Zealand Soldier in the First World War 1914-1918. First World War Centenary History. Exisle Publishing Limited, 2015. Non-fiction.
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McDonald, Wayne. Honours and Awards to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War 1914-1918. 3rd edition ed.: Richard Stowers, 2013. Directories, Non-fiction.
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Notes

[1] Arthur Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services (London: The Medici society, ltd., 1929), 229.
[2] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 52-53.
[3] Under the Director of Equipment and Stores, a fortnight course of instruction on ordnance duties was conducted at Alexandra Barracks in January 1913 to trained selected Officers in Ordnance Duties. During the Brigade and Divisional camps of 1913 and 1914 each Brigade Ordnance Officer was allocated a staff of 2 clerks and 4 issuers, who had also undertaken training on Ordnance duties. , “Territorials,” Evening Star, Issue 15018, 29 October 1912.; “H-19 Report on the  Defence Forces of New Zealand for the Period 28 June 1912 to 20 June 1913,” Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representives  (1913).
[4] “Troopships; Embarkation Orders; Daily Field States; and a Large Chart of ‘New Zealand Expeditionary Forces – Personnel’ as at 1 June 1915),” Item ID R23486740, Archives New Zealand 1914.
[5] Beck was an experienced military storekeeper, who had been a soldier in the Permanent Militia before his appointment as Northern Districts Defence Storekeeper in 1904. Beck was the Officer in charge of the Camp Ordnance for the Auckland Divisional Camp at Hautapu near Cambridge in April 1914 so was well prepared for the role of DADOS “Beck, William Thomas,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.; “The Hautapu Camp,” Waikato Argus, Volume XXXV, Issue 5575, 4 April 1914.
[6] “Levien, Norman Joseph “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
[7] “Beck, William Thomas.”
[8] Ordnance Manual (War), War Office (London: His Majesties Printing Office, 1914).
[9] “Appendices to War Diaries, I – Lxii,” Item ID R23486739, Archives New Zealand 1914.
[10]Divisional Order 210 of 28 December transferred the following soldiers to the Ordnance Depot;

•              Private Walter John Geard, Geard would remain with Ordnance for the duration of the war
•              Private Arthur Gilmore, Gilmour would remain with Ordnance for the duration of the war|
•              Private Gavin Hamilton, Worked At Alexandra Depot until returned to New Zealand in October 1915
•              Private Lewis Crozier, Promoted to Sergeant 18 Feb 16, returned to NZ August 1917
•              Private Horace Frederick Lofts, Transferred to NZASC October 1917
•              Private Joseph Roland Henderson, Transferred to NZASC 25 February 1916

“Geard, Walter John,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “Hamilton, Gavin “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “Crozier, Lewis “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “Lofts,Horace Frederick “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “Henderson, Joseph Roland,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “Gilmore, Arthur “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.[11] “Levien, Norman Joseph “.
[12]Thomas Joseph King a qualified accountant and would  be the Corps Director in the interwar period and would serve in the 2nd NZEF as ADOS, “King, Thomas Joseph,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.: “Grants of Temporary Rank, Appointments and Promotions of Officers of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force,” New Zealand Gazette 8 July 1915.
[13] Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services, 221-23.
[14]“Levien, Norman Joseph “; John D Tilbrook, To the Warrior His Arms: A History of the Ordnance Services in the Australian Army (Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps Committee, 1989), 43.
[15] Christopher Pugsley, Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story (Auckland [N.Z.] : Sceptre, 1990, 1990), 111.
[16] Australian Army, “Logistics,” Land Warfare Doctrine 4.0  (2018): 7.
[17]  Lt Col Austin was a British Army Ordnance Department officer on secondment to the Australian Army as DOS before the war and served with the AIF on Gallipoli as the DADOS 1st Australian Division and later ADOS of the ANZAC Corps.  Tilbrook, To the Warrior His Arms: A History of the Ordnance Services in the Australian Army 45.
[18] Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services, 229-30.
[19] “Puldron, Elliot “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
[20] “Brave New Zealanders,” The Hawera and Normanby Star, Volume LXXI, Issue LXXI, , 24 June 1916.
[21] I. C. McGibbon, New Zealand’s Western Front Campaign (Bateman, 2016), Non-fiction, 30-31.
[22] “Road to Promotion,” Evening Post, Volume XCI, Issue 29, 4 February 1916.;Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services, 151.[23]  The NZAOC Establishment was published in the NZEF Orders of 18 Feb 1916. “New Zealand Expeditionary Force – Army Ordnance Corps Daily Order No. 1 “, Archives New Zealand Item No R25958433  (1916).
[24] Tilbrook, To the Warrior His Arms: A History of the Ordnance Services in the Australian Army 55.
[25] “Herbert, Alfred Henry “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
[26] M. Soutar, Whitiki! Whiti! Whiti! E!: Māori in the First World War (Bateman Books, 2019), 185.
[27] The officers and men transferred in to the NZAOC in the period January/March 1916 would include;

•              Private Frank Percy Hutton
•              Sergeant Kenneth Bruce MacRae
•              2nd Lieutenant Alfred James Bond
•              Company Sergeant Major William Henchcliffe Simmons
•              Company Sergeant Major William Hall Densby Coltman
•              Temp Sergeant Edward Cullen Little
•              Corporal John Goutenoire O’Brien
•              Corporal John Joseph Roberts
•              Private Clarence Adrian Seay
•              Sergeant Charles Ingram Gossage
•              Armourer Charles Alfred Oldbury

“Gossage, Charles Ingram,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “Oldbury, Charles Alfred,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “Seay, Clarence Adrian  “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “O’brien, John Goutenoire “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “Little, Edward Cullen “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “Coltman, William Hall Densby “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “Simmons, William Henchcliffe “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “Bond, Alfred James,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “Macrae, Kenneth Bruce “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “Hutton, Frank Percy,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

[28] The New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and Corps would be establised as a pernamant unit of the New Zealand Military Forces  from 1 Feb 1917 “New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Regulations,” New Zealand Gazette No 95, June 7 1917.
[29] “Levien, Norman Joseph “; “New Zealand Expeditionary Force – Army Ordnance Corps Daily Order No. 1 “.
[30] “Returned Soldiers,” Evening Post, Volume CIII, Issue 136, 12 June 1922.
[31] Military Board of Allied Supply Allied and Associated Powers, Report of the Military Board of Allied Supply (Washington: Govt. Print. Off., 1924).
[32] Peter D. F. Cooke, Won by the Spade : How the Royal New Zealand Engineers Built a Nation (Exisle Publishing Ltd, 2019), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 199.
[33] P.H. Williams, Ordnance: Equipping the British Army for the Great War (History Press, 2018).
[34] Headquarters New Zealand and Australian Division, “New Zealand Division – Administration – War Diary, 1 May – 26 May 1916,” Archives New Zealand Item No R23487546  (1916).
[35] Items Salved ny the NZ Div Salvage Company in April 1918 included:

•              One Bristol Airplane,
•              One Triumph Norton Motorcycle,
•              Three Douglas Motorcycles,
•              The following enemy stores;
•              285 Rifles,
•              10 Bayonets and scabbards,
•              25 Steel Helmets,
•              Four Pistol Signal,
•              Three Mountings MG,
•              62 Belts MG,
•              32 Belt boxes MG,
•              95 Gas respirators

 “Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (Dados) – War Diary, 1 April – 30 April 1918,” Archives New Zealand Item No R23487665  (1918).

[36] “2nd Australia & New Zealand Army Corps [2anzac], Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (Ados) – War Diary, 1 December – 31 December 1916,” Archives New Zealand Item No R23487340  (1916).
[37] Ideally baths would be established for each Brigade and one for the remainder of the Division, these baths would be supported by a central Laundry “An Account of the Working of the Baths Established in the Divisional Areas in France,” Archives New Zealand Item No R24428508  (1918).
[38] Glyn Harper, Johnny Enzed: The New Zealand Soldier in the First World War 1914-1918, First World War Centenary History (Exisle Publishing Limited, 2015), Non-fiction, 351-54.
[39] “Herbert, Alfred Henry “.
[40] “Pilkington,Herbert Edward “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
[41] H. T. B. Drew, The War Effort of New Zealand : A Popular (a) History of Minor Campaigns in Which New Zealanders Took Part, (B) Services Not Fully Dealt with in the Campaign Volumes, (C) the Work at the Bases, Official History of New Zealand’s Effort in the Great War: V.4 (Whitcombe & Tombs, 1923), Non-fiction, 248.
[42] “Levien, Norman Joseph “.
[43] Equipment and Ordnance Depot, Farringdon Road, London – Administration Reports Etc., 18 October 1916 – 8 August 1918 Item Id R25102951, Archives New Zealand (1918).
[44] Ibid.
[45] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1922 to 30 June 1923,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1923).
[46] Wayne McDonald, Honours and Awards to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War 1914-1918, 3rd edition ed. (Richard Stowers, 2013), Directories, Non-fiction, 146.
[47] McGibbon, New Zealand’s Western Front Campaign, 355.
[48] “Gossage, Charles Ingram.”
[49] “Trophies and Historical Material – [War] Trophies – New Zealand Expeditionary Force [Nzef] – Shipment of to New Zealand, 21 September 1917 – 24 November 1919,” Archives New Zealand Item No R25103019  (1919).
[50] “O’brien, John Goutenoire “.
[51] Simmons had served on the Samoa Advance party in 1914 and demobilised in October 1920, possibly one of the longest serving members of the NZEF. “Simmons, William Henchcliffe “.


Sport and NZAOC in the interwar years – an examination of how sport contributed to the military preparedness and community links of the NZAOC

The Military of New Zealand has a proud sporting tradition; a tradition often touted as an example of how sport and the Military have had a complementary partnership credited with the shaping of the unique New Zealand Identify. Accounts of the 1919 “New Zealand Services” tour of the United Kingdom, France and South Africa and “Freybergs All Blacks” in the wake of World War Two have provided much material for articles, books and documentaries, reinforcing the New Zealand Sporting/Military tradition. However, New Zealand’s Military participation in sport in the period between the world wars is one that has remained mostly unrecorded and unknown. Using the example of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC), this essay will examine how the members of the Ordnance Corps participated as administrators and players in sporting competitions during the interwar period of 1918-1939.  This participation, while a general reflection of New Zealand society of the time, was nonetheless significant because it contributed to the Military’s profile in the community and the military preparedness of the NZAOC.

NZ-Army-team-1919-800

Sport has been a constant companion to New Zealand’s Military endeavours. New Zealand service members are well known for taking any opportunity to put their military duties aside and with the full encouragement of the military hierarchy, participate in sporting competition. Sporting participation in the Military is encouraged because it is not only an easy and practical way of encouraging physical fitness but as stated in the New Zealand Army Publication the NZP20 Sport, useful for promoting “the development of unit morale and esprit de corps, the development of leadership, teamwork, skills, dexterity, comradeship, development of personal qualities and character and the enhancement of the image of the Army in the community.”[1] Although the NZ P20 is the latest interpretation of the role of sport, it is an interpretation that has remained constant throughout all of New Zealand Military endeavours.[2] New Zealand’s final campaign of the First World War was not a military campaign, but rather a nineteen match, six-month tour of France, the United Kingdom and South Africa. The N.Z. Services team chosen from the cream of the NZEF were retrospectively considered in 1928 by Percy Day, the manager of the 1919 South African Services side “superior to the best XV the 1928 All Blacks could field. Being ex-soldiers, their teamwork and team spirit were alike admirable, and they blended into a most workmanlike side.”[3] Additional validation of the relationship between sport and military service came in 1920 as France began to rebuild their Military. Based on observations by the French of fighting quality of British Imperial troops, the French War Minister instructed that the development of sport participation throughout the French Army be made compulsory in every regiment. The radical change was made in part by the French wish to emulate the “fine physique and fighting qualities of the Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans and Canadians, who are the greatest exponents of football, cricket and general sport in the world”.[4]

In the wake of the First World War, sport would undergo a popular resurgence in New Zealand. The nation was determined to move forward to put the losses of the war behind them and “people were determined to enjoy themselves and to forget, or pretend to forget” the traumatic events to the previous four years.[5] Sport as a national institution had already been well established in the years leading up to the First World War and considered by some in New Zealand society as “a moral and physical training ground for young men and therefore a vital component of soldier-making”. However, by 1915 participation would begin to decline as the war effort began to take priority. The resurgence of sporting competitions began in 1918 and by 1919 was in full swing with Rugby Union, Football, Cricket, Shooting and Bowls competitions flourishing across the nation. However, despite the post-war resurgence of sport as a national pastime, the participation of the Military and the Ordnance Corps is less clear. The focus of most contemporary histories of the New Zealand Army for the period 1918-39 are less on sport but on how, despite the high esteem of the Army, how it faced many challenges and struggled for resources. In a period of growing anti-war sentiments, faith in the League of Nations, financial austerity and global depression, the Army underwent many reorganisations restructures and reductions so that by 1931 it had been reduced to a strength of around five hundred men.[6] However, despite the financial limitations of the era, the Ordnance Corps under the leadership of Major Thomas Joseph King, would not only conduct its military duties but also was an active participant in the sporting community.

As the Army adjusted and found its place in post-war New Zealand Society, the Ordnance Corps undertook a similar journey. In 1919 the Ordnance Corps was a relatively young military organisation, having only been formed as a component of the New Zealand Permanent Forces in 1917.[7] With its headquarters and main depot at Wellington’s Mount Cook, the Ordnance Corps was a nationwide organisation with sub-depots in Auckland, Palmerston North, Featherston, Trentham, Christchurch and Dunedin and was the defence agency vested with the responsibility for the provision, storage, maintenance and repair of all of the Defence Forces stores and equipment.[8] Reorganising to meet the need of the post-war Army, the Ordnance Corps would reduce its presence at Mount Cook when it transferred its warehousing functions to Trentham in 1920, followed by the Ordnance Workshops in 1930. Not immune from the effects of the depression, the Ordnance Corps faced its most significant challenge in January 1931 when massive workforce reductions across the NZ Army saw the Ordnance Corps reduced to a strength of 21 Officers and Soldiers with seventy-four men transferred to the Civil Staff, and the remainder retired. Few records of the sporting participation of the Ordnance Corps during the interwar period remain with one of the few pieces of evidence a photo in Joe Bolton’s 1992 History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps. [9] Bolton dedicates eight pages to the interwar period, but in tune with other publications covering New Zealand Military history during the same era, makes no mention of the NZAOC’s sporting participation, except for a single photograph of the 1934-35 Ordnance Cricket team at Upper Hutt’s Maidstone Park.[10]  The general theme of published military history works covering the period set the narrative of the interwar period of one of the struggles of the Military with much of the focus on the Territorial Army with little written about the small Permanent Forces, leading to the assumption that the Ordnance Corps as a military entity did not participate in any sporting activities. However, newspaper archives and records held by Archives New Zealand provide ample evidence that the Ordnance Corps was the most prominent component of the Permanent Forces that participated in community-based sporting competitions, with members of the Ordnance Corps acting as either administrator’s or players.[11] A search of the Papers Past Database using a combination of search criteria show that the Ordnance Corps was an active participant in many sporting activities in two distinct periods during the interwar years. The first recorded period of sporting activity was from 1918 to 1920, with the second period from 1933 to 1939. The absence in the newspaper record between 1920 and 1932 of any Ordnance Corps participation sporting competitions is unexplained. It could have been that resources and the tempo of work precluded participation, or it could be due to a quirk of editorial choice and sports were just not covered in detail during that period.

From 1918 to 1920 the Ordnance Corps was active in a range of team and individual sports including Rugby Union, Shooting, Cricket and Bowls. The Evening Post of October 14 1918, provides an account of a Rugby match between Ordnance and Base Records resulting in an 11 to 3 win for Ordnance. The article describes how the winning tries were scored by Captain King and Private Batchelor with Quartermaster-Sergeant McIntyre converted one try.[12] During 1919, prominent Wellington Newspapers such as the Evening Post and Dominion provided extensive coverage of most sporting competitions in the Wellington region which the Ordnance Corps provided teams to including the Wellington Miniature Rifle Association Osmond Challenge Cup.[13] The Osmond Challenge Cup was an intense competition between several Military and civilian teams from across the Wellington region. An exciting feature of this tournament was that the competition was mixed gender with a team of ladies competing, several of whom were the wives of some of the senior Ordnance Staff.[14] Cricket was also anther popular sport with the Ordnance Corps contributing a team into the Wellington Cricket Association Junior Men’s competition.[15] Lawn Bowls was also popular with the Ordnance Corps maintaining a bowling club up to 1918 participating in competitions and one-off matches. The Ordnance Bowling Club merged into the long-established Johnsonville Club in 1918, raising that club’s membership from Twenty-Four to Forty-Two.[16]  Based on the newspaper records Ordnance Corps participation in Wellingtons sporting competitions fell off after 1920. The likely reason for this sudden disengagement could be attributed to the move of the bulk of the Ordnance Corps to Trentham in 1920, and the reduction of Army staffing levels.

Cricket 1919

The second and most crucial period of Ordnance Corps sporting participation began in 1932 when after twelve years at Trentham the Ordnance Corps Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) entered a team into the Upper Hutt Cricket League competition.[17] The Ordnance Corps would provide a single Ordnance team from the 1933/34 season until the end of the 1938/39 season. During the duration of each season, the Evening Post Newspaper would provide a summary of each game detailing the results of the matches and the high scoring players.[18] By following the Newspaper articles, a roster of the teams participating in the competition is identified, with the Ordnance team along with Upper Hutt and Trentham teams identified as one of the anchor teams of the competition. The Newspaper articles also identify twenty of the men who played for the Ordnance team from 1934 to 1939. Having the names allows cross-referencing against other articles and military personnel files, providing further evidence that the Ordnance Cricket team was not only a sports team but an incubator for the future leaders of the Ordnance Corps. A high number of the players would serve in some capacity in all the different theatres that NZ Ordnance units served in during the war.[19] For example two of the players’ Alan Andrews and Henry McKenzie Reid, then both junior officers would rise to senior Ordnance command positions during the war. Andrews in the 2nd NZEF in the Middle East and Reid in the Pacific. After the war, both would be Director of Ordnance Services (DOS) and then Colonel Commandants.[20] Other players such as Leighton, Stroud and Keegan would all be commissioned during the war and end up commanding Ordnance Subunits in Trentham, Palmerston North and Linton into the early 1950s. The war would bring an end to the Upper Hutt cricket competition with the 1938/39 season the final season of the decade. Sports would flourish in Trentham during the war years, as the camp became a major training camp and logistics centre.[21] However, the Ordnance Corps would not place any terms into the local competition until 1950 when Rugby and Cricket teams representing the MOD once again represented the Ordnance Corps in regional sporting competitions.[22]

ord-cricket-team

One of the most interesting aspects of the Ordnance Cricket team is the use of symbology in the team strip. The existing photograph of the 1934/35 team, picture the team dressed in a simple team strip of whites, with each member wearing a blue cheese cutter type hat with a stylised NZAOC Badge.[23] The use of the Ordnance badge is significant as symbols such as a coloured cap, and a badge can represent the values of the organisation and distinguish the wearer from others.[24] The 1930s were a period of economic austerity, and the provision of a cap badge stylised badge could have been seen as a frivolous and necessary expense. However that these items existed demonstrates a level of commitment by the individual team members to represent their organisation, in this case, the Trentham Main Ordnance Depot in the best possible light.

King

Brigadier T J King, CBE, RNZAOC Regimental Colonel 1 Jan 1949 – 31 Mar 1961. RNZAOC School

In addition to the Ordnance Corps personnel participating in sports throughout these two periods, two individuals are prominent in the field of sports administration, Major Thomas Joseph King and William Saul Keegan. As the DOS from 1924, King was the head of the Ordnance Corps until 1939. In addition to his military duties managing the Ordnance Corps, King was also a significant member of the Wellington Rugby Union (WRU) administration. In the lead-up to the Great War, King served in the Territorials while working as a public servant. King had a lifelong passion for sports and was an accomplished swimmer and capable rugby player. Serving in the NZEF King was one of the first two officers promoted into the newly created NZEF Ordnance Corps. King would serve at Gallipoli where he was injured and repatriated back to New Zealand early in 1916. King continued to serve in the Defence Stores in Wellington and commissioned into the NZAOC on its formation as part of the permanent forces in 1917. He was serving as the second in command of the Ordnance Corps until 1924, King then assumed the appointment of DOS.  As a member of the Oriental Rugby Club in Wellington, the club elections of 1923 saw King appointed as a Vice President.[25] King would then be elected to the WRU management committee from 1926 until 1939. King would not only be involved in the day to day operation of Wellington Rugby; he would also be one of the WRU delegates to the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU). [26] On one occasion King’s WRU duties intersected with his military responsibilities when he recruited Alan Andrews into the NZAOC. Studying at Christchurch University, Andrews played rugby for Canterbury and had made the grade for selection as an All Black in 1934. However, as he was at university, Andrews made the difficult decision to forgo rugby and complete his studies. This decision would be a lifelong regret. Andrews moved to Wellington to complete the practical work for his degree, and King had organised a placement for Andrews through the WRU on the proviso that Andrews played rugby for the Hutt. On completion of his degree, King recruited Andrews into the Ordnance Corps and an Ordnance Officer in 1936.[27] Kings decision was a wise choice, Andrews would have an eventful career attaining the rank of Brigadier. Andrews rugby career high would be when he was selected by General Freyberg early in the war to manage the 2nd NZEF Rugby Team on the cessation of hostilities, a task he completed with much success, with the Khaki Blacks becoming one of the most famous and successful Rugby teams produced by New Zealand.[28] Wartime service would see King resign from the management committee of the WRU, however, in recognition of his long and dedicated services to Wellington Rugby; King received the honour of life membership of the union in 1939.[29] King’s passion for rugby continued during his service in the 2nd NZEF, where in addition to his duties as the Deputy Director of Ordnance Services (DDOS) King would put his skills as a rugby administrator and selector to good use organising fixtures for the various 2nd NZEF teams.[30]

Administering at the club level was William Saul Keegan. Keegan had been a regular Ordnance soldier who was transferred to the civil service in 1931 as part of cost reductions across the Army, continuing to work at the MOD as a civilian throughout the 1930s. In addition to playing cricket for the Ordnance team in the Upper Hutt competition, Keegan was also the President of the Upper Hutt Rugby Club. A legacy of Keegan’s time as club President was the institution of the Wylie-Keegan cup, which remained an annual fixture with Otaki for several years.[31]  A highlight of Keegan’s tenure was that he brought he club out of the financial difficulties into a more stable position.[32] Keegan volunteered for war service and was commissioned as an officer in 1940 and would serve in Ordnance Command appointments until 1950.[33]

In conclusion, the participation of the Ordnance Corps in sporting competitions during the interwar years has remained anonymous in the historical narrative of the period. However, the Ordnance Corps participation was far from anonymous with the newspapers of the day, providing a record of the Ordnance Corps sporting participation with teams and individuals as players and administrators throughout the interwar period from 1918 to 1939. The single reaming team photograph offers a view of the team strip, demonstrating a level of commitment and pride in the Ordnance Corps and a desire to promote it to the local community. Given the nature of the sports, it is evident that sporting participation was useful in maintaining morale and esprit de corps during some difficult times while enhancing the image of the Ordnance Corps and the Army within the community. Finally, the leadership and teamwork that sport encourages were to provide inherent benefits to the Ordnance Corps in the World War of 1939-45. Many of the men who participated in sport as either administrators or players would go on to occupy critical leadership positions within the expanded wartime Ordnance organisation.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

“Army Team Enters H.V.C.A.” Upper Hutt Leader, Volume XII, Number 40, 5 October 1950.

“Compulsory Sport.” Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume 46, Issue 14081, 23 March 1920.

“Dinner and Presentation.” Upper Hutt Weekly Review, Volume III, Issue 39, 16 September 1938.

“Hutt Valley Cricket.” Evening Post, Volume CXVIII, Issue 140, , 11 December 1934.

“Johnsonville Club.” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 9, Page 5, 10 July 1918.

“Junior Competition.” Evening Post, Volume XCVII, Issue 33, 10 February 1919.

“Minature Rifleshooting.” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 14, 16 July 1918.

New Zealand Army. “Role of Army Sport.” NZ P20 Sport Chapter 1, Section 2 (2000).

“New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Regulations.” New Zealand Gazette, No 95, June 7 1917, 2292.

“Regulations for the Equipment of the New Zealand Military Forces.” New Zealand Gazette, June 14 1917, 2369-498.

“Regulations for the Military Forces of the Dominion of New Zealand.”. New Zealand Gazette, 25 May 1927, 1555-600.

“Rifle Shooting.” New Zealand Times, Volume XLIV, Issue 10310, Page 8, 19 June 1919.

“Rugby Football.” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 91, 14 October 1918.

“Rugby, the Oriental Club.” Evening Post, Volume CV, Issue 57, Page 4, 8 March 1923.

“Upper Hutt Club.” Evening Post, Volume CXXIII, Issue 63, Page 5, 16 March 1937.

“War Diary, 2nzef – Ddos [Deputy Director of Ordnance Services], June 1940 to November 1942.” Archives New Zealand Item No R20111233  (1940).

“William Saul Keegan.” Personal File, New Zealand Defence Force Archives, 1918.

Secondary Sources

Bolton, Major J.S. A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps. Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992.

Cape, Peter. Craftsmen in Uniform: The Corps of Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers: An Account. Corps of Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, 1976. Non-fiction.

Clayton, Garry. The New Zealand Army: A History from the 1840s to the 1990s. [Wellington, N.Z.]: New Zealand Army, 1990, 1990. Non-fiction.

Cooke, Peter. Warrior Craftsmen, Rnzeme 1942-1996. Wellington: Defense of New Zealand Study Group, 2017.

Elliott, Matt. War Blacks. HarperCollins Publishers, 2016. Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Collective biography.

Kelleher, J. A. Upper Hutt: The History. Cape Catley, 1991. Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Government documents.

McGibbon, I. C., and Paul William Goldstone. The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History. Auckland; Melbourne; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, 2000. Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

McKie, Robert. “Ordnance Cricket Team 1934/35.”  https://rnzaoc.com/2020/04/19/ordnance-cricket-team-1934-35/.

Ryan, Greg, and Geoff Watson. Sport and the New Zealanders: A History. Auckland University Press, 2018. Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

Swan, Arthur C., and Gordon F. W. Jackson. Wellington’s Rugby History, 1870-1950. Reed, 1952. Non-fiction.

Van Maanen, John Eastin, and Edgar Henry Schein. “Toward a Theory of Organizational Socialization.”  (1977).

Weddell, Howard. Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History. Howard Weddell, 2018. Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

Whatman, Mike. Khaki All Blacks: A Tribute to the ‘Kiwis’: The 2nd Nzef Army Rugby Team. Hodder Moa Beckett, 2005. Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

Notes

[1] New Zealand Army, “Role of Army Sport,” NZ P20 Sport Chapter 1, Section 2 (2000).

[2] I. C. McGibbon and Paul William Goldstone, The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History (Auckland; Melbourne; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, 2000), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 506.

[3] Matt Elliott, War Blacks (HarperCollins Publishers, 2016), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Collective biography, 274.

[4] “Compulsory Sport,” Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume 46, Issue 14081, 23 March 1920.

[5] Greg Ryan and Geoff Watson, Sport and the New Zealanders: A History (Auckland University Press, 2018), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 151.

[6] Garry Clayton, The New Zealand Army: A History from the 1840’s to the 1990’s ([Wellington, N.Z.]: New Zealand Army, 1990, 1990), Non-fiction, 105-10.

[7] “New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Regulations,” New Zealand Gazette, No 95, June 7 1917.

[8] Less rations and Fuel “Regulations for the Equipment of the New Zealand Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette, June 14 1917.

[9] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 80-88.

[10]  Peter Capes, 1976 Craftsmen in Uniform and Peter Cooke’s 2017 Warrior Craftsmen both, cover the NZAOC during the interwar period, but similarly to the contemporary military histories any mention of the Sporting contribution of the NZAOC is absent  Peter Cape, Craftsmen in Uniform: The Corps of Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers: An Account (Corps of Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, 1976), Non-fiction, 16-34.; Peter Cooke, Warrior Craftsmen, Rnzeme 1942-1996 (Wellington: Defense of New Zealand Study Group, 2017), 14-17.

[11] The 1927 Regulation for NZ Military Forces details that the Permanent Forces consisted of the following elements:

  • NZ Staff Corps.
  • NZ Permanent Staff.
  • Royal NZ Artillery.
  • NZ Permanent Air Force.
  • NZ Permanent Army Service Corps.
  • NZ Army Medical Corps.
  • NZ Army Ordnance Corps.
  • NZ Army Pay Corps.
  • General Duty Section of the Permanent Forces.
  • NZ Air Force.
  • NZ Veterinary Corps.
  • NZ Dental Corps.

“Regulations for the Military Forces of the Dominion of New Zealand.,” New Zealand Gazette, 25 May 1927.

[12] “Rugby Football,” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 91, 14 October 1918.

[13] “Minature Rifleshooting,” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 14, 16 July 1918.

[14] “Rifle Shooting,” New Zealand Times, Volume XLIV, Issue 10310, Page 8, 19 June 1919.

[15] “Junior Competition,” Evening Post, Volume XCVII, Issue 33, 10 February 1919.

[16] “Johnsonville Club,” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 9, Page 5, 10 July 1918.

[17] J. A. Kelleher, Upper Hutt : The History (Cape Catley, 1991), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Government documents, 312-13.

[18] “Hutt Valley Cricket,” Evening Post, Volume CXVIII, Issue 140, , 11 December 1934.

[19] Robert McKie, “Ordnance Cricket Team 1934/35,”  https://rnzaoc.com/2020/04/19/ordnance-cricket-team-1934-35/.

[20] Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 35-35.

[21] Howard Weddell, Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History (Howard Weddell, 2018), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 129-67.

[22] “Army Team Enters H.V.C.A,” Upper Hutt Leader, Volume XII, Number 40, 5 October 1950.

[23] The colour of the type is badge is confirmed as an example remains on display in the NZ Army’s Trade Training School at Trentham.

[24] John Eastin Van Maanen and Edgar Henry Schein, “Toward a Theory of Organizational Socialization,”  (1977): 44.

[25] “Rugby, the Oriential Club,” Evening Post, Volume CV, Issue 57, Page 4, 8 March 1923.

[26]. Arthur C. Swan and Gordon F. W. Jackson, Wellington’s Rugby History, 1870-1950 (Reed, 1952), Non-fiction, 187-88.

[27] Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 257.

[28] Mike Whatman, Khaki All Blacks : A Tribute to the ‘Kiwis’ : The 2nd Nzef Army Rugby Team (Hodder Moa Beckett, 2005), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 18-26.

[29] Swan and Jackson, Wellington’s Rugby History, 1870-1950, 126.

[30] “War Diary, 2nzef – Ddos [Deputy Director of Ordnance Services], June 1940 to November 1942,” Archives New Zealand Item No R20111233  (1940).

[31] “Dinner and Presentation,” Upper Hutt Weekly Review, Volume III, Issue 39, 16 September 1938.

[32] “Upper Hutt Club,” Evening Post, Volume CXXIII, Issue 63, Page 5, 16 March 1937.

[33] “William Saul Keegan,” Personal File, New Zealand Defence Force Archives 1918.

 

Copyright © Robert McKie 2020


1914 – 1919 War Memorial Plaque, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Palmerston North

Taking a break from telling the story of the New Zealand Ordnance Services, this article examines how the loss of war is memorialised in many New Zealand communities.

The First World War was a traumatic and defining event for the young county of New Zealand with over one hundred thousand men and women serving during the war. The effects of the war would be felt across all sectors of New Zealand society as New Zealand suffered a fifty-eight per cent casualty rate. As the nation collectively grieved, one way it came to terms with the tremendous loss of life was in the erection and dedication of war memorials across the nation. One example of such a memorial is the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Memorial Sunday School building at Church Street in Palmerston North, a building dedicated to the memory of the thirty-six members of the congregation that did not return from the war.  The building ceased to serve its original role many years ago and is now a bridal studio located in what is now a side street adjacent to Palmerston Norths only mall. However, the memorial plaque remains as a reminder of the losses inflicted onto the local community by the First World War. This article will focus on four of the men from the St Andrews congregation, and examine their’ life geography’ to tell their story of where they came from and the community that they lived-in.

st-andrews-sunday-school-memorial

The former St Andrews Church Sunday School, Palmerston North: Bruce Ringer, 2018

In the years from 1910 to 1923, the congregation of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church maintained an average congregation of 306. So given that the church had lost 11.6 per cent of its congregation in the war, it was a fitting and appropriate memorial to those men that the new Sunday School building was dedicated in their memory in 1923. [1] The memorial plaque is a simple marble tablet with the dedication and the names of the fallen engraved and filled in with lead lettering, parts of which are starting to deteriorate. The Names are in alphabetical order with Surnames followed by post-nominals and then initials, unfortunately not all the initials are entirely correct, leading to a disconnect between the memorial and records.

st-andrews-sunday-school-memorial1

St Andrews Church Sunday School, War Memorial Plaque. Palmerston North: Bruce Ringer, 2018

To determine the correct names and to construct the comparative table below (Table 1), verification of the names on the memorial was in the first instance checked against records held online by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).[2] From the data held by the CWGC, the individual’s service number was identified, which in turn was then used to extract the individual’s personnel file from either Archives New Zealand,[3] or the National Archives of Australia.[4]  To simplify the reading and interpretation of the Individuals service record, a search of the records held in the Auckland War Memorial Cenotaph website would often provide a transcript of the individual’s service record.[5]  Although the service record is robust and provides all the essential information on a serviceman’s military service but little on the service members his life outside of the military. Two useful websites offered additional information on the civilian life of the servicemen, the National Library of New Zealand Papers Past website,[6] and the pay for use website Ancestry.com, both these sites contribute in filling in many of the gaps found in the service records.

Table 1

This combination of multiple sources, which in some cases provided useful cross-referencing of information and the inclusion of new information created the table at appendix 1; providing details on the thirty-six men including;

  • Date and place of birth,
  • civilian occupations,
  • previous military service,
  • marital status,
  • Location on enlistment,
  • Enlistment date, servicer umber, rank at time of death and unit they were serving in, and
  • age and places of death.

Given the range of information and geographic data that can be filtered from such a table, for this research, only four servicemen were examined in detail. Table 2 details four men who based on some simple criteria, became candidates for this study. The criteria are based on their situation at the time of their enlistment, in that they; were all living in suburban Palmerston North, they were between the ages of 20 and 26, and they all belonged to the same Territorial Army Unit.[7]

Table 2

Robert Carville Bett

Robert Carville Bett joined the NZEF on 10 December 1914 as part of the initial surge of enthusiastic volunteers in the early years of the war. Born in Palmerston North, Bett was the older brother of three sisters. A coachbuilder by trade, Bett was an active member of St Andrews Church Presbyterian Church, where he contributed to the church as a lay preacher and secretary and sub-leader of the Bible Class. Bett would also fulfil his compulsory military service commitment by serving in J Battery of the New Zealand Field Artillery (NZFA). Deploying on the 2nd Reinforcements of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), Bett would serve with the Veterinary Corps in Egypt and be invalided home in November 1915 after contracting typhoid fever. During his time in Egypt, he continued his civic spirit by contributing to the work of the Egyptian YMCA organisation in providing welfare services to the New Zealand troops.[8]

Returning to New Zealand and regaining his fitness, Bett was back in camp in March 1916 and offered a commission in both the Veterinary and Army Service Corps, Bett, however, chose to join the infantry as a private soldier. Leaving with the Fourteenth Reinforcements in June 1916, Bett wold serve with the Otago Infantry Regiment of the New Zealand Division in the Battle of the Somme and would die as a result of wounds during the Battle of Messines on 14 June 1917. Bett’s death was felt hard in Palmerston North as he was a well-admired young man. Regretfully Bett was the sole male child of his family, leaving it without a representative for the future.[9]

James Henry Carson

James Henry Carson would be called up by Ballot in April 1917 and would serve in Trentham and Featherston camps, succumbing to the Influenza in November 1918. James was born in Wellington and was the third child in a family of four boys and a girl. The Carson family had moved to Palmerston North by 1907 when the fourth child, Sydney, died at the age of thirteen in a tragic shooting incident.[10] The Carson family patriarch James Senior was a Cordial Maker and proprietor of the business of ‘Carson and Son’ which James was an also an employee. James would also meet his compulsory military service commitments by serving in J Battery of the NZFA.[11]

James married Linda Edwards at St Andres Church on 14 October 1917.[12]  James was called up for Military service by Ballot, and when serving on the Artillery Details at Featherston Camp, Linda passed away after a short illness on 29 June 1918.[13] The tragedy of this death would have only compounded the family’s pain as they had only received notification that John Carson, the Oldest of the Carson children, had died in France a month earlier.[14] James continued to train at Featherston, but sadly on the day after peace was declared, Carson died of Influenza at Featherston Camp on 12 November 1918.[15]

Vernard Clifton Liddell

Vernard Clifton Liddell was from a long-established Foxton family and was the second child in a family of four boys and one girl. A competent Hockey player, Vernard had played representative hockey for both the Manawatu and Wellington districts. Meeting his compulsory military service commitments, Liddell would serve in J Battery of the NZFA.[16]  At the time of his enlistment, he was working as a clerk for the agricultural sales firm of Messrs Barraud and Abraham’s on Rangitikei Street. Liddell’s sister Rita would later be working for the same firm in 1939.[17] Liddell would enlist into the NZEF in October 1915 and see service with the New Zealand Division in France until 24 April 1918 when he died of wounds as a result of combat operations.[18]  Two of Liddell’s brothers would also serve in the NZEF during the war.

Owen George Whittaker Priest

Owen George Whittaker Priest was the eldest son in a family of two boys and two girls, originally from Akaroa, the Priest family would move north, first to Inglewood and the settling in Palmerston North by 1910. Like his peers, Priest would also complete his compulsory Military service obligations with J Battery NZFA and at the time of his enlistment was working as a clerk for the Stock and Station agents, Abraham and Williams Ltd.[19] Liddell would be one of the earliest volunteers for the NZEF, enlisting on 11 August 1914. Liddell would see service at Gallipoli and France. Having survived Gallipoli, Liddell was killed in action in the early days of the N.Z. Divisions actions in France on 9 July 1916.[20]

Conclusion

In this small church community of about three hundred, it is certain that almost all of these thirty-six men were acquaintances of each other, and their families were connected in some manner, with the loss of these men was felt collectively across the community. This sense of community is highlighted in the examples of Bett, Carson, Liddell and Priest. As well as their connection to the church, they all lived and worked in proximity to each other, and as Territorial soldiers would have trained and socialised together. So next time you pass a memorial such as this, please don’t ignore it as a relic of an event long forgotten but instead take the time to reflect on the men and women listed on the memorial and the supreme sacrifice that they made.

Appendix 1

Notes

[1] 1910 congregation was 253, 1919 congregation was 422, 1923 congregation was 343. They Ventured – Who Follows?: St Andrews Presbyterian Church, Palmerston North, 1876-1976., ed. St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (Palmerston North1976), 33-34.

[2] Commonwealth War Graves Commission, “Find War Dead,” https://www.cwgc.org/find/find-war-dead/.

[3] Archives New Zealand, “Archway Search,” https://www.archway.archives.govt.nz/.

[4] National Archives of Australia, “Record Search,” https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/SearchScreens/BasicSearch.aspx.

[5] The Auckland War Memorial Cenotaph is essentially a simplified transcript of the individual’s service record with the inclusion of additional information such as photos, documents and family research not included on the service records. Auckland War Memorial Museum, “Online Cenotaph Search,” http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph.

[6] National Library of New Zealand, “Papers Past” https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/.

[7] J (Howitzer) Battery of the New Zealand Field Artillery. A Palmerston North Territorial Army unit that was formed in 1912. Alan Henderson, David Green, and Peter D. F. Cooke, The Gunners: A History of New Zealand Artillery (Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 2008, 2008), Non-fiction, 67.

[8] Archives New Zealand, “Bett, Robert Carville – Ww1 17/253 “Personal File, Record no R22276304 1914-1918.

[9] “Roll of Honour (Bett),” Manawatu Times, Volume XL, Issue 137278, 26 June 1917, 26 June 1917.

[10] “Sad Affair in Palmerston North,” Manawatu Herald, Volume XXIX, Issue 3769, 22 August 1907.

[11] “Carson, James Henry – Ww1 53956 “Personal File, Record no R121892583  (1914-1918).

[12] “Wedding Bells,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLI, Issue 10495, 17 October 1916.

[13] “Deaths,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLIII, Issue 1287, 2 July 1918.

[14] “Roll of Honour (Carson),” in Manawatu Times, Volume XL, Issue 13895 (1918).

[15] “Roll of Honour (Carson),” Manawatu Times, Volume XLIII, Issue 14265, 11 November 1919.

[16] “Liddell, Vernard Clifton – Ww1 2/2667 ” Personal File, Record no R121892583  (1914-1918).

[17] Palmerston North Libraries and Community Services, “Barraud & Abraham Ltd. Staff,” https://manawatuheritage.pncc.govt.nz/item/3a21b537-ae9e-4708-908a-9d108d3f7d37.

[18] “Personal (Liddell),” Feilding Star, Volume XIV, Issue 35197, 7 May 1918.

[19] Archives New Zealand, “Priest, Owen George Whittaker – Ww1 2/381,” Personal File, Record no R20802976  (1914-1918).

[20] “Roll of Honour (Priest),” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLII, Issue 10141 9 July 1916.


The Gruber Ration Pack

Emperor Haile Selassie in 1935 before the Ethiopian Mobilisation order against Mussolini’s Invading Italian forces.

“Everyone will be mobilised and all boys old enough to carry a spear will be sent to Addis Ababa . Married men will take their wives to carry food and cook. Those without wives will take any woman without a husband.”

The supply of rations is not a traditional Ordnance responsibility, however with the rationalisation of New Zealand Army Logistics in 1979, the RNZAOC assumed responsibility from the RNZASC for the Supply of Rations and Fuel. Part of these responsibility’s was the manufacture of Ration Packs, which was carried out by the Ration Pack Production Section (RPPS) in Trentham. In addition to the ration packs produced by the RPPS, the New Zealand Advanced Ordnance Depot (NZAOD) in Singapore assumed  responsibility in 1979 for the production of the “Gruber Pack” a unique ration pack designed to supplement the standard ration packs in the tropical conditions of South East Asia. Never told before, this article provides the background on the “Gruber Pack”.

It it a necessity for rations to be provided to soldiers on the move or when situated away from their normal home base with the necessary to supply rations on the basis of :

  • the individual,
  • the small group (squad, section, platoon), and
  • the large group (company size or larger).

Dramatic improvements have occurred over the last two hundred years that have seen the improvement of military field rations. led by the the invention of the can and then preservation techniques including drying and freeze-drying to the modern retort pouches that now the staple of modern Military Ration packs.

New Zealand traditionally followed the British lead when it came to military field rations with the British army issue ration biscuit the ‘Huntley & Palmers Army No 4’ and tinned bully beef the staple during the First World War. The Second World War would provide a boost in the technology of military field rations with the United Kingdom developing military field rations for use across the world and the United States in parallel developing 23 different military field rations and ration supplements.

New Zealand would take its first steps in developing a military field ration in 1958 when trials were conducted to develop;

  • 24 hour, four man ration pack for armored units, and
  • a 24 hour, one man for infantry units.

The results of these trial were the development of the following Ration packs

  • One-Man 24 Hour Ration Pack (Canned) – (one man/one day) for use when individual feeding is necessary , e . g . patrols. Suitable for continuous use up to seven days . A combination of tinned and dry items designed for reheating although tinned food can be eaten hot or cold . There were are three different menus related to this ration pack
  • One-Man 24 Hour Ration Pack (Lightweight) – An individual ration (one man/one day) for use when individual feeding is necessary , e . g . patrols. Suitable for continuous use up to seven days . As the items in this pack are dehydrated, it should not be used in areas where water is not available. Designed to provide three meals per ration pack .
  • Ten Man Ration Pack – A composite ration of tinned foods. Designed for reheating in communal feeding in multiples of 10 .
Canned Ration Pack
1986 Individual Contents of the One Man, 24 Hour Ration Pack (Canned)

By 1976 these ration packs had been in service for a number of years with little work carried out in developing them further.  To supplement these rations packs, a habit had evolved where soldiers when deploying into the the field would take additional “Bits and Pieces” such as potatoes, onions, curry etc to supplement the meagre “ration pack”.

During 1976,  Warrant Officer Class Two J.A Gruber, the Catering Warrant Officer, 1 RNZIR in Singapore took note and decided to design a New Zealand supplementary pack based on tropical needs to enhance the 24 Hour Ration Pack used by soldiers living in the field for weeks on end and the “Gruber Pack” was developed.

The origins of the Gruber Pack date back to the Vietnam era where the idea of a supplementary ration pack originated. In those days the United States Army provided a Combat Composite Pack monthly to each company. The Combat Composite Pack contained extra “goodies” such as cigarettes, gum, fruit juice, tins of fruit, etc today termed jack rats.  The supplementary pack that WO2 Gruber designed was intended to supplement the existing 24-hour ration pack and was to be consumed on the ration of one Gruber to five 24-hour packs.

The actual components of the Gruber Pack would vary from time to time, but were a combination tinned and dry items and based on the daily nation allowance for Singapore which in 1986 was SDG $6.11.

Designed to be eaten by an individual over 24 hours, Gruber Packs needed half a litre of water to reconstitute the beverages, and had a nutritional value of 2433Kcals. Given the climate and components used, a Gruber Pack had a shelf life to two years.

Gruber Packs were assembled on an as required basis from locally purchased components by work parties from 1RNZIR, initially under the control of the NZ Supply Platoon, RNZASC until 1979 and then by the NZAOD until 1989.

The components would be carefully packed into plastic bags to keep them dry and safe, with individual packs packed, ten to a fiberboard carton.

Technical Data for the Gruber pack was;

  • Gross weight 10.2 Kg per carton of ten.
  • Individual pack measurement 40.6mm x 21.4mm x 33mm.
  • Volume .028m3 or 1.14 cu ft.

MENU

  • Chicken Curry/Beef curry/Mutton Curry 170gm. Tin: 1
  • Pea/Mixed Vege 184gm Tin: 1
  • Fruit Cocktail 248gm Tin: 1
  • Cornflakes 60gm Pkt: 1
  • Instant Noodles 85gm Pkt: 1
  • Herring in Tomato sauce/Pork in Tin/Luncheon Meat 98gm Tin: 1
  • Tea Bags Bags: 2
  • Instant Coffee Sachet: 3
  • Milo Sachet: 2
  • Raisins 42gm Pkt: 1
  • Chewing Gum Packet: 2
  • Non-Dairy Creamer 3gm Pkt: 6
  • Toilet Paper Sheets: 5
  • Salt Sachet: 2
  • Pepper Sachet: 2
  • Sugar Sachet: 6
  • Fruit Drink Container: 1
  • Tomato Sauce Sachet: 2
  • Chilli Sauce Sachet: 2
  • Matches Packet: 1
  • Kleenex Tissues Packet: 1

The Gruber Pack was unique to the New Zealand Forces in Singapore. Following the withdrawal of New Zealand Forces from Singapore in 1989, the Gruber Pack disappeared from the New Zealand Military ration menu. However, trials to upgrade the in service ration packs had been underway since 1986, and many of the lessons learnt from the Gruber pack were absorbed into the new ration packs that began to be manufactured by the RNZAOC from 1990.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2020


Ordnance Cricket Team 1934/35

Sport within the military is promoted as a method of sustaining morale, encouraging fitness and keeping troops occupied and out of trouble. During the 1930s, when the world was in the depths of the great depression, sport became a useful distraction for the staff of the NZAOC Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Trentham Camp. Sport also became a useful tool for developing leadership and teamwork and as a way of contributing to the local communities that the  MOD belonged too. Using the team photo of the 1934/35 Ordnance Cricket team, this article will examine the NZAOC participation in sport as a member of the community and look at the stories of the men in the photo.

As the anchor unit at Trentham Camp, the staff of the MOD would be active participants in the sporting life of Upper Hutt and the wider Wellington Region. The Director of Ordnance Services (DOS) Major T.J King, a keen sportsman was very active in sports administration as a member of the Wellington Rugby Union and New Zealand Rugby Union. Most sporting codes in Upper Hutt would have their membership boosted by the staff of the MOD, who in an individual capacity contributed as players, coaches and administrators.

An example of the MODs participation in Upper Hutt sport is with the participation of the Ordnance Cricket Team in the Upper Hutt Cricket Association competition from 1933 to 1939. With the cricket season running from October to April, the Upper Hutt Cricket Association competition consisted of average participation of six teams per season, playing at Maidstone Park on Saturdays and Sundays. The anchor teams that would participate throughout the competition were Upper Hutt, Trentham and Ordnance.

Upper Hutt Teams

The onset of war in 1939, would lead to the end of the Upper Hutt Cricket Association, with many of the participating clubs absorbed into the Hutt Cricket Association and participation in local sports competitions by the MOD went into abeyance for the duration of the war. The MOD would not provide teams and re-join the local competitions until 1950.

The photo of the 1934/35 Ordnance Cricket team is one of the few remaining relics of that period and provided a snapshot to the Ordnance Team of 1934/35. They are posing before or after a match at Maidstone Park the eleven members of the team are in their Cricket Whites with blue caps emblazoned with an Ordnance Badge.

ord-cricket-team

Based on available information, the team from left to right are:

Back Row

George Leslie

Date of Birth: 29 April 1891 – George Leslie has served for two years as an Infantryman during the First World War. Wounded in action in 1917, Leslie was repatriated to New Zealand to recover from his wounds. On 1 November 1919 Leslie enrolled into the Dental Detachment of the Temporary Employment Section (TES). On 1 January 1920 was appointed as a temporary member of the New Zealand Army Medical Corps (NZAMC) at the Army Medical Stores at Wellington. On 9 June 1924, Leslie was sent to Trentham Camp to unpack the Divisional Medical Equipment received from England at the end of the war. With the closure of the Medical Stores in Wellington, the stocks at Trentham would become the medical stocks for New Zealand’s Military Forces, with Leslie appointed the NCO In Charge (NCOIC).

Appointed to the NZAMC (Permanent) on 19 April 1925, Leslie would remain with the MOD as the NCOIC Medical Stores until 1940 when responsibility for Army Medical Stores was Transferred from the NZAOC in November 1940 to the New Zealand Medical Corps(NZMC), and the Medical Stores at Trentham relocated to 42 Victoria Street in Wellington. Responsibility for Medical Stores would return to the Chief Ordnance Officer on 1 April 1947.

April 1942 saw Leslie promoted to Warrant Officer Class Two and transferred to the Advanced Depot Medical Stores at Palmerston North as the SNCO in charge. The Advanced Depot Medical Stores closed in 1944 and Leslie was placed under the strength of No 2 Ordnance Sub Depot at the Palmerston North Showground’s, supernumerary to that unit’s establishment. Promoted to Warrant Officer Class One in April 1945, Leslie transferred back to the MOD in Trentham in July 1947, taking his discharge in February 1948.

David Brown

No information other than he was employed as a civilian in the MOD.

E Hughes

Hughes was a soldier at the MOD until 1931 when his position was civilianised, and he was transferred into the Civil Service.

Lionel Herbert Stroud

Date of Birth: July 1902 – Lionel Herbert Stroud enlisted into the NZAOC as a Soldier at the MOD on 21 October 1928. Like most NZAOC Solders his position was civilianised in January 1931, and he was transferred into the Civil Service doing the same job but at much a much-reduced rate of pay. By 1935 Stroud had been reinstated as a soldier at continued to serve at the MOD.

 In 1939 Stroud was transferred into the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) as a Warrant Officer Class One. During his time in the 2nd NZEF Stroud would serve in Egypt and England helping to establish the Ordnance systems required to support the NZEF, and for his efforts, commissioned as an officer. Returned to New Zealand and posted out of the 2nd NZEF in February 1943, Stroud was commissioned into the New Zealand Temporary Staff (NZTS) as a captain and would serve in a variety of Ordnance roles for the remainder of the war. In 1947 Stroud was transferred from the NZTS into the NZAOC as a Captain and Quartermaster (Temporary Major and Quartermaster). For the remainder of his military career, Stroud would serve at the MOD and as the Officer Commanding of No2 Ordnance Depot at Linton. By 1954 Stroud had retired from the Army and took a new career as a wine merchant.

James Danby

Date of Birth: 17 Feb 1909 – James Danby joined the NZAOC in the early 1930s as an instrument repairer. A keen sportsman who in addition to playing Cricket for the Ordnance Team was also a coach/player for the Upper Hutt Rugby Team. During World War Two Danby was commissioned as an Officer in January 1943. Serving with the Divisional Workshops with the NZEF in the Pacific (NZEFIP) Danby would also run the sports committee.

After the war, Danby would remain in the Army as an officer in the Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RNZEME) at Trentham.

Front Row

Edward Gavin Lake

Date of Birth: September 1907 – Edward Gavin Lake worked as a fruiter/storeman and would serve as an Infantryman during the war.

John Keep Wilson

Date of Birth: Jan 1888 – John Keep Wilson had been a long-term employee of the Defence Department and serving as a soldier in the NZAOC until 1931 when he was transferred into the Civil Service. Reinstated as a soldier by 1935, Wilson would remain at the MOD until his retirement in 1947.

Kevin Graham Keith Cropp

Date of Birth: 1916 – Kevin Graham Keith Cropp was a clerk in the MOD. He was appointed as a Warrant Officer Class One into the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in 1939 where he embarked with the 1st Echelon. 1941 saw Cropp Commissioned as an officer into the Artillery.

Allen Dudley Leighton

Date of Birth: 20 September 1898 – Allen Dudley Leighton had served with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade in the First World War. Joining the NZAOC Permanent Staff on 17 March 1925 and would be a Lance Corporal at the MOD when he was transferred to the Civil Staff on 31 January 1931. Remaining at the MOD as a civilian clerk, Leighton was appointed as the Ordnance Officer (Provision) and commissioned into the NZTS as a Lieutenant on 2 December 1939. He was promoted to Captain on 14 October 1940 and Temporary Major on 1 February 1942. Leighton assumed the appointment of Ordnance Officer Commanding and Accounting Officer of the MOD on 30 September 1946 with the rank of Major and Quartermaster. Leighton would remain the Ordnance Officer Commanding MOD until 31 March 1951 when he proceeded onto retiring leave. Recalled from his retiring leave 55 days later Leighton would eventually retire on 20 September 1954.

Charles Fred Ecob

Date of Birth: 1908 – Charles Fred Ecob had emigrated to New Zealand as an Eighteen-year-old in 1926. Ecob was a civilian clerk at the MOD during the 1930s and would later be a soldier at the MOD until his retirement in the early 1950s.

Henry McKenzie Reid

Date of Birth: December 1910 – Henry McKenzie Reid was a civilian clerk at the MOD. Commissioned in 1940, Reid would serve as an Ordnance Officer with the 8 Brigade in Fiji. Reid would see further operational ordnance service with the NZEFIP in New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands. Reid would remain in the NZAOC after the war with Reid becoming the Director of Ordnance Services from April 1957 to November 1960.

Most of these men would play for the Ordnance team all the way through to 1939, other men who appear in the records of the team at different times throughout this period are;

    • Ivan Douglas Allardyce
    • William Saul Keegan
    • James Dalton
    • Alan Hui Andrews
    • Hunter
    • Dudding
    • Abbot
    • Harrington

During the 1930s the MOD at Trentham was a significant contributor to the sporting community of Upper Hutt. At the individual level, men of the MOD were players, coaches and administrators for many of the sporting codes in Upper Hutt.  The MOD cricket team was an anchor team in the Upper Hutt Cricket association Cricket competition, providing a level of stability in uncertain times which contributed to the success of the competition. What is significant is that despite having no opportunity to exercise together as a unit in the inter-war years, when war came, the NZAOC had a cadre of potential leaders who had honed their skills on playing fields to help guide the NZAOC in its wartime expansion.

 

 

 

 

 


Frank Edwin Ford, Ordnance Officer 1917-31

Frank Edwin Ford served in both military and civilian roles for thirty years from 1901 to 1931. As Mobilisation Storekeeper in Nelson, Ford would be at the forefront of the earliest efforts to manage Ordnance support to New Zealand’s Forces. As an Ordnance Officer from 1917, Ford would be the first Officer Commanding of two significant New Zealand Ordnance units; the Palmerston North Ordnance Detachment, which would lay the foundations for the Linton based Supply Company which remains an active unit of the modern New Zealand Army, and the Hopuhopu Supply Company which would provide significant support during the mobilisation of the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the early years of the Second World War and to the northern region into the years leading up to the closure of Hopuhopu Camp in 1989.

Little evidence remains of Ford’s early life with records stating that he was born around 1878. Ford enlisted into the permanent Militia as an artilleryman on 1 April 1901,[1] and by 1903 had been promoted to the rank of Bombardier, attached to “H” Battery of the New Zealand Field Artillery Volunteers at Nelson.[2]

Ford would marry Sophia Mary Barlow at Wellington on 26 January 1904. This union resulted in one daughter, Phyllis, who was born on 4 July 1907.

Early in December 1904 while breaking the H Battery camp at the Nelson Botanical gardens, Ford was seriously injured in an accident with a piano. While moving a piano, Ford slipped resulting on the instrument falling on him breaking both his collarbones. There were initially serious concerns about internal injuries, but it seems that Ford made a full recovery. [3]

March 1908 saw Ford transferred from service with “H” Battery to the position of Mobilisation Storekeeper for the Nelson Military District.[4]

In 1911 the Nelson Military District was absorbed into the Canterbury Military District.[5] With his position now subordinate to the Defence Storekeeper for the Canterbury Military District, Ford would remain at Nelson as Assistant Defence Storekeeper until 1915.

Early in 1915, Ford took up the appointment of District Storekeeper for the Wellington Military District, commencing duty and taking charge of the Defence Stores, Palmerston North, on 21 June 1915.[6] In addition to his duties as district Ordnance Officer, Ford was also the Officer Commanding of the Palmerston North Ordnance Detachment. The Palmerston North Ordnance Detachment operated from several sites in Palmerston North, including an ordnance Store at locates at 327 Main Street. The Detachment had the responsibility of supplying the units based in Palmerston North and districts with uniforms, equipment, arms and general stores. On 13 February 1916 Ford was attached to the New Zealand Staff Corps as an Honourary Lieutenant.[7] On the formation of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) on 1 April 1917, Ford was transferred into the NZAOD as an Ordnance Officer, 3rd class, with the rank of Captain.[8]

Ford would remain at Palmerston North until 1 Dec 1921 when with the closing down of the Palmerston North Ordnance Detachment, Ford handed duties of Central Districts Ordnance Officer to Captain H. H. Whyte, M.C.and took up the position of Ordnance Officer, Featherston Camp.[9]

Featherston Camp was New Zealand’s largest training camp during the First World War, where around 60,000 young men trained for overseas service between 1916 – 1918. In addition to a large amount of Military equipment accumulated during the war, enough new material to equip an Infantry Division and a Mounted Rifle Brigade had been purchased from the United Kingdom and delivered to New Zealand from 1919 to 1921. With insufficient storage infrastructure available at Mount Eden, Trentham and the new Ordnance Depot at Burnham, Featherson would remain in use as an Ordnance Depot until the completion of a purpose-built Ordnance Depot at Hopuhopu. Ford would command the Ordnance Detachment from December 1921 until September 1926. In 1924 the Ordnance Detachment at Featherson consisted of the following personnel;[10]

  • 1 Captain (Ford)
  • 2 Staff Sergeants
  • 1 Sergeant
  • 2 Corporals

The New Zealand Gazette of 3 July 1924 published regulations that revoked the 1917 regulations that established the NZAOD and NZAOC, reconstituting the Ford and the other officers of the NZAOD and the men of the NZAOC into a single NZAOC as part of the New Zealand Permanent Forces.[11]

Assuming the role of Ordnance Officer for the Northern Military Command from 1 Sept 1926.[12] In addition to his duties as Command Ordnance Officer, Ford would also have the role of Officer Commanding of the Northern Ordnance Detachment operating from Mount Eden with the responsibility of supplying the Northern Command with uniforms, equipment, arms and general stores.

Following several years of construction, occupation of the new camp at Hopuhopu began 1927, Ford and the Ordnance Staff of the Northern Command vacated Mount Eden and made Hopuhopu heir permanent headquarters from April 1928.[13] The work of shifting the stores from Mount Eden to Hopuhopu took close to two months and necessitated the transportation of hundreds of tons of military stores by a combination of rail and over fifty truck-loads.[14]

With the Depression affecting the New Zealand economy, the New Zealand Defence establishment, including the NZAOC took measures to reduce expenditures by the forced retrenchment of many of its staff. By using the provisions of section 39 of the Finance Act, 1930 (No. 2) staff who would have retired within five years were placed on superannuation, others who did not meet the criteria of the act were transferred to the Civil Service.[15] At fifty-three years of age, Ford met the retirement criteria and, along with another five officers and thirty-eight other ranks of the NZAOC, on 30 Jan 1931 were retired on superannuation.[16] By 31 March 1931, the NZAOC had been reduced to a uniformed strength of Two Officers and Eighteen Other Ranks.

After his retirement, Ford would spend the remainder of his life living in the Auckland suburb of Devonport. Passing away on 10 April 1946, Ford now rests at O’Neill’s Point Cemetery, Belmont, Auckland.

Ford

F.E Ford headstone, O’Neill’s Point Cemetery (photo J. Halpin 2011) – No known copyright restrictions

Copyright © Robert McKie 2020

Notes

[1] “Fitzgerald, Denis,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

[2] “H Battery Ball,” Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XXXVII, Issue 113, Page 2, 28 May 1903.

[3] “Page 6 Advertisements Column 2,” Colonist, Volume XLVII, Issue 11206, 12 December 1904.

[4] Established in 1908 under the provisions of the Defence Act Amendment Act 1900, New Zealand was divided into five Military Districts, Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury and Otago.”General Order Constituting Military Districts and Sub Districts,” New Zealand Gazette No 24 1908.; “H Battery Nzfav,” Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XLII, Issue XLII, Page 3, 16 March 1908

[5] Peter D. F. Cooke, Defending New Zealand: Ramparts on the Sea 1840-1950s (Wellington, N.Z.: Defence of New Zealand Study Group, 2000, 2000), Bibliographies, Dictionaries, Non-fiction.

[6] “Personal Matters,” Evening Post, Volume XC, Issue 66, Page 6, 15 September 1915.

[7] “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Staff and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 47, 20 April 1916.

[8] “New Zealand Army,” Evening Post, July 28 1917.

[9] “Untitled – Ford,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLIII, Issue 386, 2 December 1921.

[10] “Appropriations Chargeable on the Consolidated Fund and Other Accounts for the Year Ending 31 March 19241923 Session I-Ii, B-07,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1923 Session I-II, B-07  (1924): 134.

[11] “NZAOD and NZAOC,” New Zealand Gazette July 3 1924.

[12] New Zealand Military districts were reduced to three and renamed Northern, Central and Southern Military Commands shortly after the First World War.I. C. McGibbon and Paul William Goldstone, The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History (Auckland; Melbourne; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, 2000), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 319.

[13] “The Hopu Hopu Camp,” Waikato Times, Volume 103, Issue 17298,  Page 7, 10 January 1928.

[14] “Large Military Camp,” Poverty Bay Herald, Volume LIV, Issue 16796, Page 12  (1928).

[15] “Attitude of Members “, New Zealand Herald, Volume LXVII, Issue 20644, 16 August 1930.

[16] “Defence Cut,” Evening Star, Issue 20766, 13 April 1931; “Appointment, Promotions, Transfers and Retirements of Officers from the NZ Forces,” New Zealand Gazette No 27, 9 April 1931.


2019 Wrap up

As 2019 transitions into 2020, it is time to reflect on the past year and look forward to what is planned for the future.

In the three years that this website has been in existence, 108 articles examining the history if New Zealand Ordnance Services from 184 to 1996 have been published, to date these have been viewed 17347 times by 9358 visitors.

The page continues to grow, and it is becoming the go-to place of any question on New Zealand Ordnance, with posts cited in several academic articles.

Highlights of 2019 have included;

As a result of these posts, the New Zealand Ordnance community now have a better understanding of the history of the Corps, its predecessors and their role and contribution that they played from the 1840s up to start of the Second World War.

The role of New Zealand Ordnance in the First World War was often overlooked and forgotten, but now there is a better understanding of the NZ Ordnance organisation, its structure and most importantly the men who made it happen. From a list of Twenty One names, there is now a nominal roll listing the names of Fifty Six men who served in the NZEF NZAOC, in Egypt, Turkey, France, United Kingdom and Palestine from 1914 to 1921.

Also, many of the older pages from 2017 and 2018 have been refreshed and updated as new research and information come to hand such as the posts detailing;

As 2019 transitions into 2020 if we take the time to look back, we can find many essential linkages to the past;

  • One Hundred Years ago, although the guns had fallen silent in November 1918, the New Zealand Ordnance Staff in England were still hard at work demobilising the NZEF and would be some of the last me to return tom New Zealand.
  • Eighty years ago, Captain A.H Andrews a Warrant Officer Class One and three Other Ranks had departed New Zealand on the 22nd of December as part of the 2nd NZEF advance party and would spend January and February working from the British Ordnance Depot at Abbassia laying the foundation for New Zealand’s Ordnance contribution in the Middle East and Italy that would endure until 1946.
  • Seventy-Nine Years ago, a full year before the entry of Japan into the war 8(NZ)Brigade was getting established in Fiji in preparation the expected Japanese onslaught. Support the Brigade was an Ordnance Depot and Workshops that would grow into a robust organisation supporting the 3rd New Zealand Division until 1944.

Over the next year and beyond many of the planned posts will be on the NZ Ordnance contribution to the Second World War, covering the Middle East, Greece, Crete, England, North Africa, Italy, The Pacific, India, Australia and at Home. Some research has already been undertaken, and a nominal role containing 2137 names of New Zealand who Served in the Ordnance Corps has been created, so far 167 have been identified as serving in the Middle East with 50 identified as serving in the pacific where1400 Ordnance men are known to have served.

The Second World War will not be the sole focus, and posts on New Zealand Ordnance in the years before and after the Second World War will continue to be published, with the following topics under research underway;

  • The formation of the RNZAOOC School.
  • The evolution of the Auto Parts trade.
  • Burnham’s Ordnance Depot.
  • The Black Day of 1931 and the long-term contribution and reintegration into the military of the men who were forced to assume civilian roles in the Ordnance Corps.
  • The rise and decline of the Ordnance Directorate.

It is a privilege and pleasure to produce these posts, but if anyone wishes to contribute, please message me, as a few more contributors can only enhance the page.

Sua tela tonanti

Rob Mckie