10 LAD, Water Supply – Operation Compass, December 1940 – January 1941

Accounts of New Zealand Ordnance Units’ wartime activities are rare, with one of the few accounts from the Second World War found in the wartime publication Prelude to War.

Prelude To Battle was the first of ten surveys on the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Forces (2 NZEF) produced by the New Zealand Army Board during the Second World War to provide short articles on the activities of 2 NZEF.

Prelude To Battle was published by Whitcombe & Tombs, in 1942 and covers the first Libyan Campaign of June -December 1940. Prelude To Battle includes chapters on

  • the LRDG,
  • Divisional Signals,
  • NZASC, 4th NZ Mechanical Transport Company (4RMT), and
  • New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC), 10 Light Aid Detachment (10 LAD) attached to New Zealand Engineers (NZE), 5 Field Park Company

The chapter Water Supplies covers explicitly the activities 10 LAD during  Operation Compass, which was the first significant British military operation of the Western Desert Campaign (1940–1943), during which British, Empire and Commonwealth forces attacked Italian forces in western Egypt and Cyrenaica, the eastern province of Libya, from December 1940 to February 1941.

10 LAD was one of 11 LADs, numbered 9 to 19, raised as part of the NZOC in late 1939 to render assistance and repair mechanic transport and the anti-tank units of 2 NZEF. Raised at Hopuhopu Camp, 10 LAD was commanded by Second Lieutenant George D Pollock, and attached to 5 Field Park Company, NZE. 10 LAD sailed as part of the Main Body of 2 NZEF in January 1940, Disembarking in Egypt in February 1940.

In late 1940 New Zealand units, including the Fifth Field Park Company, with 10 LAD attached, Divisional Signals, 4 RMT and other specialist troops, had been seconded to General Archibald Wavell for Operation Compass. The official War History New Zealand Engineers, Middle East states, “but beyond guarding the water pipeline and establishing water points and forward dumps at Charing Cross, the Company was not much affected. The British Army seemed to do very well without its assistance”. However, as this Prelude To Battle chapter describes, 10 LAD played a critical role in ensuring water supply to the advancing allied units.

A Light Aid Detachment, Water Colour by Captain Peter McIntyre

The Prelude to Battle chapter, Water Supplies, reads:

Concerned with the maintenance of water plants to supply the troops advancing into Cyrenaica and the servicing of Royal Engineers’ equipment, the 10th Light Aid Detachment of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps entered each town almost immediately after its capture to attend to the water installations and pumping appliances.

Before the British assumed the offensive, the 10th LAD has succeeded in drawing water from about ten feet below the surface at Burbeita and in the sandhills at Baggush. When Fort Nibeiwa was attacked on 8 December, the 10th LAD were in caves in the escarpment at Charing Cross, several miles inland from Mersa Matruh. As soon as the last of the Sisi Barrano forts was captured, Major G. D. Pollock, who commanded the 10th LAD went to Sidi Barrani to attend to the water works there. He found in perfect order a Fiat diesel pumping engine capable of 250 litres an hour and a plant for distilling salt water. The remainder of the 10th LAD entered Sidi Barrani two days later. The Italians also left a large pumping station almost at Buqbuq, half way between Sidi Barrani and Sollum .

As the Australians concentrated for the Battle of Bardia, the 10th LAD were filling and working water wagons for Sollim. At this stage they began to operate closely with the 5th Field Park Company and on 10 January they moved with them to the harbour at Bardia. A fortnight later they were in Tobruk at work on the large distilling plant. After the Battle of Derna and the subsequent Italian withdrawal towards Benghazi, the 10th LAD were given a special job. The British command had made the decision to cut across the plateau south of Benghazi: the success of this plan depended on getting a supply of water quickly to Msus, some 500 miles south-west of Derna. it was the responsibility of the 1Oth LAD to have ninety-five tons of water at this point for the armoured division. This was accomplished. The operation succeeded, Benghazi fell, and the whole of Cyrenaica was subsequently occupied. In northern Cyrenaica, the water problem ceased. West of Derna lies a region of small streams, trees and green countryside decorated with fresh white buildings. When the British consolidated in this area in February 1941 the work of the 10th LAD ended and they followed the New Zealand signallers. Transport driver and engineers back to Helwan, where the New Zealand Division had taken up its station preparatory to its departure for Greece.

Prelude to Battle Page 32-34

Following this brief excursion into Libya, 10 LAD continued to be attached to 5 Field Park, NZE for the remainder of the war. In November 1942, the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME) was formed as part of 2 NZEF and 10 LAD transferred from the NZOC to the NZEME. 10 LAD was disestablished in late 1945.

“Arte et Marte”
By Skill and By Fighting


The identity of Ngāti Tumatauenga

Met by a combination of mutual mistrust on the one hand and a sense of opportunity on the other, the earliest contacts between Māori and Europeans would grow into a mutually beneficial economic relationship by the 1840s and 1850s. The Treaty of Waitangi sealed the relationship, with a vital element of the relationship becoming amalgamation. Māori was granted the rights and privileges of British subjects under a universal system under the treaty’s terms and early colonial laws. Unfortunately, the relationship was often one-sided, favouring the Crown and settlers who would set the terms of the amalgamation process into one of assimilation, intending to absorb Māori into the white settler world. This path led to conflict, followed by erecting barriers between Māori and Settlers that would endure for generations. One Hundred and Seventy-Nine years after the treaty’s signing, the relationship between Māori and Europeans has matured, with many colonial-era grievances reconciled or on the path of reconciliation. A sign of how far the nation’s relationship between Māori and Europeans has matured is found in one of the institutions of the state, the Army, now recognised as the standalone iwi; Ngāti Tumatauenga – ‘Tribe of the God of War’.

Ngāti Tumatauenga is the youngest iwi of New Zealand, as it was only established in1994 as the result of an initiative by the Chief of General Staff (CGS), Major General Anthony Leonard Birks, CB, OBE. The CGS intended to regenerate the Army’s culture into a “uniquely New Zealand Military culture by combining appropriate aspects of European and Māori heritage to enhance further the cohesion, morale and esprit de corps of the Army”.[1] Established with the blessing of the veterans of the 28th Maoi Battalion, the Māori Queen and iwi surrounding Waiouru; Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Tuhoe. [2] Ngāti Tumatauenga blends the customs and warrior traditions of Māori and European into a fusion of both, laying the basis of the New Zealand Army’s ethos and values.[3] Although Ngāti Tumatauenga is a modern conception, it has a strong whakapapa drawn from its Māori and European ancestry, reflecting its position as the guardian of all the peoples of New Zealand regardless of race, religion or creed.[4]

The path towards Ngāti Tumatauenga has been long as, for most of its existence, the New Zealand Army, like those of Canada, South Africa and Australia, embraced British military traditions. Regardless of the British Military influence, there has always been a desire to identify New Zealand as a unique military entity. In both World Wars, Canada, South Africa, and Australia would send expeditionary forces filled with units bearing English, Scottish and Irish names, motifs and identities to battlefields worldwide; New Zealand would be the exception. Although there were Territorial units in New Zealand with Scottish identities, the New Zealand Military authorities felt that New Zealand was too small to allow these identities to be embodied as separate units within the Expeditionary Forces. New Zealand Forces would march in one khaki uniform and wore distinctive New Zealand badges up to the Second World War, which often included Māori phrases and symbology.[5]

The sole and logical exception was Māori, who participated as a subunit, representing a subset of New Zealand in a way that the Scots or Irish did not.[6] Unknowingly in their desire to make New Zealand Forces identifiable as a national entity, New Zeland Military authorities had set the path and framework towards establishing Ngāti Tumatauenga in later years.

Alongside the British Military traditions, it is Māori Tikanga which is the glue that binds Ngāti Tumatauenga together and provides the distinct and unique cultural practices and traditions which enhance the loyalty, cohesion and tribal identity of the Modern New Zealand Warrior.[7] Contrary to popular belief, Māori warfare was not an established feature of Māori culture and life but rather something that Māori would apply themselves to depending on the circumstances to acquire land, counter threats or defend Mana. Māori would refine their warfighting traditions as participants on both sides of the conflicts of the nineteenth-century New Zealand land wars. In the twentieth century, Māori leaders such as Sir Apirana Ngata would see military service for the Crown as an extension of their warrior heritage and a pathway to equality. In his 1943′ price of citizenship’ pamphlet, Ngatai would assert, “We are of one house, and if our Pākehā brothers fall, we fall with them. How can we even hold our heads when the struggle is over to the question, “Where were you when New Zealand was at war?”.[8] Excellent and honourable service in the Second World War would cement the place of Māori in the post-war Army, with a 1977 survey establishing that the Regular Force consisted of 34 per cent Māori and the Territorial Force 16 per cent, a higher proportion than Māori employment in the general civilian workforce.[9] With the Māori cultural resurgence of the late twentieth century, the Army was well placed to embrace change as this resurgence impacted change in the Army.

The regeneration of the culture of the New Zealand Army initiated by the CGS in 1994 was swift in its implementation, the Army badge would retain its traditional British design but was modified to include a taiaha in place of a sword and a scroll embossed with “Ngāti Tumatauenga.” on its base. [10]

The Army Marae Te Whare Tū Taua a Tūmatauenga, the home of Ngāti Tumatauenga, was dedicated during labour weekend in 1995. The Army Marae is the single point in the New Zealand Army through which all members, regardless of race, gender or creed and where they originate from, pass through on their military journey. Unique amongst Maraes, Whare Tū Taua a Tūmatauenga faces west and the setting sun, sending a message that Ngāti Tumatauenga protects the country by night and day.

The regeneration of the army culture was not without its challenges, and by its nature, the Army Marae is less formal than traditional Maraes, with one recruit commenting, “The Māori it’s so cabbage here! ‘Cause I come from a place where it’s really rich. I was telling my dad, we went to the Marae and they spoke English!” [11] Despite this lower-level critique, another soldier with Māori ancestry explained that “Ngāti Tumatauenga represents the amalgamation of the Imperial soldier’s spirit with the Mana of the Māori warrior. This is a positive reflection of the Treaty of Waitangi partnership principle, giving many much pride in using Ngāti Tumatauenga in their pepeha.”[12] The introduction of Ngāti Tumatauenga also faced detractors and sceptics. The speedy introduction caught many members of the Army off guard and unprepared for such a sudden and, at times, aggressive cultural shift. The passage of time and the ensuring benefits of the adoption of Ngāti Tumatauenga has modified the attitude of many of the original detractors and sceptics.[13]

As Ngāti Tumatauenga approaches its twenty-fifth year, its acceptance in the community as an iwi is further enhanced by the use of Māori performing arts to promote and sustain the Army’s cultural ethos. Ngāti Tumatauenga hosts and participates in Kapa Haka competitions at the national level,[14] with, at times, non-Māori leading performances.[15] The use of Māori performing arts by Ngāti Tumatauenga extends past competitions in New Zealand. Kapa Haka is used by Ngāti Tumatauenga as a military and diplomatic tool on the international stage, reflecting how the shared Māori and European military heritage works to uphold the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and the interests of the New Zealand people. [16]

In conclusion, the transformation of the New Zealand Army into Ngāti Tumatauenga – “Tribe of the God of War” echos the aspirations of the early Māori and European residents of New Zealand and their perception of amalgamation under the terms of the treaty of Waitangi. From 1840 to 1994, to road towards Ngāti Tumatauenga was complicated by the conflict between Māori and the Crown defining the Māori and Pākehā relationship into one acknowledging the martial ability of each other. The World Wars of the early Twentieth Century would see the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces and their respective Māori Battalions earning the respect of friend and foe, leading to Māori finding themselves a place in the post-war New Zealand Army. Riding the wave of a resurgent Māori culture, the leadership of the New Zealand Army took a significant risk and implemented the regeneration of the Army’s culture. The New Zeland Army, through its transformation into the iwi of Ngāti Tumatauenga, has transformed into a unique iwi, shaped and defined by the influences of a resurgent Māori culture and the combined martial traditions of European soldiers and Maori warriors, their shared history, heritage and experience of war.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

Major-General A.l.Birks. “Chief of General Staff Directive 9/94; the Army’s Culture.” Wellington: Army General Staff, HQ New Zealand Defence Force, 1994.

New Zealand Army. “The Army Culture.” NZ Army Publication (NZ P77) Why? Chapter 3, Section 1  (2014).

Secondary Sources

Published

Brosnahan, Seán. “Ngāti Tūmatauenga and the Kilties: New Zealand’s Ethnic Military Traditions.” In A Global Force: War, Identities and Scotland’s Diaspora, edited by David Forsyth, 168-92: Edinburgh University Press, 2016.

Cooke, Peter, and John Crawford. The Territorials. Wellington: Random House New Zealand Ltd, 2011.

Corbett, D. A. The Regimental Badges of New Zealand: An Illustrated History of the Badges and Insignia Worn by the New Zealand Army. Auckland, N.Z. : Ray Richards, 1980, Revised Edition, 1980.

Harding, Nina Joy. “You Bring It, We will Bring It Out”: Becoming a Soldier in the New Zealand Army: A Thesis Presented in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Social Anthropology at Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand. 2016.

Hohaia, Debbie. “In Search of a Decolonised Military: MāOri Cultural Learning Experiences in the New Zealand Defence Force.” Kōtuitui (Online)  (2016).

McKenzie, Peter. “How the NZ Army Became an Iwi.”  https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/11/25/331569/peter-mckenzie-on-army-as-an-iwi-for-monday.

Oldham, Geoffrey P. Badges and Insignia of the New Zealand Army: An Illustrated Price Guide to Cap and Collar Badges, Insignia and Shoulder Titles of the N.Z. Army, Police & Militia, from 1847 to the Present Day. New and rev. Ed ed.: Milimem Books, 2011.

Soutar, Monty. Ngā Tama Toa = He Toto Heke, He Tipare Here Ki Te Ūkaipo : Kamupene C, Ope Taua (Maori) 28 1939-1945 : I Tuhia Tenei Pukapua I Roto I Te Reo Maori. David Bateman, 2014.

Taylor, Richard Tribe of the War God: Ngati Tumatauenga. Heritage New Zealand, 1996. .

Te Ao Māori News. “Te Matatini 2015 – Te Kapa Haka O Kairanga.”  https://www.maoritelevision.com/news/regional/te-matatini-2015-te-kapa-haka-o-kairanga.

Unpublished

“Discussions conducted by author with various members of the New Zealand  Army “. 2019.


Notes

[1] Major-General A.l.Birks, “Chief of General Staff Directive 9/94; the Army’s Culture,” (Wellington: Army General Staff, HQ New Zealand Defence Force, 1994).

[2] Peter McKenzie, “How the NZ Army Became an Iwi,”  https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/11/25/331569/peter-mckenzie-on-army-as-an-iwi-for-monday.

[3] New Zealand Army, “The Army Culture,” NZ Army Publication (NZ P77) Why? Chapter 3, Section 1  (2014).

[4] Richard  Taylor, Tribe of the War God : Ngati Tumatauenga (Heritage New Zealand, 1996), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 110-11.

[5] Although many NZ badges follow British badge design conventions and in many cases are direct copies, many badges have also included many unique New Zealnd features such as the adoption of Māori iconography and symbols and use Te Reo Māori in place of the traditional English or latin for mottoes. D. A. Corbett, The Regimental Badges of New Zealand : An Illustrated History of the Badges and Insignia Worn by the New Zealand Army (Auckland, N.Z. : Ray Richards, 1980, Revised enl. edition, 1980), Non-fiction, 9-17.

[6] Seán Brosnahan, “Ngāti Tūmatauenga and the Kilties: New Zealand’s Ethnic Military Traditions,” in A Global Force: War, Identities and Scotland’s Diaspora, ed. David Forsyth (Edinburgh University Press, 2016), 168-83.

[7] New Zealand Army, “The Army Culture.”

[8] Monty Soutar, Ngā Tama Toa = He Toto Heke, He Tipare Here Ki Te Ūkaipo : Kamupene C, Ope Taua (Maori) 28 1939-1945 : I Tuhia Tenei Pukapua I Roto I Te Reo Maori (David Bateman, 2014), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 35.

[9] Peter Cooke and John Crawford, The Territorials (Wellington: Random House New Zealand Ltd, 2011), 371.

[10] Geoffrey P. Oldham, Badges and Insignia of the New Zealand Army : An Illustrated Price Guide to Cap and Collar Badges, Insignia and Shoulder Titles of the N.Z. Army, Police & Militia, from 1847 to the Present Day, New and rev. ed ed. (Milimem Books, 2011), Bibliographies,Non-fiction, 92.

[11] Nina Joy Harding, “You Bring It, We’ll Bring It Out” : Becoming a Soldier in the New Zealand Army : A Thesis Presented in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Social Anthropology at Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand (2016), Non-fiction, 130.

[12] McKenzie, “How the NZ Army Became an Iwi”.

[13] “Discussuions Conducted by Author with Various Members of the New Zealsnd  Army Command Chain.,”  (2019).

[14] Te Ao Māori News, “Te Matatini 2015 – Te Kapa Haka O Kairanga,”  https://www.maoritelevision.com/news/regional/te-matatini-2015-te-kapa-haka-o-kairanga.

[15] Debbie Hohaia, “In Search of a Decolonised Military : MāOri Cultural Learning Experiences in the New Zealand Defence Force,” Kōtuitui (Online)  (2016): 52.

[16] Ibid.


New Zealand’s Flaming “A” Badge

Since 1971, Ammunition Technical Officers (ATOs) and Ammunition Technicians (ATs) of the New Zealand Army have proudly worn the Flaming “A” Badge, a symbol of the dangerous and skilful nature of the AT trade. The AT trade evolved from managing powder magazines in the 19th century to managing the full range of ammunition and explosives available to the modern New Zealand Army. The Flaming “A” Badge is more than a symbol of the dangerous and skilful nature of the AT trade but an acknowledgement to those who wear it of their trade’s long and proud whakapapa.

In early Colonial New Zealand, Ammunition and explosives were imported from the United Kingdom and Australia. To safely store and distribute powder and shot, Powder magazines were established at Wellingtons Mount Cook and Auckland’s Mount Albert, with specialist expertise required for the handling and storing of these stocks provided by qualified and experienced individuals from the British Military Stores Department and Royal Artillery and Engineer officers. As the Imperial Forces completed their withdrawal from New Zealand in 1870, full responsibility for New Zealand’s Magazines and Ammunition was passed to the Defence Stores Department.

From 1873 the powder magazines at Mount Albert and Mount Cook were replaced by new facilities at Auckland’s Mount Eden and Wellingtons Kaiwharawhara, both of which remained in use through to the 1920s. Supporting the dispersed Militia and Volunteer Forces, magazines were maintained by the Defence Stores Department at most provincial centres.

With the formation of the permanent Garrison Artillery in 1884, Frederick Silver and Robert George Vinning Parker, Sergeant Majors with considerable experience in the Royal Marine Artillery and Royal Garrison Artillery, then serving as constables in the Armed Constabulary, were transferred to the Garrison Artillery as instructors. Providing a solid base of experience, Silver and Parker were instrumental in mounting much of New Zealand’s Garrison artillery, compiling books and manuals and, in conjunction with the Defence Storekeeper managing the stocks of Artillery ammunition.

With the government’s encouragement, Major John Whitney established Whitney & Sons as an ammunition manufacturing company in Auckland. With additional investors, this company became the Colonial Ammunition Company (CAC) in 1888, the first ammunition manufacturer in New Zealand and the first in Australasia. Entering a contract with the New Zealand Government to produce Small Arms Ammunition (SAA), the deal was that the government provided the powder with the CAC providing the components for manufacturing complete cartridges. The Government retained the right to inspect and conduct quality control inspections on each batch before acceptance by the New Zealand Forces. The testing regime was a simple one which consisted of testing only a small percentage of a batch by test firing. The test results were based on the performance of this percentage that the ammunition is accepted or rejected.

With the production of .577 Snyder Ball Ammunition underway by 1890, the first testing, inspection and acceptance of the initial batches were conducted by Major John Pirie of the New Zealand Militia. Formerly a Major in the Guernsey Militia, Major Pirie immigrated to New Zealand, becoming the Auckland District Musketry Instructor in 1881 and conducting inspections of manufactured Ammunition until July 1891. From July 1891, ammunition inspection was passed to the Officer Commanding the Auckland District, Major Goring. In 1893, Lieutenant J E Hume of the Permanent Militia was responsible for examining ammunition. Hume held this responsibility in addition to his other duties until 1898.

On 6 February 1898, a formal request was placed on the United Kingdom for the recruitment of a suitable Warrant Officer from the Royal Artillery to “Take charge of the testing operations of SAA and the supervision of the manufacture of the same”. Quartermaster Sergeant Instructor Arthur Duvall, Royal Garrison Artillery of the Artillery College, was selected as the Small Arms Testing officer for the New Zealand Forces. To be promoted to 3rd Class Master Gunner on appointment, it was to be a three-year engagement at a rate of Nine Shillings a day with free quarters or a £50 per annum housing allowance. Arriving in New Zealand in July 1898, Duvall was soon at work at the CAC premises at Mount Eden in Auckland. Extending his engagement every three years, Duvall completed twenty years of service with the British Army in 1911. Taking his discharge in New Zealand, Duvall was immediately attested into the New Permanent Staff as an Honorary Lieutenant on 26 April 1912 and then promoted to Honorary Captain on 1 April 1914.

In 1902, Silver was discharged from the Artillery and was appointed as the Assistant Defence Storekeeper. While taking on the duties of Assistant Defence Storekeeper, Silver also retained responsibility for managing all the Artillery’s stores and ammunition. Following the implementation of the Defence Act 1909 and subsequent reorganisation, Silver transferred from the Defence Stores to the office of the Director of Artillery. He was appointed as Quartermaster (Honorary Lieutenant) into the post of Artillery Stores Accountant, retaining responsibility for all artillery stores and ammunition. Retiring in June 1913, Silver was replaced as Artillery Stores Accountant by Parker, who was promoted from Warrant Officer to Quartermaster (Honorary Lieutenant).

With the Colonial Ammunition Company in Auckland manufacturing SAA, thus allowing a measure of self-sufficiency, the same could not be said for artillery ammunition which all had to be imported from overseas. Parker conducted a cost-benefit analysis to assess the virtues of locally made-up artillery ammunition compared to imported items. Parker estimated that by cleaning and refilling casings, inspecting and refurbishing propellant bags, and manufacturing new ones as required, annual savings of £3,333 (2022 NZD$633,605) could be made. To achieve these savings, a recommendation that a specialist Royal New Zealand Artillery Ordnance Corps Section be established to manufacture and modify ammunition was made. General Godley approved the proposal in mid-1914, and on 1 March 1915, authority was granted under New Zealand Defence Forces General Order 90 to raise the New Zealand Army Ordnance Section with effect from 1 April 1915.

On 31 May 1917, regulations constituting the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC), backdated to 1 February 1917, were approved and published in the New Zealand Gazette of 7 June 1917, concluding forty-eight years of service provided by the Defence Stores Department,

Administrative control of the New Zealand Artillery Ordnance Section was passed to the NZAOC, and Parker was commissioned as Captain in the NZAOD as the Inspector of Ordnance Machinery. However, his time in this post was short, as he retired on 30 September 1919.

On 10 January 1918, Duvall was transferred from the Permanent Staff to the NZAOD, graded as an Ordnance Officer Class 3 with the rank of Captain as the Proof Officer SAA. The post of Proof Officer SAA was to be a continuous appointment in the New Zealand Army ammunition supply chain until 1968, when the CAC shifted its operations to Australia, ending its long relationship with the New Zealand Army.

Experience during the 1914-18 war highlighted the need for specialist officers trained in the technical nature of ammunition. Undertaking several courses of instruction in the United Kingdom, Captain William Ivory, RNZA, returned to New Zealand at the end of 1919 to assume the role of Inspecting Ordnance Officer (IOO). Lieutenant A de T Nevill, RNZA, took the post of Acting IOO in 1925 to allow Ivory to undertake regimental duties within the RNZA, with Ivory reassuming the position of IOO on 2 January 1927. On Ivory’s retirement in 1933, Lieutenant Ivan Roberts Withell, RNZA, assumed the appointment of IOO, a role held until his death on 31 August 1946.

On the formation of the NZAOC in 1917, the Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA) Ordnance Section at Fort Ballance passed to NZAOC control, continuing with its task of storing, repairing, and refurbishing ammunition under the control of the RNZA. With The Kaiwharawhara Magazines closed in the early 1920s, Watts Peninsular on the north end of Wellingtons Miramar peninsular became the first large-scale ammunition depot of the NZAOC. The ammunition infrastructure consisted of 19 magazines, one store and a laboratory spread out across the peninsula at Shelly Bay, Kau Point, Mahanaga Bay, Fort Ballance and Fort Gordon. These were not purpose-built ammunition magazines but repurposed submarine mining and coastal artillery fortifications dating back to the 1880s. In the case of Kau Point and Forts Ballance and Gordon, the large six- and eight-inch disappearing guns had been removed in the early 1920s, and the gun pits roofed over, becoming ad-hoc magazines. This accommodation was far from ideal as temperature and moisture control could not be adequately controlled, resulting in potential damage t ammunition stocks.

A smaller Ammunition section was also maintained at Mount Eden in Auckland until 1929, when along with some staff from Fort Balance, the Mount Eden Ammunition Section was transferred to New Magazines at Hopuhopu Camp. Envisaged to be the principal ammunition depot for New Zealand, eleven magazines and a laboratory were constructed between 1925 and 1927. Built into the hillside to contain any blasts, the magazines were made of concrete, with double walls forming an inspecting chamber. The intent of the inspection chamber was for sentries to observe thermometers and adjust the ventilation to maintain the stock at optimal temperatures by consulting a chart.

The NZAOC Ammunition sections were civilianised in 1931 when nearly all of the NZAOC military staff were transferred to the Public Service as civilian staff at a lower rate of pay or placed on superannuation as the result of government budgetary restraints.

When New Zealand entered the Second World War in September 1939, the responsibility for ammunition was shared between the RNZA and the NZAOC.

  • The Director of Artillery was responsible to the General Officer Commanding for.
    • The provision and allocation of gun ammunition,
    • The receipt, storage, and issue of gun ammunition and explosives other than small-arms ammunition
  • The Director of Ordnance Services, assisted by the IOO and the SAA Proof Officer, were responsible to the Quartermaster-General for.
    • The inspection and repair of gun ammunition,
    • The provision, receipt, storage and distribution of small arms ammunition.

NZAOC Ammunition facilities and personnel shared by the RNZA and NZAOC in September 1939 consisted of.

  • The IOO, Captain I.R Withell, RNZA
  • The Proof Officer, SAA Mount Eden Auckland, Honorary Lieutenant J.W Fletcher, NZPS
  • 19 Magazines, 1 Store, and an Ammunition Laboratory at Fort Ballance managed by
    • an RNZA WO1 seconded to the NZAOC
    • five members of the NZAOC civilian staff
  • 11 Magazines and an Ammunition Laboratory at Hopuhopu Camp managed by
    • an RNZA WO1 seconded to the NZAOC and
    • two members of the NZAOC civilian staff.
  • Single SAA Magazines at Trentham and Burnham Camps.

From 1940 as the New Zealand Army moved from a peacetime to a wartime footing, the Ammunition trade grew exponentially as new infrastructure was constructed to accommodate the extensive range of ammunition required for training and home defence, with Modern Explosive Store Houses built at.

  • Burnham – 8 Magazines
  • Ohakea – 6 Magazine
  • Papakura (Ardmore)- 28 Magazines
  • Hopuhopu and Kelms Road – 55 Magazines
  • Waiouru – 45 Magazines
  • Makomako – 39 Magazines
  • Trentham (Kuku Valley) – 22 Magazines
  • Belmont – 62 Magazines
  • Glen Tunnel – 16
  • Mount Somers – 10
  • Fairlie – 9
  • Alexandra – 9

In 1942 a conference of the QMG, DQMG2, AQMG5, COO, DCOO and IOO reset the wartime policy and organisation of New Zealand Military Ammunition services in which,

  • The COO and the Ordnance Ammunition Group were responsible for the management and storage of ammunition
  • the Chief IOO (CIOO) was responsible for all technical management and inspection of ammunition.

With the role of the IOO branch now defined, from January 1943, the establishment of the IOO Branch was steadily increased to more robust levels.

From mid-1945, discussions started taking place on the post-war shape of the NZAOC. Some thought was given to returning the NZAOC to its pre-war status as a predominantly civilian organisation. Reality prevailed, and the future of the NZAOC was assured as a permanent component of the post-war Army.

The Proposed establishment of NZAOC Ammunition units saw the first widespread use of Ammunition Examiner (AE) as the ammunition trade name. AEs had existed in the British Army since 1923, evolving from the trade of Military Laboratory Foreman that had been established in 1886. Although the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) authorised the use of a specialist AE badge consisting of an ‘AE in Wreath’ in 1942, permission to wear this badge was not granted to New Zealand AEs.

RAOC Ammunition Examiner Trade Badge 1942 to 1950 with ‘homemade’ Brass Version.

The first New Zealand AE were in the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary (2NZEF), where New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC) AEs were included as part of the 2nd New Zealand Division NZASC Ammunition Company establishment. Little information is known about the 2NZEF AEs. They were likely recruited from within 2NZEF, given some rudimentary training by the RAOC and set to work.

From 1 June 1945, the Artillery Headquarters element responsible for managing Gun Ammunition, the Ammunition and Equipment Section, was transferred to the control of the Chief Ordnance Officer (COO), ending the RNZA roles in the management of ammunition that had existed since the 1880s and the employment of Parker and Silver. As a result of the transfer, 11 Officers and 175 Other Ranks of the Royal New Zealand Artillery were absorbed into the NZAOC establishment.

On 15 November 1945, the QMG directed that the care, maintenance, accounting and storage of all ammunition and explosives was the responsibility of the COO. Under the COO, these duties were to be undertaken by

  • The IOO Section
  • The NZAOC Ammunition Section

Under the CIOO, the IOO Section was responsible for.

  • The control of all work on ammunition for all purposes other than accounting and storage,
  • Maintenance of Ammunition and explosives in stock in a serviceable condition and ready for use,
  • Provision of personnel for inspection and repair and for working parties to carry out repairs,
  • Provision of all equipment and stores required for the inspection and repair of ammunition,
  • Provision and accounting for Motor Transport necessary for the transport of stock for inspection and repair,
  • Administration and control of Repair Depot Trentham,
  • Maintenance of buildings at Repair Depot Trentham.

The NZAOC Ammunition Section was responsible for.

  • The accounting, storage and care of ammunition and explosives,
  • Maintenance or magazines areas and of buildings and services connected with the storage of ammunition and explosives,
  • Administration of personnel of the IOO Section, while attached to ammunition depots concerning pay, rations, quarters, clothing and discipline,
  • Transport arrangements for the movement of ammunition not connected with the inspection and repair of ammunition at depots.

The provision of suitably trained personnel was a constant problem for the CIOO. A course for IOOs was conducted over November/December 1945 to provide sufficient Officers to fill the IOO establishment. Graduates included

  • Captain John Gordon Renwick Morley
  • Captain Gerald Arthur Perry
  • Lieutenant Heaphy
  • Lieutenant W.G Dixon
  • Lieutenant Eric Dudley Gerard

On 1 September 1946, Army Headquarters “Q” Branch underwent a significant reorganisation which included the formation of the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME) and the reorganisation of New Zealand’s Ordnance Services under the Director of Army Equipment (DAE) which became the senior NZAOC appointment.

Under the DAE, Ordnance Services were divided between the,

  • COO, responsible for Headquarters New Zealand Ordnance Services, including the Provision Group
  • CIOO, responsible for the IOO Group

On the retirement of the incumbent DAE, Lieutenant Colonel C.S.J. Duff, DSO, RNZA, on 3 July 1947, the appointment of DEA was renamed Director of Ordnance Services (DOS), with Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Huia Andrews, RNZAOC, appointed as the first post-war DOS on 1 October 1947.

By 1949 the Ammunition organisation had further evolved, combining the IOO and NZAOC Section into a single ammunition organisation, with

  • The CIOO and staff providing DOS with the required technical advice on ammunition
  • District IOOs appointed to each District Headquarters as the Ammo advisor to the District DADOS
  • District Ammunition Sections now renamed as
    • Northern District Ammunition Depot
    • Central District Ammunition Depot
    • Southern District Ammunition Depot
  • Army Ammunition Repair Depot
  • Army Ammunition Supply Depot

To facilitate the further reorganisation and refinement of the Ammunition functions, the DOS hosted the first conference of Senior Ammunition Officers at Trentham Camp from 21-24 June 1949.

RNZAOC IOOs and AEs 1949

With the role of Inspection Ordnance Officers and Ammunition Examiners now embedded into the structure of the New Zealand Army, The Ammunition trade remained an under-resourced trade, struggling to fill its establishments despite having a high operating tempo. Typical activities supported during the 1950s included,

  • Continuous inspection of wartime ammunition held depots
  • Disposal of surplus and obsolete ammunition by
    • Dumping at sea
    • Destruction within depots
    • Sale to the public (SAA natures)
    • Transfer to allied nations
  • Supply of Ammunition to support Compulsory Military Training
  • Disposal of Blinds and unexploded Ammunition discovered in wartime training areas
  • Trials and introduction into service of new natures of ammunition
  • Technical Ammunition support to the Fiji Military Forces

In the United Kingdom, a competition was held in 1948 to design a new badge for RAOC Ammunition Examiners, with a design by Major Leonard Thomas Herbert Phelps accepted. Rumoured to be based on the Elizabeth Arden Cosmetics Company logo, the new Ammunition Examiner badge, consisting of a 3″ x 2″ Red, Black and Gold Flaming Grenade superimposed with the Letter A in the body of the Grenade signifying the AE trades position as an “A” Class trade, and was the first three-colour trade badge in the British Army.

Elizabeth Arden lipstick

In 1950 The British Army Dress Committee gave authority for AEs of the rank of Sergeant and above to wear the ‘Flaming A’ Trade Badge as a ‘Badge of Appointment’. However, it took time for this badge to be approved for wear by New Zealand’s Ammunition Trades.

Large ‘Ammunition Examiner’ Badge c1950, Brass and Anodized ‘Flaming A’ Badges. https://raoc.websitetoolbox.com/post/ammunition-technicians-badge-1566875?highlight=ammunition%20technician%20badge

In 1959 a comprehensive review of army dress embellishments was conducted to provide a policy statement on the wear embellishments such as

  • Shoulder titles
  • Formation Patches
  • Service Badges
  • Badges of Appointment
  • Instructors Badges
  • Skill-at-Arms Badges
  • Tradesmen’s badges

In reviewing Badges of Appointment, it was found that in comparison with the British Army, some badges of appointment worn by the British Army were also approved for wear by the New Zealand Army. Worn below the rank badge by WOs and above the chevrons by NCOS, examples of British badges of appointment worn by the New Zealand Army included,

  • Gun, worn by WO2s, SSgts and Sgts of the RNZE
  • Grenade, worn by WO2s, SSgts and Sgts of the RNZA
  • Hammer and Pincers, worn by WO2s, SSgts and Sgts of the RNZEME
  • Lyre, worn by Bandsmen

In the case of the RAOC AE flaming “A” badge, it was felt that there was merit in supporting the use of the same badge for wear by RNZAOC ammunition trades, and the adoption of the flaming “A” badge was recommended.

Despite the many recommendations for the army dress embellishment review, the only decision was to adopt shoulder titles and formation patches. The Army Dress Committee invited the Adjutant General to prepare a paper on dress embellishment and draw up a policy on Badges of Appointment, Instructors Badges, Skill-at-Arms Badges and Tradesmen’s badges. The wait for a badge for AE’s was to continue.

As the RNZAOC organisation matured in the late 1950s, it became apparent that the system in place of having separate Ordnance, Vehicle and Ammunition Depots located in the same locations but under different command arrangements was impracticable and not an efficient use of resources. Starting in 1961, a reorganisation was undertaken to consolidate administrative, accounting and store functions under one headquarters. The restructuring resulted in only one RNZAOC depot in each district, which consisting of,

  • Headquarters,
  • Stores Sub-Depot,
  • Ammunition Sub-Depot,
  • Vehicle Sub-Depot
  • Traffic Centre.

To achieve this, all the existing District Ammunition Depots became sub-depots of a District Ordnance Depot, designated as.

  • Ammunition Sub-Depot, Northern Districts Ordnance Depot (NDOD) – Ngāruawāhia,
  • Ammunition Sub-Depot Central Districts Ordnance Depot (CDOD) – Linton,
  • Ammunition Sub-Depot Southern Districts Ordnance Depot (SDOD) – Burnham

Ammunition Sub-Depots now consisted of:

  • Ammunition Inspection Section.
  • Ammunition Repair Section.
  • Non-Explosive Store.
  • NDOD Ammunition Areas.
    • Ardmore
    • Kelm road
    • Ngāruawāhia
  • CDOD Ammunition Areas
    • Waiouru
    • Makomako
    • Belmont
    • Trentham
  • SDOD Ammunition Areas
    • Burnham
    • Glentunnel
    • Fairlie
    • Mt Somers

In 1960 the RAOC renamed their Ammunition Trades, and concurrent with the 1961 reorganisation, the RNZAOC decided to align the Ammunition Trade with the RAOC and adopt the same trade names, making the following changes.

  • Chief Inspecting Ordnance Officer became Chief Ammunition Technical Officer
  • Senior Inspecting Ordnance Officer became Senior Ammunition Technical Officer
  • District Inspecting Ordnance Officer became District Ammunition Technical Officer
  • Inspecting Ordnance Officer became Ammunition Technical Officer
  • Ammunition Examiner became Ammunition Technician

Up to 1961, Ammunition Technical Officers (ATOs) were usually only employed in Ammunition-related duties. However, as a result of this reorganisation, ATOs were now used across all of the RNZAOC and, as such, were required to balance their regular duties with their Ammunition responsibilities.

1968 saw further reorganisation with the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham was renamed 1 Base Ordnance Depot and the District Ordnance Depots renamed

  • Northern District Ordnance Depot to 1 Central Ordnance Depot
  • Central District Ordnance Depot to 2 Central Ordnance Depot
  • Southern District Ordnance Depot to 3 Central Ordnance Depot

A significant aspect of the 1968 reorganisation was the Disestablishment of The Small Arms and Proof Office co-located at Mount Eden when the CAC closed down, ending the ammunition trades’ long relationship with the CAA. Additionally, the Ammunition Proof and Experimental Centre operations at Kuku Valley was closed down, and its operations moved to the new Joint Services Proof Establishment at Kauri Point in Auckland.

Keen to provide the Ammunition trade with a suitable trade identifier Major D.H Rollo, the CATO, sent a message to the New Zealand Defence Liaison Staff in London in September 1968 requesting the following information from the UK Chief Inspector of Land Service Ammunition (CILSA) on the RAOC AT Badge

  • Do other ranks and officers wear it
  • Conditions of entitlement to wear
  • Cost of badge
  • Possibility of procuring samples
  • Any other pertinent details which may guide in adopting a similar badge

By the end of November 1968, through the New Zealand Defence Liaison Staff, the UK CILSA provided the following information on the RAOC AT badge to the New Zealand CATO,

  • Worn by all Ammunition Technicians on No 1 and No2 Dress. It is not worn with any other form of dress.
  • Price
    • No1 Dress – 7/6d each,
    • No 2 Dress – 5.1/4d each
  • Samples of each badge to be provided

Armed with this information that the RAOC badge was only approved for wear by ATs and not ATOs, CATO raised a submission to the 77th meeting of the Army Dress Committee in April 1969 for approval to introduce the Flaming “A” badge for New Zealand ATs. However, it was not a robust submission and was declined because it was contended that there was not sufficient justification for the badge, with the following reasons given.

  • Other trades in the Army were equally deserving of such a badge
  • The low standard to qualify for the badge

The Dress Committee agreed to reconsider the matter if further justification could be supplied.

By 1969 developments in the United Kingdom and the troubles in Northern Ireland saw the unofficial wearing of the RAOC AT badge by ATOs, and by 1971 an ATO badge consisting of a small ‘Flaming Circle’ without the superimposed A was introduced in the June 1971 DOS Bulletin.

Moving forward from Major Rollo’s initial submission, New Zealand’s CATO, Major Bob Duggan, reconsidered the earlier proposal and, on 13 July 1970, through the DOS, submitted the following for a combined AT/ATO Badge,

CONSIDERATIONS

6.            R & SO Vol II provides for the wearing of qualification badges, and a study of that publication reveals that a large proportion of Army Corps already have these. Many badges require less effort for qualification than would the exacting trade of Ammunition Technician. In addition, and supporting the acceptance of an ATO/AT Badge, these technicians are frequently required to deal with other services and members of the public.

7.            The low standard required to qualify for this badge has been reconsidered in light of information obtained on similar standards received from overseas. In addition, it was never the intention to cheapen the significance of this badge in the RNZAOC or those of any other Corps. The standard required to qualify for the ATO/AT badge would now be as follows:

a. Technical Officers who have practised for a minimum of one year.

b. All Ammunition Technicians, regardless of rank, who have qualified in all ways for four stars in their trade.

8.            The Public Relations side of the duties of ATO/Ats, as mentioned in paragraph 6 above, is further explained. This aspect concerns the collection and disposal of stray ammunition and explosives as well as involvement with the Police and other Government Departments in bomb scares. The average annual number of items, all natures and types of stray ammunition which have been collected over the last three years is 5750, which represents approximately 450 calls by ATOs or four-star ATs. ATO/ATs are requested by Police Stations throughout New Zealand

a. To visit many private homes to identify-stray ammunition.

b. Assess whether or not the items are in a dangerous state, and

c. Remove such items for disposal. If an item is in an armed state, it could mean disposal in situ’.

9.            The request is therefore not for a trade badge, but one of recognition and identification as to the dangerous and skilful nature of their specialist work.

With the Support of the Army Q Branch, the Army Dress committee approved the introduction of the AT Badge for qualified RNZAOC ATOs and ATs on 31 May 1971

The New Zealand AT badge adopted in 1971 was identical to the RAOC AT Badge. The criteria for being awarded was for Officers to have completed one year of practical experience after graduating from the ATOs Course in Australia or the United Kingdom. For ATs to qualify, they were required to be qualified in all aspects of the trade, which could take up to six years.

The United Kingdom continues to maintain different ATO and AT badges. The Australian Army utilises an RAOC style, ATO badge with a stylised Wattle for ATOs and ATs.

Australian Army Ammunition Technical Officer/Ammunition Technician Badge. https://www.army.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Army%20Dress%20Manual_0.pdf

Examples of New Zealand ATO/AT Badges

1st pattern Ammunition Technician Badge. Robert McKie Collection
1st pattern Ammunition Technician Badge Mess Kit Badge. Robert McKie Collection

In 1988, as part of a New Zealand Army initiative to develop insignia with a unique New Zealand flavour, fern fronds were included across many New Zealand Army badges, including the AT Badge.  The fern fronds represented New Zealand’s national plant, the silver fern, which had been used to represent New Zealand in sports uniforms and military insignia since the 1880s.

New Zealand ATOs and ATs matured into a highly specialised trade that, on the amalgamation of the RNZAOC into the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR) in 1996, had a wide range of responsibilities, including

  • The inspection, storage and maintenance of all ammunition and explosives used by the Army
  • The conduct of technical trials on new ammunition,
  • The conduct investigations into ammunition incidents and accidents,
  • The disposal of unserviceable or obsolete ammunition,
  • The management of Explosive Ordnance Devices and Improvised Explosive Devices.

New Zealand’s Ammunition trade has progressed from storing and managing black powder magazines in the 19th century to managing the many modern ammunition natures available to the 21st century New Zealand Army. Although introduced in 1971 to recognise and identify the specialist, dangerous and skilful nature of the Ammunition trade, the flaming “A” badge is a fitting symbol of the trade’s progress.


RNZAOC Days of Significance

Most of the Corps and Regiments of the New Zealand Army observe a day significant to the respective Corps or Regiment

  • The Royal New Zealand Artillery celebrates “Gunners Day” on 26 May, marking the formation of the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1716.
  • The Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps celebrates “Cambrai Day” on 20 November, marking the Battle of Cambrai in 1917, which saw large numbers of tanks first employed.
  • The Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport celebrated “RNZCT Corps Day” on 12 May, which marked the formation of the New Zealand Army Service Corps in 1910.

For the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (RNZAOC), the day of significance was 12 July and as “Corps Day” commemorated the day in 1947 when the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) was granted Royal Status.

The granting of Royal Status to the NZAOC was an acknowledgement of New Zealand’s Ordnance services from 1912 and the valuable contributions of the NZAOC during the Second World War.

1 May 1912 – New Zealand Ordnance Corps

For a military force to remain effective, the ability to maintain and repair firearms is an essential function. From the 1860’s Armourers and Arms Cleaners of New Zealand’s Defence Stores Department, in conjunction with civilian gunsmiths, kept New Zealand’s stock of weapons maintained and repaired. With the introduction of Bolt Action rifles and Maxim Machine Guns, the increasing complexity and quantity of weapons systems available to New Zealand’s Military Forces required the secondment of Armourer Sergeants from the United Kingdom’s Army Ordnance Corps in 1900.[1]  Arriving in New Zealand in 1901, AOC Armourer Sergeants Bertram Buckley and John Hunter immediately set to upskilling New Zealand’s military armourers.[2]  Providing further support to Buckley and Hunter was the secondment 2nd Class Armourer Sergeant William Edward Luckman to New Zeeland from the AOC in 1903, who was appointed as the Chief Armourer of New Zealand’s Military Forces.

By 1911 Armourer Sergeant Major Luckman, having had his secondment extended several times, was well established as the Chief Armourer of New Zealand’s Military Forces. His Armourers provided inspection, maintenance, and repairs in Armourers workshops in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Although on secondment to the New Zealand military, Luckman, Buckley, and Hunter were still Armourers in the AOC and required to maintain their professional proficiency. New Zealand Armourers trained under Luckman’s supervision required a trade structure and recognition of their ability in sync with the AOC. To provide this structure, General Order 118 was released on 1 May 1912, establishing the New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC) and providing a career path from Apprentice to Armourer Sergeant Major for Armourers of the Defence Stores Department. [3]

1 April 1915 – Royal New Zealand Artillery, New Zealand Army Ordnance Section

While the Defence Stores Department were responsible for Small-Arms and associated ammunition, the Royal New Zealand Artillery was responsible for supplying and maintaining the various types of Ordnance (Artillery) and associated ammunition utilised by the Regiment of New Zealand Artillery, New Zealand Garrison Artillery and New Zealand Field Artillery.[4] This functional separation between the Defence Stores Department and Artillery had existed since the 1880s, remaining extant in 1915. While the Colonial; Ammunition Company factory at Mount Eden in Auckland allowed a measure of self-sufficiency in Small Arms Ammunition, the same could not be said for artillery ammunition. In 1911 The Artillery Stores Accountant, Lieutenant Robert George Vining Parker, produced a cost-benefit analysis of the virtues of locally made-up Artillery and imported artillery ammunition. It was estimated that by cleaning and refilling casings, inspecting and refurbishing propellant bags, and manufacturing new ones as required, savings of £3,333 (2022 NZD$633,605) could be made. To achieve these savings, a recommendation that a specialist Artillery Ordnance Corps Section be established to manufacture and modify ammunition was made. [5] Approved by the Commandant of the New Zealand Military Forces, General Alexander Godley, in mid-1914, formal authority was not granted until 1 March 1915, with New Zealand Defence Forces General Order 90 authorising the raising as a component of the Royal New Zealand Artillery, the New Zealand Army Ordnance Section with effect from 1 April 1915.[6] The NCO and six Gunners of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Section were based at Wellingtons Fort Balance.

1 February 1917 – New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps

On 31 May 1917, regulations constituting the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) and NZAOC, backdated to 1 February 1917, were approved and published in the New Zealand Gazette on 7 June 1917, concluding forty-eight years of service provided by the Defence Stores Department.[7]

From January 1917, the legacy Defence Stores Department remained in existence only in name as the Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores, Major Thomas James McCristell, put the pieces together for the final establishment of New Zealand’s military Ordnance Services. Ordnance Procedures for the New Zealand Defence Forces drafted in 1916 were released on 23 January 1917, providing the New Zealand military with regulations concerning Ordnance Services.[8]  These procedures were a forward-looking document and can be considered the foundation of New Zealand’s military store accounting procedures.

In line with the British AOC organisation, the New Zealand Ordnance Services were to consist of the,

  • Officers organised into the NZAOD as,
    • Directing Staff.
    • Executive Staff.
    • Inspectorial Staff.
  • Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and soldiers organised into the NZAOC,
    • Clerical and Stores Section.
    • Armourers Section.
    • Armament Artificers Section. [9]

Included in the establishment of the NZAOC were Artificers of the Royal New Zealand Artillery, the Artillery Ordnance Corps Section and the Armourers of the NZOC.

It must be noted that from 1917 the New Zealand Military now maintained two NZAOCs whose only relationship was in name and had no technical relationship. These were,

  • The New Zealand Expeditionary Force NZAOC was formed as a unit of the NZEF in 1915 and was disestablished in 1921.[10] This NZAOC consisted of Officers, Warrant Officers, NCOs and Other Ranks.

27 June 1924 – Reconstitution of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps

On 3 July 1924, a notice published in the New Zealand Gazette revoked the regulations that established the NZAOD and NZAOC on 1 February 1917. Backdated to 27 June 1924, the NZAOD was reconstituted as part of the NZAOC, resulting in one Ordnance organisation serving as part of the New Zealand Permanent Forces.[11]

1 November 1940 – New Zealand Ordnance Corps

Unlike the New Zealand Army Service Corps, which consisted of the New Zealand Permanent Army Service Corps (NZPASC) as part of the Permanent Army and the NZASC as its Territorial Army component, the NZAOC did not maintain a Territorial Army component of part-time citizen-soldiers. With the onset of war in 1939 and the mobilisation of the Territorial Army in 1940, the Quartermaster General, Colonel Henry Esau Avery, decided that Light Aid Detachments were an Ordnance responsibility and established the NZOC as the NZAOC Component of Territorial Army as of 1 November 1940.[12]

As in the First World War, the 2NZEF also maintained Ordnance units. 2NZEF Order 221 of March 1941 set NZOC as the title of Ordnance in the NZEF.[13]  1942 saw the separation of maintenance and repair functions from the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) with the formation of the Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (EME) in the Brutish Army. The New Zealand Division followed suit and formed the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME) on 1 December 1942, placing repair and maintenance elements into the NZEME with the Ordnance Stores and Services functions remaining as the NZOC. However, as the NZEME was a 2NZEF element and not formed as part of New Zealand’s Force at home and in the Pacific, men posted to the NZEME were still listed as part of the NZOC.

The NZEF NZOC was disestablished along with the NZEF in 1946.

1 September 1946 – NZAOC Reorganisation

On 1 September 1946, the NZAOC underwent its first major post-war reorganisation with several significant changes reshaping the NZAOC, including,

  • MT Workshops, Ordnance Workshops, and Armourers Workshops separated from the NZAOC to form the NZEME.[14]
  • The Distinction between Regular and non-Regular soldiers in place across the army since 1909 was removed. The NZOC was disestablished, and its Officers and Soldiers integrated into the NZAOC.[15]

12 July 1947 – Designation as a Royal Corps

In recognition of the valuable services provided by New Zealand’s Military Forces during the Second World War, King George VI approved in 1947 the addition of the prefix “Royal” to be granted to the following Corps of the New Zealand Military Forces

  • The New Zealand Armoured Corps
  • The New Zealand Engineers
  • The New Zealand Corps of Signals
  • The New Zealand Infantry Corps
  • The New Zealand Army Service Corps
  • The New Zealand Army Medical Corps
  • The New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps
  • The New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
  • The New Zealand Army Dental Corps
  • The New Zealand Chaplains Department.[16]

Taking effect from 12 July 1947, the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, further embraced this honour by adopting 12 July as the RNZAOC Corps Day.


Notes

[1] “Two armourer sergeants imported from England,” Archives New Zealand Item No R24403217  ( 1902).

[2] “Buckley, Bertram,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand (Wellington) 1900,.

[3] NZ Armourers, New Zealand Military Forces, General Order 118/12, (Wellington, 1 May 1912), 44-45. ; “Boyce, John – WWI 35094, WWII 4239 – Army,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand (Wellington) 1914.

[4] In 1914 the stocks of New Zealand Artillery consisted of a variety of obsolete, obsolescent and current field and fixed coast artillery pieces, including  6-Pounder Hotchkiss gun; QF 6 pounder Nordenfelt; QF 12 pounder 12 cwt gun; Ordnance QF 18-pounder; QF 4.5-inch howitzer; BL 6-inch Mk VII naval gun, 6-inch gun Mk V; BL 8 inch Mk VII naval gun.”(Capt J O’Sullivan Director of Stores – Return of Ordnance and Ammunition in New Zealand),” Archives New Zealand Item No R24750839  (14 March 1906), .; Peter Cooke, Defending New Zealand: Ramparts on the Sea 1840-1950s (Wellington, NZ: Defence of New Zealand Study Group, 2000, 2000), 833.

[5] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 54-56.

[6] Formation of Army Ordnance Corps Section, New Zealand Defence Forces, General Order 90, (Wellington, 1 April 1915).

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

[8] organised into five sections covering all the Ordnance administrative and accounting required of the New Zealand Military:                Section 1 – Administration, Section 2 – Charge of Storehouses, Magazine and Workshops, Section 3 – Charge of Stores, Section 4 – Small-arms and machine guns, Section 5 Supply and Receipt of stores and clothing, Section 6 – Transmission and consignment of Stores, Section 7 – Stocktaking, survey and sales of stores, Section 8 – Receiving, issuing and Accounting “Regulations

[9] “New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Regulations,” New Zealand Gazette No 95 (Wellington), June 7 1917, 2292-93.

[10] Robert McKie, “Ordnance at the Front – The New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps in the NZEF, 1914 to1920,” The Volunteers: New Zealand Military Historical Society 46, no. 1 (2020): 7-24.

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

[12] “Formation of New Units, Changes in Designation, and Reorganization of Units of the Territorial Force. ,” New Zealand Gazette, No 127, 19 December 1940, http://www.nzlii.org/nz/other/nz_gazette/1940/127.pdf.

[13] Designation of Units – Ordnance Corps, 2NZEF Order 221, (March 1940).

[14] “Organisation – Policy and General – Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps 1946-1984,” Archives New Zealand Item No R17311537  (1946).

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

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


Brigadier Allan Huia Andrews, CBE

Brigadier Andrews was born in New Plymouth on 11 January 1912. He was educated at Thames and New Plymouth Boys’ High School and Canterbury University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree. A talented rugby player, Andrews represented Canterbury and had made the grade for selection as an All Black in 1934. However, as he was nearing the end of his studies, he made the difficult decision to forgo rugby and complete his studies.

Enlisted into the Permanent Force of the New Zealand Army as a cadet on 7 April 1936, Andrews was commissioned into the NZAOC as a Lieutenant on 17 June 1936. As Lieutenant S.B Wallace, the Officer in Charge of the Ordnance Workshops, was on course in England, Andrews was detached from the Main Ordnance Depot to take Charge of the Ordnance Workshops. From September 1937, Andrews was then appointed as the Temporary Ordnance Mechanical Engineer (OME) until Wallace’s return in June 1938. Returning to the Main Ordnance Depot as the Assistant Ordnance Officer, Andrews began work on updating equipment scales and developing plans to equip and support provide an expeditionary force.

On 11 December 1939. Andrews was seconded to the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2NZEF) as the Senior OME (SOME), promoted to Captain, and embarked on active service the same day. He was promoted to Major and appointed Deputy Assistant Director Ordnance Services (DADOS) 2 NZEF on 1 August 1940. The appointment of Assistant Director Ordnance Services (ADOS) 2 NZ Division followed in January 1941.

Following the appointment of Colonel King, the ADOS 2 NZEF, as the Deputy Director Ordnance Services (DDOS) lines of Communication (L of C) for the 8th Army, Andrews assumed the responsibilities of ADOS 2 NZEF.  

On the formation of the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME) as a unit of 2NZEF on 1 December 1942, Andrews was appointed to the position of Commander EME (CEME) 2 NZ Division.

Returning to New Zealand in July 1943, Andrews was appointed as the COME at MOD Trentham and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Based on his experience in the Middle East, he integrated All Arms Military training into the training schedule of the MOD Ordnance Workshops.

Portrait of Lieutenant Colonel Allan Huia Andrews, Auckland Weekly News, 31 March 1943. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19430331-19-2. Image has no known copyright restrictions.

Andrews was soon overseas again, first undertaking a tour of duty with 3 NZ Division in the Pacific in early 1944 and in May was again posted back to 2NZEF (Middle East), where he served as CEME 2 NZ Division.

Early in the war, Andrews had been handpicked by General Freyberg to manage the 2nd NZEF Rugby Team on the cessation of hostilities. Under Andrew’s management, a team known as The Kiwis was selected from men completing active service in North Africa and Italy and included several men who had spent lengthy spells in prisoner of war camps in Italy, Austria and Germany.

Andrews completed his task as the manager of The Kiwis with much success, with the Kiwis becoming one of the most famous and successful Rugby teams produced by New Zealand who, in their tour of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany and France, played 33 matches for 29 wins, two draws and two losses. They scored 605 points and conceded just 185. They beat the full international sides of England, Wales and France and lost just one international to Scotland. The complete tour results were

  • 07 October 1945 Swansea v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 22-6
  • 30 October 1945 Llanelli v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 18-8
  • 03 November 1945 Neath v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 22 – 15
  • 10 November 1945 Northern Services v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 14-7
  • 14 November 1945 Ulster v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 10-9
  • 17 November 1945 Leinster v New Zealand Army – Draw 10-10
  • 24 November 1945 England v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 18-3
  • 01 December 1945 British Army v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 25-5
  • 08 December 1945 RAF v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 11-0
  • 15 December 1945 Royal Navy v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 6-3
  • 22 December 1945 London Clubs v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 30-0
  • 26 December 1945 Cardiff v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 3-0
  • 29 December 1945 Newport v New Zealand Army – Draw 3-3
  • 05 January 1946 Wales v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 11-3
  • 12 January 1946 Combined Services v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 31-0
  • 19 January 1946 Scotland v New Zealand Army – NZEF Loss 11-6
  • 24 January 1946 Scottish Universities v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 57-3
  • 26 January 1946 North Midlands v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 24-9
  • 31 January 1946 East Midlands v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 14-0
  • 02 February 1946 Northern Counties v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 25-8
  • 09 February 1946 Lancs, Cheshire & Yorks v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 41-0
  • 14 February 1946 Oxford University v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 31-9
  • 16 February 1946 Devon & Cornwall v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 11-3
  • 20 February 1946 Cambridge University v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 15-7
  • 23 February 1946 Gloucs & Somerset v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 11-0
  • 27 February 1946 Monmouthshire v New Zealand Army – NZEF Loss 0-15
  • 02 March 1946 Aberavon v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 17-4
  • 10 March 1946 France v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 14-9
  • 13 March 1946 BAOR v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 12-0
  • 16 March 1946 Combined Services v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 20-3
  • 24 March 1946 France v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 13-10
  • 27 March 1946 France A v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 38-9
  • 31 March 1946 Ile De France v New Zealand Army – NZEF Win 24-13

Andrews returned to New Zealand in July 1946 to take up the Chief Ordnance Officer (COO) appointment at the MOD Trentham on completing the tour.  

Appointed as the first post-war Director of Ordnance Services (DOS) on 1 October 1947. Relinquishing the appointment of DOS on 11 November 1949, Andrews then attended the Joint Services Command College (JSSC) in the United Kingdom.

On his return to New Zealand, he was appointed the Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General (DAQMG) at Army HQ. Promoted to Colonel, Andrews was then posted to Waiouru as the Camp Commandant in 1953.

In 1955, he was promoted to Brigadier as the Commander of the Central Military District.

Wellington College cadet Corporal C A Beyer receiving the Berry Cup from Brigadier A H Andrews, OBE, for being the outstanding battalion shot. Photographed by an Evening Post staff photographer on 16 November 1955.

Another overseas tour followed in late 1956 when he became Senior Army Liaison Officer at the New Zealand Embassy in London. Returning to New Zealand in 1960, Brigadier Andrews then took up the appointment of Commander Southern Military District.

In January 1963, he was again posted to Army HQ as the Adjutant General, an appointment he was to hold until his retirement in 1967.

Appointed as the Colonel Commandant of the RNZAOC on 1 April 1969, he served in that capacity until 30 September 1977.

Throughout his retirement, Andrews maintained a keen interest in all activities of the RNZAOC and published his autobiography, Allan Huia Andrews: a distinguished career, in 2002.

Brigadier Andrews passed away on 28 October 2002 and is buried at Okato Cemetery, New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Mentioned in Dispatches while serving with 2 NZ Division and further recognising his services, he was awarded the OBE in 1943. In the 1964 NewYears’ honours, Andrewes was awarded the CBE.

Lt Col A.H Andrews. OBE, RNZAOC Director of Ordnance Services, 1 Oct 1947 – 11 Nov 1949. RNZAOC School

Principle posts of the RNZAOC and its predecessors

The core responsibility of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps and its predecessors was the supply and maintenance of arms, ammunition, accoutrements, clothing, and field equipment to New Zealand’s Military Forces. From 1840 the principal posts of the RNZAOC and its predecessors were.

Colony of New South Wales, Colonial Storekeeper for New Zealand

  • Mr C.H.G Logie                                                15 Jan 1840 – 1 Oct 1840

Colony of New Zealand, Colonial Storekeeper       

  • Mr H Tucker                                                    1 Oct 1840 – 30 Dec 1843

From 1844 the needs of the Militia were facilitated on an ad-hoc basis by the Colonial Secretary based upon requests from provincial magistrates.  

Colonial Secretaries of New Zealand (30 Dec 1843 to 28 May 1858)

  • Willoughby Shortland 3 May 1841 – 31 Dec 1943
  • Andrew Sinclair                                                 6 Jan 1844 – 7 May 1856
  • Henry Sewell                                                      7 May 1856 – 20 May 1856
  • John Hall                                                           20 May 1856 – 2 Jun 1856
  • William Richmond                                           2 Jun 1856 – 4 Nov 1856
  • Edward Stafford                                               4 Nov 1856 – 12 Jul 1861

Supporting the Imperial Forces in New Zealand since 1840, the Board of Ordnance had established offices in Auckland during 1842, ensuring the provision of Imperial military units in New Zealand with munitions, uniforms and necessities. The Board of Ordnance was reorganised on 1 February 1857 into a new organisation called the Military Store Department. Headquartered at Fort Britomart in Auckland, the Military Store Department principal role alongside the commissariat was to support the Imperial Garrison; however, it would support colonial forces on a cost-recovery basis when necessary.  With the departure of the British Military Storekeeper Joseph Osbertus Hamley in July 1870, the withdrawal of Imperial Forces was completed.

Board of Ordnance, Military Storekeeper

  • Deputy Ordnance Storekeeper W Plummer              1842 – 1 February 1857

Military Store Department

  • Deputy Superintendent of Stores W. Plummer          1 February 1857 – 4 March 1879(Deceased in office)
  • Deputy Superintendent of Stores J.O Hamley           4 March 1858 – 30 July 1870

The passing of the Militia Act of 1858 saw the Militia reorganised, and Volunteer units were authorised to be raised. The Deputy Adjutant General of Militia and Volunteers oversaw the administration, including the supply and distribution of arms, ammunition, accoutrements, clothing, and field equipment to the Militia and Volunteers.

Deputy Adjutant General of Militia and Volunteers

  • Capt H.C Balneavis                                                           28 May 1858 – 18 Sep 1862

On 18 September 1862, the Colonial Defence Act was passed, establishing the first regular military units in New Zealand.  Under the Quartermaster General of the Colonial Defence Force, Captain Robert Collins, the Colonial Store Department under the Colonial Storekeeper, and the Militia Store Department under the Superintended of Militia Stores maintained a separation between the Militia/Volunteers and Regulars absorbing the rudimentary stores’ organisation of the Deputy Adjutant General of Militia and Volunteers. The two departments would be amalgamated into the Colonial Store Department in 1865.

Militia Store Department

  • Superintendent of Militia Stores, Capt E.D King              18 September 1862 – 30 October 1865

Colonial Store Department

  • Colonial Storekeeper Capt J Mitchell                    18 September 1862- 1 April 1869

The Armed Constabulary Act was passed in 1867, which combined New Zealand’s police and military functions into a regular Armed Constabulary (AC) Force, supported by loyal natives, Militia and Volunteer units. The Inspector of Defence store appointment was created in 1869 to manage all New Zealand’s Defence Stores as the single New Zealand Defence Stores organisation.

Inspector of Defence Stores (Defence Stores)                                        

  • Lt Col E Gorton                                                                  1 Apr 1869 – 9 Jan 1877
Lieutenant Colonel Edward Gorton

Defence Storekeeper (Defence Stores)

  • Capt S.C Anderson                                                                9 Jan 1877 – 7 Dec 1899 (Deceased in office)
Captain Sam Anderson
  • Mr J O’Sullivan                                                                  7 Dec 1899 – 1 Jan 1907
CAPTAIN O’SULLIVAN (Storekeeper Defence Department, Wellington).,NZ Truth, Issue 304, 22 April 1911

During the 1880s, New Zealand undertook a rearmament and fortification program that was also a technological leap forward in terms of capability. The Defence Stores armourers and Arms Cleaners had maintained the colony’s weapons since 1861. However, the new equipment included machinery that functioned through pneumatics, electricity and steam power, requiring a skilled workforce to repair and maintain, resulting in a division of responsibility between the Defence Stores and Permanent Militia. The Defence Stores would retain its core supply functions with its armourers remaining responsible for repairing Small Arms.  With some civilian capacity available, the bulk of the repairs and maintenance of the new equipment would be carried out by uniformed artificers and tradespeople recruited into the Permanent Militia.

From October 1888, the Staff Officer of Artillery and Inspector of Ordnance, Stores and Equipment would be responsible for all Artillery related equipment, with the Defence Storekeeper responsible for all other Stores. However, during the late 1890s, the Defence Storekeeper would assume responsibility for some of the Artillery related stores and equipment of the Permanent Militia.

Inspector of Stores and Equipment

  • Maj A.P Douglas                                              24 Aug 1887 – 23 Jan 1891

In 1907 a significant command reorganisation of the Defence Forces defined the responsibilities of the Director of Artillery Services (Ordnance) and Director of Stores.

  • Director of Artillery Services (Ordnance): Responsible for:
    • Artillery armament,
    • Fixed coast defences,
    • Artillery ammunition, and
    • Supplies for ordnance.
  • Director of Stores: Responsible for:
    • Clothing and personal equipment,
    • Accoutrements,
    • Saddlery,
    • Harness,
    • Small-Arms,
    • Machine Guns,
    • Small-arms and Machine gun ammunition,
    • Material,
    • Transport,
    • Vehicles,
    • Camp Equipment,
    • All other stores required for the Defence Forces.

Director of Military Stores (Defence Stores)                                                 

  • Capt J O’Sullivan                                                               1 Jan 1907 – 30 Mar 1911

Director of Ordnance and Artillery

  • Maj G.N Johnston                                                            28 Feb 1907 – 31 May 1907
  • Capt G.S Richardson                                                        31 May 1907 – 31 Jul 1908

Director of Artillery

  • Maj J.E Hume                                                                     31Jul 1908 – 31 Mar 1911

In 1911, provisional regulations were promogulated further detailing the division of responsibilities between the Quartermaster Generals Branch (to whom the Defence Stores was subordinate) and the Director of Ordnance and Artillery.  Based on these new regulations, the Director of Artillery (Ordnance) assumed overall responsibility for managing Artillery stores and ammunition on 2 August 1911.

Director of Equipment and Stores (Defence Stores)                        

  • Maj J O’Sullivan                                                 30 Mar 1911 – 10 Apr 1916

Director of Ordnance and Artillery

  • Maj G.N Johnston                                                            11 May 1911- 8 Aug 1914

To maintain and manufacture artillery ammunition, the Royal NZ Artillery established an Ordnance Section in 1915. The section immediately transferred to the NZAOC in 1917, with the RNZA maintaining technical control. By 1929, most artificers and tradespeople had been transferred from the RNZA into the NZAOC. The final RNZA store’s function would be transferred to the NZAOC in 1946 when the RNZA Ammunition and Equipment Section based in Army Headquarters handed over responsibility for artillery ammunition, explosives, coast artillery and specialist equipment and stores, including some staffing to the NZAOC.

The Defence Stores would remain as New Zealand’s military storekeepers until 1 February 1917 when the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) and the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) were established as part of the Permanent Staff of the Defence Forces of New Zealand, assuming the responsibilities Defence Stores.

The NZAOD would be reconstituted into the NZAOC on 27 June 1924.

Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores (Defence Stores & NZAOC) 

  • Maj T McCristell                                                                10 Apr 1916 – 30 Jan 1920          
Major Thomas James McCristell, Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores, 10 April 1916 – 20 January 1920.

Director of Ordnance Stores (NZAOC)

  • Lt Col H.E Pilkington                                                        30 Jan 1920 – 1 Oct 1924
  • Lt Col T.J King                                                                     1 Oct 1920 – 6 Jan 1940
Brigadier T J King, CBE, RNZAOC Regimental Colonel 1 Jan 1949 – 31 Mar 1961. RNZAOC School
  • Lt Col W.R Burge                                                              6 Jan 1940 – 22 June 1940

Chief Ordnance Officer (NZAOC)

  • Maj H.E Erridge                                                                 22 Jun 1940 – 3 Aug 1941
Major H.E Erridge
  • Lt Col E.L.G Bown                                                             5 Aug 1941 – 1 Oct 1947

In the Post-war era, the NZAOC would be granted Royal status on 12 July 1947, becoming the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (RNZAOC). For the next forty-five years, the Director of Ordnance Services (DOS) would be responsible for the personnel, equipment and training of the RNZAOC.

Director of Ordnance Services (RNZAOC)

  • Lt Col A.H Andrews                                                         1 Oct 1947 – 11 Nov 1949
Lt Col A.H Andrews. OBE, RNZAOC Director of Ordnance Services, 1 Oct 1947 – 11 Nov 1949. RNZAOC School
  • Lt Col F Reid                                                                       12 Nov 1949 – 31 Mar 1957
  • Lt Col H Mck Reid                                                             1 Apr 1958 – 11 Nov 1960
  • Lt Col E Whiteacre                                                           12 Nov 1960 – 24 May 1967
  • Lt Col J Harvey                                                                 24 May 1967 – 28 Aug 1968
  • Lt Col G.J.H Atkinson                                                     29 Aug 1968 – 20 Oct 1972
  • Lt Col M.J Ross                                                                 21 Oct 1972 – 6 Dec 1976
  • Lt Col A.J Campbell                                                          7 Dec 1976 – 9 Apr 1979
  • Lt Col P.M Reid                                                                 10 Apr 1979 – 25 Jul 1983
  • Lt Col T.D McBeth                                                            26 Jul 1983 – 31 Jan 1986
  • Lt Col G.M Corkin                                                             1 Feb 1986 – 1 Dec 1986
  • Lt Col J.F Hyde                                                                   2 Dec 1986 – 31 Oct 1987
  • Lt Col E.W.G Thomson                                                  31 Oct 1987 – 11 Jan 1990
  • Lt Col W.B Squires                                                          12 Jan 1990 – 15 Dec 1992

During the early 1990s, the New Zealand Army underwent several “rebalancing” activities, which saw the formation of regional Logistic Battalions and included the demise of the individual Corps Directorates.  

Filling the void left by the demise of the Corps Directorates, the post of Regimental Colonel was approved on 12 December 1992. The role of the Regimental Colonel of the RNZAOC was to.

  • Provide specialist advice when called for
  • Maintain an overview of Corps personnel matters, and
  • Provide a link between the Colonel Commandant of the RNZAOC and the Corps and support the Colonel Commandant.

Regimental Colonel (NZAOC)

  • Col T.D McBeth                                                                 15 Dec 1992 – 19 Sept 1994
  • Col L Gardiner                                                                   19 Sept 1994 – 9 Dec 1996

On 9 December 1996, the RNZAOC was amalgamated into the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR).

New Zealand Ordnance Corps during wartime

During the Frist World War, a New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps was established as a unit of the 1st New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF)  

Officer Commanding NZEF NZAOC

  • Capt W.T Beck,                                                                  3 Dec 1914 – 31 Jan 1916
William Thomas Beck Circa 1921
  • Lt Col A.H Herbert,                                                          1 Feb 1916 – 31 Mar 1918
Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert, NZAOC. aucklandmuseum/Public Domain
  • Lt Col H.E Pilkington, RNZA                                           30 Jun 1918- 22 Jan 20
  • Temp Capt W.H Simmons,                                             20 Feb 20 – 13 Oct 1920

The Second World War would see all the Ordnance functions of the 2nd NZEF organised as the New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC).

Officer Commanding 2nd NZEF NZOC in the Middle East and Europe

  • Lt Col T.J King                                                                     5 Jan 1940 – 10 Jul 1942
  • Maj A.H Andrews                                                             10 Jul 1942 – 1 Dec 1942
  • Lt Col J.O Kelsey                                                              1 Dec 1942 – 1 Feb 1946

Officer Commanding 2nd NZEF in the Pacific NZOC

  • Lt P.N Erridge                                                                   22 Nov 1940 – 9 May 1941
  • Lt S.A Knight                                                                       9 May 1941 – 8 Jan 1942
Lieutenant-Colonel Stanley Arthur Knight
  • Lt Col M.S Myers                                                              8 Jan 1942 – 24 Apr 1944
  • Lt Col S.A Knight                                                             24 Apr 1944 – 30 Oct 1944                                           

The bell of the M.V Rangitata

Hidden in an alcove under some stairs at New Zealand’s Army’s Trade Training School is a surprising item of memorabilia not generally associated with the Army, a Ships Bell belonging to the M.V Rangitata.

With no labels or tags identifying its origins, its mounting cradle indicates that it was mounted in a social club or smoko room and used to call the room to attention for important announcements.

The journey of this bell and why it now rests at Trentham has long been forgotten. However, it does hold a surprising place in the whakapapa of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistics Regiment.

Established in 1873, the New Zealand Shipping Company (NZSC) helped pioneer the trade of frozen goods from New Zealand to England and became one of New Zealand’s premier shipping companies with domestic and international routes.

In the late 1920s, the NZSC undertook a significant investment in its fleet for the Wellington to London route and had three modern diesel-powered passenger/cargo ships built, the Rangitane, the Rangitiki and the Rangitata.

MV Rangitata

Known as the “Rangi” ships, from 1929, these 16,737-ton diesel-powered vessels dominated the service between England and New Zealand with a four-weekly service, making the voyage via the Panama Canal and Pitcairn Island in 32 days.

All three Rangis served in various war-related roles from 1939.

The Rangitane

whilst transiting from New Zealand to England was sunk three hundred miles east of New Zealand by the German surface raiders Komet and Orion on 27 November 1940.

The Rangitiki

In November 1940, as its sister was facing German raiders in the Pacific, as the largest vessel in the thirty-eight vessel trans-Atlantic convoy HX 84, the Rangitiki encountered the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer, and although eight merchant vessels were lost, the Rangitiki completed the voyage. In December 1940, as part of Trans-Atlantic convoy WS 5, the Rangitiki then survived an encounter with the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper. In 1945 the Rangitiki returned to the New Zealand -England route as it undertook repatriation voyages returning Servicemen and War brides home from Europe. Following eighty-seven peacetime return voyages between New Zealand and the United Kingdom, the Rangitiki was retired and broken up as scrap in 1962.

The Rangitata

In 1937 the Rangitata transported troops to England for the coronation of King George VI, and in 1939 was requisitioned for war service.  During the war, some of the Rangitata’s eventful voyages included transporting 113 child evacuees from England to New Zealand. Later in the war, it transported United States soldiers from the USA to England. Following the war, the Rangitata was fitted out as a war-bride ship and, in 1947, transported the first post-war draft of immigrants to New Zealand. Returning to peacetime service with its sister ship, the Rangitiki, the Rangitata was also scrapped in 1962.

The wartime voyage of significance to the RNZALR is the Rangitata’s participation in carrying the First Echelon of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2nd NZEF) from Wellington to Egypt in January/February 1940.

Six merchant vessels made up Convoy US.1 sailing from Wellington on 4 January 1940, carrying 345 Officers and 6175 other ranks of the Second Echelon of the 2nd NZEF.

As part of Convoy US.1, the Rangitata transported the following units to Egypt.

  • Divisional Cavalry: A and B Sqns (369 men)
  • NZANS Nursing Sisters (3)
  • Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve ratings.
  • 2 NZEF Overseas Base
  • 13 Light Aid Detachment, New Zealand Ordnance Corps (1 Officer + 12 Other Ranks)
  • 13 Light Aid Detachment, New Zealand Ordnance Corps (1 Officer + 12 Other Ranks)

The following members of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps have been identified as sailing on the Rangitata. As the war progressed, several of these men held significant positions in the NZOC and from November 1942, the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME). A small number continued to serve in the post-war NZ Army.

  • Lieutenant Donald Edward Harper, NZOC, Base Depot,
    • finished the war as Lieutenant Colonel and the 2nd NZ Div Assistant Director of Ordnance Services.
Lieutenant Colonel Donald Harper Bull, George Robert, 1910-1996. Lieutenant Colonel D E Harper – Photograph taken by George Bull. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch:Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: DA-05919-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23233849
  • 2nd Lieutenant John Owen Kelsey, NZOC, 13 LAD
    • Served as an Ordnance Mechanical Engineer (OME), Senior Ordnance Mechanical Engineer (SOME), Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (ADOS) and acting Chief Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (CRÈME). Completed the war as a Colonel and was awarded an MBE and MID
  • 2nd Lieutenant Robert Hassell England, NZOC, 14 LAD
    • Promoted to Captain and served as OC 3 NZ Field Workshop and NZ Divisional Ordnance Field Park
  • Warrant Officer Class One Kevin Graham Keith Cropp, Base Depot
    • Remained in the RNZAOC post-war and retired as a Major in 1955
  • Warrant Officer Class One Francis Reid, NZOC, Base Depot
    • He was commissioned and served throughout the war. Remained in the RNZAOC after the war and as a Lieutenant Colonel, was the Director of Ordnance Services from November 1949 to March 1957.
  • Warrant Officer Class Two Andrew Gunn, NZOC, 13 LAD
    • KIA Greece. 18 April 1941
  • Corporal Randal Martin Holmes, NZOC, 14 LAD
  • Corporal Robert William Watson, NZOC, Base Depot
  • Private Rodger Langdon Ashcroft, NZOC, Base Depot
  • Private John Noel Shadwell Heron, NZOC, Base Depot
  • Private Mark Edwin Ivey, NZOC, Base Depot
  • Private Edward McTavish MacPherson, NZOC, Base Depot
  • Private Lionel Edward Campbell, NZOC, 14 LAD
  • Private Lionel John McGreevy, NZOC, 14 LAD

Although this list is not exhaustive, the few highlighted names indicate the logistical talent onboard the Rangitata during its voyage as part of Convoy US.1. Officers such as Harper, Kelsey and Reid went on and play a significant role in shaping the future of New Zealand Military Supply and Maintenance Support trades.

Although the journey of the MV Rangitata’s Bell and how it ended up in Trentham may never be known, the hope is that given its relationship to the Logisticians of the First Echelon, in the future, the RNZALR will place and display this bell in a position of significance.


Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps

In British and Commonwealth military doctrine, there has long been a separation of responsibility for Supplies and Stores

  • Supplies – The provisioning, storing, and distributing of food for soldiers, forage for animals; Fuel, Oil and Lubricants (FOL) for tanks, trucks and other fuel-powered vehicles and equipment; and the forward transport and distribution of ammunition. In the NZ Army, Supplies were managed by the New Zealand Army Service Corps (NZASC) from 1911 to 1979.
  • Stores – The provisioning, storage and distribution of weapons, munitions and military equipment not managed by RNZASC. Stores were the Responsibility of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (RNZAOC) until 1996.

Despite the separation of responsibilities, the RNZASC and RNZAOC had a long and cooperative relationship.

During early colonial days, the early actions of the New Zealand Wars proved that the New Zealand bush and the elusive tactics of the Māori presented unfamiliar problems of supply and transport. An Imperial Supply and Transport Service was established and operated with the Imperial troops.

From the end of the New Zealand Wars until 1910, there was no unit of ASC in New Zealand, with the supply functions required by the New Zealand Military provided by the Defence Stores Department. However, in 1911 the formation of the Divisional Trains saw the beginnings of the NZASC as part of the Territorial Army. NZASC units served in World War One, during which the NZASC and NZAOC would, especially in the early years of the war, often share personnel, facilities, and transportation.

In 1917 the NZAOC was established as a permanent component of the New Zealand Military Forces, however, it would not be until 1924 that the Permanent NZASC was formed. The alliance between the NZASC and the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) was approved in 1925.

The RASC has its roots much deeper in history. Up to the time of Cromwell, armies lived by plunder. The RASC came into being in 1888. but the work it would perform was being done long before that.

Cromwell and then the Duke of Marlborough, and later Napoleon organised a system of civilian commissaries. The Duke of York established the Corps of Royal Waggoners in 1794. This purely transport organisation continued until 1869 under various names, eventually, as the Military Train, fighting as light cavalry in the Indian Mutiny.

The birth of the Supplies and Transport Service dates from 1869. when the Commissariat and the officers of the Military Train along with the Military Stores Department came under one department called the Control Department, it remained for General Sir Redvers Buller, in 1888, to organise the first Army Service Corps. Since its formation, the RASC has been a combatant corps, trained and armed as infantry and responsible for its own protection. Considered a more technical Corps the NZAOC was not granted the status of a combatant Corps until 1942.

During World War Two, many units and establishments represented the NZASC in all the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) theatres. Again, as in the earlier World War, the NZASC would have a cooperative relationship with New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC) Ammunition Examiners (AEs) were on the establishments of the RNZASC Ammunition platoons, with NZASC Warrant Officers attached to the NZ Divisional Ordnance Field Park (OFP) to provide technical advice on vehicle spares. As a tribute to the service of the NZASC in WW2, the title, “Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps,’’ was bestowed in 1946.

In the post-war era, the NZASC and from 1946 the RNZASC would serve with distinction in J Force in Japan and then contribute the second-largest New Zealand contingent to K Force in Korea by providing 10 Transport Company.

Throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the RNZASC would be an integral part of the New Zealand Army. Its functions ranging from the everyday task of cooking and serving food to the more spectacular operation of dropping supplies by air.

To purchase, store, rail, ship, and otherwise distribute the amount of food, fuels and oils needed to supply a modern army, the RNZASC maintained Supply Depots and employed many kinds of tradespeople, including Butchers. Supply Depots located in Papakura, Waiouru, Linton, Trentham, Burnham, and Singapore, holding supplies in bulk and distributing them as required. A section of the RNZASC would be a feature of every army camp with smaller Supply and Transport depots to handle goods received from the central supply depots and provide drivers and transport for many purposes at Devonport/Fort Cautley, Hopuhopu, Papakura, Waiouru. Linton. Trentham, Wellington/Fort Dorset, Christchurch/Addington, and Burnham.

ANZUK Supply Platoon, Singapore – 1972 Standing L to R: Cpl Parker, RAASC. Cpl Olderman, RAASC, Cpl Mcintyre, RAOC. Sgt Frank, RAOC. Cpl Rangi, RNZASC. Sgt Locke, RNZASC. Sgt Bust, RAOC. Pte Mag, RAASC. Cpl David, RAASC. Sitting L to R: Sgt Kietelgen, RAASC. WO2 West, RAOC. Capt Mcnice, RAOC. Maj Hunt, RAASC. Lt Fynn, RAASC. WO2 Cole, RAASC. WO2 Clapton. RAASC

Following the Macleod report that recommended the streamlining of logistic support for the British Army, the RASC merged in 1965 with the Royal Engineers Transportation and Movement Control Service to form the Royal Corps of Transport (RCT). This would see the RASC Supply functions transferred to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC). In 1973, following the British lead, the Australians also reformed their Royal Australian Army Service Corps (RAASC) into the Royal Australian Army Corps of Transport (RAACT).

Acknowledging the British and Australian experience, the RNZASC would also undergo a similar transition, and on 12 May 1979, the RNZASC ceased to exist, and its Supply functions transferred to the RNZAOC, while the Transport, Movements and Catering functions were reformed into the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport (RNZCT).

The RNZASC supply functions would be integrated into the RNZAOC, with the Camp Supply Depots becoming NZAOC Supply Platoons numbered as.

  • 14 Supply Platoon, Papakura/Hopuhopu
  • 24 Supply Platoon, Linton
  • 34 Supply Platoon, Burnham
  • 44 Supply Platoon, Waiouru
  • 54 Supply Platoon, Trentham
  • NZ Supply Platoon, Singapore

In recognition of its long RNZASC service, 21 Supply Company was retained as a Territorial Force(TF) unit, initially as the TF element of 4 Supply Company in Waiouru and later as the TF element of 2 Supply Company, Linton. Today 21 Supply is the main North Island Supply unit of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR).

For a brief period following the RNZAOC assumption of Supply functions, some RF and TF RNZAOC would periodically be employed within the RNZCT transport Squadrons Combat Supplies sections.

The RNZAOC Butcher trade inherited from the RNZASC would be discontinued in the mid-1980s, with the last of the butchers reclassifying as RNZAOC Suppliers. By the mid-1990s, it was decided as a cost-saving measure to allow the RNZCT catering staff to order directly from commercial foodstuff suppliers, effectively ending the RNZAOC foodstuffs speciality. The only RNZASC trade speciality remaining in the RNZAOC on its amalgamation into the RNZALR was that of petroleum Operator.

The RNZASC and RNZCT like the RNZAOC, have passed their combined responsibilities to the RNZALR. However, the RNZASC and RNZCT maintain a strong association that provides many benefits and opportunities for comradeship to RNZASC/CT Corps members and past and present members of the RNZALR. Another role of the RNZASC/CT association is to ensure that the rich and significant history of the RNZASC/CT is not lost to the future generations of the RNZALR.

Copies of the RNZASC/CT association newsletter from issue 92 can be viewed here


Henry Earnest Erridge

Serving the nation for 44 years, Henry Erridge served at Gallipoli before being invalided back to New Zealand. Continuing to serve throughout the interbellum, Erridge assisted in shaping the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps for the Second World War. During the war, Erridge played a significant role in providing New Zealand’s contribution to the collective logistics efforts of the British Commonwealth

Henry Earnest Erridge was born in Dunedin on 18 December 1887 to Henry and Jane Erridge. The fifth of seven children, Henry was educated in Dunedin and received commercial training. A keen military volunteer Erridge had joined the Dunedin Engineer Volunteers as a Cadet in 1904, transferring into the Otago Hussars in 1909, gaining Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Rank.   On 6 April 1914, Erridge joined the New Zealand Permanent Staff (NZPS) with the rank of Staff Sergeant Instructor as the Orderly Room and Quartermaster (QM), No 15 Area Group, Oamaru.[1]

On the outbreak of war in August 1915, Erridge was seconded for duty with the NZEF and left New Zealand with the Main Body, Otago Infantry Battalion. As a Signals Sergeant in the Otago’s, Erridge saw service during the Turkish attack on the Suez Canal in February 1915 and later took part in the landings at Gallipoli. Stuck down with enteric fever, Erridge was evacuated from Gallipoli to Alexandria in June and, in August, invalided back to New Zealand for further convalescence.

Returning to duty as a Warrant Officer in the QM Department at Featherston Camp on 10 January 1916, Erridge was appointed Stores Forman responsible for managing the QM Stores accounts for Featherston and its subsidiary camps. Reclassified as Class “A” fit for overseas service on 5 July 1918, it was intended to attach Erridge to a reinforcement draft and returned to the front. Deemed as essential, the Director of Equipment and Ordnance (DEOS) Stores appealed to the Chief of the General Staff, stating that

The accounts of the Camp Quartermaster, Featherston Camp, have not been completed and balanced. The principle causes for this state of affairs are:


(1) The inferior class of clerks posted for Home Service duties.
(2) And ever-changing staff, thus throwing the bulk of work on SSM Erridge, who has been employed in the capacity of foreman.

It is essential that SSM Erridge be retained until 1 November at least

Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores to Chief of the General Staff. 14 August 1918

The DEOS appeal was successful, and Erridge was granted authority to delay his placement into a reinforcement draft until November on the proviso that every endeavour was to be made to have all accounts in connection with the QM Branch Featherston and subsidiary camps completed to the satisfaction of the proper authority. Following the Armistice of 11 November 1918, Enridges employment was reassessed, and he was provided orders to remain with the QM Department at Featherston. Seconded to the Ordnance Stores in Wellington in June 1919, Erridge was permanently transferred into the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) with Conductor rank on 1 October 1919.

Recommended for the Supplies and Purchasing Officer position with the civil administration in Samoa, Erridge was accepted for service with the Samoan Administration for three years from 24 May 1920. Due to a misunderstanding of the secondment rules, Erridge was discharged from the New Zealand Military. However, this was reviewed, and the discharge was rescinded, allowing Erridge to retain his rank and seniority on return to New Zealand.

`Administration Headquarters. “Apia”‘. Moore, Robert Percy, 1881-1948 :Panoramic photographs of New Zealand. Ref: Pan-0422-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/32050069

Completing his service in Samoa in August 1923, Erridge returned to New Zealand and, following three months leave, resumed duty with the NZAOC, where he was posted to the Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) and placed in charge of the Stores on 1 December 1923. In an example of his experience and utility, Erridge temporally relieved Captain F.E Ford, the Ordnance Officer of Featherston Camp, over the period 4-31 Jan 1924.

During the 1920s, the Quartermaster General (QMG) vested command of the NZAOC to the Director of Ordnance Service (DOS). Assisted by the Chief Ordnance Officer (COO), the Inspecting Ordnance Officer (IOO), and the Ordnance Mechanical Engineer (OME), the DOS was responsible for:[2]

  • The provision, receipt, storage, distribution, repair, examination, and maintenance of small-arms, machine guns, vehicles, clothing and necessaries, equipment and general stores (including medical and veterinary), and camp and barrack equipment,
  • The inspection and repair of armament and warlike stores, and the inspection of gun ammunition.
  • The provision, receipt, storage, and distribution of small arms ammunition.
  • The receipt, storage, issue, and repair of fixed armament, field armament, and artillery vehicles.
  • The organisation and control of ordnance workshops
  • The preparation and periodic revision of Equipment Regulations and barrack and hospital schedules
  • The organisation, administration, and training of the NZ Army Ordnance Corps Forces
  • The maintenance of statistics of the Ordnance Department.

The DOS was also the Commanding Officer (CO) of the NZAOC and was responsible for the interior economy, including enlistment, training, pay, promotion, postings transfers, clothing, equipment, and discharges within the unit.

In 1924 the incumbent DOS, Lt Col Pilkington, was appointed QMG in Army Headquarters. Major T.J King, then acting COO, was appointed DOS, with Major William Ivory acting as the IOO and OME.  By 1925 King recognised that he could not provide complete justice to both the DOS and COO posts, but with no Ordnance Officers immediately available to fill the COO position, he recommended that the QMG give some relief by granting Erridge an officer’s commission. In his recommendation to the QMG, King noted that

Conductor Erridge is a man of wide experience in Ordnance duties and stores works generally and is eminently fitted for appointment as Ordnance Officer with the rank of lieutenant. He is a man of unblemished character, with a very high regard for the interests of the Corps and the services, and in the last few months gained sufficient insight into the duties I propose transferring him to.

Director of Ordnance Stores to Quartermaster General 11 December 1925

The QMG supported King’s recommendation on the proviso that Erridge pass all the required commissioning examinations. On passing the examinations needed, Erridge was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the NZAOC on 23 July 1926.[3] However, the question then arose of where to place Erridge on to the Army List. Technically the COO appointment was still vacant with Erridge for all intents acting as King’s assistant and only performing part of the COO duties with the work of the COO divided between King and Erridge. It was not desired to add to the establishment an Assistant COO, so it was decided to show Erridge as Ordnance Officer (Provision). Following several years as the Ordnance Officer (Provision), Erridge was appointed to the dual roles of Ordnance Officer MOD and Ordnance Officer Central Military District (CMD) on 14 May 1929.[4]

In December 1930, the incumbent Ordnance Officer Southern Military District (SMD)and Camp Commandant of Burnham Camp, Captain A.R.C White, faced compulsory retirement. To allow some continuity while White’s replacement was decided, Erridge was temporarily sent to Burnham. Although initially only a temporary posting, Erridge remained at Burnham until 1934 in the dual roles of Ordnance Officer SMD and Officer in Charge Burnham Camp (Camp Commandant).[5]

By 1935 in his role of DOS, King was looking forward and preparing his organisation for war. In a submission to the General Headquarters, King requested authority to reorganise his staff. Regarding Erridge, King started.

Owing to the large amount of new equipment that is on order and is likely to be ordered soon, it is essential that the staff of the Ordnance Depot, Trentham, be strengthened to the extent that I should again have the assistance of my most experienced Ordnance Officer.

There is a great deal of work of a technical nature in connection with mobilisation, rewriting of Regulations, etc., which I am unable to find time to carry out myself, and which Mr Erridge, by virtue of his long experience and training, is well qualified to undertake. This work is most necessary and should be put in hand as soon as possible; I have no other Officer to whom I could delegate it.

Again, King’s recommendations were accepted, and on 30 June 1934, Erridge relinquished his Burnham appointments and was appointed as the Ordnance Officer (Provision) at the MOD, with promotion to Captain following on 1 December 1934.[6]

When the war was declared in September 1939, the NZAOC underwent a significant transformation as its mobilisation plans were implemented. The DOS, Lieutenant Colonel King, was seconded to the 2nd NZEF as the Deputy Director of Ordnance Services (DDOS). Accompanying King was a small staff drawn from the military and civilian staff of the NZAOC who formed the nucleus of the Ordnance Corps in the 2nd NZEF. Kings’ responsibilities of DOS and COO were handed over to the Ordnance Officer CMD, Lt Col Burge.

On 2 December 1939, Erridge relinquished the appointment of Ordnance Officer (Provision), was granted the Rank of temporary Major and posted to Army HQ with substantive Major confirmed in February 1940.[7]  In June 1940, the NZAOC underwent further reorganisation when Lt Col Burge relinquished the appointment of DOS when he was appointed as Deputy QMG in Army HQ with the position of DOS placed into abeyance for the duration of the war. Appointed as Staff Officer Ordnance and CO of the NZAOC, Erridge took over responsibility for the NZAOC.[8]

With the national economy transitioning from peacetime to a war footing, the Government took a series of initiatives to ensure international trade and commerce security.  Representing the New Zealand Military, Erridge accompanied the New Zealand Minister of Supply and a small entourage of officials of the New Zealand Munitions and Supply Delegation on a tour of Australia for a series of talks with their Australian counterparts in July/August 1940.[9]

While the mission of the New Zealand Munitions and Supply Delegation to Australia was focused on strengthening cooperation between New Zealand and Australia, the Eastern Group Conference held in Delhi in October 1940 had the broader goal of organising a joint war supply policy for the countries of the “Eastern Group.” The countries represented at the Eastern Group Conference included the United Kingdom, Australia, India, South Africa, New Zealand, East Africa, Palestine, Ceylon, Burma, Malaya, and Hong Kong, with the Government of the Netherlands East Indies attending as observers.[10]  The New Zealand delegation included.

  • The Chief of the General Staff, Major-General Sir John Duigan,
  • Major H. E. Erridge,
  • Mr F. R. Picot, Director of the Internal Marketing Department,
  • Mr J. R. Middleton, assistant-Secretary of supply,
  • Mr B. Taylor, assistant to the chief investigating officer of the Treasury Department.

As a result of the October conference, the Eastern Group Supply Council (EGSC) was established to coordinate and optimise the production and distribution of war materiel in the British colonies and dominions in the Eastern Hemisphere. The New Zealand members of the council who were to be based in New Delhi were.

  • Mr F.R Picot, Director of Internal Marketing and Food Controller,
  • Mr W.G.M Colquhoun (Munitions Department).
  • Mr R.J Inglis (Supply Department).
  • Mr R.H. Wade (of the Treasury).

A Central Provisions Office (Eastern) was also set up in Delhi, with national offices established in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, East Africa, Southern Rhodesia and the Middle East.   The Central Provision Office (Eastern) was a military organisation consisting of about 40 to 50 Army officers from all countries constituting the Eastern Group. Headed by the Controller-General of Army Provisions, who was also the military member of the EGSC and acted as the agent of the Imperial General Staff and various Commanders in Chief. The role of the Central Provision Office (Eastern) was coordinating with the controllers of the national provision offices to obtain military stores to maintain the British and Commonwealth war effort.[11] From March 1941, Two NZAOC Officers, Temporary Major D. L. Lewis and Lieutenant D.I Strickland were attached to the Central Provision Office (Eastern) staff in New Delhi.[12]

Before the Central Provision Office (Eastern) assumed complete provision control, it was necessary for all the controllers of the national provision offices to meet to ensure that uniform procedures were adopted. A coordination conference for the various Provision Group Controllers was held at New Delhi in July 1941, with Erridge attending as New Zealand’s military representative. Based on this conference, on 5 August 1941, the New Zealand War Cabinet approved the establishment of the New Zealand Defence Servicers Provision Officer (DSPO), with Erridge appointed as its Controller with the rank of Temporary Lieutenant Colonel. Relinquishing the appointment of Staff Officer Ordnance and handing over the Commanding Officer NZAOC duties to Major E.L.G Bown, the COO MOD.[13]

By  April 1945, the DSPO thought Central Provision Group (Eastern) had shipped for the British Ministry of Supply equipment to the value of £10,000,000 (2021 NZD $8,988,577,362.41) with additional equipment to the value of  £8,520,761 (2021 NZD $765,895,194.35) that was surplus to the requirements of NZ Forces overseas transferred to the War office.[14]  During a visit to New Zealand in January 1946, Major-General R.P Pakenham-Walsh, CB, MC., a member of the Eastern Group Supply Council and the Central Provision Office(Eastern), stated that “Stores from New Zealand which had been made available to the Eastern Group Supply Council had been of great importance in the prosecution of the war” adding that “the Dominion’s contribution had compared more than favourably with that of various larger countries.”[15]  Following the surrender of Germany in April and Japan’s defeat in August 1945, the Eastern Group Supply Council and Central Provision Office, although serving their purpose well, had become irrelevant and were dissolved on 31 March 1946.[16]  However, it took two years for the DSPO to transition to a peacetime footing. Seconded to the War Asset Realisation Board (WARB) on 1 May 1947, Erridge started to wind down the work of the DSPO while also coordinating the disposal of equipment through the WARB. On 17 December 1948, Erridge handed over the remaining stocks to the WARB and closed the DSPO.

At 62 years of age and following 45 years of volunteer, Territorial and Regular service, Erridge retired from the New Zealand Army and was placed onto the Retired List with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on 29 May 1949.[17] Never marrying, Erridge spent his retirement in his hometown of Dunedin. On 30 March 1962, a resident of the Dunedin’s Ross Home, Erridge, passed away at 74. Following his wishes, he was cremated, and his ashes scattered.

Throughout his service, Erridge was awarded the following decorations

  • OBE (1946)
  • NZ Long Service and Efficient Service (1925)
  • 1914-15 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • War Medal 1939-45
  • NZ War Medal, 193-45

Notes

[1] Archives New Zealand, “Henry Earnest Erridge- Ww1 8/1004, NZAOC 888, Ww2 800245, 30293,” Personal File, Record no R24097640 (1904-1948): 2708.

[2] “Regulations for the Military Forces of the Dominion of New Zealand,” New Zealand Gazette, May 19, 1927.

[3] “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfers of Officers of the NZ Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette No 61, 19 July 1926.

[4] “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette No 48, 27 June 1929.

[5] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers and Retirements of Officers of the NZ Forces “, New Zealand Gazette No 16, 5 March 1931.

[6] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers and Retirements of Officers of the NZ Forces “, New Zealand Gazette No 55, 19 July 1934.;”Appointment, Promotions, Transfers and Retirements of Officers from the NZ Forces,” New Zealand Gazette No 87, 29 November 1935.

[7] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers and Retirements of Officers of the NZ Forces “, New Zealand Gazette No 1, 11 Jan 1940.;”Appointments, Promotions, Transfers and Retirements of Officers of the NZ Forces “, New Zealand Gazette No 75 (1940).

[8] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers and Retirements of Officers of the NZ Forces “, New Zealand Gazette No 70 (1940).

[9] “Unity in War Effort,” Evening Star, Issue 23622, 8 July 1940.

[10] East Africa consisting of the territories of (Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Northern and Southern Rhodesia, Nyasaland; Bertram Stevens, “The Eastern Group Supply Council,” The Australian Quarterly 13, no. 3 (1941).

[11] “Eastern Group Supply Council,” Otago Daily Times, Issue 24640, 23 June 1941.

[12] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Retirements of Officers of the New Zealand Military Forces.,” New Zealand Gazette, No 30, 9 April 1941.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Retirements of Officers of the New Zealand Military Forces.,” New Zealand Gazette, No 74, 11 September 1941.

[14] “War Supplies,” Evening Post, Volume CXXXIX, Issue 126, 30 May 1945.

[15] “Production Problems,” Evening Star, Issue 25690, 14 January 1946.

[16] “Supplies – the Eastern Group Supply Council,” Northern Advocate, 1 April 1946, 1 April 1946.

[17] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army “, New Zealand Gazette No 37, 16 June 1949.


Tragedy at Tikao Bay

Today Tikao Bay is a calm, peaceful little bay with a laid-back holiday vibe hidden away in Akaroa Harbour with few clues remaining of its military use and the tragic drowning of two Ordnance soldiers.

During World War Two, with the threat of invasion by Japan just over the horizon, the isolated Akaroa Harbour was fortified to deny its use by the enemy. However, by the time the battery of 6-inch guns, Naval Armament Depot and controlled minefield was completed in 1943, the threat had diminished, with the defences becoming an expensive white elephant. In early 1944 The controlled minefield was fired, and all the navy stores at the Tikao Bay Naval Armament Depot were transferred to other installations and facilities offered to the army.[1]

Akaroa Harbour Defences. Peter Cooke Defending New Zealand 2000

The extensive facilities at Tikao Bay, including a mine magazine, examination room, primer magazine wharf and accommodation buildings, were taken over by the Southern District’s Ordnance Depot at Burnham Camp in 1944 as a satellite storage depot for Gun and Artillery Equipment.[2] With an initial establishment of seven men in 1944, this had been reduced by 1955 to two soldiers responsible for the storage and maintenance of the equipment held at Tikao Bay.

Former Defence buildings Tikao Bay. Suff.co.nz/Ewen Sargent

Staff Sergeant Frederick Hastings Kirk aged 52, was married with three children and had been the Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of the Tikao Bay depot since 1950. Staff Sergeant Kirk had joined the Ordnance Depot at Burnham in 1939 as a civilian before enlisting into the 2nd NZEF early in 1940. As a Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two in 23 Battalion, Kirk was taken prisoner at Crete in 1941 and remained a Prisoner of War for four and a half years. On his return to New Zealand, he joined the temporary staff and was posted to the Ordnance Depot at Burnham. In 1948 he became a member of the Regular Force and transferred to Tikao Bay in 1950. 

Private Donald George Dixon was aged 28 and was married with three children. Private Dixon initially served with the ammunition inspection branch after his 1953 enlistment and was transferred to the Tikao Bay Depot in October 1953.

On Tuesday, 10 March 1955, on completion of their daily duties, Kirk and Dixon left the depot at about 7 pm to check a set net approximately 200 yards (183 Meters) from the Tikao bay jetty. Having not returned by 11 pm, the police were notified, and Constable Egan of Akaroa and Mr G Brasell undertook an initial search. At 3 am Wednesday, Egan and Brasell located the missing men’s upturned dingy at the high-water mark near the set net, which was still in position. Reinforced with a party from Burnham Camp, local residents, and the police, the search for the missing men continued for the rest of the week.[3]

Private Dixon’s body was located and recovered from the harbour on Saturday morning.[4] The search for Staff Sergeants Kirks’ body continued with his body found on 18 March.[5] It was assumed that a southerly wind had risen after the two men left the depot, causing the dingy to capsize with the coroner’s report ruling the deaths as asphyxia by drowning due to misadventure.

Tikao Bay remained as an Army installation and training area into the early 1970s; however, its role as a storage depot ceased in the 1960s as the army progressively disposed of the remaining artillery equipment held there.[6]


Notes

[1] Sydney D. New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs War History Branch Waters, The Royal New Zealand Navy (Wellington, N.Z.: War History Branch, Dept of Internal Affairs, 1956), 229-36.

[2] “Establishments – Ordnance Corps “, Archives New Zealand No R22441743  (1937 – 1946).

[3] “Two Soldiers Missing,” Press, Volume XCI, Issue 27606, , 12 March 1955.

[4] “Unsuccessful Search for Body,” Press, Volume XCI, Issue 27608, , 15 March 1955.

[5] “Soldiers Body Recovered,” Press, Volume XCI, Issue 27612, , 19 March 1955.

[6] “Army Sells Guns,” Press, Volume C, Issue 29469, , 22 March 1961; “Tikao Bay Depot,” Press, Volume XCIX, Issue 29331, , 10 October  1960.