New Zealand Ordnance Roll of Honour


The Roll of Honour lists those individuals who have died whilst serving in New Zealand’s Ordnance Services.


Perth War Cemetery and Annex

  • Lance Corporal Donald James McInnes MID,  2 July 1943


Alamein Memorial

  • Temporary Major William Andrew Knox, 5 December 1941, OC Divisional Ordnance Field Park
  • Sergeant Allan Edward Agnew, 2 February 1945 Divisional Ordnance Workshops
  • Private Maurice Thompson,  28 November 1941 16 L.A.D
  • Private Samuel Victor Viall, 23 November 1941 19 L.A.D
  • Captain Frank Daniel Barry MC, 30 October 1942 15 L.A.D
  • Captain Robert George Brasell,  27 June 1942 16 L.A.D
  • Private Leo Gregory Narbey, 23 December 1941 Divisional Salvage Unit
  • Staff Sergeant Walter Jack Perry, 9 October 1941, Attached to 25 Battalion
  • Private Fredrick Albert Single, 16 July 1942

Cairo War Memorial Cemetery

  • Sergeant Hubert Joseph Edward Avery, 12 June 1941, Attached 18 Infantry Battalion
  • Private Berkeley Kristian Bunbury, 5 January 1941, 18 L.A.D.
  • Private Clive George Savage Cross, 23 February 1941 19 L.A.D.
  • Private Roderick Mcleod Matheson, 2 June 1941

Fayid War Cemetery

  • Sergeant Ronald Roy Moore, 13 February 1942, NZ Divisional Ordnance Field Park

Heliopolis War Cemetery

  • Sergeant Allan John Jamieson, 2 August 1943. 2 Divisional Workshops
  • Private David Porter, 15 May 1942, Base Ordnance Depot
  • Private Alan James Robinson, 28 August 1942, Base Ordnance Depot


Suva Military Cemetery

  • Second Lieutenant Augustus Henrickson Brown, 4 January 1944


Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord

  • Sergeant Percy Clarence O’Hara, 11 April 1917


Cologne Southern Cemetery

  • Conductor Clarence Adrian Seay MSM, 20 February 1919
  • Staff Sergeant Major Charles Slattery, 25 February 1919


Athens Memorial

  • Private Nigel Felix Daniel A’court,  27 April 1941
  • Lieutenant Harry Duncan Arthur Bauchop, 20 April 1941, 9 L.A.D.
  • Sergeant Thomas Morris Drummond, 26 April 1941
  • Warrant Officer Class I Andrew Gunn, 18 April 1941, 13 L.A.D.
  • Private Norris Cochrane Kerr, 25 May 1941
  • Private Daniel William Neil, 20 April 1941, 9 L.A.D.


Ancona War Cemetery

  • Corporal Ivan Lawrence Fairbrother, 29 October 1944 16 L.A.D.

Caserta War Cemetery

  • Private Oscar Harold Maxted, 5 July 1944 Adv. Base Workshops.

Florence War Cemetery

  • Private Alister Alexander Phillips, 18 October 1945 38 L.A.D.

Padua War Cemetery

  • Corporal Albert Walter Findlater, 1 May 1945 2 Divisional Workshop
  • Lance Corporal John William Merson, 1 May 1945 10 L.A.D.

Ravenna War Cemetery

  • Private Ivan James Curin, 24 March 1945, Divisional Ordnance Field Park

Rome War Cemetery

  • Lance Corporal Owen Earle Penny, 28 June 1944

Sangro War Cemetery

  • Private Trevor James Cunningham, 26 November 1943 16 L.A.D.

New Caledonia

Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery

  • Sergeant Richard John Keebel, 8 November 1943
  • Sergeant William James Pearson MID, 27 October 1943

New Zealand


Waikumete Crematorium

  • Lieutenant John Omri Beaver, 1 May 1943

Purewa Cemetery

  • Captain Arthur Duvall, 4 July 1919


Bromley Cemetery

  • Sergeant Matthew James Gassney, 9 February 1947
  • Staff Sergeant Sydney C. Tennyson, 22 July 1930


Anderson’s Bay Cemetery

  • Staff Sergeant Huia Cecil Helean, 9 July 1944


St John’s Anglican Church,

  • Captain Sam Anderson, 7 December 1899

Kawakawa Cemetery

  • Private Donald Ewart Chapple, 27 June 1946

Lower Hutt

Taita Cemetery

  • Private Walter Thomas Hoare, 21 April 1946

Ngaruawahia Public Cemetery

  • Staff Sergeant John Murdo Graham, 16 May 1947

Richmond Cemetery

  • Private Trevor Ronald Beach, 5 October 1945


Koputama Cemetery

  • Private Joseph Irwin, 28 August 1946

Te Awamutu Public Cemetery

  • Gunner Jack Beattie, 16 December 1946

Timaru Cemetery

  • Staff Sergeant Thomas John Aloysius Rooney, 5 April 1947


St Johns Anglican Cemetery

  • Captain Robert John Gamble, 6 September 1944

Upper Hutt Cemetery

  • Corporal Peter Gow Scrimgeour, 24 October 1923

Waikaraka Park Cemetery

  • Corporal James Oscar Hedlund, 10 September 1943


Karori Cemetery

  • Private Sedrick Montague Cameron, 5 October 1945
  • Private Frederick William Manyard, 28 November 1918
  • Lance Corporal Duncan Macgregor. 25 July 1919


Maunu Public Cemetery

  • Lieutenant Mervyn Vance Wilson,12 September 1941


Ramleh War Cemetery

  • Sergeant Alexander Charles Wisnofski, 6 November 1918


Sfax War Cemetery

  • Private Alan Norman Head, 6 March 1943 9 L.A.D.
  • Corporal Alexander McCorkindale, 29 March 1943 Workshop Sec.

United Kingdom

Tidworth Military Cemetery, Wiltshire, England

  • Armourer Sergeant John William Allday, 9 January 1917

New Zealand Ordnance Shoulder Titles


New Zealand Army Shoulder Titles C1979. Robert McKie Collection

Brass Shoulder Titles

Authorised in Army Dress Regulations for 1912 [1], shoulder titles were to be affixed to the shoulder strap (Epaulette) of the Service jacket. Shoulder titles were to be metal denoting the Corps or Regiment of the wearer. With the establishment of the NZEF, New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps(NZAOC) in 1916 and the Home Service NZAOC and New Zealand Army Ordnance Department in 1917, the introduction of brass NZAOC and NZAOD shoulder titles soon followed.

The Dress Regulations of 1923 further clarified their use in that “The shoulder titles of the unit or corps, in brass letters will be worn by Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and men on the shoulder straps of jackets (service and blue) and great coats. The will not be worn on mess-jackets”. The approved Ordnance shoulder-titles were [2]:

    • New Zealand Army Ordnance Department – NZAOD




  • New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps – NZAOC.

NZAOC Shoulder Titles. Robert McKie Collection

With the disestablishment of the NZAOD on the 27th of June 1924 [3], and official use of the NZAOD shoulder title was discontinued, and the NZAOC shoulder title remained in use for all ranks,  its use confirmed in the 1927 Dress regulations [4].

Eary in World War Two saw the establishment of the NZEF and Territorial Army ‘New Zealand Ordnance Corps’, again as in the case of the NZAOC 24 years earlier, shoulder titles were soon provided[5].



Worn early in the war, the adoption of new uniforms and universal “New Zealand” flashes, saw that existing stocks of brass shoulder titles, including the NZAOC and NZOC shoulder titles, were wasted out until stocks were exhausted [6].

Cloth Titles

The adoption of cloth shoulder titles was first proposed in 1948. Screen printed samples like the current British pattern were proposed in 1949.

RAOC Shoulder

RAOC 1940’s screen printed shoulder titles. Robert McKie Collection

Desiring something more durable and presentable it was decided that embroidered shoulder titles would be the way ahead. After much deliberation, the Army Board approved the introduction of shoulder titles in 1954. After much bureaucratic discussion over costings and developing requirements, it was not until 1961 that the first samples were approved. The shoulder titles for the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps were to have a Post Office red background with purple navy lettering in “Serif” Font. Over time there would be variations in colour and size of lettering due to manufacture variations, with the final versions featuring lettering in a “Sans Serif” font and an overlocked edge [2].



As part of a significant overhaul of New Zealand Army Service Dress in the mid-1990’s, Corps shoulder patches including the RNZAOC pattern, were replaced with a universal “NEW ZEALAND” shoulder title.




[1] Dress Regulations 1912, GHQ Circular No 5, Wellington: General Headquarters, 1912.
[2] M. Thomas and C. Lord, NZ Army Distinguishing Patches 1911-1991, Wellington: Malcolm Thomas and Cliff Lord, 1995.
[3] “NZAOD and NZAOC,” New Zealand Gazette, p. 1605, 3 July 1924.
[4] “Shoulder Titles,” New Zealand Gazette, p. 1599, 19 May 1927.
[5] G. Oldham, Badges and Insignia of the New Zealand Army, 2 ed., Auckland: Milimen Books, 2011.
[6] B. O’Sullivan and M. O’Sullivan, New Zealand Army Uniforms and Clothing 1910-1945, Christchurch: Wilson Scott, 2009.

1st NZ Army Tank Brigade Ordnance


Formation Sign 1 NZ Tank Brigade

Formed at Waiouru in October 1941 with the intent of being deployed to the Middle East after Training in New Zealand for six months. The 1st NZ Army Tank Brigade was to provide armoured support for the 2nd NZ Division. The 1st NZ Army Tank Brigade consisted of three Tank Battalions with ancillary units including Medical Corps, ASC, Signals and Ordnance. The Ordnance units included:

  • A Second Line Workshop.
  • A Third Line Workshop.
  • Two Ordnance Field Parks supporting each workshop.
  • Three Light Aid Detachments (one for each Tank Battalion).

Ordnance within the 1st NZ Tank Brigade

The leadership of the Brigades Ordnance units was drawn from the 2nd NZ Division and arrived back in New Zealand in Late 1941. As the New Zealand Ordnance Corps was a new unit, most of the new recruits had to be found in Civilian Garages, workshops and industry with some additional specialists drawn from NZAOC workshops and returned from the Middle East. Most of the specialist personnel were trained at the Main Ordnance Workshop in Trentham with the remainder prepared at the new AFV school in Waiouru. 1

New Zealand is ready

With the entry of the Japanese into the war in December 1941 and their advance and conquering of much of South East Asia and the Pacific, home defence became the priority. Plans to deploy the 1st NZ Army Tank Brigade to the Middle East were put on hold and the unit rerolled for the immediate defence needs of New Zealand.2 After a period of reorganisations, the Brigade was ordered to be deployed in April 1942, with elements dispersed to:

  • Brigade HQ renamed Independent Squadron – deployed to the South Island.
  • 1 Tank Battalion – deployed to Northland.
  • 2 Tank Battalion – deployed to the Manawatu.
  • 3 Tank Battalion – deployed to Pukekohe.

This dispersion caused some issues for the Ordnance organisation. Designed to support the Brigade as a single entry in the flat North African desert within a 70mile radius. Ordnance would struggle to support the dispersed brigade that was now dispersed throughout the length and breadth of rural New Zealand, with few suitable roads and limited railway capability able to handle the ancillary equipment such as the specialist workshop binned and machinery trucks.

To Provide optimal support for the Brigade units the Ordnance organisation had been reorganised by July 1942 with the Army Tank Ordnance Workshop and 32, 33 and 34 LAD’s organised into what could be described as “Super-LADs” providing both 1st and 2nd line A and B Vehicle and Armaments and specialist spares support. 3rd line support was provided by the Tank Brigade Ordnance Workshop at Trentham and the Railway Workshops at Otahuhu.

November 1942 saw further changes which would start the gradual disestablishment of the 1st NZ Tank Brigade.3

  • No 1 Tank Battalion and 32 LAD remained in the Home defence roll in the Auckland/Northland area.
  • No 2 Tank Battalion, the Army Tank Ordnance Workshop and Ordnance Field Park were dissolved and became part of 3 NZ Division Independent Tank Battalion Group for service in the Pacific.
  • No 3 Tank Battalion and 33 LAD were deployed to the Middle East for service with the 2nd NZ Division, where it was dissolved, forming the nucleus of the 4th NZ Armoured brigade.
  • 34 LAD was stationed with the Independent Tank Squadron at Harewood in the South Island.
  • The Tank Brigade Ordnance Workshop and Ordnance Field Park would remain at Trentham, eventually being fully integrated into the Base Ordnance Workshops.

A Valentine Mk V of the Brigade HQ Squadron, Dunedin,1943.

By June 1943, the final units of the 1st NZ Army Tank Brigade; the 1 Tank Battalion Group and 32 LAD, now based at Pukekohe and the Independent Tank Squadron and 34 LAD based at Harewood were disbanded. The Ordnance personnel of those units were either sent to the 2nd or 3rd Divisions in Italy and the Pacific as reinforcements or absorbed into other ordnance units in New Zealand for the duration of the war.

The only unit authorised to wear the 2NZEF ‘Onward” badge, members of the 1st NZ Army Tank Brigade also wore on both arms a one-inch square coloured patch in the arm of service colours (purple Navy and Post Office Blue for Ordnance), with a miniature RTR ‘Tank” superimposed onto it. 3,4


Copyright © Robert McKie 2017


  1. Cooke, Warrior Craftsmen, Wellington: Defence of NZ Study Group, 2016.
  2. Henley, “The Tanks An Unofficial History of the Activities of the Third New Zealand Division Tank Squadron In the Pacific,” in TANKS, MMGS & ORDNANCE, Wellington, Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd, 1947.
  3. Plowman and M. Thomas, New Zealand Armour in the Pacific 1939-45, Christchurch: Jeffrey Plowman, 2001.
  4. Documents Relating to New Zealand’s Participation in the Second World War, Wellington, New Zealand: R. E. Owen, Government Printer, 1951.
  5. Oldham, Badges and insignia of the New Zealand Army, Auckland: Milimem Books, 2011.
  6. M. Thomas and C. Lord, NZ Army Distinguishing Patches 1911-1991, Wellington: Malcolm Thomas and Cliff Lord, 1995.
  7. J. Bolton, A History Of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps., Wellington: RNZAOC, 1992.

New Zealand Ordnance Corps 1940-1946

New Zealand Army Ordnance existed between 1939 and 1946 in Three distinct iterations;

  • The New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC), which was the title of the permanent Corps which continued to provide base support functions in New Zealand for the duration of the war,
  • The New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC), which was the title of Ordnance in the Expeditionary Forces deployed in the Middle East, Italy and the Pacific, and
  • The NZOC as the Ordnance component of the Territorial Army from 1940 to 1946.


At the start of the war, the NZAOC was part of the New Zealand Permanent Army. Still recovering from the black day of 14 July 1930, when as an economy measure all the uniformed staff less; Officers, Armaments Artificers and Armourers had been transferred to the civil service [1]. With the NZAOC’s uniformed manpower in a very depleted state, the NZAOC was slowly rebuilding with new enlistments and temporary staff with the bulk of the Corps personnel being civilian distributed across the country at;

  • The Main Ordnance Depot and Workshops at Trentham,
  • Ordnance Depot and Workshop at Burnham,
  • Ordnance Depot at Ngawahawia,
  • Ordnance Workshops at Devonport.

Providing a firm base for the provision of Ordnance support for the mobilisation and ongoing support of the NZEF and home defence units, the NZAOC never deployed any units directly for overseas service but did provide personnel for many of the critical leadership positions in the NZOC. By the wars end the distribution of NZAOC within NZ was [1] [2];

  • Trentham
    • Main Ordnance Depot with rented and requisitioned storage accommodation throughout the Wellington and Central region including Sub Depots at
      • Linton
      • Lower Hutt,
      • Māngere, and
      • Wanganui
    • Main Ordnance Workshop
  • Northern Military District
    • 11 Ordnance Workshop, Whangarei
    • 12 Ordnance Workshop, Devonport
    • No1 Ordnance Sub Depot, Ngawahawia
    • Ammunition Depots at
      • Ardmore,
      • Kelms Road, and
      • Ngawahawia
    • Rented and requisitioned storage accommodation throughout the northern region
  • Central Military District
    • No2 Ordnance Sub Depot, Palmerston North
    • Ordnance stores detachments at Waiouru
    • Ammunition Depots at
      • Waiouru
      • Makomako
      • Belmont
      • Kuku Valley
    • Rented and requisitioned storage accommodation throughout the Central region
  • Southern Military District
    • No3 Ordnance Sub Depot, Burnham
    • 13 Ordnance Workshop, Blenheim
    • 14 Ordnance Workshop, Burnham
    • 15 Ordnance Workshop, Dunedin
    • Ammunition Depots at
      • Alexandra
      • Burnham
      • Glen Tunnel
      • Fairlie
      • Mt Sommers
    • Rented and requisitioned storage accommodation throughout the South Island

2NZEF (the Middle East/Italy)

Created as part of the newly constituted 2NZEF in 1939, the 2NZEF NZOC was described in the Evening Post newspaper as consisting of “11 Light Aid Detachments of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps. These are numbered 9 to 19, and their part is to render assistance and effect repairs to mechanic transport and the anti-tank units” [3]. From these original 11 units, the NZOC contribution to the NZ Division would grow to include;

  • Base and Field Workshops,
  • Base and Advanced Ordnance Depots,
  • Divisional Ordnance Field Parks,
  • Laundry and Bath Units, and
  • Salvage units.

The was initially some confusion between the use of the designation NZAOC and NZOC in the context of the NZEF. This was clarified in NZEF Order 221 of March 1941 which set NZOC as the title of Ordnance in the NZEF.


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[4]. The New Zealand Division followed suit and formed the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME) on 1 December 1942 [1] separating the repair, maintenance and ordnance stores functions of the NZOC.

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

2NZEF (Pacific)

As with the NZEF in the Middle East, NZOC units were formed for service with the NZEF in the Pacific (NZEFIP). Initially providing a Base Ordnance Depot, Two Workshop Sections and a LAD supporting 8 Infantry Brigade Group in Fiji from November 1940. As the war progressed, the NZOC grew into a Divisional sized organisation of 23 units and detachments supporting the NZEFIP with the full range of Ordnance Services in all its operations in Fiji, New Caledonia, The Solomon Islands and Tonga [5]. The formation of the Electrical and Mechanical Engineers 1942 was not followed thru in New Zealand and the Pacific, with repair and Maintenance functions remaining part of Ordnance for the duration of the war.


On conclusion of successful campaigns in the Solomon Islands 3 NZ Division and its equipment was returned to New Zealand and disestablished. On return to New Zealand, many NZOC members were graded unfit due to rigours of the tropical campaign and returned to their civilian occupations, some were redeployed as reinforcement to 2NZEF in Italy. Some remained at the division’s Mangere base near Auckland, or at Wellington, checking, sorting and reconditioning stores and vehicles of every description before handing the division’s entire stocks of equipment and clothing over to the Main Ordnance Depot a task that would carry on until September 1945 [5].

Territorial Army Ordnance

With the NZAOC and the New Zealand Permanent Army Service Corps (NZPASC) existing as part of the Permanent Army, only the NZPASC had a Territorial Army component, known as the New Zealand Army Service Corps (NZASC). From the 1930’s Light Aid Detachments (LADs) and workshop sections had been included on the establishments of ASC unit for activation on mobilisation. With the onset of war in 1939 and the mobilisation of the Territorial Army in 1940 the Quartermaster General, Col H.E Avery made the decision that the LADs were an Ordnance responsibility and the NZOC was established as the Ordnance Component of Territorial Army in December 1940 [6].


Territorial Force Ordnance Units, Northern Military District June 1942


Territorial Force Ordnance Units, Central Military District June 1942


Territorial Force Ordnance Units, Southern Military District June 1942

By late 1943 the mobilisation of the Territorial Forces had ceased to be necessary, and most units had been stood down and placed on care and maintenance status with a small RF Cadre. By 1 April 1944, all wartime home defence units had been disbanded [6]. Although not part of the pre-war Territorial Army the NZOC remained on establishments. In 1946 a Reorganisation of New Zealand Military Forces removed the distinction between Regular and non-Regular soldiers, and the NZOC ceased to be a separate Corps, becoming part of the NZAOC [7].

Dress Distinctions

As with all the other units of 2 NZEF, units and corps badges were dispensed with and the NZEF “Onward” badge was worn.


nzoc 40-47

New Zealand Ordnance Corps Badge 1940-44 (Copyright © Robert McKie 2017)

In the Pacific and New Zealand, the NZOC adopted the WW1 NZEF Ordnance badge which can be seen on the cover of the unofficial history of the NZEFIP NZOC and Territorial Army Unit Pennants.




Copyright © Robert McKie 2018


[1] J. Bolton, A History of the RNZAOC, Wellington: Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 1992.
[2] P. Cooke, Warrior Craftsmen, Wellington: Defence of NZ Study Group, 2016.
[3] “2nd NZ Division,” EVENING POST, vol. CXXVIII, no. 102, 27 OCTOBER 1939.
[4] A. Fernyhough, A short history of the RAOC, London: C B Printers Ltd, 1965.
[5] P. Henley, “ORDNANCE, The Unofficial History of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps in the Pacific from 1940 until 3rd Division was disbanded in 1944,” in Tanks, MMGs & Ordnance, Wellington, Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd, 1947, pp. 137-227.
[6] P. Cooke and J. Crawford, The Territorials, Wellington: Random House New Zealand Ltd, 2011, p. 258.
[7] “MILITARY FORCES OF NEW ZEALAND ANNUAL REPORT OF THE CHIEF OF THE GENERAL STAFF,” Journals of the House of Representatives, vol. H19, no. 1947 Session, 1 January 1947.
[8] G. Oldham, Badges and insignia of the New Zealand Army, Auckland: Milimem Books, 2011.

Honours and Awards gained by New Zealand Ordnance Officers and Soldiers, 1915-1996

From 1915 to 1996 the following Honours and Awards were awarded to members of the;

  • New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZEF), 1915 – 1921
  • New Zealand Army Ordnance Department, 1917 – 1924
  • New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 1917 – 1947
  • New Zealand Ordnance Corps, 1940 – 1946
  • Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 1947 – 1996

Military Cross

Military Cross

Military Cross. NZDF

The Military Cross was created on 28 December 1914 to be awarded to officers in recognition of “an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land.


  • Temporary Captain Frank David Barry

Military Medal


Military Medal. Wikipedia Commons

The Military Medal was created on 25 March 1916 to be awarded as the Other Ranks equivalent to the Military Cross.


  • Private Mervyn William Curtis


  • Sergeant Claude Rex Pulford

Companions of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO)



The Distinguished Service Order was instituted in 1886 and awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime. The DSO was awarded to over 300 New Zealanders during both World Wars.


  • Captain William Thomas Beck
    “For distinguished service in the field during the operations at the Dardanelles”


  • Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert
    “This officer had paid the greatest attention to his work and by his care and
    attention to detail has very considerably reduced the wastage in the Division,
    thereby effecting very material economy. I confidently recommend him for an award.”

Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by King George V. The five classes of appointment to the Order are, in descending order of precedence:

  • Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (GBE)
  • Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE)
  • Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE)
  • Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE)
  • Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)

The British Empire Medal is affiliated with the order, but its members are not members of the order.

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)


Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. NZDF


  • Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Edward Pilkington


  • Brigadier Thomas Joseph King


  • Brigadier Allan Huia Andrews


  • Brigadier Piers Martin Reid

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)


Officer of the Order of the British Empire with 1917-35 Ribbon. NZDF


  • Temporary Major Charles Ingram Gossage
  • Major Norman Joseph Levien
  • Major Thomas James McCristell


  • Lieutenant-Colonel Ernest Leonard Guy Brown


  • Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Reid


  • Major Francis Anness Bishop (For service in Malaya 1Jan-31 July 1960)


  • Lieutenant-Colonel Henry McKenzie Reid


  • Lieutenant-Colonel Edward William Whiteacre


  • Brigadier Malcolm John Ross

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Member of the Order of the British Empire MBE

Member of the Order of the British Empire MOD UK


  • Major Norman Joseph Levien


  • Captain David Nicol


  • Temporary Captain George Douglas Pollock


  • Lieutenant Colonel John Owen Kelsey
  • Second Lieutenant Neville John Rollison


  • Warrant Officer Class Two Alan Frank
  • Captain William Charles Hastings
  • Lieutenant George Rupert Gable
    Citation: This officer has, by ingenuity and improvisation, showed great initiative and ability in overcoming difficulties and in carrying out his work during the whole period of his services in Fiji, New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, Vella Lavella and Green Island. In so doing he has set an outstanding example to his men in carrying out their work of maintaining the division’s equipment at a high standard of serviceability.


  • Captain (Temporary Major) Harold Cordery
  • Major Frank Arthur Jarrett
  • Second Lieutenant Desmond Godfrey Leitch
  • Temporary Warrant Officer Class One Herbert James Shepherd


  • Lieutenant Bernard Ewart Woodhams


  • Warrant Officer Class One Edward Coleman


  • Warrant Officer Class One William Sampson Valentine


  • Colonel Geoffrey John Hayes Atkinson


  • Major Francis Anness Bishop


  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster Henry Williamson


  • Staff-Sergeant Robert James Plummer


  • Major Jack Harvey


  • Warrant Officer Class One Henry Eric Luskie


  • Warrant Officer Class Two Ian Mac Stevenson


  • Warrant Officer Class One Barry Stewart


  • Warrant Officer Class Two Brian Michael Colbourne


  • Major and Quartermaster Edward Vennel Sweet


  • Captain Michael Anthony Mendonca

British Empire Medal (BEM)

Medals awarded to the NZDF. WW2  War Medal. Obverse.

British Empire Medal. NZDF


  • Staff Sergeant Patrick Arthur Fear


  • Staff Sergent William Alexander Sammons


  • Sergeant (temporary) James Russell Don


  • Staff-Sergeant (Temporary) Maurice William Loveday


  • Warrant Officer Class Two (Temporary)
    Ian McDonald Russell


  • Staff-Sergeant Robert James Plummer


  • Staff Sergeant Leslie Mullane


  • Corporal Tere William Kururangi


  • Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two Peter Gordon Barnes (Territorial Force)


  • Warrant Officer Class Two Tony John Harding
  • Corporal Richard Stuart Tyler


  • Warrant Officer Class Two Ross Charles Fearon

Meritorious Service Medal (MSM)


Meritorious Service Medal. NZDF

The Meritorious Service Medal was awarded between 1898 and 2013. initially instituted by British Royal Warrant on 28 April 1898 as an award for Warrant Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers of the Army.

Between 1985 and October 2013, the Meritorious Service Medal was awarded for meritorious service of twenty-one years or more and recipients must have already held a long service and good conduct medal. The number of army personnel holding the award was restricted to twenty serving Army personnel.

Nearly all recipients of this medal have been of the rank of Sergeant or above. However, in the early 20th Century some awards were made to lower ranks. The last Royal Warrant (1985) specified that only those with the substantive rank of Sergeant could be considered for award of the medal.


  • Warrant Officer Class One Wilhelm Henchcliffe Simmons
    • “This NCO has performed all his duties with conspicuous ability and has contributed to the efficiency of his Corps.”


  • Armourer Sergeant Quartermaster Sergeant George Bush
  • Armourer Sergeant Clarence Guy Charles Wagg
    • “For conspicuous ability as Armourer Sergeant in charge of Divisional Armourers and through his energy and application, over one hundred Lewis and Vickers Guns, brought in by Salvage Companies, were repaired and put into action at a critical period of the Passchendaele offensive.”


  • Staff Sergeant Major (Honorary Lieutenant) Albert Austin
  • Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor) Arthur Gilmore
  • Armourer Sergeant Percival James Lister
    • Armourer Sergeant attached to 1st Battalion, Otago Regiment ” For consistent devotion to duty. 9/119 Arm Sergeant Percival James Lester has done consistently good work as Armourer Sergeant of this Battalion. Possessing exceptional mechanical and good inventive ability, he has to his routine duties, designed and constructed several forms of apparatus intended to improve the handling of Lewis gun etc., He has been unsparing in his endeavours to keep efficient the arms and other mechanical appliances in use by the unit, working long hours to do everything possible for the good of the ordnance of the Battalion.”
  • Sergeant Major John Goutenoire O’Brien
  • Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor) Clarence Adrian Seay
    • “For long and valuable service. This NCO has done continuous good work and has performed his duties in a most excellent manner. As Senior Warrant Officer, with the New Zealand Ordnance Department, his work has been of a most arduous character and has frequently involved him in situations which have called for a display of energy and initiative. In an advance the necessity of clean clothing and socks etc., for the fighting troops is sometimes very acute. Conductor Seay on his energy and ability has at times been of \the greatest assistance to the DADOS in administrating a very important branch of the service.” Died of disease, Germany 20 February 1919.


  • Armourer Sergeant Quartermaster Sergeant John Alexander Adamson
  • Private Patrick Keeshen
  • Staff Sergeant David Llewellyn Lewis


  • Corporal John Francis Hunter


  • Private Charles William Marshall
  • Warrant Officer Class One Thomas Webster Page


  • Staff Sargent Saddler George Alexander Carter
  • Armourer Staff Quartermaster Sergeant Thomas Reid Inch
  • Armourer Sergeant Harold Victor Coyle Reynolds


  • Corporal Edgar Charles Boalt
  • Armourer Sergeant Andrew Archibald Young


  • Warrant Officer Class One Michael Joseph Lyons


  • Private William Valentine Wood


  • Lance Corporal William Terrington Popple
  • Sergeant Albert Edward Shadbolt
  • Corporal Earnest John Williams


  • Warrant Officer Class Two Samuel Thomson


  • Corporal Philip Alexander Mackay
  • Sergeant Edward Ashton Waters


  • Warrant Officer Class One Arthur Sydney Richardson


  • Warrant Officer Class One Percy Charles Austin
  • Warrant Officer Class One John William Dalton
  • Warrant Officer Class One Eric John Hunter


  • Warrant Officer Class One Bertram Buckley
  • Warrant Officer Class One Willian Charles Hastings


  • Warrant Officer Class One William Galloway


  • Warrant Officer Class One Bernard Percy Banks
  • Warrant Officer Athol Gilroy McCardy


  • Warrant Officer Class One Maurice Sidney Phillips


  • Staff Sergeant Kevin Patrick Anderson
  • Warrant Officer Class One Murray Alexander Burt


  • Warrant Officer Class One Earnest Maurice Bull
  • Warrant Officer Class One John Bernard Crawford
  • Warrant Officer Class One Alick Claud Doyle
  • Warrant Officer Class One Hector Searl McLachlan
  • Warrant Officer Class One Douglas Keep Wilson


  • Warrant Officer Class One Barry Stewart
  • Warrant Officer Class One David Gwynne Thomas


  • Warrant Officer Class One George Thomas (Rockjaw) Dimmock


  • Warrant Officer Class Two Ian McDonal Russell


  • Warrant Officer Class One Bryan Nelson Jennings


  • Warrant Officer Class One Alexander Harvey McOscar


  • Warrant Officer Class One David Andrew Orr
Dave Orr 2

Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor) Dave Orr receiving his MSM from the Commander NZ Force SEA, Brigadier Burrows 1982. Joe Bolton Collection


  • Warrant Officer Class One Anthony Allen Thain


  • Warrant Officer Class One David Wayne Kneble

Mentioned in Dispatches (MID)

A Mentioned in Dispatches award was awarded when a serviceman’s name appeared in an official report written by a superior officer and sent to the high command, in which his or her gallant or meritorious service was described.


  • Captain William Thomas Beck


  • Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert


  • Staff Quartermaster-Sergeant Reginald Pike


  • Armourer-Sergeant Charles Mervyn Abel
    • Attached to New Zealand Divisional Headquarters – For distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty during the period 16th September 1918 to 15th March 1919.”
  • Captain Charles Ingram Gossage
    • For distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty during the period 16th September 1918 to 15th March 1919.”
  • Corporal Matthew Henderson
    • For distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty during the period 16th September 1918 to 15th March 1919.”
  • Warrant Officer First Class (Conductor) Clarence Adrian Seay


  • Staff Sergeant Stanley Copley Bracken
  • Private John Wilson Wallace


  • Second Lieutenant Thomas Lindsay Cooper
  • Captain Donald Edward Harper
  • Lieutenant Colonel John Owen Kelsey


  • Captain John Brodie Andrews
  • Captain Gordon Stanley Brash
  • Staff Sergeant Allen Anthony McMahon
  • Lance Corporal Colin James Ross
  • Staff Sergeant John Bell Taylor
  • Warrant Officer Class One Robert William Watson


  • Staff Sergeant Francis William Thomas Barnes
  • Honorary Major Conrad William Owen Brain
  • Staff Sergeant Henry France
  • Corporal Lewis James Garnham
  • Corporal Robert Love Gibbs
  • Lieutenant Colonel Donald Edward Harper
  • Captain Robert Clay Jones
  • Lieutenant Colonel John Owen Kelsey
  • Warrant Officer Class Two Thomas Edward Lawson
  • Corporal Charles Hector Lorrett
  • Private William McCullough
  • Warrant Officer Class Two Alexander Douglas McKenzie
  • Captain Harrison Lee McLaren
  • Warrant Officer Class Two Robert Morrison
  • Sergeant Arthur William Thomas Pearce
  • Staff Sergeant Lionel Pedersen
  • Corporal Stanley Hewitson Phillips
  • Warrant Officer Class Two James Pilgrim
  • Staff Sergeant John Frederick Popenhagen
  • Warrant Officer Class Two James Roughan
  • Private John Edwin Sanders
  • Corporal Gilbert Scarrott
  • Warrant Officer Class One Julius John Charles Schultz
  • Private Charles Edward Sumner
  • Corporal Thomas Henry Sunley
  • Sergeant Peter Llewellyn Wagstaff


  • Corporal Harding George Bommer
  • Warrant Officer Class Two Thomas Clifford Catchpole
  • Sergeant John Earnest Donoghue
  • Private Vernon Charles Goodwin
  • Lance Corporal Herbert Ernest Edwin Green
  • Sergeant Leslie Louis Merlin Hallas
  • Major Hugh France Hamilton
  • Private Charles Wesley Helliwell
  • Corporal Douglas Haig Spence Hunter
  • Lance Corporal Arthur Leask
  • Corporal William Hugh McIntyre
  • Lance Corporal Jack Clifford Miller
  • Captain Harold Oakley Nuttall
  • Private Albert Nuttridge
  • Private Edwin Albert Oberg
  • Captain Ronald Stroud
  • Captain Edwin Charles Sutcliffe
  • Second Lieutenant Ian Talbot
  • Driver Maurice Joseph Trewarn
  • Private Charles Sutcliffe West
  • Corporal Robert Yates


  • Corporal Jack Stanley Wooster (Recommended)


  • Captain and Quartermaster (temporary) David
    Ralph Hughes

Legion of Merit


Legion of merit. Wikipedia Commons

The Legion of Merit is a United States military award that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The decoration is issued to members of the United States and foreign militaries.


  • Lieutenant-Colonel Maurice Salmon Myers.
    Citation: Colonel Myers has been head of the Ordnance Service of this division since its arrival in the South Pacific area in November 1942. Throughout his employment in this capacity he has rendered signal service to the division, notably in regard to the procurement of equipment which has been supplied to us through American sources. Without his careful foresight and planning the equipment problems of the Third New Zealand Division would have been much greater than they proved to be.

Armed Forces Honour Medal 2nd Class


South Vietnam Honour Medal 2nd class

The Armed Forces Honour Medal was a South Vietnamese medal awarded to any member of the military who actively contributed to the formation and organisation of the Vietnamese military in South Vietnam. The medal was intended for non-combat achievements. The second class medals were awarded to warrant officers and enlisted personnel.

  • Staff Sergeant  G.W. Byrom
  • Sergeant B.R. Swain


Beattie, P., & Pomeroy, M. (2016). Gallant acts & noble deeds: New Zealand Army honours and awards for the second World War. Auckland: Fair Dinkum Publications.

Chamberlain, H. (1995). Service Lives Remembered: The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994. H. Chamberlain.

McDonald, W. (2001). Honours and Awards to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War, 1914-1918. Hamilton, New Zealand: Richard Stowers.

Polaschek, A. (1983) The complete New Zealand Distinguished Conduct Medal. Christchurch, Medals Research Christchurch., (Ministry for Culture and Heritage),

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017

No 2 Sub Depot -Palmerston North, 1942-45

It is well recorded that the Palmerston North Showgrounds were utilised as a military installation during the Second World War. Its most famous occupant being the Maori Battalion, which undertook its initial concentration and training at the showgrounds. But during the wartime period, the Palmerston North Showgrounds were also utilised at different times by the Manawatu Mounted Rifles, HQ 2 Brigade, HQ 4 Division, 2 ASC Coy and in the context of this discussion No 2 Sub Depot, NZAOC.

The wartime NZAOC

During the Second World War,  the supply functions of the NZAOC in New Zealand were organised with;

  • The Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham, with subunits located outside of Trentham at;
    • HQ Ammunition Section, Belmont
    • Ammunition Sections at Makomako and Waiouru
    • Bulk Stores at Linton and Mangere,
    • Artillery Sub Depot, Waiouru,
    • Inspection Ordnance Officer Section, Central Military District (Palmerston North)
    • Ammunition Repair Depot, Kuku Valley
  •  Ordnance Sub Depots in each military district:
    • Northern Military District – No 1 Sub Depot at Ngaruawahia Military Camp.
    • Central Military District – No 2 Sub Depot at the Palmerston North Show Grounds.
    • Southern Military District – No 3 Sub Depot at Burnham Camp.

(note: Up to 20 August 1942 the District Ordnance Depots were known as Northern, Central and Southern District Ordnance Depots) 

At the start of the war the Northern District Ordnance Depot (No 1 Sub Depot) and Southern District Ordnance Depot (3 Sub Depot) were both well established Ordnance Depots;

  • The Northern District Ordnance Depot at Ngaruawahia Military Camp in the Waikato had opened in 1927 as a purpose-built Ordnance Depot. (also known as Waikato or Hopuhopu Military Camp)
  • The Southern District Ordnance Depot, which although opening in 1921 had only received modern buildings in the early 1940s.

Although there was a Palmerston North Ordnance Detachment during the 1st World War, there is little evidence of a permanent Ordnance presence in Palmerston North during the interwar period,  as an economy measure it is most likely Ordnance support to units in the lower North Island were provided directly from Trentham.

With the Mobilisation of the 2nd NZEF, Home Defence Forces and Territorial Forces, the Central Districts Ordnance Depot was established at the Palmerston North showgrounds early in 1942 with Lieutenant William Saul Keegan, New Zealand Temporary Staff (NZTS) appointed as Ordnance Officer, Central Military District and Officer Commanding, Palmerston North Detachment, NZAOC and NZOC attached on 1 March 1942

No 2 Sub Depot

The Palmerston North Showgrounds was a sensible place to locate the Central Districts Ordnance Depot.   Situated between Featherston, Waldergrave, Pascal and Cuba Streets, the showgrounds were only a few hundred meters from the Palmerston North Railway yards, which were at the time located in what is now the Railway Reserve on Pioneer Highway. This would have provided easy access for the receiving of goods, not only the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham but also from other suppliers from all over the country, and for the dispatching of goods to subordinate units all over the lower North Island by rail and road.

The showgrounds had some of the most significant covered spaces in the region with 5 exhibition hall under one roof and much hard-standing for vehicles and other defence stores. To house the Maori Battalion and other units, cookhouses, dining halls, accommodation (huts and tented) and ablutions had also been established.

In the early years of the war occupancy of the showgrounds was seen as a temporary arrangement with the Manawatu Agricultural and Pastoral Association retaining part occupancy of the facility. By late 1941 with war with Japan becoming a growing reality, it was decided that the military should have full occupancy of the showgrounds for the duration of the war.

pnorth showgrounds 2

Palmerston North Showgrounds, Cuba Street, 1939. Palmerston North Libraries and Community Services

After the 20th of August 1942, the Central Districts Ordnance Depot was Renamed as No 2 Sub Depot and was situated on the Waldergrave Street side of the showgrounds, in the five large exhibition halls, which were practically under one roof.

  • Hall 1 was stocked with a vast quantity of clothing including boots, tunics, greatcoats underwear
  • Hall 2 was stocked with tools, spare parts, and expendable stores. There was more hardware including tons of nails, wire, rope, paint, thinners and linseed oil that was stocked by all the merchants of Palmerston North put together.
  • Hall 3 was stocked with a lot of camp fittings, crockery, cutlery, sheets, blankets other types of household linen by the thousands.
  • Hall 4 and 5 contained practically every type of Army stores required including  Rifles and machine-guns.
  • Flammable goods, such as paints,  turpentine and kerosene kept in steel drums were initially stored in the main buildings, and it was not until 1943 when suitable buildings with concrete floors and iron walls and roofs were provided.
  • Explosives and Ammunition were also stored at the showgrounds until 1943 when construction of the Makomoko ammunition area was completed.

As the buildings were filled to capacity, often with stock stacked to the ceilings, two nightwatchmen were maintained to provide security and a fire picket during the silent hours.  Close liaison was maintained with the Fire Brigade, and inspections carried out on many occasions to examine the fire hazard. The Army’s first aid equipment was in good order and consisted of buckets, bucket pumps and hoses, and fire extinguishers. The method of storage was the best under the means available to the Depot, with flammable goods stacked between non-flammable products in an attempt to provide fire breaks in the event of a fire. The Fire Brigade made many recommendations about the reduction of the fire hazard, and these recommendations were always acted on. Guidance for the installation of an automatic alarm system was not made by the fire brigade because it was considered that the precautions taken at the time were adequate.

No 2 Depot maintained surge accommodation outside of the showgrounds, including

  • Part Worn Clothing stores in Rangitikei and Church Streets
  • Engineer dumps at two locations at Fielding

The total value of all stock at the depot at the end of December 1944, was £1,100,000. ($NZ 90,845,402.49 in today’s currency)

Depot Establishment

The Establishment of No 2 Depot as of 17 August 1942 was set at 3 officers and 81 Other ranks organised as follows;

17 Aug 1942

Due to wartime manpower constraints, the posted strength would never entirley complete the establishment.

February 1943

Posted strength was One Officer and 66 Other ranks.

30th of October 1943

the establishment had been increased to 3 Officers and 95 Other ranks, with a posted strength of 2 Officer and 88 Other ranks.

29 February 1944

the establishment had been increased on 1 November 1943 to 3 Officers and 92 Other ranks, with a posted strength of 2 Officer and 83 Other ranks.

29 Feb 1944

5 April 1944

5 April 1944 No2 Sub Depot

Unknown Military Unit 2

No 2 Ordnance Sub Depot. Group of soldiers – Elmar Studios, 459 Main Street, Palmerston North circa 1942 to circa 1945, No Known Restrictions

The big blaze

On the 31st of December 1944, the Palmerston North fire brigade superintendent, Mr Milverton was tracing faults to the city general fire alarm system. The fault had been located at the Show Grounds and was determined to be caused by vibration caused by heavy motor traffic, as a temporary measure until the fault could be rectified, it was decided to cut out the Show Grounds loop from the alarm system. The military authorities were advised of the steps taken, and the alarm boxes were marked ‘Out of order’.

At around 2130 hrs Sergeant W. C. Luffman, Senior NCO of the Showgrounds guard conducted his patrol and found nothing amiss. On the next scheduled patrol at 1030 hrs in the cookhouse, a copper used for the heating of water was found empty and red hot with the gas under the copper alight,  and as a result, a piece of wood on the wall was alight.   Turning the gas off,  Sgt Luffman went to the main gate and instructed a Private Wagstaff to assist him.  Utilising a stirrup pump, they extinguished the burning timber. Satisfied that they had put the fire out, Private Wagstaff filled the copper with cold water and felt the iron around the site of the fire, finding it quite cold. The stirrup pump was refilled and left near the copper as a precaution against repetition.

Conducting another patrol at 1135 hrs, Privates Wagstaff along with Private Collins the Ordnance night watchman were instructed to examine the wall in the neighbouring Ordnance Store opposite to where the fire had been. Sergeant Luffman went back to the kitchen, finding conditions normal and no sign of fire and satisfied that all was well, Sgt Luffman returned to the guard house. Reaching there about 1155 hrs meeting up with Private Collins who reported no issues on the ordnance side of the wall.

Waiting at the guard house until midnight and wanting to contribute to the new years’ festivities by blowing a siren at the gate.  On going outside Sgt Luffman saw a glow in the sky near the Ordnance Depot. Unsure if this was from the Ordnance Depot,  he rushed into the guard house to telephone the fire brigade, only to receive no reply, as the alarms had been disconnected due to a fault earlier in the day there was no way to contact the brigade.

Luckily local citizens had seen the fire and notified the fire brigade, and Sgt Luffman soon heard the sirens of the approaching fire engines. As the engines arrived, they found the fire, which was in the building beyond the cookhouse, which was the Ordnance Store. It was well alight, and flames were breaking through the roof. Three motor engines would eventually respond, finding on their arrival that the fire had a good hold and it was not until midday that the last fires were finally extinguished. A row of six dwellings which faced Waldegrave Street, but backed onto the showgrounds and were dangerously close to the fire and the administrative offices of the A&P Association were saved but only after tons of water had been poured into and over them. Halls 1, 2 and 3 were lost but halls 4 and 5 remained intact. At the time it was the most significant fire that the Palmerston North Fire Brigade had dealt with.

pnorth showgrounds

The aftermath of Dec 1944 Showground fire. Evening Post


Evidence submitted to the inquiry conducted in March 1945 by the Ordnance Officer in charge of the Ordnance Depot, Captain William Saul Keegan put the loss due to the fire at  £225700 ($18,639,824.86 today’s value), with a considerable amount of stock able to be salvaged. Lost in the fire was almost the entire stock of around 1500 Charlton Automatic Rifles, a successful New Zealand conversion of the Lee–Enfield rifle into an automatic rifle, only a handful survive today.

There was some suspicion that the fire was deliberately set to cover up thefts from the depot, but these were discounted by Captain Keegan. In his evidence, he stated that the total value of all stock at the depot at the end of December 1944, was £1100000 ($90845402.49). Thefts from the Depot up to the time of the fire were very small, and the more significant part of the overall deficiencies was the result of miscounting. In two years and nine months, the losses from all sources amounted to £627 ($51781.88) For the same period, there was brought on charge surpluses to the value of £1600 ($132138.77), and thus surpluses outweighed the shortages by about £1000 ($82586.73). Captain Keegan detailed the accounting system of charging for goods and based on his knowledge of the store there could be definitely no suggestion that the fire was started to conceal shortages.

Detective F. Quin of the NZ Police gave evidence of the widespread and exhaustive investigations into the possible causes of the fire but was unable to produce any further relevant information which had not already been placed before the Court. No evidence could be found of sabotage, incendiaries, or any interference like that. No person could be found who had lit the copper found burning by Sergeant Luffman.

It was fortunate that the fire occurred in 1944, by when the Invasion threat had subsided, and the bulk of the Territorial Army, Home guard and other Home defence forces had been demobilised, so the loss of the stores was negligible to the ongoing operations of the Army.

Post War Reorganisation

Land at Linton for a  Military Camp was bought by the New Zealand Government in October 1941, with the first units entering the camp in February 1942, with the first prefabricated huts built within 6 months and more permanent accommodation been built in the following years. The Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham soon established a satellite Bulk Store at Linton, which was run independent of No 2 Sub Depot.

2 Sub Depot remained at the Palmerston North showgrounds until 14 December 1945 when it functions were assumed by the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham.

Reestablishment at Linton

On 1 October 1946, the Main Ordnance Depot Bulk Stores located in Linton Camp was formally reformed as No 2 Ordnance Depot. In addition to responsibility for units based in the Linton area, the new Depot would also assume responsibility for the Main Ordnance Depot Sub Units based in Waiouru Camp. The Suggested establishment as September 1946 was;

Sept 1946 No2 Sub Depot

Over the next 40 years, No 2 Ordnance Sub-Depot would remain as the resident Ordnance unit in Linton Camp, undergoing the following name changes until the disestablishment of the RNZAOC in 1996;

  • Central Districts Ordnance Depot,  1948 to 1968
  • 2 Central Ordnance Depot, 1968 to 1979
  • 2 Supply Company, 1979 to 1985
  • 5 Composite Supply Company, 1985 to 1990
  • 21 Field Supply Company 1990 to 1996

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017

Mobile Laundry and Bath Equipment 1914-1990

Laundry and Bath Units have played a significant role in the ultimate success of many of the conflicts that New Zealand has participated in since the First World War.  Troops from the fighting units, filthy after weeks of chasing the enemy through the desert, muddy fields and primary jungle would find it slightly surreal to emerge in their filth and greeted by a unit offering them a hot shower and a complete change of clothing. Such was the effect on the morale of our fighting soldiers that it is reasonable to assume that on many occasions, the enemy specifically targeted Laundry and Bath units for elimination. The Identity of many Laundry and Bath operators is unknown. This is, of course, for security reasons. Some soldiers got the wrong laundry back. Moreover, as you all well know, when it comes to personal kit, soldiers just don’t forget things like that!

This article will provide some historical context on field baths and laundry’s and examine the primary Mobile and Bath equipment used by the New Zealand Army from 1914 to 1996

The provision of laundry and Bath functions in commonwealth armies was a function that was shared by the Medical and Ordnance Corps. The RAMC would provide facilities and Hospitals and bases and Ordnance mobile facilities for deployment into the field. [1] The Ordnance role of Laundry and Bath Units was to:[2]

  • Decontaminate men and their equipment after a gas attack.
  • Laundry and bath facilities to forward units.
  • Laundry facilities for supported Medical Unit.

First World War 1914-18

Managed as a Divisional unit under the Divisional Bath and Laundry Officer, Divisional Bathhouses were established in facilities such as breweries of fabric processing plants, which with their vats and water supply were easily repurposed. Typically able to provide bathing, washing, disinfecting, drying and repair functions for up to 1200 men a day, the Staff of the Divisional Bathhouse was provided by a combination of civilian staff, medical Corps personnel and soldiers deemed not fit for front-line service.[3]

In the New Zeland Division, the responsibility for the Divisional Bath and Laundry Officer was placed under the Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Stores(DADOS) from December 1916.

Despite the availability of Divisional Bath Houses, units would at time make their own arrangements as described by WHA Groom “First of all, we had to have a clean up with a shower bath and clean underclothing, which would however again be lousy within a few hours; so with eager anticipation we marched off and after about a mile we came to the baths. There they were in a field – some baths! It was a corrugated iron compound, almost wide open to the elements and this housed an authentic Heath Robinson or Emmett contraption which consisted of a boiler with the hot water going through a small elevated tank from which the water flowed to pipes having small water can roses at intervals so in groups of twelve we stood shivering and at a signal from the corporal in charge on came the hot water – usually too damned hot and quick was the word as the shower did not last long. The slow ones were left with soap and no more water – a sorry predicament, but damned funny for those not caught”.[4]

 The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, better known as the FANY’s, attempted to provide opportunities for soldiers to bath by bringing close to the frontline a mobile bath unit nicknamed ‘James’. This unit carried ten collapsible baths and used the motor engine of their truck to heat water so that about 40 men an hour could have the rare luxury of a bath.[5]

will's cigarette cards published in 1916 illustrating military motors

” Every possible care is taken of the health and comfort of our brave soldiers. After being relieved from a spell of duty in the trenches, they are frequently given a hot bath and served out with a clean change of underclothing: their own clothing being dried, cleaned and disinfected in the meantime “.Will’s cigarette cards published in 1916 illustrating military motors

WW1 Equipment

Serbian Barrels

Developed by the British military medical mission to Serbia, the Serbian barrel was developed to heat water to allow the disinfection of clothing and bedding, destroying lice and their eggs preventing the spread of diseases such as typhus.  The initial design used metal barrels that had water on the bottom and were put on fire, heating the water and creating steam. A basket in the inner part of the barrel prevented contact with water on which the clothes and bedding were placed. Given the scarcity of metal barrels, modifications were made to the design with clothing was put in an empty wooden barrel whose bottom had been drilled. A container with water was placed over a fire and above it was placed the wooden barrel. The hot steam from the container penetrated through the barrel holes, disinfecting the clothing.[6] This new invention soon was named “Serbian barrel” and it has contributed greatly to minimize the epidemic of typhus in 1915 and would be widely used by British and allied forces in the Great War. Normally allotted on a basis of four per battalion or unit of a similar size, owing to transport shortfalls they were left behind in base areas and frequently not utilised.

A network of Serbian Barrels ©The National Museum of Valjevo

A mobile thresh disinfector left, on wheels and Serbian barrel delousers, used by the 2nd Australian Sanitary Section to kill lice in uniforms, blankets and so on. Neither of these methods were adequate for speedy, large-scale disinfection, which required high-pressure steam. Lice infestation was heavy among troops in the desert, opportunities for washing were limited. AWM A02718.


Men of the Army Ordnance Corps disinfecting clothing in improvised disinfectors, known as Serbian barrels. Imperial War Museum


Thresh Disinfector Delousing Chambers

The Thresh Disinfector Company took out a patent for a Disinfector in 1904. The disinfecting device utilised low-pressure steam to disinfect bedding and clothing. Hot air was also created within the appliance. enabling the drying of the contents to also take place.  These disinfectors were allocated to Divisions on a basis of one Foden steam wagon variant (Two Thresh chambers) and two horse-drawn variants (One Thresh chamber).[7]

Both variants of the Thresh Disinfector consisted of a horizontal steam chamber around which there was an outer jacket which is assembled as a unit with a boiler. Clothing was placed loosely in a basket so that the steam was able to penetrate. After the clothing, was placed in the disinfestor, the doors were shut and sealed and a vacuum of 10 to 15 inches [254 to 381 mm of Mercury] created, after which the steam is turned on until a positive pressure of 15 pounds [6.8 kg] was attained [corresponding to a water temperature of 165 °C], this would be held for about twenty minutes. At the end of this time the steam is released and a vacuum of 10 to 15 inches is produced in order to dry the clothing. This vacuum is held for about five minutes.


Horse-drawn Thresh Disinfector Delousing Chambers

The horse-drawn variant was a single thresh disinfector chamber mounted on a single axis horse-drawn wagon. Fitted with a self-contained burner unit under the chamber, the horse-drawn variant could generate its own heated water to power the unit.


British Soldiers with a horse-drawn unit at L’Etuve.



US Army Horse Drawn Disinfector. Historic Military Vehicle Forum

Foden Steam Wagons ‘Thresh’ Disinfector Delousing Chambers

Used by many of the allied forces including the United States and Australia 100 Foden Steam Wagons were each mounted with two ‘Thresh’ Disinfector Delousing Chambers. The Foden Steam Wagon provided a supply of steam from its engine, dispensing with the burner unit found on the horse-drawn variant.

Both variants of the Thresh Disinfectors were well suited to deal with the delousing of lice infections which were an unfortunate by-product of trench warfare and with the added advantage of mobility able to be deployed thee proved invaluable to maintaining the fighting forces health and hygiene.

Foden steam wagon with Thresh disinfector at Langres, France Jun 2, 191post-63666-0-85967000-1404653615_thumbpost-63666-0-68498500-1404652730_thumb


This Foden steam delousing vehicle is unit marked YD, the US 26th Yankee Division. The crew is assisted by German prisoners in one of the pictures. The 101st Sanitation Train was part of the 26th Division which arrived in France on September 21, 1917. Historic Military Vehicle Forum

Q 29222

Foden Steam Wagon with two ‘ Thresh ‘ Delousing Chambers in Corbie 1917. Copyright: IWM (Q 29222)


Australian troops are seen using the Foden Delousing Wagons, note the extension fitted to the funnel of one of the Foden Steam Wagons. AWM This image is reproduced strictly for non-commercial research and private study purposes as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.


American servicemen from the U.S. ‘ Yankee Division ‘, using a Foden Steam Wagon fitted with ‘ Thresh ‘ Disinfectors. LF This image is reproduced strictly for non-commercial research and private study purposes as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

Disinfector Delousing Chamber Videos

  • Work of the NZ Medical Corps: In June 1917, when this film was shot by NZEF Official Photographer Lt H. A. Sanders, the New Zealand Division was in the line south of the River Douve with the front line forward of Ploegsteert Wood, in Northern France.  At 15.38 on the video, it shows the operation of the New Zealand Medical Corps sanitary section. Men are seen entering the Divisional baths and handing their clothing and blankets to men running Fodden Lorry Disinfector with two Thresh Chambers which could each deal with thirty blankets an hour (twenty minutes in heating, twenty minutes in steaming and twenty minutes in drying). This was to kill the lice which infected most front-line soldiers and which were responsible for much of the disease and scabies found in the trenches. View Here
  • US troops having their clothing deloused by steam during World War: Viedo clip showing  Foden Lorry Disinfector with two Thresh Chambers in use with US Troops. View Here


Second World War 1939-45

As New Zeland did not have a large peacetime army, there was a reliance on the use on the use of contracts with commercial laundries to mee the laundering needs of the forces, a system which the British army referred to as “Dhobies”. With the arrival of the Main body units of the NZEF at Maadi Camp on the outskirts of Cairo in Egypt in 1940, responsibility for the base laundering requirements of the NZEF was provided by civilian contractors or “Dhobies”, in facilities constructed within Maadi camp under the supervision of the NZEF Hygiene Section. The downside of the Dhobie system was that it did not extend to them following the units into the desert and alternative laundering solutions had to be found.[8]


Structured along British lines, the NZEF included as part of its organisational structure and war establishment Laundry and Bath units. An unfamiliar capability that the New Zealand Military Ordnance leadership had no experience in, there was much uncertainty if this was even an Ordnance responsibility of a Medical Corps responsibility leading to delays in the formation of the Laundry and Bath units. Confirmation that it was an Ordnance responsibility was received from the NZEF liaison staff in London on 15 November 1940. Discussion continued for much or 1941on the formation of the Laundry and Bath units, with the main concern being whether the units be formed, equipped and trained in New Zealand and then sent to the Middle East or formed from within the existing structure of the NZEF.[9]

As the decision in the formation of the Laundry and Bath units continued the NZEF Order of Battle was updated on 17 April 1941 and included as part of the NZEF, a:

  • Divisional Mobile Laundry and Forward Decontamination Unit, and a
  • Divisional Mobile Bath unit.

Authority for the formation of these units as part of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC)[10] was granted on 31 August 1941, with the formation of the Mobile Bath unit set for 3 September 1941 and the Mobile Laundry and Forward Decontamination unit formation set for 22 September 1941.[11]

bath 42laundry 1941

With available equipment drawn from British Army stocks, equipping of the laundry unit would drag out until March 1942 when the balance of its transport and trailers were received. Finding the required number of personnel to man the units was a challenge, with available personnel drawn from the NZOC reinforcements and Training Group reinforcements. Remaining under the command of HQ Maadi Camp the Laundry and Bath Units undertook their training and familiarisation with the new equipment and when ready, were transferred to the command of the New Zealand Divison.

On 27 March 1942, it was suggested by the 2 NZEF DDOS that as the title of the NZ Divisional Mobile Laundry and Forward Decontamination Unit was rather long-winded and considering that the decontamination function of the unit was not functional, the units name be shortened to the NZ Divisional Mobile Laundry. The name change was published soon afterwards as NZEF order 935.

rename mar 42

NZ Division Mobile Laundry (1941)

Vehicle Tactical Sign, NZ Division Mobile Laundry (1941)

The Mobile laundry would have its operational baptism when it was deployed to support the New Zealand Division which was at the time deployed to Syria. Establishing itself at an old flour mill adjacent to the small village of Burj al-Arab in northwestern Syria, the Mobile laundry Unit would spend a week in May 1942 coming to grips with the new equipment it had only received two months previously. The unit was working with three shifts a day washing and drying over 7000 blankets and all the division’s winter clothing. By the end of the week’s operations, the unit was easily able to process two thousand five hundred sets of battle dress a day, with the assistance of three hundred and fifty locally employed civilians to carried out mending and ironing duties., By the end of this initial operation, the capacity of the unit had increased markedly.[12]

NZ Division Mobile Bath Unit (1940)

Vehicle Tactical Sign, NZ Division Mobile Bath Unit (1940)

Working in support of the NZ Division the Mobile Bath an Laundry units would deploy forward to assist in the control of typhus in Lybia,[13] and would also provide welcome relief to soldiers in the forward areas such as a Whangarei soldier in the NZ Divisional Cavalry who wrote home in a letter to his parents that.  “We are now back out of the firing line at long last. We were up there far longer than any other New Zealanders, and from all accounts have done a good job of work. We did not think we had done much ourselves, but we have had several letters from different Generals congratulating us on our work—and they ought to know. Yesterday we had a hot shower from a mobile bath unit. It was grand and a lot of dirt was shifted: that was the first real wash we had had for just on nine weeks. I had a couple of rough sponges in about a mugful of water at different times but that was all. I didn’t have any clothes off for over five weeks”[14]

In June 1942 the necessity of the decontamination functionality was questioned as finding the additional fifty-two Other Ranks was proving to challenge and unless the unit would be required for service in the near future, that the enabling of this capability be delayed. In August 1942 the utility of both the Bath and laundry was questioned. It was felt that the effectiveness of the units was dependent on the location of the Division and the availability of water. Since the unit’s inception, they had only provided four months of service to the Divison, and the indications were that they would be no more effective in the future. Given the narrow front found in North Africa, it was decided that laundry services could be provided by RAOC facilities or local contracts. Bath services could also be provided by RAOC assets, natural sources, existing or temporary installations constructed as required and the NZEF laundry and Bath units would be disbanded.

The Laundry equipment due to its specialist and technical nature was intended to be returned to British Ordnance for a full credit to the New Zealand Government for its full cost. The Bath equipment would be retained as a New Zealand assets and stored at the NZ Base Ordnance Depot in anticipation of future employment in other theatres.

Forty-Seven other ranks from the Laundry Unit and eleven other ranks from the Bath Unit were transferred back to their respective Depots on 22 August 1942. The two Officers and twenty-five Other Ranks of the laundry Unit and the Other Ranks of the bath unit were to be transferred to other branches of the NZOC, with the understanding that if the capabilities were to be regenerated, they would be released to train personnel and have the unit functioning in a matter of days.

The NZ Divisional Mobile Laundry Unit, and NZ Divisional Mobile Bath unit were both formally disbanded on 30 Sept 1942.

disbamdment sept 42

1942 -1943

With wartime conditions causing difficulties in obtaining new stocks of battledress, blankets, greatcoats, shirts and woollen underwear it was considered utilising the mobile field laundry to provide economies by renewing part worn articles. Therefore, on 30 Sept 1942 as the NZ Divisional Mobile Laundry Unit was disbanded the NZ Bas Laundry was established as a unit if the NZEF.[15]

base launder forming

Taking over equipment of the disbanded Div Mobile Laundry unit the NZ Base Laundry was located at Maadi camp in Cairo Egypt,[16] with an establishment of one officer and 20 Other Ranks. It was estimated the over a twelve-month period the following items could be processed through the Base Laundry for Non-Divisional and Divisional units of the NZEF;

  • Battledress – 120000 pieces,
  • Blankets – 100000pieces,
  • Greatcoats 20000 pieces,
  • Shirts and swollen underwear – 180000 pieces.

With the fall of Tripoli in January 1943, the NZ Base Laundry Unit received an additional ten personnel and deployed a laundry section from Maadi to Lybia, a distance if 1600Miles (2574.95 Kilometers). The forward section would wash and replaced much of the NZ Divisions clothing and bedding. It had just become established when the division was hurriedly moved to continue the campaign. However, many men of the NZ Division had been re-equipped with clean battle-dress which had been brought forward to do this, and the withdrawn battle-dress was washed and mended ready for further use.[17] The Base Laundry Unit would continue to support the NZ Division as it went into a period of refit and reorganisation following the Axis defeat.

The NZ Base Laundry Unit was disbanded on 30 September 1943,[18] and the following day the NZ Mobile Laundry was formed as a unit of the NZEF. During October 1943 the NZ Division, including the NZ Mobile Laundry Unit moved secretly from Egypt to southern Italy, and on the 18th of October 1943, the NZ Mobile Bath unit was formed in Italy as a unit of the NZEF.[19]

Mobile laundry 1943


2 NZ Mobile Laundry and Bath Unit (1944)

Vehicle Tactical Sign 2 NZ Mobile Laundry and Bath Unit (1944)

In November 1943 the NZ Division ADOS stated his intent to place the Mobile Bath Unit under the Officer Commanding of the Mobile Laundry Unit, allowing both units to be administered economically.

NZ MLBUThe NZ Mobile Bath Unit was disbanded on 16 February 1944 with the NZ Mobile Laundry Unit renamed as the NZ Mobile Laundry and Bath Unit. The New Zealand organisation of its Laundry and Bath units brought the New Zealand organisation into line with British Army War Establishment II/293/1 of December 1943, as a Type B: Mobile Field Laundry and Bath Unit, and became known as 2NZ Mobile Laundry and Bath Unit (2NZ MLBU). 2NZ MLBU served with distinction in support of the NZ Division throughout the Italian campaign, often with detachments providing support to units on the front line.[20] 2NZ MLBU was disbanded as a unit of the NZEF on 8 December 1945.

MLBU dec 1945

Mobile Laundry Equipment

Mounted on 9 Trailers, the mobile equipment of the laundry consisted of;[21]

    • Four Trailer Type A – This was the washing trailer which carried the following equipment;
      • 1 X Bradford Rotary washing machine,
      • 1 X hydro extractor,
      • 1 X soap boiler,
      • 1 X ventilation fan,
      • hot and cold water, steam and electrical equipment.
    • One Trailer Type B – This was a drying trailer and carried the following equipment;
      • 1 x Rotary Dryer,
      • steam, condenser and electrical equipment.
    • One Trailer Type C – This was a drying trailer and carried the following equipment;
      • 1 X continuous drying machine -The continuous drying machine was a line which went through a series of pulleys. Items to be dried were pegged to the line which was slowly pulled through a chamber which blew hot air in one end and extracted it at the other. No ironing was done,
      • steam, condenser and electrical equipment.
    • Two Trailer Type D – With two of these per unit these trailers provided hot water and hot air. It carried the following equipment;
      • 1 X Clarkson steam boiler,
      • 1 X calorifier,
      • 1 X cold water tank,
      • 1 X feed water tank,
      • 1 X oil storage tank,
      • 1 X centrifugal pump,
      • 1 X feed pump,
      • piping, fittings and electrical equipment.
    • One Generator Trailer – This was a standard generator trailer with;
      • 1 X Fowler Sanders or Lister 22/24Kw Fowler Sanders diesel Generator
      • 1 X switchboard
      • 2 X distribution boxes
    • Distributed amongst all the vehicles for water supply and disposal was;
      • 2 X 205 litre (45 gallons) per minute pumps with motors
      • effluent tanks
      • piping
      • water testing apparatus

The Washing machine and Dryer trailers were positioned back to back alongside another pair. Platforms were mounted between the trailers, with a canvas canopy over the top, this can be seen in the picture below.

ww2 brit laundry

For operation the Mobile laundry required;

  • firm standing with an area of 19 meters (60 foot) by 19 meters (60 foot)
  • a water supply of 163659 litres (36,000 gallons) a day
  • a good access road
  • as much cover as possible although the laundry section was designed to operate in the open air

The Mobile laundry could wash 16000 blankets or 12000 sets of personal clothing a week.

ordnance laundry at work

RAOC Mobile Laundry at work 1944/45 (RAOC,public domain)

Mobile Laundry Video

  • Canadian Army Newsreel No.3: A short video showing a Canadian Ordnance Corps Laundry unit in action in Northwest Europe 1944/45.   View Here

Mobile Bath Equipment

The Mobile Bath Unit consisted of two pieces of equipment;

  • The Mobile Bath equipment, and
  • The Disinfestor equipment.

Bath Unit

The Bath Unit was mounted in a 1 ton 2 wheeled trailer, and consisted of the means to heat water and pipe it to the showers, and included;

  • Hot water boiler,
  • oil burner,
  • semi-rotary pump,
  • couplings and fitting

The showers consisted of;

  • tubular metal shower trestles,
  • five or six shower heads,
  • pipework and fittings

The capacity was based on each man taking five minutes to shower,

  • A Subsection could bathe 60 to 70 men in an hour,
  • A section could wash 120 to 140 men in an hour,

The shower equipment was designed to be used in the open, but tents were provided for the showers, and for changing rooms if necessary. Commonly showers would be sited where changing could be in a building. A bath section requires a firm site 18 meters (60 foot) by 12 meters (40 foot) and a water supply of 38641 litres (8,500 gallons) of water a day.


Canadian Army mobile bath. Wouenhaus, 8 April 1945. Photo by Alexander M. Stirton. Department of National Defence / National Archives of Canada, PA-198131.

Disinfestor equipment

The disinfestor’s purpose is to kill lice. In the austere base and field conditions field that soldiers had to live in the risk of infestation by lice was a constant problem. Bathing and the laundering of underwear was not sufficient to handle infestations and disinfecting of outer garments with steam was necessary to kill the lice and their eggs.

Mounted on the deck of a ton 4 X 2 lorry with drop sides, the disinfector equipment consisted of two disinfecting cylinders with an oil fired heater and a water supply mounted between the cylinders.

The disinfecting cylinders were designed with a hinged at their centre, allowing them to be pivoted 90 degrees to allow them to be loaded and unloaded while horizontal and then rotated until they were vertical for the disinfecting process.  Clothing would not be wetted but placed into the cylinders dry, and when the process was completed was ready to wear almost immediately.


Truck 3-ton 4 x 2 Disinfector (Morris commercial)

Mobile Bath Video

  • Mobile Bath Unit (Western Desert): A short video showing a Mobile Bath unit in action in the Western Desert. View Here

Postwar the 1950’s

The postwar New Zealand Army was committed to providing a Division for service in the Middle East, the RNZAOC Commitment to this was the provision of Ordnance Divisional Troops commanded by the Chief Royal Army Ordnance Corps (CRAOC).

The Order of Battle of the NZ Army in 1953, details that under the NZ Division HQ CRAOC  the Ordnance organisation was;

  • an  Infantry Division Ordnance Field Park, and
  • a Mobile Laundry and Bath Company, consisting of;
    • An HQ,
    • Five Laundry Sections and
    • Five Bath Sections.

Org Chart from “Org & Duty of RNZAOC in NZ Div” CRAOC 5.1 of 1 Sept 1959.  National Archives of New Zealand

The Mobile Laundry and Bath Company intended to provide bathing facilities and wash soldiers underclothing. The laundry function was supported by carrying a stock of underclothing from which a set could be issued to each man after bathing. Cast off underclothing was then washed and returned to stock for subsequent reissue. Sewing machines would be provided as part of the Company’s equipment to allow “Stich in time” repairs as part of the clothing exchange process.

The Company was structured to allow the use of double shifts. Apart from the normal considerations of accessibility to troops and hard standing then main siting consideration was accessibility to water. the Bath subsection as a requirement of 400 gallons (1800 Litres) per hour and a Laundry Subsection a requirement of 300 Gallons (1360 Litres) per hour.

At this stage, it unknown what equipment was used but some assumptions would be that it was either equipment from the 2nd World War or locally manufactured material.

20170314_083546 (002)

Members of 1 Battalion, Wellington Regiment enjoying a field Shower, Daba Camp, Waiouru, Summer 1952-53 (7WnHb Regt, Public domain)


Showering in Korea, May 1952. Alexander Turnbull Library

The 1960’s and 70’s

In the 1960’s 1st Composite Ordnance Company (1 Comp Ord Coy), RNZAOC had two dedicated platoons for Laundry and Bath services;

  • 5 (Laundry) Platoon,  and
  • 6  (Bath) Platoon.

Laundry unit, single, trailer-mounted. M-532

1 Comp Ord Coy, 5 (Laundry) Platoon,  was equipped with the American  Laundry unit, single, trailer-mounted. M-532.  The M-532 was a self-contained trailer mounted unit which consisted of ;

  • A 2½-ton capacity, 2-wheel trailer;
  • A washer-extractor,
  • A Tumble Dryer,
  • A  water heater,
  • An electric generator,
  • An air compressor, and
  • water pump.

The unit was able to furnish a complete (wash and dry) laundering cycle at a capacity of 120 pounds (54kg) per hour.

Two M-532 units were used by the New Zealand Army, of which one unit is now held by the National Army Museum at Waiouru, New Zealand.


LAUNDRY UNIT, M532 (US Army, public domain)

m532 Laundry Trailers

LAUNDRY UNIT, M532 (US Army, public domain)

Laundry 3

Sgt Brian Quinn instructing National Servicemen on the Laundry Unit in the mid-1960’s. Photo taken in Kuku Valley Ammunition area, Trentham Camp. RNZAOC School.

Bath Unit, Portable, 8-Showerhead M1958

1 Comp Ord Coy, 6 (Bath) Platoon,  was equipped with the American Bath Unit, Portable, 8-Showerhead M1958. The M1958  was a compact unit that included;

  • A 20-gallon (75 litre) water heater,
  • A 3/4-horsepower water pump,
  • Two shower stands with four nozzles each,
  • A 3-k.w. generator set,
  • A 55- gallon (209 litre) fuel drum,
  • moreover, all the necessary ancillary equipment including hoses and fires extinguishers.

The M1958 used approximately 960 gallons (3600 litres) of water per hour, which could be drawn from a tank, mains or a water source such as a river or pond. It is capable of providing continuing support for 3,000 troops.

m1958 layout

M1958 Bath Unit Equipment layout (US Army, public domain)

The January 1972 edition of the RAOC Gazette made mention of the M1958 in service with the ANZUK Force.

” ANZUK Ordnance Depot” The unit has raised a Field Support Detachment, and under the command of Capt J Clarke supported by SSgt’s Ashdown and Shepard, it is supporting 28 ANZUK Brigade in the Mersing area of Malaysia.

The bath unit of the detachment is using an amazing American equipment which requires a brave man to peer through a peephole until combustion. Fortunately, the unit has such a man in Corporal Smith of the RNZAOC”

and this from the February 1972  issue of the RAOC Gazette:[22]

” The Bath section apparently run by Corporal Smith RNZAOC, succeed in bathing all comers and, in spite of water shortages, operated almost nonstop for twelve days.”


ANZUK Ordnance Depot, Forward Ordnance Detachment, setting up a shower unit, Malaysia 1972 (Copyright © Robert McKie 2017)

Shower Schematic

Schematic view of shower equipment from 1 Field Supply Company, RNZAOC, Standing Operating Procedures, December 1984


M1958 set up receive water upstream of the unit, with the wastewater disposited downstream of the unit. (practice long discontinued due to environmental concerns). The two buried bucket like items in the foreground were known as ‘Chufffers’. Chuffers were a Diesel/Kerosene fuelled device for heating water in this case probably for shaving purposes. Robert Mckie Collection



The 1980’s and 90’s

With the retirement of the Laundry unit,  M-532 in the early 1980’s, leaving the Bath Unit M1958 to although in need of replacement due to support and maintenance issues, soldier on until the later years of the 1980’s. The last time I saw one in action was on the Triad Exercise of 1984 when I was operating on at Baggush Camp at Waiouru under the tutelage of WO2 Smith.

FW-37 Trailer Mounted Field Laundry Unit

Laundry 2

FW-37 Mobile Laundry Equipment. RNZAOC School

Laundry 1

FW-37 Mobile Laundry Equipment. RNZAOC School

The Replacement for the Laundry unit,  M-532 was purchased in the early 80’s, it was the West German FW-37 Trailer Mounted Field Laundry Unit.

The FW-37 was a self-contained field laundry unit mounted on two trailers;

  • Washer Trailer, the washer trailer consisted of;
    • Two washing machines,
    • Hydro extractor,
    • Water pump,
    • Two Diesel/Oil Burners,
    • Hoses, electrical cables and other ancillary connections
  • Dryer Trailer, the Dryer trailer consisted of;
    • A single drying machine,
    • One Diesel/Oil Burner,
    • 3 Phase generator,
    • Hoses, electrical cables and other ancillary connections.

The FW-37 and could be run by either mains power or by its own generator, Water could be supplied from a mains supply, water tank or local water supply such as a river or a pond.


Suggested Layout 1984

The suggested layout of Laundry Unit from 1 Field Supply Company, RNZAOC Standing Operating Procedures, December 1984



Kerrick Shower Unit

As the M1958 Bath Units became worn out in the mid-1980’s, a replacement item was provided by Kerrick Industries. Utilising many of the M1958 Bath Units components, such as the hoses and shower stands the Kerrick was an electric powered, Kerosene fed unit.


Karcher Shower System

In the early 1990’s the NZ Army procured several Karcher Multi-Purpose Decontamination Systems (MPDS). Essentially a high tech Steam Cleaner the NZ Army systems were configured as either a;

  • A shower system, or
  • A decontamination System (used only by RNZE units, not RNZAOC).

Karcher MPDS (Karcher, public domain)

The Karcher-fieldshower 15 Person, was designed to give a shower for personal hygiene or decontamination for 15 persons at the same time. The  Karcher-fieldshower was an entirely self-contained system, powered by its own engine and able to suck water from a local source such as a river or from a holding tank fed by mains water. The shower system was capable of showering 15 persons at the same time.


General Plan of Karcher Fieldshower. Karcher Fieldshower Operating Instructions


Copyright © Robert McKie 2018


[1] The War Office, Ordnance Manual (War) (London: His Majestys Stationery Office, 1939), Appendix 1.

[2] “Administration within the Division,” in Administration in the Field (London: War Office, 1951).

[3] A. D. Carbery, The New Zealand Medical Service in the Great War, 1914-1918: Based on Official Documents (Uckfield, East Sussex: Naval & Military Press, [2006?], 2006), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 176.

[4] W.H. Groom, Poor Bloody Infantry: A Memoir of the First World War (W. Kimber, 1976).

[5] C N Trueman, “First Aid Nursing Yeomanry,”

[6] “History of the Great War, Medical Services, Diseases of the War, Vol. I,” American Journal of Public Health (New York, N.Y. : 1912) 13, no. 6 (1923): 138.

[7] Gregory M. Anstead, “Historical Review: The Centenary of the Discovery of Trench Fever, an Emerging Infectious Disease of World War 1,” The Lancet Infectious Diseases 16 (2016): 168.

[8] A.H. Fernyhough, History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1920-1945 (Royal Army Ordnance Corps, 1958), 121.

[9] 2nzef – Organisation and War Establishments – Ordnance – Field Item Idr20107590 Record No  Da 1/9/Sd81/21 (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1941).

[10] The New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps was the permanent Corps in New Zealand and the NZOC the tile of the Expeditionary Force Ordnance Corps.

[11] 2nzef – Organisation and War Establishments – Ordnance – Field

[12] “Mobile Laundry,” Auckland Star, Volume LXXIII, Issue 109, 11 May 1942.

[13] “Fit Division,” Otago Daily Times, Issue 24908, 6 May 1942.

[14] “Divisional Cavalryman’s Adventures,” Northern Advocate, 25 June 1942.

[15] 2nzef – Organisation and War Establishments – Ordnance – Base, Item Idr20107591 Record No  Da 1/9/Sd81/22 (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1941).

[16][16] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992).

[17] “Clothing for NZ Troops,” Press, Volume LXXIX, Issue 24011, 28 July 1943.

[18] 2nzef – Organisation and War Establishments – Ordnance – Base.

[19] 2nzef – Organisation and War Establishments – Ordnance – Field

[20] Robin Kay, “From Cassino to Trieste,” in Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939–45 (Wellington: Historical Publications Branch, Department of Internal Affairs 1967).

[21] WWIIReenacting, “Mobile Bath and Laundry Unit Raoc,” in WWIIReenacting (2006).

[22] RAOC, “Anzuk Ordnance Depot,” RAOC Gazette, January 1972.