NZAOC Conductors 1917-1931

The Honourable and Ancient Appointment of Conductor has origins dating back to 1327 where the appointment is mentioned in the Statute of Westminister as the men whose job it was to conduct soldiers to places of assembly. The “Conductor of Ordnance” is also mentioned in the records of the siege of Boulogne in 1544. Surviving as an appointment directly related to the handling of stores in the British Army until the late 19th century. The first New Zealand connection to the Conductor appointment was during the New Zealand Wars, with Conductors appointed to provide support to the Imperial Regiments serving in that campaign. The British Army formalised the appointment by Royal Warrant on 11 January 1879 which established Conductors of Supplies (in the Army Service Corps) and Conductors of Stores (in the Ordnance Stores Branch) as Warrant Officers, ranking above all Non-Commissioned Officers. The Army Service Corps dispensed with Conductors of Supplies in 1892 with the Army Ordnance Corps retaining Conductors on its formation in 1895. In the Army Ordnance Corps, the appointment of conductor had become a senior and responsible position with the holder being a pillar of knowledge, who when required would do duty as a subaltern officer, but not sit on courts of inquiry or regimental boards. On parade, Conductors would take post as an officer but would not salute.[1]

New Zealand Conductors

Before the First World War, no single indigenous Ordnance Organisation was supporting the New Zealand Forces, responsibility for Ordnance Services was split between the Defence Stores Department and the Royal New Zealand Artillery. The requirement for an Ordnance Organisation had been identified as early as 1901[2] and again in 1907[3] but with no decision taken on the formation of an Ordnance Corps until 1916. Early 1916 saw the establishment of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) as a unit of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF). The NZAOC EF would be a wartime unit constituted for the period of hostilities and would be disestablished and demobilised as part of the NZEF in 1920. However, in New Zealand on 1 February 1917, the home service NZAOC was constituted and established as a component of the New Zealand Permanent Forces.[4] On the formation of the NZAOC in New Zealand, provision had been allowed in its organisational structure for the appointment of six Conductors as part of the Clerical and Stores Section.[5]

Following the British model, the NZAOC EF included both Conductors and Sub-Conductors as part of its organisational structure.[6] This practice was not duplicated by the NZAOC in New Zealand, with only the appointment of Conductor adopted. The Rank insignia for conductors in both the NZEF and New Zealand would be a Crown in Laurel Wealth,[7] the same badge is worn by Warrant Officers Class Two in the modern New Zealand Army.

20171229_171818-224606766.jpg

Warrant Officer Class One, Conductor Badge 1915-1918. Robert McKie Collection

Drawing the bulk of its staff from the existing personnel of the New Zealand Defence Stores Department, the NZAOC also absorbed individuals who were suitably qualified and experienced in the handling and accounting of military equipment from the military districts and training camps, including the men who would be the first two Conductors;

  • William Henry Manning, [8] and
  • William Ramsey.[9]

William Henry Manning

At fifty years of age William Henry Manning as too old to serve overseas but was able to enlist into the NZEF Army Service Corps(ASC) on 17 December 1915 for home service only.

Born on 31 August 1865, Manning had spent most of his adult life as a soldier in the British Army. Serving as a Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant, Manning had also spent time as an acting ASC Officer in charge supplies and an acting Ordnance Officer in various parts of the Empire. One of his last positions held was as a Troopship Quartermaster Sergeant on the SS Lismore Castle transporting the 2nd Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment to South Africa from the United Kingdom in October – November 1899. On the completion of his tenure with the British Army,  Manning with his wife and two children migrated to New Zealand.

Appointed as a teacher in 1908, Manning and his wife would become School Masters, first at the Native School at Te Haroto and then the Native School at Waimarma.

Eager to serve, Manning approached the Defence Force on 10 October 1915 advising them of his experience and willingness to serve. Manning offer to serve was accepted, and on 17 December 1915 Manning was attested into the ASC as a soldier. Promoted successively from Private, Corporal, Sergeant and then Staff Sergeant on 6 April 1916.

Transferred to the Quartermaster General Branch on May 1916, Manning would remain there until 1 February 1917 when he would become a foundation member of the NZAOC on its formal formation with promotion to Conductor following on 2 February 1917.

William Ramsey

Born on 11 June 1852, Ramsey, like Manning had spent his adult life in the British Army all around the world including service at Woolwich, Aldershot, Limerick, Malta and Ambala (India) and on his retirement had migrated to New Zealand with his wife and six children.

William Ramsey

William Ramsey, 1918

At the time of his enlistment in December 1915, Ramsey was working as a caretaker for the Presbyterian Institute at Trentham. At sixty-three years of age, Ramsey was enlisted for service with the New Zealand Army with the Headquarters of Trentham Camp on 3 December 1915. Like Manning, Ramsey’s experience was recognised, and while working for Captain McCristell, the Camp Quartermaster, promoted successively from Private, Corporal, Sergeant and then Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant on 1 April 1916. On 3 February 1917 on McCrystal’s recommendation Ramsey was transferred into the NZAOC and immediately promoted to Conductor.

Ramsey

With available records identifying Manning and Ramsey as the first Conductors appointed in New Zealand, Information of the Conductors that followed is incomplete with the following known to have been Conductors;

  • Regt No 36 Conductor James Murdoch Miller 1 Jul 17 – 3 Jul18,
  • Regt No 69 Conductor Eugene Key 5 Jul 17 – 16 Jan 18,
  • Regt No 91 Conductor Donald McCaskill McIntyre 30 Jul 17 – 10 Jul 19,
  • Regt No 112 Conductor George William Bulpitt Silvestre 1 Nov 18 – 22 Aug 20
  • Regt No 48 Conductor Mark Leonard Hathaway, MSM 1 Nov 18 – 30 Sep 19
  • Regt No 605 Conductor Walter Edward Cook 1 Nov 19 – 5 Jul 20,
  • Regt No 948 Conductor Michael Joseph Lyons, MSM 1 Apr 22 – 1Jul-27.

4 July 1918 saw both Manning and Ramsey promoted to the rank of Honorary Lieutenants and appointed as Ordnance Officers 4th Class to the Inspectorial Staff of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department(NZAOD).[10]

Having both reached retiring age Manning and Ramsey relinquished their honourary ranks and appointments on the Inspectorial Staff of the NZAOD and demobilised out of the NZAOC 4 April 1920.[11]

During 1918, British Army Order 305 was issued which settled the insignia for Conductors as the Royal Arms in Laurel Wreath, and for a Sub-Conductor the Royal Arms.[12]  Although probably adopted for wear in New Zealand in 1918/19, the Insinga of the Royal Arms in a Laurel Wreath was confirmed for New Zealand Conductors in the NZ Military Forces Dress Regulations of 1923.[13]

20171229_110605-826040666.jpg

Warrant Officer Class One, Conductor Badge. Robert McKie Collection

Precdence of RanksDefence Regulations since 1895 had placed Conductors as warrant officers, ranking them above all non-commissioned officers. The New Zealand Defence Regulations of 1927 set Conductors on the order of precedence of Warrant and Non-Commissioned Officers as the senior of the Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) rank, equivalent to Staff Sergeant-Majors, N.Z. Permanent Staff and Master Gunner, 1st Class.[14]

Following the mass civilianization of the NZAOC in 1931 the appointment of Conductor fell into abeyance. The appointment would remain as a valid appointment until removed from Army Regulations in 1949.[15] Reinstated in 1977, The appointment of Conductor again became available for selected WO1’s of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps(RNZAOC) and would remain in use until 1996 when due to the amalgamation of the RNZAOC into the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment the appointment was discontinued.

Ordnance 1918

The New Zealand Ordnance Corps 1918, Buckle Street Wellington. RNZAOC School

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018

 

Notes

[1] The Kings Regulations and Orders for the Army,  (London1908).

[2] J Babington, “Defence Forces of New Zealand,” in AJHR (Wellington: House of Representatives, 1904).

[3] J Ward, ibid. (1907).

[4] “New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Regulations,” New Zealand Gazette, No 95, June 7 1917, P. 2288.

[5] Ibid., P. 2289.

[6] The First conductors in the NZEF NZAOC were Acting Sub Conductor William Coltman, appointed in February 1916 and Conductor Charles Gossage, appointed on 21 July 1916.”Charles Ingram Gossage “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “William Coltman,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

[7] British Army Orders 70 & 174 of 1915,  (1915).

[8] “William Henry Manning,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1915.

[9] “William Ramsey,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1915.

[10] “Appointments, Promotions and  Transfers of Non Commissioned Officers of the NZ Army Ordnance Corps and NZ Permanent Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 105, 1 August 1918.

[11] “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations, Transfers and Retirements of Officers from the NZ, NZ Army Ordnance Department and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 26, 8 April 1920.

[12] British Army Order 308 of 1918,  (1918).

[13] New Zealand Military Forces Dress Regulations, ed. New Zealand Military Forces (Wellington1923).

[14] “Regulations for the Military Forces of the Dominion of New Zealand.,” New Zealand Gazette no. 32 (1927).

[15] “Regulations for the New Zealand Military Forces 1927, Amendment, No. 62,” New Zealand Gazette, No 26, 28 April 1949.

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Charles Ingram Gossage, NZEF DADOS 1918-1919

Gossage 1919

Charles Ingram Gossage was born on 11 August 1890 at Tapanui, New Zealand to Richard Ingram Gossage and Margret (Smith) and was the oldest boy in a family of three girls and two boys; Jane Eliza born 1886, Marion Peebles and Margaret Rubina born 1888 and George Low born 1894.1

Meeting his military service obligations, Gossage served in the 5th Mounted Rifles (Otago Hussars). Joining the Bank of New Zealand on 6 January 1913, Gossage was employed at the Dunedin branch when he enlisted into the NZEF.

On the declaration of war Gossage along with his younger brother George volunteered for war service and enlisted at Dunedin into their Territorial Army unit the 5th Mounted Rifles (Otago Hussars) on 9-Aug-14. Gossage was attested as 9/39 Trooper C.I Gossage on 13-Aug-14.

After a short period of training, the Gossage brothers embarked as part of the NZEF Main Body on Troop Transport 5 on 15-Oct-14, disembarking in Egypt on 3-Dec-14

Transferred into the Divisional Headquarters on 5 Feb 1915, Gossage was allocated the new Regimental Number of 15/39a. Embarking from Alexandra for the Dardanelles on 27 April, Gossage would remain at Gallipoli until he was evacuated to Alexandra with dysentery in late June. Remaining in Hospital until 5 August he was then released to a convalescent Camp to recover, returning to full duty on 25 August.

On 27 August Gossages 22-year-old brother George who was also serving with the Otago’s in Gallipoli was killed in action and now rests on the Hill 60 cemetery at Gallipoli and is memorialised on the Mosgiel War memorial in New Zealand.

Gossage Brother

Trooper George Gossage, Mosgiel Lodge Memorial Board – No known copyright restrictions.

Returned to full fitness, Gossage departed from Alexandra for Mudros on 3 November, continuing to serve in Gallipoli until the withdrawal on 20 December, disembarking in Alexandra soon afterwards.

Gossage 1914

Some of the boys of the 7th Southland Squadron, Otago Mounted Rifles Members of the 7th Southland Squadron, Otago Mounted Rifles who were among the last to leave Gallipoli. Gossage is incorrectly named as Tossage.

Transferred from Division Headquarter back to the Otago Mounted Rifles Gossage was promoted to Temporary Signal Corporal on 28 December and would serve with the Otago Mounted Rifles in the Canal Zone and was promoted to Lance Corporal on 28 January 1916.

Enjoying some downtime as the NZEF reorganised, Gossage was admitted to hospital in Ismailia with VD on 6 February and then transferred to the Hospital at Abbassya the next day and released from the hospital on 13 February.

Relinquishing his temporary Corporal rank on 10 February, Gossage was transferred to Moascar camp and Attached to the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) on 13 February and promoted to Sergeant on 18 February.

Formally transferred to the NZAOC on 21 March, Gossage had a short time to acquaint himself with his new responsibilities before embarking for France on 6 April.

Working under the Deputy Assistant Director Ordnance Services (DADOS) NZ Division Lieutenant Colonel Herbert, the NZAOC had a steep learning curve and not only had to learn how to operate within the British Ordnance system,2  but also support the New Zealand Division as it reorganised and equipped with all types of war materiel.

On 17 April 1916 Gossage was appointed Company Sergeant Major and acting Warrant Officer, and on 24 July in a testament to his performance, Gossage was promoted to Warrant Officer Class One with the appointment of Conductor, the first New Zealand Soldier to be granted this appointment. Further promotion followed with promotion to 2nd Lieutenant on 25 January 1917.

14 May 1917 saw Gossage at the New Zealand Officer Convalescent Home at Brighton in England where he would remain until 12 June and then placed onto the strength of the HQ NZEF (UK) in London. Struck off strength HQ NZEF(UK) on 13 June Gossage was posted to the New Zealand Reserve Group at Sling Camp.

To further his utility as an Ordnance Officer, Gossage marched out of Sling Camp on 21 September to attend an Ordnance Officers course at the Headquarters of the Army Ordnance Corps located at the Red Barracks, Woolwich London.

During his time at Woolwich married Wilfred Agnes Norwell at London on 29 December 1917.

Completing the Ordnance Officers course at Woolwich, Gossage was brought back on to the strength of the NZAOC in London on 25 February 1918, proceeding back to France on 18 March. Arriving back in the NZ Division on 19 March, Gossage was promoted to Lieutenant and appointed DADOS NZ Division vice Lieutenant Colonel Herbert DSO who had been appointed as the ADOS of a British Corps.3  On 31 March for the period that he was employed as DADOS,   Gossage was granted the Rank of Temporary Captain, and on 24 June was granted the rank of Temporary Major.

Departing France for leave in the United Kingdom on 2 November 1918, Gossage was on leave when the armistice took effect on 11 November. Within the first few weeks of the armistice if space allowed the wives and families of New Zealand servicemen returned to New Zealand.4  It is possible that Gossage’s wife departed for New Zealand during this period.

Returning to France on 20 November Gossage moved with the New Zealand Division through Belgium into Germany establishing themselves in Cologne by 20 December, where they would carry out occupation duties before demobilisation.5  On 15 December Gossage was promoted to Captain while retaining the rank of Temporary Major while DADOS NZ Division.

NZ Ordnance Staff 1919

New Zealand Ordnance Corps demobilisation Staff at Mulheim, Germany, Febuary1919. Alexander Turnbull Library/Public Domain

 

With the first units of the Division demobilising on 18 March 1919, the New Zealand Division was formally disbanded on 25 March 1919.6  Gossage was ordered to proceed to England as soon as the Ordnance Equipment of the New Zealand Division was handed over to the British. Impressed with the performance of the New Zealand Division between 16 September 1918 and 15 March 1919, General Haig Mentioned in Dispatches many members of the New Zealand Division including Gossage on 16 March 1919. With the New Zealand Division demobilised and all its equipment disposed or handed back, Gossage marched out tor England on 2 May 1919.

On 31 May 1919,  Gossages daughter Thelma was born in Auckland New Zealand.

Awarded the OBE on 3 June 1919, Gossage remained in London until 25 August, then posted to Sling Camp where he remained until he returned to New Zealand for demobilisation on 3 November 1919.

Travelling back on the troopship Ruahine, Gossage arrived back in New Zealand on 25 December 1919 and proceeded on leave. On 24 January 1920 Gossage Relinquished the rank of Temporary Major and was Struck off the strength of the NZEF and was transferred to the reserve of Officers with the rank of Captain. In total Gossage spent five years and seventy-one days on overseas service.

Gossage would not remain out of uniform for long, and on 16 August 1920 was granted a commission as a Lieutenant in the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) as Ordnance Accounting Officer at the Mount Cook depot at Wellington.

Gossage oversaw the receipt of a large amount of new military equipment, which at the end of the war had been purchased from the United Kingdom to equip an Infantry Division and Mounted Brigade.  Additionally, Gossage also introduced a modern cost accounting system which proved very successful and reduced losses to a negligible level.

With the closing of the Mount Cook Depot in Wellington in 1920 and the transfer of Ordnance services to Trentham Camp, Gossage transferred to Trentham as the Accounting Officer on 18 July 1921. Offered a position with a commercial firm in London Gossage resigned his commission with the NZAOD on 31 December 1922 and with his family relocated to the United Kingdom.

With the onset of the Second World War and the second echelon of the 2nd NZEF in the United Kingdom, on 20 May 1940, Gossage offered his services to the New Zealand Government. On the recommendation of Lieutenant Colonel King, the DADOS of the 2NZEF, Gossage’s offer was declined. Although his offer of service was declined by New Zealand, Gossage was commissioned as a Lieutenant into the admin branch of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) on 21 April 1941.7 The extent of Gossage’s wartime service with the RAOC is unknown, but he does not appear in the Army list of 1947, so was probably discharged soon after the end of the war.

Gossage passed away at St Andrews Hospital, London at the age of 75 on 3 March 1966.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018

 Notes

1 “Charles Ingram Gossage “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

2 P.H. Williams, Ordnance: Equipping the British Army for the Great War (History Press, 2018).

3 Herbert was posted to the British XI Corps as ADOS, “Alfred Henry Herbert “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

4 “Nzef Circular Memorandum Uk 214, Notes on Demobilisation’, in Reports by Gen. Richardson in Uk No. 23-32 Nov 1917-Feb 1919, Acid 17590 Wa/231/11, Anz.”

5 Matthew Wright, Western Front: The New Zealand Division in the First World War 1916-18 (Auckland, N.Z: Reed Books, 2005, 2005), Bibliographies Non-fiction, 159.

6 Ibid., 160.

7 “Supplement to the London Gazette, Page 3075,” London Gazette, 30 May 1941.


Military Stores Department in New Zealand 1857-1870

During the New Zealand Wars that fell between 1840 and 1870, responsibility for the provision of Logistical support to the Imperial Forces in New Zealand fell to two organisations; The Commissariat whose duty was to keep the soldier well fed and the Military Store Department (MSD) whose function was to keep the soldier well and comfortably clad and amply supplied with the munitions of war. The smaller of the two organisations the activities of the MSD have been overshadowed by the much larger and more well-known Commissariat. With its origins with the Board of Ordnance representatives sent from New South Wales to the colony of New Zealand in 1840, the MSD would provide what is now known as Ordnance support to the Imperial Forces until their departure in 1869 and once the final administrative clean-up had been completed the final representative of the MSD departed New Zealand in 1870. This article is not intended to be a detailed history of the Military Store Department, but an introduction of the organisation and its personnel and a point of reference for further research.

Board of Ordnance

The Arms of the Board of Ordnance. UK national archives

The origins of the MSD  lie with the Board of Ordnance, which under the Master General of the Ordnance existed between 1597 and 1855. The Master General of the Ordnance had a dual civilian and military role; the military function as commander of the Artillery and the Engineers, and a civil role, as head of the Ordnance Department, with responsibility for stores, lands, geographical and geological survey, defensive works, barracks, military hospitals, factories and contracts. During 1792 the Board of Ordnance established two distinct departments to support the Army; the “Storekeepers” and the “Ordnance Field Train, the officers of the latter were called Commissaries of Ordnance, and as such was employed during the period of the Crimean war.[1] The Board of Ordnance had due to the logistical failures of the Crimean war, was abolished in 1855 and its functions placed under the supervision of the War Office while reformation of the British Army’s administrative system took place. In 1857 the two services were amalgamated to form the MSD.[2]

The story of the MSD  in New Zealand begins in the Colony of New South Wales when in 1836 the Board of Ordnance established a presence in the Australian Colony. At the time the commissariat (part of the civil administration) was responsible for general supplies and storekeeping with the Brigade Major (Military) accountable for the guns and gunpowder. On 1 January 1836, these functions were transferred from the Commissariat to the Board of Ordnance (Ordnance Storekeeper) and the Office of the Colonial Storekeeper. Although there was a separation of duties between the Board of Ordnance and the Colonial Storekeeper both had responsibility for guns and gunpowder and shared premises and personnel.[3]  Located in George Street North, The Ordnance Storekeeper’s Department under the leadership of storekeeper Richard Rogers; included as his staff his assistant, Percival Wilkinson; and five clerks; John MacDonald, Richard Rogers, William Plummer, Joseph Osbertus Hamley, and Thomas Lawry.[4]

With the establishment of New Zealand as a dependency of New South Wales, the New Zealand colonial administration came from within the ranks of the New South Wales administration, including the Colonial Storekeeper. The Colonial Storekeepers office was included in the First wave of administrators to arrive with Governor William Hobson in January 1840.[5] Mr Charles Hook Gordon Logie of the Sydney based Colonial Storekeepers was appointed on 15 January 1840 to hold the appointment of Colonial Storekeeper in Hobsons administration.[6] The Colonial Storekeeper reported to the Colonial Secretary and was responsible for providing the local colonial militia with arms and accoutrements but had no responsibility for Imperial troops. Imperial troops in New Zealand were the responsibility of the Board of Ordnance. Stores and services provided to the Colonial Storekeeper from Board of Ordnance stocks were on a “repayment” basis, an arrangement that would remain in place until the withdrawal of Imperial troops in 1870.

In April 1840 a detachment of 30 rank and file of the 80th Regiment of the British Army arrived from Sydney for service in New Zealand on board HMS Buffalo.[7] Accompanying them was a representative of the Board of Ordnance to cater for their logistical needs, establishing an Imperial Ordnance presence that would remain in New Zealand until 1870.[8] Detachments of the 80th Regiment later deployed to Auckland where under the direction of George Graham of the Ordnance Department they undertook construction of Fort Britomart.[9]

As the strength of Imperial Forces increased and became more of a permanent feature of the early New Zealand colonial landscape, the Board of Ordnance extended its reach into New Zealand in 1846. Establishing offices in Auckland and Wellington with the responsibility for the construction and maintenance of barracks and ensuring the maintenance of Imperial military units in New Zealand with munitions and that they remained comfortably furnished with uniforms and necessities.[10]

The Auckland Office of Ordnance located in Princes Street, was under the management of Mr William Plummer,[11] with storage facilities divided between a bombproof magazine at the Mount Albert Barracks and an ordnance store at Fort Britomart.[12]

The Wellington Office of Ordnance, with Mr Joseph Osbertus Hamley as the Acting Ordnance Storekeeper had a magazine at Mount Cook and stone warehouse on Lambton Quay and later a warehouse in Farish Street.[13]

Farish Street

[Park, Robert] 1812-1870. Attributed works: [Sketches showing the damage to buildings sustained in the 1848 Wellington earthquake] 1848. Reference number: PUBL-0050-01. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image. The impact of the 1848 earthquake on rigid constructions of stone and brick may be seen from these sketches of that time.

The great earthquake of 1848 which changed the landscape of Wellington also severely damaged the ordnance stores located in the Manners/Farish Street area leading to the granting of 13 acres of land to the Board of Ordnance in what would become the military reserve of Mount Cook.[14]  After the earthquake, Hamley set up an office in Willis Street and continued to use the Farish Street warehouse until 1855 when advertised as the “largest and most capacious in Wellington, and being in the centre of the business part of the town” advertised the Farish Street premises for sale.[15]

Plan of Mount Cook Barracks, as planned c.1845 and largely as built by 1852.

In January 1852 it was announced that the Master General of Ordnance had made the following promotions and appointments in the Ordnance Department, In New Zealand; [16]

  • William Plummer, Esq, to be Deputy Ordnance Storekeeper and Barrack Master at Auckland; and
  • Joseph Osbertus Hamley, Esq, to be Deputy Ordnance Storekeeper and Barrack Master at Wellington.

On 4  March 1859, at the age of 39 years, Plummer passed away, resulting in Hamley moving from Wellington and assumed charge of all Ordnance operations in New Zealand.[17]

Following the panic of the Crimean war, and the abolishment of the Board of Ordnance, the Board’s civil officers, were absorbed into a new organisation called the MSD, under the title of Military Store Officers, the gradings been:[18]

  • Principal Military Storekeeper and Military Storekeeper, both ranking as Lieutenant Colonel,
  • Deputy Military Storekeeper ranked as Major, and
  • Assistant ranked as Captain.

The formation of the MSD was one of many organisational reforms were undertaken to modernise and make the administration of the army more effective.[19] The changes soon filtered through to the colonies and the existing Ordnance organisations adapted to the new structures accordingly. Further changes occurred on 23 April and 12 June 1861 with the issuing of two Royal Warrants reorganising the MSD and improving the position of the officers. The Royal Warrants granted commissions to the officers of the MSD, [20]  organised into five grades:[21]

  • Principal Superintendent of Stores, ranked as Colonel,
  • Superintendent of Stores; ranked as Lieutenant Colonel,
  • Deputy Superintendent of Stores; ranked as Major,
  • Assistant Superintendent of Stores; ranked as Captain,
  • Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores; ranked as Lieutenant.

After some initial conflict in the mid-1840’s New Zealand settled into a period of relative peace, with underlying tensions between Maori and the settlers remaining, resulting in conflict erupting in the Taranaki in 1860. The dispute led to an escalation of Imperial troop levels so that by Mach 1864 the strength of Colonial and Imperial forces in New Zealand had grown from a few hundred in the 1840’s to a force of ab0ut 14000, including; [22][23]

  • ten Infantry Regiments,
  • two Batteries of Field Artillery,
  • Royal Engineers,
  • Military Train,
  • Commissariat Transport Corps,
  • Military Stores Department,
  • Purveyors Department,
  • Colonial Defence Force
    • Cavalry
    • Forest Rangers
  • Auckland Militia
  • Waikato Militia

Expanding from 1860 the New Zealand branch of the MSD  included the following staff;[24]

  • Assistant Superintendent of Stores and Barrack master – Major Joseph Osbertus
    • Served in New Zealand from 1847 until 1870 and retired after more than forty-two years of service as Commissary General with the honorary rank of Major General.[25]

      Joseph Osbertus Hamley

      Joseph Osbertus Hamley, circa 1860s. Photographer unidentified. Alexander Turnbull Library Reference Number: PA1-q-250-25-1 http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=27060

  • Assistant Superintendent of Stores – A.C. Macduff, Esq,
    • Second in command of the department who volunteered his services for New Zealand at the beginning of the war. Served from February 1861 until May 1866
  • Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores – J. Ramsford, Esq,
  • Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores – E. P. Holden, Esq
  • Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores – William Marvin,
    • In 1864 was employed in the demands office, responsible for maintaining the proper proportion of stores to meet the requirements of the army, either by obtaining the stores from England or purchasing them in the local market. Left the department in 1866 and returned to the UK.[26][27]
  • Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores – R. Tribe
    • Departed Chatham to take charge of the military stores outward April 1861.[28]
  • Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores – W D. Haldane,
    • Arrived March 1864.[29]
    • Completed service with the department in 1868,[30]
  • Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores -Timbell
    • Arrived March 1864.[31]
  • Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores -White
    • Arrived March 1864.[32]
  • Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores – J. F. Beatson
    • completed service with the department in 1868,[33]
  • Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores – W. Le Gyt
    • In charge Whanganui Depot[34]
  • Mr Henry Potter,
    • in charge of Issues, joined the department from Tasmania at the beginning of the war, completed service with the department in 1867.[35]
  • Mr Field,
    • In control of the finance department.
  • Mr Gorrio,
    • Department ledger keeper
  • Sergeant Alexander Stewart, Royal Artillery,
    • In charge of the powder magazine at Albert Barracks from 1961 to 1964
  • Armourer Sergeant John Smith,
    • Armourer MSD at Britomart Barracks.
  • Edward Smith.[36]
    • Armourer MSD at Britomart Barracks 1863
  • David Evitt [37]
    • Gunsmith, MSD at Britomart Barracks 1863

Store conductors

Store Conductors were Non-Commissioned Officers selected from the Royal Artillery and units of the line based on their superior intelligence and exemplary conduct. [38] Reinforcing their knowledge of stores duties and procedures by attending a six-week course at the Tower and Woolwich Arsenal prepared and confirmed their appointment as Stores Conductors.[39] Known Stores Conductors in New Zealand were;[40]

  • 3242 Sergeant -Master Gunner John Bates, Royal Artillery, 5 Mar 1861 – 20 Jun 1866, Served: Waitara, Te Arei Pa and Auckland,
  • 3153 Sergeant 3rd Class Benjamin Evans, Royal Artillery, 1861 – 1866, Transferred to MSSC 29 Jun 68
  • 687 Sergeant Caleb Bell, Royal Artillery, 1861 – 1866,
  • 2787 Sergeant John Brown, Royal Artillery,1 Aug 1861 – 14-Nov-66,
  • 1439 Sergeant William Brunkard, Royal Artillery, 1861 – 1866,
  • 3074 Sergeant Hugh Carlin, Royal Artillery, 5 Mar 1864 – 1866, Served Waikato and Wanganui,
  • 1080 Sergeant Archie Hood, Royal Artillery, 1861 – 1866, Served Taranaki,
  • 1313 Sergeant Master Gunner Walter Kelsall, Royal Artillery, 1861 – 1866, Served Auckland and Shepard Bush,18th Regt

From 1857 the military establishment of the MSD was only officers, with civilians and soldiers seconded from other Corps or Regiments as required. The formation of a Military Store Staff Corps as an unformed branch of the British military had been under discussion for some time, with Major Hamley strongly recommending the creation of such as Corps in 1864.[41] Established by royal warrant in 1865 the Military Store Staff Corps created an establishment of soldiers to complement the officers of the MSD.[42] Given that by the time of the granting of the royal warrant, and the establishment of the Military Stores Staff Corps in 1866,[43] the Imperial forces in New Zealand were starting to wind down operations and depart New Zealand; it is currently unknown if Major Hamley was able to have his staff transferred to the Military Stores Staff Corps.

ourheritagemediaoriginalfc5f46c2afbfb5e53b76cef5c40974d2

Williams, E. A. (Edward Arthur), 1824-1898, “Fort Britomart. Auckland.,” ourheritage.ac.nz | OUR Heritage, accessed July 28, 2018, http://www.otago.ourheritage.ac.nz/items/show/4884.

Commensurate with the growth of the Imperial Forces, The MSD, alongside the much larger Commissariat [44] [45] had kept pace and by 1864 Fort Britomart and Albert Barracks in Auckland had become the central storage and distribution depot (Logistic Hub in modern terms) for all the Imperial troops stationed throughout New Zealand.[46] The MSD  infrastructure in Fort Britomart consisted of the following; [47]

Fort Britomart 1860s

A Scene at Fort Britomart, Auckland, 1860s. Shows soldiers from the Imperial; the Sir George Grey Special Collections in the Auckland City Library

  • No 1 Store – A large 65ft x 60ft building with an estimated storage capacity of 1000 Utilised at the “Receiving Store,” it is the store that all inwards goods are received, sorted and classified before distribution to customer units or placed into storage into other stores for later use.
  • No 2 Store – A bulk store for all manner of goods from scythes to swords, including in-numerable bales of grey blankets
  • No 3 Store – Clothing and necessities store for regimental for the 13 different corps in the colony. At the time uniforms were provided to men at one-third of the cost for which they were available from civilian vendors.
  • No 4 Store – Hospital stores and manner of necessaries, comforts or luxuries for sick soldiers.
  • No 5 Store – The delivery store where goods as pocked and addressed for the delivery to customers. Also serving as a store for trophy weapons captured during the war. Captured weapons were all carefully labelled, waiting to be claimed by the men who secured them when the war was over.
  • No 6 Store – Armoury for artillery stores and small arms such as rifles.
  • No 7 Store – Used for artillery fittings for 6Lb and 12Lb Armstrong batteries of the Imperial forces.
  • No 8 Store – The packing store, where tradesmen such as carpenters and painters prepare and pack goods for delivery.
  • No 9 Store – Reception store for camp equipage returned from regiments, and for its inspection and refurbishment to make it ready for reissue. This store also included an armourers workshop responsible for the repair and cleaning of rifles, swords, and other warlike implements. This building also included quarters for the twenty-five men of the MSD staff.
  • Magazines – Located in Albert Barracks and consisting of several buildings surrounded by a stone wall, the magazines held the entire supply of ammunition for the army in New Zealand. Stocks were held as either prepared cartridges (four and a half million rounds in March 1864) or as components such as shot and powder. Constructed of arched brick the magazines resembled strong rooms with the ammunition packed in cases and barrels on racks on each side with a narrow passage between the stock. Designed to be intrinsically safe within the walls of the magazine, with all nails and tools were made from copper so that every precaution was taken to prevent sparks and explosions. Magazine keepers were hand-picked, and the slightest sign of unsteadiness or neglect of duty resulted in instant dismissal.

Fort Britomart Map

MSD operations were not only restricted to Auckland but across the country were ever Imperial troops were serving. Embedded in Regiments, Stores Conductors provided the link between Regimental Quartermasters and the Store Department.  Hamley and his deputy Macduff would spend a considerable time in the field supervising stores distribution. An example being in March 1864 when McDuff personally oversaw the distribution of blankets, clothing and necessities to troops and Te Awamutu during the Waikato campaign.[48] During the Taranaki Campain, the strength of the MSD in New Plymouth in June 1863 was 1 Staff and 3 Sergeants.[49]

By 1866 the conflict in New Zealand had reached a stage where colonial forces were conducting the bulk of military operations, resulting in a drawdown and withdrawal of Imperial units. As the Imperial commitment decreased with the departure of five Imperial Regiments in 1866, the MSD also had to reduce and optimise its operations. The reduction of troops necessitated the closing of its provincial Depots such as the Depot in Whanganui in March of 1867, and its stores returned to Auckland.[50] [51] With the departure of four more regiments in 1867, the closure of the Tauranga Depot soon followed.[52]  The final Imperial Regiment would depart New Zealand in February 1869.[53] [54]

The dismantling of Fort Britomart had commenced in January 1969, with all the military content of Fort Britomart and Albert Barracks belonging to the Imperial Government, such as guns, ammunition and stores shipped to the United Kingdom on the SS Himalaya. [55] With the withdrawal of Imperial Forces completed by July 1870,[56] and the full responsibility for defence matters handed over to the New Zealand Colonial Defence Force.[57] Defence store-keeping responsibility was handed over to the Colony’s Defence Stores under the control of the Colonial Storekeeper, Captain John Mitchell.[58] [59]  Transfers of equipment on a cost recovery basis to the New Zealand Forces was facilitated, with the surplus was either disposed of by tender or redistributed around the empire. [60] [61]

Sam Stuart 1869

1869, an artists impression of Fort Britomart, Auckland City Library special collection

After 32 years of Colonial service Hamley, the last remaining Imperial Officer in New Zealand returned to England,[62] where he continued to be employed in Ordnance related services, serving in Ireland, Chatham. The War Office, Dover, and Aldershot retiring with the honorary rank of Major General.

In 1870 the Military Store Department, the Commissariat and the Transport Department were amalgamated into one organisation called the Control Department. A disastrous and ill thought out experiment in combined logistics, the amalgamation was reversed in 1876 with the MSD renamed the Ordnance Store Department, which in turn would after several name changes became the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in 1918.[63]

In conclusion, the MSD served with distinction during the New Zealand wars. The story of the MSD is the story of Major Joseph Osbertus Hamley. Hamley progressed through the ranks from being an 18-year-old in the Ordnance Department in Sydney to Deputy Ordnance Storekeeper in Wellington in 1847 and then the head of the MSD during the crucial war years of the 1860’s. Newspaper articles of the period are full of praise for Hamley and his skilful leadership of his department and few if any articles find any fault with him. This article provides an introduction into Hamleys MSD, which as an organisation unfairly overshadowed by the much larger and more well-known Commissariat is deserving of having its story told and further research is required to understand the full story of this exceptional man and the organisation he managed.

© Robert McKie, 2018

Notes

[1] Robert Curran, “Ordnance Stores and the Ordnance Storekeeper in the Colony of New South Wales,”  http://users.tpg.com.au/borclaud/ranad/ordnance_storekeeper.html#imp.

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

[3] Curran, “Ordnance Stores and the Ordnance Storekeeper in the Colony of New South Wales”.

[4] ” Old Sydney,” Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 – 1954), 4 August 1912.

[5] “Government Notice, Sydney Herald (Nsw: 1831 – 1842), 03 July 1840 “.

[6] “Letter from Charles Logie Colonial Storekeeper, Bay of Islands to Willoughby Shortland, Esquire, Acting Colonial Secretary Item Id R23629593, Record No 1840/76 (Wellington: Archives New Zealand),”  (1840).

[7] MNZM  Gerald J Ellott, “British Regiments in New Zealand 1840-1847,”  http://ellott-postalhistorian.com/articles/80th-96th-99th-Regiments.pdf.

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

[9] Una Platts, The Lively Capital, Auckland 1840-1865 (Christchurch: Avon Fine Prints, 1971), Non-fiction, 24.

[10] 158Adam Davis, “The Imperial Garrison in New Zealand, 1840-1870 with Particular Reference to Auckland” (University of Bedfordshire, 2004).

[11] , New Zealander,  Volume 1, Issue 41, 14 March 1846.

[12] “Communication with the Interior “, New Zealander, Volume 2, Issue 69, 26 September 1846.

[13] , Wellington Independent, Volume II, Issue 149 1847.

[14] “Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Law and Order and the Military,”  https://mch.govt.nz/pukeahu/park/pukeahu-history-7.

[15] “Page 8 Advertisements Column 2,” Lyttelton Times, Volume V, Issue 259,, 25 April 1855.

[16] , New Zealand Spectator and Cooks Strait Guardian, Volume VIII, Issue 772, 25 December 1852

[17] “Projected Departure of Mr Hamley,” Wellington Independent, Volume XXV, Issue 3017, 9 July 1870.

[18] Arthur Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services (London: The Medici society, ltd., 1929), 149.

[19] Brigadier A H Fernyhough, A Short History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (First Edition)  (RAOC Trust 1965), 14.

[20] Fernyhough, History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1920-1945, ix.

[21] Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services, 41.

[22] James Belich, The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian Interpretation of Racial Conflict (Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland University Press, 2015 This edition 2015, 2015), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 125-26.

[23] Davis, “The Imperial Garrison in New Zealand, 1840-1870 with Particular Reference to Auckland,” 79.

[24] “Matters Military “, New Zealand Herald, Volume I, Issue 247, 27 August 1864.

[25] Una Platts, Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook (Christchurch, N.Z.: Avon Fine Prints, 1980, 1980), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Collective biography.

[26] , The Daily Southern Cross.Volume XXII, Issue 2851,, 14 September 1866.

[27] “Military Items,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXII, Issue 3101, 25 June 1867.

[28] “English Shipping,” Wellington Independent Volume XVI, Issue 1518, 30 April 1861.

[29] “Naval and Military Extracts,” Colonist, Volume VII, Issue 665, 11 March 1864.

[30] “Military Items,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXIV, Issue 3390, 28 May 1968.

[31] “Naval and Military Extracts.”

[32] Ibid.

[33] “Military Intelligence,” Taranaki Herald, Volume XVI, Issue 816, 14 March 1868.

[34] “Military Movements,” New Zealand Herald, Volume II, Issue 404, 28 February 1865.

[35] “Military Items.”

[36] “Police Court,” New Zealander, Volume XIX, Issue 1897, 18 June 1863.

[37] Ibid.

[38] “Matters Military “.

[39] Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 38.

[40] Terry Shattock, “Unpublished Work on New Zealand War Medals,” (2018).

[41] “Matters Military “, New Zealand Herald, Vol 1 Issue247, 27 August 1864.

[42] Fernyhough, History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1920-1945, ix.

[43] “The New Military Store Staff Corps,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXII, Issue 2713, 28 March 1866.

[44] Julia Millen, Salute to Service: A History of the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport and Its Predecessors, 1860-1996 (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1997, 1997), Bibliographies Non-fiction, 24-25.

[45] “The Role of the Commissariat During the Waikato Campaign, 1863 – 1864,” http://www.soldiersofempire.nz/the-role-of-the-commissariat-during-the-Waikato-campaign-1863—1864.html.

[46] Davis, “The Imperial Garrison in New Zealand, 1840-1870 with Particular Reference to Auckland,” 131.

[47] “Fort Britomart,” New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian, Volum XIX, Issue 1942, 12 March 1864.

[48] “Te Awamutu,” New Zealand Herald, Volume I, Issue 124, 6 April 1864

[49] “Taranaki. The Kaitake Pa Shelled, Abandonment of Tataraimaka, Withdrawal of the Troops (from Our Special Correspondent) New Plymouth June 29,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XIX, Issue 1885, 1 August 1863.

[50] “Wanganui,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXIII, Issue 3003, 11 March 1867.

[51]  The Whanganui Depot had been established by Assistant Superintendent of Stores A.C. Macduff in 1864.   , New Zealand Herald, Volume II, Issue 344, 19 December 1864.

[52] “Page 2 Advertisements Column 5,” New Zealand Herald, Volume IV, Issue 1079, 30 April 1867.

[53] from An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand ‘BRITISH TROOPS IN NEW ZEALAND’, edited by A. H. McLintock, originally published in 1966., Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, and URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/1966/british-troops-in-new-zealand (accessed 27 Jul 2018).

[54] “The Troops and the Home Government,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXV, Issue 3643, 23 March 1869.

[55] “Dismantling of Fort Britomart,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXV, Issue 3616, 19 February 1869.

[56] “Projected Departure of Mr Hamley,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXVI, Issue 4007, 25 June 1870.

[57] Garry Clayton, The New Zealand Army : A History from the 1840’s to the 1990’s ([Wellington, N.Z.] : New Zealand Army, 1990, 1990), Non-fiction, 26.

[58] “Militia and Volunteer Appointments,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume 2075, Issue XX, 14 March 1864 1864.

[59] Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 49.

[60] “Page 1 Advertisements Column 5,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXV, Issue 3596, 27 January 1869.

[61] “The Daily Southern Cross,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXV, Issue 3595, 26 January 1869.

[62] “Projected Departure of Mr Hamley.”

[63] Fernyhough, A Short History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (First Edition) 16-17.


NZEF NZAOC Conductors 1916 to 1920

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Warrant Officer Class One, Conductor Badge 1915-1918. Robert McKie Collection

The Honourable and Ancient Appointment of Conductor has origins dating back to 1327 where they are mentioned in the Statute of Westminister as the men whose job it was to conduct soldiers to places of assembly.  The “Conductor of Ordnance” is also mentioned in the records of the siege of Boulogne in 1544. Surviving as an appointment directly related to the handling of stores in the British army until the late 19th century, the appointment was formalised by Royal Warrant on 11 January 1879 which established conductors of supplies (in the Army Service Corps) and conductors of stores (in the Ordnance Stores Branch) as warrant officers, ranking above all non-commissioned officers.

The need for a New Zealand Ordnance Corps had been discussed since the turn of the century so when war came in 1914 New Zealand was without an Ordnance Corps. Once the lead elements of the NZEF disembarked and established itself in Egypt, a New Zealand Ordnance Organisation was hastily created from scratch. Growing from the New Zealand DADOS staff the embryotic New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) was created as an NZEF unit during 1915 and was formally established as a unit of the NZEF establishment in January 1916.

Following the British model, the NZAOC included Warrant Officers Class One appointed as Conductors and Sub-Conductors as part of its organisational structure. Drawn from across the units of the NZEF and with an average age of 23, many of the men who were NZAOC Conductors had seen service at Gallipoli during the Dardanelles Campaign. Learning the hard lessons because of the administrative failures during that campaign, there is little doubt that these men understood the importance of their appointments in assuring that Ordnance stores were sourced and pushed directly forward to the frontline troops of the NZ Divison.

The wide recognition in many historical sources that the New Zealand division was one of the best organised, trained and equipped Divisions in the British Army during the war in Europe is in part due to the contribution of the NZAOC and its conductors, with at least 4 four Conductors awarded Meterous Service Medals for their work.

 

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Warrant Officer Class One, Sub-Conductor Badge. 1915-1919 Robert McKie Collection

 

William Coltman

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12/1025 Acting Sub-Conductor William Hall Densby Coltman, NZAOC. Auckland Weekly News/Public Domain

The first New Zealander to hold a Conductor appointment was Company Sergeant Major William Coltman. Enlisting into the Auckland Infantry Regiments in Sept 1914, Coltman served in the Dardanelles where he was injured. Transferring into the NZAOC in February 1916 as a Company Sergeant Major with the appointment of Acting Sub-Conductor. Coltman remained in this role with the NZAOC until March 1917 when he was commisioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and spent the rest of the war as an Infantry Quartermaster officer in the New Zealand Machine Gun Corps.

Charles Gossage

20171005_164430Charles Gossage enlisted in the Otago Mounted Rifles in September 1914. Serving in the Dardanelles, Gossage transferred into the NZAOC in February 1916. On the 24th of July 1916 with the rank of Company Sergeant Major,  Gossage was promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1 with the Appointment of Conductor.  Gossage would hold this appointment until the 24th of Jan 1917 when he was commisioned as a Lieutenant. Gossage would remain on the New Zealand Division DADOS staff, finishing the war as a Major and NZ Div DADOS. Awarded the OBE, Gossage would continue to serve in the Home Service NZAOC as an Accounting Officer until December 1922.

Arthur Gilmore

Arthur Gilmore enlisted in the Auckland Infantry Regiment in September 1914. Serving as part of the DADOS Staff at Gallipoli. Gilmore was formally placed on the strength of the NZAOC on the 8th of April 1916.  In Dec 1916 Sergeant Arthur Gilmore was promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of Conductor. Gilmore would remain as a Conductor in the NZEF until Feb 1919 when he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. For his services as a Conductor, he was awarded the MSM.

Walter Geard

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Lieutenant Geard, NZAOC

Walter Geard enlisted in the Auckland Infantry Regiment in August 1914. Seeing Service in the Dardanelles. Staff Sergeant Geard was attached to theNew Zealand Mounted Brigade Headquarters for Ordnance duties where he was promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of Conductor on 1 Jan 1917. Geard’s tenure as a Conductor was short as he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on 20 June 1917. Transferred from Egypt to France, Geard spent the rest of the war on the staff of the NZ Division DADOS, demobilising as a Lieutenant in 1919.

William Simmons

 William Henchcliffe Simmons was a railway clerk who enlisted in D Battery of the New Zealand Field Artillery in August 1914. Seven days later Quartermaster Sergeant Simmons embarked as part of the NZEF Samoa Advance Force. Returning to New Zealand in March 1915, Quartermaster Sergeant Simmons was transferred into the 1st Battalion of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade which was then training a Trentham Camp. In October 1915 Quartermaster Sergeant Simmons deployed with the  1st Battalion of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade to Egypt. Disembarking in Egypt in November 1915 Quartermaster Sergeant Simmons was attached to Brigade Headquarters as with acting rank of Warrant Officer as the clerk NZAOC.  Transferring into the NZAOC on the 26th of February 1916 with the rank of Company Sergent Major. Promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of Conductor on the 1st of January 1917. Simmons tenure as a Conductor was short as he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in June 1917. Simmions remained in the NZAOC filling various staff roles in France and England for the duration of the war, finally being appointed Honorary Capitan in Feb 1920 when he was appointed as the Officer in Charge of NZ Ordnance in England, a post he held until October 1920 when he was demobilised. For his services as a Conductor, Simmons was awarded the MSM.

Clarance Seay

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6/3459 Warrant Officer Class 1 (Conductor) Clarence Adrian Seay, MSM. NZAOC Archives New Zealand/Public Domain

Clarance Seay was a farm cadet who enlisted in C Company on the 8th Reinforcements on the 20th of August 1915. Arriving at the New Zealand Base depot in Egypt in November 1915, Seay was transferred into the NZAOC in February 1916. With the pending promotion of Conductor Simmons, Sergeant Seay was promoted to Temporary Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of acting Sub-Conductor on the 23 Mar 1917. Attaining substantive rank as a Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of Sub-Conductor on 28 April 1917. Seay was promoted to full Conductor on the 22nd of September 1917. Seay remained with the NZ Division for the remainder of the war. In May 1918 Seay suffered a personal loss when his younger brother Gordon Seay, was killed in action. Sadly died of Influenza on the 20th of February 1919 in Cologne, Germany. Intered in the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Cologne. Based on his performance Seay was awarded the MSM

“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.”

 

Walter Smiley

Enlisting into the Canterbury Infantry Regiment in August 1914. Injured in the Dardanelles, Smiley was evacuated to Malta, then England returning to ANZAC Cove on the 7th of December 1915,, where he was transferred into the NZAOC and attached to the Canterbury Battalion. Sergeant Walter Smiley was promoted to Temporary Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of acting Sub-Conductor on the 23 April 1917.  Gaining Substantive rank as a Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of Conductor on the 20th of December 1917. Smiley would carry out his role as a Conductor first in France,  then England from October 1918 until he was demobilised in October 1919.

Frank Hutton

Frank Hutton enlisted in the Otago Infantry Regiment in August 1914. After service in the Dardanelles, Hutton was promoted to Sergeant and transferred to the NZAOC on the 1st of December 1915. Sergeant Frank Hutton was promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of Sub-Conductor on the 1st of December 1917. Remaining with the NZ Divison for the remainder of the war, Hutton was demobilised in September 1919.
Hutton was re-enlisted into the NZAOC as a Lance Corporal on the 14th of December 1942 as an Ammunition Examiner in the Inspecting Ordnance Officer Group in the Northen Military district based at Ngaruawahia. Hutton was discharged from the RNZAOC on the 6th of June 1948 when he was 69 years of age.

Edward Little

Enlisting in the 5th Wellington Regiment on the 9th of August 1914, Little was transferred into the Otago Infantry Battalion on the 23rd of March 1915. Injured in the buttocks and shoulder in the Dardanelles after a recovery period Little was transferred into the NZAOC on the 17th of February 1916, moving with he NZ Divison to France. On the 15th of April 1917, Sergeant Edward Little was promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of Sub-Conductor. promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of Conductor on the 31st of August 1918.  Transferred to the Middle East in October 1918, Conductor Little spent the remainder of the war attached to the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade Headquarters and was demobilised in October 1919.

John O’Brien

Private John O’Brien left New Zealand with the 6th Reinforcements on the 14th of August 1915. After service in the Dardanelles, O’Brien was transferred into the NZAOC in February 1916. Serving in France for 2 years O’Brien was transferred to London Headquarters in March 1918 as the Chief Clerk. Staff Sergeant John O’Brien was Promoted to Temporary Warrant Officer Class 1 with the Appointment of Acting Sub-Conductor on the 18 October 1918.  Gaining Substantive rank as a Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of Sub-Conductor on the 25th of November 1918. O’Brien was appointed as a Conductor on the 1st of Feb 1919. O’Brien was awarded the MSM and was the senior Warrant Officer NZAOC EF when he was demobilised in March 1920. His final duties included the indenting of new equipment for two divisions and a Mounted brigade that would equip the New Zealand Army until the late 1930’s.

Edwin Green

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8/1484 Sub Conductor Edwin Stanley Green, NZAOC. Auckland Weekly News/Public Domain

Enlisting into the Otago Infantry Regiment in December 1915, Green served in the Dardanelles where he was wounded. Transfering into the NZAOD in December 1916 Staff Sergeant Edwin Green was Promoted to Temporary Warrant Officer Class 1 with the Appointment of Acting Sub-Conductor on the 20 October 1918.  Gaining Substantive rank as a Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of Sub-Conductor on the 26th of November 1918. Green was demobilised in Dec 1919.

Charles Slattery

A member of the Royal New Zealand Artillery since February 1898, Slattery was transferred into the New Zealand Permanent Staff as a Quartermaster Sergeant for the Wellington Railway Battalion on the 7th of October 1913. Joining the 2nd Battalion of the Wellington regiment in November 1918 and was then transferred to the NZAOC on the 6th of January 1919 and promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of Conductor. Sadly Slattery died of Influenza on the 25th of February 1919 in Cologne, Germany. Intered in the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Cologne.

Harold Hill

Enlisting into the Wellington Infantry Regiment in February 1915, Hill would see service in the Dardanelles before transferring into the NZAOC in February 1916. Promoted to Corporal in April 1916 and then Sergeant in September 1916. Sergeant Hill was promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of Sub-Conductor on the 21st of Feb 1919. Hill was demobilised in October 1919.

Arthur Richardson

Originally enlisting in the Royal New Zealand Artillery in 1913. Serving with the NZEF from June 1917 to August 1919, Sergeant Artcifer Richardson was temporarily transferred from the New Zealand Artillery into the NZAOC in Feb 1918. Promoted to Temporary Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of Acting Sub-Conductor on the 3rd of Feb 1919. Richardson was demobilised from the NZEF on the 13th of Feb 1919 and returned to service with the Royal New Zealand Artillery. In 1928 Richardson was Transferred back into the NZAOC counting to serve until the creation of the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, retiring in 1951.

Hubert Wilson

Enlisting into the New Zealand Field Artillery in August 1914, Wilson was wounded in the thigh whilst serving in the Dardanelles. Remaining with the Artillery for several years Staff Sergeant Wilson Transferred into the NZAOC in October 1918.  Promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of Acting Sub-Conductor on the 3rd of March 1919. Wilson was demobilised from the NZEF in May 1920. For his actions prior to joining the NZAOC Wilson was awarded the Military Medal.
Copyright © Robert McKie 2018