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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
The Auckland Office of Ordnance located in Princes Street, was under the management of Mr William Plummer, with storage facilities divided between a bombproof magazine at the Mount Albert Barracks and an ordnance store at Fort Britomart.
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.
[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.
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.
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; 
- 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.
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:
- 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. 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,  organised into five grades:
- 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; 
- ten Infantry Regiments,
- two Batteries of Field Artillery,
- Royal Engineers,
- Military Train,
- Commissariat Transport Corps,
- Military Stores Department,
- Purveyors Department,
- Colonial Defence Force
- Auckland Militia
- Waikato Militia
Expanding from 1860 the New Zealand branch of the MSD included the following staff;
- 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.
- 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.
- Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores – R. Tribe
- Departed Chatham to take charge of the military stores outward April 1861.
- Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores – W D. Haldane,
- Arrived March 1864.
- Completed service with the department in 1868,
- Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores -Timbell
- Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores -White
- Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores – J. F. Beatson
- completed service with the department in 1868,
- Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores – W. Le Gyt
- In charge Whanganui Depot
- 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.
- Mr Field,
- In control of the finance department.
- Mr Gorrio,
- 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.
- Armourer MSD at Britomart Barracks 1863
- David Evitt 
- Gunsmith, MSD at Britomart Barracks 1863
Store Conductors were Non-Commissioned Officers selected from the Royal Artillery and units of the line based on their superior intelligence and exemplary conduct.  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. Known Stores Conductors in New Zealand were;
- 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. Established by royal warrant in 1865 the Military Store Staff Corps created an establishment of soldiers to complement the officers of the MSD. Given that by the time of the granting of the royal warrant, and the establishment of the Military Stores Staff Corps in 1866, 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.
Commensurate with the growth of the Imperial Forces, The MSD, alongside the much larger Commissariat   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. The MSD infrastructure in Fort Britomart consisted of the following; 
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.
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. During the Taranaki Campain, the strength of the MSD in New Plymouth in June 1863 was 1 Staff and 3 Sergeants.
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.  With the departure of four more regiments in 1867, the closure of the Tauranga Depot soon followed. The final Imperial Regiment would depart New Zealand in February 1869. 
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.  With the withdrawal of Imperial Forces completed by July 1870, and the full responsibility for defence matters handed over to the New Zealand Colonial Defence Force. Defence store-keeping responsibility was handed over to the Colony’s Defence Stores under the control of the Colonial Storekeeper, Captain John Mitchell.  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.  
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, 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.
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
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