Zeitoun Ordnance Cap Badge Mystery

British Army Ordnance Corps 1915_zpsaibxjzox

New Zealand Supply Depot Staff at Zeitoun Camp, 1915. National Army Museum of New Zealand

I was recently made aware of this photo of New Zealand Supply Depot Staff at Zeitoun Camp, Egypt, in 1915; it was taken from the album of Major Alexander Charters, CMG, DSO, of the Wellington Infantry Battalion. The picture shows a group of men of the No 1 Depot Unit of Supply (DUS) New Zealand Army Service Corps (NZASC).


Badges of the NZASC 1910-1947. Robert McKie collection

Based at Zeitoun Camp from August 1915 until 16 March 1916, No 1 DUS was responsible for the supply and distribution of over 28000000 Kilograms of forage, foodstuffs, firewood and other goods to its subordinate units during that time.  It is, on the surface, an unremarkable picture but shows the variety of headwear and uniforms at the time. Most are wearing Wolseley pattern sun helmets, two are wearing Forage Caps, two individuals are wearing felt hats with NZASC Khaki/White/Khaki Puggaree, and one is wearing a Mounted Rifles bandoleer. Most interestingly of all is an individual wearing a Lemon Squeezer hat, with an unidentified Puggaree (most likely an infantry Puggaree) with a British Army Ordnance Corps (AOC) badge.

The question must be asked, why is a New Zealand soldier in 1915 wearing a British Army Ordnance Corps badge?

At the time of the photo, New Zealand did not have an Ordnance Corps, and one was not created in the NZEF until February 1916, (see NZAOC 1916-1919) and at home until 1917. (NZAOC, 1917-1923)   In the context of the NZEF, ad-hoc Ordnance Sections had been established as staff under the New Zealand Division Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (DADOS). On the arrival of the NZ advance party in 1914, Sergeant (later Major) Norman Joseph Levien had been attached to the British Ordnance Corps Depot at the Citadel in Cairo to study the Ordnance systems in use with the Imperial forces in Egypt to integrate New Zealand into the British Supply System.


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

Early in 1915, to support the Zealand Forces, Levien, now promoted to Lieutenant, established a New Zealand Ordnance Depot in Alexandra at No. 12 Rue de la, Porte Rosette and a warehouse at Shed 43, Alexandra Docks.

Given the need to outfit New Zealand units as they arrived in Egypt and as the New Zealand Forces returned from Gallipoli, there was a significant effort to refit, refurbish and re-equip units as they reorganised for future service in France and the Middle East. This put a considerable strain onto the nascent New Zealand Ordnance Corps, requiring, in addition to the original DADOS staff, the drafting in of additional soldiers with clerical, stores and maintenance experience from within NZEF. Records analysed so far identify 13 Other Ranks (Private to Company Sergeant Major), who joined the NZAOC on its formal creation in Feb/Mar 1916, some of whom had been working in Ordnance roles since 1914.

British Army Ordnance Corps_zpshkmjkhxu

Ordnance Member, New Zealand Supply Depot Staff at Zeitoun Camp, and was definitely taken in 1915. National Army Museum of New Zealand

Unlike the soldiers of the NZASC who deployed as part of the established NZASC organisation and wore the NZASC cap badge.  Soldiers posted to NZ Ordnance deployed from NZ on the strength of the unit or Battalion that they had enlisted into and were posted to the Ordnance establishment after their arrival in Egypt and retained the cap badge of their parent unit. This might have caused some confusion and based on the evidence of the Zeitoun photo, at least one Ordnance soldier utilised a British AOC badge to identify himself as Ordnance.

RAOC 1918

UK Army Ordnance Corps Badge 1895-1918. Robert McKie Collection

Judging by the puggaree on this soldier’s lemon squeezer hat, this soldier has transferred to Ordnance from one of the New Zealand Infantry Battalions and quite possibly retains his parent unit’s collar badges. Unfortunately, the quality of the picture doesn’t provide enough detail to identify the group with any certainty.

This picture raises several questions.

  • Was this an officially endorsed dress embellishment to identify individuals employed in Ordnance roles, possibly with the endorsement of the British Ordnance establishment in Egypt?
  • Was it just a case of an individual employed in an Ordnance role using the renowned Kiwi initiative and acquiring an AOC badge to show that he was Ordnance?
  • Was it just an ASC soldier displaying an AOC badge he had just swapped as a keepsake? (A thriving trade caused a shortage of badges)
  • Was it, in fact, a British Ordnance Soldier wearing an acquired lemon Squeezer?
  • In 1914 there were several British Army Ordnance Corps Armourers posted to Alexandra barracks at Mount Cook in Wellington. Are they part of this mystery? Did some of these Armourers deploy with the NZEF to the Middle East?
  • Does the use of its badge have its origins back in 1913 when the first Ordnance Depots were established for the New Zealand Territorial Amy annual camps, and this individual was one of the original members?

Until further photographic evidence or written documentation is discovered, this picture raises more questions than answers, but this photo does provide a starting point for later research to unravel this cap badge mystery.  I have seen some examples of this badge with the letters “NZ” affixed on top of the shield. Are these modified badges part of the same story?

Eventually, the NZAOC in the NZEF adopted its own badge either in 1916/1917 and on the creation of the Home Service NZAOC in 1917, the adoption of its own badge. The use of both badges evolved several times into the 1955 pattern that served the RNZAOC until 1996.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017


New Zealand Supply Depot Staff at Zeitoun Camp, 1915 (Colourised). National Army Museum of New Zealand

New Zealand Ordnance staff at Mulheim, Germany, 1919

The Group portraits on this page are of the New Zealand Ordnance staff taken at Mulheim, Germany, February 1919 by Henry Armitage Sanders.  On the completion of hostilities on 11 Nov 1918, the New Zealand Division as part of the British Occupation Forces in Germany was stationed at Mulheim, Germany.  The New Zealand occupation was short-lived, and by 25 March 1919 the NZ Division had been disbanded and occupation duties handed over to a British Division. The New Zealand Ordnance Staff wold remain in Germany until May 1919 to manage the disposal of the Divisions equipment.

There are two pictures;

  • A large group photo of the Demobilisation Staff representing most of the units of the NZ Division. Then caption found on the back of the first print only states  “Occupation of Germany” and has no details of the individuals in the photos.
  • A group photo of just the Ordnance members of the Demobilisation Staff, consisting of :
    • A major,
    • A Lieutenant,
    • A Warrant Officer Class 1 (Conductor),
    • 2 Warrant Officers Class 1 ( Sub Conductor), and
    • 7 Other Ranks.
New Zealand ordnance staff at Mulheim, Germany, 1919. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/1-002122-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22761721
New Zealand Ordnance Staff, 1919. Alexander Turnbull Library/Public Domain (Colourised by Rarity Color)

Given the scarcity of information on the activities of the NZEF NZAOC only the following have so far been identified;

  • The Ordnance Major,
  • The Ordnance Lieutenant,
  • The Conductor, and
  • The two Sub Conductors.

At present, there is insufficient information on who the other ranks of the NZAOC were, so this is an ongoing effort to be completed at a later date.

Rank Badges

Rank badges are one of the key indicators to the identification of an individual against the existing records. But there can be small fishhooks that can cause some trip-ups to the novice researcher. The one in this picture is the Conductors badges. To those familiar with modern-day New Zealand Warrant Officer rank, it is simple, WO1 – Coat of Arms; WO2 – Crown with Laurels, but in 1919 things were slightly different. Ordnance conductors and Sub-Conductors were both Warrant Officers Class I, with Conductors authorised to wear a crown in a laurel wreath and sub-conductors the royal coat of arms.

Medal Ribbons

14-15 Star
The 1914-15 Star. NZDF/Public Domain

Some of the men in the picture are wearing medal ribbons.

This ribbon is for the 1914-15 Star, which was awarded to all personnel who had served at Gallipoli. Ribbons had been issued by August 1918, with the medals following in the post-war years.






Service Chevrons

Service stripes
Service Chevrons denoting 5 years service starting from 1914

Service Chevrons were worn inverted on the right sleeve and signified overseas service since 4 August 1914. A red chevron worn on the base indicated service on or before 31 December 1914. Service after 1 January 1915 was denoted by Blue Chevrons.




The Major

In 1919 there were only two Majors in the NZEF NZAOC,

  • Major Levien who at the time was based in England, and
  • Temporary Major Gossage, who was the NZ Division, DADOS.
Temporary Major Charles Ingram Gossage
9/39 Temporary Major Charles Ingram Gossage OBE. National Library of New Zealand/public domain

9/39  Major Charles Ingram Gossage, whose pre-war occupation was a bank clerk, enlisted into the Otago Mounted Rifles on 19 Aug 1914. Serving in Egypt and Gallipoli Gossage transferred into the NZAOC as an NCO on 23 March 1916. Moving with the NZ Division to France, Gossage served on the Division DADOS staff, becoming a Warrant Officer Class 1 with the appointment of Sub Conductor on 24 July 1916. Promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 24 Jan 1917, Gossage attended an Ordnance course at the Woolwich Ordnance College from 21 Sept 1917. Gossage returned to the NZ Division in March 1918 as the DADOS. Attaining the rank of temporary Major,  Gossage remained as the NZ Division DADOS until the NZ Division was disestablished, and Gossage was demobilised on 24 January 1920. Gossage was awarded the OBE on 15 June 1919. Postwar Gossage served in the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department until 1922.

The Divisional Assistant Director of Services (DADOS), 9/39 Temporary Major Charles Ingram Gossage, New Zealand Army Ordinance Corps, in Cologne, Germany. The soldier in the rear is checking stores ready to be shipped back to the U.K. National Army Museum of New Zealand.

The Lieutenant

In 1919 there were two known Lieutenants in the NZAOC;

  • 23/659 Lieutenant William Henchcliffe Simmons, MSM. Lieutenant Simmons was a railway clerk who enlisted on 8 August 1914 and served in Samoa before being deployed to the Middle East and France. Transferring to the NZAOC on 21 March 1916. Simmons was commissioned and attained the Rank of Temporary Captain on 31 December 1919. Posted from the NZ Division to Headquarters Ordnance in London in January 1920, Simmons was appointed Officer Commanding Ordnance on 20 Feb 1920 and finally Demobilised on 13 October 1920. Simmons was Awarded the MSM on 1 Jan 1917. From being on the Samoa Advance party in 1914 to the NZEF rear details in late 1920, Temp Captain Simmons was close to being “first in – Last out”.
  • 15/111  Lieutenant Walter John Geard,   A steelworker from Auckland, Lt Geard enlisted in the Auckland Infantry on 10 August 1914. Serving in Egypt and possibly Gallipoli. Geard continued to serve with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force after the bulk of the NZEF deployed to France.  Promoted to Warrant Officer and posted to Brigade headquarters for Ordnance Duties on 10 Jan 1916, Geard was Promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1 (Conductor) on 1 January 1917. Promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 20 June 1917, Geard was transferred to France on 25 May 1918, where he was employed as an assistant to the NZ Division DADOS from August 1918. Posted to Ordnance Headquarters London in May 1919, Geard was demobilised on 29 October 1919.
Mulheim 2
NZAOC Lieutenant

Evidence suggests that it is Lieutenant Geard, The medal ribbon and the Service Chevrons correspond with the details in his record.

The Warrant Officer Class 1 – Conductor

In Feb 1919, there were five known Warrant Officers Class 1 (Conductor) in the NZAOC.

  • 10/2725 WO1 (Conductor) John Goutenoire O’Brien. WO1 (Cdr) O’Brien was a Bank Clerk who enlisted into the Wellington Infantry on 20 April 1915. Leaving NZ as part of the 6th reinforcements, O’Brien served in Gallipoli. Transferring to the NZAOC on its formation in Feb 1916, he continued to serve with the NZ Division in France. Transferring to London Headquarters in March 1918 as the chief clerk, a position he held until March 1920. O’Brien was Awarded the MSM in December 1919. Continuing his pre-war trade as a banker, O’Brien immigrated to the United States after the war and served in the  United States Army Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Second World War.  
  • 8/2287 WO1 (Conductor) Edward Cullen Little.  WO1 (Cdr) Little was a clerk with State Fire Insurance when he enlisted with the Wellington Infantry on 9 August 1914. Deploying to Samoa from 15 Aug 1915 to 22 March 1915. Re mustering into the Otago Regiment, he deployed to the Middle East on 17 April 1915. Wounded at Gallipoli and evacuated to Egypt,  Little transferred to the NZAOC in Feb 1916. Little remained in the Middle East until March 1917, when he was transferred to France. Serving in France, Little was promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1 (Conductor) and transferred back to the Middle East for service with the NZ Mounted Rifle Brigade. Little was demobilised on 11 Nov 1919.
  • 66613 WO1 (Conductor) Charles Slattery.   WO1 (Cdr) Slattery, a long-serving member of the New Zealand Forces since 1898, was a member of the New Zealand Permanent Staff and had spent most of the war filling Quartermaster Sergeants positions in New Zealand until drafted into the NZEF in late 1918. After a short time in Sling camp and with the Wellington Regiment, he was transferred into the NZAOC as a WO (Cdr) on 6 Jan 1919. Becoming ill with influenza, Slattery was admitted to 44 Casualty Clearing Station on 16 Feb 1919, passing away on the 25th of February 1919, aged 39 years.
  • 6/3459 WO1 (Conductor) Clarence Adrian Seay, MSM.  Initially a Sheep Farmer, Seay enlisted into the Canterbury Regiment in August 1915. Transferring into the NZAOC as a Temporary Sergeant on 11 Feb 1916, Attaining the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 with the Appointment of Conductor on 22 Sept 1917. Becoming ill with influenza, Seay was admitted to 44 Casualty Clearing Station on 12 Feb 1919, passing away on the 20th of February 1919, aged 25 years. WO1 (Cdr) Seay was awarded the MSM on 3 June 1919.
  • 6/1147 WO1 (Conductor) Walter Gus Smiley.  Initially a Motor Engineer, Smiley enlisted into the Canterbury Regiment in August 1914.  Wounded at Gallipoli and evacuated to Malta and then England, Smiley returned to Gallipoli in December 1915, immediately transferring into the NZAOC on his return.  Remaining with the NZAOC for the remainder of the war, Smiley attained the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 with the Appointment of Conductor on 23 April 1917. Smiley was discharged From the NZEF on 28 April 1920.
Mulheim 4
NZAOC Warrant Officer Class 1 (Conductor)

Given that this Warrant Officer has no service chevrons or medal ribbons there is a high probability that it is  WO1 (Cdr) Slattery who joined the NZEF in late 1918 and transferred into the NZAOC as a WO1 (Cdr) on 6 Jan 1919.

The Warrant Officers Class 1 – Sub Conductor

In Feb 1919 there were four known Warrant Officers Class 1 (Sub Conductor) in the NZAOC.

  • 10/2484 WO1 (Sub Conductor) Harold Gordon Hill.  WO1 (Sub Cdr)  Hill was a student who enlisted into the Wellington Infantry Battalion on 15 Feb 1915. Wounded at Gallipoli and Evacuated to Egypt, Hill was transferred to the NZAOC on 22 Feb 1916.  Serving in France, Hill was promoted to Warrant Officer Class 2 (Sub-Conductor) on 23 April 1917. Hill was demobilised on 14 December 1919.
  • 8/1484 WO1 (Sub Conductor) Edwin Stanley Green.  A bank clerk who enlisted into Otago Infantry Battalion on 15 Dec 1914.  Serving at Gallipoli, Egypt and France, Green was transferred to the NZAOC on 22 Dec 1916, attaining the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 (Sub Conductor) on 26 Nov 1918. Green was demobilised on 18 Dec 1919.
  • 8/584 WO1 (Sub Conductor) Frank Percy Hutton. WO1 (Sub Cdr) Hutton had a civilian trade of indentor when he enlisted in the Otago Infantry on 28 August 1914. While serving at Gallipoli where has was attached to the NZAOC on 15 Dec 1915. Transferring into the NZAOC on 29 January 1916. Remaining with the NZAOC for the remainder of the war, Hutton was promoted to WO1 with the appointment of Sub Conductor on 1 Dec 1917 and was demobilised on 20 August 1919.
  • 50248 Temporary WO1 (Temporary Sub Conductor) Arthur Sydney Richardson. Temp WO1 (Temp Sub Cdr) Richardson was a career soldier with the Royal New Zealand Artillery with the trade of Armament Artificer. Richardson embarked for overseas service with the NZEF on 12 June 1917 and was transferred into the NZAOC on 16 Feb 1918 with the rank of temporary WO1 with the appointment of Temporary Sub Conductor on 12 Feb 1919. Rejoining the Artillery in October 1919, he transferred back to the NZAOC in 1928, becoming a WO1 in 1940 and was awarded the MSM in 1942. Remaining in the NZAOC for the duration of the Second World War, he transferred to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1948, retiring in 1951.
Mulheim 5
NZAOC Warrant Officer Class 1 (Sub-Conductor)

The Service Chevrons and medal Ribbon identify this WO1 as most likely being WO1 (Sub Cdr) Hutton.

Mulheim 1
NZAOC Warrant Officer Class 1 (Sub-Conductor)

As this WO1 has no service chevrons or medal ribbon, this is probably Temporary WO1 (Temporary Sub Cdr)Richardson.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017

New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZEF) 1916-1919

Much has been written about how the New Zealand Division was one of the most excellent Divisions in the British army during the First World war, but little has been written about the logistics supporting the NZ Division and even less has been written about the contribution of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps.

When New Zealand entered the First World War and raised an Expeditionary Force, there was no Ordnance Corps in place to support the Force. Fortunately, in 1912 the need for an Ordnance Corps had been identified, and a small cadre of officers and men had been trained and exercised in support of the 1913 and 1914 annual camps, so as the nation mobilised, ad-hoc Ordnance Sections were established to support the fledgeling New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF).

Two individuals known to be part of the embryonic Ordnance Corps were Captain W T Beck, Defence Storekeeper for Auckland, and Norman Joseph Levien. Levien had enlisted in the 3rd Auckland Regiment and transferred as a Temporary Sergeant into the Ordnance Department as the IC of Stores and Equipment and assisted in equipping the troops for overseas service. Both Beck and Levien deployed with the main body of the NZEF, Beck, as the Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (DADOS), with Levien as part of the small DADOS staff. On their arrival in Egypt, they were immediately down to business, linking in with the British and Australian Ordnance systems and preparing the NZEF for battle.  Levien was attached to the British Ordnance Corps Depot at the Citadel in Cairo to study the Ordnance systems in use with the Imperial forces in Egypt.

Although the NZEF was organised upon standard British lines and, therefore, in theory, able to quickly tap into the existing British system. As preparations for the Gallipoli campaign progressed, it was identified that a uniquely New Zealand Ordnance organisation was required to be developed to better serve the NZEF. Therefore, a New Zealand Ordnance Depot was established at No. 12 Rue de la, Porte Rosette and a warehouse at Shed 43, Alexandra Docks in Alexandria, Egypt.


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

Beck deployed to Gallipoli as the Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (DADOS) New Zealand & Australian Headquarters Ordnance (NZ & Aust HQ Ordnance) of the New Zealand and Australian Division, and in some sources, is credited as being the first New Zealander ashore on the 25th of April.

It appears that Beck was also a bit of a character, and the Hawera & Normanby Star, 24 June 1916, had this to say about Beck’s service at Gallipoli:

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

NZAOC Captain W T Beck Shrapnel Gully Gallipoli 1 October 1915_zpswl20vkxy

NZAOC Captain W T Beck, Ordnance Depot Shrapnel Gully Gallipoli 1915. Alexander Turnbull Library

On 1 August, Beck was invalided to Alexandria and replaced by Lieutenant Levien (Promoted into the NZAOC as a 2nd Lieutenant on 3 April 1915) as DADOS. Levien remained in this post until he Redeployed to Mudros on 28 November 1915 to become the Chief Ordnance Officer at Sarpi Camp, responsible for re-equipping the now depleted Australian and New Zealand Division. Levien was replaced as DADOS by Lieutenant King (Promoted into the NZAOC as a 2nd Lieutenant on 3 April 1915).

NZ ordnance depot_zpszcwmk2tk

Ordnance Depot Shrapnel Gully, Gallipoli. Alexander Turnbull Library

After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, the New Zealand Division was reorganised and prepared for redeployment to France, the Alexandra depot was closed, un-serviceable stores were disposed of by auction and remaining serviceable stores not required by the NZ Division were handed over to the Imperial Ordnance.

In February 1916, it was formally announced in the Evening Post Newspaper that regulations had been promulgated, establishing the NZAOC as a unit of the NZEF. By the end of 1916, the NZAOC had been established under the control of the Officer Commanding NZEF Ordnance Corps and the NZEF Assistant Director of Ordnance Service (ADOS) and Staff. With the establishment of one officer and thirty-one other ranks. The strength of the NZAOC was provided from within the NZEF and attached to units throughout the New Zealand Division to provide Ordnance Services.

Once in France, Ordnance soldiers got to the business of supporting the NZ Division. Although not front-line troops, they were still close enough to experience the occasional shelling, as this article in the Poverty Bay Herald of 8 September 1916 describes:

Corporal J.J Roberts of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, “Somewhere in France” writes under date June 2lst. ‘Yesterday the Germans dropped a shell on a church situated: some 200 yards away, removing the steeple, the shell passed right over our store, fortunately, for had it dropped short it would have been the finish of us. The sight was a sad one to witness the church in flames. We live very well here, The bedding is good, being most comfortable, in fact what with blankets and white sheets to cover us and a picture show with a change of pictures nightly, little is wanted. It is very quiet here the fighting on the Peninsula was ten times worse than this.

Promoted to Captain, Levien was appointed the Chief Ordnance Officer for the NZEF in the United Kingdom, where he worked with the Army Ordnance Corps, Australians and Canadians to establish standard systems and procedures, at the same time organising and developing New Zealand Ordnance Sections and Depots at all training camps and Hospitals throughout England.

In 1917 Levien was attached to the Woolwich Arsenal and the Army Clothing Depot at Pimlico for 6 and 4 weeks, respectively, where he was taught the basics of ammunition construction and methods of accounting and issuing ordnance stores. On his return, he then inaugurated new and improved systems, which were approved by the NZ HQ and distributed to all commands to become the basis of future Ordnance services in the NZEF for the remainder of its existence. Promoted to Major, Levien was then posted to Sling Camp.


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

By 1918 the NZAOC had grown to an establishment strength of 3 Officers and 53 ORs under the control of the NZEF Administrative Headquarters in London, with the New Zealand Ordnance Base Depot at Farringdon Street, London, and an Ordnance Dept at Sling Camp.


With the cessation of hostilities in Nov 1919, the NZ Division marched into Germany as part of the British Army of the Rhine Occupation Forces.  Based in Cologne, the NZ Division demobilised and, by the end of 1919, had returned to New Zealand. As the Division disbanded, the NZAOC was extremely busy in both Germany and England, receiving war material from Division units, sorting, grading it and either retaining it for the return to New Zealand, disposing it in situ or returning it to the British Authorities.


Rows of New Zealand military transport, Mulheim, Germany, 1919. National Library of New Zealand/Public Domain

The Bulk of the NZAOC personnel had been demobilised by the end of 1919, but there is some evidence that some individual members were retained with the NZEF Headquarters in London, carrying out residual tasks until as late as 1922.

On return to New Zealand, some members of the NZEF NZAOC were employed in the home service NZAOC and NZAOD, some continued their Territorial service with their original units, but most returned to civilian life, putting their wartime service behind then

NZ Ordnance Staff 1919

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

Officer Commanding NZEF NZAOC

  • Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert, NZAOC   Jan 1916-May 1917
  • Lieutenant Colonels H.E Pilkington, RNZA 30 Jun 1918- 22 Jan 20
  • Temporary Captain Wilhelm Henchcliffe Simmons, NZAOC  20 Feb 20 – 13 Oct 1920


  • Lieutenant Colonels H.E Pilkington, RNZA, held the position of NZEF Assistant Director of Ordnance Services from June 1918 to 30 October 1919
  • Captain Herbert Henry Whyte, MC, NZAOC, held the position of NZEF Acting Assistance Director of Ordnance Services from 30 October 1919 until 20 Feb 1920.

NZ Division DADOS

The Deputy Assistance Directors of Ordnance Services were.

  • Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert, NZAOC,  Jan 1916 to Mar 1918
  • Major Charles Ingram Gossage, NZAOC, Mar 1918 – Jan 1920

Between 1914 and 1920, members of the NZAOC served in all the NZEF Theatres as part of the ANZAC Mounted Division in the Middle East, the New Zealand and Australian Division in Egypt and Gallipoli, the New Zealand Division in France, and the New Zealand Occupation Forces in Germany.

Conductor Rank

Records suggest that the NZAOC adopted the British system of Conductor ranks.  Established on 11 January 1879 by Royal Warrant, the position of Conductor Stores in the Ordnance Store Branch (in 1896 became the Royal Army Ordnance Corps) established warrant officers as ranking above all non-commissioned officers. From 1896 Staff sergeant majors in the RAOC were renamed sub-conductors. In February 1915, with the general introduction of warrant officers throughout the army, conductors and sub-conductors became warrant officers class I. In 1915. The authorised rank insignia was a crown in a laurel wreath and sub-conductors the royal coat of arms. A List of the known NZEF NZAOC Conductors can be found on the attached link: NZEF NZAOC Conductors Nominal Roll

The Men of the NZEF NZAOC

A nominal roll of the known members of the NZEF NZAOC can be found on the attached link: NZAOC NOMINAL ROLL, it details the dates that they were posted to the NZAOC and their rank and date of posting from the strength of the NZAOC.


It is unknown what the process was that led to the introduction of the NZAOC badge.  In late 1916 Captain Levien, Chief Ordnance Officer for the NZEF, was working with all the Commonwealth Ordnance Services, including the Canadians, in establishing Depots and standard systems and procedures which is likely to have been a considerable influence on the design.


Canadian Ordnance Corps badge, 1903-1922. Robert McKie collection

Existing examples of the NZEF NZAOC Badge were manufactured by J R Gaunt of London. The Badges were produced by the die stamping process, and the NZ was sweated on, which leads to the assumption that either surplus UK AOD badges were utilised or new badges were made using existing dies.
Matching Collar badges were produced and were miniatures of the cap badge, in pairs with the cannons facing inwards.

nzaoc patt1

New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Badge, 1916-1919. Robert McKie Collection

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017