The Pātaka of Ngāti Tumatauenga: NZ Ordnance Corps Locations 1840 to 1996

The New Zealand Army evolved out of the British troops deployed during the 19th century New Zealand Wars into a unique iwi known as Ngāti Tumatauenga – ‘Tribe of the God of War’. While Ngāti Tumatauenga has an extensive and well-known Whakapapa,[1] less well known is the whakapapa of the New Zealand Army’s supply and warehousing services.

Leading up to 1996, the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (RNZAOC) was the New Zealand Army organisation with the responsibility in peace and war for the provision, storage and distribution of Arms, Ammunition, Rations and Military stores. As the army’s warehousing organisation, the RNZAOC adopted the Pātaka (The New Zealand Māori name for a storehouse) as an integral piece of its traditions and symbology. On 9 December 1996, the warehousing functions of the RNZAOC were assumed by the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR).

Unpacked on this page and on the attached Web Application “the Pātaka of Ngati Tumatauenga” the evolution of New Zealand’s Army’s Ordnance services is examined. From a single storekeeper in1840, the organisation would grow through the New Zealand Wars, the World Wars and Cold War into an organisation with global reach providing support to New Zealand Forces in New Zealand and across the globe.

Description of Ordnance Units

In general terms, Ordnance units can be described as:

  • Main/Base Depots– A battalion-sized group, commanded by a lieutenant colonel. Usually a significant stock holding unit, responsible for the distribution of stock to other ordnance installations.
  • Central Ordnance Depots/Supply Company– Company-sized units, commanded by a major. Depending on the role of the unit, the following subunits could be included in the organisation:
    • Provision, Control & Accounts
    • Stores sub-depot/platoon
      • Traffic Centre
      • Camp Equipment
      • Technical Stores
      • Expendables
      • Clothing
      • Returned Stores & Disposals
        • Textile Repair
        • Tailors
        • Boot Repair
      • Ammunition Sub-Depot/Platoon
      • Vehicles Sub-Depot/Platoon
      • Services Sub-Depot/Platoon
        • Bath and Shower
        • Laundry
      • Rations Sub-Depot/Platoon (after 1979)
      • Fresh Rations
      • Combat Rations
      • Butchers
      • Petroleum Platoon (after 1979)
      • Vehicle Depots
    • Workshops Stores Sections – In 1962, RNZAOC Stores Sections carrying specialised spares, assemblies and workshops materials to suit the particular requirement of its parent RNZEME workshops were approved and RNZEME Technical Stores personnel employed in these were transferred to the RNZAOC.[2] [3]
    • Workshops. Before 1947, Equipment repair workshops were part of the Ordnance organisation, types of Workshop included:
      • Main Workshop
      • Field/Mobile Workshop
      • Light Aid Detachments

Unit naming conventions

The naming of Ordnance units within New Zealand was generally based upon the unit locations or function or unit.

Supply Depots were initially named based on the district they belonged to:

  • Upper North Island – Northern District Ordnance Depot
  • Lower North Island – Central Districts Ordnance Depot
  • South Island – Southern Districts Ordnance Depot

In 1968 a regionally based numbering system was adopted

  • 1 for Ngaruawahia
  • 2 for Linton
  • 3 for Burnham
  • 4 for Waiouru

Some exceptions were:

  • 1 Base Depot and 1st Base Supply Battalion, single battalion-sized unit, the name were based on role, not location.
  • 1 Composite Ordnance Company, a unique company-sized group, the name was based on function, not location

When the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps (RNZASC) became the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport (RNZCT) in 1979, the supply functions were transferred to the RNZAOC with the 1st number signifying the location with the 2nd number been 4 for all Supply Platoons:

  • 14 Supply Platoon, Papakura
  • 24 Supply Platoon, Linton
  • 34 Supply Platoon, Burnham
  • 44 Supply Platoon, Waiouru
  • 54 Supply Platoon, Trentham

Exceptions were:

  • 21 Supply Company – Retained its name as a historical link to the unit’s long history in the RNZASC.
  • 47 Petroleum Platoon, originally 7 Petroleum Platoon RNZASC, when Transferred to the RNZAOC, as it was based in Waiouru it added the Waiouru unit designation ‘4’ and became 47 Petroleum Platoon RNZAOC

Unit locations New Zealand, 1907–1996


9 Magazines Operational from 1943, closed late 1950’s


20 Magazines operational from 1943


There has been an Ordnance presence in Auckland since the 1840s with the Colonial Storekeeper and Imperial forces. The Northern Districts Ordnance Depot was situated in Mount Eden in the early 1900s. In the 1940s the centre for Ordnance Support for the Northern Districts moved to Ngaruawahia, with a Sub depot remaining at Narrow Neck to provided immediate support.

RNZAOC units that have been accommodated at Auckland have been:

Stores Depot

  • Northern District Ordnance Depot, Goal Reserve, Mount Eden 1907 to 1929.[4]
  • Northern District Ordnance Depot, Narrow Neck, 1929 to? [5]
  • 1 Supply Company, from 1989, Papakura
  • 12 Supply Company
  • 12 Field Supply Company
  • 15 Combat Supplies Platoon, 1 Logistic Regiment
  • 52 Supply Platoon, 5 Force Support Company

Vehicle Depot

  • Northern Districts Vehicle Depot, Sylvia Park, 1948-1961
  • Northern Districts Ordnance Depot, Vehicle Sub Depot, Sylvia Park, 1961 – 1968
  • 1 Central Ordnance Depot (1 COD), Vehicle Sub Depot, Sylvia Park, 1968 to 1979
  • 1 Supply Company, Vehicle Sub Depot, Sylvia Park, 1979 to 1989

Ammunition Depot

  • Northern Districts Ammunition Depot, Ardmore

Other Units

  • Bulk Stores Mangere, the 1940s (Part of MOD Trentham)
  • DSS Fort Cautley.


Located at the Torpedo Yard, North Head

  • Ordnance Workshop Devonport, 1925-1941
  • No 12 Ordnance Workshop, Devonport, 1941–1946

Workshop Stores Section

  • 1 Infantry Workshop, Stores Section, Papakura 1962–1986
  • 1 Field Workshop Store Section, Papakura
  • 1 Transport Company Workshop, Stores Section, Fort Cautley


Operational from 1943

  • MOD Trentham, Ammunition Group, Ammunition Section


Stores Depot

1921 saw the establishment of a single Command Ordnance Depot to service all military units in the newly organised Southern Military Command. Before this, Ordnance stores had operated from Christchurch and Dunedin. The new Depot (later renamed the Third Central Ordnance Depot) was established in the buildings of the former Industrial School at Burnham. Re-structuring in 1979 brought a change of name to 3 Supply Company.[6] [7] [8]

  • Stores Depot titles 1921–1996
    • Area Ordnance Department Burnham, 1920 to 1939,
    • Southern Districts Ordnance Depot, 1939 to 1942,
    • No 3 Sub Depot, 1942 – 1948,
    • Southern Districts Ordnance Depot, 1948 – 1968,
    • 3 Central Ordnance Depot (3 COD), 1968 to 1979, [9]
    • 3 Supply Company, 1979 to 1993,
    • Burnham Supply Center,1993 to 1994,
    • 3 Field Supply Company, 1994 to 1996.

Vehicle Depot

  • Southern Districts Vehicle Depot, 1948-1961.

Ammunition Depot

  • Southern Districts Vehicle Ammunition 1954-1961.

Other Ordnance Units

  • Combat Supplies Platoon. 1979 to 19??,
  • Ready Reaction Force Ordnance Support Group (RRF OSG), 19?? To 1992, moved to Linton,
  • 32 Field Supply Company (Territorial Force Unit).

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 3 Infantry Brigade Group OFP Platoon, 21 October 1948 – 28 June 1955.
  • 1 (NZ) Division OFP, Tech Stores Platoon, 28 June 1955 -,


  • No 14 Ordnance Workshop, until 1946.

Workshop Stores Section

  • Southern Districts Workshop, Stores Section,
  • 3 Field Workshop, Store Section.


Stores Depot

  • Canterbury and Nelson Military District Stores Depot, King Edwards Barracks, Christchurch, 1907 to 1921.

Workshop Stores Section

  • Southern Districts Workshop, Stores Section, Addington,
  • 3 Infantry Brigade Workshop, Stores Section, Addington,
  • 3 Transport Company Workshop, Stores Section, Addington.


Stores Depot

  • Otago and Southland Military Districts Stores Depot, 1907 to 1921


Nine magazines Operational 1943.


Featherston Camp was New Zealand’s largest training camp during the First World War, where around 60,000 young men trained for overseas service between 1916 – 1918. An Ordnance Detachment was maintained in Featherston until 1927 when it functions were transferred to Northern Districts Ordnance Depot, Ngaruawahia.[10]

Glen Tunnel

16 magazines Operational from 1943


Proof Office, Small Arms Ammunition Factory, 1943-1946

Kelms Road

55 Magazines Operational from 1943

Linton Camp

RNZAOC units that have been accommodated at Linton have been;

Stores Depot

  • No 2 Ordnance Depot, 1 October 1946  to 1948,
  • Central Districts Ordnance Depot,  1948 to 1968,
  • 2 Central Ordnance Depot (2 COD), 1968 to 1979,[11]
  • 2 Supply Company, 1979 to 1985,
  • 5 Composite Supply Company, 1985 to 1990.
  • 21 Field Supply Company 1990 to 1996

Vehicle Depot

  • Central Districts Vehicle Depot, 1957-1961

Ammunition Depot


Ordnance Field Parks

  • 2nd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon 1948-48
  • 22 Ordnance Field Park

Workshop Stores Section

  • 1 General Troops Workshop, Stores Section
  • Linton Area Workshop, Stores Section
  • 5 Engineer Workshop, Store Section

Other Ordnance Units

  • 24 Supply Platoon
  • 23 Combat Supplies Platoon
  • 47 Petroleum Platoon 1984 to 1996
  • Ready Reaction Force Ordnance Support Group (RRF OSG), from Burnham in 1992 absorbed into 21 Field Supply Company. [12]

Lower Hutt

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 1 (NZ) Division OFP, Tech Stores Platoon, 28 June 1955 –


First used as a tented camp during the First World War and in the Second World War Mangaroa was the site of an RNZAF Stores Depot from 1943. The depot with a storage capacity of 25,000 sq ft in 8 ‘Adams type’ Buildings was Handed over to the NZ Army by 1949.[13] The units that have been accommodated at Mangaroa have been:

Supply Depot

  • Main Ordnance Depot,1949–1968,
  • 1 Base Ordnance Depot, 1968–1979,
  • 1st Base Supply Battalion, 1979–1985,
    • ACE(Artillery and Camp Equipment) Group

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 4(NZ) Division Ordnance Field Park(OFP), 1950–1963,
  • 1 Infantry Brigade Group, OFP, 1963–1968,
  • 1st Composite Ordnance Company (1 Comp Ord Coy), 1964–1977,
    1 Comp Ord Coy was the Ordnance Bulk Holding unit for the field force units supporting the Combat Brigade Group and the Logistic Support Group and held 60–90 days war reserve stock. 1 Comp Ord Coy was made up of the following subunits: [14]

    • Coy HQ
    • 1 Platoon, General Stores
    • 2 Platoon, Technical Stores
    • 3 Platoon, Vehicles
    • 4 Platoon, Ammo (located at Moko Moko)
    • 5 Platoon, Laundry
    • 6 Platoon, Bath

Mako Mako

39 magazines operational from 1943

  • MOD Trentham, Ammunition Group, Ammunition Section
  • 2 COD Ammunition Section

Mount Somers

10 Magazines operational from 1943


Ngaruawahia also was known as Hopu Hopu was established in 1927, [15] and allowed the closure of Featherston Ordnance Depot and the Auckland Ordnance Depot and was intended to service the northern regions. During construction, Ngaruawahia was described by the Auckland Star as “Probably the greatest Ordnance Depot”[16] Ngaruawahia closed down in 1989, and its Ordnance functions moved to Papakura and Mount Wellington.
RNZAOC units that have been accommodated at Ngaruawahia have been:

Stores Depot

  • Area Ngaruwahia Ordnance Department 1927 to 1940,
  • Northern District Ordnance Depot, 1940 to 1968,
  • 1 Central Ordnance Depot (1 COD), 1968 to 1979,
  • 1 Supply Company, 1979 to 1989,
  • 1 Field Supply Company, 1984, from 1989, Papakura.  [17]

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 1 Infantry Brigade Group, Ordnance Field Park(OFP), 1968 to 1979, support to Combat Brigade Group

Workshop Stores Section

  • 1 Infantry Brigade Group LAD, Stores Section

Other Ordnance Units

  • Northern Districts Ammunition Depot, Kelms Road

 Palmerston North

  • Palmerston North Detachment, NZAOC, Awapuni Racecourse, 1914 to 1921.[18] [19] [20]
  • Depot Closed and stocks moved to Trentham.
  • Ordnance Store, 327 Main Street Circa 1917-1921.[21]
  • No 2 Ordnance Sub Depot, Palmerston North showgrounds, 1942 to 1946 when depot moved to Linton.


Stores Depot

  • Main Ordnance Depot (MOD), 1920 to 1968
  • Base Ordnance Depot (BOD), 1968 to 1979
  • 1st Base Supply Battachedalion (1BSB), 1979 to 1993
  • 5 Logistic Regiment (5LR), 1993 to 8 December 1996 when Transferred to the RNZALR.

Ordnance School

  • RNZAOC School, 1958 to 1994
  • Supply/Quartermaster Wing and Ammunition Wing, Trade Training School 1994 to 1996. [21]


  • Main Ordnance Workshop, 1917 to 1946.[22]

Workshop Stores Section

  • 1 Base Workshop, Stores Section

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 4(NZ) Division Ordnance Field Park(OFP), 1950–1963

Vehicle Depot

  • Central Districts Vehicle Depot, 1948 – 1957

Ammunition Units

  • HQ Ammunition Group, sections at Belmont, Moko Moko, Kuku Valley, Waiouru
  • Ammunition Proof and Experimental Centre, Kuku Valley
  • Central Military District Ammunition Repair Depot, Kuku Valley


Ordnance Sub Depots were established at Waiouru in 1940, which eventually grew into a stand-alone Supply Company.[23]

RNZAOC units that have supported Waiouru have been;

Stores Depot

  • Main Ordnance Depot, Waiouru Sub-Depot, 1940–1946, Initially managed as a Sub-Depot of the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham, Ordnance units in Waiouru consisted of:
    • Artillery Sub Depot
    • Bulk Stores Depot
    • Ammunition Section
  • Central Districts Ordnance Depot, Waiouru Sub Depot (1946–1976).[24] In 1946 Waiouru became a Sub-Depot of the Central Districts Ordnance Depot in Linton, consisting of:
    • Ammo Group
    • Vehicle Group
    • Camp Equipment Group.
  • 4 Central Ordnance Deport, (1976–1979) On 1 April 1976 became a stand-alone Depot in its own right. [25]
  • 4 Supply Company, (1979–1989)
    when the RNZASC was disbanded in 1979 and its supply functions transferred to the RNZAOC, 4 Supply gained the following RNZASC units:[26]

    • HQ 21 Supply Company,(TF element)(1979–1984)
      21 Supply Company was retained as a Territorial unit for training and exercise purposes and was capable of providing a Supply Company Headquarter capable of commanding up to five subunits.
    • 47 Petroleum Platoon (1979–1984)
    • 44 Supply Platoon
  • Central Q, (1989–1993)
  • 4 Field Supply Company, (1993–1994)
  • Distribution Company, 4 Logistic Regiment, (1994–1996)

Workshop Stores Section

  • Waiouru Workshop, Stores Section
  • 4 ATG Workshop, Stores Section
  • 1 Armoured Workshop, Store Section
  • QAMR Workshop, Store Section


The Board of Ordnance originally had a warehouse in Manners Street, but after the 1850 earthquake severely damaged this building, 13 acres of Mount Cook was granted to the Board of Ordnance, starting a long Ordnance association with the Wellington area.

Stores Depot

  • Central Districts Ordnance Depot, Alexandra Military Depot, Mount Cook, 1907 to 1920.[27]
  • New Zealand Ordnance Section, Fort Ballance, Wellington, 1915 to 1917.[28]


  • Armament Workshop, Alexandra Military Depot.[29]

Unit locations overseas, 1914–1920

Few records trace with any accuracy New Zealand Ordnance units that served overseas in the First World War. Although the NZAOC was not officially created until 1917.[30] The New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps was constituted as part of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in 1914 for overseas service only and in 1919 its members demobilised, returned to their parent units or mustered into the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (Officers) or New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (other Ranks) on their return to New Zealand.


  • Ordnance Depot, Zeitoun Camp, 1914-16
  • Ordnance Depot Alexandra, 1915-16
    • 12 Rue de la, Porte Rosette, Alexandria. [31]
    • New Zealand Ordnance Store, Shed 43, Alexandria Docks.[32]
  • NZ Ordnance Section, NZEF Headquarters in Egypt
    • Qasr El Nil Barracks, Cairo.[33]


  • NZAOC Detachment, Fiji Expeditionary Force, Suva – February- April 1920


  • Ordnance Depot, Mulheim, Cologne


  • Ordnance Depot, Sapri Camp, Lemnos Island, October – December 1915


  • 1 Base Depot


  • Ordnance Depot, ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli, April – Dec 1915

 United Kingdom

  • New Zealand Ordnance Base Depot Farringdon Street, London
  • Ordnance Depot, Cosford Camp

Unit locations overseas, 1939–1946



  • Office of the DDOS 2NZEF, 22 Aig 1941 to Sept 1942
  • Office of the ADOS 2NZEF, Sept 1942 to 1 Sept 1945

Base Units


  • New Zealand Base Ordnance Depot, Maadi, 1940 to 19 Feb 1944
  • No 1 New Zealand Base Ordnance Depot,  16 Feb 1944 to 1946

Workshops (until Sept 1942 when transferred to NZEME)

  • NZ Base Ordnance Workshop


  • NZ Base Laundry, 30 Sept 1942 – 30 Sept 1943


  • Engineer and Ordnance Training Depot, Maadi Camp

Field Units


  • 2 NZ Divisional Ordnance Field Park, 28 Jul 1941 – 29 Dec 1945
  • NZ Divisional Mobile Bath Unit, 6 Sept 1941  –  30 Sept 1942
  • NZ Divisional Mobile Laundry & Decontamination Unit, 22 Sept 1941 – 27 Mar 1942
  • NZ Divisional Mobile Laundry, 27 Mar 1942 – 30 Sept 1942
  • NZ Salvage Unit, 16 Aug 1941 – 20 Oct 1942

Workshops (until Sept 1942 when transferred to NZEME)

  • 2 NZ Divisional Ordnance Workshops
  • 1 NZ Field Workshop
  • 2 NZ Field Workshop
  • 3 NZ Field Workshop
  • 14 NZ Anti-Aircraft Workshop Section
  • 9 NZ Light Aid Detachment (attached 4 Fd Regt)
  • 10 NZ LAD (attached 5 Fd Pk Coy)
  • 11 NZ LAD (attached HQ 4 NZ Inf Bde)
  • 12 NZ LAD (attached 27 NZ (MG) Bn) Disbanded 15 Oct 1942
  • 13 NZ LAD (attached 2 NZ Div Cav)
  • 14 NZ LAD (attached 2 NZ Div Sigs)
  • 15 NZ LAD (attached 7 NZ A Tk Regt)
  • 16 NZ LAD (attached HQ 5 Fd Regt)
  • 17 NZ LAD (attached HQ 5 NZ Inf Bde)
  • 18 NZ LAD (attached 6 NZ Fd Regt)
  • 19 NZ LAD (attached HQ 6 NZ Inf Bde)


  • 2 Independent (NZ) Brigade Group Workshop.[34]
  • 5 Independent (NZ) Brigade Group Workshop. [35]
  • Light Aid Detachments x 11
  • 1 Ordnance Field Park (British OFP attached to NZ Division).[36]



  • Office of the ADOS 2NZEF, 6 Jun 1945 to 1 Sept 1945

Base units

  • No 2 New Zealand Base Ordnance Depot, Bari, 16 Feb 1944 – 2 Feb 1946.[37]
    •  Advanced Section of Base Depot, Senegallia, Sept 44 – Feb 46.
  • NZ Advanced Ordnance Depot,   1943- 14 Feb 1944 (Absorbed into OFP)

Field units

  • NZ Division Ordnance Field Park OFP, – 29 Dec 1945
  • NZ Advanced Ordnance Depot, 27 Oct 1945- 1 Feb 1946
  • NZ Mobile Laundry Unit, 1 Oct 1943 – 16 Feb 1944
  • NZ Mobile Bath Unit, 18 Oct 1943 – 16 Feb 1944
  • MZ Mobile Laundry and Bath Unit, 16 Feb 1944 – 8 Dec 1945
  • NZ Vehicle and Stores Reception Depot, 27 Oct 1944 – 1 Feb 1946
    • Vehicle Depot, Assisi, 27 Oct 1945 – Jan 1946.[38]
    • Stores Depot, Perugia, 27 Oct 1945 – Feb 1946.[39]


  • Divisional Ordnance Headquarters
  • Base Ordnance Depot
  • Division Ordnance Workshop
  • ‘A’ Workshop Section
  • ‘B Workshop Section
  • 20th Light Aid Detachment
  • 36th Light Aid Detachment
  • 37th Light Aid Detachment

New Caledonia

  • Base Ordnance Depot
  • Division Ordnance Workshop

Solomon Islands

  • Advanced Ordnance Depot, Guadalcanal. Officer Commanding and Chief Ordnance Officer, Captain Noel McCarthy.


  • 16 Brigade Group Ordnance Field Park
  • 16 Brigade Group Workshop

Unit locations overseas, 1945–1996


  • Base Ordnance Depot, Kure (RAOC unit, NZAOC personnel attached)
  • 4 Forward Ordnance Depot, supporting NZ 9 Inf Brigade Group, later renamed 4 Advanced Ordnance Depot
  • 4 Advanced Ordnance Depot


No Standalone units but individual RNZAOC personnel served in 4 Ordnance Composite Depot (4 OCD) RAOC.


No standalone RNZAOC units, but individual RNZAOC personnel may have served in the following British and Commonwealth Ordnance units:

  • 3 Base Ordnance Depot, RAOC, Singapore
  • 28 Commonwealth Brigade Ordnance Field Park, Terendak, Malaysia.


Stores Depot

  • 5 Advanced Ordnance Depot, 1970–1971
    5 Advanced Ordnance Depot (5 AOD) was a short-lived Bi-National Ordnance Depot operated by the RAAOC and RNZAOC in Singapore, 1970 to 1971.
  • ANZUK Ordnance Depot, 1971–1974
    ANZUK Ordnance Depot was the Tri-National Ordnance Depot supporting the short-lived ANZUK Force. Staffed by service personnel from the RAOC, RAAOC and RNZAOC with locally Employed Civilians (LEC) performing the basic clerical, warehousing and driving tasks. It was part of the ANZUK Support Group supporting ANZUK Force in Singapore between 1971 to 1974. ANZUK Ordnance Depot was formed from the Australian/NZ 5 AOD and UK 3BOD and consisted of:

    • Stores Sub Depot
    • Vehicle Sub Depot
    • Ammunition Sub Depot
    • Barrack Services Unit
    • Forward Ordnance Depot(FOD)
  • New Zealand Advanced Ordnance Depot, 1974–1989
    From 1974 to 1989 the RNZAOC maintained the New Zealand Advanced Ordnance Depot(NZAOD) in Singapore as part of New Zealand Force South East Asia (NZFORSEA).

Workshops Stores Section

  • New Zealand Workshops, RNZAOC Stores Section
  • 1RNZIR, Light Aid Detachment Stores Section


The RNZAOC (with RNZCT, RNZEME, RNZSig, RNZMC specialist attachments) contributed to the New Zealand Governments commitment to the International and United Nations Operation in Somalia(UNOSOM) efforts in Somalia with:

  • Supply Detachment, Dec 1992 to June 1993
  • Supply Platoon x 2 rotations, July 1993 to July 1994 (reinforced with RNZIR Infantry Section)
  • RNZAOC officers to UNOSOM headquarters, 1992 to 1995.[40]

South Vietnam

During New Zealand’s commitment to the war in South Vietnam (29 June 1964 – 21 December 1972). The Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps did not contribute a standalone unit but provided individuals to serve in New Zealand Headquarters units, Composite Logistic units or as part of Australian Ordnance Units including:

  • Headquarters Vietnam Force (HQ V Force)
  • 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF)
  • 1st Australian Logistic Support Group (1 ALSG)
  • 161 Battery Attachments (161 Bty Attached)
  • New Zealand Rifle Companies
  • 161st (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018


[1] Whakapapa is a taxonomic framework that links all animate and inanimate, known and unknown phenomena in the terrestrial and spiritual worlds. Whakapapa, therefore, binds all things. It maps relationships so that mythology, legend, history, knowledge, Tikanga (custom), philosophies and spiritualities are organised, preserved and transmitted from one generation to the next. “Rāwiri Taonui, ‘Whakapapa – Genealogy – What Is Whakapapa?’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Http://Www.Teara.Govt.Nz/En/Whakapapa-Genealogy/Page-1 (Accessed 3 June 2019).”

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

[3] A.J. Polaschek and Medals Research Christchurch, The Complete New Zealand Distinguished Conduct Medal: Being an Account of the New Zealand Recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal from the Earliest Times of the South African War to the Present Time, Together with Brief Biographical Notes and Details of Their Entitlement to Other Medals, Orders and Decorations (Medals Research Christchurch, 1983).

[4] “Dismantling of Buildings at Mt Eden and Reassembling at Narrow Neck,” New Zealand Herald, vol. LXVI, p. 5, 2 February 1929.

[5] “The Narrow Neck Camp,” New Zealand Herald, vol. LVIII, no. 17815, p. 6, 23 June 1921.

[6] John J. Storey and J. Halket Millar, March Past: A Review of the First Fifty Years of Burnham Camp (Christchurch, N.Z.: Pegasus Press, 1973, 1974 printing, 1973), Non-fiction.

[7] “Camp at Burnham,” Star, no. 16298, p. 8, 13 December 1920.

[8] “RNZAOC Triennial Conference,” in Handbook – RNZAOC Triennial Conference, Wellington,”  (1981).

[9][9] “NZ P106 Dos Procedure Instructions, Part 1 Static Support Force. Annex F to Chapter 1, Rnzaoc Director of Ordnance Services,”  (1978).

[10] ” Featherston Military Training Camp and the First World War, 1915–27,”

[11] “NZ P106 Dos Procedure Instructions, Part 1 Static Support Force. Annex F to Chapter 1, Rnzaoc Director of Ordnance Services.”

[12] “Stockholding for Operationally Deployable Stockholding Units,” NZ Army General Staff, Wellington  (1993.).

[13] L Clifton, Aerodrome Services, ed. Aerodrome Services Branch of the Public Works Department War History (Wellington1947).

[14] “1 Comp Ord Coy,” Pataka Magazine, February 1979.

[15] “D-01 Public Works Statement by the Hon. J. G. Coates, Minister of Public Works,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1 January,”  (1925).

[16] “Great Military Camp,” The Auckland Star, vol. LVI, no. 83, p. 5, 8 April 1925.

[17] “1st Field Supply Company Standing Operating Procedures, 1st Supply Company Training Wing, Dec “,  (1984).

[18] W.H. Cunningham and C.A.L. Treadwell, Wellington Regiment: N. Z. E. F 1914-1918 (Naval & Military Press, 2003).

[19] “Defence Re-Organisation,” Manawatu Times, vol. XLII, no. 1808, p. 5, 5 May  1921.

[20] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 25th June 1914 to 26th June, 1915.,” “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1915).

[21] “NZ Army Ordnance Stores, ,”

[22] “Pataka Magazine. RNZAOC, P. 52,,”  (1994).

[23] “Waiouru Camp  “, Ellesmere Guardian, vol. LXI, no. 90, p. 2, 12 November 1940

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

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] “Ordnance Stores,” Evening Post, vol. c, no. 95, p. 8, 19 October 1920.

[28] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 25th June 1914 to 26th June 1915.”

“, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1915).

[29] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces, from 1st June 1916 to 31st May 1917,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1917).

[30] “Colonel Rhodes,” Dominion, vol. 9, no. 2718, p. 9, 13 March 1916. .

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Glyn Harper, Johnny Enzed: The New Zealand Soldier in the First World War 1914-1918, First World War Centenary History (Titirangi, Auckland, New Zealand: Exisle Publishing, 2015

[Limited Leather Bound Edition], 2015), Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

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

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid.

[37] New Zealand War Histories – Italy Volume Ii : From Cassino to Trieste,  (Victoria University of Wellington, 1967).

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] “Somalia: 1992 – 1995,” NZ Army,”


NZAOC in the New Zealand Division – August 1916 to June 1918

The participation of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) as part of the New Zealand Division on the Western Front during the First World War is one that remains mostly forgotten. Under the supervision of the Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (DADOS) the NZAOC would grow from an initial staff of two men and a horse in 1914, too, by the standards of the day an effective Ordnance organisation of several Officers, Conductors and Soldiers providing Ordnance services on par to their counterparts in the British and other Commonwealth Divisions. This article, through the war diaries of the DADOS Branch of the NZ Division, takes a snapshot view of the activities of the NZAOC between August 1916 to June 1918.

The DADOS was an Ordnance officer attached to the Headquarters of each Division of the British and Dominion Armies during the 1914-18 war and was typically a Lieutenant Colonel or Major of the Army Ordnance Corps.[1]  The DADOS branch of the New Zealand Division Headquarters was constituted on the reorganisation of the New Zealand Division in Egypt in early 1916. From January 1916 to May 1919 the position of NZ Division DADOS would be held by two officers;

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert, NZAOC, Jan 1916 to March 1918.
  • Temporary Captain (Later Major) Charles Ingram Gossage, NZAOC, March 1918 to May 1919.

Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert, NZAOC. Auckland museum/Public Domain

Temporary Major Charles Ingram Gossage

9/39 Temporary Major Charles Ingram Gossage OBE. National Library of New Zealand/public domain

By 1918 the DADOS Branch, also referred to as the NZAOC or NZ Ordnance Department would consist of Officers, Warrant Officers (Conductors and Sub Conductors) and Non Commissioned Offices and Soldiers working as Clerks, Storemen and Armourers.

The role of the DADOS and his Staff[2] was to deal with all matters affecting the Ordnance services of the division. The DADOS would manage the state of the clothing and equipment on the charge of the units composing the division and would from time to time advise the officers in charge of the stores which in all probability would be required for operations.[3]

Ord Manual 1914

It was the duty of the DADOS to bring to notice of the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Division any extravagance and waste of Ordnance Stores undertaken by units of the Division. To enable him to judge whether stores were receiving fair treatment it was essential that the DADOS and his staff were fully conversant with the general condition of the equipment in possession of the troops, and the justifications for indents for replacement of additional stores. In the New Zealand Division, the DADOS Staff consisted of men who had obtained experience in Ordnance duties early in the war at Samoa, Gallipoli, or in the New Zealand Ordnance Depots at Alexandria and Zeitoun Camp.

The DADOS and his staff would arrange for the disposal of unserviceable ordnance stores in possession of units. Unserviceable stores would be sent to the nearest ordnance depot for repair, if transport, time and the condition of the articles justified it; otherwise, the DADOS would authorise their destruction or if not likely to be of any value to the enemy, abandoned.

After engagements, the DADOS branch would superintend the Divisional Salvage Company and medical units with the collecting and disposing of arms, equipment, ammunition, accoutrements and personal kit of the killed and wounded, or if a unit was advancing, the collection of material left behind as units advanced.

In conjunction with the Medical services, the DADOS branch would also oversee the establishment and operation of Divisional and Brigade Bathhouses and Laundries and provide management for the stocks of clothing for exchange and laundering.

The New Zealand Division was at the end of a very comprehensive Ordnance network that extended from Base Depots in England to Ordnance Depots and Workshops at Calais (Supporting the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Armies and units of the Northern Lines of Communication) and Le Harve (Supporting the 4th and 5th Armies and units of the Southern Lines of Communication).[4] Despite the Ordnance support available to the New Zealand Division the DADOS branch would also establish its own Ordnance Depots and Dumps to manage the vast quantities of equipment coming and going from the NZ Divisions Area of Operation before and after certain operations and for events such as the changeover from summer to winter clothing scales.

Given the nature of trench warfare, when units were in the line, there was little work for the specialist tradesmen in their ranks to do. As a measure of economy and to some degree self-reliance towards the maintenance of items most important to the soldier on the line, his weapon and his boots, Armourers and bootmakers were brigaded into Divisional Armourers and Boot repair shops. Under the supervision of the DADOS Branch but not officially part of the Division establishment these Divisional workshops ensured substantial savings in transporting goods for repair between the front and the rear. [5]

NZ Division NZAOC Personnel

No complete nominal roll of NZAOC personnel who served in the New Zealand Division exists, and the nominal roll and monthly records which have been added into the monthly War Diary’s on the promotions and movements of NZAOC personnel from August 1916 to June 1918 have been created using the individual’s personnel records.

NZAOC Nominal roll Start of August 1916

  • 11/1079 Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert (DADOS)
  • 7/463 2nd Lieutenant Kenneth Bruce MacRae (Officer Commanding Divisional Salvage Company)
  • 9/39 Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor) Charles Ingram Gossage
  • 12/1025 Acting Warrant Officer Class One (Acting Sub-Conductor) William Hall Densby Coltman
  • 23/659 Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant William Henchcliffe Simmons
  • 12/736 Sergeant John Francis Goulding
  • 23/1457 Sergeant Percy Clarence O’Hara
  • 26/1155a Armourer Sergeant Charles Alfred Oldbury
  • 6/1147 Armourer Sergeant Walter Gus Smiley
  • 10/2484 Corporal Harold Gordon Hill
  • 10/1631 Corporal John Joseph Roberts
  • 11/337 Trooper William Alexander Mason
  • 8/584 Private Frank Percy Hutton
  • 6/3459 Private Clarence Adrian Seay
  • 12/944 Private Albert John Walton



Aug 1916 cover

As with any British or Dominion units, the DADOS branch was required to maintain a diary in which all matters connected with the DADOS branch was concisely but clearly recorded. Providing a daily account of the activities of the DADOS branch, many of the entries give the locations of the DADOS branch and a brief description of the key for each day. Many of the entries are listed merely as” Ordinary Routine” with others providing a more detailed account of the branch’s activities.

The following transcripts of the DADOS Diaries have been copied from the original handwritten diaries. Much of the original wording has been retained, but to improve readability, most abbreviated words and phrase have ween include in full. Place names have been checked against other NZ Division Histories, and in some occurrences, the modern place name has been used.

To provide a measure of context to operations driving the work of the DADOS Branch, operational overviews have been included for;

  • August 1916, the Somme,
  • June 1917, the Battle of Messines
  • October 1917, Passchendaele
  • March 1918, German Somme Offensive

Operational Overview August 1916

During August the NZ Division would go into action on the Somme. On 15 September 1916, The New Zealand Division would take part in its first significant action near Flers during the Somme offensive (July-November 1916). Over the next 23 days, the division suffers 7000 casualties, including more than 1500 killed.


Location: Armentières

1 – 11 August – Ordinary routine

12 August – First Issue of Lewis Machine gun carts to the Division. 72 received

13 August – Ordinary routine

  • 12/944 Private Albert John Walton admitted to No 8 Casualty Clearing Station before evacuation to England

14 August – Moved to Renescure

Location: Renescure

15 – 17 August – Ordinary routine

  • 12/736 Sergeant John Francis Goulding appointed temporary CSM

18 August – On the eve of move, Ordinary routine

19 August – A good deal of inconvenience was caused to this Department owing to units failing to manage their stores, and these had to be returned to Base.

20 August – Personnel proceeded by rail to Army Corps Abbeville and then by road to Hallencourt

Location Hallencourt

21 – 24 August – It has been found that the handing over of the trench mortar batteries to 51st Division has not been satisfactory from our point of view. Practically new Stokes guns were given in exchange for others which had been subjected to a good deal hard work and were not in a satisfactory condition 13 having to be sent to the IOM 10 Corps for overhaul and repair and further that no spare parts were handed to this Division. These have been demanded from the base and issued. A few were also sent forward from the 51st Division and have been received. 51 Trench carts were handed over, and none received in exchange, and it is found that none are available in this area.

25 – 31 August – Ordinary routine

27 August – 2/115 Staff Sergeant Fitter Donald Clyde Inglis brought on to the strength of NZ Division DADOS and promoted to Quartermaster Sergeant Fitter



Location: Hallencourt

1 – 2 September – Ordinary Routine duties

3 September – Moved from Hallencourt to Belloy Sur Somme

Location: Belloy Sur Somme

4 – 6 September – Ordinary routine

7 September – Move from Belloy Sur Somme to Allonville

Location: Allonville

8 September – Move from Allonville to Sailly-Sur-la-Lys

Location: Sailly-sur-la-Lys

9 – 27 September – Ordinary routine

25 September 1916 –

  • 10/2484 Corporal Harold Gordon Hill promoted to Sergeant
  • 6/3459 Private Clarence Adrian Seay promoted to Temporary Sergeant

28 September – During the last fortnight, a great deal of wast has taken place owing to the lack of facilities for the washing of serviceable underclothing which has become dirty and wet and which the men are unable to wash. If laundry was run in conjunction with the Corps Baths where dirty laundry could be handed in and issued clean clothing in lieu a significant saving could be affected, and it would be conducive to the comfort and health of the troops.

29 September – Ordinary routine

30 September – Endeavoured to make arrangements at Corps Baths to exchange clean underclothing for dirty but was unsuccessful.



Location: Sailly-sur-la-Lys

1 October 1916 – 12/736 Sergeant John Francis Goulding appointed as Acting Company Sergeant Major

1 – 5 October – Ordinary routine

3 October – 11/42 Armourer Sergeant Percy William Charles Dement Transferred into NZAOC ex Otago Regt

6 October – Left Sailly-sur-la-Lys for Hallencourt, Divisional Artillery remained behind and attached to 12th Division for Ordnance purposes. A Warrant Officer, a Sergeant and a Storeman of the NZAOC left with the Divisional Artillery.

Location: Hallencourt

7 October – Ordinary routine. A Warrant Officer and Storeman sent to 2nd Army Area

8 October – Kits and Blankets stored in “École libre” issued today. Difficulties in delivery owing to the inability of units to provide transport. The four motor lorries attached to Ordnance conveyed the kits etc. to the different Brigade Headquarters.

9 October – Ordinary routine

10 October – Left Hallencourt and entrained at Pont-Remy

Location: Merris

11 October – Arrived at Merris

Location: Bac-Saint-Maur

12 October – Arrived this morning at Bac-Saint-Maur. Taking over from 5th Australian Division. 5th Divisional Artillery AIF is attached. The 5th Australian Divisional Ordnance left a WO to administrate them.

13 – 14 October – Ordinary routine

15 October – Indents forwarded to Base for winter clothing

16 – 20 October – Ordinary routine

17 October  – 9/1191 Corporal (Armourer) Percival James Lester Transferred into the NZAOC

21 October – Winter clothing arrived and issued to units

22 – 31 October – Ordinary routine


Location: Bac-Saint-Maur

1 – 7 November – Ordinary routine

8 November – NZ Divisional Artillery re-joined the Division, the 5th Australian Divisional Artillery transferred to their Division

9 – 10 November – Ordinary routine

11 November – Divisional Artillery arrive minus a large amount of personal and other equipment, that was lost on the Somme front. Winter clothing now been issued to them.

13 November  – 11/1079 Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert Mentioned in Dispatches

12 – 23 November – Ordinary routine

22 November – 11/337 Trooper William Alexander Mason promoted to Armourer Sergeant

24 November – Winter Clothing issues

25 November – Rubber sponge anti-gas goggles (rubber sponge) issued, also the repair outfits and record book for the box respirators.

26 November – Reinforcements are arriving from the base without blankets much inconvenience is caused as a result of this.  Blankets are not available for them at this end until two or three days later.

27 – 29 November – Ordinary routine

30 November – Issue of two more Lewis Guns per Battalion, bringing the total on charge at present to Battalions to 10


Location: Bac-Saint-Maur

1 December  – 8/584 Private Frank Percy Hutton promoted to Sergeant

1 – 4 December – Ordinary routine

5 December – A comparative statement showing the issues of all bulk items for December sent to units.

7 – 30 December – Ordinary routine

13 December -7/463 2nd Lieutenant Kenneth Bruce MacRae evacuated from Divisional area due to injury and struck off strength

31 December – The total bulk issued for the quantities 28 Sept/28 Dec show a large increase. This is accounted for by the large loss of equipment at the Somme having to be replaced.


Location: Bac-Saint-Maur

1 January – A new system of bulk issues implemented. The Division securing 4 trucks a week instead of seven. The days for submitting demands being altered

2 – 5 January – Ordinary routine

6 January – Received the first issue of bulk stores under an amended timetable. A full truckload has been received.

7 – 9 January – Ordinary routine

10 January – Received 2000 Capes Waterproof from Ordnance Officer Corps Troops

11 – 12 January – Ordinary routine

13 January – Received 24 Lewis Machine Guns, been 2 per Infantry Battalion bringing number now issued to 12.

14 January – Ordinary routine

15 January – 512 boxes carrying for carrying Lewis MG magazines received and issued 40 per Battalion and 32 to Pioneer Battalion. Each box holds 8 magazines in canvas carrier.

16 – 19 January – Ordinary routine

20 January – The Artillery undergoing reorganisation, The new organisation being 2 Brigades each consisting of 3 Batteries 18pdr, each 6 guns and 1 Battery 4.5 Howitzer of 6 guns. The second Brigade forming Army Field Artillery Brigade. The DAC being made up of A and B Echelon. No 1 and 2 sections forming A Echelon, No 4 B Echelon, No 3 Section becomes the Brigade Ammunition Column.

A shortage of Size 8 boots ankle Received 80 in response for 498 pairs.

21 January – The 4th Brigade Artillery returned stores surplus on reorganisation. It is found that a large quantity have not been returned as directed and action has been taken to have this done.

22 – 23 January – Ordinary routine

24 January – Dubbing in short supply. None been received in response to a demand for 424lbs.

  • 23/659 Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant William Henchcliffe Simmons promote to Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor), vice Gossage
  • 9/39 Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor) Charles Ingram Gossage promoted to Second Lieutenant to complete establishment

25 January – Leather for repair of boots in very short supply. Only 10 Bends received out of total demand for 72.[6]

26 – 31 January – Ordinary routine



Location: Bac-Saint-Maur

1 – 3 February – Ordinary routine

4 February – Sent out to OC units a monthly statement showing the bulk issues to his unit. The issues of boots has been above the average owing to a scarcity of leather sole bends during the past month.

5 – 10 February – Ordinary routine

6 February –  2/115 Quartermaster Sergeant Fitter Donald Clyde Inglis marched out of NZ Division to attend Officer Cadet Training unit prior to taking up a commission in the Royal Flying Corps.

11 February – Received Ordnance QF 18pdr No2951 for 13th Battery in replacement of gun no 5028 condemned by IOM.

12 February – Received 5 wooden boxes as a sample for carriage of stores forward.

13 February – Ordinary routine

14 February – Short supply of nib hay. 500 been received in response to a demand for 759. No Tins Mess W.S received 806 demanded.

15 February – DADOS 57th Division sent a representative for instruction before taking over

16 – 17 February – Ordinary routine

18 February – 10 leather bends received in response to demand for 80. Owing to the supply not being available demands for new boots are very high.

19 – 20 February – 24 Lewis Machine Guns received and issued at the rate of two per Battalion. This makes the total per Battalion 14.

22 – 23 February – Ordinary routine

24 February – 11 Wagons limbered GS harnessed received to compete Infantry Battalions to establishment. Handed over our stores to DADOS 57th Division, obtained a receipt in duplicated one of which was forwarded to Q.

25 February – Moved to new dump at B1 D2 .8 (De Seule) and took over trench stores from DADOS 25th Division. This included 300 pairs of Gum Boots, 9 hot food containers etc. 9 Intrenching Battalion, 196 Land Drainage Company, 171 Tunnelling Company and 2nd Platoon Park attached for administration.

Location: De Seule

26 – 27 February – Ordinary routine.

28 February – Received 100 tents from base but no bottoms were available.


Location: De Seule

1 March – Ordinary routine – Shortage of size 8 boots ankle, demanded 309, received 50 leather sole bends.

2 – 3 March – Ordinary routine.

4 March – Sent out to OC units a monthly statement of bulk issues.

5 – 8 March – Ordinary routine.

9 March – Ordinary routine. Shortage of size 8 boots ankle – demanded 738 received 50.

10 March – Ordinary routine. Shortage in Clothing SD.

11 March – Ordinary routine.

12 March – Ordinary routine Received 540 Lamps FS from Base.

13 – 15 March – Ordinary routine.

16 March – Ordinary routine – Shortage in leather bends, hobnails and rivets.

17 – 20 March – Ordinary routine.

21 March – Ordinary routine, Soda short supply, mineral oil and brooms bass no supply.

22 March – Ordinary routine.

23 March – Ordinary routine, Soles half filled received in lieu of leather bends.

24 – 28 March – Ordinary routine.

28 March –

  • 12/736 Sergeant John Francis Goulding promoted to Second Lieutenant and transferred for duty from Div HQ to 4th NZ Rifle Brigade
  • 12/1025 Company Sergeant Major (Acting Sub-Conductor) William Hall Densby Coltman promoted to Second Lieutenant and Transferred to 3rd Battalion the Wellington Regiment as Quartermaster.

29 March – Ordinary routine, Shortages in Soda and Soap Yellow bars, no Brooms Bass, Rugs Horse or Oil Mineral received from Base.

30 March – 24 Lewis Machine Guns received, issued 2 per Battalion – This makes the total in Battalion 16 – full complement as per A1098. Leather sole full supply made.

31 March – Ordinary routine


APRIL 1917

Location: De Seule

1 April – Advice received from IOM  2nd ANZAC that Ordnance OF 18pdr no 1892 on charge to 12th Battery, NZFA was provisionally condemned on account of scouring, new piece was demanded by telegram.

2 April – Ordinary routine.

3 April – Received Ordnance QF 18pdr No 2472 Carriage No 42057 on charge to 7th Battery NZFA, without BM, with sight mounting for dial sight plus carrier.

4 – 5 April – Ordinary routine.

6 April – 107 Pistols received for Machine Gun Corps being last supply of 405 demanded as a first supply to complete establishment.

7 April – Ordinary routine.

8 April – Ordnance QF 18pdr No 6272 without BM received on charge 17th Battery.

9 April – Ordinary routine.

  • 11/1079 Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert Mentioned in Dispatches

10 April – Demanded 3 Lewis Machine Guns for 1st Canterbury Infantry Battalion to replace others out of action for want of bolts, generally worn and depilated parts.

11 April – No soft soap, soap yellow bars or soda received from base. The shortage of these stores makes the running expenses of the Divisional Bath heavy as local purchase are enhanced prices must be resorted to if the baths are to carry on.

Sergeant O’Hara who had been attached to the Headquarters of the 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade  O’Hara passed away due to the effects of Broncho-Pneumonia at 8.25am on the morning of 11 April 1917. O’Hara had been admitted into No 2 New Zealand Field Ambulance on 4 April and  Transferred to No 2 Casualty Clearing Station on the 8th of April.

12 April – Ordinary routine

13 April – Received from base Lewis Machine Guns demanded 10th inst. On charge to 1st Canterbury Infantry Battalion. Demanded 1 Lewis Machine Gun for 2nd Otago Infantry Battalion to replace one condemned- out of action for want of a bolt, worn and depilated parts generally. 208 revolvers colt received completing equipment of no 2 and 3 Machine Gun Corps

14 April – Ordinary routine

15 April – Received from Base on Lewis Machine Gun demanded 13th last for 2nd Otago Infantry Battalion

16 -17 April – Ordinary routine

18 April – Received from Base 1200 Helmets (Trench Pattern) with steel curtain eye protectors – it is not considered that they are an improvement and most units have not uplifted their quota.

19 April – Ordinary routine

20 April – Received from Base our quota of Mk II barrels and cups for Machine Gun Corps – these were issued as soon as possible, and Barrels and Cups Mk I released and sent to Base.

21 April – Ordinary routine

22 April – Two barrel and shroud rangefinders sent to IX Corps Workshops for overhaul and testing, all BRSs on charge are being forwarded as checked by IOM.

23 – 24 April – Ordinary routine.

23 April –  6/1147 Armourer Sergeant Walter Gus Smiley appointed, Temporary Warrant Officer Class One (Acting Sub-Conductor) vice Acting Sub Conductor Coltman

24 April – 6/3459 Temporary Sergeant Clarence Adrian Seay appointed (Acting Sub-Conductor), Temporary Warrant Officer Class vice Simmons

25 April – Nine Sennett periscopes were received on allotment from Base for trial and report by Division

26 – 28 April – Ordinary routine

29 April – Demanded Ordnance Q F 18pdr without BM to replace on condemned by IOM 53 Workshops for wear and scouring, 12th Battery NZFA.

30 April – Took over from 20th Division Neuve-Eglise Baths and Salvage Dumps. An average of 2750 men are now being bathed and supplied with clean under clothing daily by this division.

MAY 1917

Location: De Seule

1 May – Demanded one Vickers Machine Gun for 1 of NZ Machine Gun Company to replace one condemned through wear.

2 May – Ordinary routine.

3 May – Ordinary routine. Advise dispatched to Base of Ordnance QF 18pdr No 1674.

4 May – Received Vickers Gun No 4071 demanded on 1 May. Also demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr for 3rd Battery NZFA replacing No 4456 condemned through enemy shelling.

5 May – Ordinary routine.

6 May – Ordinary routine. Demanded one Vickers Gun for 3rd Machine Gun Company replacing No 7703 condemned through enemy shell fire.

7 May – Received from base 100 Yukon packs being a Division allotment. Also received Ordnance QF 18pdr No 6056 for 12th Battery, 3rd Brigade NZFA demanded on 29 April. Demanded one Lewis Machine Gun for 2nd Wellington Infantry Battalion and one Vickers Gun for 3rd Machine Gun Company replacing others condemned through wear.

8 May – Ordnance routine.

9 May – Received one Lewis Machine Gun No E31755 and two Vickers Machine Guns No 3524 and A3299demanded on 6 and 7 May.

10 May – Demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr for 1st Battery, 1st Brigade NZFA to replace No 5237 condemned through enemy shelling.

11 May – Received from Base Ordnance QF 18pdr No 2696 for 3rd Battery NZFA. Handed over “Pamir” Baths to 25th Division.

12 May – Demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr for 3rd Battery, 1st Brigade, NZFA to replace No 2553 condemned through enemy shelling. Advised dispatch to Base of Ordnance QF 18pdr No 5237.

13 – 17 May – Ordinary routine

18 May – Received Ordnance QF 18pdr No 7877 for 1st Battery.

19 May – Ordinary routine.

20 May – Advised dispatched to base of Ordnance QF 18pdr No 2553 (Condemned). Received Ordnance QF 18pdr No 3989 for 3rd Battery. Advice need of move to NZ Division of 311th Army Field Artillery Brigade – from DADOS 31st Division.

21 – 22 May – Ordinary routine

23 May – Received advice   from ADOS of the following moves;

  • 311th Army Field Artillery Brigade to NZ Division
  • A Battery 38th Army Field Artillery Brigade to NZ Division
  • 242nd Army Field Artillery Brigade to NZ Division

24 May – Above moves confirmed to all concerned. Received 150 Yukon packs for Division, these were issued 50 to each of the three Infantry Brigades.

25 -27 May – Ordinary routine.

28 May – Demanded two Ordnance QF 18pdrs for C Battery 242nd Army Field Artillery Brigade to replace Nos 1983 and 3754 condemned through enemy shellfire. Advised dispatched to base of condemned pieces.

29 -30 May – Ordinary routine.

31 May – Demanded one Vickers for 2nd Machine Gun Company replacing one condemned through wear.


Operational Overview

From 7 June the New Zealand Division would participate in the Battle of Messines, taking all its objectives, including the village of Messines. The New Zealand Division suffered 3700 casualties, including 700 killed during the battle.

JUNE 1917

Location: De Seule

1 June

  • 11/1079 Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert awarded Distinguished Service Order

1 – 6 June – In addition to ordinary routine the issue of special stores for active operations was completed. These included;

  • 13 Carts Water tank with necessary harness,
  • 300 set pack saddlery,
  • 5000 Breakers wire,
  • 3000 cutters wire,
  • 300 Gloves Hedging,
  • 3420 Grenade Carriers, Emergency pattern ammunition carriers for 18pdr/4.5 Howitzer. 8/10 per gun to all Batteries,
  • Tarpaulins for covering ammunition,
  • Yukon pack and carriers for Lewis MG Magazines.

In reference to the making of the Yukon packs in the Division, it is observed that much economy could have resulted had these been made under one command and completed in number to suit the supply of raw material as it became available. These remarks apply also to the making of extra carriers for LMG magazines undertaken by Battalions.

June 7 to 30 – During offensive operations Salvage work was carried out under the direction of Ordnance, and very large quantities of personnel and technical equipment was brought in without delay and ammunition bombs collected, Close on 3000 serviceable rifles alone were cleaned, oiled and tied into bundles and dispatched to Base. Lewis and Vickers guns, magazines and spare parts, enemy machine guns and mortars were salvaged also.

21 Lewis Machine Guns and 7 Vickers Machine Guns were replaced by new guns and at all times well within 24 hours from time of advice being received here of condemnation or certified loss from shell fire. In this connection the working of the Army Gun Park was found most expeditious; 21 18pdr guns and 10 Carriages, one 4.5 Howitzer were also demanded for various reasons in replacement of others, in one case only was any of these items – an 18pdr demanded without a certificate of condemnation by an IOM. This was reported completely destroyed by hostile shell fire and condemnation not been received within two days messages to confirm were answered to the effect that the carriage in question had been found to be serviceable after been dug out. This again impresses the fact of the necessity of IOM reports in cases of this kind.

10 June

  • 23/659 Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor) William Henchcliffe Simmons promoted Second Lieutenant, vice Bond
  • 12/689 2nd Lieutenant Alfred James Bond Marched in from Sling Camp in the UK and seconded to No 5 (NZ) Light Railway Operating Section.

15 June

  • 9/39 Second Lieutenant Charles Ingram Gossage Marched out to the United Kingdom to attend Ordnance course

On the 23rd June, the 34th, 93rd and 2nd NZ Brigades of Army Field Artillery were moved to this formation for Ordnance Services making in all five Army FA Brigades and one odd Battery in addition to our own Brigades to administer. It is very marked that all Army FA Brigades are very extravagant in their demands on Ordnance and the appointment of an Ordnance representative attached to each Brigade would undoubtfully result in a great economy.

The following enemy stores were handed into Ordnance here by units of this Division as a result of offensive operations and delivered to APM of II Anzac Corps

  • 3 Field Guns (77mm)
  • 23 Machine Guns of 8 trench mountings
  • 6 Machine Guns of new light platform
  • 1 Machine Gun (French)
  • 10 Trench mortars of various calibres
  • 3 Rocket Mortars
  • 3 Grenade throwers

To the Base was despatched;

  • 3 boxes Armour Piercing rifle ammunition
  • 1 box of wine cased
  • 5 boxes of ordinary
  • 2 cases mortar shells
  • 40 boxes belt ammunition with belts


JULY 1917

Location: De Seule

1 – 31 July – Ordinary routine

2109 pairs of Trousers SD were issued to equip men wearing pantaloons contrary to Dress Regulations

6 18pdr Guns and 4 4.5inch Howitzer were demanded to replace others.

3 18pdr carriages and 5 4.5inch Howitzer carriages were demanded to replace others condemned

5 Vickers Machine Guns were issued in replacement of others worn or destroyed by hostile shellfire.


Location: De Seule

1 – 25 August – Ordinary routine. 1600 special tins for conveying water were received to replace petrol tins as now used for this purpose. Five percent of these tins were damaged when received owing to faulty manufacture, handles were broken off, the sharp sprout had punctured holes in many. For the purpose intended it is considered this tin is a failure.

100 roughly made stretches issued to the Division for Messines operation that came to late to be used then were returned to Base after being held in store for two months.

26 August – Moved Ordnance to Caëstre

Location: Caëstre

27 – 28 August Trucked underclothing from Divisional Baths for Lumbres.

Location: Nielles-les-Bléquin

29 August – Moved Ordnance to Nielles-les-Bléquin and opened up again for Ordnance Services

30 – 31 August – Ordinary routine

The Divisional Bath and Laundry at Pont de Nieppe were destroyed by enemy shell fire on the 12th of August, as the position had become untenable it was decided not to put them into working order again. Stock and fittings that were not damaged was removed and on the 18th the Baths at Steenwerck were taken over by the Division and converted into a laundry, which was started satisfactorily by the 20th  It was a going concern when handed over on the 25th to the 8th Division, The Building of Brigade Bathhouses and changing rooms was undertaken at this time also and were ready for use when the Division was relieved.


Location: Nielles-les-Bleguine

1 – 2 September – General routine

3 September – Took over Baths at Balinghem. This was situated in the 2nd NZ Rifle Brigade area.

4 September – General routine

5 September – Opened Baths at Haverskerque for 4th NZ Infantry Brigade.

6 -12 September – General routine.

13 September – Opened Baths at Selles for 1st NZ Infantry Brigade.

14 – 17 September – General routine

18th September – Opened Baths at Merck-Saint-Liévin for Divisional Artillery. These Baths only worked two days owing to the Artillery being moved.

19 – 20 September – General routine

21 – 22 September – Divisional Artillery and Headquarters Company Divisional Train were moved to Ordnance 33rd Division for administration. Our own Ordnance (Artillery) personnel accompanied them with one motor lorry attached.

23 – 24 September – General routine

23 – 20 September

  • 6/1147 Temporary Warrant Officer Class One (Acting Sub-Conductor) Walter Gus Smiley and 10/1631 Corporal John Joseph Roberts detached to DADOS 33rd

25 September – Division on the move to Watou area. Closed Selles and Haverskerque Baths. All our motor lorries were kept exceedingly busy removing camp equipment and clothing. Also removing Ordnance Stores to railhead to be forwarded by rail to the new destination.

26 September – Removing soiled clothing to Blendecques laundry and moved Ordnance Stores to the railhead. Closed Blendecques Baths.

27 September – Moved with 5 Lorries to Poperinghe and established dump in an open field.

28 September – Moved dump to stores at 65 Rue de Boeschepe. Artillery moved back from 33rd Division. Opened two baths in Watou area.

29 September – Clearing Stores sent by rail, stores from Base also received.

30 September – General routine. 59th Division Artillery moved to us for administration with two AOC personnel.

  • 6/3459 Temporary Warrant Officer Class One and Acting Sub Conductor Clarence Adrian Seay promoted to Warrant Officer Class One and (Conductor) vice Simmons on his promotion

Operational overview

On 4 October as part of the third Battle of Ypres the New Zealand 1st and 4th brigades took part in a successful attack on Gravenstafel Spur, which runs off Passchendaele ridge. The attack cost more than 320 New Zealand lives.

On the 12 October on what would be New Zealand’s blackest day the 2nd and 3rd (Rifle) brigades suffered over 3700 casualties in a disastrous attack on Bellevue Spur, Passchendaele. About 845 men were left dead or dying.


Location: Poperinghe

1 October – Established Baths at Vlamertinge and Poperinghe.

2 – 3 October – Special stores for operations coming to hand and being issued to units. The stores referred to were those authorised over and above AFG 1098 and GROs for the offensive in front of Passchendaele Ridge. They comprised Pack-saddlery, Carts Carrying Water, Wire Cutters, Yukon Packs, water tins etc.

4 October – Four German Machine Guns were brought in – three from 1st Otago Battalion and two from the Divisional Salvage Company. These guns had apparently been lying out in the open some considerable time.

5 October – The 59th Division Artillery and Company Army Service Corps which were attached for administration were moved back to 59th Division.

6 October – Stores which were issued to units for special operations being handed in by units. Demanded 1 18pdr on indent NZ0/7192 for 13th Battery NZFA to replace No2841 and 2 18pdrs on indent NZ0/7193 for 1st Battery NZFA to replace 4090 and 318. These three guns were condemned by IOM for scouring.

7 October – 1st Wellington Battalion returned 11 captured enemy machine guns. The 48th Divisional Artillery Company ASC were moved to us for administration.

8 October – Demanded 18pdr on NZ0/7212 for A Battery 241 Brigade RFA to replace No 3987 condemned for scouring. Received captured enemy machine gun from 2nd Machine Gun Company.

9 October – Received 18pdr No 9697 fro 13th Battery off indent NZ0/7192 and 2 19pdrs Nos 6754 and 7103 for 1st Battery NZF off indent NZ0/7193.

10 October – Issuing stores for special operations. Received 18pdr No 2252 off indent NZ0/7212 for A Battery 241st Brigade RFA. Received 5 enemy captured machine guns returned by 1st Auckland Battalion.

11 October- Started issuing winter clothing. Demanded 18pdr on indent NZ0/7269 to replace No 4312 condemned for scouring,

12 October – Demanded carriage 18pdr on indent NZ0/7303 for A Battery 241st Brigade RFA to replace No C/33458 condemned on account of damage on recuperator.

13 October – Received 18pdr No 8042 off indent NZ0/7269 for 12th Battery NZFA. Sent 32 enemy machine guns to Base.

14 October – Received Carriage 18pdr No 35555 off indent NZ0/7303 for A Battery 241st Brigade RFA. Received 3 captured enemy machine guns from 3rd Otago Battalion,

15 October – Established an Ordnance dump at X Camp for the purpose of receiving surplus stores from units in the forward areas.

16 October – 1 enemy machine gun returned by Pioneer Battalion and 3 salved by Divisional Salvage Company.

17 October – 8 captured enemy machine guns returned by 3rd Canterbury Battalion and 4 salved by Divisional Salvage Company. Demanded 18pdr on indent NZ0/7404.

18 October – Established Bathhouse at Canal Bank issued clean clothes to 4th Battalion of 4th Infantry Brigade.

19 October – 2 enemy machineguns returned by Divisional Salvage Company.

20 October – 14 enemy machine guns were returned to Base. Closed Ordnance Dump at X Camp and established forward dump at St Jean (Sint-Jan) crossroads.

21 October – 2 enemy machine guns were returned to Base.

22 October – Moved from Poperinghe and established Ordnance dump at Nielles-les-Bléquin.

23 October – Received 18pdr No 765 off indent NZ0/7404 for 3rd Battery NZFA.

24 October –   Ordinary routine.

25 October – Opened Bathhouse at Haverskerque for 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade and at Selles for 2nd NZ Infantry Brigade.

26 October – Opened Bathhouse at Bayenghem for 1st NZ Infantry Brigade

27 – 29 October – Ordinary routine

30 October – 1 enemy machine gun returned by 4th Battalion NZ Rifle Brigade.

31 October – During the month of October 36 Lewis Machine Guns, 5 Vickers Machine Guns and 1 Stokes 3inch Trench Mortar were demanded by various units to replace lost and destroyed. These were supplied from ones salved by Division Salvage Company which were overhauled and repaired at the Division Armourers shop and made serviceable. Not one single Machine Gun was demanded from Base.



No Dairy for November

15 November – 6/1147 Temporary Warrant Officer Class One (Acting Sub-Conductor) Walter Gus Smiley promoted to Warrant Officer Class One and appointed Conductor



Location: Poperinghe

1 – 7 December – Ordinary routine

8 December -Demanded Lewis guns for 3rd Otago Battalion on indent No NZ0/8549 to replace one destroyed by shellfire, also 3 Lewis guns for 1st Otago Battalion for indent No NZ0/8562 to replace 3 destroyed by shelling.

9 December – Demanded 3” Stokes Trench Mortar for 2nd Light Trench Mortar Battery on indent No NZ0/8581 to replace on destroyed by shellfire.

10 December – Demanded 3” Stokes Trench Mortar for 4th Light Trench Mortar Battery on indent No NZ0/8595 to replace on destroyed by shellfire, also three Vickers Guns on ident NZ0/8604 for 2nd NZ Machine Gun Company to replace three destroyed by shellfire.

11 December – The bulk store which was situated at Palace Camp was moved to ANZAC Camp with the advance Brigade dumps, this was found more convenient as not so much handling of stores was entailed.

12 December – Lewis Gun No 58245 received for 3rd Otago Battalion off indent No NZ0/8549 to replace on destroyed by shellfire.  Received Lewis Guns No 57674 and 57695 for 1st Otago Battalion to replace three destroyed by shellfire. Three Vickers Guns received No 4411, 4441 and 7163 off indent No NZ0/8604 for 2nd NZ Machine Gun Company to replace same number destroyed by shellfire.

13 December – Received Board of Inquiry re the loss of a Limbered Wagon, Horses and Harnesses of the 2nd Wellington Infantry Battalion. The Army Commander concurred with the finding of the Board of the write off of £60 (estimated value) to the public Account. Also the Board in Inquiry re the loss of the Horse Harness of the 1st Wellington Battalion, The Army Commander concurred on the finding of the Board of a write off to the Public Account. Leather Jerkins been issued to Artillery units, Machine Gun Company’s, Salvage Company’s and Light Trench Mortar Batteries.

14 December – Vickers Gun No C4732 received for 4th NZ Machine Gun Company off indent No NZ0/8672 to replace one destroyed by shellfire. Demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr for 11th Battery NZFA on indent No NZ0/8696 to replace 5630 destroyed by hostile fire.

15 – 16 December – Ordinary routine.

17 December – Ordnance QF 18pdr No 4405 received for 11th Battery NZFA on indent No NZ0/8696 to replace one destroyed by shellfire

18 – 20 December – Ordinary routine.

21 December – Ordnance QF 4.5inch Howitzer for 4th Howitzer Battery NZFA on indent NZ0/8858 to replace 1533 condemned for wear.

22 – 25 December – Ordinary routine

26 December – Demanded Lewis Gun for 2nd Otago Battalion on indent No NZ0/8955 to replace on destroyed by enemy shellfire. Also, Ordnance QF 18pdr for 3rd Battery NZFA on indent No NZ0/ 8956 to replace 4478 condemned by IOM.

27 December – Received 3inch Stokes Trench Mortar No 3835 off indent No NZ0/8581 for 2nd Light Trench Mortar Battery, also No 3826 off indent No NZ0/8505 received for 2nd Otago Battalion of indent No NZ0/8955. Issuing leather jerkins to complete all units to winter scale.

28 December – Ordinary routine

29 December – Ordnance QF 18pdr No 6746 received for 3rd Battery NZFA off indent No NZ0/5956 to replace 4478 condemned.

30 December – Demanded Lewis Gun for 3rd Otago Battalion off indent No NZ0/9008 to replace one destroyed by shellfire.

31 December – Demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr for 12th Battery NZFA to replace No condemned for scouring.


Location: Poperinghe

January 1 -2 – Ordinary routine

January 3 – Ordnance QF 18pdr No 6678 received for 12th Battery NZFA off indent No NZ0/9057 replaced No 5397 condemned for scouring.

January 4 – Demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr and carriage for 3rd Battery NZFA on indent No NZ0/9155 to replace No 510 and 14465 destroyed by hostile shellfire.

January 5 – Demanded Vickers Gun for 5th NZ Machine Gun Company on indent No NZ0/9192 to replace one condemned beyond local repair.

January 6 – Ordinary routine

January 7 – Vickers Gun No 8147 received for 5th NZ Machine Gun Company off indent No NZ0/9192.

January 8 – 10 – Ordinary routine

January 11 – Demanded Vickers Gun for 5th NZ Machine Gun on indent No NZ0/9312 to replace one destroyed by hostile shellfire and Ordnance QF 18pdr for 13th Battery NZFA on indent No NZ0/9322 to replace No 2317 condemned for scouring.

January 12 – Slow Precautions imposed: No motor lorries were being used and all transport work was being carried out by GS Wagons and light railway, this means of carting was slow but proved quite satisfactory. Demanded Stokes 3inch Trench Mortar for the 4th Light Trench Mortar Battery on indent No NZ0/9325 to replace on destroyed by shellfire.

January 13 – Vickers Gun No 2679 received for 5th NZ Machine Gun Company off indent No NZ0/9312.

January 14 – Ordinary routine.

January 15 – Slow restrictions removed, and motor transport was reverted to.   Ordnance QF 18pdr No 5215 and carriage No 46329 received for 3rd Battery NZFA off indent No NZ0/9155 to replace Nos 510 and 14465 destroyed by hostile shellfire. Demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr for 13th Battery NZFA on indent No NZ0/9398 to replace No  3584 condemned for scouring.

January 16 – Slow precautions imposed. All transport wortrk was been carried out by horse transport with the exception of the Divisional Laundry which was undertaken with one motor lorry a day.

January 17 – 21 – Ordinary routine

January 22 – Slow restrictions were removed, and motor transport was reverted to.

January 23 – Three 6inch Newton Trench Mortars No 1164, 1034 and 345 received for Medium Trench Mortar Battery. These were ordered up for issue by Headquarters 4th Army.

January 24 – Ordinary routine

January 25 – Demanded Vickers Gun for 1st NZ Machine Gun Company on indent No NZ0/9620 to replace one destroyed by shellfire and Ordnance QF 18pdr for 1st Battery NZFA on indent No NZ0/9639 to replace No182 condemned for scouring.

January 26 – Ordinary routine

January 27 – Vickers Gun No 9678 received off indent No NZ0/9620 for 1st NZ Machine Gun Company to replace one destroyed by shellfire.

January 28-29 – Ordinary routine

January 31 – 5000shirts, 13100 vests woollen, 12450 Drawers Woollen, 12700 Towels and 19000 pairs of socks received from Base. These were authorised by Army at the request of the GOC Division as a pool at the Divisional Baths.

  • 8/1484 Staff Sergeant Edwin Stanley Green Posted to NZ Division Ammunition Column from NZAOC England

During the month five Vickers Guns, 133 Lewis Guns and 158 Rifles were repaired in the Divisional Armourers Shop.



Location: Poperinghe

February 1 – 2 – Ordinary routine

February 3 – Ordnance QF 18pdr No 6755 received off indent No NZ0/9639 for 1st Battery NZFA to replace on condemned for scouring.

February 4 – Ordinary routine

February 5 – Moved stores to new dump at Café Belge. The new store was a most convenient one it been 120’x20’, this provided ample room for all stores to be put under cover.

February 6 – 10 – Ordinary routine.

February 11 – Took over Baths at Potijze from 66th Division.

February 12 – Demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr and carriage on indent No NZ0/2 for 11th Battery NZFA to replace No 2979 and 46383 destroyed by shellfire,

February 13 – Demanded 6inch Newton Trench Mortar for X Medium Trench Mortar Battery to replace No 347 destroyed by shellfire.

February 14 – Took over the laundry at Renninghelst from 66th Division. DOS inspected dump accompanied by DDOS 4th Army and ADOS XXII Corps. The General expressed that he was very pleased with everything he saw, particularly the work carried out by the Divisional Armourers.

February 15 – 6inch Newton Trench Mortar No 270 received off indent No NZ0/24 for X Medium Trench Mortar Battery to replace No 347 destroyed by shellfire.

February 16 – Ordinary routine.

February 17 – Ordnance QF 18pdr No 2252 and carriage No 35456 received for 11th Battery NZFA off indent No NZ0/2 to replace 29079 and 46383 destroyed by shellfire.

February 18 – Demanded Vickers MG for 3rd NZ Machine Gun Company on indent No NZ0/119 to replace No L8560 condemned beyond repair by Divisional Armourers.

February 19 – Ordinary routine.

February 20 – Vickers MG No 4244 secure for 3rd NZ Machine Gun Company off indent No NZ0/119 to replace No L8560 condemned.

February 21 – 22 – Ordinary routine.

February 23 – Took over Outtersteene laundry from 49th Division. Receiving surplus stores of units of the 4th NZ Infantry Brigade on been formed into an Entrenching Group.

  • 10/2484 Sergeant Harold Gordon Hill promoted to Temporary Sub Conductor and Warrant Officer Class One vice Goulding

February 24 – Handed over camp to 49th Division Ordnance. The Baths at Café Belge, Bissezeele Cross Roads, Potijze and Ottawa were handed over to 49th Division as a going concern as was the Divisional Laundry at Westoutre.

February 25 – Issued two Lewis MG to each Infantry Battalion and one to each Filed Company NZE and one per Battery of Artillery for Anti-Aircraft defence. These were issued from those handed in by Battalions of the 4th NZ Infantry Brigade.

February 26 – Baths were opened at Hondichen which are capable of bathing 800 men daily.

February 27 – Opened Baths at Staple – Capacity 800 men daily

February 28 – over the month of February three Vickers MG, 53 Lewis MG and 309 Rifles were repaired and overhauled by the Divisional Armourers shop during the Month.

Operational overview

On 21 March a massed German attack tears a hole in the British front, in response on 26 March the New Zealand Division is rushed to fill this gap near the Somme. They fight off several German attacks and hold their line.


Location: Hazebrouck

Baths were opened at Halifax Camp[7] and at Caistre.

During the month 14 Lewis Gun were demanded for various units, nine been issued as a first supply for anti-aircraft defence, 3 were to replace ones damaged by shellfire and two to replace losses to the enemy.

Eight Vickers Guns were received on instructions from Third Army to be fielded as a reserve to meet urgent demand. Two of these were issued the MG Battalion to replace weapons damaged by hostile fire. The balance (six) were returned to Ordnance Officer IV Corps troops.

Seven Gun Hotchkiss were demanded as a first supply and issued to units for Anti-Aircraft defence.

Two 3inch Stokes Trench Mortars were damaged by hostile fire and two to replace were issued

On moving from the rest area to the Somme all Baths were closed and handed over to area commanders. The Divisional laundry at Renninghelst was taken over as a going concern by XXII Corps. Hooge Baths at Ypres which were been worked for the Infantry Brigade and other units left in the line were handed over to 49th Division as a going concern.

The NZ Entrenching Group units were moved to Ordnance Officer XXII Corps Troops and the NZ Divisional Artillery units with Headquarters Company Divisional Train were moved back from DADOS Headquarters 49th Division for Ordnance.

22 March – 12/736 Sergeant (Temp CSM) John Francis Goulding Marched out to England for duty with 4th Infantry Brigade on 22 March 1911

Moved to the Somme on 25 March with four Motor Lorries and established an Ordnance dump at Bus les Artois on 27th March.

Location: Bus-lès-Artois

The 25th Division Artillery were moved from DADOS 25th Division for Ordnance. Their mobilisation stores and equipment suffered in the retreat before the German offensive and in consequence, their demands were exceedingly large. Eight Limbers 18pdr wagon and six wagons ammunition were demanded for them to replace losses to the enemy and one limber 18pdr wagon was issued to replace one condemned.

31 March

  • 6/1147 Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor) Walter Gus Smiley attached to Headquarters 2nd NZ Infantry Brigade
  • 11/1079 Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert relinquished appointment of Officer Commanding NZAOC and DADOS NZ Division to be ADOS XI Army Corps.
  • 9/39 Second Lieutenant Charles Ingram Gossage Marched in from HQNZEF and Promoted to Lieutenant. Appointed DADOS vice Lt Col Herbert and granted the rank of Temporary Captain whilst holding the position.

54 Lewis MG, 21 Vickers MG and 529 Rifles were repaired and overhauled at Divisional Armourers shop during the month.


APRIL 1918

Location: Bus-Les-Artois

4 April

  • 10/536 Armourer Sergeant Clarence Guy Charles Wagg proceeded to England for duty with 4th NZ Infantry Brigade Group

April – Demanded six 18pdr and carriages complete to replace same number lost to the enemy and one 4.5inch Howitzer and carriage to replace one condemned for wear for 25th Division Artillery. The six guns and carriages were later cancelled when the 25th Division Artillery were moved back for administration of Ordnance services to their own formation.

13 Lewis MG were issued to various units – six to replace destroyed by hostile fire, two to cover losses to the enemy, one to replace beyond repair and four to Divisional Artillery for defence against hostile aircraft.

13 Vickers MG were issued, four to replace destroyed by hostile fire, One to replace condemned for wear and eight issued to Machine Gun Battalion to be fielded as a reserve.

Issued one 3inch Stokes Trench Mortar to replace one destroyed by hostile fire.

Issued three 18pdr and carriages, and four 4.5inch Howitzers and one carriage 4.5inch Howitzer. All were to replace other condemned for wear.

Temporary Divisional Baths were opened at Béthencourt on the 6th and at Louvencourt on the 10th. On the 17th the new spacious baths of 18 sprays erected by Divisional Engineers were put into use at Béthencourt, which proved a great boom to the troops from the line. At these Baths the men handed in everything they possessed. Their valuables were taken care of, whilst the man was having a bath his SD clothing was deloused by use of hot irons. He came out of the bath with a complete change of underclothing. The total number of men bathed 28553.

The work undertaken by the Divisional Salvage company for the month was clearing the area generally of stores abandoned by troops in the recent retreat. Items salved of special interest included;

  • One Bristol Airplane,
  • One Triumph Norton Motorcycle,
  • Three Douglas Motorcycles,
  • The following enemy stores;
    • 285 Rifles,
    • 10 Bayonets and scabbards,
    • 25 Steel Helmets,
    • Four Pistol Signal,
    • Three Mountings MG,
    • 62 Belts MG,
    • 32 Belt boxes MG,
    • 95 Gas respirators

Solder recovered from Bully Beef time amounted to 441lbs which was despatched to the Base.

11 Vickers MG, 17 Lewis MG and 1256 rifles were repaired and overhauled at Divisional Armourers Shop for the month.

113 Machine Guns and three Trench Mortars (enemy) Captured by various units were dispatched to Base.

MAY 1918

Location: Bus-Les-Artois

During the month the following Guns, Howitzers, Carriages Field, Trench Mortars and Machine Guns were demanded for various reasons;

  • Ordnance QF 18pdr, three – To replace three condemned by IOM for scouring.
  • Ordnance QF 4.5in Howitzer, One – To replace one condemned by IOM for wear.
  • Carriages field 18pdr, Four – To replace four condemned by IOM for wear.
  • Carriages field 4.5in Howitzer, one – To replace one destroyed by hostile fire.
  • 6” Newton Trench Mortar, one – To replace one destroyed by hostile fire.
  • 3” Stokes Trench Mortar, six – To replace two destroyed by hostile fire and to replace four condemned for wear.
  • Vickers Machine Guns 303, eight – To replace two destroyed by hostile fire and to replace six condemned by Armourers as past repair.
  • Lewis Machine Guns 303, 50 – 28 were issued as first supply to bring Battery’s up to 24 per Battery, exclusive of guns on charge for anti-aircraft defence.

The NZ entrenching Group were moved from Ordnance XXII Corps Troops to this formation for administration in Ordnance services on 17 May but were three days later moved to Ordnance Officer IV Corps Troops, under instructions from IV Corps.

On 22 May the 2nd NZ Field Artillery Brigade were moved from Ordnance IV Corps Troops to be under administration of Ordnance this formation, but on 25 May 3rd Army ordered them to be moved back as the movement was contrary to GRO 3783.

Our months works a whole was of a routine nature. Some difficulty was experienced in keeping the Baths going once or twice owing to the water supply giving out when the pumping plant broke down. Water carts were borrowed from neighbouring units and the water was carted and the baths kept going in this formation.

We were much hampered for clean underclothing due to the irregularity of the railway. Trucks were often as long as 6-7 days on road driving the short distance from Abbeville.

A small sock washing depot was established with 16 men. This was found essential so that the soldiers in the front line could have a clean change daily. Socks torn or found with holes were returned to the laundry as the darning could not be coped with. In fine weather, the drying was done outside but when wet the socks were hung on wires from the ceiling of a room and dried by means of coke braziers. Then men did excellent work and coped with 4 to 5 thousand pairs daily and kept up an adequate supply.

Ordnance stores arriving from Base were often very much behind timetable and two or three bulk demands would arrive together. The irregularity was evidently on account of shortages in railway rolling stock.

There was not anything particular to not in the work carried out by the Divisional Salvage Company except the recovery of 2000lbs of salvage from Bully Beef tins.

The Divisional Armourers Shop repaired and overhauled 14 Vickers MG, Seven Lewis MG, One Hotchkiss MG and 335 rifles in addition to special repairs to Bicycles etc.

45425 men passed through the Divisional Baths during the month,


JUNE 1918

Location: 1 – 7 June: Bus-Les-Artois

During the month the following Guns, Howitzers, Carriages Field, Trench Mortars and Machine Guns were demanded for various reasons;

  • Two Ordnance QF 18pdr – To replace two condemned by IOM for scouring.
  • Five Ordnance QF 4.5in Howitzer – To replace five condemned by IOM for wear.
  • Three Carriages field 18pdr – To replace one damaged by shellfire, one condemned by IOM for wear and one for violent recoil.
  • One Carriages field 4.5in Howitzer – To replace one destroyed by shellfire and one condemned by IOM for wear.
  • Six 3” Stokes Trench Mortar – To replace two destroyed by hostile fire and to replace four condemned for wear.
  • Two Vickers Machine Guns 303 – To replace two condemned Beyond Local Repair.
  • 96 Lewis Machine Guns 303 – issued as first supply to bring Infantry Battalions up to scale of 32, exclusive of guns on charge for anti-aircraft defence.

On the 6th Baths at Béthencourt and Louvencourt were handed over to 42nd Division and Baths at Authie, Pas and Henu were taken over from 37th Division. The Baths at Authie were entirely unsatisfactory and extensive alterations were carried out so that system for bathing, delousing SD clothing, issuing and receiving underclothing could be put into force.  These were capital baths when completed and as many as 1500 troops were passed through daily.  The system of delousing the soldiers Service Dress clothing was carried out by means of hot air. As the man passed into the bath he handed in hi garments turned inside out and they were hung up in a small air tight chamber. The air tight compartment was heated up by coke braziers and after the garments had been treated by this method for 15 minutes they were found to be perfectly free form lice and eggs.

Location: 7 -21 June: Pas

On the 7th the Division moved to Pas where Ordnance was established until the 21st when the Division moved to Authie and Ordnance again opened up. The baths at Pas and Henu were handed over to the 37th Division on the 21st.

Location: 21 – 30 June:Authie

A small bath at Nauchelles was taken in hand, another formation had started alterations which were left unfinished. The work was completed by the Division and the baths proved entirely satisfactory and between 700 – 800 troops were bathed daily

The greater part of demand for boots were met by repaired ones and numerous complaints were met from units that the men were unable to wear the boots issued. The matter was referred to 3rd Army who was taking action to prevent further issues of this kind to troops in the field.

Divisional Salvage dumps were established about the areas into which abandoned stores were collected and sorted. 1800lbs of solder were recovered from Bully Beef tins.

The Divisional Armourers shop repaired and overhauled 13 Machine Guns and 153 rifles.

46411 passed through the Divisional Baths during the month.

24 June – 9/39 Temporary Captain Charles Ingram Promoted to Temporary Major while holding the appointment of DADOS. 24 June 1918

NZAOC Nominal Roll End of June 1918

  • 9/39 Temporary Major Charles Ingram Gossage (DADOS)
  • 23/659 2nd Lieutenant William Henchcliffe Simmons
  • 6/3459 Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor) Clarence Adrian Seay
  • 6/1147 Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor) Walter Gus Smiley
  • 8/1484 Staff Sergeant Edwin Stanley Green (NZ Division Ammunition Column)
  • 10/2484 Sergeant Harold Gordon Hill
  • 8/584 Sergeant Frank Percy Hutton
  • 11/42 Armourer Sergeant Percy William Charles Dement
  • 11/337 Armourer Sergeant William Alexander Mason
  • 26/1155a Armourer Sergeant Charles Alfred Oldbury
  • 9/1191 Corporal (Armourer) Percival James Lester
  • 10/1631 Corporal John Joseph Roberts

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019


New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Badge, 1916-1919 (Robert McKie Collection 2017)



[1] United Kingdom – Army Ordnance Department (AOD) until 1918 and then Army Ordnance Corps ((AOC), Australia – Australian Army Ordnance Corps (AAOC), Canada – Canadian Ordnance Corps (COC), South Africa – South African Ordnance Department (SAOD), India – Indian Army Ordnance Department (IAOD) and New Zealand – New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC)

[2] The exact manning and organisation of the New Zealand Division DADOS branch is unknown at this stage, but would have been similar to the organisation of the AAOC Ordnance Staff which was comprised of:

  • 1 Officer as DADOS (MAJ/CAPT)
  • 1 Conductor of Ordnance Stores per Divisional HQ
  • 1 Sergeant AAOC per Divisional HQ
  • 1 Corporal AAOC per Divisional HQ
  • 3 RQMS (WO1) AAOC
  • 3 Sergeants AAOC, 1 to each of 3 Brigades
  • 3 Corporals AAOC , 1 to each of 3 Brigades

As the war progressed additional Ordnance Officers wold be included into the DADOS establishment who along with the Warrant Officer Conductor would manage the Ordnance staff and day to day operations allowing the DADOS the freedom to liaise with the divisional staff, units and supporting AOC units and Ordnance Depots. John D Tilbrook, To the Warrior His Arms: A History of the Ordnance Services in the Australian Army (Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps Committee, 1989), 78.

[3] Ordnance Manual (War), War Office (London: His Majesties Printing Office, 1914).

[4] P.H. Williams, Ordnance: Equipping the British Army for the Great War (History Press, 2018), 126.

[5] Arthur Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services (London: The Medici society, ltd., 1929), 73-74.

[6] Bends is the leatherworking name for Sole leather. Sole Bends are heavily tanned skirting leather that has been compressed by casing with water and then plating, rolling, and pounding the moisture out of it tightening the grain and making it stiffer. It can be oiled, dyed finished much like any other skirting, however there is much less penetration due to the tightness of the fibres.

[7] Southwest from Vlamertinge towards village of Reningelst.

The New Zealand Ordnance Puggaree

From 1914 to 1958 the sight of New Zealand Soldiers in felt slouch hats was commonplace. In addition to providing a practical form of headdress,  by the use of a coloured headband, it became easy to identify the Regiment or Corps of the wearer.

This article will provide a brief background on the use and history of Puggarees in New Zealand service with a focus on their use by the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps.


rnzaoc puggaree

RNZAOC Puggaree. Robert McKie Collection


The Puggaree origins lay in the Hindu word, ‘Pagri’ which is used to describe a wide range of traditional headdress worn by men and women throughout the Indian Sub-Continent, one of the most recognisable been the Dustaar or Sikh turban.

Soldiers by their nature are creatures of innovation and British troops serving India soon found that by wrapping a thin scarf of muslin around their headdress, not only could additional protection from sword blows be provided, but the thin cloth scarf could also be unravelled to provide insulation from the heat of the sun. Like many Indian words “Pagri” became anglicised into Puggaree.

By the 1870s the functional use of the puggaree had become secondary and the puggaree evolved into a decorative item on British Army headdress, which when used with a combination of colours could be used to distinguish regiments and corps. First used by New Zealanders in the South African war, the use of puggaree on slouch hats was formalised in the New Zealand Army 1912 Dress Regulations. These regulations detailed the colours of the distinctive puggaree used to indicate different branches of the service; [1] [2]





World War One

When first New Zealand Troops went overseas in 1914, the NZ Slouch hat was one that had been first used in the South Africa War and had a crease running down the crown from front to rear. From 1914 the Wellington Battalion wore their hats with the crown peaked and after a short period where cork helmets were also worn, General Godley issued a directive that all troops, other than the Mounted Rifles would wear the slouch hat with the crown peaked, in what became known as the “Lemon Squeezer”.[3]




New Zealand felt “lemon Squeezer” hat with Ordnance Puggaree and NZEF Ordnance Badge. Robert McKie Collection


Worn with both the Mounted Rifles Slouch hat and the Lemon Squeezer, the puggaree became a distinctive mark of the New Zealand soldier, identifying them as distinct from soldiers from other parts of the Empire who in general used only plain puggaree on their headdress.[4]  [5] From 1917 the New Zealand puggaree also proved useful in distinguishing New Zealand troops from the Americans who wore headdress similar to the New Zealand Lemon Squeezer hat.[6]

As the war progressed, additional units that did not exist in the pre-war New Zealand Army were created, both as part of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) and as part of the Home Service forces in New Zealand. This would include the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) which was formed as a unit of the NZEF in early 1916 and as part of the New Zealand Permanent Forces in 1917.[7]

It is assumed that as a new unit a distinctive puggaree was adopted for the NZAOC, but the limited photographs of NZAOC personnel are black and white, making identification of colours difficult. The following photo of NZ Army Service Corps staff at Zeitoun Camp in Egypt taken in either later 1915 or early 1916, shows a soldier wearing a Lemon Squeezer hat with a coloured Puggaree with a British Army Ordnance Corps (AOC) Badge, possibly the first example of an NZ Ordnance Puggaree.

British Army Ordnance Corps 1915_zpsaibxjzox

New Zealand Supply Depot Staff at Zeitoun Camp, 1915. Note Ordnance solder front row 3rd from left. National Army Museum of New Zealand

British Army Ordnance Corps_zpshkmjkhxu

Ordnance Soldier with Lemon Squeezer, Puggaree and AOC Badge, New Zealand Supply Depot Staff at Zeitoun Camp, 1915. National Army Museum of New Zealand

A later photograph of the NZAOC at taken at Buckle Street in 1918 the Puggaree are distinctive.

Ordnance 1918

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


Taken from the 1918 Buckle Street picture this blown up image shows two soldiers, on with a Lemon Squeezer Hat the other with a Mounted Rifles slouch hat, both puggarees could be of the NZ Ordnance pattern.

In a 1919 Photo of the NZAOC staff taken in Germany, the Puggaree of the Ordnance Staff are less distinctive and look to be a single colour, possibly red or Blue.

NZ Ordnance Staff 1919

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

t falvey

Ordnance Corporal (Possibly TY Falvey) London 1918

A Newspaper article from December 1918 does provide evidence that an Ordnance puggaree of red/blue/red existed. The article published in the Press on 5 December 1918 states the following;[8]There are only two units in the New Zealand Division with red in the puggaree. They are the Artillery and Ordnance, and in both units, the colours are red and blue”. Although slightly incorrect in that only two units of the NZEF wore red in the puggaree, The Infantry also has red in their Puggaree, this sentence does identify that the Ordnance Puggaree was red and blue.

The Inter-War Years

The red/blue/red Puggaree would formally be adopted as the Puggaree of the NZAOC in 1923 when the New Zealand Army updated its Dress Regulations for the first time since 1912.[9]

Ordnance Puggaree would have been a common sight around New Zealand Military establishments up to 1931, where with the virtual disestablished of the NZAOC their use would have shrunk to twenty or so remaining NZAOC Soldiers.

World War Two

The onset of war in 1939 would see an explosive growth of the New Zealand Army from a few hundred personnel to thousands, with articles published in newspapers to educate the public on the different coloured puggaree and which units they belonged to.[10] The red/blue/red Ordnance puggaree would be worn throughout the war years by the NZAOC and the New Zealand Ordnance Corps, the Ordnance component of the NZEF and the Territorial Army.[11]


Lemon Squeezer as worn by members of the 2nd NZEF NZOC, Middle East, Italy 1939-44.


Ordnance soldier of the NZOC, New Zealand 1942-44.

Post War

The Lemon Squeezer Hat and puggaree would remain a fixture of the New Zealand Army until 1958 when the Lemon Squeezer was withdrawn from services and replaced with a new Battle Dress cap and the use of puggaree within the Ordnance Corps would fade away from memory.

tf 3rd intake waikato camp 1951

RNZAOC Territorial Force 3rd intake Ngaruawahia Camp 1951. RNZAOC School Collection

camp commandants bodyguard 1954

RNZAOC Camp Commandants Bodyguard, Trentham Camp 1954. RNZAOC School Collection

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019


[1] The original MZ Slouch hat had been first used in the South Africa War and had a crease running from front to rear. From 1914 the Wellington Battalion wore their hats peaked

[2] Malcolm Thomas and Cliff Lord, New Zealand Army Distinguishing Patches, 1911-1991 (Wellington, N.Z.: M. Thomas and C. Lord, 1995, 1995), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Part One, 128-29

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

Revised end. edition, 1980), Non-fiction, 47-48.

[4] Australian and Canada would both use coloured puggaree on their respective headdress, just not to the same extent as New Zealand.

[5] “Local and General,” Dominion, Volume 9, Issue 2610,, 4 November 1915.

[6] “Visit to Paris,” North Otago Times, Volume CV, Issue 14001, 11 December 1917.

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

[8] “Soldiers and Dress – Ordnance Pugaree,” Press, Volume LIV, Issue 16387, 5 December 1918.

[9] Thomas and Lord, New Zealand Army Distinguishing Patches, 1911-1991, 35.

[10] “New Zealand Troops Wear Turbans,” Evening Star, Issue 23432  (1939).

[11] The NZOC was formed as a unit of the NZED in 1939 and a unit of the Territorial Army in 1941.

NZ Divisional Salvage Unit 1941-1942


Badge of the 2nd NZEF

During the Second World War, the New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC) provided a variety of Ordnance Services to the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2NZEF). The most well know of the Ordnance Service proved are those of the Base Ordnance Depot, Advanced Ordnance Depot. Ordnance Field Park, Laundry and Bath Units, and up to the end of 1942, the Base and Field Workshops and Light Aid Detachments which separated from the NZOC to form the New Zealand Electrical And Mechanical Engineers (NZEME). However, there remains one Ordnance unit which although appearing on the 2nd NZEF Order of Battle, only rates a very obscure mention in only one of nine official campaign histories published after the war, and has mostly been forgotten; this is the NZ Divisional Salvage Unit.

World War One Origins

New  Zealand’s first experience of Salvage units was during the 1914-18 war. Each British formation (including Dominion forces) was required as part of an army salvage plan to appoint a Salvage Officer for each brigade, and a Division Salvage Company, which in turn was supported a Corps Salvage Company.  Formed on 5 May 1916 the NZ Divisional Salvage Company was under the command of Lieutenant  Macrae, NZAOC. The duties of the NZ Divisional Salvage Company were:

  • The care and custody of packs of troops engaged in offensive operations.
  • The care of tents and canvas of the Division.
  • The salvage of Government property, and also enemy property, wherever found.
  • The sorting of the stuff salved, and dispatch thereof to base.

WW1 salvage dump notice. Photo by British Pictorial Service; public domain image taken from The Business of War at the Internet Archive website

An indication of the type of work carried out by the NZ Division Salvage Company can be found in the work of the British Army’s 34th Divisional Salvage Company which was active on the Somme during July 1916. During this period the 34th Divisional Salvage Company recovered;1

Rifles – 12,998
Bayonets – 6,050
Revolvers – 8
Very Pistols – 28
Machine Guns – 51
Trench Mortars – 12
Small Arms Ammunition – 1,580,000 rounds
S.A.A. fired cases – 145,000
Bombs – 40,000
Sets of equipment complete – 5,500
Groundsheets – 700
Steel Helmets – 9,869
Gas Masks – 13,280
Picks & shovels – 2,000
Wire Cutters – 950
Bully Beef Tins – 16,000
Bagpipes – 6 sets

Total value of one months salvage = £1,500,000.


Salvage of the battlefield near Bapaume: Photo by David McLellan; taken from the National Library of Scotland’s First World War ‘Official Photographs’ website; adapted, used and made available for re-use under a Creative Commons licence

American author Isaac F Marcosson, writing in 1918, described this recycling operation in some detail.2

“At the ‘sharp end,’ there was “Battle Salvage, which deals with the debris of actual fighting and includes all trench materials such as wood and iron, shell-cases, guns, rifles, equipment, clothing, tools and other stores that have been damaged in actual fighting.” There was also “so-called Normal Salvage, which is material such as empty packing cases, [fuel] cans and other articles which never reach the battlefield.”

The Salvage system proved to be a success with statistical records published of what each unit had recovered, with competition between units not uncommon. To outdo the New Zealand Division, one of the Australian Divisions went to the effort of stealing copper appliances and hardware from a derelict brewery to accrue additional credits.3 Following the success of the Salvage system in the First World War, provision was made on war establishments for Salvage units on a ratio of one Salvage unit per Division and one Salvage unit as Corps troops.

Western Desert 1941

As the New Zealand Divison became established in Egypt in early in 1941, General Headquarters (GHQ) the Middle East requested information on 2 April 1941 on the establishment of the New Zealand Divisional Salvage Unit and when its equipment would be ready. With no Salvage Unit yet formed an establishment for an NZ Salvage Unit, consisting of 1 Officer and 43 Other Ranks was published on 18 April 1941, with no further action towards the formation of the NZ Divisional Salvage Unit taken until August of 1941.4

Estab 18 April 41

NZEF, NZ Divisional Salvage Unit Establishment 18 April 1941

The role of Field Salvage Units was to sort salvage. All RASC motor transport units serving divisions and corps were tasked with carrying salvage on the return journey. This included containers which could be reused, small equipment which could be recycled and ammunition that had been unpacked but not used. T

With Australian and SouthAfrican Salvage units already operating in the Middle East and with Indian and New Zealand units expected to begin operating shortly, GHQ Middle East called a conference to define the relationship of these units with the Salvage Directorate GHQ.

At the conference held on 13 August 1941, it was established that the Dominion  Divisions were formed with a war establishment of one Salvage unit per Division and one per Corps troops. No Salvage units were provided for at present for British Divisions, or Corps, although they were allowed for in the War Establishment.

The pressing question of the conference was if the Dominion Salvage units would be part of the Middle East Salvage Organisation, or regarded as separate units working under their own headquarters.

The Australians were satisfied with existing arrangements and stated that full cooperation from the AIF could be expected.

The representatives the  1st and 2nd South African Divisions stated that they were willing to cooperate and that the available Salvage units should be used for the common good, but wished that the SA Salvage units remain administered by their Headquarters, and the unit s should accompany their Divisions into action.

The Representatives of 4 and 5 Indian Division stated that when formed, they would prefer it to be used as a GHQ asset rather than as Div troops.

New Zealand, represented by its DDOS Colone King, stated that a New Zealand Salvage unit was not yet formed, but could be if requested. As a Divisional unit, it was expected that the unit would remain with the Division, but the Salvage Directorate could rest assure that the NZ Division would cooperate in every possible way.

Base Salvage Depots under the control of GHQ would receive all Salvage irrespective of the unit that it was collected from. GHQ would conduct all sales with the proceeds credited to His Majestys Government. The War Office would be approached to take into account the value of salvage collected in the future when setting capitation rates for equipment.

The consensus was that Salvage Units would remain with their Divisions but that the Salvage Directorate would exercise technical control.

Armed with the knowledge that the Salvage unit would remain with the New Zealand Divison, approval for the formation of the NZ Divisional Salvage unit as a unit of the NZEF was granted by Headquarters 2 NZEF on 16 August 1941. The NZ Divisional Salvage unit was to be a unit of the NZOC and the NZEF DDOS in conjunction with the Military Secretary, HQ NZEF and HQ Maddi Camp were to arrange for a suitable officer and Other Ranks to be posted to the unit and equipment to be assembled.


On 12 September 1941 the New Zealand Division begun to move into Baggush in the Western Desert as it began to assemble for the upcoming Operation Crusader. On 11 November the New Zealand Division together for the first time joined at an assembly point near the Matruh-Siwa road. On 18 November Operation Crusader began with the New Zealand Division crossing the Libyan frontier into Cyrenaica and after some hard fighting linking up with the garrison at Tobruk on 26 November. It is in Tobruk that the Salvage unit would get it only mention in the New Zealand War history series of books in the volume “The Relief of Tobruk” it stares: 5

“The NZASC companies provided working parties at the ammunition depot, and the docks, Workshops and Ordnance Field Park overhauled vehicles, and the Salvage Unit for the first time found plenty of work to do.”

On 23 December 1941 the NZ Salvage Unit lost a member of the unit when Private Leo Gregory Narbey died as the result of an accident. Private Narby now rests in the Commonwealth War Grave Commission Alamein cemetery.6


Western Desert, Egypt, 12 August 1942. Men of the 9th Australian Divisional Salvage Unit checking over captured arms at El Alamein. Public Domain Australian War Memorial

Operation Crusader was a success but one that inflicted heavy losses on British and Dominionarmour and Infantry, as the Axis forces withdrew under pressure, large quantities of enemy equipment and war material was abandoned leaving the battlefield to the battered 8th Army. Due to the magnitude of the Salvage work to clear the battlefield, GHQ request that all Divisional Salvage units be placed under 8th Army control as Army troops to allow their coordinated use. This request was agreed to by the GOC 2 NZEF on 1 January 1942 on the condition that the Salvage would be released back to the NZ Divison if required. As the NZ Salvage unit was at Baggush, its transfer to 8th Army control was immediate.

Libya and Syria 1942

Badly mauled in Operation Crusader and the subsequent operations, the New Zealand Division had suffered 879 dead, and 1700 wounded and was withdrawn from Libya back to Egypt and then at the instance of the New Zealand government moved to Syria during February to recover but also prepare defences for a possible German offensive through Turkey.

As the NZ Divison rebuilt itself in Syria the NZ Divisional Salvage unit remained in Libya under 8th Army command. During March the delay in receiving reinforcements from New Zeland hastened the need to make estimates for replacement drafts, and HQ 2NZEF approached GHQ Middle East with an enquiry on the expected release dates of 2NZEF units including the NZ Salvage Unit who were under direct 8th Army command. The presumption was that the detached units would remain under 8th Army control until the operational situation would allow their release.


Australian 9th Div Salvage Unit under fire 5th October 1942. El Alamein, Egypt. image 013351 Australian War Memorial.

Remaining detached from the Division the NZ Salvage units establishment was increased to a strength of 1 Officer and 45 Other Ranks, its transport assets were also increase to include one car and five trucks and given the tactical situation ammunition allocation per man was increased from 20 rounds of .303 to 50 rounds per man.

Estab 28 May 42

NZEF, NZ Divisional Salvage Unit Establishment 28 May 1942

With the NZ Divison rushed back into the fight in the Western Desert in June 1942, the NZ Salvage unit remained detached. August 1942 would find the NZ Salvage Unit in Syria and under the command of the 9th Army and operating as Army Troops rather than a Divisional unit as initially intended.  On 24 August 1942, the ADOS of 2 NZ Div sent a submission to HQ 2NZEF recommending the disbanding of the NZ Salvage unit. The main point of the submission was that the NZ Salvage Unit since its formation had always been employed as Arny troops outside of the Division. Also given the reinforcement situation its personnel could be better employed within the main NZOC Divisional organisation.  The GOC 2NZEF approved the proposal in principle but felt that the NZ Salvage Unit might still be usefully employed by the 8th Army in the current theatre. 8th Army rejected the offer, and the decision was made by HQ NZEF to recall the unit from Syria to Maadi Camp while a decision could be made on its future employment or disbandment.

Rolling through to September 1942 the NZ Salvage Unit was still detached to the 9th Army in Syria when on 19 Sept HQ NZEF sent a warning order to Headquarter 9th Army of the interesting to recall the NZ Salvage unit to Egypt for disbandment. Final Order instructing the Unit to return to Egypt was issued on 3 October 1942 with the NZ Divisional Salvage Unit formally disbanded as a unit of the NZEF on 20 October 1942.7


After 15 months of service, the NZ Divisional Salvage Unit was disbanded and its men distributed to other NZEF and NZ Divison Ordnance Units. The Salvage units contribution to the war effort in the Middle East alongside the other Dominion Salvage Units provided an essential function, collecting, sorting and dispatching battlefield salvage, captured allied and enemy equipment to Workshops and Salvage Depots for repair, recycling and redistribution fighting units. It is unfortunate that this crucial administrative war work carried out by one of New Zealand forgotten Ordnance units have been forgotten and it is hoped that future research into this unit will expand on their story.


British Pathe Newsreel providing an example of Salvage work carried out in the Western Desert.  Desert Salvage

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018


1 Marc Barkman-Astles, “The Archaeology of Star Wars Strikes Back!,”

2 Steve Atcherley, “Llewellyn Atcherley’s World War One,”

3 Arthur Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services (London: The Medici society, ltd., 1929), 76.

4 2nzef – Organisation and War Establishments – Ordnance – Field Item Idr20107590 Record No  Da 1/9/Sd81/21 (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1941).

5 473W. E. Murphy, The Relief of Tobruk, Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939-45 (Wellington, N.Z.: War History Branch, Dept. of Internal Affairs, 1961, 1961), Non-fiction.

6 “Leo Gregory Narbey,”

7 2nzef – Organisation and War Establishments – Ordnance – Field

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 formation 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 creation 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 the Conductor in both the NZEF and New Zealand would be a Crown in a Wealth,[7] the same insignia is worn by Warrant Officers Class Two in the modern New Zealand Army.


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

Drawing the bulk of it’s 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 f 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 1965, 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 Ramsey was transferred into the NZAOC and immediately promoted to Conductor.


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 appointed as Conductors;

  • Regt No 36 Conductor James Murdoch Miller, [10]1 Jul 17 – 3 Jul18
  • Regt No 69 Conductor Eugene Key,[11] 5 Jul 17 – 16 Jan 18
  • Regt No 91 Conductor Donald McCaskill McIntyre,[12] 30 Jul 17 – 10 Jul 19
  • Regt No 112 Conductor George William Bulpitt Silvestre,[13] 1 Nov 18 – 22 Aug 20
  • Regt No 48 Conductor Mark Leonard Hat, haway, MSM,[14]  1Nov 18 – 30 Sep 19
  • Regt No 888 Conductor Henry Earnest Erridge, 1 Oct 19 – 31 July 26
  • Regt No 605 Conductor Walter Edward Cook,[15] 1 Nov 19 – 5 Jul 20
  • Regt No 948 Conductor Michael Joseph Lyons,[16] MSM 1 Apr 22 – 1Jul-27
  • Regt No 807 Conductor Thomas Webster Page, MSM 1Aug 22 – 22 Dec 25
  • Regt No 363 Conductor David Llewellyn Lewis, 1 Oct 28 – 31 Mar 31

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).[17]

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.[18]

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.[19]  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 Conductor in the NZ Military Forces Dress Regulations of 1923.[20]


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 placed 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.[21]

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.[22] 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


[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.”Gossage, Charles Ingram  “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914; “Coltman, William “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

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

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

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

[10] “Miller, James Murdoch “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-1918).

[11] “Key, Eugene,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-1918).

[12] ” Mcintyre, Donald Mccaskill,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1899-1919).

[13] “Silvestre, William Bulpitt,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-1918).

[14] “Hathaway, Mark Leonard,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1917-1928).

[15] “Cook, Walter Edward,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1917-1920).

[16] “Michael Joseph Lyons,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-1919).

[17] “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.

[18] “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.

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

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

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

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

Gordon Cumming Bremner

Gordon Cumming Bremner was born at Wanganui on 30 October 1891. Completing his schooling, Gordon took up a career as a farm hand in the central North Island of New Zealand. Fulfilling his obligation to participate in Compulsorily Military Training, Gordon enlisted in the 6th (Manawatu) Mounted Rifles of the Territorial Army on 1 March 1911. Serving in the Territorial Army for three years Gordon would enlist in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in January 1915.

Taking his attestation on 11 January 1915, Gordon would spend three months training at Trentham before embarking on Troopship No 23 the SS Waitoma on 17 April 1915 as part of the 4th Reinforcements for the voyage to Egypt. Disembarking at Suez on 25 May 1915, Gordon would undergo further training at Zeitoun Camp. Early in June Gordon departed Alexandra, joining the 11th (Taranaki) Company of the Wellington Battalion in the Dardanelles on 9 June.

Bremner GC 01 B Coy 4th Reinfs

Gordon Bremner with B Company 4th Reinforcements, Norm Lamont Collection

Bremner GC 01a B Coy 4th Reinfs

Gordon would have spent the uncomfortably hot months of June and July with the Taranaki Company rotating between Courtney and Quinn’s Posts at Gallipoli as the Wellington Battalion consolidated its position. Participating in the Battle of Chunuk Bair and wounded in action on 8 August,  the injury saw Gordon evacuated from Gallipoli on HMS Alaunia.  Gordon arrived back in Alexandra on 13 August and admitted to the 1st Australian (No.3 Auxiliary) Hospital at Heliopolis on 14 Aug where in addition to his battle injuries Gordon received treatment for appendicitis. Diagnosed with neurasthenia, the term used to describe “shell shock” or what is referred to in modern times as a Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) saw the transfer of Gordon to the New Zealand General Hospital at Abbassia on 13 September. With Gordon’s condition classifying him as unfit for service, he was transferred to the Lady de Walden’s Hospital at Alexandria on 8 October in preparation for his repatriation to New Zealand, departing on the SS Tahiti on 20 November. Arriving in New Zealand on boxing day 1915 and admitted to a convalescent home at Rotorua, Gordon would spend several months recuperating. Recovery was slow, and although his health had improved, Gordon remained classified as medically unfit for military service resulting in his discharge from the NZEF on 19 April 1916.

Bremner GC 07a Otago Witness Sep 1915

Motivated to continue serving, Gordon re-joined the Territorial Army on 1 June 1916 and applied for enlistment into the NZEF on 10 December, but his C2 medical grading precluded his reenlistment into the NZEF. Gordons records do not record his activities during 1917, but in February 1918 Gordon was medially reclassified as C1 – Likely to become fit for active service after special training. Gordon’s medical upgrading was well timed, as on 15 September 1917 authorisation for men medically unfit for active service was granted so they could replace Territorials who remained on duty at the coast defence forts in the main centres. Gordon was ordered to report to the Officer Commanding of the RNZA Wellington on 26 Feb 2018 and on 27 February 1918, Gordon was enlisted as a guard with the Garrison Artillery at Fort Ballance at Wellington.

Bremner GC 09 Garrison Artillery

Gordon Bremner Garrison Artillery. Norm Lamont Collection

On 31 December 1918 Gordon married Irene Pearl Williams at Wellington. Their marriage would see the birth of eight children and the adoption of another;

  • Zita Millicent (adopted), born 27 Dec 16 Christchurch,
  • Jean Kathleen, Born 21 Sept 20 Wellington,
  • James Alexander Gordon, born 31 Jan 22 Taumarunui,
  • Allan Duff, born 21 Apr 24 Wellington,
  • Jessie Elizabeth, born 20 Sept Wellington,
  • Louise Gladys, born 29 Sept Wellington.
  • Nancy Irene, born 1930,
  • John Keith, born 1934,
  • Joyce Kay, born 9 Feb 1936

After four years, the armistice of 11 November 1918 brought the First World War to a close, and by late 1919 Gordon was at a crossroads regarding his future. As a Bombardier (Corporal) in the Artillery, he was well placed to transfer from the Territorials into the Permanent Force and with his savings purchase a comfortable house and pursue a career in the peacetime army, or he could take his discharge and seek fresh pastures. Gordon chose to seek fresh pastures and with his pre-war experience as a farm hand decided to become a farmer. Utilising the Soldiers Resettlement Scheme, Gordon invested his savings in a farm in the King Country. With marginal and isolated land allocated to returned servicemen, Gordons attempt to develop and farm the land was an experience shared by many other returned servicemen and was a futile and hopeless endeavour. After two years of backbreaking and heartbreaking work, Gordon and his family abandoned their farm and now homeless with savings expended returned to Wellington in October 1922.

Attempting to find work with the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham in October 1923 and again in March 1924, Gordon was initially unsuccessful, but did secure work at the Trentham Racecourse and later as a foreman with the Public Works Department in Trentham Camp. Gordon eventually secured a position as the relieving Camp Firemaster and in charge of the night patrol, with accommodation for his family provided in a target shed adjacent to the rifle range. The delivery of the first motorised ambulance to Trentham Camp saw Gordon appointed as the driver. In July 1925 Gordon’s luck changed as he was accepted for service into the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) and was attested as a Private into “E” Section of the Main Ordnance Depot on 21 July. Up to his enlistment in the NZAOC Gordon had remained efficient in the Territorial Army with his service between 1916 and 1925 equalling four years and 211 days.

Bremner GC 14

Gordon Bremner as Trentham Camp Ambulance Driver C1925. Trentham News 1 September 1955 Norm Lamont Collection

Gordon’s enlistment into the NZAOC would in normal circumstances allowed him to retire at the age of 55 with a comfortable pension, but this was not to be. Due to the world-wide depression and economic recession the government was forced to savagely reduce the strength of the Army by using the provisions of section 39 of the Finance Act, 1930 (No. 2)  military staff could be either;

  • Transferred to the Civil service, or
  • Retired on superannuation.

Using this act, Gordon was discharged out of the NZAOC and transferred to the Civil Service on 31 January 1931 to work in the same position as a lorry driver but at a lower rate of pay.

Discharge 1930

Less than a week after Gordon’s transfer to the NZAOC Civilian staff, a disastrous earthquake struck Napier and Hastings on 3 February 1931. The NZAOC was called upon at short notice to supply tents, blankets, bedding, cooking and eating utensils, for use in the stricken areas. As part of the civilian ordnance staff, Gordon’s skills as a lorry driver were put to full use delivering these stores and equipment to Napier and Hastings. All military employees including the civilian staff such as Gordon who engaged in the relief effort were deserving of great credit for the manner in which they carried out their duties under trying conditions.

Gordon’s wounds continued to cause him issues, and in February 1933 Gordon was admitted to hospital for an operation on a duodenal ulcer which was causing him some discomfort. As a result of the surgery a souvenir of Chunuk Bair, a piece of Turkish shrapnel was removed from Gordon’s stomach.

Gordon would continue to serve with the NZAOC in a civilian capacity for the remainder of the 1930’s. Although New Zealand entered the Second World War in 1939, the NZAOC would not transition into a full wartime footing until 1942 when, with the threat of invasion by Japan perceived as possible, saw the mobilisation of the full military potential of New Zealand. The NZAOC would transition from an organisation primarily staffed by civilians into one with a predominately military establishment, with many of the NZAOC civilian staff including Gordon returning to uniform. Gordon was attested into the Temporary Service of the NZAOC at Trentham on 24 August 1942 and allocated the service number 814628. Promoted to Corporal on 1 September 1942 with promotion to Sergeant following on 1 August 1944.


Bremner GC 15 1950s

Gordon Bremner. Norm Lamont Collection

Bremner GC 14b

Gordon Bremner. Norm Lamont Collection

With the end of the Second World War, Gordon transitioned into the post-war Interim Army as a Sergeant on 26 June 1946 and then into the Home Service Section (HSS) of the Regular Force as a Sergeant in the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (RNZAOC). As a driver in the Receipts and Issues Group of the Main Ordnance Depot, Gordon would often be out on runs around the Wellington region collection and delivering store to units and to transports agencies such as the railway, his pleasant manner, willingness to oblige and friendly ways ensured that he was a respected and popular member of Trentham Camp. Gordons activities were not limited to Trentham Camp and throughout his post-war service at Trentham, he would undertake many tours of duty to the other Ordnance depots at Linton, Waiouru and Hopuhopu. Receiving three extensions to his service Gordon would serve throughout the 1950’s.

Bremner GC 14 1950s

Gordon Bremner. Norm Lamont Collection

In 1955 a review of Gordon’s service was undertaken, and in acknowledgement of his Sixteen Years and Nineteen days qualifying service in the Territorial Army, NZEF and NZAOC from 1911 to 1931, Gordon was awarded the New Zealand  Long & Efficient Service Medal on 12 May 1955. The New Zealand Long and Efficient Service Medal was rendered obsolete with the standardisation of awards on 23 September 1931 and Gordons award of this medal is notable as due to its late claim, Gordon’s award was the last one of this type awarded.

LSES Medal Bremner

Reaching retiring age in 1956, Gordon was discharged from the New Zealand Army on 6 August 1956 after close to Forty-Five years service, the majority of which spent at Trentham Camp to which he had been a witness of its growth form a rudimentary Training Camp in 1915 to a modern Military Camp.

Gordon retired in Upper Hutt and passed away at the age of 76 on 28 November 1967. Gordon now rests at the Wallaceville Cemetery, Upper Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.


Gordon Bremner Tombstone, Wallaceville Cemetery, Upper Hutt. Courtesy Dave Morris

During his service Gordon was awarded the following medals;

  • 1914-15 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal War Medal 1939-45
  • New Zealand. War Service Medal.
  • New Zealand Long & Efficient Service Medal

Gordon had also been issued with the Silver War Badge. The Silver War Badge, also known as the “Wound Badge” or “Services Rendered Badge” was issued during the First World War to personnel who had been honourably discharged due to wounds or sickness from military service.

In August 1967 Gordon received his Gallipoli lapel badge in the post with a letter apologising for the delay in sending out the Medallion. Gordons Gallipoli medallion would arrive a  week after his funeral.

Gordon’s son James would also pursue a military career in the Ordnance Corps. Working a civilian storeman at the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham, James would be attested into the Army on 12 June 1940. Serving in Italy with the New Zealand Ordnance Corps with the 2nd NZEF from 1943 to 1945. Remaining in the NZAOC at the Main Ordnance Depot, James would retire from the RNZAOC as A Warrant Officer Class Two on 21 April 1961.

Bremner JA 06


Copyright © Robert McKie 2018