New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Badge, 1916-1919 (Robert McKie Collection 2017)
From the turn of the twentieth century, the New Zealand Army had transformed from small permanent militia and volunteer force, into a modern citizen army, organised for integration with a much larger British Imperial Army. When New Zealand entered the First World War, the New Zealand Army did not have a Regular or Territorial Army Ordnance Corps from which to expand into a wartime Ordnance organisation. The creation of a New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps had remained a topic of discussion and indecision. Still, appetite to make a decision lacked until the war necessitated the formation of a New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps as a unit of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF).
Ordnance functions in support of the New Zealand Forces had since 1907 been a civil/military responsibility under the control of the Defence Council with duties divided between the civilian Defence Store Department and the Royal New Zealand Artillery;
- The Director of Artillery Services (Ordnance): Responsible for Artillery armament, fixed coast defences, and supplies for Ordnance, and
- The Director of Stores: Responsible for clothing and personal equipment, accoutrements, saddlery, harness, small-arms and small-arms ammunition, machine guns, material, transport, vehicles, camp equipment, and all stores required for the Defence Forces.
As this created a division of roles and responsibilities, there were many calls for the establishment of a New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps along the lines of;
- The Army Ordnance Corps, established in Britain in 1895,
- The Australian Army Ordnance Department, established in 1902, and
- The Canadian Ordnance Corps, established in 1907.
On 27 December 1907, James O’Sullivan head storekeeper of the Defence Sores Department was confirmed as the Director of Stores, with the Rank of Honorary Captain in the New Zealand Staff Corps.  Further progress was made on the creation of an Army Ordnance Corps in 1913 with the selection and appointment of Brigade Ordnance Officers (Territorial) in each district with the intent of forming a Central Ordnance Depot to support each Brigade Camp during the 1913 camping season. Under the Director of Equipment and Stores, a fortnight course of instruction on Ordnance duties was conducted at Alexandra Barracks in January 1913 for the selected Brigade Ordnance Officers. In the field during the 1913 Annual Camps, each Brigade Ordnance Officer was allocated a staff of 2 clerks and 4 issuers, who were also selected before the camps and had undertaken training on Ordnance duties. ]
From an Ordnance perspective, the1913 camps were a revolution in New Zealand’s Ordnance planning. For the first time, The issue of camp equipment was effectively managed with issues direct from Brigade Ordnance Depots directly to Regiments as they marched in. Issues were based against set scales, removing any doubt as to quantities taken into use and ensuring units were not holding excessive equipment and obviating any losses that were a feature of the previous system of direct consignment in small lots. On the completion of the camps, Regimental Quartermaster Sergeants assembled all equipment for return or made the necessary arrangements to rectify deficiencies without any delay. To facilitate the closing of camp stores accounts, Regimental Quartermaster Sergeants were placed under the orders of the Brigade Supply Officer. They would if necessary remain post the departure of their Regiments, remaining until the completion of checking and adjusting of accounts for rations and equipment. The Brigade Ordnance Officers would then ensure the return of all camp equipment to the respective mobilisation stores. An organisational success, the 1913 Ordnance Depot concept was carried over for use in the 1914 camps. The significant difference between the 1913 and 1914 camp’s was that they were to be much larger Divisional camps. To manage the increase of dependency, the size of the Ordnance Depot Staff was increased to 6 clerks and twelve issuers. Moreover, some of the regional Defence Storekeepers participated as the camp Ordnance Officers.
Based on many of the logistical lessons learned by the British Army in the Anglo/Boer war, the British Army published their doctrine for the provision of Ordnance Services to the British Army in the 1914′ Ordnance Manual (War)’. The concept of operations for British Ordnance Services was that they were to be organised depending upon the general nature of operations and lines of communication. Arranged within convenient distances of Corps and Divisions, Ordnance Depots would be located to allow units to draw their stores and ammunition from that source. If lines of communication became extended, the establishment of intermediate, advanced, and field depots on the lines of communication was authorised. The composition of Ordnance Depots was to consist of personnel of each trade, of sufficient numbers necessary for the operation of a small ordnance depot and workshop. Assistant Directors Ordnance Services (ADOS) would be responsible for each Corps, with Deputy Assistant Directors Ordnance Services (DADOS) accountable for each Division.
The doctrine Britain had in place at the beginning of the First World War was for forces to be fully equipped with everything necessary to enable them to undertake operations.  Included in the plan was the daily maintenance of Combat Supplies,  but no provision for the replacement of weapons, equipment or clothing was allowed. Re-equipment would happen upon the withdrawal of forces for rest. New Zealand’s contribution as part of the British Empire was to be the NZEF based around an Infantry Division and a Mounted Infantry Brigade. Given the doctrine, New Zealand’s Ordnance requirements were minimal and would initially consist of no more than a DADOS, A Senior NCO clerk and a box of Stationary.
Detailed in Section 5 of General Order 312 of August 1914, the initial establishment of the NZEF was; 1 Officer, 1 Clerk and a horse. The NZEF DADOS was New Zealand Staff Corps Honorary Captain William Thomas Beck, Defence Storekeeper for the Northern Districts.   Beck was an experienced military storekeeper, who had been a soldier in the Permanent Militia before his appointment as Northern Districts Defence Storekeeper in 1904. Beck was the Officer in charge of the Camp Ordnance for the Auckland Divisional Camp at Hautapu near Cambridge in April 1914 so was well prepared for the role of DADOS.
The Senior Non-Commissioned Officer assisting Beck was Norman Joseph Levien. A general storekeeper, Levien enlisted into the 3rd Auckland Regiment immediately on the outbreak of war, appointed as a Temporary Sergeant and transferred to the Ordnance Department as the I.C. of Stores and Equipment, assisting in equipping troops for overseas service. Beck and Levien embarked with the main body of the NZEF, departing Wellington for England on the troopship TSS Maunganui on 3 December 1914.
The main body of the NZEF was initially destined for England, but the Canadian Expeditionary Force had suffered an exceptionally bitter winter on Salisbury Plain resulting in a change of plans for the main body of the NZEF to spare them the rigours of an English winter. Diverted to Egypt and disembarking on 3 December 1914. The New Zealanders would join with the Australians as the ‘Australasian Army Corps’. The Corps comprised two divisions; the 1st Australian Division, and the New Zealand and Australian Division. Based at Based Zeitoun Camp on the outskirts of Cairo, the New Zealanders trained and acclimatised to the local conditions, with preparations made for potential operations against the Ottoman Empire. The New Zealanders would see their first action in February 1915 when Ottoman forces raided the Suez Canal.
New Zealand Supply Depot Staff at Zeitoun Camp, 1915. Note Ordnance solder front row 3rd from left. National Army Museum of New Zealand
By 10 December Beck had established himself as the DADOS of the NZEF with an Ordnance office and a shared depot with the Army Service Corps at Zeitoun Camp. NZEF Order No 9 of 10 December 1914 stated that all indents for Ordnance Stores, including petrol and lubricants were to be submitted to the DADOS Ordnance Depot. Beck and had much to work ahead to bring the New Zealand units to scale and come to terms with the British Ordnance Systems. Britain had maintained occupation forces in Egypt since the 1880s and as such had peacetime Ordnance depots in Alexandra and Cairo. To understand the British systems and how best to utilise them Sergeant Levien was attached to the British Ordnance Corps Depot at the Citadel in Cairo to study the Ordnance systems in use and the Ordnance procedures the New Zealand Forces would have to adopt.
Plan of Zeitoun Camp
Divisional Order 210 of 28 December transferred the following soldiers to the Ordnance Depot;
- Private Walter John Geard,
- Private Arthur Gilmore,
- Private Gavin Hamilton,
- Private Lewis Crozier,
- Private Horace Frederick Lofts,
- Private Joseph Roland Henderson.
Rue de la, Porte Rosette, Alexandria, Egypt. Public Domain
By March 1915 Levien had secured premises for a New Zealand Ordnance Depot and warehouse at No. 12 Rue de la Porte Rosette and a warehouse at Shed 43, Alexandra Docks. From these premises, the New Zealand Forces would be provided support before and during the Dardanelles campaign. The Australians established a similar Depot at Mustapha Barracks and in No 12 Bond Store on Alexandra Docks.
On 3 April 1915, Beck received a boost to his DADOS organisation. Commissioned to 2nd Lieutenant, Thomas Joseph King, a qualified accountant, transferred into the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps. King was appointed as the Officer in Charge of the Ordnance Depot at Zeitoun Camp, and Levien, also promoted to 2nd Lieutenant assumed the position of Officer in Charge of Equipment, Small Arms and Accoutrements (SAA) and Clothing.
Order No 122 promoting King and Levien into the NZAOC on 4 April 1915
Lieutenant Thomas Joseph King, New Zealand Ordnance Corps in Egypt.National Army Museum of New Zealand
Early in January 1915 planning began for operations in the area around the Dardanelles, with the ambitious goal of forcing the Ottoman Empire out of the war. Now well known as the Gallipoli Campain, the Australians and New Zealanders were committed to being critical participants in the planned amphibious assault and ground offensive. The Ordnance plan for the campaign included the establishment of an Ordnance Base Depot in Alexandria, and a floating Ordnance Depot set up on the cargo ship the ‘SS Umsinga’. The Umsinga was fitted out in the U.K. with all the Ordnance Stores required, all carefully laid out by vocabulary with detailed plans produced to locate the stock quickly. With Lieutenant Colonel McCheane in command as the Chief Ordnance Officer, he had a complement of one hundred and fifty men of the AOC to manage the stocks.
The invasion fleet loaded with the ANZAC, British and French concentrated off the Island of Lemnos from 10 April. The assault would be at two locations on the morning of 25 April. The British 29th Division would land at Cape Helles on the southern tip of the Gallipoli Penisula, and the ANZACs at locations on the west coast of the Peninsular that would become known as ANZAC Cove. The Division of the landing force made the concept of having the ‘Umsinga’ as the offshore ordnance Depot unworkable. To rectify the situation, the ‘S.S. Anglo Indian’ became the second floating Ordnance Depot. Half the stocks of the ‘Umsinga’ were cross-loaded to the ‘Anglo Indian’ on the night of 23/24 April, with British Ordnance Officer Major Basil Hill appointed as Chief Ordnance Officer on the Anglo Indian, along with haft the AOC men from the “Umsinga”.
The 1st Australian Divison started landing at around 4 am on the morning of 25 April, followed by the Australian and New Zealand Division several hours later. Soon after the beachhead was secured but still under considerable enemy fire, the ‘Anglo Indian’ drew close to the shore and started to cross-load Ammunition and other Ordnance Stores for transfer to an Ordnance dump established at the southern end of the beach. Lt Col J.G Austin, the 1st Australian Division DADOS, supervised the unloading of the lighters into the Ordnance dump and established forward ammunition dumps close to the front lines.
Supplies on the beach at ANZAC Cove 1915. Athol Williams Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library
As DADOS of the Australian & New Zealand Division, Beck landed with Godley’s Headquarters at ANZAC Cove at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. Lieutenant Colonel Fenwick, ADMS, another New Zealander, was part of the Headquarters landing party describes the events on that day: 
“We were all ready to land but were kept waiting and waiting until about 9.00 a.m. Some barges were moored alongside and a string of boats outside of these on the starboard side. Colonels Braithwaite, Chaytor and Manders, Major Hughes and Captain Beck and I got into the first boat. We were frightfully hampered by our kit – overcoat, revolver, glasses, map case, haversack, three days rations, firewood, Red Cross satchel, water bottle – like elephants. It was a certainty that we would drown if we got sunk. After waiting, a steam picket boat came along in charge of a very fat rosy midshipman. He took our string of boats in tow, and we were off. Our boat grounded about 50 feet from the shore and we all hopped out. Of course, I fell into a hole up to my neck. I could hardly struggle ashore and when I did the first thing I saw was Beck sitting on a stone, roaring with laughter at us. Billy Beck was the first New Zealander of Godley’s force (New Zealanders were serving in the Australian Division) to get onto Gallipoli”.
The landings were not as successful as planned with the Ottoman troops providing a more robust defence than expected; the campaign soon developed into stalemated trench warfare. By July the Island of Lemnos 40 miles from the peninsula had become the logistics hub supporting the campaign. The Ordnance command structure underwent a shakeup, the DOS for the entire campaign was Colonel Perry of the AOD, ADOS’s were made responsible for Ordnance support in the individual Corps areas of Helles and ANZAC Cove, Lt Col Austin assumed the position of the ANZAC Corps ADOS. The much larger “S.S. Minnetonka” was charted to act as depot ship, making regular round trips from Lemnos, Helles and ANZAC. The “‘ Umsinga’ and ‘Anglo Indian’ continue to support their respective areas as ammunition tenders.
Ordnance Depot Shrapnel Gully, Gallipoli. Alexander Turnbull Libary
Beck remained as the DADOS of the Australian & New Zealand Division with staff Sergeant Major Elliot Purdom, Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant of the Auckland Mounted Rifles transferred into the division headquarters to be his assistant. For the next three months, Purdom would assist Beck with the strenuous work of landing and organising stores and managing the depot staff. It would appear that he was also a bit of a character and The Hawera & Normanby Star, 24 June 1916 had this to say about Captain Beck’s service at Gallipoli:
“Finally, there was Captain William Beck, an ordinary officer. “Beachy Bill” was in charge of the store – a miserable little place – and whenever he put his nose out of the door bullets tried to hit it. The Turkish gun in Olive Grove was named after him, “Beachy Bill.” The store was simply a shot under fire, and Bill looked out and went on with his work just as if no bullets were about. He was the most courteous and humorous, and no assistant at Whiteley’s could have been more pleasing and courteous than the brave storekeeper on Anzac Beach. General Birdwood never failed to call on Captain Beck or call out as he passed on his daily rounds, asking if he were there, and they all dreaded that someday there would be no reply from a gaunt figure still in death. But Captain Beck was only concerned for the safety of his customers. He hurried them away, never himself.
NZAOC Captain W T Beck, Ordnance Depot Shrapnel Gully Gallipoli 1915
Back in Egypt, with reinforcements arriving from New Zealand, King remained fully occupied at the Zeitoun Ordnance Depot. Ensuring new drafts of troops were brought up to scale and troops departing for ANZAC cove were fully equipped, on 2 May, King received additional assistance in the form of Trooper Reginald Pike. Pike 39 years old and a veteran of the Boer war was promoted to Temporary Sergeant and appointed as Ordnance Clerk. Pike would remain with Ordnance for the duration of the war.
By mid-July, illness was taking its toll on Beck and Purdom. During August both men were transferred to the hospital in Alexandria, after some time in Alexandra, both would be invalided back to New Zealand. Levien embarked for the Dardanelles on 2 August to replace Beck as DADOS, with King taking over the management of the Alexandra Depot on 12 August. At ANZAC Cove Private Arthur Gilmour transferred into the NZAOC as acting Sergeant on 24 August.
On 6 October Levien and King, both received promotions to Lieutenant. King took over as DADOS of the Division and Levien was appointed the Chief Ordnance Officer at Sarpi camp, with responsibility for re-equipping the depleted Australian & New Zealand Division. Having been in action since April, the Division required some rest and reorganisation. From mid-September 1915, most of the depleted division withdrew to the Island of Lemnos. Spending seven weeks at Sarpi Camp, the Division returned to the Gallipoli peninsula in early November with King remaining as DADOS. November also saw the promotion of Acting Sergeant Gilmour to Sergeant.
By mid-October, it was apparent that the situation in the Dardanelles had become hopeless, with operations against the enemy reaching a stalemate and offensive options exhausted. After extensive planning, evacuation orders were issued on 22 November. Starting on 15 December, withdrawing under cover of darkness, the last troops departed ANZAC Cove and Suvla Bay by dawn 20 December, with the final evacuations of the French and British forces at Helles completed by 9 January.
Returning to Egypt the Australians and New Zealand Division regrouped, and with enough New Zealand reinforcements now available to form a third Brigade, the NZEF became a standalone New Zealand Division. The bulk of the Australian and New Zealand forces separated, but the Mounted Rifle Brigade joined with the Australians to establish the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division, which would remain in the Middle East for the remainder of the war. Elements of the New Zealand Division detached for operations against the Senussi in Western Egypt, returned to the Division in February and by March the New Zealand Division started to depart for France, joining the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front.
Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert, NZAOC. Auckland Museum/Public Domain
From late 1915 the need for a more robust NZAOC was recognised, and expansion of the NZAOC as a unit of the NZEF began in December with Private Frank Percy Hutton and Sergeant Kenneth Bruce MacRae transferred into the NZAOC. On 1 February 1916 Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert, who had previously served as Commanding Officer of the Pioneer Battalion was transferred into NZAOC and appointed New Zealand Division, DADOS and Officer Commanding of the NZEF NZAOC. Also on 1 January Staff Sergeant Geard who had been with Ordnance since December 1914 formally transferred into the NZAOC.
The NZAOC would officially become a unit of the NZEF in February, with a commensurate influx of personnel transferred into the NZAOC, including;
- 2nd Lieutenant Alfred James Bond,
- Company Sergeant Major William Henchcliffe Simmons,
- Company Sergeant Major William Hall Densby Coltman, promoted to Acting Warrant Officer Class One (Acting Sub-Conductor),
- Temp Sergeant Edward Cullen Little,
- Corporal John Goutenoire O’Brien,
- Corporal John Joseph Roberts
- Private Clarence Adrian Seay, 
- Sergeant Charles Ingram Gossage,
- Armourer Charles Alfred Oldbury.
On 22 March Sergeant MacRae was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant
King and Levien would not travel with the Division to France. King was struck down with Enteric (typhoid) fever and would be invalided back to New Zealand on 10 May. King would remain in the Military, initially taking up a posting in the Defence Stores and transferring into the NZAOC on its formation in New Zealand in 1917. Levien oversaw the closing down of the Alexandra depot, disposing of the vast stockpile of stores that had accumulated over the year. Levien would embark for England in May 1916, taking up the post of NZEF Chief Ordnance Officer in the U.K.
Copyright © Robert McKie 2018
 “Defence Forces of New Zealand Report by the Council of Defence and by the Inspector-General of the New Zealand Defence Forces for the Year 1907.,” Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representives ( 1907).
 “Personal,” Otago Daily Times, Issue 13786 (1907).
 “Director of Ordnance Stores,” Dominion, Volume 9, Issue 2741 8 April 1916
 The Director of Stores title was changed to Director of Equipment and Stores early in 1911
 “H-19 Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand for the Period 28 June 1912 to 20 June 1913,” Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representives (1913).
 “Territorials,” Evening Star, Issue 15018, 29 October 1912.
 “H-19 Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand for the Period 28 June 1912 to 20 June 1913.”
 “H-19 Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand Fir the Period 20 June 1913 to 25 June 1914,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representives (1914).
 “Auckland Territorials,” New Zealand Herald, Volume LI, Issue 15594 28 April 1915.
 Ordnance Manual (War), War Office (London: His Majesties Printing Office, 1914), Appendix 1.
 Ibid., Page 3.
 Ibid., Page 4, Para 8.
 Rations, water, fuel, ammunition, and animal feed
 Ordnance Manual (War), Page 4, Para 9.
 P.H. Williams, Ordnance: Equipping the British Army for the Great War (History Press, 2018), Page 13.
 “Troopships; Embarkation Orders; Daily Field States; and a Large Chart of ‘New Zealand Expeditionary Forces – Personnel’ as at 1 June 1915),” Item ID R23486740, Archives New Zealand 1914-1915.
 “Main Expedition,” Evening Post, Volume LXXXVII, Issue 73, 23 September 1914.
 “Officers of Dominions Contingent,” Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8951, 24 September 1914.
 “Auckland Territorials.”
 “The Hautapu Camp,” Waikato Argus, Volume XXXV, Issue 5575, 4 April 1914.
 “Camp Preparations,” Evening Post, Volume LXXXVII, Issue 22 27 January 1914.
 “Norman Joseph Levien,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914-1924.
 “William Thomas Beck,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 the ‘Australasian Army Corps’. The designation; Australian and New Zealand Army Corps’ was soon adopted and abbreviated to ANZAC, but would not enter the common vernacular until after the Gallipoli landings.
 “Appendices to War Diaries, I – Lxii,” Item ID R23486739, Archives New Zealand 1914-1915.
 Arthur Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services (London: The Medici society, ltd., 1929), Page 211.
 “Norman Joseph Levien.”
 Geard would remain with Ordnance for the duration of the war “Walter John Geard “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 Gilmour would remain with Ordnance for the duration of the war “Arthur Gilmour “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 Worked At Alexandra Depot until returned to New Zealand in October 1915 “Gavin Hamilton,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 Promoted to Sergeant 18 February 16, returned to NZ Aug 1917 “Lewis Crozier,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 Transferred to NZASC October 1917 “Horace Frederick Lofts,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 Transferred to NZASC 25 February 1916 “Joseph Roland Henderson,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 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), Page 43.
 “Grants of Temporary Rank, Appointments and Promotion of Officers in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force,” New Zealand Gazette, No 81 8 July 1915.
 “Thomas Joseph King,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914-1946.
 Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services, Pages 221-23.
 Ibid., Page 222.
 Lt Col Austin was a British Army Ordnance Department officer on secondment to the Australian Army as DOS before the war and served with the AIF on Gallipoli as the DADOS 1st Australian Division.
 Tilbrook, To the Warrior His Arms: A History of the Ordnance Services in the Australian Army Page 45.
 Christopher Pugsley, Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story (Auckland [N.Z.]: Sceptre, 1990, 1990).
 Glyn Harper, Johnny Enzed: The New Zealand Soldier in the First World War 1914-1918, First World War Centenary History (Auckland, New Zealand: Exisle Publishing Limited, 2015, 2015).
 “Brave New Zealanders,” The Hawera and Normanby Star, Volume LXXI, Issue LXXI,, 24 June 1916.
 “Reginald Pike,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 “William Thomas Beck.”
 “Arthur Gilmour “.
 “Grants of Temporary Rank, Appointments and Promotion of Officers in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (Europe),” New Zealand Gazette, No 5, 20 January 1916.
 “Frank Percy Hutton,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 “Kenneth Bruce Macrae,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 “Alfred Henry Herbert “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 “Walter John Geard “.
 “Road to Promotion,” Evening Post, Volume XCI, Issue 29, 4 February 1916.
 “Alfred James Bond “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 “William Henchcliffe Simmons “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 “William Hall Densby Coltman “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 “Edward Cullen Little “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 “John Goutenoire O’Brien “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 “Clarence Adrian Seay “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 “Charles Ingram Gossage “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.
 “Charles Alfred Oldbury “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.