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Photo notes: A munitions diptych: on the left a British WWI (1914-1919) propaganda poster designed to encourage women to work in munitions factories. In the foreground is a woman donning her factory work clothes (a headscarf and work coat) while on the left a smiling British soldier, Lee-Enfield on his shoulder, waves goodbye as joins his waiting comrades. In the background is an interior view of a munitions workshop, with women in work caps and coats toiling at their workbenches. The caption reads “These women are learning to do their bit. Learn to make munitions.” [1] [2]


On the right, a photograph of an unidentified munitions inspector as she examines finished .303 cartridges at the Colonial Ammunition Plant in Hamilton, New Zealand, 1944. [3] [4]



New Zealand - Unknown Soldiers

After the “Panjdeh Incident” (1885) in Afghanistan, war with Russia is on the horizon. Encouraged by the New Zealand government, John Whitney decides to set up an ammunition plant in Auckland, New Zealand. The new venture is called Whitney & Sons.


The crisis in Afghanistan is eventually defused by diplomats, but British investors are interested in developing the Australasia market, and so with the infusion of new capital, in 1888 Whitney & Sons becomes the Colonial Ammunition Company (CAC) in New Zealand and in Australia the Colonial Ammunition Company, Ltd. (Australia).


During World War I (1914-1919) and World War II (1939-1945) CAC was New Zealand’s only industrial manufacturer of ammunition. During this time New Zealand’s armed forces, much like South Africa’s, are entirely dependent upon Great Britain for arms and equipment.


No New Zealand made Mk IV (brass) oilers have been reported; a few examples of Mk V (non-brass) oilers have been observed.



Unknown Soldier NZ in a C-cup. Mk V non-brass oiler. Spoon is metal. No other marks.

Unknown Soldier NZ in a U-cup. Mk V non-brass oiler. No other marks.

New Zealand - National Government

Government Mark

NZ Broad Arrow found on cap of BSA commercial production oiler. Mark IV brass oiler. Unusual.






Page Notes & Sources

[1] Artist: Scott, Septimus E.; Johnson, Riddle and Co Ltd, Penge, London (printer); Ministry of Munitions (publisher/sponsor); 1916


Artist identification: Imperial War Museum PST 3283 [Retrieved August 2019] https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/24057


Septimus Edwin Scott (1879-1965) was a British painter, illustrator and comics artist who, during the Great War (1914-1919), painted propaganda posters for the Ministry of Munitions. Wikipedia; [Retrieved August 2019] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sep_E._Scott


[2] Image courtesy of Scottish Maritime Museum, Ayrshire, Scotland. https://www.scottishmaritimemuseum.org/collections/women-at-work-in-world-war-one/ [Retrieved August 2019]


[3] Photographer: John Pascoe; Image courtesy of Hamilton City Libraries / Te Ohomauri o Kirikiriroa, New Zealand. HCL_09002; https://heritage.hamiltonlibraries.co.nz/objects/1097/examining-bullets-in-a-hamilton-ammunition-factory


[4] The photographer, John Pascoe (1908-1972), has been described as “ a mountaineer, though not a great one; a non-fiction writer, though not of the first rank; and an execrable poet and failed novelist. He trained himself to be an outstandingly good documentary photographer while working for the government during World War II.” [5] [6]


[5] NOTED.co.nz; book review, John Pascoe by Michael King; 16 Jan 2004; [Retrieved August 2019] https://www.noted.co.nz/archive/archive-listener-nz-2004/in-a-way-crafty-and-clear


[6] The Hamilton City Libraries (New Zealand) has a small collection of Pascoe’s works available online. All are photos of people at the nearby CAC munitions plant. [Retrieved August 2019] https://heritage.hamiltonlibraries.co.nz/objects?query=john+pascoe&facet=subjects%3AWorld+War+II


The New Zealand National Library has an extensive collection of the photographs of John Dobree Pascoe. https://natlib.govt.nz/records/22338704


Suggested Reading

Book - The Maoris in the Great War

Cowan, James: The Maoris In The Great War: A History Of The New Zealand Native Contingent And Pioneer Battalion - Gallipoli 1915 France And Flanders 1916-1918; Published by the Maori Regimental Committee, Whitcombe & Toombs, Ltd., New Zealand (1926). 180 pages, maps, index, appendices, illustrations. Reprinted by Naval & Military Press Ltd., England. ISBN 1-84734-397-X