Home    History index


Defences, Military and Naval - 1896

As reported in the New Zealand Official Year-Book 1896

THE defence forces consist of the Permanent Militia (Artillery and Torpedo Corps), and the auxiliary forces of Volunteers (Cavalry, Mounted Rifles, Naval Artillery, Field Artillery, Engineers, and Rifle companies). There is a Military Adviser and Inspector of these Forces, who is an ex-Imperial officer. To the Under-Secretary for Defence all questions of expenditure are referred; while the Chief Engineer of the Public Works Department has charge of the defence-works.

MILITIA AND VOLUNTEER DISTRICTS.

The two islands (North and South) are divided into seven districts, each commanded by a Field Officer of Militia or Volunteers, with a competent staff of drill-sergeants.

PERMANENT MILITIA (ARTILLERY).

This Force is divided into four batteries, which are stationed at Auckland, Wellington (head-quarters), Lyttelton, and Dunedin; their principal duties are to look after and take charge of all guns, stores, ammunition, and munitions of war at these four centres The Force consists of two majors, two captains, one subaltern, with an establishment of 145 of all ranks.

PERMANENT MILITIA (TORPEDO CORPS).

This branch, like the Artillery, is divided amongst the four centres, for submarine and torpedo work, and consists of two Captains, with a total establishment of 64 of all ranks. They have charge of four torpedo-boats and four steam-launches, and of all submarine-mining and torpedo stores. They are likewise employed in blowing up rocks and wrecks, and generally improving harbours.

VOLUNTEERS. - CAVALRY.

There are three troops of Cavalry, one in the North Island and two in the South Island. These corps are kept in a state of efficiency by gioing into camp for six days' training annually. The total strength of the three troops is 180 of all ranks.

VOLUNTEERS. - MOUNTED RIFLES.

There are eleven corps of Mounted Rifles, seven in the North Island and four in the South Island, with a total strength of 547 of all ranks. These corps go into camp for an annual training of six days.

VOLUNTEERS. - NAVAL ARTILLERY.

There are fifteen batteries of this branch of the service, eight in the North Island and seven in the South Island, having a total strength of 1,087 of all ranks These corps are divided into port and starboard watches; one watch is trained to assist the Permanent Artillery in working heavy ordnance, the other in submarine and and torpedo work, as auxiliaries to the Torpedo Corps. These corps have cutters and other boats provided and kept up for them, and are instructed in rowing, knotting, splicing, signalling, and suchlike duties.

VOLUNTEERS. - GARRISON ARTILLERY.

There is one corps of Garrison Artillery in the South Island, with a strength of 50 of all ranks.

VOLUNTEERS. - FIELD ARTILLERY.

There are nine batteries of Field Artillery, three in the North Island and six in the South Island, with a total of 514 of all ranks. They are armed with 6-, 9-, and 12-pounder Armstrong breech-loading rifled guns and 6-pounder Nordenfeldts, on field-carriages.

VOLUNTEERS. - ENGINEERS.

This branch consists of two corps, with a total of 146 of all rank, both in the South Island. Besides carrying rifles they are provided with entrenching tools and all appliances for blowing up bridges or laying land-mines.

VOLUNTEERS. - RIFLE CORPS.

In this branch of the service there are forty-six corps (including one honorary reserve), fourteen being in the North Island and thirty-two in the South Island, with a total strength of 2,845 of all ranks, including garrison bands.

VOLUNTEERS. - CADET CORPS.

There is a force of thirty-nine cadet corps -viz., eleven in the North Island and twenty-eight in the South Island, with a total strength of 2,139 of all ranks.

ORDNANCE, ARMS, ETC.

The armament at the forts of the four centres consists of 8in. 13-ton breech-loading rifled Elswick Ordnance Company guns, with 6in. 5-ton, of like pattern, all mounted on hydro-pneumatic disappearing carriages; 7in 7-ton muzzle-loading rifled guns on traversing slides; 64 pounder rifled muzzle-loading converted 71cwt. guns, on garrison standing carriages and traversing slides; 64-pounder rifled muzzle loading 64cwt. guns on traversing slides; 6-pounder quick-firing Nordenfeldts, on garrison pillar-mountings, and field-carriages; and Hotchkiss and Maxim quick-firing guns. The Volunteer Field Artillery are armed with 6-, 9-, and 12-pounder Armstrong breech-loading rifled guns, and 6-pounder Nordenfeldts, and the whole of the adult section of the Force have carbines or rifles of Martini-Henry pattern; Cadets being armed with Snider carbines. There is a large stock of Whitehead torpedoes, contact- and ground-mines, in charge of the Torpedo Corps, as well as four Thorneycroft torpedo-boats.

ENROLMENT, ETC.

Members of the Permanent Militia are enrolled for three years' service, and Volunteers for one year. The Permanent Militia is recruited from men who have one year's efficient service in the Volunteers; and after passing the gunnery and other courses in the Permanent Militia the men are eligible for transfer to police and prison service.

INSTRUCTORS.

The Instructors for Permanent Artillery and Torpedo Corps are obtained from the School of Gunnery at Shoeburyness, and from the Royal Engineers, under a three years' engagement, on completion of which they return to their regiments.

CAPITATION.

An annual capitation of 2 10s. is granted to each efficient Volunteer, and a sum not exceeding 20 to each efficient cadet corps. One hundred and fifty rounds of Martini-Henry ball-cartridge are issued each year free to every adult Volunteer, and twenty-five rounds of Snider ball to each cadet over thirteen years of age.

Administration

The defence forces of New Zealand are administered under "The Defence Act, 1886."

Expenditure on the establishment and maintenance of Defences from 1884-5 to 1895-96.
Year.Military
Expenditure.
Harbour
Defences.
Total.
1884-85 ..90,8169,601100,417
1885-86 ..91,242127,167218,409
1886-87 ..89,927139,429229,356
1887-88 ..122,06173,458195,519
1888-89 ..53,59150,089103,680
1889-90 ..63,61415,75279,366
1890-91 ..80,89110,79891,689
1891-92 ..75,3437,64482,987
1892-93 ..59,80811,20571,013
1893-94 ..56,5703,97660,546
1894-95 ..62,1812,49564,676
1895-96 ..84,9813,31488,295

Return to top

Early artillery in Auckland   |    Early artillery in Napier   |    Early artillery in Wellington
Early artillery in Canterbury and Nelson   |    NZ Regiment of Volunteer Artillery
History Index    |    Home