With interest aroused from the Camp Hobson thread we went on an exploration the other week.
The remains of the Military Prison are at the end of Petersons Road, Ardmore but it seems a very active base still
The Eberts sign on the gate is interesting as they have done a lot of NZDF construction lately including the new RNZN training camp at Whangaparoa and the new hangar at Ohakea What are they building at Ardmore?
The area is over 200 acres taking in the whole valley bounded by Ardmore Quarry Road with New entrances, gates and signs. On the eastern side what looks like old ammunition bunkers can be seen from the road.
Google Earth gives the best views
Other then housing the Rainbow Warrior bombers I know little about it, when it was built, who ran it, who went there? Any archive photos out there. Over to you
Hi, The site was (in the 80's) the Services Corrective Establishment aka by servicemen as Ardmore Prison. The ranges were used by the soldiers from Papakura Camp and continues to be used by the NZSAS. The old prison site has had several building removed and is now, I believe, home to part of 3/6 Battalion, used to be D Coy, 3 Auck(Countess of Ranfurly's Own) North Regt, My late father in law was an RSM and my son was on the strength as a Rfmn until he moved to Canterbury. In the area around the prison were a number of disused ammunition bunkers and below the prison grounds there was an assault course the we used following our annual BE tests. There was also a grenade range to the right of the range as you look toward the butts but I don't think that is used anymore, upsets to many residents. The Range went out to 1000m I believe as we used to do sub cal shoots with the L5 pack Howitzer from the 1000m mound.
Post by bertbolden on Jul 10, 2015 14:40:08 GMT 12
I am probably telling you things already well known. S.C.E. Ardmore grew out of the US Military prison built to house AWOL G.I’s. in WW2. During the 1950’s it mainly held short term Naval ratings who were AWOL, Army privates who disobeyed orders and a few Airforcemen. It was staffed by Military Police and Regulators. The C.O. was always an Army Lieutenant. McShane in the late 1950’s. Because it was relatively isolated Kiwi’s were reluctant to live there and also until the mid-1950’s there was no housing for the corporal and sergeant ranks. So they built the four houses behind the prison in 1956. Two Navy, two Airforce. The occupants were usually new immigrants from the U.K. who found the isolation a culture shock. The Rifle range always had a warden, an Army private. David Leaf was there as Warden in the 1950’s. Think he was court-martialed later for losing his rifle. A heinous crime! It was close by the munitions storage bunkers to the west of the prison in the neighbouring valley where there was a further four houses built. The Munitions army people lived there also. Stuff for Papakura. National Servicemen had to march from Papakura to Ardmore at least once. Every now and then a soldier or naval rating inmate would leave a work party and head off. They were always caught. The inmates spent their time on work parties down in the rifle range. Because labour was in short supply the local farmers used to come and ask for assistance from the staff of the prison. The Army used to provide a truck to take people to shop in Papakura once a week and the kids to Ardmore school and collect them in the evening. No transport and cars were scarce and usually cobbled together 1930’s Dodges and Chevrolets with running boards. A different world.
I had a work mate who spent a few weeks there in the early 1970's. He was very gung-ho about the experience down the "Airmans" club, however, in private he was very clear to me on the fact that it was extremely unpleasant and not to be repeated. Shaving tin lid polished to a mirror finish to be used to shave in. Barbaric haircut. Insane tasks, a tooth brush to clean shower floors. Long runs with heavy back pack and other things to break your spirit.