Yep ,both those options are right up there with the WW2 idea to culvert the Hutt river and pave over the top to form a massive airfield! ..or we could invent spinning flying saucers and 'skip' them in to land,aka Barnes Wallis' Bouncing bomb...
Back on track lads. Mangaroa stores were alongside Adelaide road and there are half a dozen houses still there.If you google earth the site the circle road seen in wartime photos is still there. Strangely It was still listed as an Army Camp in the 1978 Armed Forces return. So all the buildings must have been trucked away after that. Also listed in the same return is an Ammunition depot at Makomako , outside of Paihiatua. I have driven past and recall seeing a NZ Defence sign but I cant locate it today on Google earth. Probably long gone is the Army camp at Hororata near the Te Pirita aerodrome. Has anybody got details.?
Makomako ammo dump is off the end of Eisings Rd. Closed now, I believe, in part due to the much reduced holding of HE required by the RNZAF after the shutdown of the AAF. goo.gl/maps/gQe5Q
The 1915 photo of the Army camp at Maymorn appears to me to be beside one of the Cruickshank sawmills (left hand side of the photo). I'd concur that this appears to be on Flux Road on the same site that now holds the remnants of the stores building, and opposite where the remains of the railway siding are today. The remaining military buildings, fencing and defence signage is still visible on google street view. goo.gl/maps/UQdwc
New Zealand Defence Force Various military uses have been present in the valley starting with the Maymorn Military Camp during the First World War. A number of large storage buildings were built at the time of the Second World War by the RNZAF’s No. 1 Base Supply Battalion to store aircraft parts and other items remains. The central complex is adjacent to Flux Road and consists of five storage and ancillary buildings. Six properties in Alamein Avenue were originally Defence houses associated with the storage depot. Three other large buildings are located along Parkes Line Road and Mangaroa Valley Road. In 1990, the Defence Department declared the houses in Alamein Avenue surplus to requirement and began to transfer stores from the storehouses to Trentham. The buildings have since been sold to private owners.
Maymorn Sawmill The Maymorn sawmill was located at the end of McLaren Street with the small settlement initially providing a row of workers cottages. The mill was designed in England and was owned by an English syndicate called the Maymorn Land Company. The mill was extremely modern for its days and many of its activities were intended to be automatic. The mill operated for a short period before the First World War. Later, the site was used as Maymorn Camp (established 1915) after the sawmill ceased to operate. Concrete mill foundations can still be seen. Of particular interest is the base of the old chimney stack which was used to store explosives when part of Maymorn Camp.
Last Edit: Oct 23, 2014 16:36:22 GMT 12 by Barnsey
Here is the Avenger whilst it was at the Silverstream Rail Group.
I did post a bunch of photo's somewhere here, that were taken about two years ago of what's left of Mangaroa, just can't seem to find them. Maybe Dave put them on the RNZAF Cambridge site.... Dave...[/quote]
In case anyone was wondering, thought I should mention that the RNZAF NEVER had a unit called No. 1 Base Support Battalion, and in fact the new No. 2 Stores Depot buildings at Mangaroa would have been put up by private contractors supervised by the Public Works Department. There is a good chapter in the War History of the Aerodrome Services Branch of the PWD on the subject of the RNZAF's wartime stores depots, and the facts were that the first three were all originally set up in leased commercial buildings, or in accommodation that was far too small, or too obviously related to existing prewar defence facilities. That is why quite separate depots remote from existing, easily spotted facilities (such as airfields) were rapidly built at Te Rapa (ex Hamilton city commercial premises, previously at Hobsonville), No. 2 at Mangaroa (previously at Rongotai in the Centennial Exhibition Buildings), and No. 3 at Weedons (originally in central Christchurch, in Tuam or St Aspah St I think). No. 4 at Te Awamutu was built to the new "remote" pattern for the Americans, but they promptly expressed no interest in the lovely new purpose-built depot as it was really just tooooo remote for their purposes, so the RNZAF inherited it, although it did not really need it. The Te Awamutu depot was transferred to the control of the NZ Army in about 1949 or thereabouts, as was the one at Mangaroa some time afterwards, but the other two remained with RNZAF until quite recent times. With the RNZAF, Mangaroa was important as a handy reserve of all sorts of equipment for outfitting some of the early drafts being sent to the Pacific, such as "Unit 49" (No. 15 Fighter Squadron) in September 1942, with tropical uniforms, rifles, tentage, camp supplies, and motor vehicles. In fact the Hutt Valley area and other Wellington locations were big suppliers of locally manufactured items for the armed forces such as motor vehicles and particularly military clothing, steel helmets, etc. No doubt Trentham acted in the same capacity for the Army. Wellington was a very important port, so anything manufactured in the lower North Island was likely to be shipped out through the city's docks. Pre-febricated buildings for the military was another important "line of products" likely to have been shipped out through Wellington, although it is not so likely that kitsets of these were held in Stores Depots - I imagine that most would be shipped off to where they were needed as quickly as possible. David D
Interesting details David. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly NZ mobilised to produce airfields , stores, radar units , batteries etc etc and built MTBs ,Bren Gun Carriers plus ammo, uniforms and a thousand other items. In some way the response to the Christchurh earthquake has been quite minor
Dave H, The comments about the "poorly built facility" sounds more like 2 Stores Depot at its original location, at Rongotai in the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition buildings, known as 'cardboard castle' which was decidedly drafty and only built to last about three months. According to the ASB history, the purpose-built stores were very soundly constructed from top quality materials, and no expense was spared. They had overhead electric cranes and rail sidings, and all four such depots used basically the same design of buildings, although there were some variations in size of the major stores. In fact these stores lasted for very many years, with little maintenance undertaken on them over the latter years. When you consider that they were really only required for the last two or three years of WW2 and then their locations would be common knowledge (thus removing their use in another, admittedly unlikely world crisis), there was no real good reason to retain them postwar, but the cost of their construction seemed to act as an incentive to maintain them in use (possibly after some prodding by Treasury). The RNZAF desided to retain just Weedons and Te Rapa from the 1950s onwards, but the distance of these depots from the stations and airfields which they serviced for was not particularly convenient, although to have built new accommodation nearer the stations just was not going to happen in the short to medium term. I think that is why Te Awamute quickly fell from favour. It is a wonder that the RNZAF persevered with them as long as it did. David D
Dave, Perhaps they had a Sergeant in charge of the store who liked to keep the building well-ventilated! Incidentally No. 4 SD ceased to be known as such from 1/1/48, when it ceased to be an SD in its own right and became officially a bulk Store under control of No. 1 SD (Te Rapa). In May 1948, applications were called to fill the postions of civilian storemen at Te Awamutu and Gracefield. No. 2 SD at Mangaroa was disestablished on 15/9/49 and placed on a care & maintenance basis from that date, pending disposal. All remaining stocks held here were transferred to other depots, particularly at Gracefield, which was reactivated with effect same date, and was now directly under the control of the Commandant, Air Department Unit. "In the meantime, the fire tender and fire equipment are to be retained at Mangaroa." Sorry that I do not have any further new information on these two depots. David D
Just located date that TBF NZ2504 arrived at Wigram for RNZAF Museum - it was approx 4/11/78. And somewhere around the house I also have some colour photos of the other TBF departing Wigram early one very misty morning aboard a very large articulated truck en route for the north. David D
Post by Dave Homewood on Oct 26, 2014 17:46:39 GMT 12
Where was Gracefield?
I was in Te Awamutu Museum a few years ago and I asked the curator if they had any information on the RNZAF depot in their town. She told me point blank I was mistaken, the RNZAF were never there in Te Awamutu and I must have been thinking of Rukuhia. When I tried to explain that yes there was a stores depot there with its own railway siding near the site of the present dairy factory she refused to believe me. She made no effort to look up any indexes to see if there was anything held in the museum perhaps filed before her time there. A complete numpty. At the time they were turning over staff there at a fast rate and I guess if she was the boss I could see why.
Gracefield is Petone isnt it - Theres a Railway workshops there.
Te Awamutu stores buildings were situated behind the racecourse on a railway siding just north of the Dairy Factory. The buildings were there until quite recently, and a railway preservation trust stored some locomotives there in the 1990s. They were the same pattern as those at Te Rapa and Mangaroa - good solid North Island Totara framing I guess! I think Fonterra has recently demolished them to extend their coolstores on the site. No-one would have raised any heritage issue since as Dave says, no-one bothered to actually record its history...
If it was supposed to be easy. everyone would be doing it...
Gracefield is Petone isnt it - Theres a Railway workshops there.
Nope....there is a river between Petone and Gracefield. They even used to have separate local authorities. Petone was in Petone Borough, whereas Gracefield has always been a suburb of Lower Hutt. With the Hutt River between Petone and Lower Hutt. In more recent times (1989) Petone Borough merged with Lower Hutt during a period of extensive local authority amalgamations throughout the country.
If you aren't living life on the edge, you're taking up too much space!