‘Great soldiers, good fellows’

The Victoria College Officers’ Training Corps was formed in Wellington in 1910. It was established partly by the need to train a new generation of officers to lead and fight in the New Zealand militia. Charles Treadwell was an original member of the Corps and in this talk he recalls its founding, the different forms that their training took, and the men he served with.

Year:1910 (Recorded 1950s)

Location:Wellington, New Zealand

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‘Great soldiers, good fellows’

The Victoria College Officers’ Training Corps was formed in Wellington in 1910. It was established partly by the need to train a new generation of officers to lead and fight in the New Zealand militia. Charles Treadwell was an original member of the Corps and in this talk he recalls its founding, the different forms that their training took, and the men he served with.


Year: 1910 (Recorded 1950s)

Length: 00:10:42

Source: Radio New Zealand Collection Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision

Catalogue Reference: 31133 [Talk by Charles Treadwell on the Victoria College Officers Training Corps]


People: Charles Treadwell

Location: Wellington, New Zealand


Image Title: Victoria College Officers' Training Corps

Image Source: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-VUW1909_16Spik-t1-body-d12.html


At the start of the 20th century, New Zealand’s defence force was largely made up of volunteers but lacked a trained and dedicated officer class. The compulsory military training required by the 1909 Defence Act aimed to increase New Zealand’s military capacity and readiness to mobilise as an expeditionary force in an emergency. In response, the New Zealand Defence Council urged the professorial board of each of New Zealand’s four main universities to establish an officers’ training corps. The boards advised that military training should be a subject in the arts course, providing practical proficiency though experience in an officers’ training corps.

Victoria College (later Victoria University) adopted this proposal provisionally and 74 students, including Charles Treadwell, signed up for two years of volunteer training and service. The training exercises for the Officer Corps included attending at least 30 instructional parades or exercises. The establishment of an officer class was largely modelled after the British forces, and characterised by men of higher education who had received regimented training, and the virtues of discipline, loyalty, responsibility and patriotism.

Treadwell went on to receive an OBE for his service during the war. In this talk, he recalls the military service and post-war careers of several of the men he trained with at Victoria College, many of whom he later fought alongside in the battles of Gallipoli, Messines and Passchendaele.