HMNZS Gambia (Fiji-class Cruiser)

Gambia was ordered under the 1938 Naval Programme and was one of seven cruisers planned for this class. This was a new cruiser design for the Royal Navy and it met the requirements of the 1936 London Naval Treaty that restricted displacement to 8,000 tons. On 22 September 1943 HMNZS Gambia was commissioned for service with…

Ships

New Zealand’s naval ships have undertaken a range of tasks and operations. Read about ‘HMNZS Gambia’ – the ship known to have fired the last shots of WWII and ‘HMHS Maheno ‘– a hospital ship that carried injured men back home to New Zealand in WWI.

Model Ship Builder Extraordinaire: Graham Beeson

A visit to the home of Graham and Fay Beeson is a visual feast for the eyes. Graham is a model ship builder of some repute, having built around 25 models over the last 60 years.

Five of Graham’s model Navy ships are on display at the Navy Museum, with the remainder on show at his home on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, North of Auckland. Graham’s wife Fay is extremely supportive of her husband’s passion but leaves it up to him to do the ‘dusting’ of his collection of models.

History of the Royal New Zealand Navy

Ships HMNZS Gambia [RNZN Museum] New Zealand’s naval ships have undertaken a range of tasks and operations. Read about ‘HMNZS Gambia’ – the ship known to have fired the last shots of World War Two and ‘HMHS Maheno ‘– a hospital ship that carried injured men back home to New Zealand in World War One.…

Details

RNZN and the Fleet Air Arm

New Zealand’s involvement in naval aviation goes back to before the First World War when New Zealand citizens volunteered to fly as part of the Royal Naval Air Service. ‘Scheme F’  was introduced in World War Two where New Zealanders were recruited to serve with the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). Read about the FAA General Policy and the Comparative Costs…

HMNZS Bellona (Dido-class Cruiser)

After the end of the Second World War and after some consideration and consultation with the Admiralty, it was agreed that the most appropriate replacements for Achilles and Gambia would be two ships of the Modified Dido-class. HMS Bellona and Black Prince were the two ships decided upon.

HMNZS Black Prince (Dido-class Cruiser)

In late 1945 the New Zealand government announced plans to replace the cruisers HMNZS Achilles and Gambia with updated cruisers. HMS Black Prince was in New Zealand waters when the decision was announced that her and her sister ship HMS Bellona would be commissioned into service with the RNZN.

DAVIS-GOFF, Commodore George Raymond

In February 1945 Davis-Goff joined the cruiser HMNZS Gambia , which was operating as a unit of the Fourth Cruiser Squadron of the British Pacific fleet. Gambia was off Japan at the cessation of hostilities in August 1945, and he was in command of its landing party, which took the surrender of the Japanese naval…

History of Ship Badges

In terms of ship’s badges it does not appear to have been formalised in the Royal Navy until the end of the First World War. By October 1918 a Charles ffoulkes was appointed to be the Admiralty Adviser on Heraldry to the Ship’s Badges Committee.  The committee meet in December 1918 and the first Order…

HMS/HMNZS Leander (Leander-class Cruiser)

Leander was the name ship for a class of five light cruisers fitted with twin turret 6-inch guns. Her sister ships were Achilles, Neptune, Orion, Ajax. In World War Two she sank the Italian Ramb I on the 27 January 1941. Leander rescued all the survivors, which comprised all but one of the crew, one later died…

McGLONE, Act. LS Vincent Edmond

Born on 23 March 1916 in Auckland, Vince McGlone joined the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy at Devonport Naval Base as a Boy Seaman 2nd Class on 15 January 1932 just shy of his sixteenth birthday.Vince was part of HMS Achilles ship’s company that fought at the Battle of the River Plate on 13 December 1939.

HMS/HMNZS Philomel (Pearl-class Cruiser)

After World War One, HMS Philomel’s role was in the form of a depot ship, providing training for new entrants and specialist maintenance personnel. Auckland was chosen as the location for these facilities. Berthed alongside on what would become known as ‘the Training Jetty’ the old ship became home to generations of new entrants.

HMNZS Royalist (Dido-class Cruiser)

Royalist was laid down at Scotts’ Shipbuilding and Engineering at Greenock Scotland on 21 March 1940. There were three ships of this class HMS Royalist, Black Prince and Bellona. All three would serve with the RNZN. Her initial service was to act as a flagship for escort carriers operating off Norway attacking the battleship Tirpitz. 

THORNE, Rear Admiral Edward

Edward Courtney Thorne was born 29 October 1923 in Seatoun Wellington.Thorne was inspired to join the Navy when in1940 he saw the New Zealand-manned cruiser HMS Achilles fresh from her victory over the German pocket battleship Graf von Spee in Wellington harbour and there in 1941 he applied to join the newly created Royal New…

Washbourn, Commander J.E., O.B.E.

Commander John Washbourn joined the Royal Navy in 1936 as a Special Entry Cadet and sailed for Britain onboard the passenger ship SS RANGITIKI.  He joined the cadet training ship HMS ERUBUS, followed by further training onboard the cruiser HMS FROBISHER. Midshipman training in the A class submarine HMS AMPHION followed.  In 1940 he joined the battleship HMS…

McDowell, Commodore M.J.

Commodore Maxson McDowell was in the first group of cadets to join the newly established Royal New Zealand Navy in 1941.  He travelled to Britain onboard the vessel GORGISTAN for training at DARTMOUTH as a Special Entry Cadet.  After training he was posted to the cruiser HMS BIRMINGHAM which was based in Cape Town, followed by time onboard…

Mason-Riseborough, Chief Petty Officer C.W.

Chief Petty Officer Claude Mason-Riseborough joined the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy as a Seaman Boy in 1935.  On completion of training he served in HMS ACHILLES where, apart from some courses ashore, he remained until 1943.  During the Battle of River Plate he was loading number five on the left gun in B turret. …

Kirkwood, Warrant Officer R.W.

Warrant Officer Ronald Kirkwood joined the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy as a stoker in 1932.  After service in the cruiser HMS DUNEDIN he was sent on loan to the United Kingdom in early 1936, serving in the destroyer HMS HOSTILE transporting civil war refugees from Spain after which he was posted to the battleships…

Harris, Lieutenant Commander C.V.

Lieutenant Commander Charles Harris joined the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy in 1933 as a Stoker. After completing basic training in the shore establishment HMS PHILOMEL he served in the cruisers HMS DIOMEDE and HMS ACHILLES and was onboard the cruiser HMS DUNEDIN in 1937 when that ship was returned to Britain.  From…

Edwardson Sergeant Royal Marine A.F.

Mr Edwardson was born in England in 1916, the son of a WWI serviceman.  Fed up with the civilian life he joined the Royal Marines in late 1935 and in February 1936 completed his training and spent some 17 months onboard DESPATCH as part of the Mediterranean Fleet. In December of 1938 he answered a…

Dobbyn, Lieutenant J.H.

Lieutenant Joseph Dobbyn joined the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy in 1933 as an assistant cook.  After completing basic training in HMS PHILOMEL he was posted to the cruiser HMS DIOMEDE which during his time onboard saw service in the Red Sea when the Italians invaded Abyssinia.  In early 1937, while in Britain, he joined…