The Kiwi and the Moa were patrolling the north-west end of Guadalcanal when they obtained a ‘contact’ with the vessel immediately identified as a submarine. During the battle with the I-1 submarine Buchanan was hit and although mortally wounded remained at his post uncomplaining until relieved. He died of his wounds at Tulagi the following day. This act of courage won him the US Navy Cross and a posthumous mention in dispatches.
Acting Leading Signalman Campbell H. Buchanan RNZNVR M.I.D. US Navy Cross
The night of 29-30 January 1943 proved eventful for two ships of the 25th Minesweeping flotilla of the RNZN. The Kiwi and the Moa were patrolling one mile apart off Kamimbo Bay at the north-west end of Guadalcanal when the asdic operator obtained a ‘contact’ at 3000 yards with the vessel immediately identified as a submarine . Kiwi at once altered course toward the enemy and increased to full speed to attack with depth charges while the Moa kept her course and acted as asdic directing vessel.
The outline of the submarine could be clearly seen when the Kiwi dropped a pattern of six depth charges, one of which fell in the wake of the periscope. On the next contact, after another pattern of depth charges, the submarine was forced to the surface, its electric motors apparently disabled
The I-1 tried to escape in the darkness using her diesel engines under the high land of the island but her efforts were in vain. The Kiwi and the Moa turned towards their foe firing star shells and high explosives one of which fired from Kiwi found its mark. The submarine replied with her 125mm (5.5”) gun with two shells passing close over the Kiwi and three very close to the Moa. At this time the Kiwi prepared to ram the submarine on the port side abaft the conning tower. Although she hit the submarine she kept up hot fire with every gun that could be bought to bear.
During the entire battle the Kiwi’s searchlight and signalling lamp were trained on the submarine. The searchlight was controlled by Leading Signalman Buchanan at considerable risk to himself. Into the action Buchanan was hit and although mortally wounded remained at his post uncomplaining until relieved. He died of his wounds at Tulagi the following day. This act of courage won him the US Navy Cross and a posthumous mention in dispatches.
Buchanan’s contribution to the destruction of the submarine was significant and in keeping with the highest traditions of the service, it is hard to believe that he was not posthumously decorated with a higher award. This could however have been because of the award of the US Navy Cross.
In 2007 a street was named in his honour in Dunedin as a fitting memorial to a true New Zealand Naval Hero. It would be hard to think of a New Zealander who exemplifies more what the Navy stands for in the service to its country. He was initially buried at Tulagi but when the New Zealand War Cemetery was constructed at Bourail on New Caledonia he was taken there along with 212 New Personnel who were killed in the Pacific during the Second World War.
 Waters, S.D. (1956) Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War – The Royal New Zealand Navy. Wellington: War History Branch Department of Internal Affairs.
 This gun is in the Navy Museum’s collection.
 Howard, G. (1981) The Navy in New Zealand –An Illustrated History. A.H. & A.W. Read Ltd Wellington
 Acting Leading Signalman C.H. Buchanan, RNZNVR Port Chalmers –died Tulagi 31 Jan 1943 – RNZN Posting Record Card held Navy Museum
 His grave is plot 8 Sht. 16.