This is a small selection of items from the extensive collection of letters, diaries, documents, scrapbooks and photographs which belonged to Rear Admiral Washbourn.
Richard Washbourn was a New Zealander who served in the Royal Navy during and after World War Two. He is best known for being the Gunnery Officer on board HMS Achilles during the Battle of the River Plate. The story of the battle is on display in the museum.
Displayed here is a ‘Certificate of Hurts & Wounds’ for the injury Washbourn received during the battle, the ‘Line Book’ (scrapbook) from HMS Achilles showing him with his head bandaged, and naval messages and personal letters of congratulations received after the battle. The photograph is of him on board HMNZS Bellona in the late 1950s
Donated by Liza Eastman, Richard Washbourn’s daughter.
This 500 piece jigsaw was produced in New Zealand during World War Two. It shows how the war had an effect on all aspects of life in New Zealand. It also illustrates how New Zealand’s identity was still strongly tied with that of Britain – our nation still had an interest in what was going on back in the “mother country”.
This donation was accepted because the “home front” is not an area which is well represented in our collection.
Donated by Alastair Riach, who purchased it at a garage sale.
These two dogs were childhood toys of Vice Admiral Sir Peter Phipps and are believed to date from between 1910 and 1915. They are still in the condition in which we received them. Considering their age it is no surprise that they need some conservation work, to stop them deteriorating further. Professional conservators will be engaged to carry out this work.
The museum doesn’t usually accept objects into the collection that are not related directly to an individual’s naval service. However in some cases an individual is of such significance to the Navy’s story that we like to represent as much of their life as possible.
Sir Peter Phipps served in the Royal New Zealand Navy in World War Two, commanding HMNZS Moa during its attack on Japanese I–1 submarine. This story is on display in the museum. Among other achievements he was the first New
Zealander to command the naval base, HMNZS Philomel, and, in 1957, the first to be appointed to the New Zealand Naval Board.
Donated by Rob Thorp, descendant of Sir Peter Phipps’ family.
This photograph was taken outside the Quarterdeck at HMNZS Philomel, the naval base. It shows the Ship’s Company at the time – close to 300 personnel, one fifth of them women from the Women’s Royal New Zealand Naval Service.
The Quarterdeck, the main building in the photograph, still exists today, however, the other buildings in the background have long gone.
This photograph is from the museum’s photographic collection which contains images dating as far back as the mid 19th century. We are also the custodians of the official Navy images. The collection also holds a number of personal photograph albums, which provide insight into life in the Navy over the years.
Donated by Dorothy Jeans, who is seated in the front row, 5th from the right.
Banner from Task Group CRIB 13 deployment to Afghanistan, signed with messages from family and friends.
This banner was hung in the dining hall at Headquarters in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan, to surprise the CRIB 13 personnel when they arrived. Before each contingent arrived in Afghanistan, a banner was made for families to write messages to their loved ones.
‘Task Group CRIB’ referred to the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team (NZPRT) serving in the Bamyan Province. Each 6 month rotation of personnel was given a consecutive CRIB number. Task Group CRIB 13 served from October 2008 to April 2009.
More than 3,500 Defence Personnel – a mixture of Army, Air Force and Navy – were deployed to Afghanistan from September 2001 to April 2013.
Donated by the New Zealand Defence Force via Lieutenant Gina Goodridge who served in Task Group CRIB 13 as a Logistics Officer.
Thermal top and long johns issued to and worn by William J.L Smith during time spent in Antarctica with the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN).
Commander W.J.L. ‘Kiwi’ Smith had a distinguished naval career, serving in midget submarines during World War Two and eventually becoming the Head of Hydrographic Branch for the RNZN. His medals are on display in the museum.
In 1956, the RNZN was tasked with supporting the multi-national Commonwealth Trans–Antarctic Expedition (CTAE). HMNZS Endeavour 1 with William ‘Kiwi’ Smith as First Lieutenant, was commissioned as a supply ship and departed for Antarctica on
15 December 1956 carrying an expedition support team led by Sir Edmund Hillary. As well as transporting personnel, the RNZN assisted in the construction of Scott Base and supplying provisions for teams staying there.
The New Zealand Defence Force continues to provide personnel to assist with New Zealand’s scientific programme at Scott Base. In addition, HMNZS Wellington visited McMurdo Sound in 2011 during its patrol of New Zealand’s sub–Antarctic waters.
Donated by William .J.L. Smith.
This ladies’ bicycle was purchased by Mrs Sally McMinn in the late 1940s from a surplus store in Taumarunui. It is therefore likely it came from HMNZS Irirangi, the Naval Communications Station which was established at Waiouru in 1943. During the war more than 80 women from the Women’s Royal New Zealand Naval Service (WRNZNS) were stationed there as Telegraphists.
Bicycles were, and still are, commonly used on naval bases as a way to get around. Until a few decades ago, Navy standard issue bicycles were painted red and known as ‘Pusser’s Red Devils’: pusser being in-house slang for the Navy.
When it arrived the bicycle was very dirty. The Collections Team have given it a basic clean, brushing and wiping it with conservation–approved cleaning solutions. More work will be needed to remove and stabilise corrosion. A bicycle carrier on the back was also removed as it was not original to the time of its naval use.
Donated by William McMinn, Sally McMinn’s son.
The Museum holds a vast array of sailor’s possessions, memorabilia and keepsakes. These everyday, familiar objects reveal to us our sailors’ stories in an emotive and personal way.
Military issue items within this collection include identity cards, pay books, ration coupons, and information pamphlets. Recreational and social objects such as collecting cards, games, prayer books, model ships, and letters home, tell us how our sailors passed their time both at sea and ashore.
Our sailors’ precious written memories, such as diaries, journals and scrapbooks, are also held within this collection.