Stoker 1st Class Paul Harris joined the Royal New Zealand Navy Volunteer Reserve as an Ordinary Seaman in early 1944. In May he transferred to the Stoker Branch and completed appropriate training at the shore establishment HMNZS PHILOMEL. On completion of training he sailed for Britain via the United States. Harris commenced training at HMS DRAKE in late 1945, after which he was posted to the Castle class corvette HMS LAUNCESTON CASTLE, and was based out of the shore establishment HMS FERRET in Ireland. He spent his mandatory sea time on patrol in the Atlantic and North Sea.
The Oral History Project commenced in 1991 as part of the celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy.
The oral histories include veterans’ memories from as early as WW1 and include personal stories of naval personnel recently returned from duties in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, East Timor and the Sinai.
Oral history is an important method of collecting unique and personal recollections – historical evidence that might otherwise be lost forever. The recorded and transcribed interviews help to create a fuller understanding of our past. These testimonials provide a unique insight into the naval life of men and women during war and peace.
The recounting of the testimony can be emotional for an interviewee who may never have discussed the details of his or her experiences with anyone before. The Museum takes great responsibility in handling these unlocked memories.