|Rank:||Lieutenant Commander (Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve)||Service Number:|
|Date Joined:||1902 (Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve)||Date Discharged:||7th January 1938 (discharged dead)|
Wybrants Olphert had an illustrious career in the Navy. He joined the New Zealand Shipping Company in 1895 and then the Royal Naval Reserve - in the United Kingdom - in 1902. Because of his merchant maritime experience he was granted a commission. With the outbreak of the First World War he was called to duty and served on armed yachts in British Waters. He was given command of HMS Scadaun where, on the 21st June 1915, he encountered and sank a German U-Boat for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He then commanded a Q-Ship - an armed ship that disguised itself as an unarmed merchant ship - HMS Salvia, where he encountered and sank three U-Boats. For this he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and Bar (a Bar indicates the medal is awarded twice). Unfortunately, while sinking the third U-Boat in June 1917, his craft was also sunk and, rescued by the Germans, he spent the rest of the war in captivity. It has been commented - unfortunately unsubstantiated - that he was recommended for the Victoria Cross as a result of his deeds. After the end of the First World War, having married a New Zealand woman, he settled permanently in the country taking up a career as a merchant captain. He was instrumental in reviving the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in Wellington, being appointed to command that regional division in 1928. Wybrants Olphert died in 1938 and the Wellington Division of the Royal New Zealand Volunteer Reserve was commissioned as HMNZS Olphert in 1950 to mark his memory.
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