PHIPPS, Sir Peter, KCBE, CB, DSC, VRD

Display Number:  Gambia  
Name:  Phipps  Sir Peter
Rank:  Vice Admiral Service Number:  
Date Joined:  1928 (New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve) Date Discharged:  1965

Peter Phipps joined the New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1928, serving in the Canterbury and the Wellington Divisions. His potential was recognised early as he received a probationary commission in 1930. He was mobilised just before the outbreak of the Second World War to serve as a staff officer in the Navy Office. In May 1940 he was seconded to serve with the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. As commander of HMS Bay he saw action in the English Channel for which he was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) in March 1941. In early 1942 he returned to New Zealand commanding HMNZS Scarba and soon afterwards appointed to command HMNZS Moa, which transferred to the Solomon's along with her two sister ships in January 1943. Soon afterwards he was engaged in action - sinking the Japanese I-1 - for which he was awarded another DSC and the United States Navy Cross. Shortly afterwards Moa was sunk in an air raid and Phipps, lucky to escape, was wounded and evacuated to New Zealand. Phipps did not resume active service until August 1944 commanding the 25th Minesweeping Flotilla and later the sloop HMNZS Arabis. In 1944 he received the Volunteer Reserve Decoration (VRD) and a permanent commission in the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1946. He served at HMNZS Philomel and later in the cruiser HMNZS Bellona, and was then commander of HMNZS Tamaki when he was promoted to captain in 1952. He was then seconded to the Royal Navy and command of the cruisers HMNZS' Bellona and Royalist. In 1957 he became the first New Zealander appointed to the New Zealand Board, followed by his appointment in 1960 as Chief of Naval Staff. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1962. In 1963, he became the first Chief of Defence Staff, and in 19664 was appointed a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Sir Peter retired in 1965 and was killed in a motor accident in 1989.

 

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