Remembering River Plate

Remembering River Plate

National Flag
National Flag

“When I consider the Battle of the River Plate some 75 years on, there are many stories that come to mind.”

Rear Admiral Jack Steer, Chief of Navy

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Battle Ensign

Battle Ensign

Bob and his great nephew Jonathan Bentin at the 73rd birthday celebration for the Royal New Zealand Navy, September 2014
Bob Batt and his great nephew Jonathan Bentin

 

“We weren’t thinking of ourselves. We were all one on the ship. We all had our jobs to do. Nobody panicked.”

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Firing Tube

Firing Tube

WOCH Steven Bourke with his new Symbol of Command  - The Tokotoku
WOCH Steven Bourke with his new Symbol of Command – The Tokotoku

 

“Down in the magazine it was impossible to tell whether each great shudder and muffled crash was an enemy hit or a snarl of the Achilles guns. Loading and firing, loading and firing. What was it like in the turret? All that mattered was getting the gun loaded and fired.”

 

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Shrapnel

Shrapnel

Enrique Rodolfo Dick
Enrique Rodolfo Dick

“On the morning after the battle”, my father said, “sailors they left their battle posts to breathe, and found items they would keep as souvenirs of that day of fire and steel. Steel is what they collected, pieces of shrapnel with strange appearance, that had left traces of the impacts of the artillery.” 

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Signal

Signal

Tom and Wendy Hickmott
Tom and Wendy Hickmott

“Four days after the battle Graf Spee left the harbour. Nobody knew what to expect. It is said that approximately 200,000 people gathered along the coastline to watch what might ensue. Would there be another naval battle just off the coast of Montevideo?”

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Prism side

Prism

Lisa Eastman
Lisa Eastman

 

 

“This prism is from one of the gun sights on the Graf Spee, presented to my father after the war.” 

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Eagle large

Eagle

Lieutenant Commander Karl Vetter
Lieutenant Commander Karl Vetter

 

 

“Once seated the gentlemen ordered a couple of beers and began to spin “dits” about the battle. Then out the corner of his eye, Stoker Evans noticed some German sailors doing the same thing at another table.”

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Travel Pass

Travel Pass

Cdre Campbell, HMNZS Canterbury in background
Cdre Campbell, HMNZS Canterbury in background

 

 

“Suddenly cheers rang out. Every merchant ship in port sounded their horns, trains whistled and thousands of cars lining the wharf tooted. The lads were home!”

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Life Ring

Life Ring

OEWS L Yarwood, OEWS R  Thornton-Stevens and OEWS A Hepi
OEWS L Yarwood, OEWS R Thornton-Stevens and OEWS A Hepi

“We reminisce with a distant affection on those moments in training when we were required to live up to our three core values: Courage, Commitment and Comradeship. It is moments of history like River Plate that young sailors are taught to recall in times of hardship.”

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Commemorative Scroll

Commemorative Scroll

Brett Collis
Brett Collis

 

 

“Able Seaman Archibald Cooper Hirst Shaw was killed at the Battle of the River Plate and buried at sea. His commemorative scroll highlights the human cost of the battle.”

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White Ensign

White Ensign

Jennifer Steven
Jennifer Steven

 

“The White Ensign had stayed in private hands since 1940 and as an important part of our heritage I felt it needed to remain safe in New Zealand. That way it could be accessible to family descendants of River Plate veterans and interested New Zealanders.”

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What’s On

There’s always something happening at Torpedo Bay Navy Museum.

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Te Waka Newsletter

Te Waka Newsletter

Stay informed about current events at the Royal New Zealand Navy Museum.

Te Waka is the Navy Museum’s online newsletter.

The current issue will be emailed to you free of charge or can be downloaded below. If you would like to subscribe to the online newsletter, either send an email to info@navymuseum.co.nz with ‘Subscribe’ as the subject line, or get in touch with us through the Contact page.

To Unsubscribe, email info@navymuseum.co.nz and type “unsubscribe” as the subject line.

Current Te Waka

Previous Te Waka Issues

Click on the name of a document to download it to your computer. Sometimes large pdf files may crash your browser or print badly. Rather than open the pdf file directly, right click on the link and choose “save target as …” from the context menu. This will allow you to save the file to your local hard drive.
If you cannot open PDF files, make sure you have Acrobat Reader installed.

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Te Wakakura Newsletter

Te Wakakura Newsletter

Our e-newsletter for educators. Want to keep up to date with the goings on at the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum, receive exclusive shop discounts, get classroom activity ideas, increase your Naval knowledge, or just know more about our collection? Simply sign up for Te Wakakura, our education e-newsletter and we’ll keep you up to date.

Download the latest copy of Te Wakakura here.

To sign up and have notification of each new issue delivered directly to your inbox, please use the education contact form and type “Te Wakakura” in the comments field.

Click on the name of a document to download it to your computer. Sometimes large pdf files may crash your browser or print badly. Rather than open the pdf file directly, right click on the link and choose “save target as …” from the context menu. This will allow you to save the file to your local hard drive.
If you cannot open PDF files, make sure you have Acrobat Reader installed.

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White Ensign Magazine

The White Ensign

The White Ensign – Royal New Zealand Navy Museum Journal.

 

 

Click on the name of a document to download it to your computer. Sometimes large pdf files may crash your browser or print badly. Rather than open the pdf file directly, right click on the link and choose “save target as …” from the context menu. This will allow you to save the file to your local hard drive.
If you cannot open PDF files, make sure you have Acrobat Reader installed.

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Kit n Caboodle

Holiday Programme

Join us for the Spring School holidays and make an awesome Kit n Caboodle bag.

The Kit n Caboodle bag is the perfect size to store away all your treasures.

Stamped with a machine-washable blank ship’s badge, the decorating is all up to you.  Use our fabric pens, then once ironed back at home your designs become machine-washable too. Why not take inspiration from our Art Home At War exhibition, which looks at wartime quilts and embroidery and stitch your design into your bag? We’ll give you all you need and show you how.To finish off your design you can add some Navy charms.

Dates: 27 September to 12 October
Session Times: 10:30, 11:30, 1:30, 2:30
Cost: $5
Duration: 45 minutes

To pre-book call 09 445 5186 or email education@navymuseum.co.nz
Walk-up spaces may be available on the day.
Groups over 10 people must pre-book.

Blunt tapestry needles and small parts are used during this activity, accompanying adult help and supervision may be required.

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glen mcbride

A Voice from the Past

Sub-Lt Thomas Chalmers Glen McBride was an accountant in Wellington before he joined the Fleet Air Arm (the flying branch of the Navy) in 1942. He trained in Britain and in Detroit, USA, before being commissioned in 1943. It was during that American stint that Glen McBride was able to record two messages to send home his personal greetings in time for Christmas.

The messages were recorded on Recordio-Grams – the audio equivalent to the photo-booth for on-the-spot production of voice letters, which became popular in America during WWII. A coin was inserted into the Recordio-Gram machine and the machine recorded your message onto a thin cardboard record via a telephone handset. The booth also provided you with a handy mailing envelope.

Recently received by the Museum, these Recordio-Grams have now been converted to modern audio files and we can hear Glen’s voice from 70 years ago.

“Young Linda” was Linda Butler, Glen’s fiancé. The couple married in April 1945 when Glen returned home to New Zealand on leave. However, they only had 5 weeks together before Glen had to return to his ship, the aircraft carrier HMS Indefatigable. Linda never saw him again.

Glen McBride was lost over Japan on 10 August 1945. He was killed just five days before the Japanese surrender and is believed to be the last New Zealander killed in action in the Second World War.

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bulldog-battlecruiser

The Bulldog and the Battlecruiser

On 12 April 1913, in unpleasant weather, Wellington turned out to witness the arrival of a special ship.  “… Grim grey, a little squat … HMS New Zealand moved in over the gale-swept harbour …punctual to the minute.’ (Dominion, 14 April 1913)

bulldog-battlecruiserThis Royal Navy battlecruiser was a gift to Britain from the New Zealand government and she was here down under to show us what our money had bought. HMS New Zealand was two months into a 10-month tour of Empire ports and it would be another 8 months before she returned to England. New Zealanders responded enthusiastically – more than one-third of the population took the opportunity to tour the ship, and hundreds of thousands more viewed her from the shore. “There was a sense of proprietorship deep in the minds of the beholders of the stranger. All looked upon her with a real personal interest. She was “Our Dreadnought.”’ (Ashburton, Guardian, 14 April, 1913) Captain Halsey, one of the youngest Royal Navy captains of the period, was charismatic and much lauded. A number of New Zealanders were included in the crew of nearly 800.  Also part of the crew was British bulldog Pelorus Jack, a naval volunteer with the rating of ‘Puppy,’ and ship’s mascot.

Visit the website www.hmsnewzealand.com 

Auckland War Memorial Museum and Torpedo Bay Navy Museum invite you to join us as we follow the battlecruiser on her world tour and gain insight into New Zealand’s world of 1913 through newspaper reports, photos, personal stories, ephemera and collection objects from HMS New Zealand.

 

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