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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