A digital exhibition of artefacts relating to Count Felix von Luckner and his time as a POW in New Zealand during WW1.
Lieutenant Commander William Edward Sanders VC, DSO is the only New Zealander to win the Victoria Cross in a naval action. This was awarded for the engagement between HMS Prize and the German submarine U 93 on 30 April 1917.
Sir James Allen was the New Zealand Minister of Defence throughout World War One. A major achievement of his was the passing of the Naval Defence Act in 1913 which led to the creation of the New Zealand Naval Forces.
Lieutenant General Sir Bernard Freyberg was a dentist from Wellington who joined the Royal Naval Division in 1914, serving in Gallipoli and France, before transferring to the Royal West Surrey Regiment in 1916.
Captain Wybrants Olphert DSO*, DSC, MID, RD was a career Merchant Navy officer who fought several successful actions against U Boats, before his ship was sunk and he was taken prisoner of war.
Captain George Hamilton Dennistoun DSO, OBE, Royal Navy, served in numerous ships, during his career and was made a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order for his command of a small naval squadron on Lake Nyasa in World War One.
Commander Cecil Burleigh RNR was a Merchant Navy officer and long serving member of the Royal Naval Reserve. During World War One he commanded the Armed Boarding Ship Duke of Clarence, being made a member of the Distinguished Service Order and Mentioned in Despatches.
Lieutenant Commander Frank Arthur Worsley was an accomplished navigator and mariner as well as an Antarctic and Arctic adventurer. He had an eventful war from sinking submarines to fighting the Bolsheviks in Russia.
Temporary Lieutenant Commander H. Clyde Evans was a mariner, blockade-runner and lawyer. In 1914 he was in England and joined the Royal Naval Division, quickly rising to command D Company of Nelson Battalion. He was killed in action at Cape Helles, Gallipoli, during the third battle for Krithia.
Lieutenant Commander Charles Keily Royal Naval Reserve joined HMS Philomel in 1914 and served in that ship until 1920. He assumed command of the ship when it was recommissioned for harbour service in 1917 and was in charge of minesweeping operations off the coast in 1918-19.
Lieutenant Walter Frame from Oamaru, was working in Melbourne when war broke out in August 1914. He immediately joined the Australian Army and served on Gallipoli and in France in the Artillery. Walter was awarded the Military Medal and shortly after a bar to this award for gallantry under heavy shell and small arms fire in mid-1916.
Lieutenant George Andrew Drummond DSC, MID* Royal Naval Reserve served in paddle minesweepers operating out of Dover, being awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and being mentioned in despatches twice before he was killed when HMS Plumpton struck a mine and was lost in October 1918.
Lieutenant Samuel Hanna DSC an Aucklander, went to England in early 1915 and joined the Armoured Car section of the Royal Naval Air Service. After serving in France and Belgium he was part of a unit that was sent to Russia and fought the Turks and Germans in the Caucasus, Armenia and Northern Persia (now Iran).
Flight Lieutenant Harold Francis Beamish was born in Hastings on 5 July 1896 and grew up on the family farm, Whana Whanga, about 90km from the city. He applied for and was granted a commission in the Royal Naval Air Service.
Chief Motor Mechanic James Attwood was one of the New Zealand motor mechanics who joined the Royal Naval Motor Boat Reserve in 1916. He participated in the Zeebrugge/Ostend raids of 1918 and was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal and the French Croix de Guerre.
Chief Petty Officer Raymond Clarence Gentry was from New Zealand of English origin and joined the Navy as a Boy 2nd Class in 1892. He was an outstanding rating and was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct medal in 1906. In 1915 he had 23 years service behind him in a variety of ships, when was killed fighting ashore in the Persian Gulf as part of a landing party from HMS Pyramus.
Sydney Francis Anderson was an electrical and mechanical engineer from Napier who joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 1916. He was posted to seaplanes undertaking reconnaissance and anti-submarine patrols in the North Sea. During his service he was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, was Mentioned in Despatches and was awarded the Board of Trade medal for saving life at sea.
Leading Seaman Frank Osian Turvey joined the Navy under the conditions of the Australasian Naval Agreement, whereby New Zealanders and Australians could join the Royal Navy, but would be posted to ships that were deployed to the Australia Station, which included New Zealand. He spent most of the war in HMS Pyramus before joining HMS Philomel and was engaged in minesweeping operations off the New Zealand coast.
Leading Stoker Charles Williams from Christchurch had a very adventurous seafaring career. He was part of the Scott expedition to the South Pole, fought in the Battle of Jutland, was in a ship that was sunk by a mine, fought hand to hand with the crew of a German destroyer that his ship had rammed and took part in the raid on Ostend.
Able Seaman William Leonard Clemas was a New Zealander of Irish birth whose ship was sunk in a gallant little action as part of the Battle of Jutland in 1916. William survived and spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner of the Germans.
Able Seaman William Knowles was a member of the Royal Naval Reserve (New Zealand) serving on board the New Zealand cruiser HMS Philomel in 1915. He has the dubious distinction of being the first member of the New Zealand Naval Forces to be killed as a result of enemy action.
Able Seaman John Reardon saw service with the fledgling Royal Australian Navy serving in submarines before losing his life in HMAS Submarine AE1 on 14 September 1914. He was the first New Zealander to die on active operations in World War One.
Stoker First Class Leslie Follett was a young man from Marton Junction who went to sea at an early age. In 1914 he was on a Norwegian vessel when it was inspected by the Germans. Claiming that he was Norwegian he was not made prisoner and when his vessel arrived in Britain he joined the Royal Navy. Posted to the battle cruiser HMS Queen Mary Leslie was lost when the ship went down in the battle of Jutland in 1916.
William Harry Williams was a cadet in the Union Steam Ship Company’s training ship Aparima and lost his life aged 20 when the ship was torpedoed in the English Channel in November 1917. Sixteen other cadets, mainly New Zealand boys, lost their lives at the same time.
Henry Brusey was the skipper of the trawler Nora Niven in 1918 when that vessel was requisitioned to sweep mines laid by the German Auxiliary Cruiser SMS Wolf off New Zealand in 1917. Despite no experience in the field Henry was described by Captain Hall-Thompson as being very competent and the best of the four skippers who found themselves in the same situation.
Frank Kivell was a young New Zealander who joined the first New Zealand Naval Forces in August 1914 and spent the war in New Zealand’s cruiser, HMS Philomel. In 1916 he saved two fellow members of the ships company of Philomel from drowning and was awarded the New Zealand Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal.
Lily Winter was a New Zealand woman from Wellington who joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service in England. With the rank of Assistant Principal she trained as a decoder, being discharged after the cessation of hostilities in December 1918.
Emily “Ma” Burrows adopted the sailors of New Zealand and became “The Mother of the Navy”. Known by everyone on the base from the Commodore down, her thoughtfulness and diligence was tangibly recognised by the sailors and when she died in 1933 she was accorded a full naval funeral.
Count Felix von Luckner was a colourful, charismatic and enigmatic character, who left an indelible mark upon New Zealand society. He came to New Zealand as a prisoner of war after his ship SMS Seeadler was wrecked in the Society Islands and made a daring but unsuccessful escape from Motuihe Island.