HMS New Zealand Arriving in Auckland 1913

HMS New Zealand

HMS New Zealand was New Zealand’s most tangible contribution to the war at sea between 1914 and 1918. It was paid for by the Dominion and fought in the three major engagements of the war, Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank and Jutland, representing New Zealand in a way that no other ship could.

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HMS Philomel in the Red Sea

HMS Philomel

HMS Philomel has the distinction of being the first ship commissioned into the New Zealand Naval Forces and was in service from 1914 until 1947 and the name continues in the shore establishment at Devonport. The ship spent most of World War One in the Middle East, mainly in the Persian Gulf as part of a Royal Navy force protecting British interests and ensuring the continued supply of oil from the region and the safety of the Suez Canal.

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HMS Pyramus

HMS Pyramus

One of the ironies of World War One was that more New Zealanders went to war in HMS Pyramus than the Dominion’s own ship, HMS Philomel. Like Philomel, Pyramus was an old ship, but it still played its part in places as far afield as East Africa and the Persian Gulf.

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HMS Tamarisk, British First World War Q-ship.

Q-Ships

Q-Ships were submarine decoy ships, designed to look like a merchant ship to entice a German submarine to come within range of its concealed guns and to then sink the submarine.

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HMS Prize after action against U93

HMS Prize

HMS Prize was one of the many memorable Q-Ships used to combat the U-boat threat that was rife in the North Sea. The short but successful life of this captured German Schooner will always be remembered for her action against U-93 in April 1917 and for her commander, Lieutenant Commander William Sanders, VC, DSO, and crew.

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WWI Motor launch  ML 473

Motor Boats

As part of the effort to combat the submarine menace the Royal Navy built 550 motor launches and 124 coastal motor boats. The officers and motor mechanics for these vessels largely came from the Royal Naval Motor Boat Reserve, in which there were about 200 New Zealanders.

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Hospital ship Maheno

Hospital Ships – Maheno and Marama

The treatment and transfer of severely wounded from the battle site to somewhere they can be properly treated often requires transport by sea. This is done in hospital ships and during the First World War New Zealand provided two of these vessels, funded by a combination of Government finance and voluntary donations.

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SS Otaki sinking

SS Otaki

The SS Otaki belonged to the New Zealand Shipping Company and in March 1917 fought a nearly successful action with the German raider SMS Moewe. Its captain, Archibald Bisset-Smith was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for the action and several other officers and crew were also decorated.

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SS Wahine

SS Wahine

The SS Wahine was a passenger ship of the Union Steam Ship Company engaged pre-war on the Wellington/Lyttelton run. It was requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1915 and served first as a despatch vessel in the Mediterranean during the Gallipoli Campaign and from 1916 until the end of the war it was a minelayer in the North Sea, laying 11,378 mines.

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NZ Training Ship Amokura

New Zealand Training Ship Amokura

The New Zealand Training Ship Amokura, formerly HMS Sparrow, was purchased by the New Zealand Government in 1905 with the aim of training boys for a life at sea. The first trainee joined on 19 March 1907 and the last was discharged on 16 December 1921. Some of these joined the Royal Navy, many more the Merchant Navy and a small minority did not seek a career at sea.

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SS Monowai WW1 Troopship

Troopships

In order to transport troops overseas the New Zealand Government chartered a number of merchant ships and converted them for troop carrying. This was a continual requirement throughout the war, with 111 charters being made. The dangers experienced by troopships were highlighted when a British transport was sunk in 1915, with amongst those lost being ten New Zealand Army Nurses.

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HMS Marquette

HM Troopship Marquette

The Marquette, a large steamer of 7057 tons, was built in Glasgow in 1898. Designed as a cargo vessel she was converted to a transport ship at the beginning of the First World War.

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Painting of Count Felix Von Luckners  SMS Seeadler by Christopher Rave (1881 – 1933)

SMS Seeadler – German Raider

Infamous due to its charismatic commander Count Felix von Luckner, SMS Seeadler, an Imperial German Navy Raider captured or sank 15 victims until her bitter end on a coral reef.

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SMS Wolf

SMS Wolf – German Raider

In late 1916 the German raider SMS Wolf sailed from Germany to disrupt and sink allied shipping. During the course of an epic voyage lasting 15 months the ship brought the nature of global naval warfare to New Zealand when it laid mines off the coast that claimed two ships.

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SMS Mowe

SMS Mowe – German Raider

SMS Mowe was a merchant raider of the Imperial German Navy which operated against allied shipping during World War One. Disguised as a neutral cargo ship to enable it to get close to targets the Mowe was effective at commerce raiding ending up as the most successful German Raider in either the First or Second World Wars.

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