HMS New Zealand during the battle of Dogger Bank painted by Chief Petty Officer Eddie Fitzgerald

World War One as a Maritime War

Sir Julian Corbett rightly expounded that the outcome of a war can only be determined by ‘boots on the ground’, but also that this was not possible without command of the sea. This was particularly the case in World War One. Without command of the sea the Allied armies on the western front and elsewhere could not have been provided with the wherewithal to win their battles. Everything they needed from food and clothing to ammunition and reinforcements came by sea.

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HMS Philomel (1890)
Ship Philomel. Dickie, John, 1869-1942 :Collection of postcards, prints and negatives. Ref: 1/2-015492-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23080346

New Zealands Naval Defence Prior to 1914

In the late 1800's and early 1900's New Zealand did not have naval forces of her own. Naval defence in the South Pacific was provided by the Royal Navy under an Australasian naval agreement between New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain signed in 1887

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New Zealanders on HMS Philomel 1916

New Zealanders in the Royal Navy in the First World War

New Zealanders were involved in virtually every aspect of the war at sea between 1914 and 1918, and indeed some even served in the Allied intervention against the Bolsheviks in Russia during 1919. They were at sea with the Grand Fleet, in the Air with the Royal Naval Air Service, beneath the waves in submarines and as Chaplains and Wrens.

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