A digital exhibition of artefacts relating to Count Felix von Luckner and his time as a POW in New Zealand during WW1.
This part of the website tells the stories of just some of the many New Zealanders who served at sea in World War One as well as other people and characters who are part of New Zealand’s sea war of World War One story.
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.
Baron Rutherford of Nelson was an outstanding scientist who was instrumental in the development of sonar during the First World War.
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.
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).
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 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.
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.
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.
This image is of members of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron turned World War One Naval Officers onboard HMS Hermione at Southampton in 1917.