Commander Colin Ashbridge joined the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1946 as a Probationary Stores Assistant, undertaking basic training at the training establishment HMNZS TAMAKI as was customary for the time.
After service onboard the modified Flower class corvette HMS ARABIS, Ashbridge was part of the commissioning party for the first RNZN Loch class frigate HMNZS HAWEA. Ashbridge saw service in the frigate HMNZS OTAGO and was also in the commissioning party for the Antarctic support ship HMNZS ENDEAVOUR, the ex USS NAMAKOGAN.
Ashbridge spent considerable time in the Naval Base HMNZS PHILOMEL and at Naval Staff Headquarters in Wellington in the late 60’s where he was Director of Works and Buildings. He then transferred to the Defence Department when this was formed, to be the Assistant Director of Works.
In 1970 Ashbridge returned to HMNZS PHILOMEL and after a spell as the Deputy Supply Officer was promoted to Commander and became the Fleet Supply Officer on the Staff of the Commodore Auckland.
Colin Ashbridge retired from the RNZN in May 1974 having attained the rank of Commander.