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Edwardson SGT Royal Marine A.F.

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Mr Edwardson was born in England in 1916, the son of a WWI serviceman.  Fed up with the civilian life he joined the Royal Marines in late 1935 and in February 1936 completed his training and spent some 17 months onboard DESPATCH as part of the Mediterranean Fleet.

In December of 1938 he answered a call for volunteers to join the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy.  He was duly deployed to ACHILLES which set sail for New Zealand, where it was required for a cruise of the Pacific Islands with the Governor General onboard.  The trip was cut short by the outbreak of WWII and after undergoing maintenance at PHILOMEL’s dry dock, the ship set sail for South American waters in order to patrol for German ships – specifically the GRAF SPEE – with EXETER and AJAX.

On the 13th December 1939 ACHILLES and her accompanying ships went to dawn action stations against the GRAF SPEE.  The ensuing sea battle, which saw AJAX badly battered and the GRAF SPEE take to neutral waters and later scuttle herself, became known as the Battle of the River Plate.

In early January 1943 the Marines’ X turret on ACHILLES had a bomb dropped on it by a Japanese aircraft with devastating consequences, including the loss of 14 lives.  Mr Edwardson sustained moderate injuries in the explosion.  ACHILLES set sail for England and upon arrival Mr Edwardson was sent to DALDITCH in order to undergo further training after which he volunteered for service onboard GAMBIA, which journeyed to Japan soon after the atomic bomb was dropped.

At the end of the war he took his discharge and with his wife immigrated to New Zealand where he eventually joined the Police Force.

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