Events In History
15 August 1951Troop ship Wahine wrecked en route to Korean War
Carrying New Zealand troops to the Korean War, the 38-year-old Lyttelton–Wellington ferry Wahine ran aground in the Arafura Sea. There were no casualties but the ship became a total loss. Read more...
20 June 1943US Navy tragedy at Paekākāriki
Ten United States Navy personnel were drowned off the Paekākāriki coast near Wellington during a beach landing exercise. Read more...
24 May 1943Turning point in Battle of the Atlantic
In the Battle of the Atlantic, one of the most important campaigns of the Second World War, 24 May 1943 was a crucial date. Thousands of New Zealanders took part in this long and bitter struggle. Read more...
11 November 1942Troopship Awatea goes down fighting
New Zealand's finest pre-war passenger liner, the Union Steam Ship Company's Awatea, was sunk by German and Italian bombers after landing Allied troops on the North African coast. Read more...
3 August 1941Finnish barque Pamir seized as war prize
Following its arrival in Wellington on 29 July, the Pamir was seized, as Finland was deemed to be 'territory in enemy occupation'. The ship sailed under the New Zealand ensign until 1948. Read more...
27 November 1940Liner sunk by German raiders off East Cape
The 16,712-ton New Zealand Shipping Company liner Rangitane was intercepted and sunk 550 km off East Cape, with the loss of 15 lives. Read more...
23 February 1940100,000 welcome home HMS Achilles crew
The New Zealand cruiser HMS Achilles had taken part in the Battle of the River Plate, the Allies' first naval victory of the Second World War. Read more...
13 December 1939Battle of the River Plate
The cruiser HMS Achilles goes into action against the German 'pocket battleship' Admiral Graf Spee, becoming the first New Zealand warship to take part in a naval battle. Read more...
23 October 1915Ten NZ nurses lost in Marquette sinking
Thirty-two New Zealanders, including 10 nurses, were killed when the troop transport Marquette was torpedoed by a German U-boat. Read more...
9 August 1908US 'Great White Fleet' arrives in Auckland
The arrival of the 16 American battleships under the command of Admiral C.S. Sperry was greeted with much pomp and ceremony. An extensive programme of 'fleet week' entertainment was put on for the 14,000 sailors. Read more...
October 2011 marks the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Royal New Zealand Navy. In 1941 the new navy had three brand-new ships – the Moa, Kiwi and Tui – working up or fitting out in Scotland. These little Bird-class minesweepers would see dramatic action in the Pacific War.
Page 2 – 'Pocket corvettes'
The Birds were unusual. Although they looked a little like the Admiralty’s Isles-class minesweeping trawlers, their extended forecastles gave them more of a naval look
Page 3 – Early wartime duties
When the ships finally arrived at Auckland between April and August 1942, after lengthy voyages, they joined the 25th Minesweeping Flotilla
Page 4 – Moa and Kiwi bag a sub
On the night of 29 January Kiwi and Moa were patrolling along Kamimbo Bay, on the north-western corner of Guadacanal when Kiwi detected a submarine
Page 5 – The sinking of the Moa
On 7 April 1943, while refuelling from the American oil barge Erskine M. Phelps at Tulagi Harbour, in the Solomons, the Moa came under attack from Japanese aircraft
Page 6 – The Tui goes hunting
The minesweeper Tui’s turn to claim a scalp came in August 1943
Page 7 – Peacetime years
The RNZN downsized after the war, although it remained much bigger than the pre-war New Zealand Division.
Page 8 – Further information
Links and books relating to New Zealand Bird-classs minesweepers
When the Royal New Zealand Navy came into being on 1 October 1941, its main combat units were two Leander-class cruisers: Achilles and Leander. Although its early war was quieter than the Achilles, the Leander was to see dramtic action in the Pacific War.
Page 2 – Leander-class light cruisers
Facts and stats about the Leander light cruiser ships
Page 3 – Leander goes to war
By mid-1940 the Leander was escorting convoys in the Red Sea and Aden areas. In between escorting merchant ships, the cruiser further pummelled the Italian submarine Torricelli
Page 4 – Pacific attack
After some early successes, the Leander's war came to an end when she was hit by a long-range Japanese torpedo
Page 5 – Recovery and repair
The Leander was hit just abaft the ‘A’ boiler room. Four hundred and ninety kilograms of high explosive killed everyone in that boiler room and the blast, venting
Seventy years old in October 2011, the Royal New Zealand Navy is today an integral part of the New Zealand Defence Force. But its 1941 establishment was the result of a long process of naval development.
Page 2 – Origins
Although some gunboats were acquired by the colonial government during the New Zealand Wars in the 1860s and torpedo boats for the coast defences in the 1880s, the genesis of
Page 3 – First World War
Establishing NZ's naval forcesWhen the Reform government took office in 1912, the way was opened for New Zealand to begin a new approach.
Page 4 – NZ Division of the Royal Navy
The First World War experience convinced Allen that New Zealand’s approach to naval defence had been on the right lines.
Page 5 – Second World War
On 1 October 1941 an order-in-council changed the name of the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy to Royal New Zealand Navy.
Page 6 – Post-war operations
Like all the services the RNZN faced difficulties of readjustment to peacetime conditions, not only in drastically reducing numbers but also in determining the shape of the
During the Second World War New Zealanders became prisoners of war in large numbers. Most Kiwi POWs were soldiers captured in Greece, Crete and North Africa. In total, more than 8000 were held in captivity - one in 200 of New Zealand's population at the time.
- Page 2 - CaptureMost of New Zealand's Second World War POWs were captured in the European theatre in the early stages of the war. Only about 100 New Zealand servicemen fell into Japanese hands,
Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife Sophie were assassinated in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo. This was a key event in sparking the Great War of 1914–18.
Page 6 – The legacy of war
The war had a major impact on constitutional arrangements within the British Empire, and it affected New Zealand's international status.
Information about the now completed From Memory oral history project, including advice on how to interview war veterans
- Page 11 - Notes and questions, Royal Navy and Royal Air ForceAdvice and suggested questions for interviewing Royal Navy and Royal Air Force
New Zealand's first warship, HMS Philomel formed the core of the country's naval forces during the First World War. The aged and largely obsolete vessel was commissioned in New Zealand in July 1914, and went on to serve in the Pacific, Mediterranean and Middle East.
- Page 1 - NZ's first warshipNew Zealand's first warship, HMS Philomel formed the core of the country's naval forces during the First World War. The aged and largely obsolete vessel was commissioned in New
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