navy

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Royal NZ Navy's Bird-class ships

  • Royal NZ Navy's Bird-class ships

    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.

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  • 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

HMNZS Leander

  • HMNZS Leander

    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.

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  • 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

The Royal New Zealand Navy

  • The Royal New Zealand Navy

    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.

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  • 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

Prisoners of War

  • Prisoners of War

    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.

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  • 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,

First World War - overview

  • First World War - overview

    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.

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  • 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.

War oral history programme

HMS Philomel

  • HMS <em>Philomel</em>

    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.

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  • 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

Biographies

  • Allen, James

    As Minister of Defence from 1912 until 1920, James Allen was responsible for the organisation of New Zealand’s military forces during the First World War.

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