Events In History
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...
Page 1 – Battle of the River Plate
When the HMS Achilles opened fire on the German ‘pocket battleship’ Admiral Graf Spee on 13 December 1939 it became the first NZ unit to strike a blow at the enemy in the Second World War
Page 2 – New Zealand's naval forces
New Zealand's naval forces and strategy before the outbreak of the Second World War.
Page 3 – The outbreak of war
The outbreak of the Second World War and New Zealand naval involvement in the Battle of the Atlantic.
Page 4 – Into the South Atlantic
HMS Achilles joins the Royal Navy's South America Division patrolling the South Atlantic in search of German raiders.
Page 5 – The battle
The British cruisers Achilles, Ajax and Exeter engage the German battleship Admiral Graf Spee in battle.
Page 6 – After the battle
The aftermath of the battle and the return of HMS Achilles to New Zealand.
Main image: HMS Achilles memorial, St HeliersOn 16 January 1940, to recognize the role the New Zealand ship HMS Achilles had played in the Battle of the River Plate, Auckland City Council resolved to name the tip of the headland on the western side of the Tamaki River as Achilles Point.