Sea shanties, work songs sung on board sailing ships, were a feature of seafaring life in the 19th century. Although most shanties were of British or American origin, some had a distinctly New Zealand flavour.
For the Merchant Navy the cost of victory was high: between 1939 and 1945 almost 5000 Allied and neutral merchant vessels (over 21 million tons' worth) were sunk, and around 60,000 seafarers were killed – more than half of them while sailing under the red duster (red ensign) of the British Empire and Dominions.
New Zealand seamen celebrate victory in London in 1945. They are some of the 4700 New Zealanders who were attached to the Royal Navy on D-Day. Many of them were on board the ships that carried the invasion force to Normandy and supported it with naval gunfire.
A number of New Zealand merchant seamen served off the D-Day beaches on hospital ships and other support vessels. This image, taken off Omaha Beach, shows a landing craft alongside the British hospital ship Llandovery Castle, on which New Zealander Cliff Turner served as a baker.
Les Watson (second from left) stands with other stewards on the new Shaw Savill & Albion (SS&A) liner Ceramic (II), during its maiden voyage to New Zealand in 1948. The first Ceramic had been sunk in 1942, with heavy loss of life.
This roll lists the names of seafarers who died while serving on New Zealand merchant ships and New Zealanders known to have been lost while sailing under the flags of other countries (mainly Britain).