merchant marine

Events In History


Merchant marine

  • Merchant marine

    On 3 September New Zealand honours Merchant Navy Day. Here we explore the little-known but vital role played by the merchant marine during the First World War, when these civilian seafarers often found themselves in the front line of the war at sea.

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  • Page 2 – The merchant marine goes to war

    The outbreak of war in 1914 posed special problems for New Zealand because of its dependence on sea trade.

  • Page 3 – The Otaki's epic battle

    Many Home boats were lost, especially in 1917-18 when Germany stepped up its submarine warfare against Allied commerce. One action stood out, an epic battle between the New

  • Page 4 – Hospital ships

    In May 1915, as casualties mounted at Gallipoli, the government chartered a hospital ship, the Union Company's 5282-ton trans-Tasman liner Maheno

  • Page 5 – The Wahine's wanderings

    Most requisitioned ships continued to carry people or cargo. One Union Company ship, however, entered the Royal Navy and bore the prefix HMS. The Wahine was no ordinary ship

  • Page 6 – Agony on the Aparima

    One of the worst losses of New Zealand lives at sea occurred on the Union Company’s Aparima in 1917.

  • Page 7 – Home waters

    The First World War had a dramatic impact on shipping to and from New Zealand.

  • Page 8 – Politics, patriotism and protest

    Although New Zealand seafarers served in many hostile theatres, some questioned the politics of the war.

  • Page 9 – Merchant marine Roll of Honour

    This roll lists the names of over New Zealand-born or – resident seafarers who died during the First World War while serving aboard merchant ships

  • Page 10 – Further information

    Recommended links and publications relating to the New Zealand merchant marine