royal navy

Events In History

Articles

D-Day

  • D-Day

    It was one of the largest amphibious landings in history. On 6 June 1944 a huge Allied military machine embarked on the invasion of German-occupied France. Thousands of New Zealand sailors and airmen were on active duty that day.

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  • Page 7 – New Zealanders at sea

    By 1944 more than 4700 New Zealanders were based in the United Kingdom and were serving in Royal Navy ships.

Battle of the River Plate

  • Battle of the River Plate

    When HMS Achilles opened fire on the German 'pocket battleship' Admiral Graf Spee on 13 December 1939, it became the first NZ unit to engage the enemy in the Second World War. Seventy five years later, the Battle of the River Plate still holds a special place in this country's naval history.

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  • 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.

The Gallipoli campaign

  • The Gallipoli campaign

    Each year on Anzac Day, New Zealanders (and Australians) mark the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings of 25 April 1915. On that day, thousands of young men, far from their homes, stormed the beaches on the Gallipoli Peninsula in what is now Turkey.

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  • Page 3 - InvasionAllied forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April 1915. British (and later French) forces made the main landing at Cape Helles on the southern tip of Gallipoli, while

The Merchant Navy

  • The Merchant Navy

    3 September is Merchant Navy Day, which was first officially commemorated in New Zealand in 2010. The date marks the sinking of the first Allied merchant ship in 1939, just hours after the Second World War began. This is the story of the 'fourth service' at war.

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  • Page 4 - The Battle of the AtlanticAlthough it was waged half a world away, few military campaigns were as vital to New Zealand's interests as the Battle of the Atlantic. A German victory, which would have severed

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 5 - The Wahine's wanderingsMost 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

British Empire

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 4 - NZ Division of the Royal NavyThe First World War experience convinced Allen that New Zealand’s approach to naval defence had been on the right lines.

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

  • Sanders, William Edward

    William Sanders commanded a submarine-decoy vessel in the First World War, and became the only New Zealander to win the Victoria Cross in a naval action.

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  • Hall-Thompson, Percival Henry

    Percival Hall-Thompson served as captain of New Zealand’s first warship, HMS Philomel, during the First World War. In this role he was also the naval adviser to Wellington; effectively guiding the New Zealand government’s naval policy during and immediately after the war.

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