HMS Puriri memorial

HMS <em>Puriri</em> memorial


The memorial to the five seamen who lost their lives when the navy minesweeper HMS Puriri was sunk north-east of Bream Head, near Whangārei, on 14 May 1941. The memorial was dedicated in 2011 on the 70th anniversary of the sinking.

HMS Puriri was a converted 927-ton Anchor Company coaster that was commissioned into the 25th Minesweeping Flotilla on 19 April 1941. It was operating with another minesweeper, HMS Gale, off Bream Head in the northern approaches to the Hauraki Gulf when it struck a German contact mine, part of a 228-mine barrage laid on 13–14 June 1940 by the raider Orion. These mines had claimed their first victim, the trans-Pacific liner Niagara, on 19 June 1940. 

Rocked by a violent explosion, Puriri sank so quickly that no lifeboats could be launched. The ship’s commanding officer, two stewards, a stoker and an able seaman, all of them former merchant seamen serving as naval reservists or under temporary naval articles, were drowned. The 26 survivors, five of them injured, were rescued from the water by the Gale. 

This was the only naval loss in New Zealand waters during the Second World War.

Community contributions

No comments have been posted about HMS Puriri memorial

What do you know?