HMNZS Gambia Association

The following was received from Bill of the HMNZS Gambia Assn

May I ask if you would kindly inform me of any former Gambia Crew, whatever Rank they may have been, who served on HMNZS Gambia, and who have crossed the bar? I have a few who someone kindly let me know of, but, there must be several more who I simply do not know of, and who I think should be recorded in our Sunset Page in our Obituaries.

Thanking you in anticipation of a reply at your convenience.

Yours aye,


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88 Responses to HMNZS Gambia Association

  1. W.R.Harraway says:

    Hello Bill, This is the first i’ve heard of a H.M.N.Z.S.Gambia assn. Anyway I joined Gambia in Auckland as a seaman boy approx.november 1944,and stayed with her till she was handed back to the RN early 1946.I think these dates are pretty close.I’ll be pleased to hear from you whats been happening with the assn.Unfortunately i moved to Australia in 1968 but haven’t lost sight of where my roots are…Look forward to hearing from in the near future…W.R.Harraway..(Harry)

  2. Joan venables says:

    Hello – I grew up in a place called “Hardway” – which is an inlet up from the Portsmouth Harbour. Out in the channel old WW11 ships were anchored awaiting their fate. One of these ws “Gambia” – I know for sure it was Gambia because my Dad used to take us fishing and we’d moor up to the pontoon beside her….does anyone know what ultimately happened to her?

  3. Jim Dell says:

    Gambia was towed to Scotland in December 1968 for scrapping and finally broken up in 1969

    • Jock Hair says:

      Nov 1968 HMS Gambia completed a mini refit with a crew of some 550 who arrived from Portsmouth on a special train . We flogged the North seas , the English Channel , The Atlantic , the Mediterranean, where in the Indian Ocean , we visited , the Seychelles Mauritius. Port Louis repairing typhoon damage , Maldives Islands Gan and capital Male where chest Containing alleged £8000000 in gold sovereigns was paid to the Sultanfor allowing An air base to be constructed on Gan , Mombasa , Durban Cape Town, Wallvis Bay Freetown Sierra Leone Bathurst Gambia , Gibraltar and Portsmouth in June 1960 . The comms receivers were B40s with the odd wartime B28,. The transmitters were the original 600 series as was 285 early warning Radar . The rear 6 inch gun turret had been removed.
      Happy Days. My ambition at 80 is to be the last Gambian crewman Standing.
      JohnHair P/M 946992

  4. says:

    My late grandfather, George Hunt (NZ) served in the Navy on the Gambia in the World War – these are the simple details I know of but will get further information from my Grandmother and post soon. What a great association to honour the Gambia and its crew.

  5. Paul Gilmore says:

    I know of 5 men from Gisborne, New Zealand, who were on HMNZS Gambia. They were Mr Wyne Parkes; Mr Terry Samuel (loader for the starboard guns); Mr Bruce Duckworth (engine room); Mr Rob Findon; Mr Charles (Chas) Gilmore. The ship was attacked about 200 miles off the Japanese coast by a Japanese fighter aircraft on 15 Aug 1945, the day hostilities against the Japanese ceased. Although some 180 men were on deck at the time being addressed by Lieutenant Commander Davis Goff none were hurt. An unknown Allied aircraft shot the Japanese fighter down in time and bits of the plane landed on the quarterdeck. Mr Gilmore was not on the ship at the time of the attack. Mr Gilmore, my dad, died 2008.

    • Tony Locke says:

      I know of 1 gentleman who was on HMNZS Gambia and has since passed away.
      His name Ron Williams. I believe he was the secretary of the Gambia Association for some time..
      He was a Radio Operator. I met him as a ham ZL1RAW in the late 90s.

    • Marie MacDonald says:

      Hello Paul
      I can add one more Gisborne name to your list. My late father Ian MacDonald (AB Radar) was aboard Gambia, after WWII was officially ended (2 Sept 45), from 27 Sept 45 to 7 December 45. He was at Philomel 8 Dec 45 until discharge 12 June 1946.

  6. Donald R Hovell says:

    Hi there,
    My father served on the HMNZS Gambia during the war as a Royal Marine.
    His name was Thomas Hovell and has since passed away.
    I like to think that he has gone to meet the people who served along side of him and may they all rest in peace.

    • Donald R Hovell says:

      My father service number was CH/X2422.
      is there any thing on him before during and after the Gambia?
      Any thing on him what be great as I know him very little.

  7. Neil Irvine says:

    My father in law has just been telling us some stories of his times on the Gambia and Thomas Currell, he served as a Telegraphist during WWII.

  8. Ken Smith says:

    My old mate Frank Wilson served on Gambia. He was there during the aircraft attack the day after the cease fire. Was also on board during the signing of the Japanese surrender and had a certificate for this framed and in place of honour on his lounge wall. Frank crossed the bar in Whangarei in October this year.

  9. Jamie Elwin says:

    My father (Jeken Allen Elwin) was on HMNZS Gambia in the Pacific and thoroughly enjoyed his time on her. I believe he was the navigating officer. He took some 8mm Cine Film of her during his period which I have. He also had a Napkin Ring which was in inscribed with his initials; J.A.E. HMNZS Gambia, Tokyo Bay, Sept 2nd 1945.

    He was awarded a DSC as a result of his service on Gambia and I still have the citation signed by George VI.

    My father died in 1980

  10. Robert Blakemore says:

    My late father Thomas Alexander Blakemore Served on Hmnzs Gambia Born Stoke on Trent England Joined Ship 1943 as a Stoker. Died 1969

  11. Steve Procter says:

    Hello My maternal great uncle Eric Hessey served as a marine on HMNZS Gambia from late 1943. He was born in Bradford, England on 1 Nov 1908. I’ve only just unearthed these details when looking through part of the family’s ‘old black box’ and came across Uncle Eric’s campaign medals and two RM brooches enscribed ‘Gibraltar’ which he bought as a gift for his sister. He died in the late 80’s.

  12. Brad Patrick says:

    My old neighbour, Frank Noble Alexander, served on the Gambia. I’m not sure in what capacity. I do remeber him telling me about the incident when Gambia was attacked by an enemy aircraft during a briefing on deck at the end of the war. It is my recollection of that story that the enemy aircraft was shot down by a Corsair fighter.

  13. Glenda Walsh says:


    My father (Robert) Gordon Walsh served on the Gambia as a Coder in WW2 and was in Tokyo Bay at the signing of the surrender. We still have the certificate from the surrender and some fantastic photos of his time in Japan. He sadly he passed away in 2011.

  14. Simon Younger says:

    My father Michael Younger served on the Gambia as a Midshipman. It is my understanding he joined the ship in 1943 and sailed on her to New Zealand and was then loaned to the NZ Navy in September 1943. He seldom talked about the experience but I do remember him telling me he was present at the Japanese surrender. Sadly he passed away in January 1998 in Coventry, England.

  15. Navylark says:

    My grandfather was on Gambia during this Jap aircraft attack. His bedding roll, which he was airing at the time, was shot through by bits of that aircraft. We still have it today. The jap pilot was taken onboard and we also have a photo of him and a 30cm sq clipping from his parachute.

  16. jeffery colin peacock says:

    Edward Walter Peacock RNZNVR 2387 [funny enough thats the yr granddad was born and the yr my mother died] HMNZS Leander, HMNZS Neptune , HMNZS Leander, HMNZS Nora Niven, HMNZS Gambia [ Nov 1944 – March 1946 ]. they left NZ in Feb 1945 after exercises with HMS Howe to Sydney then of to Lyette etc then Formosa, Okinawa, and off the coast of Japan as task force 57 then 37……..i have his dairy from 1944 – nov 1945……and photos and pennant flags and some crystal classes he and a mate pinched off the japanese ship destroyer Nagato and a few spoons and a certificate for being one of 750 to witness the signing of the peace etc etc he died in 2013 at 91…….he was a great man ……..he served with a group called the goldenbayities they all came from takaka [8-9 of them] wattie bird, bob papps etc kevin cole….

    • James Elwin says:

      My father also took some “souvenirs” from a Japanese warship in Tokyo at the surrender in this case some rather fine navigating instruments in lovely wooden boxes, which I still have. Presume from the same destroyer. I also have some very grainy cine film that he took on HMNZS Gambia while in the Pacific

      Jamie Elwin

      Sent from my iPad


  17. Kevin Gaskill says:

    My father was on the Gambia during the war and at the surrender. I think he was a gunner in either Xor Y turret . Name = Lincoln Wallace Gaskill (aka Lin)

    • Lisa Ransom says:

      Hi Kevin
      My father was also a gunner on the Gambia. His name was Arthur William Knock. Sadly he passed away in 2004.

      • Lisa Ransom says:

        And like yours was at the surrender. We still have a couple of souvenirs of Japan that he had and also his medals.

      • Kevin says:

        Hi Lisa,
        My father had medals and a Japanese Naval Officers hat band and brass pips which he gave to me before he died (25-3-1995) I have just recently given them to our eldest grandson . My sisters have a comprehensive collection of photographs and news paper articles that my father accumulated in his years on the Gambia. When I next see them I’ll go through them and see if there is any mention of your dad.

  18. Roger Dingman says:

    Hello, I’m an American naval historian who has done a lot of work on the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan – including the surrender. Just ran across reference to fact that a group of seamen from HMNZS Gambia were sent ashore to take part in the occupation of the base in August 1945.
    Does anyone know who these crewmen might have been? From note from Jeffery Colin Peacock – would it be possible to see copy of the Japan surrender part of your grandfather’s diary?
    Many thanks to any and all who respond. My e-mail is
    Roger Dingman, Professor of History Emeritus, Univ. of Southern California

    • jeff peacock says:

      hi Rogder…… those that went ashore…….one was Jack Stuart [hokitika, West Coast NZ] and another was Wattie Bird [Takaka, Golden Bay NZ – my grandfathers friend, Wattie gave him a note to keep in case he coped a bullet] there is a book called HMNZS Gambia by Jack Harker may help you. as for my Granndads dairy it is on the wifes side of the computer and I shall endeavour to get her to send it to my side and I shall see what I can do.

    • alex martin says:

      my grandfather, Bruce A Martin AB.NZ 4978 H.M.N.Z.S Gambia.. (TF-31) Cert ….signed by Brigadier General US Marine Corps William T Clement ,Rear Admiral Oscar C Badger Commanding Officer Robert carney

      • Jamie Elwin says:

        I have a set of parallel rulers and rolling ruler in wooden boxes used for chart navigation that my father said he took from a japanses destroyer in Tokyo bay. So wether this was part of shore party or another excursion I don’t know My father was on HMNZS Gambia as the navigating officer.

  19. Lisa Ransom says:

    I’m trying to find out the rankings for some of the seamen my father fought with, for some research I am doing. Can someone point me to somewhere where I can find this?

  20. John Ogilvie says:

    My father, Leo Ogilvie (service number 5653) served on the Gambia during WW2. He was a CPO involved with radar and served on the ship from the time it was signed over to the NZ Navy through to the war in the Pacific and was present at the surrender of Japan. He came from the West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand and passed away in 1977.

    • Robert Blakemore says:

      My father was Thomas Alexander Blakemore known as Alec. He was a Stoker on The Gambia from 1943 to 1946 starting his service in England and sailing to New Zealand on The Gambia to serve as a Stoker on the HMNZS Gambia. (Ironic, a Stoker born in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, England… locally known as a “Stokey”!) He was present at the surrender of Japan and eventually sailed home to England on The Gambia. Dad passed away in 1969.

  21. Reece says:

    My Grandfather James ( Jim ) Dixon was a stoker on the Gambia. Was in Tokyo Bay for the surrender. Remembers walking the streets of Tokyo afterwards. He is now 91 and still going strong. 🙂

    • Susan Houghton says:

      Hi Reece My father died inthe 60’s, He was with the Gambia through out the war years and was in Japan at the surrender. I think he was a stoker. His name was John Jones Johnny and came from London I know it;s a long shot but wondered if your grandfather might know the name . Sue

  22. gunther says:

    as an aside, to all of you people out there who have relatives who served on Gambia. at the manurewa rsa there is a very good model of Gambia in the entrance way, around 5ft in length..

  23. Paddie Adams says:

    I have a beautiful pennant flag Final Victory Tokyo September 2nd 1945 HMNZ Gambia. My Uncle Syd (Sydney Frank Plampin) served on that ship. Would this be of any interest?

  24. Tom Sweeny jnr says:

    My father Tommy Sweeny served on The Gambia 1943-46 he was a range taker. He has just celebrated his 90th birthday on the 3rd August 2015. His brother bought him a painting of his ship. Thought it maybe nice to hear if any of his crew mates remember him . He came from Glasgow.

  25. Martin chesterfield says:

    My father served on the Gambia and was on board at the final surrender. His name was Bruce Chesterfield. he passed away in the late 1990s.

  26. Martin Chesterfield says:

    I recently had a chat With Arthur Lockwood in Palmerston North he served in the navy during the 2nd world war. He informed me that a Pennent that my Dad Bruce Chesterfield aquired at the final surrender has been framed and is on display at the ex navalmens club in domain st Palmerston north.

  27. Shane Scott says:

    My Grandfather Lindsy Cummings (died 1994 i think?) served on the Gambia during WWII my mother said he operated Radar and the Pom Poms,he attended the 1983 reunion in Hokitika,
    if anyone knows of my Grandfather and has story to share that would be greatly appreciated 🙂

  28. Bill Peni says:

    My Step-father born Herbert Forsythe born Aug 31st 1912 West Derby,Liverpool Mersyside, UK
    joined the RN 1931 as a Stoker KX84842
    Changed his name to Anthony Roberts. 1937.
    Joined RNZN as Stoker I/C Force, 30.1.1941 thru 15.2.1946.
    Served Overseas aboard HMS Gambia 14.2.45 thru 30.10.45.
    Died July 24th 2003. Tauranga, Bay of Plenty. New Zealand.

  29. Ali Partridge says:

    Hi have just seen your post. My father Walter William Goddard (known as Bill) was born in Gloucester, UK 7th March 1917. He joined the Navy in 1934 and trained at RM depot in Deal. He served on HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Newcastle and HMS Colombo before joining HMS Achilies on 27th January 1939 until 2nd June 1943. He was then in Plymouth and later in Chatham until he joined HMS Gambia on 23rd September 1943 and served until 22nd September 1944. He then joined HMS Philomel on 25th September 1944 and his discharge on 18th December 1945. He remained in New Zealand until 1952 when he returned to England. He died in Barnstaple, North Devon, UK on 10th March 1987.

  30. regan says:

    Ivan Williams (NZ), Torpedo man, 1943 until the Surrender.

  31. Bob Bevege says:

    My father Bob Bevege was a seaman boy on the Gambia at the end of the war. I believe that he was only 16 when he joined the navy. He passed away in 2006

  32. Laurie Dalton says:

    In response to Bill’s request on behalf of the HMNZS Gambia Assn re former Crew who have crossed the bar. My late Father, William (Bill) James Dalton, Leading Signalman, passed away in Palmerston North, 2006.

  33. Ann Kelly says:

    My father Jim Hughes sailed on The Gambia as a gunner he has lots of photographs and newspaper cuttings. He is now in a care home aged 91.

  34. John Hair says:

    Served on HMS Gambia 1958 to 60 alias sometimes Glamourous Gam. As communicators anyone served in the 3rd wireless office of which there is little known It was an unused very small caboose on the after upper deck . During WW2 it’s sparkers all spoke German and ran the office along German lines and procedures Indeed I was led to believe when the war ended they had to retrain as they didn’t know how a Brithish Wireless Office operated and its procedures. Anyone know more?
    Pleased about the NZ – Gambia connection as my Son and his Kiwi partner live in Blenheim on a small lifestyle property in the Waiopi Valley Blenheim . $ Poor and Dirt rich They have a marvellous life in keeping with all ingenious Kiwis doing the same kind of thing. We visit once every couple of years and naturally have a big interest in NZ.

  35. Derrick Curtis says:

    My father Royal Marine Thomas Roy Curtis a.k.a. ” Sandy” served on the Gambia Jan `44 – Feb `46 normally in one of the 6″ Turrets. On board for the final surrender. Sadly passed away Dec 1980.

  36. Ann Kelly says:

    My father James Hughes A.B. C/Jx 547774 6 inch gunner on H.M.N.Z.S Gambia died 24/1/2017 aged 92. He remembered with pride his time in the New Zealand navy and the friends he made. We have lots of photographs on board and of Japan at the time of the surrender.

    Ann Kelly

    • Frank Rands says:

      Hi Ann,

      Any images would be much appreciated. If you can scan them and forward to I will upload to the blog. Regards Frank

    • Jim Dell says:

      A 6 inch gunner – I’m surprised he was able to join the navy…Good to see that he lived to a ripe old age Ann.

    • Derrick Curtis says:

      Hi Ann
      Ref; my `insert` Oct.27 2016. Being fellow 6 inch gunners I`m sure our fathers would have know each other !
      Best regards

      • John Hair says:

        Sink the Bismark film featured HMS Gambia as Bismark . There are some shots showing inside of 6″ gun turret breach block and loading mechanism as well as other sequences.During the war Gambia visited Gambia and was visited by the locals who contributed to buy a large silver cockerel trophy . Which was handed back to Gambia in visit 1960 . During the war Gambia also held a record for steaming most miles in a 3 month period

      • Derrick Curtis says:

        Hi John
        Have seen the film many times, the breech block scenes are much larger than 6 inches plus the turrets shown in the film mount twin 15 inch guns rather than Gambia`s 6 inch triple mounts. Wikapedia has lots of good info. on the film itself and says that the British battleship “Vanguard” was used to depict the capital ships in the film.

        Best regards
        Derrick Curtis

  37. Ray Thomas says:

    Bill Hartland’s original HMS Gambia site was taken offline in 2014 but I am remaking it at

    In 1999, I started writing about my father’s time on HMS Gambia in the 1950s at In 2005, Bill contacted me about helping to start a site for the Association, which he did. That site went offline in 2014 and now the only place it exists is on the Web Archive –

    In 2016, I decided to try and rewrite it. Because of the way the Web archive works it could not capture many of the images and the captions belonging to them. Bill very kindly sent me a lot of material but unfortunately many of the photos are still missing.

    Much of the material belonging to her HMNZS years belongs here, such as the marvelous images on and but I would appreciate hearing from people who have information about her time in the Royal Navy or her time with Royal New Zealand Navy not covered on this site.

    Ray Thomas

  38. Kylie pennington says:

    Hi everyone, my grandfather James Pennington from Taranaki was a stoker on the gambia, he told me many stories. sad to say my grandad passed away in 2008. James was a dedicated serviceman. I have learnt so much from him and i am glad that i had the chance to sit and listen to his amazing stories. Cheers everybody Kylie Pennington.

  39. Lois Kerr says:

    My Dad was a gunner on the Gambia. Richard Arthur Jenkins. Was really a closed book on what happened & what he went through in those years but to his 3 children still remains a hero to us.

  40. Andrew Morgan says:

    My late uncle, Len Payne, served on the Gambia during WW2. He was at Tokyo Bay at the time of the surrender. Not sure of his rank but I do know that he issued the rum ration each day. He once showed me his personal photos of his time serving on the GambIa .

  41. Willy Ngamoki says:

    My dad, Peter Ngamoki, served on the Gambia as a petty Officer, Supply Assist. (not sure what that was?) during WWII. I was told he was at the surrender in Tokyo and reported the surrender proceedings back to NZ by radio in the Maori language. He did have some souvenirs from Japan when I was a kid but they’ve long since been lost. We have a photo of him in his uniform and another photo of him with the whole crew on the Gambia. He can be seen briefly on a short film someone took on the ship during the war. He passed away in 1982 as have his 4 brothers who also served in WWII, 3 in the 28th Maori Battalion and 1 in the RNZAF.

    • James Elwin says:

      My father took some cine film on Gambia in the Pacific. A copy is with the IWM

      Jamie Elwin

      Sent from my iPhone


    • Sue Houghton says:

      My father John Albert Jones served on The Gambia during WW11 and was at the surrender. PLease could you let me have a copy of the photo of the crew, I would love to see it. I don’t know much about my fathers time on The Gambia but I might be able to spot him in the photo. THank you very much for your time

      Regards Sue Houghton

    • Ray Thomas says:

      Hello Willy,

      I write the website at which is a collection of memories and photographs from the crews of HMNZS and HMS Gambia. I’ve posted before on this thread about the site.

      If you remember anything else about your father’s service or have scans of the photos you mention I really would be interested in hearing from you.


      • Willy Ngamoki says:

        Kia ora James and Sue,

        it’s likely our dads knew each other. My mum had a video of the Gambia taken in the Pacific which shows my dad for about 2 seconds. It could be the film your dad took James. Mum passed away 8 years ago and I think my sister has the video.

        Mum also had a photo hanging on the wall of what I think is the whole crew all seated in front of the bridge and the forward guns, you can’t even see the guns. There must be about 3-400 of them with only the front 2 rows recognizable. I can’t pick out my dad and for most of them you can only see the top of their hats.The photo is quite large about 25cm x 40cm. I’ll take it to Whakatane tomorrow to see if I can get it scanned. The same photo is in a book on page 57 of “HMNZS Gambia” written by Jack S. Harker, 1989, Moana Press, ISBN 0-908705-58-1.


  42. Willy Ngamoki says:

    Kia ora Ray,

    Yes I can send you copies of the 2 photos I have, 1 of my father and the other of the ships crew, as I’ve mentioned in the above message. I need to get them scanned first though.


  43. Jock Hair says:

    HMNZ Gambia did not carry an all NZ crew during her time in the NZ Navy . Some of the key ratings were British for that Duration . Incidently as stated previously HMS Gambia did star in the film sink the Bismark see comments for example in the HMS Collingwod Naval Assoc regarding part of last commission of north coast of Scotland to confirm my earlier comments on her film star Status together with members of the crew some of which played Germans

  44. Jock Hair says:

    Wireless receiver during the war was a Marconi B28 .See pictures on the Internet for Marconi B20
    Continuous receiver 300Khz to 30 MHz with 6 string selected turret bands within each band it was possible to tune along the spread of each band .See further info on Internet Marconi B28 superheterodyne principles were used
    The transmitters were in the lower decks and were Type 600series controlled from wireless office by telephone plug and socket arrangements The wartime Tx equipment was retained and used till the end but B28s were replaced by more modern B40 receivers.

  45. Glenys Knox says:

    My dad Cyril Fletcher served on the Gambia as a Petty Officer (gunner) and was present at the surrender. He passed away in 2003. Wonderful to have come across this website.

    • Ray Thomas says:

      Hello Gladys, if there is anything you would care to share about your father’s service I’d appreciate hearing from you –


      • Glenys Knox says:

        Hello Ray and thank you for your swift reply. I am still in the early stages of working through information related to Cyril’s service. Fortunately, he had kept photos and other documentation so it is a matter of me trying to get it into an order that I can follow. However, I do know at this stage is that at age 18 years (in 1938) he volunteered for service with the Royal Naval. This was followed by a period of service on MTBs and by training as a gunner. He served on HMS Diomede between 1939 and 1941 (Atlantic and West Indies); he then was stationed to HMS Kahu which I think was a base on Russell Island in the Solomons. He commenced service with the Gambia on 14 Feb 1945 through to Nov 1945. During his time on the Gambia he was a Petty Officer working the 4 inch guns. His service number was SSX25019. Fortunately I also have the book by Jack Harkness about the Gambia so I am hopeful that I will be able to discover more about my father’s service experience. Thank you.

  46. Charlotte Watson says:

    Hello. I’m years late but I think my grandfather was on that ship. He was in the RNZN from 1939-1945, and the family spoke about him witnessing (or perhaps just ‘being there’) for the surrender of Japan.
    His name was Thomas Murray Mason, and he died in 1997. I will endeavor to get more information about his Navy time, as it was well known in the family that he wouldn’t talk about the things he had seen. Not surprising perhaps as he would have only been in his early twenties at the time.

    • Ray Thomas says:

      Hi Charlotte,

      That would be absolutely marvelous if you could do that. Back in December 2016 I started what I thought might be a 6 month project remaking

      Almost two years later I’m still adding to it. There’s several thousand photos on the website, I’ve just got a couple of hundred to go and I’m always looking for more information.


      • Charlotte says:

        Hello Ray.
        I have just received my grandfather’s war records and can confirm he was on The Gambia from Sept – Dec 1945, transferred from the Swiftsure. It appears he was working in and with Radar.

      • Derrick Curtis says:

        Hi Ray

        You may be interested in this one – I`ve never seen it elsewhere.   A group of `Royals` from Gambia in Ceylon jungle May 1944.  My father Roy Curtis was a Marine gunner and served on Gambia from Jan. 1944 to Feb. 1946. He`s the bare chested one in the middle with the evil looking knife ( kuriru ? )

        Very best wishes

        Derrick Curtis

      • Shane Scott says:

        Hi Ray what an outstanding job on the website it was nice to see my granddads name on the crew list ‘Cummings, Lindsy 1943 – 1946’
        i noticed a photo of the crew holding a Japanese flag
        with ‘N.Z.L.F YOKOSUKA JAPAN 1945’ printed on the flag,the crew member 4th from the right standing looks like my granddad do you have the names of the crew holding this flag by chance to confirm my curiosity??

  47. Ray Thomas says:

    Charlotte, Derrick, and Shane, you’re all so very generous. Because of the information you have given I’ve now been able to update:

    Derrick, I can’t find the image “A group of `Royals` from Gambia in Ceylon jungle May 1944”. Am I going nuts and can’t find it on the site or is the photo somewhere else?

    Shane, I’m sorry but I just don’t have those names. Bill Hartland or I received the photos a long time after the events and unfortunately people’s memories for details like that dim after time.

    Something that may be of interest to everyone here. I’ve lived in the US for the last 17 years, but on a very wet August day last year was able to spend some time at the “Southern Stand” – the New Zealand War Memorial at Hyde Park Corner, London –

  48. Jock Hair says:

    Aged 81 and going strong my aim is to be the last Gambia crewman standing . Served on the 1958
    1960 commission . Sad to say I keep getting Christmas cards returned every year saying that ex shipmates have met up with Charon the ferry man on the River Styx leading to the underworld and have met up with Cerebos the multi headed dog guarding the gates to the underworld to prevent exit. I wonder how many of ex Gambia crewmen have yet to make the journey . Good luck to all and in the immortal words of Dave Allen . “May your God go with You.”
    Jock Hair C/M 946992 Up and Attem Chatham .

    • Ray Thomas says:

      Hello Jock. There’s still a few of you around, but unfortunately less every year. Jan Birch who served on Gambia 1949 – 1952 passed away just last November. He had been emailing me for almost 15 years about the ship and his other adventures.

      Bill Hartland who started this conversation is still around, but a little bit poorly at the moment. He was a Royal Marine Musician on Gambia 1957/58. Someone else who is still around is Terry Craig. He was an Electrical Mechanic on HMS Gambia’s 1957/58 commission. He sent an email just last week slapping my wrist for confusing Electrical Mechanics and Electrical Mechanicians. There was a difference between the two with Mechanicians being a slightly higher grade.


  49. Ray Thomas says:

    Lieutenant Commander Jeken Allen Elwin DSC, was navigating officer on HMNZS Gambia from 1943 to 1946. He had a 8mm cine camera with him and his son, James, very kindly sent me a copy of the video he took. I’ve uploaded it to

    The film is not the best quality, but it is the only amateur film of the ship that I know of. I am hoping to try and improve the quality of it later

    The film shows naval cutter races. RN officers in summer dress on deck, with female guests. Transfer from HMS Capetown to destroyer by breeches buoy. Striped cat (ship’s cat?). Aircraft carrier. Chinese women and children ashore. Sydney Harbour Bridge (Australia).

    I cannot thank his son, James Elwin, enough for sending a copy of the video and allowing me to make it public. There is more about Lt. Cmdr. Elwin at

    And while I am here, there’s also a video of sailor and author Jack Harker receiving his Queen’s Service Medal in 2002 at


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