The Decommissioning of the Senior Rates Mess at Old IRIRANGI

Here is an image of the senior rates who were serving at the old HMNZS IRIRANGI before it moved to its new location at Waiouru Army Camp.  Can you name them?   Some even have hair!!


Rear Row L – R:  Tony Locke, LLoyd Mitchell, Ian (Joe) Moroney, Paul Howell, Charlie Pont, Len Bilton, Greg Hartley, Tony Topine, Scouse Newell, Gary Moles, Blue Tyler, ?, and Mike Hodson.
Front Row L – R: Piggy O’Neill, Dave Fletcher, Henry Hay, Tug Wilson, Pete Schultz and Gary Johnson.

Jim Dell was on watch keeping the communications lines open.



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30 Responses to The Decommissioning of the Senior Rates Mess at Old IRIRANGI

  1. Alan Belcher says:

    Are we sure this is Irirangi decommissioning. I served at Irirangi after this fine looking bunch. Or did it decommission at the old site and re-commission again??? Think the MAA is MAA Moa???

    • Jim D says:

      It was actually the decommissioning of the old Senior Rates Mess. The rest of the camp had re-established itself months before in Waiouru – the Senior Rates hung out as long as we could!

  2. Jim D says:

    Back row: Tony Locke, Lloyd Mitchell, Paul Howell, ?, Len Bilton, Greg Hartley, Tony Topine, Scouse Newell, ?, ?, ?, and Mike Hodson.
    Front row: Piggy O’Neill, ?, ?, Tug Wilson, Pete Schultz and Gary Johnson.
    Three RSs tin the pic. The fourth one was on watch – me!

    • Jim D says:

      Interestingly enough, Scouse shouldn’t have been there as he was my opposite number at Transmitters and should have been on watch! We lived next door to each other in Ballance Road…

      • John Bullock says:

        So that is why you continually had those mental breakdowns Jim, i.e. because of the Scouse rating living next door. Between the two of you, you would have just about needed a regular brewery truck delivery at your respective dwellings!
        PS. QRM QRN ZBM2 ZGN

    • Jim D says:

      Don’t know what happened to my original post but herewith again. This was actually the closing down of the old Senior Rates Mess and Galley. The rest of Irirangi had shifted to the new site in Waiouru some months earlier – us Senior Rates held out for as long as we could! The Army Fire Brigade had a lot of practice with the old buildings – setting them on fire then very slowly putting them out as the buildings burnt to the ground.

  3. Jim D says:

    The heading should read – The day the Old Irirangi decommissioned at Hihitahi.

  4. Jim D says:

    Missed out Joe Moroney between Lloyd Mitchell and Paul Howell

    • Joe Moroney says:

      Was just looking at my mug shot and was wondering how i got there. I also remember i think going up the home valley on the APCs and we were already shot then, but being well trained we survived for the next round.

  5. Tony Locke says:

    irirangi decomm… L-R Joe Moroney

  6. Jim D says:

    The PORM between Piggy and Henry is Dave Fletcher

  7. Tony Locke says:

    the chappie next to scouse Newell is Gary Moles

  8. Dodger says:

    To the right of Skin Howell, looks like Charlie Pont ???

  9. MOLE says:

    How did Lofty Wright miss this one?

  10. Greg H says:

    The day the music died

  11. Jim D says:

    The officer next to Mike Hodson was the Engineering Officer and the red headed PORM next to him was nicknamed Blue. Can’t remember either of their names. After the lot above had finished, they were taken by Armoured Personnel Carriers to the Waiouru Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess.

  12. Tony Locke says:

    yeh Jim .. thats right .. we went for a ride up the Home Valley on those machines thence entered the fray in the sgts message ATG

  13. Jim D says:

    So! Who was the soberest one to relieve me at 1600 that day??

  14. gunther says:

    So, who would have progressed to the sgt’s mess and denigrated the good name of the rnzn and been on captains report the next day????

    • Jim D says:

      That came later when the Sgts Mess had a Mess Dinner and Vic Fifield was the guest speaker…

      • greg h says:

        jim it was a great day but i am stuffed i can remember fifield being there, but then again i cant rember myself being there ?????

  15. John Bullock says:

    Fifi ex-CO Irirangi had a job as Harbourmaster, Lake Taupo after Pussers.

  16. Jim D says:

    Greg – Fifield wasn’t there at the stage. The mess dinner was later and I think you had posted to either Singapore or Otago.

  17. gunther says:

    Yes fifi was there in 71 when the comms crew went from taranaki to waiouru.(most of them) we were the first junior rates to start living in the new block, later to become the wrens quarters.very up market for junior rates living spaces that was for sure, laundry drying room and the cabins were very very liveable

    • gunther says:

      got this wrong fifi wasn’t the captain in 71 he came later in 75/76 on my next return to waiouru. cant for the life of me remember the name of the 71 captain

  18. Jim D says:

    Looking at the Comms History section, it would appear that George Paul was the CO until 12 January 1973. Vic Fifield relieved him and was CO until 28 February 1978.

  19. gunther says:

    yes that’s him james, couldn’t for the life of me remember his name

  20. Jennifer Sano says:

    Henry ❤ oh wow, what a lovely picture of Henry Hay, he was an OLD family friend back in the 60s and 70s when I was a kid ❤

  21. Pete Welsh says:

    Hi. I was made up. To PORM in 1972 while I was at Irirangi doing shifts at receivers. I lived in the old mess at one point and was there on the day of the auction when the old buildings were deserted. I also remember the bar there and won the old squirt bottle which lurked behind the bar, but sadly the squirt had been replaced by some food dye which I used to ‘decorate’ the building before the local fire brigade took over.

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