Did You Serve in Black Prince

Looking for Communicators and others who may have served in HMNZS Black Prince in 1953 when she deployed to the Mediterranean. If you were one of these lucky souls Al Peck would like you to make contact.

In 2003 Al Peck represented the RNZN at the 50th anniversary of a devastating earthquake in the Greek island of Zaknythos. Why? Because Black Prince was the first ship to arrive for earthquake relief. She had deployed for the Coronation Review and was operating in the Med at the time. The locals still hold our Navy in high regards. It occurred to Al that this is one event on a deployment that must have been very significant for those who were there. He is trying to get a few original stories to include in a possible article for Navy Today. If you can help Al in his quest leave a comment to this post.

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31 Responses to Did You Serve in Black Prince

  1. Tom Skinner says:

    Yes i did serve on Black Prince and have some stories to tell. I was an ord/telegraphist RNZNVR but signed on on the trip home. I was almost immediately seconded to the staff of Capt.D ashore to help with the shore communications.
    phone 06 870 7010 mobile 027 233-4454 Look forward to hearing from you. Is Al Peck the same Smu Peck ?
    Tom Skinner

  2. Ray Newport says:

    Ray Newport Says
    Yes I was a Boy Telegraphist on that trip. I see Tom Skinner’s comments he will probably recall that
    we were the two Tels that were seconded to help out on the shore Station set up on a Jetty,
    I have a few photos of what when on with out shore party at the time such as restoring electricity
    etc .
    I can be contacts at Phone: 06 368 6677 or my E-Mail azaroe@slingshot.co.nz look forward to
    here from Al to see what he wants etc
    Ray Newport

  3. Casper says:

    Hi Ray and Tom
    No I didn’t serve on the Black Prince but funnily enough I was in Nelson a few days ago and came across a wooden board priced at $250 which had supposedly been on the Achilles. There were three ships’ crests on the board, Black Prince, Rotoiti and one other which my failing memory believes was the Bellona. This was in a second hand shop in Richmond, but the owner who I believe is ex Air Force couldn’t throw any further light on the subject. Just in case this is of any interest to either of you or anyone else visiting this site my phone is 03 2171078 (Invercargill). Are you the same Tom Skinner who was killick of the mess on Royalist 59 when I was a woebegone OD on his first sea draft? If so, belated thanks for your help and boundless patience during that commish.
    Love light and peace

    • Tom Skinner says:

      Yes that would be me although boundless patience doesn’t sound like me. Hope you are well and enjoying life and do have a nice day

      Tom skinner

  4. Elton Graeme TRICKER says:

    Black Prince arrived in the vicinity of Zakinthos Island at 6:30 a.m. on Monday 16 August, 1953. We spent most of the following three days servicing Kefalonia Island at such places as Argostoli, Sami and Lixouri and Ithaki on Ithaki Island. We departed for New Zealand on Wednesday 19 of August.

    Does anyone remember Black Prince colliding with a floating dock in Valeta Harbour?

    Extrapolation of these comments is available, together with a few photos, if you would like them.

    Graeme Tricker. Officers Steward, RNZN13444.

  5. Buzz Clarke says:

    I have just stumbled onto this website. Great read. Was wondering if any of the Black Prince “1953ish” crew remember Fredrick Henry Rosson? Would love to hear back. Many thanks.

  6. David Woodhams says:

    My late wife’s uncle was Lt Cmdr Monty Foster, Chief Electrical Officer on Black Prince in 1953. He was very proud of the ship’s contribution to restoring power to the community after the.earthquake. I found this website as I sought a connection with the diversion of USS Sampson to Kaikoura following the magnitude 7.5 quake last Monday (14 November 2016).
    I am currently trustee for the estate of Michael Vincent Sears whom I suspect is related to Al Peck. I am visiting Mick’s widow next week.

  7. Tiwha Hakaria says:

    I believe my late uncle Jim Hakaria (RIP) was on the Black Prince, but unsure what year he was on this ship, he was Stoker and also a Diver.

  8. Mick jackman says:

    My dad was serving on HMNZ Black Prince in 1953 attending the Greek earthquake , he tells me a story where he had to guard a local bank and while he was he saw Black Prince pulling out, apparently he was not noticed missing and they had to return for him

  9. Mick Jackman says:

    Following on from my previous comment, my dad Edward William (John) Jackman was leading cook on HMNZ Black Prince in 1953, he is interested to know if anyone knows of a leading officers cook called Dusty Miller who he lost touch with in New Zealand, and on a more unfortunate note when the ship left Malta his personal belongings were taken which included photos taken on the Greek islands and his medals and other personal items. He is 90 this year and I’m trying to gather information and photos of HMNZ Black Prince and her duration in Greece in 1953 as well as his time in Korea, if any one can help in any way I would be very grateful thank you

    • Gerry Wright says:

      Hi Mick,
      I’m writing a book about Black Prince.
      I can send you a draft copy for your Dad to add to.

      • Mick Jackman says:

        That would be great Gerry I’m sure he’ll find it good to read

      • Zoe says:

        Hi Gerry, trying to locate a family member who may have worked on The Black Prince. Would you be able to help? Would love to know what your book is called!

      • Gerry Wright says:

        Who was your family member?
        Call me on (09)624.3969

      • Zoe says:

        Hi Gerry, I have just rung and left a message on the number provided. Cheers, Zoe.

  10. Susan Massin says:

    I have been told that my father served on this ship his name was Barry Corlett (Day) . I have been told he was a seaman boy and a diver . Any information would be appreciated

  11. Len Payne says:

    I was a Sea Cadet, one of eight who joined the ship on 17 March 1953 for the cruise to the Coronation, Spithead Review and exercises wth the Med fleet. I was a VS rating and spent the trip on the flag deck. I still have a photo album with a photo of the damaged floating dock and the earthquake assistance in Cefilonia. A photo taken by the ships photographer of us working on the power station shows me and others on the roof all wearing tin hats.
    I enjoyed the trip to UK communicating with HMAS Sydney but the most exciting time was when we were exercising with the Med fleet communicating with flags, morse and semaphore.
    Len Payne

  12. Jim Dunn Stoker mechanic, 23rd Stoker Mechanic NZ 14179. says:

    Nice to see someone who saw what many of us young chaps experienced ashore at Argostoli, putting pen to paper about it will be good, I remember most of the names mentioned, those of us who were in the working party did well getting the machinery running again, Kiwi’s can fix anything.
    I was a watch keeper on the plant, and we maintained a good vigil on the water pumps from the sea as well. Lord Mountbatten was pleased with our attitude. Rightly so, three of us had a nasty experience going to the power stn for the First watch. Apparently a curfew had been made to stop looters pillaging the town, and Greek soldiers were let loose with rifles to patrol.
    Three of us in a jeep, got a nasty fright when bullets came screaming around us on our way to check out the power station generator and water pumps. We were lucky to get out of that alive, The CPO GI who was driving the jeep left us a 303 and ten rounds to protect ourselves if the need arose. I never knew that the Greek people ever had a ceremony about that earthquake until now.
    For a laugh, the bank thing there was a laugh, it was full of German Occupied forces money still in its wrappers, so, much of it was used to trade with at Suez, Port Said ,on our return trip till the big wake up by the traders, then out with the fire hoses to repel boarders, what a time to be young and innocent, a good first ship and great ships company for 23 months. I remember the Black Prince ramming the floating dock, the Gambia was entering astern of us too close quickly, so we had to get out of her way so, full ahead was signalled, so 35,000 hip was unleashed and the greyhound took off, but the dock was in the way, so emergency full astern came down and all that power was released again, but we were a minute short of stopping, so left our calling card, I too have the photo and negative, but it was good luck for the Gambia, and good seamanship from our Captain.
    I doubt if any skipper has had to do a manoeuvre like that again in Grand Harbour.

  13. Nikkita Stevens says:

    Hi, my grandad was on board the Black Prince during this time and assisted with the earthquake clean up and has talked about this often over the years. I see this was posted one year ago however if you would still like to talk please let me know.

    If the piece has already been written please advise where we can find more information on it.

    Thank you.

  14. Loraine Bray (Ansley) says:

    My father Ron Ansley was an electrical officer on the Black Prince. Although he told stories about helping on Kephalonia and the crew setting up power on the island I can’t remember much and unfortunately he passed away 11years ago However I do have some photos he took and wrote on the
    back of, They are in Brisbane and I am in Cyprus at the moment but will be back at Christmas. If you’re interested let me know. My email is lorainebray@hotmail.com

  15. Gerry Wright says:

    The book ‘HMNZS Black Prince’ has been published. I can provide a signed copy for $20.00 plus $4.00 P&P.
    Contact me at (09)624.3969 or

  16. Jason Butterworth says:

    Hi, I believe my dad may have served on this ship. His name was Raymond Butterworth we have so little information regarding his navel service in NZ as well as the UK, if someone knew him or has any information it would be very much appreciated as I would love to pass on something to my kids, nephews and nieces. Thank you, Jason Butterworth.

  17. Bruce Gee says:

    Hi My father John Gee served on Black Prince in 1953 and told us stories of the earthquake in the Greek islands. Dad was a chief Petty Officer and an ERA

  18. Mark Montgomery says:

    Fascinating reading. My late father, Michael Montgomery, served on Black Prince in 1953. The family is trying to piece together some of his naval experiences. He joined Bellona in 1952 but we know very little of his time on Black Prince. Enjoyed reading all the comments. If anyone remembers him would love to hear.

  19. Raewyn Ritchie says:

    I have a photo of my dad, Raymond (Ray) Ritchie, London 5 May 1953 with Black Prince on his Sailors hat

    • Jim Dunn says:

      Hi Raewyn Ritchie, Just browsing this site and what a surprise for me. Ray was a shipmate of mine. We were Buff stokers and did our training at the Rock or HMNZS Tamaki, then to HMNZS Philomel,and Stoker training,then to Black Prince to do a major refit in 1952. We became ships company of HMNZS Black Prince. Then off to the UK in 1953.We spent a couple of years together, we all got on well together she was a good ship,but as it goes we all went to various ships and our lives were fragmented,but nice to know where what and how, of shipmates.
      Kind Regards, Jim Dunn

  20. Clive Blake says:

    My old man was on the Black Prince at kephanonia at that time he was SBCPO Walter Blake. He picked up a BEM for his medical work ashore there.Unfortunately he was one of those blokes who never said much about that or any of his wartime service on HMS Warspite .He is long dead now but I wish now that he could have been a bit less reticent !

  21. Ray Hewitt says:

    Interesting Clive Blake mentions his father was on HMS WARSPITE. My father was on WARSPITE at the battle of Jutland, Were there two HMS Warspite’s

  22. John Gresson says:

    Check out http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-01BB-HMS_Warspite.htm
    HMS Warspite was launched in 1912, winning battle honours for service at Jutland during WW1, was eventually modernised in 1935, and saw service during WW2, winning another 13 WW2 battle honours.

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