A Moment in Time

This image is of HMNZS NGAPONA taken in 1958.  Can anyone remember the incident and the reason NGAPONA ended her service like this.

In 1947, approval was given for the provision of Harbour Defence Motor Launches (HDML) to the four units of the RNZNVR. The purpose was for training and to have, if required, a fully commissioned and armed Naval patrol vessel.  These were released from the War Assets Realisation Board. It was intended to arm  them with machine guns, an Oerlikon gun, and depth charges. The government instructed that they would not be armed although the HDML attached to Ngapona had an Oerlikon fitted which was used for live firing exercises in the Hauraki Gulf.

The vessels were allocated as follows:
1348 (P3563) HMNZS Kuparu – Pegasus
1350 (P3564) HMNZS Koura – Toroa
1194 (P3561) HMNZS Ngapona – Ngapona
1190 (P3562) HMNZS Parore – Olphert [10]

Displacement: 54 tons
Dimensions: 22 x 21.3 x 1.6m
Machinery: 2-shaft Grey (bhp 300) or Hercules (bhp 550) diesels = 10-12 knots
Armament: unarmed
Complement: 10 officers and ratings

All CMT men in the RNZN would train on these HDMLs from 1950-1957 when fulfilling their obligations. Other RNZN vessels used for sea training included the Bird-class trawlers HMNZS Kiwi and which had been taken back into service in 1948 specifically as a training vessel and the Loch-class frigates HMNZS Kaniere, Hawea and the cruiser HMNZS Bellona that in the early 1950s was used as a training posting for both, regular, RNZNVR and CMT trainees.

The RNZNVR accepted the responsibility to train and maintain the men who came to the RNZN under the Act. The RNZN was never satisfied with the scheme as the brief period of training did not allow the Navy to bring men to proficiency in the technical demands of the naval service. With the release of the White Paper on Defence in 1957 ended CMT with the RNZN. Between 1950 and 1957 1992 personnel were trained by the Navy under the scheme. The age limits were then tinkered with again but in 1959 the Labour government who had opposed the Act when it was introduced in 1949 repealed the legislation stating that it was ‘a waste of time, money and personnel’.

Acknowlege Navy Musuem for the above information.


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1 Response to A Moment in Time

  1. Murray Tricker says:

    I was on Stawell around this time. We were sent to Coromandel to “rescue” a rocky M.L. that was on the rocks near Coromandel town (I think). Dockyard staff on Stawell placed floatation devices in and around the M.L. and we towed it back to Devonport. Unfortunately the wind and sea got up, the M.L. towed badly and ended up just above the waterline when we arrived back in Devonport.

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