Ngapona Assn Newsletter


8 March 19 – Navy Club Lunch, Remuera Club
15 March 19 – Ngapona Assn Lunch at Waiheke RSA
23 March 19 – Kumeu Militaria Show
6 April 19 – HMNZS Otago Reunion, Birkenhead RSA
18 April 19 – Ngapona Assn Lunch at Henderson RSA (Thursday)
19 – 22 April 19 – Easter Weekend
25 April 19 – ANZAC Day
25 April 19 – Gunnery Instructor’s Reunion, Thames
10 May – Navy Club Lunch, Remuera Club
17 May – Ngapona Assn Lunch at Pt Chevalier RSA
1-3 June – Queen’s Birthday Weekend


Less than two weeks to go till our lunch at the Waiheke RSA.  The ferry leaves the downtown ferry building on the half hour. Suggest we catch the 1100 boat as this also calls at Devonport on the way so ‘Northern Folk’ don’t need to come into town.  It’s good to get to the ferry building early and have a coffee before boarding the ferry.  The return sailings are on the half hour with the 1400 and 1600 sailings calling at Devonport.


It is not too soon to start thinking about ANZAC Day. Get the suit dry-cleaned and polish the medals. There will be a parade at the Devonport Naval Base again this year.


The NZ Remembrance Army was formed recently by an NZ veteran who took it upon himself to restore a friend’s grave; that friend was a veteran also.  After the restoration, he felt all Service men and women’s graves deserved the same. The NZ Remembrance Army’s aim is to clean, refurbish and repair service members’ gravestones, restoring them to the same state as their comrades overseas that are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The project has taken off around New Zealand. The NZ Remembrance Army works with RSA’s, veteran associations, schools, cadets and anyone who has an interest in helping. A team has been established in Auckland and Navy has been requested to coordinate activities on the North Shore. Initial activities will be to visit local cemeteries to identify service member’s graves, get a clear picture of the numbers and state of the grave markers, share the information and develop a plan. Personnel interested in helping are requested to register their interest with the Base 1st LT, WOCSS R. Jensen via email or phone 09 454 5207.


NEW ZEALAND’s Ports of Auckland has started welcoming container vessels at the Fergusson container terminal’s North Wharf, with the 3,400-TEU Gottfried Schulte becoming the first containership to berth at the third wharf, which is currently undergoing a trial phase. Fergusson North will eventually be Ports of Auckland’s premium berth, with the deepest water and largest cranes, capable of handling ships of up to 11,000 TEU. New cranes, delivered in October 2018, are currently being commissioned as part of the testing phase, reported Hellenic Shipping News. This will be followed by trial unloading operations. The Fergusson North Wharf is scheduled to become fully operational after the first stage of Auckland’s automation goes live in early 2020. “Our two existing container berths are often both full and there is strong demand for a third berth,” said Ports of Auckland general manager Craig Sain. “The new berth, high-productivity cranes and terminal automation will increase capacity and benefit to importers, exporters, and shippers,” he said Completion of Fergusson North Wharf included 10 hectares of reclamation to create additional terminal space which is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.


On 12 March 1942, Sub-Lieutenant GJ Macdonald RNZNVR, commissioned MTB241 at Morgan Giles shipyard at Teignmouth, Devon. Following a workup, MTB241 joined the 21 MTB Flotilla, based at HMS Beehive at Felixstowe, on the Suffolk coast of England. Macdonald was the youngest man to command a Royal Navy warship and became the most highly decorated New Zealand naval officer of World War ll.

A/LT CDR George James (Mac) Macdonald DSO, DSC and Two Bars, MID (2), RNZNVR. A/LT CDR Macdonald, born in 1921, joined the Wellington Division of the Naval Reserve in 1938. When he went to the United Kingdom in 1940 he was an Able Seaman who had already served as a Gunner in TRIENZA, a phosphate carrier trading to Nauru Island. In England he trained in HMS KING ALFRED, and as a Sub-Lieutenant became Second-in-Command of MTB31. When that ship was attacked by three German E-boats and set on fire, Macdonald not only fought the fires but also dived overboard to save the life of the Chief Motor Mechanic. He helped in the salvage of the ship. For these actions, he was awarded his first Distinguished Service Cross (DSC).

Later, in Command of MTB241, he fought nine actions in four months and was awarded a Bar to his DSC. In September 1943 he was promoted Lieutenant, and at the age of 22 became the youngest officer to command a flotilla of MTBs.

Macdonald was awarded a second Bar to his DSC in July 1944 for his performance in two actions and in seven successful mine-laying operations. As Flotilla Leader, when his own ship was sunk he transferred to another and continued the action.

In July 1944, he attempted to sink a heavily armed German transport with three MTBs until it made the safety of harbour. Whilst returning to his base, he discovered a second convoy and pressed home a successful attack. Remarkably, he sank two ships, despite the risk of enemy air attack during an action fought in broad daylight. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for this action.

He was twice mentioned in despatches and as one of the most highly decorated New Zealanders, Macdonald was regarded as an ‘Ace’ of coastal forces.

A/LT CDR Macdonald was employed by Wellington City Council, where he became City Engineer.


Container ship capacity has doubled about every 10 years. What will container ships look like in 2030?

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