Ngapona Newsletter

29 September – Change Clocks Adv I hr to NZDT
11 October 19 – Navy Club, Remuera Club at 1200
18 October 19 – Ngapona Assn Lunch at Glen Eden RSA
18 October 19 – Trafalgar Day Luncheon at Te Atatu RSA
8 November 19 – Navy Club, Remuera Club at 1200
15 November 19 – Ngapona Assn Lunch at Grey Lynn RSA
15 – 17 November 19 – Terra Australis Conference at DNB
13 December 19 – Navy Club, Remuera Club at 1200
13 December 19 – Maritime Societies’ Annual Dinner, Northern Club at 1830
20 December 19 – Ngapona Assn Xmas Lunch at Orakei RSA

It is with great sadness that I have to advise that Doug Wood passed away peacefully at 0200 this morning. (Doug Wood, Y100624 PODEF, served HMNZS Ngapona 1/5/1978 to 1/1/1999). Funeral details will be advised but most likely next Tuesday at this stage. The family has requested a wish for someone to re-count Doug’s days at Ngapona and any ‘stories’ and dits. Any photos would be appreciated and I will pass to the family. Our thoughts and condolences are with Carol and family.RIP Doug.

The Assn held its first lunch in Tauranga last Friday. Transport was arranged from Auckland and 12 people travelled down in a rental van. A total of 35 attended the lunch which was a bigger number than expected. It was great to catch up with people we had not seen for some time. It was a great success and we may hold another one next year. This goes a long way to strengthen our ties with the Ngapona Tauranga Division. Many thanks to those who did the organising and the drivers!

HAVE YOU REGISTERED YET? – DO IT NOW To all matelots past and present, who have served under any of the white ensigns. The President and Quarterdeck Division of the Te Atatu Memorial RSA will host a luncheon on Friday 18 October 2019 to celebrate in true naval fashion the 214th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and you are invited to attend. Please note this luncheon is restricted to 100 attendees and applications close Friday, 4th October 2019. Don’t miss out!

Every year HMNZS Ngapona takes part in the Armistice in Cambridge weekend held over the closest weekend to Armistice Day. This year it is over the period Fri 08 –Sun 10 Nov 19. HMNZS Ngapona was approached to take part in 2012 and have attended every year since. The reason for the Armistice in Cambridge event goes back to WW1. NZ Forces were tasked with liberating the French town of Le Quesnoy, a small town within a citadel in Northern France, so on the 4th Nov 1918, NZ Forces scaled a single ladder and repelled the German forces who had held the town since 1914, without any civilian casualties. The French people held their Kiwi liberators in such high regard that they started holding ANZAC Day Services every year and still do to this day. Cambridge is the sister city of Le Quesnoy so they have been holding Armistice Services since 2000. On Armistice day 2018, an NZ War Memorial Museum was opened in Le Quesnoy in the towns old Gendarmerie (Police station) to remember all of the NZ fallen soldiers from all European conflicts. There are two different events rolled into one weekend for Ngapona. There is the Armistice in Cambridge event held at Lake Karapiro where they provide “On Water” safety with a naval J3 RHIB and conduct various “Children’s activities” and interact with the thousands of locals attending the event. On Sunday, they assist the Waikato Mounted Rifles Territorial unit and provide VIP escorts for the Armistice Civic Service held at the Cambridge Town Hall. There are representatives from 7 Nations, NZDF Senior Leadership and HMNZS Ngapona as well as local boards and schools who will be laying wreaths at the service.

In May, the Friends hosted a book launch for David Hill’s book, Close to the Wind which tells the story of a small band of New Zealanders who escaped from Singapore in February 1942. The book covers the escape, the sinking of their ship and their eventual travels through the Dutch East Indies before arriving back in New Zealand. Copies of the book were on sale on the night and over $600 was raised for the Museum.

The Friends are also co-hosting a conference at the naval base on 15-17th November 2019. The conference, Whenua-ki-te-Tonga Terra Australis will explore the discovery and exploration of the southern lands by both Polynesian and European navigators and the encounters between them in the period up to Lt James Cook’s voyage in HMV Endeavour.

If you would like to know more about the conference or are interested in attending, please contact William Stevens – Chairman of the Friends.

Are you interested in New Zealand’s naval history? Why not join the Museum’s Friends’ Organisation? The Friends’ plan to support and promote the Museum whilst inspiring interest, in all age groups including young people, in our Navy’s history and heritage. Led by Lieutenant Commander William Stevens (Rtd) and ably supported by a core group of volunteers from a range of backgrounds, the group is keen to attract new members. If you’d like to know more please contact William Stevens or Alastair Clayton-Greene.

Britain’s newest aircraft carrier has sailed out of Rosyth dockyard for the first time. The GBP3.1bn, 65000 ton HMS Prince of Wales will sit at anchor in the River Forth for around 2-7 days following departure from the dockyard to complete Initial Sea Safety Training. HMS Prince of Wales only had one metre of clearance either side as it passed through a narrow 40-metre wide opening at the basin during high tide in Rosyth, Scotland.

The carrier will conduct extensive sea trials off the coast of North East Scotland upon departing Rosyth before arriving at her homeport of Portsmouth later this year. Upon her entry to Portsmouth, she will be officially commissioned into the Royal Navy by her Lady Sponsor, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, and sit alongside her sister ship for the first time.

The ship has emerged from build two years after her sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is currently transiting the Atlantic, including having visited Halifax, Canada. The deployment, known as WESTLANT19 is an Operational Trial to be conducted with UK F-35Bs off the East Coast of the US.

The name comes from a French prize, Bellone, captured in 1747 and renamed Bellona, the anglicised name for the Roman goddess of war. In some interpretations, she was the sister of Mars, the god of war, in other versions, she is his wife.

At the end of the Second World War, the Royal New Zealand Navy had two cruisers, HMNZS Achilles and Gambia. Achilles was thirteen years old and essentially obsolete, while the Gambia, although only three years old and a specialist anti-aircraft cruiser, was large, requiring a complement of around 1000 men. Given the rapid demobilisation of the RNZN in 1945-1945, there were not sufficient officers and ratings to keep Gambia manned. After some consideration and consultation with the Admiralty, it was agreed that the most appropriate replacements for Achilles and Gambia would be two ships of the Modified Dido-class. HMS Bellona and Black Prince were the two ships decided upon. Bellona arrived in New Zealand on 15 December 1946 to become the RNZN flagship. Bellona would fulfil the bulk of the duties required of these vessels in the role begun by HMS Chatham in the post-First World War period.

On her arrival in Auckland, she became the New Zealand Flagship and toured the country’s ports showing the flag. Bellona made one cruise to England in 1947. She was in Australia when the 1947 mutiny occurred over pay. When the 1951 wharf strike occurred she was again in Australia and was recalled to work the wharves. Bellona made several tours of the Islands and New Zealand before being laid up in Reserve to be replaced by her sister ship HMNZS Black Prince. Recommissioned in 1955 Bellona sailed for England to be replaced by the modernised Royalist.

On 1st October 2004, the Operations Branch of the RNZN was rationalised into three trades: Combat System Specialists (CSS) with sub-specialisations of Underwater and Above Water; Seaman Combat Specialists (SCS); and Electronic Warfare Specialists (EWS).

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