A little bit of background which makes interesting reading: (Thanks to Tony Bullock for the introduction.)
The New Zealand Naval Board was constituted by Order in Council dated 14 March 1921.
“The Government adopted Jellicoe’s report in part only. It decided to give effect to the Naval Defence Act of 1913, acquire and maintain a modern light cruiser, commission HMS Philomel as a training ship and set up a naval board. Two Orders in Council followed in fairly quick succession. The first, dated 14 March 1921, created the New Zealand Naval Board and named Captain Alan Hotham, RN as Commodore Commanding the New Zealand Station and First Naval Member. The second Order, on 20 June, laid down that the new
force was to be known as the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy. Commodore Hotham was appointed to command HMS Chatham …”
HMS Chatham arrived Auckland 26 Jan 1921 and work was begun on setting up a naval base.
While all this was going on, Commodore Hotham stayed in Wellington to set up the Naval Board under the Minister of Defence, Sir Heaton Rhodes. New Zealand chose the same pattern for its board as Australia but on a much more modest scale. The new headquarters were known as Navy Office and the staff consisted on one civilian member (the Minister), two naval members (the commodore and Captain D.H. Hamilton RN), a secretary (Paymaster Commander J Siddalls, RN, a chief writer and civilian clerk. …
The basic pattern of the Naval Board was to remain, with minor modifications, until the individual Service boards ceased to exist in the years following the formation of the Minister of Defence in 1965 [/sic – it was actually 1963/]”
For the period April 1923, until March 1936, the annual report to Parliament was submitted by the Commodore Commanding, who was also the 1st Naval Member of the Board (in some years he signed as both). From 1936 the report to Parliament was signed by the 1st Naval Member on behalf of the Naval Board. On 1 June 1938 the administration of the New Zealand Naval Forces was reorganized. The Minister continued to be President of the Board, and the Chief of Naval Staff moved to Wellington, while the Commodore Commanding continued to be the senior officer afloat but ceased to be a member of the Board.
Why this history? Because from the 1923 report of the Commodore Commanding, then the 1st Naval Member and later the Chief of Naval Staff, there is a continuous chain of Annual Reports of the New Zealand Naval Board in one guise or another.
The following are Annual Reports by the Commodore Commanding the New Zealand Station for the period 1923 – 1936. From 1937 these reports were rendered by the First Member of the NZ Naval Board. These are important references as they provide an insight into how the RNZN was formed prior to it becoming a Navy in its own right on the 1st October 1941. The recruitment of Communications Branch ratings appearsto have commenced in 1933 as there are references in these reports. (Further reports will be added as they come to hand)
The following are extracts from the New Zealand Naval Board Reports and Reports by the New Zealand Naval Board to the Defence Council. NZNB Reports cover the years 1937 – 1964 and Defence Council 1965 – 1984. Please note that some reports are missing and attempts are being made to complete the listing.
Specific mention of New Zealand can be found in the follow journals
- The NZ Sheep Owners Acknowledgement of Debt to British Seaman’s Fund – 1925 3rd qtr page 575
- New Zealand’s Naval Story – 1953 2nd qtr page 222
- The White Ensign in Early New Zealand – 1968 4th qtr page 381
The following paper was placed in the public arena by Sir James Allen who is generally regarded as ‘the father’ of the NZ Div (and hence the RNZN). This paper was published by Coulls, Somerville Wilkie in 1929. Click HERE to review the paper. (New)