NZ Naval Board Report – 1946

EXTRACT TAKEN FROM THE REPORT TO THE NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT BY THE NEW ZEALAND NAVAL BOARD 1ST APRIL 1946 TO 31ST MARCH 1947

Section I. STATE AND ADMINISTRATION

1. The Navy Department is controlled by the New Zealand Naval Board, formed in agreement with the Naval Defence Amendment Act, 1936.

2. The Naval Board is constituted as follows;
(a) The Minister of Defence (as Chairman of the Board).
(b) A Captain, Royal Navy, with the rank of Commodore (as First Naval Member and Chief of Naval Staff).
(c) A Commander, Royal Navy, with the acting rank of Captain (as Second Naval Member).
(d) A Commander (S), Royal Navy, with the acting rank of Captain (S) as Naval Secretary and Member.

3. The Naval Board implements its instructions through Navy Office, Wellington, which directs the administration, &c., of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

4. On 1st April 1946, the Royal New Zealand Navy consisted of H.M.N.Z. ships “Achilles,” “Arabis,” “Arbutus,” and H.M.N.Z. minesweepers and auxiliary craft. In addition, the following shore and training establishments were in operation: HMNZS “Philomel” and HMNZS “Tamaki” at Auckland, HMNZS “Cook” at Wellington, HMNZS “Tasman” at Lyttelton, Naval W/T Station, Waiouru, and Navy Office, Dunedin.

Section II. PROCEEDINGS OF CRUISERS OF THE ROYAL NEW ZEALAND NAVY

HMNZS “ACHILLES”

1. HMNZS “Achilles,” under the command of Captain W. E. Banks, C.B.E., D.S.C., RN., made her farewell visit to New Zealand ports prior to her return to the United Kingdom for reversion to the Royal Navy, showing the flag in Dunedin, Bluff, Southern Sounds, Picton, New Plymouth, Nelson, Lyttelton, Timaru, and Wellington, departing finally from Auckland on 17th July, 1946.

HMNZS “BLACK PRINCE”

2. H.M.S. “Black Prince” arrived in New Zealand waters under the command of Captain G. V. Gladstone, RN. to begin a goodwill cruise of the Dominion. She called at Dunedin on 24th April 1946, leaving there on the 28th April, and proceeded to Timaru. She then called at Lyttelton on 30th April, and, after a stay of four days, sailed for Wellington. She then proceeded to Auckland, arriving in that port on the 11th May. During her cruise in Dominion waters arrangements were made with the Admiralty that ” Black Prince” should be one of the ships to replace HMNZS ” Achilles” and HMNZS “Gambia.” Her crew was Imperial officers and ratings, 400 of which were embarked on the 28th May, 1946, in the Shaw, Savill, and Albion Co.’s liner S.S. ” Arawa ” for return to the United Kingdom and reversion to the Royal Navy. “Black Prince” was paid off to reserve on 1st June 19

HMNZS “BELLONA”

3. HMNZS “Bellona,” commanded by Captain M. B. Laing, C.B.E RN., commissioned in the United Kingdom on 1st October, 1946, and sailed for New Zealand on the 14th October via Panama Canal, San Diego, Pearl Harbour, and Suva, arriving at Auckland on the 15th December, 1946. Essential repairs were carried out from 17th December 1946, to 17th February 1947.

4. With HMNZS ” Arbutus” and an H.D.M.L. placed under her Commanding Officer’s operational command, the cruiser worked up in the Hauraki Gulf prior to sailing for Australia for a further exercise period and full calibre firings.

5. HMNZS “Bellona” left Auckland on 3rd March 1947, for Sydney, where the exercise period had been arranged with units of the Royal Australian Navy at Jervis Bay. After her work-up programme was completed she paid goodwill visits to Sydney, Melbourne, and Hobart.

6. H.M.N.Z. Ships” Bellona” and” Black Prince” are light cruisers of the improved” Dido” Class. They have displacement of 5,770 tons and have a main armament of eight 5.25″ guns besides numerous 40 mm. and 20 mm. A/A guns, and carry 6 x 21″ torpedoes. They are capable of a speed of 32 knots.

Section III – H.M.N.Z. ANTI-SUBMARINE AND MINESWEEPING VESSELS, ETC.

1. After the successful completion in June, 1946, of the clearance of the German minefield laid in the approaches to the Hauraki Gulf, the ships of the 25th Minesweeping Flotilla, with the exception of HMNZS “Arbutus,” were placed in reserve.

HMNZS “ARBUTUS”

2. HMNZS ” Arbutus,” commanded by Lieutenant-Commander J. F. A. O’Neil, D.S.C., RNZN. after working-up in the Hauraki Gulf, was dispatched on a goodwill cruise to the islands in the New Zealand dependencies of the Cook and Samoan Group, and to French Oceania, American Samoa, and the British Crown colony of Fiji, departing from Wellington on 20th September 1946. Arrangements were made to transport the French Minister, Monsieur Gazel, from Rarotonga to Papeete. Whilst HMNZS ” Arbutus” was at Papeete an official request was received from His Excellency the Governor of Tahiti for HMNZS “Arbutus” to carry out a search for a missing French schooner. Approval having been granted by the New Zealand Naval Board, “Arbutus” proceeded to sea to carry out the search. After about twenty-four hours searching it was discovered that the schooner, which had been considered lost, had altered her itinerary, and, therefore, no further action was taken. “Arbutus” then completed her cruise, and arrived back in Auckland on 1st December 1946.

3. In January, 1947, “Arbutus” carried out exercises in the Hauraki Gulf, and also attended the ceremony commemorating the landing of the first Governor, Captain Hobson, RN, at Waitangi, returning from there to Auckland to act as flag-ship at the annual Kawau regatta.

HMNZS “HAUTAPU”

4. HMNZS “Hautapu” was re-commissioned at Auckland on 30th April 1946, and sailed on 17th May for Timaru, from where she worked under the direction of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research on radar research experiments.operation designated, the Canterbury Project. From that period to 31st March 1947, “Hautapu” has carried out valuable work in this connection.

H.D.M.L:s

5. H.D.M.L.s 1183 and 1184 have been in full commission since July 1946. H.D.M.L. 1183 has been used on full-time fishery-protection duties, and H.D.M.L. 1184 has carried out other operational requirements and relieving on fishery-protection patrols during the slipping, refitting, and leave periods of H.D.M.L. 1183. Both H.D.M.L.s were present at the Waitangi celebrations and have completed cruises to ports in the Auckland Command Area to “show the flag” and to assist in local regattas and anniversaries. These visits have always been greatly appreciated.

VESSELS IN RESERVE

6. In June 1946, H.M.N.Z. vessels in reserve consisted of four Scottish Isles Class A/S M/S vessels, and three LL Sweepers, one of which, the” Manuka,” was transferred under charter to Chatham Islands Fisheries in September 1946. During June and July 1946, the following ships of the 25th A/S M/S Flotilla were transferred from active commission to reserve: HMNZS “Arabis,” HMNZS “Kiwi,” HMNZS “Tui,” HMNZS “Waipu,” HMNZS “Waima,” and HMNZS “Waiho.” Of these, the last three ships were later transferred to the War Assets Realization Board for disposal. There are also at present three H.D.M.L.s in reserve. As previously stated, H.M.S. “Black Prince” was transferred from the Royal Navy -to reserve in the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Section IV. VISITS OF BRITISH AND ALLIED SHIPS

1. During the period 1st April 1946, to 31st March 1947, New Zealand ports have not experienced as many visits from British and Allied warships as in the corresponding period of the previous year.

2. Units of the British Pacific Fleet. Four ships of the British Pacific Fleet visited New Zealand for the purpose of goodwill cruises and refits between 25th May 1946, and 25th July 1946. They were the cruiser H.M.S. “Euryalis,” the sloops H.M.S. “Alacrity,” and H.M.S. “Opossum,” and the frigate H.M.S. “Whitesand Bay.”

3. Visits paid by Allied Vessels. The French Sloop” La Grandiere,” commanded by Captain La Haye, paid a goodwill visit to New Zealand ports in February of this year. She arrived in Auckland from Papeete on the 5th February 1947, and visited Wellington on 11th February, thence to Dunedin and Southern Sounds, and sailed finally from New Zealand on 24th February 1947.

4. The United States Aircraft Repair Tender “Onslow” paid a visit to Wellington for five days from 25th February, 1947, to 1st March, 1947, and on the 12th June, 1946, the United States L.S.T. 219 arrived in Wellington for the purpose of transporting Japanese internees back to Japan.

5. United States Naval Antarctic Expedition. The visits eliciting the greatest public interest were those of the units of the United States Naval Antarctic Expedition, commanded by Rear-Admiral Richard E. Byrd, USN

6. USS ” Merrick,” cargo ship, arrived in Port Chalmers on 21st February under tow from the Ice Breaker, USS “North Wind,” and in company with USS “Yancey.” She had suffered damage to her rudder while negotiating the ice pack. Temporary repairs were affected, and she sailed from Port Chalmers for the United States on 21st March 1947.

7. USS “Mount Olympus,” the flagship of the expedition, under the command of Rear-Admiral Cruzen, USN, and with Rear-Admiral Byrd on board, arrived in Wellington on 7th March for the purpose of liberty and recreation to personnel. She was accompanied by the Ice Breaker “Burton Island” and the” North Wind.” The vessels remained in Wellington to 15th March 1947.

8. The submarine USS “Sennett,” under the command of Commander J. B. Icenhower, USN, paid a short visit to Wellington from 11th February to 16th February 1947.

Section V. HMNZS “PHILOMEL”

CHANGE OF COMMAND

1. Captain C. R V. Pugh, C.B.E., RN, assumed duties of Naval Officer in Charge and Captain Superintendent of the Dockyard on 20th June 1946, in succession to. Captain D. A. Bingley, O.B.E., RN.

HMNZS “PHILOMEL” (SHIP)

2. During the year HMNZS “Philomel” (ship) was stripped of all valuable and useful fittings and relics and handed over to the War Assets Realization Board for disposal. It was with regret, particularly amongst the older personnel, that the old ship and her associations were parted from the Naval Base.

WELFARE AND GENERAL AMENITIES

3. The Base library has proved of immense value to the ship’s company, and the services of a trained librarian have been taken full advantage of. The National Library Service has supplied an excellent stock of books, including a very useful technical section.

4. The gymnasium and cinema, canteen, and Y.M.C.A. were all used extensively during the year, and the facilities available for ratings spending their leisure in the Base have proved popular. A branch of the post-office was opened towards the end of 1946, and its operation under the Post and Telegraph Department is a very satisfactory arrangement.

5. Advantage has been taken of the facilities provided for all major outdoor sporting activities, and badminton and indoor basketball in the gymnasium have both found many supporters.

MAINTENANCE OF BUILDINGS

6. Since the completion of the barracks block very little maintenance has been done inside or out, and, as the barracks have been subject to considerable wear during the war period, a considerable amount of defects have developed and repairs are necessary.

SALUTING BATTERY

7. On the occasion of the celebration of the birthday of His Majesty the King gun salutes were re-introduced, and the saluting battery was used for the first time since the outbreak of the war.

MEDICAL AND DENTAL

8. The general health of the ship’s company has been satisfactory. Two outbreaks of epidemic disease, mumps, and Bornholm’s disease occurred during the year. The dental department has been working to full capacity.

Section VI. OTHER NAVAL ACTIVITIES

AUCKLAND

1. HMNZS “Tamaki”. – A total of 290 recruits have entered “Tamaki” since 1st April 1946.

2. Very satisfactory results have been obtained from training activities, but suitable equipment continues to be in short supply. Accommodation and outdoor recreational facilities are also limited, but proposals are at present under consideration for improvement of the position.

3. A good standard of messing has been maintained.

4. Three major outbreaks of influenza, mumps, and Bornholm’s disease caused serious loss of instructional hours and disruption of training schedules during the year.

5. Extended Defence Organization – Clearance of the German minefield in the Hauraki Gulf was the last active commitment of the Extended Defence Organization, and those duties have now been absorbed by other appointments within the Naval Base.

6. Defensively-equipped Merchant Ships.- The disarmament of both overseas ships and ships on New Zealand Register was proceeded with until this type of work on merchant ships was satisfactorily completed. The D.E.M.S. establishment in Auckland was closed on 31st August 1946, and remaining commitments in connection with armament, as well as structural alterations, were undertaken by the dockyard departments concerned. The electrical equipment in the D.E.M.S. building, which belongs to the Navy Department, has been maintained by the Base torpedo staff.

7. Fishery-protection Patrol. – One H.D.M.L. was re-commissioned in July 1946, for full-time fishery-protection duties and to co-operate with the Marine Department. The Commanding Officer of the H.D.M.L. was instructed by the Marine Department in the duties of fishery inspection and was issued with a warrant as Inspector of Fisheries. Fishery-inspection patrols, on a programme decided upon with the advice of the Marine Superintendent, have been carried out continuously since July 1946. During the periods when the H.D.M.L. originally commissioned for these duties has been withdrawn for routine maintenance and leave periods, the patrols have been carried out by the other operational H.D.M.L. On these patrols, the Marine Department has embarked a Fishery Inspector. In the first months of patrols poachers were apprehended, which demonstrated the need for this patrol. Lately the non-apprehension of poachers and the wide berth given to the prohibited areas when visited by the H.D.M.L. have shown the deterrent effect the patrol has.

8. Mines rendered Safe.- During the current year there were two German and two British mines rendered safe by the Base torpedo staff, assisted by the Army Bomb Disposal Unit. One German mine, which had drifted ashore by Raglan, had broken loose and drifted from the minefield laid by an enemy raider off the coast of Australia.

WAITANGI CEREMONY

9. A new flag-mast was erected at Waitangi, in the grounds of the Treaty House, in November 1946, to replace a mast that had decayed. Two spars, which comprise the mast and yard, are of kauri, and were grown in the Waipoua Forest. The truck of the mast is surmounted by a crown, which was formerly on the ensign staff of HMNZS ” Philomel.”

10. On 6th February, 1947, a ceremony was held to commemorate the landing of the first Governor, Captain Hobson, RN., at Waitangi. A Union Flag was hoisted on the new foremast. The First Naval Member and Chief of Naval Staff, Commodore G. H. Faulkner, D.S.C., RN., accompanied by Captain C. R V. Pugh, C.B.E., RN., inspected the ceremonial guard provided by HMNZS “Tamaki.”

WELLINGTON

11. HMNZS “Cook.”-HMNZS “Cook,” Shelly Bay, paid off on the 18th June 1946. The buildings comprising this establishment are now occupied by the Royal New Zealand Air Force on the undertaking that, should the emergency arise, the Base and its buildings will revert to the Naval Service.

12. Naval W/T Station, Waiouru.-The Royal New Zealand Navy has in Waiouru W/T Station a wireless station equipped with the most modern apparatus and designed on the best technical lines, and of a size far beyond anything that was contemplated pre-war.

13. On the cessation of hostilities the question of the retention of the station was in doubt, but it has now been declared a permanent establishment of the Royal New Zealand Navy. The complement borne during the period of hostilities was 80 WRNZNS. personnel and 70 ratings. This number was continued until October 1945, when a gradual reduction in the WRNZNS complement was made, the last WRNZNS personnel leaving in mid-December of that year. For the next few months the station carried a complement of approximately 105, consisting of continuous service and “hostilities only” ratings. The volume of traffic at this time was still fairly high, and it was not until June 1946, that the W/T commitments were sufficiently reduced to allow the last of the “hostilities only” ratings to return to civilian life. The present authorized complement of the station is 3 officers and 70 ratings.

14. The activities of the station consist mainly of working adjacent commands, Whitehall W/T, and, in addition, taking part in the long-distance ship-shore wireless organization. The total number of groups handled on all circuits over the last twelve months was 1,250,000.

15. Waiouru is an isolated locality, and full advantage has been taken to provide all possible facilities for out-door sport. A football team has each year been entered in the local senior championship and has always made a good showing. Cricket is played, and a nine-hole golf course has been constructed by personnel of the station. Tennis is also well patronized, a good hard court being available in the camp at all times. The cinema at the Waiouru Military Camp provides entertainment on four nights a week.

16. Fuel lnstallation.-The Naval fuel installation at Wellington is now utilized for supplying oil fuel to the New Zealand Railways for oil-fired locomotives.

LYTTELTON

17. HMNZS “Tasman.”-HMNZS “Tasman,” commissioned in January 1944, functioned as a training establishment until the cessation of hostilities, when it was reduced to a demobilization centre for South Island personnel.

18. Early in September 1946, work began on the conversion of the establishment into a torpedo and anti-submarine school and electrical school. Such conversion has entailed alterations to existing buildings and the re-erection of surplus buildings obtained from other establishments in the Lyttelton area.

19. The construction work and installation of equipment has been undertaken by the Southern Military Construction Co. in conjunction with naval personnel and satisfactory progress has been made.

20. This school, when completed, will be fitted with modern instructional equipment purchased from the Admiralty and will be capable of training up to second-class torpedo anti-submarine and electrical ratings of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

NAVAL STORE, ASHBURTON

21. The naval store at Ashburton ceased to function as from January 1947.

DUNEDIN

22. All naval establishments in Dunedin set up during the war have now been closed down.

NAVAL CONTROL SERVICE

23. The Naval Control Service Organization, which functioned at Auckland, Wellington, Lyttelton, and Dunedin during the war, was finally closed down in September 1946. Many expressions of appreciation for the work performed were received from the shipping companies. The demobilization of the WRNZNS personnel was completed towards the end of October 1946.