NZ Naval Board Report – 1950



THE Navy Department is controlled by the Naval Board, established by the Naval Defence Amendment Act, 1950.
2. The Board consists of
The Minister of Defence (Chairman).
A Captain, Royal Navy, with the rank of Commodore (as First Naval Member and Chief of Naval Staff).
A Captain, Royal Navy (as Second Naval Member).
A Commander (S), Royal Navy, with the acting rank of Captain (S), Royal Navy (as Third Naval Member).
An officer of the New Zealand Public Service as Navy Secretary.
Commodore G. W. G. Simpson, C.B., C.B.E., RN. was relieved as First Naval Member and Chief of Naval Staff in ,June, 1950, by Commodore F. A. Ballance, D.S.O., RN.
Captain (S) G. T. Millett, C.B.E., RN., was relieved as Third Naval Member in February, 1951, by Captain (S) M. H. Knott, O.B.E., RN.
D. A. Wraight, Bsq., i.d.c., was appointed Member of and Secretary to the Naval Board and Permanent Head of the Navy Department in February, 1951.

3. With the passing of the Naval Defence Amendment Act, 1950, the Naval Board was reconstituted to allow for a civilian Navy Secretary as Member of and Secretary to the Naval Board and Permanent Head of the Navy Department, and for a Third Member as Member for Supply. Appointments as above have been made to these positions.


5. H.M.N.Z. Ships” Taupo ” and” Hawea ” returned from exchange service on the Mediterranean Station in November, 1950, and H.M Frigates” St Austell Bay” and “Veryan Bay” left this Station and returned to the Mediterranean in October, 1950.

6. Immediately on receipt of the United Nations call for armed assistance in the Korean conflict, two frigates, H.M.N.Z. Ships” Tutira ” and” Pukaki,” were sailed on 3rd July, 1950, and placed at the disposal of the Commander, United Nations Naval Forces. H.M.N.Z.S.” Pukaki ” returned to New Zealand in December, 1950, having previously been relieved by H.M.N.Z.S. “Rotoiti.” Two frigates have thus been, and will be, maintained in the Korean area as long as the need remains. The Korean commitment has placed an added load on H.M.N.Z. Ships, and only with difficulty has it been possible to cope with essential training and normal naval peacetime routines.

7. Visits to the Pacific islands to show the flag were carried out as usual, but during the coming year these visits will have to be drastically curtailed, due to the waterfront situation and commitments in Korea. Ships of the New Zealand Squadron also visited Australia and most New Zealand ports.

8. H.M.N.Z. Frigates have paid regular visits to service the outlying meteorological stations on Raoul Island (Kermadec Group) and on Campbell Island. Other duties carried out by H.M.N.Z. Ships outside the normal service routine were fishery protection patrols by a seaward defence motor-launch and the servicing of lighthouses in the Hauraki Gulf.

9. Combined exercises with the Australian Fleet and units of the Commonwealth Navies were carried out off Australia in February and March, 1951, but were curtailed by the withdrawal of H,M.N.Z. Ships on account of the industrial hold-up on the waterfront,

10. The Navy week-end which was to have been held in Auckland in January, 1951, had to be cancelled due to two ships of the Squadron being absent in Korea and the remainder in Australia carrying out combined exercises with the Australian Fleet.

11. H.M.N.Z.S. ” Lachlan,” assisted by two motor-launches, has been engaged surveying the New Zealand coastline. The Cook Strait and Foveaux Strait surveys are now nearing completion and new charts are being prepared for publication. .

12. In addition to the exchange visit of H.M. Ships” Veryan Bay” and “St. Austell Bay” from the Mediterranean fleet, the following warships visited New Zealand:
H.M. Submarine” ‘Thorough ” (July, 1950).
Netherland’s Destroyer” Kortenaer” (November, 1950).
French Colonial Sloop” Francis Garnier” (November, 1950).
Indian Naval Ship” Rajput ” (February, 1951).

13. With the outbreak of the waterfront strike in New Zealand, the planned programme of ships and establishments was drastically curtailed or abandoned to enable personnel to assist in manning merchant ships and to work on the wharves and in the coalfields on the West Coast.

14. H.M.N.Z. Ships” Bellona” and” Taupo” were recalled from the Commonwealth combined exercises in Australian waters on 15th March. H.M.N.Z.S. ” Bellona,” after assisting at Wellington, was sailed to take over the port of New Plymouth. H.M.N.Z.S “Taupo” was directed to Westport, and undertook all work involved in moving and loading available coal from West Coast mines to colliers and railway trucks. H.M.N.Z. Ships “Philomel,” “Tamaki,” and” Kaniere” provided personnel for Auckland wharves and manned merchant ships. H.M.N.Z.S.” Lachlan ” assisted at Dunedin.


16. The manning situation has been adversely affected by the cessation of discharges of personnel in the Royal Navy due to the world situation. This has in effect placed a ban on recruitment of ex Royal Navy ratings for service in the Royal New Zealand Navy, and the loss is being especially felt among the specialized branches of the Service. This may even have a serious effect on the manning of the Fleet unless the proposed new pay code and re-engagement bonus help to retain time-expired trained personnel.

17. During the past year the Navy received the first three intakes of compulsory Naval Reservists-that is, youths called up under the Military Training Act, 1949. The over-all keenness and aptitude shown has been marked. Of the total number of 153 compulsory Naval Reservists handled by H.M.N.Z.S. “Tamaki,” 13 have transferred to continuous service in the Navy.

18. A Supply and Secretariat School has been started in H.M.N.Z.S. “Philomel” at Auckland, and, besides giving courses of technical instructions und conducting examinations for writers, sto1ies assistants, and cooks, the school has produced instructional publications of va1ue to the seagoing forces.

19. The period under review has been noteworthy for the introduction of a new scheme for the direct entry of officers for permanent service-namely, the Cadet-Midshipman scheme. Youths of fifteen years of age proceed to the Royal Australian Naval College outside Melbourne for two years’ scholastic and naval training. On completion, they proceed to England and join the training cruiser together with the ordinary special-entry Cadets; thence they undertake the courses of training and examinations for the rank of Lieutenant.

20. The lack of houses for ratings remains critical, but following the Government decision to erect 220 houses in Auckland for Naval personnel, many are under construction and a number are now occupied. There are 361 naval applicants for houses at present on the waiting list.

21. The need for a service hostel in Auckland is as great as ever and suitable premises are being sought.


22. The strength of this Reserve, which comprises officers of the Merchant Navy who are actively employed in a seagoing capacity in their profession, was 18 at the close of the year.

23. All rates of the Royal New Zealand Navy who have been discharged from a regular engagement are placed on this Reserve until they reach the age of forty years. The strength as at the 31st March 1951, was 433.

24. Good progress has been made during the year with the training undertaken by the four Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve Divisions situated at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin, but unfortunately the Auckland and Canterbury Divisions are still handicapped by inadequate training facilities in the way of divisional headquarters. The first intake of men recruited under the Compulsory Military Training Act will commence their part-time training with the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve Divisions on the 1st May 1951. A total of 174 officers and ratings underwent sea training and specialist’s courses in H.M.N.Z. Ships and establishments in addition to the 257 compulsory Naval Reservists who underwent their fourteen weeks’ full-time training in H.M.N.Z.S. “Tamaki” prior to commencing their part-time training with the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve Divisions. The strength of this Reserve at the 31st March 1951 was 85 officers and 310 ratings (excluding compulsory Naval Reservists).

25. This Reserve now has a strength of 280 officers, all of whom held temporary commissions during the late war and are prepared to be called up for naval service in the event of an emergency.

26. With a strength of 572 ratings at the 31st March 1951, this Reserve is the ratings counterpart of the Supplementary Reserve.

27. As in past year, the Naval Board have afforded every possible assistance to the Navy League Sea Cadet movement, the annual summer camp for Sea Cadets being held in the basic training establishment, H.M.N.Z.S. “Tamaki”.


28. The total Public Service staff complement has increased slightly during the year, but the turnover has again been high. In the Dockyard the main deficiency has been in the storeman group, where the margin of pay offered compared with that for unskilled labour in the Dockyard is not sufficient to induce men of the type required to join this branch and accept the additional responsibility. Technical staff requirements have been under continuous review with the Public Service Commission and effective improvements have already been made in the Constructive Department, whilst similar action has been taken with the Electrical Branch.

29. The Dockyard is still unable to obtain the required number of tradesmen, most particularly in the boiler making trade, where the scarcity of workmen is such that any further small loss will restrict the general work of the Dockyard. Other trade groups particularly short staffed are electricians, sheet-metal workers, marine fitters, plumbers, and shipwrights. At the end of the year the complement of tradesmen is 385, which is 35 less than at the same time last year.

30. Dockyard Workers’ Wages Order.-Three Orders amending the Government Service Tribunal Principal Order No. 8 were issued following conciliation with the workers’ representative. This form of determining pay and conditions of workmen has proved, after a year’s trial, to be much more satisfactory than the previous system of agreements.

31. Apprentices – During the year, 16 apprentices were entered in the various trades; 9 vacancies were not filled. Of the 5 apprentices who qualified for journeyman’s status during the year, 4 resigned from the Public Service staff and either reverted to the casual staff or took outside employment.


32. The Dockyard has had a most satisfactory year. A great deal has been achieved, and moreover, without industrial disturbance.

33. The work of modernizing, refitting, and repairing naval ships is progressively absorbing more of the Dockyard effort, as the full impact of the addition of six” Loch” class frigates and one survey ship (H.M.N.Z.S. ” Lachlan “) to the Royal New Zealand Navy is felt.

34. A considerable amount of work for other Government Departments and some for private firms has been carried out, but this has had to be limited in extent, since priority has naturally been given to naval work.

35. Naval Vessels – H.M.N.Z.S. “Kaniere” has completed a major refit and modernization, with particular regard to habitability and living conditions. A similar refit was commenced on H.M.N.Z.S. “Pukaki” on 1st March.

36. Normal annual refits of ships in commission and six-monthly dockings of all commissioned and reserve ships have been completed.

37. The reserve minesweepers have received attention, H.M.N.Z.S. ” Kiwi” being refitted and brought forward from reserve, and H.M.N.Z. Ships” Tui,” ” Inchkeith,” and” Killegray” refitted. H.M.N.Z Ships” Sanda” and ” Scarba ” are at present in hand for refit.

38. Srnall Craft. -In addition to refits and maintenance work on all motor launches and small craft, one Fairmile was reconditioned and converted for the transport of libertymen from Auckland to H.M.N.Z.S. “Tamaki,” and a second motor-launch was converted for surveying duties with the survey ship H.M.N.Z.S. “Lachlan.”

39. Work for Other Governrnents.-Assistance to the value of approximately £9,500, with work beyond the capabilities of ship’s staff, was given to HJVL Ships “St. Austell Bay” and” Veryan Bay,” H.1Vl. Submarine” Thorough,” the Netherland’s Destroyer” Kortenaer,” the French Sloop” Francis Garnier,” and the Royal Fleet Auxiliaries” Dewdale” and” ‘Wave Governor.”

40. Work for Other Government Departments and Private Firms.- This amounted to £13,482 for 277 jobs, including launch refits and repairs for the Army and Ail’ Departments. The creosoting plant being constructed for the New Zealand Forest Service is nearing completion.

41. General Work – The normal routine naval maintenance of Dockyard buildings, installations, and plant was carried out, together with the manufacture, survey, and repair of various items for naval stores.

42. Special Work -Power-operated Bofors mountings were fitted in H.M.N.Z. Ships “Hawea” and” Rotoiti ” in lieu of Oerlikons before these ships proceeded to Korea. Facilities have been provided on gunnery targets to enable ships to carry out radar shooting practice. Several up-to-date items of yard plant, including Lincoln automatic welding-machine, have been installed.

43. The powered lighter” Endeavour” was re-engined, refitted, and subsequently employ-ed transporting stores and explosives from Auckland to Lyttelton, thereby avoiding the excessive freight charges on this type of cargo. ” Endeavour” has also” dumped” considerable quantities of over-age explosives.

44. The Dockyard tugs, in addition to target and normal harbour towage, have provided routine transport facilities for the Marine Department personnel and stores to all lighthouses and buoys from North Cape to Auckland, also facilities for the Underwater Research Section of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

45. Naval Apprentices.-‘The entry of artificer apprentices has been disappointing, 2 only being entered during the year, making a total under training of 14, comprising 1 ordnance, 3 electrical, 8 engine-room artificers, and 2 shipwrights. If the proposal to change the status of these apprentices from civilian to service personnel can be implemented, it is considered that this will have a beneficial effect upon recruitment.

46. Royal Naval Armament Depot. This year has been one of considerable activity, in that the routine work of stowing, examining, repairing, and modifying explosives stores and ordnance has been carried out, in addition to the examination of all ordnance and the fitting out of two frigates for service in the Mediterranean and four for service in Korean waters.

47. The complete outfit of explosive stores from H.M.N.Z.S. “Bellona” was landed for examination and re-embarkation and one of the 5.25 in. guns was re-barrelled.

48. Naval Store Department.- (a) Oil Fuel :The naval oil-fuel tanks are operated in conjunction with commercial interests, and, apart from naval requirements, approximately 103,000 tons of fuel was received and 88,000 tons issued during the year under this agreement. The service accommodation available for the storage of furnace oil is inadequate, however, for the requirements of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

49. (b) General: On account of the world situation the storage of all items of naval and other stores required by the Royal New Zealand Navy is being augmented. Tenders for the installation of permanent plant for” tropical packaging” of stores have been called, and this equipment should be in use before the end of next year.