EXTRACT TAKEN FROM THE REPORT TO THE NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT BY THE NEW ZEALAND NAVAL BOARD 1ST APRIL 1955 TO 31ST MARCH 1956.
1. Since the New Zealand Naval Board submitted the last report, manning the Royal New Zealand Navy has become the Board’s most acute problem.
2. At present the Navy has a strength of 2,832 officers and ratings, compared with its target complement of 3,844 officers and ratings. The importance of achieving the target strength cannot be overestimated. It is the figure, which will permit a balanced fleet, adequate for the Navy’s operational and training roles, and so enable New Zealand to fulfil the naval commitments she has entered into.
3. Some years ago recruiting was sufficient to allow a slow build-up toward the target. Over recent years recruiting has failed to balance discharges and, instead of building up, the Navy is actually declining in strength. Moreover, ratings are not re-engaging to complete time for superannuation, so that the decline is of quality as well as of numbers. It is also wasteful of the money invested in their technical training. The effect of this decline is two-fold.
4. The first effect is to some extent to place a heavier burden on those still serving and to handicap the careful and predictable rotation of sea and shore service. Experience is limited by restricting the number and variety of ships in commission.
5. The second effect is, on a national scale, the more serious, and to assess it the role of the Royal New Zealand Navy must be considered. This falls into two main parts. It must train its recruits and reserves and must at the same time fulfil its operational function. This, at present, includes maintaining one frigate on the Far East Station, with a second available at short notice, peace-time visits to dependent territories in New Zealand’s Pacific sphere of influence, surveying, fishery protection, and the many unexpected emergency tasks which fall to the Navy.
6. These two roles can seldom be combined. A training ship works to a specified programme and, if she trains reservists, cannot be more than two weeks away from port. Only in rare cases can such a ship be used operationally, and if she is the training purpose will suffer.
7. A manning shortage reduces the number of ships in commission and makes it impossible for the Navy to fulfil the two roles. There are not sufficient ships in commission to do both at present and it is becoming more difficult to compromise as the manpower shortage increases. The limit will be reached soon when compromise will become impossible. It will then become a matter of devoting the resources available primarily to one of the Navy’s roles and virtually ceasing the other. If the Navy is to fulfil the functions expected of it by the New Zealand Government and people, both roles must continue.
8. It should be stated here that this problem is not peculiar to the Royal New Zealand Navy. It is known to exist in varying degrees in the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy. In each case it is the same the urgent necessity to attract recruits, to retain trained men by providing attractive conditions of service and incentives to re-engage, and to make the best use of the men available for re-establishing officer and rating structures. In. all. three navies careful study has been given to this problem, and investigations in the Royal New Zealand Navy have been greatly assisted by the results of similar inquiries in the other to
9. Particular assistance has been given by the Admiralty as highly qualified committees have made searching inquiries into every aspect of life in the Royal Navy. As a result of these, major changes have been made which affect pay, conditions, and the entire promotion structure. The fact that our Navy is modelled on the Royal Navy makes it important that these changes be studied closely; the hope that they contain solutions to a common-problem makes it imperative.
10. In the Royal New Zealand Navy some improvements in accommodation can be made in conditions at sea, but the trend in ship construction today is towards smaller ships packed with more equipment. This trend is inescapable and accommodation cannot be greatly improved without impairing the fighting efficiency of the ship. But if many major improvements cannot be made in life at sea, conditions can be made more comfortable when the man comes ashore. Some changes can be made now, but new construction is necessary before the accepted standards of today can be reached for all accommodation. This will involve expense, but it is difficult to support a view that a man should come from a hard commission at sea to substandard accommodation ashore. As a start a standard of shore accommodation has been set which replaces hammocks with bunks and provides other furnishings more on a par with normal living conditions on shore.
11. Separation of a man from his wife and family will always be a feature of naval service. However, the effect will be eased if he knows that he has left them in reasonable housing, that his pay is sufficient to support them, and that a welfare organisation exists to help them if help is needed. Progress has been made in most of these fields. It is satisfying to report that progress on the largest naval housing project, the 88-unit Ngataringa Road Block on the North Shore at Auckland, is well ahead of schedule. The welfare requirement has been met by the appointment of a full-time Naval Welfare and Housing Officer. In this respect it is a pleasure to record the appreciation of the Fleet for the humane attitude of the Government in cases where serious illness has threatened members of a rating’s family while he is serving overseas. Wherever this is justified the man has been flown home at public expense. The knowledge that this attitude exists is a major contribution to the peace of mind of officers and men who are serving many thousands of miles from home.
12. The need for new equipment is also a factor in recruiting. During the last year New Zealand frigates on the Far East Station have taken part in three major exercises. The praise they have received for their efficiency has been a source of pride to the ships and to the Navy as a whole. But the New Zealand ships are for the most part older and slower than any others in the Commonwealth navies. Their ships’ companies would not be human if they did not feel these limitations and the fact that their equipment did not present the challenge or produce the results of the ships with which they were exercising.
13. Finally, it is essential to have officer and rating structures, which give opportunities for promotion and an assurance that ability is recognised and fully utilised. If men are to be asked to commit themselves to one career for the whole of their working lives, they are entitled to know what promotion they can expect.
14. The New Zealand Naval Board feel it their duty to report the extent of the manning shortage and. its potentially serious repercussions. On the steps taken to meet it by improving conditions of service depend whether we will have a Navy capable of fulfilling the international commitments of New Zealand.
SECTION I-DEVELOPMENT OF THE ROYAL NEW ZEALAND NAVY
(i) ORGANISATION AND DEVELOPMENT
15. During the last half-century the role of naval forces on the New Zealand Naval Station has changed. The necessity for maintaining a force which can enforce law and order in isolated British possessions has been overshadowed by that of maintaining one which can protect New Zealand itself, and which at all times is ready to honour the obligations undertaken by New Zealand in such organisations as United Nations, SEATO, ANZAM, and ANZUS.
16. To fill this new role the Royal New Zealand Navy must have two functions: it must be sufficiently operational to have ships, which can be dispatched at short notice should the need arise, and it must have a sufficiently large training framework to enable it to expand in the event of war.
17. For these two functions – operational and training – the composition of the present fleet is correctly balanced and at present within New Zealand’s capacity to man and maintain provided the present manning problems can be solved. The supporting administrative organisation is well designed to support the fleet and is based, in general, on the carefully developed pattern of the Royal Navy.
18. To meet its commitments, however, the Royal New Zealand Navy must maintain a high standard of efficiency in both ships and personnel. Many of the ships are now old and in the main obsolescent. Steps have been taken to replace BELLONA with an extensively modernised cruiser ROYALIST which will commission at Plymouth on 17 April 1956. In addition, it is hoped to place orders in 1956 for new fast frigates to commence replacement of those of the Loch class at present in the Royal New Zealand Navy.
19. Progress in minesweeping, which is receiving special attention in the Royal Navy, is being closely watched. It is expected that new minesweepers will incorporate many improvements, and the best and most economical methods of replacing the Royal New Zealand Navy’s sweepers are being studied.
20. The growing complexity of ships and weapons is placing an increasing strain on maintenance and repair facilities and on the trained personnel, both service and civil, who are responsible for this work. Some improvements in H.M.N.Z. Dockyard have been completed during the year and more are planned, with priority being given to those necessary to deal with the new equipment fitted in ROYALIST.
(ii) DEFENCE RESEARCH
(a) Naval Research Organisation
21. Last year’s report mentioned briefly that Government approval had just been obtained for the prosecution of certain naval research projects for which oceanic conditions around New Zealand are particularly suitable. Accordingly, in May 1955, the Underwater Research Laboratory of the Department of Scientific and Industrial :Research, which is situated at Auckland, was transferred to Navy Department and renamed the Naval Research Laboratory. The terms of reference approved by the Government for the laboratory are:
(i) To prosecute research into underwater detection;
(ii) To keep abreast of overseas developments in other scientific fields of interest to Navy;
(iii) To give a general scientific service to the R.N.Z.N., with particular reference to the underwater field.
22. Since that time the following steps have been taken to establish the organisation to carry out these functions: firstly, a firm basis of collaboration and exchange of information with the naval research organisation in the United Kingdom, with whose work that of the Royal New Zealand Navy will be closely coordinated, has been built up. The degree of interest and enthusiastic support which has been shown by the Royal Naval Scientific Service has indeed been remarkable and has extended to the loan of some thousands of pounds worth of equipment which has been assembled, tested, and dispatched to New Zealand at the expense of other work.
23. Secondly, the minesweeper TUI has been refitted and converted for research duties. During the course of the conversion a number of alterations have been carried out which were required in any case to modernise her for her war-time role, and the remaining alterations have been carried out in such a way that the ship could be returned to her warship status in a matter of a few weeks. The ship has recently completed her trials and with her new civilian crew has already started work. The naval programme, however, will not occupy her the year round and arrangements have been made to lend her for periods each year to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research for the prosecution of the programme of the Oceanographic Institute.
24. Thirdly, plans for the construction of a new laboratory within the dockyard area at Auckland have been approved and construction is going ahead. This proved to be necessary since the retention of the laboratory at its existing site presented problems of security and transport the solution of which would have been both difficult and uneconomical. The new laboratory will be more efficient since it is designed for the work in hand and will allow the naval research organisation to be more closely integrated into the Naval Base and Dockyard, thereby saving its cost in a few years in reduced administrative and transport overheads.
25. The work of the laboratory to date has consisted of a further series of trials to obtain basic data required before the main programme of research work can be undertaken. One major and one minor report has been prepared and has had a favourable and encouraging reception from overseas.
26. Ships of the Royal New Zealand Navy have continued throughout the year to collect data for the Oceanographic Institute, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, in the waters through which they pass, and this activity will shortly be expanded and will supplement the work of TUI. Close co-operation with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research in these matters is maintained.
(c) Defence Scientific Corps
27. The Corps strength remains at ten naval officers, two having left during the year and two joined. One of the two who have left the Corps has joined the Naval Research Laboratory in a civilian capacity, and this is the main avenue through which it is intended to build up the civilian nucleus of the scientific staff in the future. For some years to come, however, all Corps officers returning from overseas ‘will be employed at the laboratory and their overseas training will include a period at a selected naval research establishment. In this way, and in others, it is intended to implement the second of the terms of reference for the New Zealand naval research organisation, namely “to keep abreast of overseas developments in fields of interest to Navy”.
(i) H.M.N.Z.S. BELLONA
28. The cruiser BELLONA, having re-commissioned from the Reserve Fleet, sailed from Auckland in mid-October 1955 and proceeded to the United Kingdom via Australia, Ceylon, and the Mediterranean. BELLONA arrived at Plymouth in mid-December, where the process of paying-off and the ship’s reversion to the Royal Navy began.
29. BELLONA was originally obtained on loan from the Royal Navy in 1946 and served for nine years under the New Zealand flag-. Her ship’s company are now in the act of commissioning the Royal Navy cruiser ROYALIST, a modernised ship of similar class.
(ii) H.M.N.Z.S. BLACK PRINCE
30. After exercising in New Zealand and Australian waters the cruiser BLACK PRINCE sailed for Singapore to take part in major fleet exercises which were held in that area in June 1955. These included ships and maritime aircraft of all the ANZAM signatories. On completion BLACK PRINCE returned to New Zealand by way of Australia and arrived at Auckland in late July, when the ship paid off and re-commissioned in reserve.
(iii) H.M.N.Z.S. KANIERE
31. The frigate KANIERE continued to serve on the Far East Station until 2 July 1955, when she sailed for return to New Zealand. Prior to that time KANIERE had carried out patrols in Korean waters, visited Japan, and participated in major fleet exercises with units of the Royal Navy, Royal Australian Navy, BLACK PRINCE, and PUKAKI of the Royal New Zealand Navy.
32. KANIERE arrived in New Zealand in late July and, after a period of two months in Auckland, sailed for the south. Having embarked the Chief of Naval Staff KANIERE carried out a cruise of the west coast of the South Island, on completion of which she escorted the seaward defence motor launch for the Fiji Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Division to Suva.
33. KANIERE returned to Auckland in late October and was then taken in hand by the Dockyard for refitting. The ship re-commissioned again in January 1956 and sailed on 6 February for the Far East Station by way of Sydney. After a working-up period at Sydney KANIERE sailed in company with three ships of the Royal Australian Navy and the submarine TELEMACHUS for Singapore. This was timed to coincide with another major fleet exercise in which ships and aircraft of the Royal Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, and Royal New Zealand Air Force participated.
(iv) H.M.N.Z.S. HAWEA
34. When the frigate HAWEA re-commissioned after refit in July it had been decided that her main role would be to provide the sea training for boy ratings ex the training establishment TAMAKI. Before taking up this role, however, HAWEA visited Suva for three weeks in August in order to provide sea training for personnel of the Fiji Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Division.
35. On completion of this duty HAWEA returned to Auckland and, after working-up in Australia in October, returned to New Zealand in time to visit Nelson for the 150th anniversary of Trafalgar Day. In November HAWEA participated in combined anti-submarine exercises in Fijian waters with H.M. Submarine TACTICIAN and 5 Squadron, Royal New Zealand Air Force. It was during this period that HAWEA provided considerable assistance in the form of shallow-water divers and shipwrights in the salvage operation of the derelict JOYITA. The antisubmarine exercises were followed by further basic training and tactical exercises in New Zealand waters and concluded in mid-December.
36. In early February HAWEA, wearing the flag of the Chief of Naval Staff, who was embarked, attended the Waitangi anniversary celebrations and then, on return to Auckland, commenced her annual refit, which will take three months.
(v) H.M.N.Z.S. PUKAKI
37. Having returned from the Far East Station, refitted and re-commissioned, the frigate PUKAKI sailed on 28 April 1955 for Sydney and, after two weeks’ working-up period there, proceeded to the Far East Station to relieve KANIERE.
38. For the remainder of the period under review PUKAKI’s service was spent on the Far East Station and this included operational visits to Singapore, the Phillipines, and Japan, patrolling duties in Korean waters, and participation in the ANZAM maritime exercises in late March of this year.
39. PUKAKI is due to leave Singapore on 5 April 1956 and return to New Zealand.
(vi) H.M.N.Z.S. TUI
40. At the beginning of the period under review the minesweeper TUI was employed on training duties to provide sea training for personnel of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve Divisions. The ship continued in that role until May 1955, when she was taken in hand by the Dockyard for major refit and conversion to a fleet auxiliary.
41. TUI completed all post-refit trials during the latter half of March 1956 and will in future be employed on oceanographic duties, operating for the Naval Research Laboratory and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.
(vii) H.M.N.Z.S. KIWI
42. The minesweeper KIWI was similarly employed on training duties throughout the whole period under review, with the exception of October and November 1955 when the ship was taken in hand for refit.
43. During the training periods KIWI paid brief visits to a few minor ports in New Zealand, and in July 1955 proceeded to Raoul Island in order to bring back to Auckland a member of the Ministry of Works staff on the island who required immediate medical attention.
44. In December KIWI participated in a tactical maritime exercise in New Zealand waters.
(viii) H.M.N.Z.S. STAWELL
45. After refit and partial modernisation the ocean minesweeper STAWELL was brought forward from reserve and commissioned in July 1955.
46. Since commissioning, STAWELL has been fully employed with sea training of Compulsory Naval Reservists and R.N.Z.N.V.R. ratings, visiting many New Zealand ports whilst engaged on these duties.
47. The value of using a ship with reasonably modern equipment for this sea training has been fully borne out by the high standard of instruction achieved and knowledge gained by trainees.
(ix) H.M.N.Z.S. LACHLAN AND SURVEYING LAUNCHES
48. The survey ship LACHLAN continued the survey of the east coast of the North Island in the Hawke’s Bay area. During April, which is normally the end of the hurricane season in the Pacific Islands, LACHLAN visited Niue Island and Western Samoa, where she progressed the survey work in those areas, and returned to New Zealand in May. The ship was then taken in hand for refit.
49. LACHLAN was ready for service again by December and in January 1956 proceeded to Suva to undertake further surveying and oceanographic work in that area. A brief visit to Papeete was included in this programme. On completion of her duties LACHLAN returned to Suva to replenish and was available early in March to provide valuable assistance to His Excellency the Governor of Fiji, who, owing to serious flooding in the area, was unable to return to Suva from Lautoka in Western Fiji.
50. The ship then proceeded to Western Samoa and, after embarking the High Commissioner, visited the Tokelau Islands, finally returning to New Zealand in late March.
51. During the year under review the two surveying motor launches operated with LACHLAN on the east coast and also carried out a considerable amount of inshore surveying, including work in the Hauraki Gulf area, several ports in the Auckland Province, the Nelson area, and Cook Strait.
(x) FISHERY PROTECTION
52. During the past year, with two 72 ft. motor launches in the squadron, more efficient patrols have been maintained. Whenever possible one craft was always at sea. Working in close liaison with the Marine Department they have been responsible for two apprehensions during the year. Convictions were obtained in both cases. The reputation of these craft, and their continual presence on the fishing grounds is proving an effective deterrent to all poaching.
53. It is hoped that in the coming year the squadron will be able to do an extended cruise, possibly right round the North Island. It is proposed that the squadron will visit many of the smaller ports, which are inaccessible to the larger vessels and check on fishing in the areas visited.
(xi) AUXILIARY CRAFT
54. The fleet auxiliary vessel ISA LEI has been engaged throughout the year in dumping at sea ammunition condemned by all three services.
55. Auxiliary craft of the Auckland command have, in addition to their lighthouse-servicing duties, been providing a weekly transport service of dairy produce and mail for the inhabitants of Great Barrier Island. These duties were taken over when the commercial service ceased in September 1955. This service is proving to be an embarrassment as the ships, which must be set aside for this work, are therefore not available for their normal lighthouse-servicing duties.
56. The motor launches attached to the four Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve Divisions have all carried out training cruises and, in addition, a motor launch has been provided for the newly constituted Fiji Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Division.
57. As stated previously, H.M.N.Z.S. TUI has now been commissioned as a fleet auxiliary.
58. The Dockyard tug ARATAKI towed two silt barges from Auckland to the Bluff in December on behalf of the Bluff Harbour Board. Such work is not normally undertaken by the Dockyard, but in this instance was agreed to because of the inability of the Bluff Harbour Board to obtain a commercial firm to undertake the work and the pressing need for the barges at Bluff where they were required in connection with the development plans of the port.
59. During the period under review, ships of the Royal New Zealand Navy have, with maritime aircraft of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, taken part in two major exercises with similar units from Australia and the Far East Station, in the Malayan and South China Sea areas.
60. In addition to routine exercises conducted in New Zealand waters, a submarine has made two visits to this country and Fiji during the year when, in addition to basic training, joint maritime operations were exercised. During the later visit a tactical exercise, controlled from the Maritime Headquarters, Wellington, concluded the programme. This was followed by a harbour defence exercise at Wellington in which all three services and the Wellington Division of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve co-operated.
61. A merchant-ship reporting and plotting exercise using “live ships” was held in conjunction with the Australian and Malayan areas in October 1955. The reporting organisation in the New Zealand area was activated and reserve officers were appointed to the main ports in New Zealand to carry out naval control of shipping duties during the period of the exercise. The Maritime Headquarters at Wellington was also manned by reserve officers and all trade operations were conducted from this headquarters.
SECTION Ill-NAVAL VISITS TO NEW ZEALAND
(i) VISIT OF FIRST SEA LORD
62. The Royal New Zealand Navy benefits considerably from the close liaison it maintains with the Royal Navy, and unity of thought and method is a major contribution to Commonwealth defence. This unity was advanced considerably by the visit to New Zealand at the end of March of the First Sea Lord, Admiral the Earl Mountbatten of Burma. In his discussions with the Government, the Chiefs of Staff, and the New Zealand Naval Board it was possible to exchange information and views to an extent, which cannot be achieved by correspondence. In addition to these talks Admiral Mountbatten attended a parade at H.M.N.Z.S. PHILOMEL and saw the reserve divisions at Christchurch and Dunedin. Accompanied by Countess Mountbatten he also fulfilled a large number of social engagements. It is pleasing to record that on the eve of his departure from New Zealand Admiral Mountbatten said that he would return to the Admiralty with a renewed feeling of confidence in the Royal New Zealand Navy.
(ii) VISITS BY UNITS OF OTHER NAVIES
63. Without doubt the major visit of interest this year was that of Task Force 75 – the ships of the United States Antarctic Expedition “Deepfreeze”. This task force comprised nine vessels – three icebreakers, three attack cargo ships, one petrol carrier, and two gasoline barges. The force made Lyttelton their final port of departure for the Antarctic in December 1955, and all ships except one icebreaker called at New Zealand on their return from the McMurdo Sound area; the USS. NESPELEN (petrol carrier) visiting Dunedin, the USS. EASTWIND, EDISTO (ice breakers), and ARNEB (attack cargo ship) visiting Wellington, whilst the USS. WYANDOT and GRENVILLE VICTORY (attack cargo ships) visited Auckland.
64. Three ships of the Royal Navy visited Wellington and Auckland during the year. H.M.S. NEWCASTLE, flagship of the Far East Fleet, called at both ports in September 1955. NEWCASTLE was wearing the flag of the Flag Officer Second-in-Command, Far East Station, and the Commander-in-Chief, Far East Station (Vice-Admiral Sir Alan K. Scott Moncrieff, K.C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O.) visited New Zealand by air during the ship’s stay here.
65. The other Royal Navy ships were two submarines – THOROUGH and TACTICIAN – both attached to the 4th Submarine Squadron based on Sydney. Both these submarines provided much needed and useful training, not only for the R.N.Z.N. but also for the maritime’ units of the R.N.Z.A.F.
66. H.M.A.S. SYDNEY, wearing the flag of the Flag Officer Commanding the Australian Fleet, called at Wellington, Auckland, and Lyttelton in May 1955.
67. The French ship FRANCIS GARNIER, a well-known visitor to Auckland, again visited that port in October 1955. February 1956 saw the arrival of the JEANNE D’ ARC and LA GRANDIERE. On board the JEANNE D’ ARC were some one hundred and fifty midshipmen of the French Naval School on their traditional world cruise before being promoted to ensign and joining ships of the French Fleet.
68. With the entry of four cadet midshipmen and four special-entry cadets, and the promotion of eight ratings to commissioned rank, there was a very slight increase in the officer strength of the Royal New Zealand Navy, with a corresponding reduction in the number of loan Royal Navy officers. The growth of the officer corps, which is inevitably a slow process, is not, however, sufficient to meet the increasing demands of the international situation without continuing, and in some categories increasing, assistance from the Royal Navy. Several vacancies of officer candidates remained unfilled, however, and it is disappointing that more young New Zealanders are not coming forward for this type of entry.
69. During 1955-56, The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty approved a revision of the officer structure of the Royal Navy. The new structure, which institutes one general list of officers in place of the separate engineer, electrical, and supply and secretariat lists existing at present, is designed to meet the requirements of a modern navy and to improve promotion prospects and conditions of service of officers in order that the best type of youth may be encouraged to enter the service. The revised Royal Navy officer structure is being adopted in the Royal New Zealand Navy, with such minor adjustments as are necessary to meet local conditions. One notable effect of the revised structure will be a marked increase in the need for officers promoted from the lower deck.
70. There is still a shortage of branch officers in the electrical, engineering, and gunnery fields, and the Admiralty have agreed to promote fully qualified Royal Navy ratings for entry into the Royal New Zealand Navy as officers.
71. The rating strength of the Royal New Zealand Navy has increased by 15 over the 1955 figure, but is still 90 below the 1954 figure. If present trends in recruiting and re-engagement continue, it is anticipated that it will not be possible to meet some operational commitments of the Fleet by the middle of 1957.
72. The low proportion of ratings re-engaging beyond their initial period is a grave problem to the service, which not only suffers the loss of the manpower involved but also the loss of its most experienced and highly trained men. This problem is particularly serious in the artificer branches.
73. With a view to improving the conditions of service and thus increase the recruiting and re-engagement rates a committee was set up to investigate conditions of service and pay in the Royal New Zealand Navy. The recommendations of the committee are at present receiving the consideration of the Naval Board.
74. The Women’s Royal New Zealand Naval Service has maintained its high standard of service during the year just completed. The complement is at present 7 officers and 95 ratings, the number in the rating complement having decreased over the period reported upon as recruitment has fallen below the intake requirements necessary to maintain certain branches at full authorised complement. These deficiencies present a problem at times, which is often aggravated by the smallness of the branches and of the service.
75. Re-engagements continue to maintain a fairly high percentage. The majority of those released from the service take their discharge upon marriage or upon impending marriage soon after expiry of their engagement.
76. The overall training programme for the W.R.N.Z.N.S. ratings, which has been intensified over the past years, is proving most satisfactory and has done much to raise the standard of efficiency even higher.
77. Accommodation is still of a high standard, but certain increases to the complement, which would be advantageous to the Royal New Zealand Navy, as a whole, cannot be considered until further accommodation is provided.
78. During the past year the number of intakes of recruits into H.M.N.Z.S. TAMAKI has been increased from five to six, thus reducing the time from when a candidate is accepted for naval service until he actually enters.
79. The new recruiting procedure referred to in last year’s report has been continued. There is no doubt that interest, in the South Island especially, has been stimulated through the appointment of naval recruiters in the main centres.
80. As the result of a survey of methods of entry into the Navy the minimum-age requirement of the youth-entry scheme was reduced by four months to sixteen years three months, with a corresponding reduction in the upper age limit of the seaman boy entry. In addition, the youth-entry scheme was broadened to permit entry within this age group to the Seaman Branch.
81. The number and quality of candidates for naval artificer apprenticeships has improved.
82. Overall recruiting figures for the past twelve months are slightly up. This trend is attributable to both the new recruiting procedure and the alterations in the age limits already quoted. However, the total numbers recruited in this country are still unsatisfactory, being little more than 65 per cent of the Navy’s requirements. It is essential that the standard of recruit accepted must be maintained at a high level, and this has been carried out during the past year.
(v) HONOURS AND AWARDS
83. Her Majesty the Queen graciously approved the following honours and awards to R.N.Z.N. and R.N.Z.N.V.R. personnel: O.B.E., one; M.B.E., two; and B.E.M., 8.
84. The appointment of a Housing and Welfare Officer to the Auckland Command was established during the period under review. This appointment has already resulted in improved handling of welfare cases.
85. Numerous requests for financial assistance from the Royal New Zealand Naval Benevolent Fund were received from active service and ex-service personnel during the year. This fund was established in 1924 for the purpose of giving financial assistance to New Zealand ratings and to their dependent relatives. The initial finances were provided by the sum of £280 allocated by the Admiralty from the residue of the 1914-8 Naval Prize Fund and the sum of £1,765 4s. 6d. donated from the Captain’s Fund, H.M.S. NEW ZEALAND. Since 1932 one-fifth of the canteen rents has been paid into the fund, but during the period of hostilities the income was greatly increased owing to larger canteen receipts and the appropriation of one-fifth of all New Zealand Canteen Board distributions of profits.
86. Donations have been received from sources too numerous to detail since the fund was inaugurated, and this has assisted greatly in building up a satisfactory capital fund.
87. When the fund began it was only possible to grant assistance to discharged ratings, but gradually the fund grew, until in 1938 it was possible to extend the benefits to serving personnel also.
88. During the last war the calls made on the fund for the relief of distress were very small and this position continued in the immediate post-war years. The shortage of housing opened up a new avenue of assistance for serving ratings and in order to encourage ratings to build or purchase their own homes, interest-free loans have been granted from the fund.
89. The loans are intended to assist those who, despite their best endeavours by way of savings, mortgages, etc., are still unable to buy a home and are chiefly designed to bridge the gap between available mortgage moneys and costs. The loans are limited to an amount sufficient to provide the minimum in housing requirements. The object being to house as many as possible with the capital available. At present there are some two hundred loans outstanding, all being repaid by instalments by way of allotments from pay.
90. The capital of the Benevolent Fund now amounts to £32,380, the cash balance of which is invested in the Common Fund of the Public Trust Office.
91. The first completely Royal New Zealand Navy type of examination has been introduced and early results indicate that it is more in line with local requirements than the examination previously used. Considerably more emphasis has been placed on the teaching and writing of English.
92. It was possible during the year to appoint instructor officers to ships away from New Zealand to assist ratings to prepare for their educational examinations. It is hoped to be able to extend this assistance to local ships in the coming year.
93. Library services continue to present a difficulty as the standard of library in any ship depends on the grants received from canteen profits. A comprehensive service to cope with the particular problems of ships at sea is still required.
94. The health of the Royal New Zealand Navy has been satisfactory throughout the year and no major epidemics were experienced.
95. The total days’ sickness was slightly less than that recorded last year, but the fall was not sufficient to affect the daily sick rate of forty-three, which remains the same. Injuries and accidents were responsible for approximately 20 per cent of the total. The next largest individual cause being upper respiratory tract infection and the nervous-disease grouping.
96. Five hundred and thirty-six male recruits were medically examined for entry into the Royal New Zealand Navy, of whom 478, or 89 per cent were passed as fit. The major single cause for rejection was again defective vision, which included defective colour vision. The high percentage of passes indicates the extent to which we have lowered our medical standards to meet the present recruiting needs, but our invaliding rate suggests that we cannot further lower these standards. Sixty candidates for the W.R.N.Z.N.S. were examined and 56, or 93 per cent, were accepted.
97. Fifty-seven ratings were medically discharged as unfit for further naval service and this represents an invaliding rate of 21’8 per thousand, the highest figure yet recorded. This is a matter for some concern. As in previous years, the nervous-disease group produced the largest number.
98. The medical manning position remains far from satisfactory. No further New Zealand graduates have applied for entry, but two United Kingdom applicants have been accepted and will give much-needed assistance.
99. Some temporary relief with accommodation has been gained in the Royal New Zealand Naval Hospital by converting staff accommodation into extra ward space for W.R.N.Z.N.S. personnel and for isolation cases, but the need for extra permanent accommodation must be borne in mind.
(b) Dental Health
100. The shortage of dental officers continues to be a matter for concern. Despite long hours of work by both dental officers and staff it has not been possible to give adequate attention to the Fleet. Considerable costs have already been incurred through necessary urgent treatment of personnel serving overseas. Unless relief is forthcoming there may be a case for sending personnel for treatment to civilian dental practitioners. To the increased cost, which this will involve, must be added the much greater cost due to the loss of service time which is inseparable from this type of appointment.
(ix) RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES
101. Sport continues to play an important part in the Royal New Zealand Navy, both within New Zealand and in ships operating throughout many areas in the Far East and in the United Kingdom.
102. The national keenness for rugby football is perpetuated in the Navy where all ships have fielded remarkably strong teams. H.M.N.Z.S. PUKAKI, with a ship’s company of one hundred and thirty, won the Far East Station Fleet Competition, while Navy has a team playing in the Auckland senior competition, the first time this has been achieved since the war. In addition, the Navy won the inter-services winter tournament and are holders of the King George V Cup.
103. Interest is not, however, confined to football. In an outstanding success at the inter-services winter tournament, Navy had a notable victory, which may well never be repeated, by winning all nine weights in the boxing.
104. The contribution which sport makes in maintaining morale cannot be too strongly emphasised. For this reason sport is encouraged and organised as much as the facilities available and training and operational commitments will permit. This is particularly important amongst the younger naval personnel in the training establishment, where sailing and surf life saving are fostered under expert guidance.
105. Physical training, also under instruction, is included in the new entry training of all recruits, and the traditional naval striving to imbue the necessity for physical fitness in all personnel is the constant concern of all commanding officers.
106. There is still a large demand for houses by naval officers and ratings and availability of houses has a considerable influence on reengagement of personnel.
107. As at 31 March 1956, 234 housing units have been completed out of a total approved programme of 403 in Auckland. As at that date, contracts had been placed for construction on all but five of the available fully developed sections.
108. The construction of multi-unit blocks of flats at Ngataringa Road, Auckland, commenced in August 1955 and excellent progress has been made. It is anticipated that a large proportion of the flats will be completed by the end of March 1957, and there will be additional houses on individual sections. Construction was commenced on four houses at the naval wireless station at Waiouru, with an anticipated completion date of June 1956.
109. Sufficient land has now been obtained to provide for the completion of the approved housing programme.
110. H.M.N.Z.S. TAMAKI, the basic-training establishment, continues to provide initial training for all ratings of the Royal New Zealand Navy and Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve. Its facilities for training and accommodation deteriorate with the passage of time and its great disadvantage of being remote from Auckland where the majority of its staff have their homes continues to make it unpopular as a naval establishment. The latter disadvantage also makes it extravagant in manpower and in related transport and logistic services.
111. The Naval Board plan to rebuild this establishment on the mainland in the vicinity of the naval base.
112. Despite the inadequacy of the present establishment a high standard of training has been maintained and the best use has been made of existing facilities and temporary additions, which have been made to them.
113. The introduction of junior rates in all branches and the lengthening of the boys’ syllabus has made it necessary to rearrange both instruction and accommodation. This reorganisation has been completed satisfactorily.
(i) WITHIN NEW ZEALAND
114. The specialist training carried out in H.M.N.Z.S. PHILOMEL has steadily increased during the year and has now reached the limits fixed by accommodation and classroom space.
115. Further expansion in the specialist training programme will not be possible until the completion of the new training establishment or until additions are made to the existing PHILOMEL buildings.
116. The Royal Australian Navy continues to provide specialist training which, for lack of instructors and equipment, cannot be carried out in New Zealand.
117. Improved methods of selection and allocation of men for courses has improved the direction of men into the specialist duties for which they are most suited. This has resulted in a considerable reduction in the number of failures in initial courses carried out in Australia.
118. A large number of courses are being undertaken in the United Kingdom by ratings belonging to the crew who steamed H.M.N.Z.S. BELLONA back to the United Kingdom. These courses are being carried out during the period between the arrival there and the commissioning of H.M.N.Z.S. ROYALIST.
119. Satisfactory results are being achieved by the R.N.Z.N. ratings concerned, all of whom will obtain special benefits from training in modern and well-equipped schools which can only be provided by a large Navy.
(iii) ARTIFICER APPRENTICE TRAINING
120. Improved recruitment of artificer apprentices has strained the resources of the mechanical-training establishment, but a rearrangement of this school has made it possible to accept the increased number of these key ratings.
121. Good reports have been received of the performance of these young ratings in the Royal Naval Training Establishment at Rosyth, where they undergo their final period of two years and eight months under’ training.
(iv) MERCHANT NAVY DEFENCE COURSES
122. Merchant Navy defence courses were held in Wellington during the year. A new subject was introduced in the syllabus, thereby bringing the course up to one full week’s instruction, and also in accordance with the procedure in the United Kingdom. These lectures are given to ensure that masters and officers of the Merchant Navy are informed of the part they must play in securing the desired degree of safety to their ships and also the measures that the Royal New Zealand Navy will take for their protection in time of war.
123. Three courses were held during the year. There was a general falling off of attendance at the earlier courses but this improved towards the end of the year. A total of 36 Merchant Navy officers attended the courses, all of whom were from New Zealand registered ships. The total number of officers who completed the course was four; this compares unfavourably with the previous year’s results.
124. A seven-day course of instruction for reserve officers designated for naval control of shipping duties was held in Navy Office, Wellington, from 15 to 23 August 1955. Eleven officers attended the course and were fully instructed in their wartime duties.
SECTION VI-NON-REGULAR FORCES
125. At 31 March 1956 the total strength of the reserves of the Royal New Zealand Navy (excluding New Zealand Sea Cadet Corps) was 609 officers and 4,147 ratings.
(i) ROYAL NEW ZEALAND NAVAL RESERVE
126. Entry into the Royal New Zealand Naval Reserve is restricted to officers of the Merchant Navy who follow the sea as a profession and, moreover, give an undertaking that they intend to continue making the sea their career. Only officers employed on New Zealand articles or engaged in the trans-Pacific, trans-Tasman, and New Zealand coastal trade are eligible for entry, so in consequence the number of applicants to join this reserve is limited. At 31 March 1956 there were 26 officers on the active list of this reserve.
(ii) ROYAL NEW ZEALAND NAVAL VOLUNTEER RESERVE
127. The training of this reserve continues to be most satisfactory and a high standard of recruit is obtained from eighteen-year-olds who volunteer to undergo training with the Royal New Zealand Navy.
128. It has been the established policy of the Naval Board that wherever possible officers are obtained by the promotion of suitably qualified ratings. Since the reorganisation of this reserve in 1949 some 48 ratings have been promoted to’ officer rank. These officers follow diverse occupations in civilian life and by their keenness and efficiency form a mast vital part of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s reserve organisation.
(iii) NEW ZEALAND SEA CADET CORPS
129. The sea cadet organisation continues to function in an efficient manner. Training of cadets is carried out with enthusiasm and keenness and it is apparent from reports received, both from the Navy League and the headmasters of schools, that the Sea Cadet Carps is most popular with the New Zealand schoolboy.
130. A most pleasing feature of this organisation is the fact that an increasing number of cadets are volunteering far service with the Royal New Zealand Navy, both as officer cadets and ratings, and there is ample evidence that the carps is fostering a live interest in the Royal New Zealand Navy amongst youths. The strength of the carps is 20 officers and 494 cadets in the school units and 31 officers and 465 cadets in the open units.
(i) SHORE COMMUNICATIONS
131. The hub of naval overseas communications is the naval wireless/telegraph station at Waiouru (H.M.N.Z.S. IRIRANGI). Considerable planning has been devoted to’ the modernisation of this station.
132. This has been necessary in order to ensure that New Zealand can continue to meet her commitments in the overseas strategic naval communications network despite the revolutionary changes taking place in the art of communications all aver the world. With the advent of SEATO, IRIRANGI is becoming increasingly important in the field of communications for the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation.
133. During September-November 1955 the Director of the Naval Electrical Department and the Director of Naval Signal Communications visited Australia to investigate logistic communication problems and study the arrangements that have been made at the Australian equivalent of IRIRANGI – namely, H.M.A.S. HARMAN – where a similar modernisation has been carried out.
134. As a result of this visit and further meetings with the New Zealand Post and Telegraph Department a long-term plan far IRIRANGI has been evolved. The total project if approved will take five years to complete, and as far as can be foreseen no major modernisation will be necessary far a further fifteen to twenty years.
(ii) SHIP-BORNE COMMUNICATIONS
135. The first stage of the modernisation of communications in H.M.N.Z. ships has been completed, with the result that New Zealand naval ships can now, from the communication aspect, farm part of any Commonwealth striking force, which may be activated in an emergency.
136. The “new mode of operation on the high frequency bands” envisaged have now taken shape. A planned ship-fitting programme is being formulated, but it is not anticipated that Royal New Zealand Navy ships will be equipped with these facilities before 1958, at which time all other Commonwealth navies will also be using this mode of communication.
(iii) EXERCISE COMMUNICATIONS
137. In December 1955 maritime exercises were conducted which entailed bringing into force wartime procedure for all communications. This was the first prolonged test the new Communications Control Centre in Wellington had operated. Command control was positive and flexible due to the modernised Naval Communication Centre in Wellington.
138. During October an exercise was held which involved both communications to the main ports in New Zealand and to Australia. This exercise tested the wartime capacity of New Zealand to handle traffic.
139. Since the institution of wireless exercises for naval reserves in 1954 the rise in efficiency of the communication ratings of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve has been most marked. Messages for reserve divisions are now seldom handled over internal landline systems, but are transmitted by radio to the places concerned. Reservists handle these signals throughout their route. It is considered that results of these series of exercises will enable communication reservists to play their part in an emergency with little further training.
SECTION VIII-H.M.N.Z. DOCKYARD
140. The decision to replace the cruiser BEL.LONA with the modernised ROYALIST has necessitated an accelerated programme of improvements to yard workshops to enable a vessel with such complex equipment to be properly maintained. Plans for a new gunnery equipment shop are well advanced and a start on the foundations is expected to be made early in the coming financial year.
141. Maintenance of the Loch class frigates has imposed a heavy strain on Dockyard resources, notably in the use of Calliope Dock. It has been necessary to invoke the priority clause in the agreement with the Auckland Harbour Board in order to secure a month in dock each for KANIERE and HAWEA to enable essential hull repairs to be carried out. The Naval Board realise that time and turn-round are essential in the repair of commercial shipping and calls for priority use of the dock reluctantly and only when work on H.M.N.Z. ships is essential to the public interest. The fact that it was necessary to do so points to the demand for docking time in the Calliope Dock and the desirability of a Dominion wide survey of docks available to see if these important national resources are adequate and efficiently employed. A similar period will be needed for PUKAKI when that ship returns from the Far East Station towards the end of May.
142. Improvements to working conditions in the workshops have been effected when this has been possible. This work will continue during the coming year. The available effort has been devoted mainly to items of a welfare nature so as to raise the standard throughout the Dockyard, and to bring these amenities more into line with current practice. A new Dockyard boilerhouse to provide domestic steam for ships alongside and incorporating a drying room and showers for Dockyard employees is nearing completion.
143. The lighter KIRITONA was sold early in the year for breaking up. A new steel lighter to replace it and specially equipped for carrying naval armament stores is in course of assembly by contract in Auckland.
(a) Major Vessels
144. The cruiser BELLONA was given an overhaul prior to her departure for the United Kingdom and reversion to the Royal Navy. Work was limited to those items, which had to be done to make her fit for the long voyage. Some defects affecting her armament could not be undertaken as they were beyond the capacity of the Dockyard to remedy.
145. KANIERE was given an unusually extensive refit prior to her departure for the Far East Station. The principal work concerned hull repairs necessitating a month in dock, during which time many outer bottom plates were renewed. LACHLAN was given a refit lasting six months, during which her mess decks were modernised in order to improve the living conditions for her ship’s company.
(b) Minor Vessels
146. M.L. P3555 was modernised and brought fully up to date by fitting modern radio, radar, and asdic equipment prior to her transfer to the Fiji RN.V.R. in October 1955.
147. The minesweeper TUI was converted into a research ship as part of the naval research programme.
148. The Reserve Fleet minesweeper KIAMA was in hand for modernisation at low priority throughout the year, but little progress was made owing to the demands for labour by the requirements of operation vessels.
(c) Auxiliary Craft
149. The increasing age of the engines of the motor launches employed on the TAMAKI ferry service occasioned frequent breakdowns. It is planned to purchase new engines in the coming financial year.
150. On the commissioning of the Bathurst class minesweeper H.M.N.Z.S. STAWELL in July 1955, eleven ships remain in the Reserve Fleet.
151. The current manpower shortage reflects itself in the state of the Reserve Fleet where maintenance leaves much to be desired. However, as cocooning and dehumidification progresses the position will be relieved to some extent. Another result of the manpower shortage is the limiting factor it places on the full use of the training potential of the Reserve Fleet cruiser.
(iii) RESERVE FLEET
(b) H.M.N.Z. Ships BELLONA and BLACK PRINCE
152. With the re-commissioning of BELLONA from reserve for return to the United Kingdom, BLACK PRINCE became the reserve cruiser and assumed the function as headquarters and living ship of the Reserve Fleet.
(c) H.M.N.Z.S. TAUPO
153. This ship remained internally dehumidified throughout the year, thus reducing internal maintenance to the minimum. The armament, where fitted, has been satisfactorily cocooned.
(d) H.M.N.Z.S. TUTIRA
154. TUTIRA has been externally maintained during the year. This ship is due to commence refit and modernisation in October 1956. The armament, where fitted, has been satisfactorily cocooned.
(e) H.M.N.Z. Ships ROTOITI and KIAMA
155. These ships have continued in hand for refit and modernisation by the Dockyard. The armament in ROTOITI, where fitted, has also been satisfactorily cocooned.
(f) H.MN.Z. Ships INVERELL and ECHUCA
156. These ships have been externally maintained within the limits of the manpower available in the Reserve Fleet. INVERELL has continued to be the subject of a trial in cathodic protection and satisfactory results have been found on checking after nearly eighteen months.
(g) Anti-Submarine Minesweeping Trawlers (Scottish Isles Class)
157. Maintenance and preservation has been carried out on these ships when manpower has been available.
(h) H.MN.Z.S. TUI
158. After paying off, this ship was attached to the Reserve Fleet for a short period on a care-and-maintenance basis. She housed the Reserve Fleet offices during the changeover of the headquarters ship from BELLONA to BLACK PRINCE, and was handed over to Dockyard control for conversion to a research ship on 19 September 1955.
(iv) MISCELLANEOUS WORK
159. Work has been undertaken for other Government Departments on a small scale. Work for private firms has also been carried out where such firms have not had the necessary equipment to do the work themselves.
(v) NAVAL STORE ORGANISATION
160. During the year the preservation, identification, and packaging section was completed by the addition of certain control equipment and approval was received for the necessary increase in staff to be made.
161. This section has been operating full time, but the volume of work offering is so large that proposals have been made for extending the existing space in order that increased work can be undertaken.
162. Two visits were paid by the Government Stores Board Survey Party during the year. The visits resulted in the clearance from store of many hundreds of items, which had become redundant.
163. During the year a large quantity of kauri timber was purchased primarily for the construction of the projected TAMAKI tender. The shortage of kauri in this country is steadily becoming more acute, but sufficient stocks were obtained to enable this craft to be built.
(vi) NAVAL ARMAMENT DEPOTS
164. The three armament store depots at Kauri Point, Shelly Bay, and Cass Bay continued with the normal work of supply, inspection, and test of armament stores.
165. Following a reorganisation, gun mountings have been transferred to the Dockyard, and torpedoes and torpedo spares have been transferred to Kauri Point. This has been done in order to keep in step with changes made in other Commonwealth navies.
166. The new laboratory group at Kauri Point was completed but could not be brought into use because the asphalt for the floors did not come up to Admiralty standards. Attempts to procure suitable asphalt are continuing.
(vii) DOCKYARD DEVELOPMENT
167. Much still remains to be done by way of modernisation of plant, and with the prospect of more modern frigates joining the Fleet it is inevitable that there will be a need for considerable capital expenditure in the immediate future. The increasing use of diesel engines for auxiliary machinery and possibly for main machinery will necessitate the construction of a new diesel-engine workshop.
168. The expansion of the electrical workshops has continued in order to keep pace with all the new and complicated electronic equipment, which is incorporated, in modern warships.
SECTION IX-DEPARTMENTAL ADMINISTRATION
169. Departmental administration during the year under review continued in its purpose of providing the secretarial and other civilian services required for the overall efficiency of the Navy. The chief problem has been meeting the situations caused by shortages of staff in various categories and the provision of measures to minimise the effects in future years.
170. The regulations under the Navy Act 1954 are now with the Law Draftsman for final drafting, and as soon as these have been approved and gazetted the Act will be brought into force by Proclamation.
(iii) PUBLIC SERVICE STAFF
171. Last year some realignment and strengthening of senior civilian staff was reported. During the past twelve months no major change in structure has taken place but during 1956, a regrading year in the Public Service, the structure, organisation, and complements of the civilian staff will be subject to the usual five-yearly review.
172. The shortage of junior administrative and clerical staff, repeatedly mentioned in recent years, has continued. The Department’s present requirement in the administrative and clerical field is for an intake of approximately twelve male juniors annually to provide for normal losses and for staffing the higher posts in the future. During the year less than 25 per cent of this number was obtained. The position is being met by the recruitment of personnel in the older age bracket. This situation has continued for some years and considerable concern is felt for the future.
173. In the technical and professional fields the requirements are unsatisfied. Current requirements for draughtsmen (engineering, constructive, and hydrographic) and for scientists (physicists and engineers) cannot be met from New Zealand sources and immigration measures are either in operation or in train.
174. The addition of ROYALIST to the New Zealand Fleet calls for technicians with special knowledge and training not available in New Zealand. A group of eight technicians were accordingly sent to the United Kingdom for the special training required. These men will be back in New Zealand before ROYALIST returns.
(iv) DOCKYARD WORKMEN
175. The Government Service Tribunal order covering casual employees was replaced early in the year by Government Service Tribunal Order No. 141. The new order incorporated all up-to-date rates of pay and allowances, and from the administrative angle has proved of considerable benefit. In addition, it has enabled employees to become much better acquainted with their terms and conditions of employment.
176. The amount of overtime necessary during the year was considerably greater than in the previous year. This reflects the increased demand upon the restricted labour force available for Fleet maintenance.
177. A further step was taken in implementing the policy of offering tradesmen appointment to the permanent staff. An additional forty-seven men were appointed during the year, and it is hoped that this total number will be increased in following years. The response from the men has been very satisfactory and shows that the opportunity of acquiring permanent status is appreciated. One hundred and twenty-one, or 44 per cent of the tradesmen are now in this category.
178. The year in general was again free from industrial disputes. Relations with the staff and workmen’s representatives have remained on a most satisfactory basis.
(v) DOCKYARD APPRENTICES
179. A total of 31 apprentices was entered during the year as compared with the previous year’s intake of 22. Of these, 6 apprentices resigned before having completed six months and before completion of their indentures. Two apprentices whose parents were proceeding overseas were granted permission to resign.
180. Of the 25 apprentices who completed their apprenticeships during the year, 18, or 72 per cent, as compared with 70 per cent last year, remained in the Dockyard as permanent-staff tradesmen.
181. Recruitment has been good and, with the exception of one appointment, all vacancies have been filled. It is noticeable that more boys with a good standard of secondary education are today interested in trades rather than taking up clerical and such allied employment, as in the past.
182. The results of outside examinations were satisfactory. One apprentice passed Section A of the A.M.L.E.E., one passed the City and Guild Intermediate Examination in Patternmaking, and 17 passed New Zealand Trades Certification Board examinations.
183. The Dockyard school made further progress during the year with very satisfactory results, although it still remains on a small scale. Subjects now being undertaken include engineering physics, principles of electricity, mathematics, naval construction, and naval electrics.
(vi) NAVAL RELATIONS OFFICERS
184. Naval relations officers, who act in a purely honorary capacity, are the local naval representatives in cities and towns in New Zealand other than Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin, and as such are required to represent the Royal New Zealand Navy in an official and semi-official capacity.
185. These gentlemen perform a valuable service to the Royal New Zealand Navy by assisting in advising potential recruits and by acting as a link between the Naval Board and their respective districts for the dissemination of naval information. They also undertake investigations in occasional welfare cases where the dependants of naval personnel reside within their area.
186. The naval relations officers appointed have all seen service with the Royal New Zealand Navy; the majority have held temporary wartime commissions. As a means of assisting these officers in the performance of their duties, proposals are in hand to offer them appointments as Temporary Lieutenant-Commanders in the Special Branch of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve. These appointments will be “Time Only” and will automatically lapse upon an officer ceasing to act as naval relations officer.
187. The total amount voted for the services of the Navy for the 1955-56 financial year was £6,868,000. This was made up of £1,036,300 for replacement of ships and small craft, £5,363,700 for routine expenditure, and £468,000 for housing, buildings, and maintenance.
188. The expenditure from vote “Navy” amounted to £5,817,363, showing an under-expenditure of £582,637. This was accounted for by the delivery of stores purchased overseas being less than anticipated and the average number of personnel less than estimated.
189. The expenditure included an amount of £1,000,000 for the second installment towards the cost of modernisation of H.M.N.Z.S. ROYALIST. This amount, together with the £1,000,000 set aside in the previous year, was paid to Admiralty, leaving a sum of £1,345,000 for the balance of the cost of modernisation and stores to be paid in the 1956-57 financial year.
190. Of the £468,000 voted for building construction and the maintenance of shore establishments, £241,000 was allocated for housing. Although this sum has again not been fully expended, the expenditure of £239,378 was much more satisfactory than the previous year when only £113,071 was expended. This was due mainly to the excellent progress made on the construction of the Ngataringa Road flats, as well as the fact that 36 houses were completed as compared with 29 in the previous year.
191. Good progress was made with the works programme, although probably not as good as planned; but when it is realised that in the 1954-55 financial year the expenditure was 46 per cent of the amount voted and for the 1955-56 financial year 88 per cent, the position must be regarded as very satisfactory.
CONSTITUTION AND MEMBERS OF NAVAL BOARD
(a) Constitution-The New Zealand Naval Board is constituted under the Naval Defence Amendment Act 1950.
(b) Members as at 31 March 1956:
The Hon. T. L. Macdonald, M.P., Minister of Defence (Chairman).
Rear Admiral J.E. H. McBeath, D.S.O., D.S.C. (Chief of Naval Staff and First Naval Member).
Captain C. H. Campbell, D.S.C.,* R.N. (Second Naval Member).
Captain G. H. Stanning, D.S.O., R.N. (Third Naval Member).
D. A. Wraight, Esquire (Navy Secretary and Member and Permanent Head of the Navy Department).