NGAPONA Newsletter


13 September 19 – Navy Club, Remuera Club at 1200
20 September 19 – Ngapona Assn Lunch at Tauranga RSA
11 October 19 – Navy Club, Remuera Club at 1200
18 October 19 – Ngapona Assn Lunch at Glen Eden RSA
18 October 19 – Trafalgar Day Luncheon at Te Atatu RSA
8 November 19 – Navy Club, Remuera Club at 1200
15 November 19 – Ngapona Assn Lunch at Grey Lynn RSA
13 December 19 – Navy Club, Remuera Club at 1200
20 December 19 – Ngapona Assn Xmas Lunch at Orakei RSA


A warm welcome to our two newest members, CPO Shane Kennedy (Coxn Ngapona) and PO Jeremy Thorburn (Career Manager Reserves). Welcome aboard!!

If you have served at HMNZS Ngapona and would like to join the HMNZS Ngapona Association please reply to this email to request an application form.


The September lunch will be held in the Tauranga RSA at Greerton on Friday, 20th September. So that we can arrange transport we need an indication of numbers.
Please email or phone Richard Maddix 021 369 904 or so we can advise costs.


To all matelots past and present, who have served under any of the white ensigns.
The President and Quarterdeck Division of the Te Atatu Memorial RSA will host a luncheon on Friday 18 October 2019 to celebrate in true naval fashion the 214th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and you are invited to attend.

See Registration Form for further details. Please note this luncheon is restricted to 100 attendees and applications close Friday, 4th October 2019. Don’t miss out!


HMNZS Achilles was a Leander-class light cruiser which served with the Royal New Zealand Navy in the Second World War, the second of five in the class. Originally constructed by the Royal Navy, she was loaned to New Zealand in 1936 before formally joining the new Royal New Zealand Navy in 1941. She became famous for her part in the Battle of the River Plate, alongside HMS Ajax and HMS Exeter. All ships suffered damage in the engagement and the Graf Spee sought shelter in the neutral port of Montevideo. Captain Langsdorff scuttled the Graf Spee to avoid the loss of life and surrender to the British. Gun Turret Y, a 95-ton turret with twin Mk XXI 6 inch guns is now at the entrance to the naval base. These are the guns that engaged the Graf Spee in a critical naval battle at the start of WW II. She is notable for being the first Royal Navy cruiser to have fire control radar, with the installation of the New Zealand-made SS1 fire-control radar in June 1940.

After Second World War service in the Atlantic and Pacific, she was returned to the Royal Navy. She was sold to the Indian Navy in 1948 and recommissioned as INS Delhi. She was scrapped in 1978.


On the 8 September 1970 the Defence Council approved the introduction of the Warrant Officer rank in the RNZN which was announced in the NZ General Message M180 of 16 November 1970. A formal letter announcing the introduction on 16 December advised that the first substantive promotions would be effective on 1 February 1971, and then at six-monthly intervals. The introduction was completed with Navy Order 144/71 issued on 17 June 1971.

Can you name the first Warrant Officer in the RNZN?

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Jack Passings – August 2019

The following Sailors ‘Crossed the Bar’ during the month of August 2019. Details of funerals etc can be found by clicking HERE.

SUMMERS, Margaret (Peg) (nee Morris): Wren No.70 Telegraphist
KWAK, John Warren (Johnny). Stoker
FEUTZ, Mervyn Edwin Stoker
PENHALE John Seaman Gunner
RAWLINSON, David Walter
WOOD, Norman Charles (Charlie) SEAMAN
PITMAN Tom Paratene SPO
MARTIN Terence (Terry) WOMEA

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Fanny Adams

Today sees the anniversary of Fanny Adams death (30 April 1859 – 24 August 1867), a young English girl murdered by solicitor’s clerk Frederick Baker in Alton, Hampshire. The expression “sweet Fanny Adams” refers to her and has come, through British naval slang, to mean “nothing at all”.

On Saturday, 24 August 1867, at about 1:30 pm, Fanny’s mother, Harriet Adams, let the eight-year-old Fanny, her friend Minnie Warner (aged 8) and Fanny’s sister Lizzie (aged 7) go up Tanhouse Lane towards Flood Meadow.

In the lane, they met Frederick Baker, a 29-year-old solicitor’s clerk. Baker offered Minnie and Lizzie three halfpence to go and spend and offered Fanny a halfpenny to accompany him towards Shalden, a couple of miles north of Alton. She took the coin but refused to go. He carried her into a hops field, out of sight of the other girls.

At about 5:00 pm, Minnie and Lizzie returned home. Their neighbour, Mrs Gardiner, asked them where Fanny was, and they told her what had happened. Mrs Gardiner told Harriet, and they went up the lane, where they came upon Baker coming back. They questioned him and he said he had given the girls money for sweets, but that was all. His respectability meant the women let him go on his way.

At about 7:00 pm, Fanny was still missing, and neighbours went searching. They found Fanny’s body in the hop field, horribly butchered. Her head and legs had been severed and her eyes removed. Her eyes had been thrown into the nearby river. Her torso had been emptied and her organs scattered (it took several days for all her remains to be found). Her remains were taken to and put back together in a nearby doctor’s surgery at 16 Amery Street.

Harriet ran to The Butts field where her husband, bricklayer George Adams, was playing cricket. She told him what had happened, then collapsed. George got his shotgun from home and set off to find the perpetrator, but neighbours stopped him.

That evening Police Superintendent William Cheyney arrested Baker at his place of work: the offices of solicitor William Clement in the High Street. He was led through an angry mob to the police station. There was blood on his shirt and trousers, which he could not explain, but he protested his innocence. He was searched and found to have two small blood-stained knives on him.

Witnesses put Baker in the area, returning to his office at about 3:00 pm, then going out again. Baker’s workmate, fellow clerk Maurice Biddle, reported that, when drinking in the Swan that evening, Baker had said he might leave town. When Biddle replied that he might have trouble getting another job, Baker said, chillingly with hindsight, “I could go as a butcher”. On 26 August, the police found Baker’s diary in his office. It contained a damning entry:

24th August, Saturday – killed a young girl. It was fine and hot.

On Tuesday, 27 August, Deputy County Coroner Robert Harfield held an inquest. Painter William Walker had found a stone with blood, long hair and flesh; police surgeon, Dr Louis Leslie had carried out a post mortem and concluded that death was by a blow to the head and that the stone was the murder weapon. Baker said nothing, except that he was innocent. The jury returned a verdict of willful murder. On the 29th, the local magistrates committed Baker for trial at the Winchester County Assizes. The police had difficulty protecting him from the mob.

At his trial on 05 December, the defence contested Millie Warner’s identification of Baker and claimed the knives found were too small for the crime anyway. They also argued insanity: Baker’s father had been violent, a cousin had been in asylums, his sister had died of brain fever and he himself had attempted suicide after a love affair. The defence also argued that the diary entry was typical of the “epileptic or formal way of entry” that the defendant used and that the absence of a comma after the word killed did not render the entry a confession.

Justice Mellor invited the jury to consider a verdict of not responsible by reason of insanity, but they returned a guilty verdict after just fifteen minutes. On 24 December, Christmas Eve, Baker was hanged outside Winchester Gaol. The crime had become notorious and a crowd of 5,000 attended the execution. Before his death, Baker wrote to the Adamses expressing his sorrow for what he had done “in an unguarded hour” and seeking their forgiveness.

Fanny was buried in Alton cemetery. The headstone, erected by voluntary subscription, reads:

Sacred to the memory of Fanny Adams aged 8 years and 4 months who was cruelly murdered on Saturday, August 24th 1867. Fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. Matthew 10 v 28.

In 1869 new rations of tinned mutton were introduced for British seamen. They were unimpressed by it and suggested it might be the butchered remains of Fanny Adams. The way her body had been strewn over a wide area presumably encouraged speculation that parts of her had been found at the Royal Navy victualling yard in Deptford, which was a large facility which included stores, a bakery and an abattoir.

“Fanny Adams” became slang for mutton or stew and then for anything worthless – from which comes the current use of “sweet Fanny Adams” (or just “sweet F.A.”) to mean “nothing at all”.

This is not the only example of Royal Navy slang relating to unpopular rations: even today, tins of steak and kidney pudding are known as “baby’s head”. The large tins the mutton was delivered in were reused as mess tins. Up until that time, when sailors and Royal Marines lived, ate and slept in their mess decks, wooden buckets were used to collect food from the galley, water for washing crockery etc. and to collect the Rum Ration. The empty meat tins were modified and gradually replaced the wooden buckets. These new buckets were given the slang name ‘Fannies’.

Mess tins or cooking pots are still known as Fannies.  Thanks, Dennis Reddaway for the post

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A Very Young Signalman

This image is of two OTAGO ratings who were transferred to HMCS KOOTENAY by jackstay.  The two ratings were AB Chris Ford and a very young ASG John Wano.

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LTCDR Terry Appleby

Celebrating the Life of Lt. Cdr. Terence Walter Appleby, Royal Australian Navy 27 Sep 1931 – 30 Apr 2019 by John Buchanan.

Terry joined the Royal Navy as a Boy Telegraphist in May 1947 at HMS Bruce, a Boy’s Training Establishment in Crail, East Fife, Scotland and he and I were in the same class, Collingwood 102. Our paths in the RN never passed, so it came as a surprise to me that we should meet up later when he visited the UK with his wife Bette to show her where he did two courses in HMS Mercury in his chequered career.

He was mentioned in despatches as a Telegraphist whilst serving onboard HMS Cardigan Bay during the Korean War in 1952. Other ships he served in were Vanguard, Jamaica, Diadem, Wakeful and for three years at Kranji 1954-1956 and Londonderry in 1957 after which he decided to leave the RN and join the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1958

Soon promoted to Petty Officer. In 1967 I believe he attended a training course in HMS Mercury as a Sub Lt. and completed a Long Course in 1976 as a Lt. Cdr. RNZN having been promoted in 1975. It was in 1977 that he left the RNZN and simultaneously was appointed to the Royal Australian Navy Emergency List as a Lt. Cdr. (C), Ironically, he was seconded back to the RNZN for training purposes. On finally returning to Australia he took up various Staff appointments before becoming the Executive Officer in HMAS Lonsdale, a training base in 1982, retiring in 1985.

Not for long though, because in 1987 he was asked to rejoin and took up an appointment at The Defence Establishment HMAS Nirimba as Naval Training Officer until, yes you guessed it, retiring in 1993.

Finally! Terry suffered terribly before he passed away and I had a most moving letter from Bette and a copy of the Order of Service at his funeral which contained the following Irish Blessing:

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sunshine warm upon your face
May the rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand

Added to which was ‘ May your spirit soar and the love of your family sail with you’. I understand that the RSL in Eastbourne Road, Capel Sound, South Victoria was a great help to Bette and her family. A truly remarkable man.

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Birdseye View of HMNZS Gambia

Lieutenant Commander Jeken Allen Elwin DSC, was the Navigating Officer on HMNZS Gambia from 1943 to 1946. He had an 8mm cine camera with him and his son, James, has very kindly sent a copy of the video he took. You can view the video by clicking HERE.

The film is not the best quality, but it is the only amateur film of the ship that we know of.

The film shows naval cutter races. RN officers in summer uniform dress on deck, with female guests. Transfer from HMS Capetown to destroyer by breeches buoy. Striped cat (ship’s cat?). Aircraft carrier. Chinese women and children ashore. Sydney Harbour Bridge (Australia).

Our many thanks to James Elwin for releasing this film and making it public.  There is more information with reference to Lieutenant Commander Elwin by clicking HERE

There is also a video which can be viewed by clicking HERE of Jack Harker receiving his Queens Service Medal in 2002.  Jack was a sailor and author of many naval related books.

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Combined Services Day – Whangamata

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