Men of the Branch

Here are a couple of images from 1976 showing two Communicators excelling at HMNZS TAMAKI.

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Ladies of the Branch

Here is an image, I think out of ‘Reveille’ which was the newspaper of the service at one time.  Michelle lives in Rotorua but where are the other two ladies?

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Unofficial Communicators Get Together

Des Sanson is looking at arranging an unofficial get-together of Communications sailors and wrens in the Wellington Region. Also invited are any ex pussers/jennies of all branches. The luncheon will be held in the Palmerston North Navalmens Club which is located on the Cnr Willis and Domain Streets.

The date is the 4th August 2019 from 1100 onwards. It would be appreciated if those wishing to attend, confirm with Des Sanson no later than 24th July via email

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Jack Passings – June 2019

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

MILL, Carol Alison LWTR
COKER, Lawrence Edward (Laurie)
BLAIR, Darrel Raymond Seaman
MCKEOWN Trevor . LTCDR Instructor
LUNDY, Eric David (Ric) Seaman
ROSEWARNE, John Reginald (Rosie). LME1
HARKNESS Brian Talbot (Hark, Snow) Seaman
COOTES, Derrick Anthony (Dell) Cdr
HILL Robin Bernard (Bob) MBE WOYS

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Passing of Henare Rama Hawe

Regret to advise the Henare Rama Hawe crossed the bar last night. Our thoughts go out to Michelle and her family.  Henara joined the RNZN on 6 September 1966 and discharged as a Chief Petty  Officer Electronic Warfare Supervisor on 30 April 1979.  On joining the Navy he was a Junior Recruit Radio Operator and changed over the Electronic Warfare trade at Leading Rate.  He served in TAMAKI, OTAGO, PHILOMEL IRIRANGI KAHAWAI, WAKEFIELD, CANTERBURY and TASMAN.  Details of Tangi will be posted when known.

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Bernadine MacKenzie (Head of VANZ), Sharon Cavanagh (Manager Veterans Services) and other staff members will hold two forums for veterans in Victoria.:

Sunday 23 June. Caulfield & NZRSL, 4 St Georges Rd, Elsternwick, Melbourne. Lunch at 12.30pm followed by the forum.

Monday 24 June. ANZAC House, 4 Collins St. Melbourne 10.30am. Followed by a light lunch.

The forums will begin with a short presentation, followed by a Q&A session. Then if any veterans would like individual time with a Case Manager there will be three staff available to do that.


At this time three sessions have been planned:

Tuesday 25 June at 1030 hours
Tuesday 25 June at 1930 hours
Wednesday 26 June at 1300 hours

The venue is still to be advised but will be in the Perth CBD.


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D Day – 6 June 1944

Today we acknowledge our long serving life member of the RNZNCA, Jim Blackburn, who 75 years ago was a young sailor serving in the Royal Navy off the Normandy Beaches supporting Operation Overlord.

Jim is the founding Member of the RNZNCA and has also been President for a good many years.  He was also the inaugural President of Philomel Senior Rates Fleet Mess and is currently the President of the HMNZS Otago Association.

Jim is a very well known veteran within the naval community who provides support in a number of ways to the Naval family.

Not many people know that Jim served on HMS Duchess of Fife a paddlewheel minesweeper during WW2.

Duchess of Fife began her passenger service on the Gourock to Dunoon and Rothesay routes. In May 1916 she was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to a minesweeper for the remainder of World War I with her name shortened to HMS Duchess, and was allocated the pendant number PP533, where she served in the North Sea. She was returned to her owner in April 1919 and from 1937 she undertook sailings from Wemyss Bay to Millport and Kilchattan Bay.

She was requisitioned once again in 1939 upon the outbreak of World War II, this time retaining her full name as HMS Duchess of Fife, pendant number J115. She was part of the 12th Minesweeping Flotilla, based at Harwich.

Duchess of Fife took part in “Operation Dynamo”, the Dunkirk evacuation, while under the command of Temporary Lieutenant J N Anderson of the Royal Naval Reserve. From 28 May, she undertook four crossings between Dunkirk and Ramsgate rescuing a total of 1,633 allied troops. Her final crossing was on 3 June with 300 French troops. She was later awarded a Royal Navy battle honour for her part in the operation.

She was refurbished by James Lamont & Co, Greenock, in 1945 and returned to civilian service. The last sailing of Duchess of Fife was on 6 June 1953, and she was sold for scrapping in September 1953[2] to Smith & Houston Ltd, Port Glasgow.

As a passenger ferry

As a warship WWII

Jim was on watch when a squadron of German E Boats attacked and strafed the Duchess of Fife. I think there used to be a picture up at the Comms School of Jim coming out on to the upper deck, clutching a bag full of Confidential Books and material.

We all wish Jim a great day and recognise Jim’s many achievements.  Lets all in our own way “Splice the Mainbrace” and raise our glasses wherever we all might be.  Thanks to Jim D for a bit more Jim’s History.

BZ Jim

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