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A LIFE WELL LIVED – (Excerpts from WOGI Jack Donnelly’s Memoirs) – Part Twenty-one

“Of Running, Rugby, Awards and Family. “ Prior to returning to the Navy I had begun slow long distance running and I had caught the “Bug,” so every lunch time I would be out running the shore for up to an hour. From that I progressed to running half marathons throughout the Auckland area. My first attempt was in the Hobsonville half, it was a disaster! I went out fast, was almost down to a walk at about the 14 km mark, was being past by 60 year old ladies and men who literally “shuffled” past me, then to rub salt into my wounds I was passed with just 200 metres to go by bloody “Boof” Stronach, that old codger and ancient rugby player who gave me a pat on the back and said, “Come on Jack finish with me” but I had nothing left in the tank and virtually fell across the finish line. At the Bar...

A LIFE WELL LIVED – (Excerpts from WOGI Jack Donnelly’s Memoirs) – Part Twenty Major Ceremonial Events

Training for the charter parades, street marches and “changing of the Queens colour,” started in earnest. Although I co-ordinated a lot of it, I am so grateful for the support that I had from all the ships GI’s and first class gunnery rates for their expertise, and assistance they gave me throughout the 50th Anniversary. I was also blessed with the GI(Q)s course which was proceeding at that time, they were all involved in the training and organisation with me. My next assignment was the Naval Fleet Review Parade in Auckland. I marked out the “Parade ground” on upper Queen Street outside the Auckland city council building at 0300 hours in the early hours of the morning. Both my pace stick and I marched the route to ensure all was accurate and ready for the big day. The heading in the NZ Her...

NAVY CELEBRATES FIVE NEW COMMANDING OFFICERS

There will be five changes of command, including two women commanding officers, in the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) in May and June. Taking command of a ship or shore establishment is the pinnacle of an officer’s Navy career so to mark this, formal change of command ceremonies will take place at Devonport Naval Base in Auckland. The ceremonies occur between 23 May and 26 June for frigate HMNZS Te Mana, offshore patrol vessels HMNZS Wellington and HMNZS Otago, multi-role vessel HMNZS Canterbury and the shore-based Littoral Warfare Unit. The new commanders are: Commander Robert Ochtman-Corfe – Littoral Warfare Unit – 23 May Commander Robert Ochtman-Corfe, from Canterbury, joined the RNZN as an engineer in 1992, and has undertaken a variety of engineering and logistics roles, at sea and asho...

HMS Hood

Tomorrow we remember the sinking of HMS HOOD which was sunk by the German Battle Ship BISMARK in the North Atlantic and especially PAYMASTER SUB LIEUTENANT Stanley WATKINSON RNZN who went down with his ship and is possibly the RNZN’s 1st Supply Officer to be killed in WW2.   Other Navies also serving in the ship were: AUSTRALIAN = 3 Ordinary Seamen RANVR CANADIAN = 2 Midshipmen RCN Poland =        2 Midshipmen A list of the full Role of Honour of the HOOD is in a book called THE END OF GLORY [War &n Peace in HMS HOOD 1916-1941 By Bruce Taylor, I purchased this book on line from Navy Books.COM.UK.   The Role of Honour is laid out alphabetically and showing everyone’s Rank and Branch.

MV SYCAMORE

The Australian Navy’s Multi-role Aviation Training Vessel (MATV) MV Sycamore has completed sea trials, Dutch shipbuilder Damen announced. MV Sycamore was built at Damen’s Vietnam shipyard and will now be prepared for her maiden voyage to her home port of Sydney, Australia, where she is expected to arrive at the end of May. In addition to the more traditional elements of sea trials such as maneuvering and speed tests, the MV Sycamore underwent an extensive testing program of all on-board military systems. This included testing of the air traffic radar, flight deck lighting and firefighting, flight deck communication systems and helicopter traverse installation procedures. According to Damen, the results of the sea trials were successful and all systems and processes of the vessel were accep...

A LIFE WELL LIVED – (Excerpts from WOGI Jack Donnelly’s Memoirs) – Part Eighteen

A LIFE WELL LIVED – (Excerpts from WOGI Jack Donnelly’s Memoirs) – Part Eighteen “The Winds of Change” As I stepped into the Management Office in Philomel I was greeted by “RAF” Owen who had also been given a contract such as mine to rejoin. Apparently the Navy had identified approximately twelve personnel from branches that they believed were critical to manning as the “Take the cash payout in bulk and run” scheme had many experienced personnel taking that option and departing. I remember in my first 3 months back in the Navy there were many lavish farewell parties with no expense spared. I soon learned that I was to return to the Tamaki parade ground as the CPOGI. During my first week, I stood back, observed and said very little. Nothing had changed in the way that morning divisions were...

A LIFE WELL LIVED – (Excerpts from WOGI Jack Donnelly’s Memoirs) – Part Seventeen

“Life in Civvy Street” Will I be able to adapt, how will I handle the public, and will I be suitable for this type of work? These are questions I asked myself as I began training to be the manager of a takeaway food-bar. The Te-Atatu outlet was ideal for me as I just lived 500 metres away, it was small, in a busy little community, and the Te Atatu Tavern just across the road. Jenny and Barry were the proprietors whom I was relieving; they were excellent people who had worked hard to establish good clientele relations. I had a 2 week hand over in which I worked under the supervision of the current manager Barry. It just felt so strange to be serving people, cooking at pace and talking to your customers at the same time. The part I had no problem with was the policy Uncles had of...

A LIFE WELL LIVED – (Excerpts from WOGI Jack Donnelly’s Memoirs) – Part Sixteen

“NASU (Naval Air Support Unit)” On being promoted to Warrant Officer, I was posted to NASU to replace my good mate “Bash” Bishop. This was to be a whole new experience for me, being part of the Air Force culture, driving fast boats and being in charge of my own unit. The NASU crew was what I would describe as, hard working, loyal matelots who enjoyed a few “quiet ales” on occasions. They also proved to be very innovative and creative when required. The unit consisted of a large building complete with office, ablutions, store rooms and a huge lounge area ideal for live entertainment. A jetty, pontoon, and four boats, W88, and W44 were wooden hulled fast boats capable of speeds of up to 40 knots. W312 AND W214 were flat bottom large, slow barges. One of the main tasks of our nava...

HMNZS AOTEAROA

The Navy has announced its largest-ever ship – a 24,000-tonne vessel which will cost nearly half a billion dollars – will be called HMNZS Aotearoa. Construction of the ship will start next year, for delivery in January 2020. The 173-metre long vessel will be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries at a projected cost of $493 million. “Aotearoa will have the ability to deploy anywhere in the world to support maritime operations and enhance our combat force,” Chief of Navy Rear Admiral John Martin said. “It has the ability to conduct embarked helicopter operations and will be capable of carrying a significant tonnage of operational supplies. And it will provide an important Antarctic support capability to assist with our Southern Ocean monitoring.” Aotearoa woul...

MATTHEWSON, James Oliver

RNZVR Second World War 0/7412. “Gentleman Jim”. Passed on peacefully on 16 April 2017, aged 98. Dearly loved husband of the late Margaret, father of Peter, Sarah, and David, grandfather of Christy, Janina, Joyia, Eli and Tineke, and great- grandfather of Theo and Libby. An example of compassion and service

ANNIVERSARY OF THE FALKLANDS WAR

On 2 April 2017, it was 35 years since Argentinean soldiers landed on the Falklands Islands, triggering a violent culmination to a territorial dispute between Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government and Argentina’s military junta. The invasion of Port Stanley launched a ten-week war that cost the lives of 655 Argentine troops, 255 British servicemen and three islanders. Sovereignty over the windswept and sparsely populated islands, situated off the coast of Argentina in the South Atlantic, was a source of tension for decades. Britain has ruled the Falklands uninterrupted since the mid-19th century and the vast majority of the island’s tiny population – fewer than 3,000 at the 2012 census – are descendants of British settlers. However, in Argentina, where the islan...

Piping the Side

Did you know the custom of ‘Piping the Side’ dates from the days of sail when ship’s Captains were frequently called upon to report onboard their senior officer’s… Flagship at sea to receive or discuss orders?. On those occasions when the sea state was too rough to permit the use of sea gangways, it was customary for a visiting captain to enter and leave his boat by means of a Bosun’s chair rigged on a yardarm whip. The boat carrying a visiting captain would lay off the flagship and an order would be given to ‘Hoist him in’. The captain concerned would then be hoisted out of his boat and inboard with the requisite orders being passed by pipes made on a Bosun’s call. The present call used for ‘Piping the Side’ has its origins with the pipe once used for ‘hoisting and walking away’. Ov...

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