Memoirs

Rear Admiral Douglas Domett RNZN CB, CBE

Chief of Naval Staff: May 1987  – May 1989 Rear Admiral Douglas Domett joined the Royal New Zealand Navy as a special entry cadet in mid 1950, setting sail for the United Kingdom upon passing his exams onboard the New Zealand Shipping Company vessel RANGITIKI.  He undertook training at the Royal Naval C Rear Admiral Douglas Domett joined the Royal New Zealand Navy as a special entry cadet in mid 1950, setting sail for the United Kingdom upon passing his exams onboard the New Zealand Shipping Company vessel RANGITIKI.  He undertook training at the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth and in the cruiser HMS DEVONSHIRE.  He was then sent to the submarine depot ship HMS FORTH which at that time was in Greece during September of 1951, to complete midshipman training.  In early 1953 Domett was sent ...

COUNT FELIX VON LUCKNE

Count  von Luckner was a colourful, charismatic and enigmatic character, who left an indelible mark upon New Zealand society. He came to New Zealand as a prisoner of war after his ship SMS Seeadler was wrecked in the Society Islands and made a daring but unsuccessful escape from Motuihe Island. In 1938 he visited New Zealand, being acclaimed as an honourable foe. Felix Von Luckner was born into an aristocratic German military family in Dresden on 9 June 1881.  His family expectations were for him to become a cavalry officer, but instead he wanted to go to sea. He joined a Russian sailing ship in 1894 for Australia where he left it and spending the next seven years in a wide variety of occupations. At the age of 20 he returned to Germany and entered the Lubeck Navigation College from which ...

Vice Admiral Sir Neil Anderson RNZN KBE, CB

Chief of Naval Staff: December 1977 – April 1980 Vice Admiral Sir Neil Anderson was born in Hastings and educated at Hastings High School. During WWII, most NZ high schools supported a School Cadet unit. In Hastings, Neil won a prize as top school Army cadet, but he displayed his commitment to the Navy: “I was the Sergeant Major of the cadets in High School. In October 44 a Brigadier came to interview me, telling me about … the Australian Military College at Duntroon. I said, “But I am going to England … to join the Navy.‟ I wanted to go to sea and it seemed the [RNZN] was a very good deal.” Neil joined the RNZN in November 1944 as a Special Entry Cadet and was sent to the Royal Naval College (which had been evacuated to the Midlands). At first he found it hard. “I found I didn’t fit the t...

Rear Admiral Keith Michael Saull RNZN CB.

Chief of Naval Staff: April 1980  – April 1983 Keith Saull joined the Royal Navy as a Midshipman RNR on graduating from HMS Conway, a Merchant Navy training school, in 1945.  He was immediately posted to the British Pacific Fleet and joined the battleship HMS Duke Of York. Early tasks included assisting in the re-occupation of Hong Kong, attending Japanese war trials and patrolling the waters of the Dutch East Indies whilst serving in the frigate HMS Black Swan.  Rather than being demobbed he joined an Extended Service Commission scheme and was posted to Palestine where he commanded the motor launch HMS Moreta intercepting illegal Jewish immigrants.  He was Mentioned in Despatches for his service in Palestine. He transferred to the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1951 and within a few days of ar...

Rear Admiral EC Thorne, CB, CBE, RNZN

Chief of Naval Staff: July 1972 – December 1975 Edward Courtney Thorne was born 29 October 1923 in Seatoun Wellington where his father, who had been invalided from the Royal Flying Corps, had emigrated.   He was taught to sail in Wellington harbour by a Mr Grendall who crewed for Lord Jellicoe, then the governor general of New Zealand.  and educated at Rongotai College and Nelson College. His career reflected the close ties between the Britain and New Zealand. Thorne was inspired to join the Navy when in1940 he saw the New Zealand-manned cruiser HMS Achilles fresh from her victory over the German pocket battleship Graf von Spee in Wellington harbour and there in 1941 he applied to join the newly created Royal New Zealand Navy.  He was inspired by an old boy of Nelson College, Lieutenant Di...

Rear Admiral John McKenzie, CB, CBE, RNZN

Chief of Naval Staff: December 1975  – December 1977 John Foster McKenzie was born on 24 June 1923 in Waiuku,. He was educated at Timaru Boys High School and St. Andrews College in Christchurch. He joined the Royal Navy as a special entry cadet in 1941 aged 17. Special Entry Cadet Special Entry Cadets were established by the Royal Navy in 1914, to supplement the Dartmouth officer entry. Special Entry Cadets were open to the Dominions and between 1914 and end of the Second World War 23 cadets entered the Royal Navy from New Zealand, after selection by a board that included the Officer Commanding the New Zealand Squadron and often had the Governor-General as President. Following selection successful candidates would travel at their own expense to Britain. By the late 1930s training was under...

Vice Admiral Sir Peter Phipps, KBE, DSC & Bar, VRD RNZN

Royal New Zealand Navy – Chief of Naval Staff & First Naval Member Sir Peter Phipps is often referred to as the founding father of the Royal New Zealand Navy. He progressed through the ranks from Ordinary Seaman to Vice Admiral, and had a distinguished World War ll record. On his retirement from the RNZN he held the position of Chief of Defence Staff (now CDF). He joined the Canterbury Division of the Naval Reserve as an Ordinary Seaman in 1928. He was commissioned as a Sub Lieutenant in 1930 and was mobilised at the outbreak of war and travelled to the United Kingdom in 1940. His first command was the minesweeper HMS Bay, which operated as part of the 24th Minesweeping Anti-submarine Group. In September 1940, 50 aircraft attacked the convoy that HMS Bay was helping to escort, an...

Vice Admiral Sir John Michael Villiers, KCB, OBE, RN

Vice Admiral Sir John Michael Villiers, KCB, OBE, RN – CNS February 1958 – March 1960 Royal New Zealand Navy – Chief of Naval Staff & First Naval Member Born the third son of Rear Admiral Edward Villiers (a paternal grandchild of Thomas Hyde Villiers), and educated at Oundle School and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, Villiers joined the Royal Navy in 1935, and then went onto the staff of the Experimental Signal School at Portsmouth in 1936. He served in the Second World War as Squadron Signal Officer and Flag Lieutenant to the Admiral commanding the Battle Cruiser Squadron and then transferred to the battleship HMS Warspite in which he took part in the Norwegian campaign. He joined the staff of Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay for the planning of the invasion of Sicily in 1943 and ...

Rear Admiral Richard Everley Washbourn

Rear Admiral Richard Everley Washbourn, C.B., D.S.O., O.B.E. – CNS June 1963 – September 1965 Royal New Zealand Navy – Chief of Naval Staff & First Naval Member  Richard Everley Washbourn was born at Nelson on 14 February 1910. He was educated at Nelson College and entered the RN by special entry from New Zealand in 1927. After spending eight years aboard HMS Erebus, HMS London, and HMS Diomede, he spent 1936–37 specialising in gunnery. In 1938 he was posted to HMS Excellent and in 1939 to HMS Achilles. For his part in the engagement at the River Plate Rear Admiral Washbourn won the D.S.O. After three years’ service on Achilles he transferred to HMS Anson. The final two years of the war he spent at the Admiralty Gunnery Establishment. In 1950 he became Executive Officer on ...

Rear Admiral John O’Connell Ross

Rear Admiral John O’Connell Ross, C.B., C.B.E. RNZN – CNS October 1965 – June 1969 Royal New Zealand Navy – Chief of Naval Staff & First Naval Member John Ross was born in Port Chalmers in 1916. As a public servant he joined the Canterbury Division of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1936 and was commissioned two years later. He was mobilised on the outbreak of the Second World War and sent for extended officer and anti-submarine training before being posted as executive officer to HMS Wakakura in 1941. In 1942, serving as a lieutenant in HMNZS Matai, he took part in the Solomon’s Campaign. In 1944 he was sent to the United Kingdom for advanced training before returning to New Zealand in 1946 as a gunnery specialist and being offered a permanent commission in the ...

A LIFE WELL LIVED – (Excerpts from WOGI Jack Donnelly’s Memoirs) – Part Twenty-three “MY FINAL YEARS IN THE RNZN

My final posting in the RNZN would be HMNZS Tamaki, as a newly created position of Administration Officer New Entry School. I had now done a complete 360 degree cycle of my naval career. Just over 30 years ago as a ‘Boy’ on’ The Island’, then as a Petty Officer at Vauxhall Road and now as a Warrant Officer. Once I had established what my role and job was, I then set about how I could fit into the training component of the trainees 14 week course. As the highest ranked ‘lower decker’ I had to set the example and lead the school, first by being a very good role model in dress, attitude, personality and physical fitness. One of my fears was that being in a new establishment the direction of the school would be one of introducing new concepts and forget the historical back ground of who we wer...

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...

Lost Password

Register