Sunday 20 December 2019, 1000 St Christopher’s Chapel, Devonport Naval Base Rig: 1BW (negative swords) On 19 December 1941, HMS NEPTUNE sunk after hitting a mine off the coast of Tripoli in the Mediterranean. All but one of the 764 personnel aboard lost their lives. Amongst the crew were 150 New Zealanders, many of whom were reservists. This event represents the largest loss of New Zealand life at sea and forms a significant event in the history of our Navy and especially of our Naval Reserve. Association members are invited to attend the service which will be led by Padre Michael Berry. Further information can be obtained from the Padre on his civilian address

Wartime recollection: Fateful day still vivid in 95-year-old’s memory

Deciding not to wait in a long queue as his crewmates went single file down to their living quarters, George Billing went to go to an office to finish a letter instead. It was a decision that saved his life because within minutes a torpedo slammed into his ship close to where his bunk was. Read more from the Kapiti News here

Former Royal Navy chief warns of ‘disaster’ after fleet shrinks in size

The former chief of the Royal Navy has warned maritime forces face ‘disaster’ as its fleet shrinks to a historic new low. The size of the Royal Navy has shrunk considerably over the decades. In 1982, the UK had 43 frigates and 12 destroyers; it now has 13 and six respectively. It is now on course to have the smallest fleet in its 474-year history. New Type 31 frigates will not be ready until 2024, when the old ones are on their way out. Falklands War veteran Lord West says with just eight frigates operational by the middle of the decade the Royal Navy is facing ‘disaster’. Read the full story from Plymouth Herald here

HMNZS Aotearoa: Covid-19 again scuppers best-laid plans for Navy’s big new ship

The maiden Kiwi voyage of the Navy’s new ship has been knocked back as coronavirus continues to conspire against HMNZS Aotearoa. Meanwhile, some of its new crew have been siphoned off to help with Operation Protect, the Defence Force’s (NZDF) contribution to the national Covid-19 response, which includes providing security at managed isolation and quarantines facilities. Read more from here

NZ military divers fly out of Christchurch for under ice hydrography mission in Antarctica

A team of NZ military divers will fly out of Christchurch today as they head to Antarctica for a unique mission deep beneath the ice. The team of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) hydrographers will leave Christchurch on Friday to carry out an underwater survey to help Antarctica New Zealand with logistical planning for its $250 million Scott Base redevelopment project. Read more from Otago Daily Times here

Royal Navy’s new patrol ship declared ‘fighting fit’ as she flexes muscles with Royal Marines

Portsmouth-based HMS Tamar received the thumbs up from naval top brass as she served as a springboard for Commandos to board, subdue and search suspect vessels in the Channel Mike Company from 42 Commando in Bickleigh, near Plymouth, and specialist boat drivers from 47 Commando in Devonport Naval Base, plus a Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron joined Tamar, while survey ship HMS Echo served as her foil. The Marines carried out training raids on a Brittany Ferry passenger vessel off the south coast. Read the full story here

RNZN In Memoriam 25 NOVEMBER:

WILLIS Walter John (Wally) CDR RNZN 41-68 95 2013HISLOP John Robert 8382 2016PERRY Clive Lionel MEA E19485 66 2018FORSTER Dean Fousta (Fous) ABSEA 2018

Manawanui ‘at home’ this week

HMNZS Manawanui, the Royal New Zealand Navy vessel that calls Gisborne its home port, arrives here on Thursday for four days. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern named Gisborne the Manawanui’s home port when New Zealand purchased the vessel in 2018. “It’s common for naval ships to be assigned an honorary home port once they’re commissioned,” said Mayor Rehette Stoltz.

Navy plans 1st Pearl Harbor sub repair facility since WWII

The U.S. Navy is planning the first new submarine repair facility at the Pearl Harbor shipyard in Hawaii since World War II. The military is considering building the dry dock at the site of a pair of basins used during the war for ship work, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday. In addition to what would be Pearl Harbor’s first covered dry dock, the project is expected to provide the shipyard with a massive waterfront production facility. Read the full story from The Navy Times here

Covid-19: Military quarantine personnel moved to Navy base under level 3 rules

Navy personnel assigned to a quarantine facility were quietly moved to new quarters at a suburban military base after the November cluster began. The service members were ordered to observe strict alert level 3 lockdown precautions at the Officer Training School at Narrow Neck on Auckland’s North Shore. The group was moved to the seaside barracks the weekend after news broke on Friday, November 6, of the uniformed Defence Force member having caught coronavirus at Jet Park, in circumstances which remain unknown. Read more from here

Armistice Day commemorations at Caroline Bay war memorial in Timaru

A weapon used in World War II was fired next to the Caroline Bay war memorial as South Canterbury marked Armistice Day. The 1941 South Canterbury Returned and Services Association’s 25-pounder Howitzer fired blanks three times in front of more than 30 people, including war veterans, before 11am on Wednesday. Read more from here


HMNZS Tarapunga was a modified Moa class inshore patrol vessel of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). She was built in 1980 by the Whangarei Engineering and Construction Company as a version re-engineered for use as an inshore survey vessel. After decommissioning, she was purchased by North American owners and can be seen in Harper’s Island Episode 1, as the charter boat that brings the wedding party to the island. Can also be seen in season 2, episode 9, of Psych, from 2007

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