The Role Of New Zealand’s Navy

The naval force of New Zealand was first established by James Allen in 1913. Less than a year later it would be put to the test. The First World War broke out, and the country was braced to fight by sea. Before the outbreak of conflict, New Zealand was gifted a training ship from the United Kingdom.

This was a cruiser called HMS Philomel. Its captain, P.H. Hall-Thompson was soon made the country’s naval advisor. His expertise would prove essential to New Zealand’s war effort. Meanwhile, Philomel was busy escorting forces and was involved in removing German control over Samoa.

The battle for Samoa was also fought by two other New Zealand ships. These were Psyche and Pyramus. After this, Philomel continued to aid the Allied naval forces as they made their way through the Suez. It then went on to serve as a gunboat in the Mediterranean, and then the Persian Gulf.

In the year 1916 New Zealand contributed supplies of men to serve alongside the British. These men were deployed into the ranks of the UK’s Royal Navy. 193 personnel were there to specialise in anti-submarine programmes. This was due to the perception that U-boats would pose a significant threat.

The only New Zealander to attain the distinguished Victoria Cross was William Sanders. The naval reservist was awarded the medal after serving on the HMS Prize. He was one of 500 men from New Zealand who were part of the Royal Navy in WW1.

The battlecruiser named HMS New Zealand was one of the most significant ships to fight in the war. It took part in each of the major engagements against the fleets of Germany. This ship was paid for solely by New Zealand. This gesture helped to solidify good faith between them and other allied nations


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