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Navy Remembers Lives Lost At Sea

Navy Remembers Lives Lost At Sea

Members of the public, in particular those who may have lost a family member, relative or friend through Navy service, are invited to join Navy veterans at the Bridge of Remembrance, Christchurch, on Sunday 20 December. The ceremony, which will commence at 1030, is being held to honour those who lost their lives at sea in service of New Zealand.

The service is conducted annually on the Sunday nearest to 19 December. It was on that night in 1941, that HMS NEPTUNE struck mines and sank off the coast of Tripoli, Libya, resulting in the loss of all 150 New Zealanders on board. The deaths of two officers and 148 ratings was the greatest number of casualties ever suffered by the Royal New Zealand Navy in a single incident. Neptune had been destined to become our country’s third cruiser, along with Achilles and Leander; hence the large number of New Zealanders on board.

Also to be remembered this year are the four sailors who lost their lives on HMS ACHILLES during the Battle of the River Plate. Last Sunday, the 13th, marked the 70th Anniversary of the action during which ACHILLES along with Royal Navy ships EXETER and AJAX pursued the German "pocket" battleship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE towards the neutral port of Montevideo where she was eventually scuttled.

A total of 561 New Zealanders lost their lives in Navy service during WWII, and a further 181 have been lost since the end of that war. These figures do not include the many brave merchant navy men who also lost their lives.

Mayor Bob Parker will attend and welcome the veterans. The service will be conducted by Chaplain Bob Peters from Wellington, and Lt Mark Hadlow will be the MC. Both are RNZNVR. Sea Cadets will provide a Cenotaph Guard, and be the flag bears for the Navy Associations.


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