Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Battle of the River Plate Commemorated

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa
Media Release
11 December 2009

70th Anniversary of the Battle of the River Plate Commemorated


Click for big version

Achilles Arriving Home in Auckland


Click for big version

HMNZS Achilles Welcome home


Click for big version

Graf Spee on fire

Six veterans of the Battle of the River Plate will be joining the Royal New Zealand Navy this weekend for the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the battle.

Bob Batt, Arthur Hunt, Alfred Evans, Graham Bennett, Vince McGlone and Eddie Telford are among the surviving crew members from the cruiser HMS ACHILLES, which in 1939 was part of the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy. ACHILLES was New Zealand’s contribution to the cruiser squadron that attacked and defeated the powerful German raider, the “pocket “battleship, ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE on 13 December.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

During the battle ACHILLES suffered one near-miss from an 11 inch (280 mm) shell which damaged the ship, killed four ratings and wounded seven other men, three seriously. After the battle ACHILLES together with the other Royal Navy ships in the action, EXETER and AJAX pursued ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE towards the neutral port of Montevideo. The German ship, which had 36 killed and 60 wounded, was scuttled off the port four days later.

The victory at River Plate was the first significant naval engagement of WW 2 and an important morale booster early in the war. ACHILLES arrived back in NZ to a hero’s welcome in Auckland on 23 February 1940. As many as 100,000 Aucklanders lined Queen Street when the ship's crew marched through the city. The ‘Y’ gun turret of ACHILLES and Director Control Tower are today mounted at the entrance to the Naval Base at Devonport.


Media are invited to attend the commemoration service and wreath laying on Saturday 12 December in Wellington and Auckland as well as events in Auckland on Sunday 13 December..

Links

A short history of the battle can be accessed at the Navy Museum website:

www.navymuseum.mil.nz/exhibitions/past/plate/is.htm

Battle of River Plate 70th Anniversary Programme

Please note that the surviving crew members will be in attendance at the commemorations in Wellington and in Auckland.

The commemoration will include the following events:

Saturday 12th December

9.00am Commemoration and wreath laying at the National War Memorial, Buckle Street, Wellington*

5.45pm Wreath laying at Y-turret, Devonport Naval Base, Auckland**

6.00pm Reception for veterans HMNZS PHILOMEL, Devonport Naval Base

Sunday 13th December

Dawn Karakia at Achilles Point, St Heliers (indications are that no vets will attend)*

10.30–11.30am Commemoration Service at Achilles Point, St Heliers*

12.30pm Reunion Meet and Greet and then lunch, Takapuna RSA

*open to the public

ENDS

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Perils Of Joining AUKUS Pillar Two


The lure for New Zealand to join the AUKUS military alliance is that membership of only its “second pillar” will still (supposedly) give us access to state of the art military technologies. As top US official Kurt Campbell said during his visit to Wellington a year ago:
...We've been gratified by how many countries want to join with us to work with cutting-edge technologies like in the cyber arena, hypersonics, you can go down a long list and it's great to hear that New Zealand is interested...
More


 
 

Government: Backs Police To Crackdown On Gangs
The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell. “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase... More


Government: Retiring Chief Of Navy Thanked For His Service

Defence Minister Judith Collins has thanked the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, for his service as he retires from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 37 years. Rear Admiral Proctor will retire on 16 May to take up an employment opportunity in Australia... More

Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More


Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels


 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.