Saturday, December 13, 2014

⚓️Auckland parade marks WWII battle⚓️

An enthusiastic welcome was given by Auckland citizens to the officers and men of H.M.S Achilles after their sea victory. 28 February 1940. Photo: NZ Herald Archive.
An enthusiastic welcome was given by Auckland citizens to the officers and men of H.M.S Achilles after their sea victory. 28 February 1940. Photo: NZ Herald Archive.
Auckland's Queen Street has seen little like it - before or since February 23, 1940 - when the HMS Achilles returned to a heroes' welcome after its role in the Battle of the River Plate.
Ticker tape parades for the America's Cup or the All Blacks have seen massive turnouts but this was a country celebrating not just a victory and the return of 300 New Zealand sailors but respite from the cold, bloody grip of war.
It provoked a city-wide turnout which focused on a Queen St parade but which also spread out and around Auckland. The parade will be re-visited next Saturday when Queen St again hosts a salute as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of the battle.
The newly named Achilles Point flew the New Zealand ensign; signalling flags spelled out Nelson's famous Trafalgar Signal. The town hall resurrected the lights from the King's coronation and the Auckland Electric Power Board augmented that with a display which included a 10 metre model of the Achilles.
The parade route was alive with colour and a carnival atmosphere. The route was laden with bunting and Queen Street shop owners decorated shop frontages. Queen Street was cleared of traffic.
Senior cadets from high schools and Territorials lined the sides of the route. Much to schoolchildren's delight, Auckland and suburban schools were granted a day off. Children from country districts arrived on special trains. Many offices, shops and factories granted staff a few hours holiday to attend the parade. Auckland was alive with anticipation.
First to greet the Achilles were the boaties of 'The City Of Sails'. Tugs, launches and private boats escorted her in. At Narrow Neck Beach and North Head, 600 troops greeted her. At 6.30am she passed a silent Devonport Naval Base when suddenly cheers rang out, every merchant ship in port sounded their sirens, trains whistled and thousands of cars lining the wharf tooted. The lads were home!
Aucklanders began to line the street for the parade from 9.30am. Every place with a view was occupied and people stood 10 deep. On the side streets which had a slight elevation, people jostled for a better position.
About 1000 ex-servicemen and women began the parade, followed by the Royal Marines Band, then the Navy and the second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Achilles commander Captain Steve Parry and his wife rode in a car as Parry's leg wound still troubled him. When the ship's company appeared, flags and handkerchiefs were waved and confetti and streamers rained down. The crowd noisily clapped and cheered; the sailors certainly knew they were the heroes of the day.
On reaching the Town Hall, the ship's company was surrounded by yet more members of the public. Speeches from Auckland's mayor Sir Ernest Davis and the deputy Prime Minister Peter Fraser were enthusiastically received and, when Captain Parry prepared to speak, he had to wait while the crowd serenaded him with "For he's a jolly good fellow". The National Anthem was sung and the crew moved into the Town Hall for a civic function.
Their families lunched next door in the Concert Chamber. The lunch was not a stuffy affair as the orchestra played new and old war tunes throughout, accompanied by singing from the sailors.
The crew were granted shore leave for several days. When Achilles travelled to Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, the crew were also received as national heroes.

Backgrounder: How the Battle of the River Plate was fought

What they were celebrating was not only a New Zealand triumph in a war that had thus far given the Allies little to cheer about; it was also the knowledge that this little country punched well above its weight.
When the guns of the Achilles opened fire on December 13, 1939, little did her ship's company know they were the first Kiwi unit to engage the enemy in World War II. It was a literal baptism of fire.
The pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee was bigger and more powerfully armed than the Allied ships in pursuit - the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter and Achilles' sister ship HMS Ajax. The Three Allied vessels faced annihilation on that morning of December 13 as the Graf Spee had longer range guns, capable of sinking all three British ships before they could strike back.
But, instead of taking advantage of his tactical range, German captain Hans Wilhelm Langsdorff closed with the enemy. Commodore Harry Harwood, RN, divided the Allied force so the enemy warship would have to split its heavy armament or leave one group unengaged. Exeter headed towards one flank, Achilles and Ajax to the other.
At 6.20am Exeter opened fire. At first, the German warship responded by splitting her armament but then concentrated the all six 11-inch guns on Exeter. Within six minutes, several shells hit Exeter causing heavy damage and loss of life. Despite having one turret knocked out, Exeter remained in action and took more hits; 61 members crew were killed.
While the Graf Spee concentrated on Exeter, Achilles and Ajax closed in. From 6.20 to 7.40, Achilles fired 220 broadsides. By then, according to Achilles veterans, her six-inch guns were so hot and had expanded so much they were too tight to fit into the gun cradle.
The two ships scored numerous hits and almost 20 minutes later the Germans again split their main armament. Ajax was struck as was Achilles. Shell splinters tore through the control tower, killing four ratings-two of them New Zealanders- and seriously wounding three more. Parry and five other were wounded.
Graf Spee broke off and headed to the neutral port of Montevideo for repairs. Lansdorff was pessimistic about breaking through the enemy ring he perceived he was faced with and the Graf Spee was scuttled days later.
The Graf Spee lost 36 sailors in the battle and the British ships a total of 72 (including the two New Zealanders).

To view a video of the Achilles returning home click here
The Navy Museum, located at 64 King Edward Parade in Devonport, Auckland will be holding a Remembering River Plate exhibition from 9 December.

Home News UK News World War I 'I shall be home for Christmas':Heartbreaking final letter from World War One soldier who never camehome

Charles Johnson and the letter he sent from Gallipoli

This is the heartbreaking letter sent home by a 21-year-old soldier who was serving with the British Medical Expeditionary Force in Gallipoli in World War One.
He was tragically killed in action just nine days after he sent his final letter - he never made it home.
The letter, written to his younger sister said that he was looking forward to having 'a jolly nice time' at Christmas, and enclosed a poppy picked from no man's land while snipers shot at him.
Private Charles P. Johnson promised that he would be home for Christmas, but his family never saw him again.
Here is the full transcript of the letter:
“My Dear Mamie,
Just a few lines to wish a you Many Happy Returns of the Day. I am sorry I cannot send you anything along, but I have picked a flower in the dead of night on that space between the trenches they call No Man's Land.
I hope you will treasure them. I was sniped at many a time, going out for them but with lying flat & crawling I managed to get them.

Wolfenden family
The letter and poppy sent from Gallipoli

Never mind Mamie I shall be home for Christmas I hope we will have a jolly nice time.
I must close now
With heaps of love
Your affectionate brother
His parents Charles Herbert and Amy were left heartbroken by the early death of their only son. A letter sent to his mother from the War Office on 30th November 1915 said that she would receive four pounds, four shillings, and three pence (around £400 today) as settlement. Charles, who lived in Manchester, is buried at Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery in Gallipoli, Turkey.
His sister Mamie who the letter was written to became a school teacher and lived to the age 89, passing away in 1993.

⚓️Royal Canadian Navy bans alcohol at sea⚓️

VANCOUVER – The Royal Canadian Navy has now banned alcohol at sea, except for very special occasions.
This decision comes on the heels of the investigation into some crew members of HMCS Whitehorse, which is homeported at CFB Esquimalt in B.C.
In July, the ship was recalled when allegations came to light that three crew members had been engaging in drunkenness, shoplifting and sexual misconduct. The incidents took place over two days while the ship was in port in San Diego.
Royal Canadian Navy commander Vice Admiral Mark Norman said in a teleconference that alcohol will now be prohibited while ships are at sea, and may only be consumed on certain occasions such as Christmas, and while ships are in port at specific times.
Beer dispensing machines will also be removed on board as a server now has to be present to dispense the alcohol.
This decision was part of the internal review on personal conduct within the Royal Canadian Navy. Commodore Craig Baines, Commander Fleet Atlantic, stated that while the majority of sailors conduct themselves appropriately there is a need for more guidance from leadership.
“This review has outlined the steps we will take as an institution to ensure that our people are better informed and prepared to meet the expectations set out for our modern professional fighting force,” said Norman in a release. “While the vast majority of our officers and sailors understand how to conduct themselves appropriately, I’m confident that they will be better equipped to represent their country, their service and their ships, at home and abroad.”

Friday, December 12, 2014

⚓️Keep an Even Keel this Holiday Season⚓️

English: 011224-N-2383B-515 Kandahar, Afghanis...
English: 011224-N-2383B-515 Kandahar, Afghanistan (Dec. 24, 2001) -- U.S. Navy Chaplain Cmdr. Joseph Scordo of Pleasantville, NY, leads Christmas carolers in celebrating the holiday season at a forward operating base in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Chaplain Scordo is assigned to USS Bataan's (LHD 5) Amphibious Ready Group. U.S. military personnel are in Afghanistan operating in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Johnny Bivera (Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Keep an Even Keel this Holiday Season
By Rear Adm. Rick Snyder
Director, 21st Century Sailor Office

The “most wonderful time of the year” is upon us, but amidst the excitement, the holiday season can present some challenges: financial pressures, family separation, relationship stressors, less time for exerciseand meal planning, and traditions that maybe you no longer feel connected to. Each of those challenges can take a physical and emotional toll, sometimes leaving us searching for ways to keep the “happy” in the holidays. Though happiness and meaningfulness are often related personal goals, they are not always connected. The ability to find meaning in both positive and negative experiences is enhanced by strong personal relationships, self-satisfaction, and other protective factors that can help us navigate stress this holiday season and all year long.
Now through January, Navy’s 21st Century Sailor Office, in collaboration with Navy chaplains and experts in psychological health and resilience, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, physical readiness, and fleet and family support, will share resources to help Sailors, families, and Navy civilians proactively identify sources of holiday stress, build a sense of community and grow from our experiences throughout season and into next year. Resources are designed toencourage everyday actions that enhance total Sailor fitness, promote peer support, and get ahead of destructive behaviors.
Follow the Operational Stress Control program on FacebookTwitter,and WordPress for stress navigation tools and resources so that you can stay on course this holiday season.
Happy Holidays, shipmates!

⚓️New Images Reveal Famous San Francisco Shipwreck⚓️

The wreck of the SS City of Rio de Janeiro. Credit: NOAA
The wreck of the SS City of Rio de Janeiro. Credit: NOAA
Some new images are for the first time revealing the shipwreck remains of what many consider to be the worst maritime disaster in San Francisco history.
The new images, released today by NOAA and partners, include three-dimensional sonar maps showing the wreckage of the SS City of Rio de Janeiro, an immigrant steamship which sank in dense fog on the morning of February 22, 1901 after striking jagged rocks near the Golden Gate Bridge. Of the 210 passengers and crew aboard, 128 people were killed as the ship sank almost immediately.
The images were released as part of a two-year study by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Maritime Heritage Program to discover and document shipwrecks in Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and nearby Golden Gate National Recreation Area, encompasses nearly 1,300 square miles of of ocean and coastal waters beyond California’s Golden Gate Bridge.
Downward view of the SS City of Rio De Janeiro. Credit: Coda Octopus/NOAA
Downward view of the SS City of Rio De Janeiro. Credit: Coda Octopus/NOAA
“We are undertaking this exploration of the San Francisco Bay in part to learn more about its maritime heritage as well as to test recent advances in technology that will allow us to better protect and understand the rich stories found beneath the Bay’s waters,” said James Delgado, director of maritime heritage for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. To date NOAA has plotted nine of nearly 200 ships including four never before found vessels.
In November, Hibbard Inshore and Bay Marine Services donated a research vessel and crew, along with a high-powered remotely operated vehicle, to help NOAA pinpoint and map the City of Rio de Janeiro wreck site using three-dimensional Echoscope® sonar developed by Coda Octopus.
California-based salvagers first located the wreck in the 1980s, but its exact location was unknown as the coordinates they provided did not coincide with any wreck charted by NOAA through years of sonar work.
During this expedition, Robert Schwemmer, West Coast Regional Maritime Heritage Coordinator, worked with Delgado and multibeam sonar expert Gary Fabian to locate the wreck site again. They found the site in 287 feet of water, positioned inside the main ship channel, and largely buried in mud.
The team also completed the first detailed map of S.S. City of Chester, which was rediscovered late last year in the vicinity of City of Rio. A full collection of video of City of Rio, photographs and other materials can be found HERE.
Coda Octopus 3-D Echoscope sonar, downward view of the shipwreck SS City of Chester with sternpost, (left side of sonar image) compound steam engine and boilers (in blue middle of sonar image), and bow (right side of sonar image). Credit: Coda Octopus/NOAA
Coda Octopus 3-D Echoscope sonar, downward view of the shipwreck SS City of Chester with sternpost, (left side of sonar image) compound steam engine and boilers (in blue middle of sonar image), and bow (right side of sonar image). Credit: Coda Octopus/NOAA
“The level of detail and clarity from the sonar survey is amazing,” Schwemmer said. “We now have a much better sense of both wrecks, and of how they not only sank, but what has happened to them since their loss.”
City of Rio de Janeiro, launched in 1878, joined the fleet of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, carrying passengers and freight to and from San Francisco, Honolulu, Yokohama, Japan and Hong Kong as America expanded into the Far East and Pacific after the Civil War. Most Americans whose ancestors came to the United States from the Far East in the 19th and early 20th centuries to start a new life arrived on ships like City of Rio de Janeiro.
City of Rio de Janeiro was rumored to be full of silver treasure, but Delgado said accounts of a shipment of “Chinese silver” were actually bars of tin. “Today the wreck is broken and filled with mud, and it is a sealed grave in fast, dangerous waters in the main shipping lanes,” he said.
The post New Images Reveal Famous San Francisco Shipwreck appeared first on gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News.

Two U.S. Navy Contractors Killed by Falling Buoy at Pearl HarborFacility

🎡Two U.S. Navy Contractors Killed by Falling Buoy at Pearl Harbor Facility
File photo of the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at Middle Loch, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Two civilian contractors were killed Wednesday morning after being hit by a falling five-ton buoy at Pearl Harbor’s Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility.
The buoy reportedly fell from a height of about 70-feet onto a barge where four contractors were standing. One of the men died instantly, while the second victim was hit in the head and later died from his injuries. The two others also sustained injuries but were listed in stable condition.
The workers were reportedly strengthening mooring lines on the 820-foot decommissioned amphibious ship Tarawa when the accident occurred.
The four contractors were employees of Healy Tibbitts Builders, Inc.
The buoy was described as being 12 to 15 feet in diameter and weighing about 10,000 lbs.
The Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Pearl Harbor is one of three Inactive Ships On-Site Maintenance Offices in the U.S., where inactivated Navy ships are brought for long-term storage.
The post Two U.S. Navy Contractors Killed by Falling Buoy at Pearl Harbor Facility appeared first on gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News.

⚓️Engineer Needed on the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry⚓️

Engineer Needed on the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry

This morning we posted that the SSV Oliver Hazard Perryorganization is looking for Licensed Mates.  They are also looking for a qualified Engineer.
Engineer Job Description:
OHPRI is seeking an Engineer for SSV Oliver Hazard Perry to join the crew for USCG testing and sea trials in the spring in preparation for our programs starting summer 2015. Our programs include 1-2 week voyages in partnership with academic institutions, as well as teen summer camps and adult voyages. Applicants should have strong communication skills, an active interest in education and be capable of interacting positively with people of all ages.
The Engineer is in charge of the proper operation and maintenance of all electrical and mechanical equipment aboard the ship including her twin 385hp Caterpillar diesel propulsion engines, twin 99kw generators and a 30 kw emergency generator. The ship has full HVAC, water maker, sewage treatment, Ensolve filtration system, etc., etc. The Engineer monitors fuel and water supplies, maintains the highest level of fuel and energy efficiency and keeps tools and spare parts organized and inventoried. He/she also instructs all crew members in the procedures for operating the generator, engines, bilge pumping system, and fire fighting equipment. They will establish procedures and record keeping for mechanical systems.
The right candidate for the position of Engineer will have at least a Third Assistant Engineers license, Basic Safety Training & Advanced Fire Fighting. The position is full time, year round – benefits and salary commensurate with experience.
Crew positions on SSV Oliver Hazard Perry include all aspects of tall ship sailing and good seamanship as well as an ability and desire to educate students of all ages in day and overnight programs. All crew participate in daily housekeeping, routine maintenance, safety drills, and take an active educator role. All crew must be enthusiastic, flexible, and energetic leaders with experience in the industry.
Skills and Qualifications:
– Knowledge of diesel engines, genset, electrical, hydraulic and shipboard systems.
– Third Assistant Engineers license, Basic Safety Training & Advanced Fire Fighting
– Willing to take direction from the Captain
– Commitment to execution and follow through
– Flexible and adaptable to changing environments and schedules
– Able to model good behavior for students and serve as an educator
– Mature well-grounded sense of personal ethics, evident in the individual’s integrity and responsibility—upholding the highest standards in public and personal relations
– An interest in furthering the educational mission of Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island
– Willing to live by the rules and regulations aboard the ship
– Able to model good behavior for students and serve as an educator
– Able to be an active member of a team
– Capable of representing Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island favorably
Positions are live aboard, room and board are provided. Pay is commensurate with experience. The position is full time, year round.
SSV Oliver Hazard Perry crew are not permitted to consume alcohol during programs or smoke aboard the vessel at any times, and must be willing to undergo a criminal background check and drug-testing in compliance with U.S. Coast Guard regulations.
All applicants will meet STCW requirements for their particular license or document, valid TWIC card & US Passport.
Apply by email cover letter and resume to or Crew Hiring, OHPRI, Inc., 29 Touro Street, Newport, RI 02840  For more information on SSV Oliver Hazard Perry and our Education at Sea mission, visit

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