13th June 2009, 04:17
Any suggestions on how I can find the two voyage no's for the Rangitane(1) prior to her loss in November 1940. I want to research the passenger lists as I am not sure on which trip I arrived in N.Z. (at age 3). My father was a Chief ERA in HMS Achilles at that time and the ship was joining the RNZN squadron. My mother and I were being repatriated to N.Z. but I am not sure whether passage was arranged by the RN or not.
I would appreciate any assistance offered.
13th June 2009, 04:32
Jim,there is a fair amount of data on the net re the first Rangitane and I am sure that there are passenger lists showing who was on board at the time of capture. As I recall someone had written an extensive article on the subject. I will scan through my files and give you some leads if I can.
My first ship was the new Rangitane and an old, now deceased, friend Frank Jack was an ERA on the Achilles at the battle of the River Plate,
The information that I have, comes from the book 'Ordeal By Sea' published by the NZSC in 1949. They identify the Rangitane as being on her thirty-first voyage when she was sunk, homeward bound from Auckland, on the 27th November 1940.
15th June 2009, 03:02
Hi Bob & John,
Thanks for the info guys. I now have a start point with Voyages 29 & 30 or even 31 but I doubt that it was the outward leg of 31 that we travelled on as it was November 1940 that she was lost and I was always told that it was 1939 that we came home.
Bob,like your mate, Frank Jack, my father was on Achilles at the River Plate so no doubt they knew each other. At the time Achilles returned to NZ my mother and I were living with her parents in New Plymouth and the ship berthed there as one stop of her victory tour. The officers and crew paraded at the New Plymouth Boys Highschool where our next door neighbour's son was a student. The boys lined the march route and as my dad passed Brian he called out to him..."Hullo Brian I'll see you at home later"
Brian was 11 years older than me and was like an older brother and we remained friends until he passed away two years ago. One of the last things he said to me was "I have never forgotten the day your father made me the king of N.P. Boys High. I was the only one in school who knew an Achilles man."
A long time back now.
19th January 2013, 11:05
What a great site for memories. I joined RANGITANE in 1954 straight from National Sea Training School at Gravesend, still in uniform, and had been told to report to the 2nd Steward, a Mr Dick Binding. I found him at the top of the gangway just inside the gunport door, and immediately wished I could go home ! Unfortunately the national rail strike was in progress so i was 'lumbered' with him and 15 minutes later I was on my hands and knees scrubbing out a passenger lift ! That first trip was an education that continued and on my 2nd trip I was assigned to look after the Chief Engineer, a Mr MacDougall, and found him to be one of the nicest men I would ever meet. The ship's Commander was Captain R.G.Rees, and I had my 1st Christmas at sea that year, 1955. On the return from NZ that trip we had serious problems with a propeller shaft and, as I recall, the ships freezers went on 'the blink' and tons of once frozen cargo had to be dumped overboard while we continued on one engine to London. I remember very well the strain that Mr MacDougall was under and very rarely did he leave his cabin to go anywhere but the engine room. I spent many long hours in the Engineers' quarters serving him his meals or taking sandwiches. . .and I dont think it was much of a picnic for any of the engineers. When in London the ship was totally emptied and I stayed with Mr MacDougall while we sailed in ballast to the John Brown Shipyards in Glasgow. I remember how cold and wet it was up there but most of all I remember the sadness of Mr MacDougall leaving the ship for the last time. Very sad. And of course when I left the ship. It looked a shadow of the liner it once was. And that was the end of RANGITANE'S voyage 16. Come to think of it on the voyage before we picked up the Aussie Cricket Team in Jamaica and took them to NZ. After leaving the RANGITANE I had two trips on the RUAHINE, three trips on the RANGITOTO, three on the OTAKI and then flew to Boston, via Ireland and Iceland (on a BOAC Stratocruiser) to join the WHANGAROA on the MANZ run. After about 15months on her flew back to London from Montreal (on a BOAC Constellation) and later joined the HERTFORD for a trip. In 1961/62 I had two trips on the CAMBRIDGE as 'Tiger' to Captain P.A.Ogden, who introduced me to the books of Ian Fleming. That was the final voyage for CAMBRIDGE as she then went over to Japan to be scrapped, and I went down to Falmouth to join the HINAKURA as 2nd Steward. She had just undergone a refit and was an absolute mess with no crew yet. And then the Cook, the Baker, and Butcher arrived ! We lived in a pigsty but we ate well. By the time we got to London the Company had made butchers redundant but I never lost contact with that butcher and even after all those years we are still very good friends. I only did the one trip on her and then I joined the CORNWALL for my final trip. I could have gone for a Chief Steward's position but I knew that if I obtained it I would probably finish up 'growing old' at sea, and I didnt want that so I left and began life in Australia. I had almost 10 years with NZSCo and the experience was, at times, almost unbelievable to 'grow up' in those years, in such great ships, and among such terrific crews. Thank you.
19th January 2013, 16:03
John you have a good memory and an interesting story.