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Commanding Officer PEGASUS: 1964 - 1971

Commanding Officer PEGASUS: 1964 - 1971

Commander R. F. (Ray) Sanderson, OBE, VRD*, RNZNVR

Commander Raymond Frederick Sanderson was born in Napier on 20 June 1922.   He shifted to with his family to live in Wellington at an early age.   He was educated at Seatoun Primary School, followed by six years at Rongatai Boys’ College. At college he was an active member of the college cadet unit.


On leaving school he immediately enlisted in the Territorial Force.   As a Territorial Soldier he was posted to the First Battalion, Wellington Regiment, and six month later was mobilised for active service in a machine gun company guarding the Wellington Coast.   With just over a years service in the Army, he requested, and was granted, a transfer to the newly formed Royal New Zealand Navy as a seaman, and was drafted to HMNZ Ships TAMAKI and PHILOMEL for training.


On completion of his training in December 1942, he was posted to the cruiser HMNZS LEANDER, and was serving on her when she was hit by a torpedo.   On LEANDER’s return to Auckland for repairs, the then Able Seaman Sanderson was selected for officer training at Loch Aelort, near Inverness, Scotland.    On promotion to Temporary Sub Lieutenant, he was posted to LCT (Tank) 7090 of the 16th LCT Flotilla, joining on 29 May 1944 as a relief 1st Lieutenant.   D-day found him landing troops and tanks on Gold, King and Red Beach in Normandy.


Following a request to transfer to General Service, and having completed the conversion course, he was posted to the cruiser, HMS CARDIFF, where he remained for six months before being transferred to the Hunt Class destroyer HMS BLANKNEY on convoy and anti-submarine duties on Britain’s East Coast.   BLANKNEY was ordered to Simonstown, South Africa, and arrived there as the war ended.   On 26 September 1945, the then Sub Lieutenant Sanderson proceeded to NZ to take his discharge in HMNZS COOK.


In 1950 he joined the Wellington Division of the RNZNVR, HMNZS OLPHERT as a Communications Officer.   A civilian employment shift saw him transfer to Auckland in 1957, and HMNZS NGAPONA for a few months before settling in Christchurch in 1958, and a transfer to HMNZS PEGASUS.   His promotion to Lieutenant Commander in May 1959 was followed by his appointment as Executive Officer of HMNZS PEGASUS in 1960.   The following year, 1961, he was awarded his Volunteer Reserve Decoration (VRD), and in late 1962 was appointed Honorary Aide-de-Camp the to the then Governor-General, Right Honorable Brigadier Sir Bernard Fergusson, GCMG, GCVO, DSO, OBE (later Baron Ballantrae KT).


In December 1964 he was promoted to Commander and appointed Commanding Officer, HMNZS PEGASUS, a position he held until his retirement in December 1971.  During his period in command, he was awarded the clasp to his VRD and was created an Officer of the British Empire (military Division), in the 1971 Honours List.


In civilian life he was engaged primarily in the marketing field, but in latter years gravitated to public relations and marine loss adjusting, operating on his own account.   He was elected National President of the New Zealand Loss Adjuster Association during this period.   After his retirement from the RNZNVR, he took a keen interest in the Navy League of NZ, becoming President of the Canterbury Branch for a lengthy period, and was also Vice President of the National body.   For his service to the Navy League, he was awarded their Special Services Award.


For his service, he was awarded Officer of the British Empire (Military Division), the 1939-45 Star, the Pacific Star, the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal, the War Medal, The NZ War Service Medal, the Volunteer Reserve Decoration and Clasp.

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