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Commanding Officer TOROA: 1963 – 1964

Commander (S) T. R. (Tom) Roydhouse, MBE, VRD, RNZNVR

Commander (S) T. R. (Tom) Roydhouse, MBE, VRD, RNZNVR

Commander (S) Tom Ronald Roydhouse joined Wellington Division of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (NZ Division), on 13 April 1937 as Ordinary Seaman.  In May 1937 he spent two weeks on HMS WAKAKURA around the Cook Strait area. In February 1938 he transferred to the Otago Division as an Ordinary Seaman. By December that year, he had qualified as a Gunnery specialist, and had been rated Able Seaman (AB).


At the beginning of December 1938, he joined HMS ACHILLES, which was returning to UK for recommissioning, along with nine other reservists. They travelled via Suva, Tahiti, Panama Colon, and Jamaica to Portsmouth, returning via Gibraltar, Malta, Port Said, Ismalia, and Aden Colombo to Singapore. By January 1939 he had passed professionally for Leading Seaman, but had to spend time as an AB until 1942 before he could be rated. Shortly after the outbreak of WWII he joined HMS LEANDER and qualified in Minesweeping.


On 6 May 1940 he was mobilised and shifted into new HQ at St. Andrew St, Dunedin, for training. Whilst there he applied to join Scheme B (Civilians who had passed UE ) to got to the UK to train as an officer, but he was turned down because he was already in Reserve. He objected and was subsequently accepted.


In September 1940 he was drafted to Wellington to await transport to England, and on 30 October 1940 he joined MV RANGITANE for passage to England. Arriving at Liverpool he was directed, along with 40 Scheme B persons, to Ipswitch to join HMS GANGES. Unfortunately, NZ House had not sent on his papers, so he started off again as an ordinary seaman.


In January 1941 he was drafted to HMS PEMBROKE (Chatham). Chatham itself had 40,000 sailors. Then to HMS EAGLET (for HMS LEITH) Liverpool for 3 months sea training. From there to HMS VICTORY in August 1941 to await further training at Brighton.


He was drafted to HMS KING ALFRED (Brighton) for final selection for commission. Then onto Lancing College, a few miles out of Brighton. He was commissioned as Temporary Sub-Lieutenant RNZNVR on 6 November 1941


On 16 December 1941 went to South Queensferry, near Edinburgh to join HMNZS TUI as the Minesweeping Officer. HMNZS TUI was still in hands of the builders, Henry Robb of Leith. After her workup in January 1942 HMNZS TUI went to Gairnock for escort duties up the Minches and back. In March 1942 HMNZS TUI was joined by HMNZ Ships SCARBA (Lt Cdr Peter Phipps was CO – future Vice Admiral and Chief of Defence Staff NZ), INCHKEITH, SANDA, and KILLEGRAY (all coal-burners) for voyage to New Zealand, arriving in July 1942.      


From October to November 1942 HMNZS TUI worked out of Suva as anti-sub screen on alternate days with HMS VITI. Then in November TUI shifted to Guadacanal via Noumea and was based at Tulagi on anti-sub duties. In June 1943 Commander Roydhouse returned to Auckland, and to the Auckland Hospital with malaria, jaundice and anaemia.


In July 1942 he reported to Wellington, HMNZS COOK, at Hinemoa St, as DEMS (Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship) officer in charge. Job was to check guns, ammunition and naval gun crews. He was then sent to Otago in charge of placing guns on board merchant ships, and in charge of the Port War Signal Station at Taiaroa Heads. He was discharged on 3 August 1946 after 5 years, 9 months war service.


In May 1947 he rejoined the Otago Division of the RNZNVR as a Paymaster Lieutenant, and about 1954 was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander(S). In 1958  he was awarded his MBE, and in 1960  promoted to Commander.


In 1963 he was appointed in Command HMNZS TOROA, a position he held until his transfer to Christchurch, in 1964, as the NZ Railways Stores Manager for the South Island. He was placed on the Retired List in 1965.


He was married to Win and had a son and two daughters. He died in 2003 in Alexandra.

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