December 2014: HMS NEPTUNE Service
On 19 December 1941 HMS NEPTUNE was lost off the coast of Libya after it ran into an uncharted Italian minefield in the Mediterranean Sea off Tripoli. At 2.10 am a mine exploded off her starboard bow. Three more mines went off before the Cruiser sank with the loss of 764 officers and men, including 150 New Zealanders.
On the 21st December 2014 HMNZS OLPHERT hosted a commemoration service in Wellington attended by former and serving members of the Navy, Naval Reserve and their families. For the RNZNVR the Neptune represents our largest single loss of life, with 80 of the 150 New Zealand crew being made up of reservists from the four Naval Reserve Divisions.
A traditional Naval Service consisting of prayers, the roll of honour and the recounting of the story was carried out – keeping Neptune’s memory alive and introducing some of our new recruits to the traditions and history of the RNZNVR and the RNZN.
For more information on the sinking of the Neptune click here
Image: Chaplin Betham-Lang leads the Commemoration Service at HMNZS OLPHERT.
Image: LTCDR K Moloney RNZNVR delivers his address on the events of that day in our Navy's history.