- Tonson, A.E.
- History - WW2
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- June 1982 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Sailor escapades are legion and could no doubt form a book of their own, but we must draw a veil upon those not printable or considered unsuitable for publication. Commodore Humby tells of a young and zealous officer of the day, who, on finding a thirty gallon barrel of beer missing when a large draft was leaving for Auckland, after a lively evening send-off, had every kitbag searched. The barrel was never found and the officer has never lived down his search. More than one rating had a secret bush hideout outside establishment bounds, and nocturnal parties and feasts did not go unpatronised. Not only ratings were involved in escapades and three naval officers, after attending an army mess dinner, later stole back in the early hours, removing as spoils of war a length of tank track used as a fireside fender. With herculean strength they loaded this up and returned to Irirangi, but not unseen by an alert army officer, who, with others, trailed the trio back, to reclaim the trophy in time-honoured style at the expense of wardroom officers. Not having the strength to lift it, or so the story goes, they bequeathed the track to the wardroom where it has been good fireside service for many years. When a snooker game was mooted after some days the black ball was found to be missing, discovered much later adorning the mantelpiece of the army officers’ mess.
HMNZS Irirangi still sails today, in tussock country with flag flying high, a premier communication facility maintaining the fine traditions of the Royal New Zealand Navy, manned by personnel with the spirit of Drake, meeting well the challenges and responsibilities placed upon them in this expanding technological age.
The assistance of the following RNZN officers, most now retired, is acknowledged:
Lt. W.L. Brewer, Lt. Cmdrs. M.R.M. Mason, D.D. Davies, Commodore R.H.L. Humby and Rear Admiral E.C. Thorne.