Cruisers of the Royal New Zealand Navy

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Historic ships of the
Royal New Zealand Navy
RNZN Ensign
Alphabetical list

Commissioned cruisers of the Royal New Zealand Navy from its formation on 1 October 1941 to the present:

Name Type Class Dates Notes
HMNZS Achilles (70) Cruiser Leander class 1941-1946  
HMNZS Bellona (63) Cruiser Dido class 1946-1956  
HMNZS Black Prince (81) Cruiser Dido class 1946-1961  
HMNZS Gambia (C48) Cruiser Crown colony class 1943-1946  
HMNZS Leander Cruiser Leander class 1941-1948 Served in the New Zealand Division 1937-1941
HMNZS Monowai (F59) Armed merchant cruiser   1940-1943
HMNZS Royalist (C89) Cruiser Dido class 1956-1966  

Loss of HMS Neptune[edit]

HMS Neptune was a Leander class light cruiser which served with the Royal Navy during World War II. Early in 1941 the New Zealand Government responded to an Admiralty request for sailors to man an additional cruiser. Neptune was selected and was expected to leave the United Kingdom for New Zealand in May. However, because of the loss of cruisers during the Crete campaign Neptune was instead attached to Admiral Cunningham's Force K, based on Malta. On 19 December 1941 she was sunk by mines. Only one crewman survived.[1]

150 of those lost were New Zealanders, 80 of them had served in the Naval Reserve before the outbreak of war. The loss of Neptune was the greatest single tragedy New Zealand Naval Forces have experienced.

See also[edit]



  • Walters, Sydney David (1956) The Royal New Zealand Navy: Official History of World War II, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington Online
  • McDougall, R J (1989) New Zealand Naval Vessels. Page 23-36. Government Printing Office. ISBN 978-0-477-01399-4
  • Royal New Zealand Navy HMS Neptune