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1SL and WONS attend New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary celebrations

2 December 2016
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The most senior officer in the RN – First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones – and the most senior rating – Warrant Officer Naval Service WO1 Steve Cass – pose for a quick shot on the flight deck of HMNZS Otago as the Commonwealth Navy celebrates its 75th birthday.

The frigate served as flagship for a fleet review in Auckland Harbour as the country’s Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy took the salute from eight New Zealand and international warships – from China, Australia, Korea and Japan, Indonesia and India – joined by VIPs.

The two-hour-long sail past, during which the Otago was accompanied by a waka – Maori war canoe – was the high point of six weeks of celebrations and commemorations, codenamed Operation Neptune after the cruiser largely crewed by Kiwis which was lost with all but one hand in the Mediterranean in December 1941.

It really was the most impressive series of events, and the Royal New Zealand Navy delivered in splendid style

WO1 Steve Cass

Given commitments elsewhere, the RN was unable to provide a vessel for the review, but the Royal Marines Band Portsmouth made the 23,000-mile round trip to perform at various events.

“It really was the most impressive series of events, and the Royal New Zealand Navy delivered in splendid style, despite the devastating damage and disruption in Kia-Koura and elsewhere caused by an earthquake the week before,” said WO1 Cass.  

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