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Royal New Zealand Navy : 25-October-2011
Royal New Zealand Navy : 25-October-2011

Photographs supplied by Graeme Saunders

A tree commemorates those who served with the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Battle of the River Plate during World War Two. The New Zealand Navy ship Achilles took part in the Battle of the River Plate.

The Battle of the River Plate was the first naval battle in the Second World War and the first one of the Battle of the Atlantic in South American waters. The German panzerschiff Admiral Graf Spee had cruised into the South Atlantic a fortnight before the war began, and had been commerce raiding after receiving appropriate authorisation on 26 September 1939. One of the hunting groups sent by the British Admiralty to search for Graf Spee, comprising three Royal Navy cruisers, HMS Exeter, Ajax and Achilles (the last from the New Zealand Division), found and engaged their quarry off the estuary of the River Plate close to the coast of Uruguay in South America.

In the ensuing battle, Exeter was severely damaged and forced to retire; Ajax and Achilles suffered moderate damage. The damage to Admiral Graf Spee, although not extensive, was critical; her fuel system was crippled. Ajax and Achilles shadowed the German ship until she entered the port of Montevideo, the capital city of neutral Uruguay, to effect urgent repairs. After Graf Spee's captain Hans Langsdorff was told that his stay could not be extended beyond 72 hours, he scuttled his damaged ship rather than face the overwhelmingly superior force that the British had led him to believe was awaiting his departure.

Location

Address:Birdwood Avenue, Shrine Reserve, Melbourne, 3000
State:VIC
Area:Foreign
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.830139
Long: 144.973276
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Tree
Monument Theme:Conflict
Sub-Theme:WW2
Actual Event STart Date:03-September-1939
Actual Event End Date:15-August-1945

Dedication

Front Inscription

1939                             1945
ROYAL NEW ZEALAND NAVY
BATTLE OF THE RIVER PLATE 1939

Source: MA,SKP
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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