New Neptune Memorial in Dunedin, New Zealand unveiled - 12 December 2008
|New Neptune Memorial in Dunedin, New Zealand unveiled - 12 December 2008|
Due to the combined efforts of Royden Thomson (son of Paymaster Lieut Bruce Thomson, RNZNVR) and Nigel McPherson (brother of Midshipman Brian McPherson, RNZN), supported by the Dunedin Returned and Services Assn, a memorial to those who perished in HMS Neptune was erected on the Dunedin waterfront, and unveiled on Friday 12th December 2008. This was the culmination of several years of effort, as there is no public memorial to this event which claimed the lives of 30 local men out of the 150 New Zealanders involved in the Neptune tragedy.
Situated on a prime waterfront site, visitors are able to read the inscriptions on the inclined top, and look over the memorial to the upper harbour where many of the victims received their basic training. In fact Royden Thomson has a photograph taken in about 1938 which shows his father as an RNVR Officer, standing in the stern of a naval cutter which is being rowed by a group of RNVR trainees.
The unveiling featured a strong naval presence headed by Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Ledson, the British High Commissioner together with relatives and friends of the victims including Norma Hudson (daughter of the one survivor) and her husband from England.
Prior to the conclusion of the service, the President of the Returned and Services Assn. gifted the memorial to the city. A DVD of proceedings is being made, and orders taken when completed
The memorial is made of hand selected, locally quarried basalt. This stone features in many of the historic buildings in Dunedin. The top is a one piece basalt slab, and incorporates two bronze plaques. One, with the account of the engagement, and features the HMS Neptune Crest, specially cast by Manor Foundry in England. The other bears the names of the 30 local sailors who perished, beneath which is the epitaph,
There are no flowers on a sailors grave
No lilies on an ocean wave
The only tribute is the seagulls sweep
And the teardrop on a loved one cheek.
© 2002-2018 The Neptune Association, Registered Charity No 1103413.