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Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
 
     
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Home Ships Built in Leith 1939 to 1945 HMNZS TUI - Yard No 316 - Bird Class Naval Training - NZ Navy - Built 1941
 
 

Leith Shipyards

 
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HMNZS TUI - Yard No 316 - Bird Class Naval Training - NZ Navy - Built 1941

HMNZS TUI

Tui-Badge

 HMNZS TUI a "Bird Class" Armed Trawler.

(photo from the New Zealand Navy museum sources)

 The crest of HMNZS TUI

 

Owners   New Zealand Navy
           
Registered     Keel Laid    1940
Type of Ship    Bird Class Naval Training Vessel Launched    28/08/1941
      Commissioned    26/11/1941
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    157' 6" Weather    
Beam    27' 6" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     15' 6"      
Draught          
G.R.T.    579 Tons      
DWT          
Complement     33-35 Officers and Men      
Engines   One Shaft Reciprocal triple expansion oil fired, producing ihp of 1100      
Props    1      
Speed    13 knots      
Armament    As fitted,1 x 4" Gun (102mm) with gunshield.Minesweeping equipment, ASDIC, 40-42 light depth charges, 1x Twin Lewis mount.Added in 1942 was 2x 20 mm Guns        
Other known names        
           
Current Status        
Content on will be added as and when available. 
 
SHIPS MOTTO - Tohea te Tohe (Be brave and be determined)
Battle Honours - Atlantic 1942, Guadalcanal 1942-43
Ships History

Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
before being handed over to her new owners, as ever with a ship for Naval forces she had to then be commissioned into that navies fighting forces.

The "Bird Class vessels had been ordered by the Admiralty in 1939 and with the outbreak of World War II they were urgently needed along with every other vessel that could be mustered by Britain and her Allies. HMNZS TUI was the third such ship to be built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb. 

This class was based on the design of an experimental Royal Navy minesweeping trawler were the first new ships to enter service with the Royal New Zealand Navy, their principal peace time function was training, and in wartime, minesweeping and escort duties. After working up in Northern England she went to New Zealand In December 1942, the four ships of the 25th Minesweeping Flotilla, comprising the three 'Bird class' corvettes HMNZS Kiwi, Tui, and Moa, with HMNZS Matai as senior ship, had deployed to the Solomons.

The small ships of the worlds navies have never really got the rightful attention there gallant actions deserved, when most of the focus of the media and the public physic was given over to the perceived more daring and heroic efforts of the large famous capital ships.

 HMNZS TUI also hunted down a Japanese submarine and through her persistent and brave actions she eventually sank the submarine I-17 a sister vessel of I-1 which had been sunk by her sister ships Moa and Kiwi.

The Japanese submarine was more than twice the size of TUI, and there was only 6 survivors from the submarine all picked up by HMNZS TUI and returned to Noumea.

 We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info, or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch with the website and we shall update her story as we go along.

 

 HMNZS_TUI-1944

 

Ship's History: With kind thanks to the Royal New Zealand Navy Museum.

One of three small Bird class corvettes ordered by New Zealand, HMNZS Tui (Pennant number  T234 and later P33) her call sign was in fact ZMSQ was built by Henry Robb Ltd. of Leith, Scotland at a cost of £80,000 and was completed by November 1941. This class was based on the design of an experimental Royal Navy minesweeping trawler HMS Basset (also designed and built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb.) and were the first new ships to enter service with the Royal New Zealand Navy. This class of vessel was designed for training in seamanship, gunnery, minesweeping, and torpedo. Tui had a mounting for a training torpedo tube but was never used during the war. In wartime these vessels could be assigned to minesweeping and escort duties.

 

Tui departed Greenock, Scotland on 15 March 1942 to assist in escorting a convoy to St Johns, Newfoundland and then carried out further working up exercises off Northern England. She arrived in Auckland on 4 August 1942. In early December, Tui joined HMNZS Moa, Kiwi, and Matai at Noumea to constitute a New Zealand anti-submarine flotilla which was designated the 25th Minesweeping Flotilla. The flotilla would serve under the command of a United States Navy officer who was the Commander, South Pacific Area. The Flotilla arrived off Lunga on Guadalcanal Island on 15 December and after fuelling and watering proceeded onto anti-submarine patrols.

 

On 30 January 1943 in company with Moa, Tui encountered four Japanese landing barges, silencing the leading barge and sinking two others. On 19 August 1943 Tui sailed from Noumea as antisubmarine escort to the US Navy supply ship USS Taganak and the liberty ship Wiley Post, bound for Espiritu Santo. Shortly after two o'clock in the afternoon the asdic operator in Tui reported a 'contact' bearing east, at the long range of 3100 metres.  The convoy was ordered to make an emergency turn to starboard and commenced zigzagging at full speed.

 

Tui then carried out a series of three runs over the position (see copy of Tui's Track Chart below) launching a total of four depth charges. Contact was then lost. At this stage American seaplanes arrived and assisted in the hunt. At 5.15 pm what looked like the conning tower of a submarine was sighted. It was well out of range and making away at speed under much brown, oily smoke. Tui opened fire with her 4-inch (102mm) gun and scored two hits. She ceased fire after twenty rounds, and three American aircraft then attacked with depth-charges. Then the submarine was seen to up-end and sink vertically. Three minutes later two heavy underwater explosions were heard on the ASDIC phones and felt throughout the ship. Tui picked up six Japanese ratings, the only survivors of the submarine's complement of more than ninety officers and ratings. She received orders to return to Noumea, where she arrived next morning.

Interrogation or the prisoners disclosed that the submarine was the I-17, a sister ship to the I-1 that had been sunk by Kiwi and Moa. She was the seventeenth Japanese submarine destroyed in South Pacific since January 1942. During the last quarter of 1943, Tui along with Matai and Kiwi gave anti-submarine escort to supply ships returning to New Georgia, Vella Lavella, and the Treasury Islands. From January 1944 onward the Flotilla saw similar service in the Bougainville area. Tui returned to New Zealand later in 1944 for refitting and then saw service in the Solomon Islands in late 1944 to early 1945. In March 1945 she went on escort duty to Hollandia, on the north coast of Dutch New Guinea.

Tui-battle-chart

Tui returned to Auckland in July 1945 and was placed in reserve. Of the 25th Minesweeping Flotilla at which Tui was a part, the US Commander South Pacific Area, Admiral Halsey, paid the tribute that the 'alert and courageous actions of the crews of these gallant little ships merit the highest praise.' In August 1945 Tui was deployed to help in the clearance of the Auckland minefields, going into reserve in June 1946.

 

She recommissioned in February 1952, as a training ship, before paying off in May 1955 for conversion to a research ship. Her armament was removed and her superstructure was extended aft, to provide space for laboratories, offices and additional accommodation. Rated as a Royal New Zealand Fleet Auxiliary, she made many scientific voyages around New Zealand, the Southern Oceans, and the South pacific between March 1956 and December 1967, including many scientific cruises for the DSIR and NRL to places around New Zealand and Pacific islands. She investigated shipwrecks, notably MV Holmglen off Timaru in in 1959 and Kaitawa off Cape Reinga in 1966.


Tui was finally decommissioned on 22 December 1967. She was stripped of her equipment and sold in December 1969 to Pacific Scrap Ltd who demolished her.
She was replaced in 1970 by a purpose built oceanographic ship with the same name.when she finally paid off. 

 

 

 

HMNZS TUI seen hear in this photograph (reproduced with permission) as an oceanographic survey ship.

 

 

Tui_RNZN_
 

 

 
Tales from the Ship

 

Here you will find the stories from the men and women who sailed on the ships, what was it really like to be working on a ship in a raging sea and in the pitch dark of night, the real stories some funny some sad, some good and some bad.

Dedicated to all the brave men and women who sailed the vessels from the Leith Shipyards.

We have been sent the wartime diary of the Captain of HMNZS TUI

Captain J. E. HANCOX was with TUI from her build at Leith where he and his crew picked her up and proceeded to bring her up to speed ready to join in the conflict, the story and photographs were sent in to the website by his son Bill and all is shown here by permission.

 This is in fact a photograph of Lt,Com,Phipps,who went on after the war to become chief of staff,NZ forces.

 The photograph above shows the then Lt Hancox in the middle as they boarded the ship at Leith, ready for there adventures in the North Atlantic before heading on to New Zealand and the war in the Pacific.

The wartime diary of Capt Hancox and further photographs will continue.

Should you know of anyone who may have sailed on her, then please feel free to get in touch so that we can add the story here.

 

Tui-T234-01

 

HMNZS TUI (photo credit unknown)

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Comments   

 
0 #4 bill hancox 2015-11-27 02:42
My father Capt Jim Hancox,was one of the crew that sailed the Tui from Scotland to New Zealand in 1942.
He also served on the Moa and Kiwi during the Guadalcanal episodes.
regards Bill Hancox.
Quote
 
 
0 #3 Alana 2015-04-25 04:00
Hi Rodney Hooker,

I'd really love to see your photos! My grandfather served on the Tui and I'm really interested in any history I can find on the ship. Thank you!
Quote
 
 
0 #2 Rodney Hooker 2013-09-10 07:31
I was on Tui as a technician during the search for the Kaitawa in 1966. I took a number of photos of the Tui and the other search vessels. I have converted them to jpeg format of about 170kb each.
Would you be interested in seeing them?
I can email them.
Regards Rod
Quote
 
 
+1 #1 Jin Dell 2013-03-31 19:47
The callsigns you refer to are in fact her pennant numbers. Tui's callsign was ZMSQ
Regards
Quote
 

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