for this Operation, and to remain on her own near the target area, she
is equipped with special aerials, air-conditioned scientific work rooms and
photographic dark rooms, and has a wooden helicopter deck with facilities! for operating two helicopters. Like
Warrior she will also be required to make certain meteorological reports and she has been specially fitted for this purpose. Another responsibility will be the placing of barrage balloons to assist navigation in the target area.
To complete the network of Met. reporting stations two
R.N.Z.N. frigates, the Pukaki and Rotoiti, will be used. These are ex-"Loch" class ships of the Royal Navy which were purchased by New Zealand in 1948 and renamed after lakes. They will also be fitted with recording instruments.
One cannot write about the role of the Navy without also including the "Sea
Soldiers"-the Royal Marines. They have had a place in naval history from the earliest times, when fighting at sea was done by soldiers who boarded the enemy ships and fought hand to hand, but it was not until the reign of King Charles II that the first exclusively Maritime Regiment was formed. The present-day Corps of Royal Marines was formed in 1923. Its functions have changed with the times and today, besides providing detachments for H.M.
Ships whose role is to man a proportion of the ship's main armament and to provide a highly trained land striking force, the Corps undertakes all Commando work and provides crews for landing craft as part of its amphibious role.
The "Grapple" detachment, two officers and 53 other ranks, assembled and trained at the Amphibious School at Poole, Dorset. About half the party left England for Fiji by air and were picked up there by H.M.T.
Devonshire and taken on to Christmas Island along with the rest of the Advance Force. Before the arrival of
Ben Wyvis with their first four L.C.M.'s, the detachment helped in the erection of the Port Camp and its facilities. The unloading of the
L.C.M.'s on 1st July was a welcome change from the dust and sand and the craft and crews
were immediately occupied in the unloading of the Ben Wyvis and the S.S.
The rest of the party, together with a further six craft, arrived in August in H.M.S.
Messina. As time progressed duties other than pure load carrying increased, such as fuel lighter, dredger hopper towing, assistance to H.M.S.
Salvictor and so on. Until the end of the unloading of the last cargo ship, the
Beech Hill, fully eight craft were required daily. Surplus crews were incorporated into a construction team for the erection of the more permanent facilities of the Port Camp, such as the kitchens and the canteen. The Craft Maintenance Officer has had a full-time job keeping all these craft mechanically efficient and no small measure of their
success has been due to his efforts and those of his staff.
Each L.C.M. is manned by a Corporal (Coxswain) and five marines.
The "Landing Craft driver" is trained at Poole in the operation and elementary maintenance of the engine, while the deckhands are given a four weeks' course before qualifying as an
L.C.3, and the coxswain an additional 11 weeks before becoming an
You will undoubtedly hear members of the Corps called by a variety of nick-names, the most Common being "Bootnecks", derived from the