World War 2

The sinking of HMS ‘Neptune’

The seas were heavy with the wind blowing from the south west in the early hours of Friday the 19th of December 1941 as the ships of Force K steamed towards Tripoli.

They were now 20 miles from the North African coastline, travelling at 24 knots and hunting for their prey. An Italian convoy was reportedly in the area: attempting to resupply Axis troops on shore.

In the lead was HMS Neptune, a Leander Class Cruiser under the command of Captain Rory O?Connor.

Commissioned on the 12th of September 1934 with the pennant number ?20?, Neptune had a complement of 758 officers and ratings, 150 of these men hailed from the far distant shores of New Zealand.

The ship’s motto was: Regnare est servire – to reign is to serve.

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Stolen Valour – When is a veteran not a veteran?


The 28th Maori Battalion was one of our most effective and perhaps proudest military units. During World War 2 they put fear into the enemy and were engaged in many desperate battles.

The men who served in that battalion deserve our thanks and gratitude. Unfortunately they are all gone now.

Wait a minute? All gone? What about?Selwyn Clarke? He’s been in the news lately, surely he is still around, I mean the media have all called him a 28th Maori Battalion veteran, haven’t they?

Well, let’s examine that shall we?

Maori television broke the story and had this to say:

A 28th M?ori Battalion veteran has been left to hit the streets and beg for money to get by, after his pension was cut a month ago.

The former A Company soldier Selwyn Clarke’s pension was cut after he failed to appear in court following his involvement in a land occupation.

Selwyn Clarke is at the Kaitaia markets today asking for money and assistance to get by.

Clarke says, ?I thought I would receive the pension for the rest of my life, but now it’s been cut and I’m here seeking financial support to live off.?

The veteran was trespassed by police following a protest occupation at Kaitaia Airport last year.

Police subsequently issued a warrant for his arrest after he failed to appear in court to face charges and as a result his pension was cut.

Sounds dreadful. A veteran of the famous 28th Maori Battalion.

Selwyn Clarke has been lapping up the media too, making all sorts of claims.

Let’s look at those.

Fairfax carried the?story:

The former soldier, who served in the 28th Maori Battalion, didn’t turn up to court for being trespassed by police for occupying Kaitaia Airport last year.

And in 2012 he was making similar claims:

Maori Battalion veteran Selwyn Clarke sent a call to arms of sorts to Maori gathered at Turangawaewae Marae yesterday trying to find a unified position on water.

The A Company veteran from Ngapuhi, who is almost 90 and went to war aged 13, received a standing ovation when he told the crowd of 1000: “In the war, our leader said to us … ‘Your job is to put your life on the line for the people’. And you did that.

“There’s three of us left from A Company, and today I’m asking you not to put your lives on the line but put your wairua [spirit] on the line. I would like to see that before I die because I think of my mates every morning when I wake up.”

And he claims he was wounded:

“I’m beyond working; my war injuries are playing up more than they used to.”

But what is the truth? ? Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Sealand several months after the devastating fire of 2006.

Sealand several months after the devastating fire of 2006.


The Principality of Sealand is a unique little micronation with a colourful history. Located six miles off the eastern shores of Britain, it is one of four Maunsell Naval Sea Forts deployed by Britain during World War 2. It was originally called Roughs Tower, and was was used to monitor and report German minelaying in the waters off England. During the war, it was home to 150-300 personnel, radar equipment, two 6-inch guns, and two 40mm anti-aircraft autocannons. But after being abandoned by the Royal Navy in 1956, this artificial island on the high seas has been the site of a pirate radio-landing pad, a takeover, a controversial declaration of independence, a coup, and its own miniature war.

In the 1960s, Roy Bates, a former major in the British Army, was among a group of disc jockeys who tried to avoid England?s restrictive broadcasting regulations by setting up pirate radio stations on some of the country?s abandoned offshore outposts, which had been used to fire ground artillery at German aircraft during?World War II.

Bates began broadcasting from one outpost within the three-mile limit of England?s territorial waters, and when he was driven from there in 1966 he planned to start a station at Her Majesty?s Fort Roughs, which was in international waters. Instead, he founded Sealand.

On Sept. 2, 1967, Mr. Bates?declared it an independent nation, himself its royal overseer and his wife, Joan, its princess. Well It was her birthday.

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Hard bastard

This guy was tough…look at how much shrapnel he was carting around inside him…its a wonder he didn’t die of his wounds. Instead he spent his life talking only of a hurty knee:

Ronald Brown stepped on a land mine while on a mission in France in August 1944.

The blast peppered his left leg with red-hot fragments and he was forced to crawl two miles to safety.

But because of medical conditions of the day it was thought safer to leave shrapnel in his body.

He survived the war but only ever told his family the basic story and said the accident had left him with a ‘bad knee’.

Mr Brown told loved ones he still had a ‘bullet’ in his leg and asked his grandchildren not to sit on his knee because of the pain it caused.

But when he died last week aged 94 his family had him cremated and were stunned when staff handed them back a big bag of shrapnel.

The bag contained a whopping 6oz of bomb shrapnel that he had been carrying around for 60 years.

Daughter Jane Madden, 55, of Exeter, Devon said her father told her there was a bullet in his knee from the war, never mentioning the pile of fragments.

She said: “I don’t think he ever realised all that was in his leg – it weighed about six ounces.

“He’d said there was a bullet in his leg but I was imagining one romantic piece of metal.

“But when we went to scatter his ashes we asked whether the bullet had been found and they gave us this bag full of metal.

“It’s just macabre really and amazing because he never used to complain about the pain. It just shows how brave he was.”