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HMNZS Royalist C89 at Esquimalt, BC, 1962
Ships and Harbours
No: 1131   Contributor: Ken Watson   Year: 1962   Manufacturer: Scotts' Shipbuilding, Greenock, United Kingdom   Country: Canada
HMNZS Royalist C89 at Esquimalt, BC, 1962

Royal New Zealand Navy's flagship 'Royalist' visiting Esquimalt, British Columbia, 1962. A light cruiser of the improved 'Dido' Class of wartime construction: 7,360 tons full load disp.; 512 ft LOA ;50.5 ft beam; 15 ft draught. Machinery: 4 shaft geared turbines -62,000SHP -33 knots. Main armament 8-4.5 in DP guns. Built Scotts 1942, to New Zealand 1955.

EDITOR: On request (Ken), I've changed the year from 1964 to 1962. (2 May 2008).
Picture added on 07 March 2007
add commentComments:
Small point but, HMNZS Royalist C89 was CRUISER of British Improved Dido Class of Light Cruiser and should be placed in Cruiser Album, fantastic web site. Best regards, Ken

Editor: change made, thanks Ken

Added by Ken Watson on 10 March 2007.
Was a member of the crew on that cruise. The main armament is in fact 5.25 inch not 4.5 as stated in the photo.

Added by Charles Conroy on 26 March 2007.
Absolutely correct Charles, 5.25s on all ships of the class. A typo, thanks for noticing. Hope you had a good visit to Canada.

Added by Ken Watson on 26 March 2007.
Sorry Royalist C89 was a modified Bellona Class, Dido's had three 5.25 turrets forward and two aft

Added by Tug on 29 July 2007.
Hi Tug: This pic is getting lots of comments, great stuff! According to H.T.Lenton, BritishWarships, 1962: Two Dido groups were built, as you correctly note all (First Group Didos) ships were fitted with 3 X 5.25 twins for'd, (Second Group Didos) were fitted with 2 X 5.25 twins for'd); he goes on to note that of the five ships in the (Second Group) Spartan was war loss, Bellona was scrapped, Black Prince to RNZN 1946, Royalist to RNZN 1955 and Diadem to Pakistan as Babur in 1956. This is the first I have heard of a Bellona Class! Could be a later local classification viz.unofficial? Maybe our dear viewers can add more. Best wishes, Ken.

Added by Ken Watson on 29 July 2007.
Lots of typos about this photo.. Royalist visited Victoria B.C. in 1962 and not 1964

Added by Ian Buckingham on 15 March 2008.
ii was onboard when this pic was taken talk abt a blast fm the past live in ast nw and recovery of sydney jogged the memory, was there ani conection btween the ships look a bit like sisters... jon harris ex lrd zmwp

Added by Jon Kynneresly Harris on 08 April 2008.
Well now Ian, I think your off by a couple of years, the chaps onboard and the photographer don't agree. Cheers, Ken

Added by Ken Watson on 08 April 2008.
At the risk of starting a range war, It was 1962. check when the seattle
worlds fair was on.. 1962 Marilyn monroe dies when we were there, august 1962.. I was out of pussers in june 1964.. sorry folks..unless royalist went back in 1964.. this photo was taken in 1962..
Ian Buckingham.

Added by Iaan Buckingham on 08 April 2008.
We must allow for inflation, but sorry Tug Royalist only had 2 turrets forward, not 3
Ian Buckingham

Added by Ian Buckingham on 08 April 2008.
Re the visit by HMNZS Royalist (C89 - ZMWP) to Esquimalt, Vancouver, Seattle, San Fransisco, Los Angeles (Long Beach) the year definitely was NOT 1964, because I was there and was discharged 1963....It was the same year that Seattle held the World's Fair. Esquimalt was a fabulous place for a run ashore. The local Canadian Navy Commander was exhorting local inhabitants to make sure they showed us a good time in reciprocation of Auckland giving visiting Canadian ships a good time..

the times Auckland gave Canadian ships visiting. Was the only place I have hear matelots say "Thank God I am duty tomorrow, and can have a rest"

Added by MIchael Commons (NZ14918) Signals Dept on 09 April 2008.
Tug, You are partly correct. Bellona and Blackprince were modified didos as they had only two 5.25 turrets forward not three. The Royalist was a modified modified dido. cheers charles.

Added by Charles Conroy on 09 April 2008.
Add to my last, it definitely was 1962 as the then current Miss NZ Maureen kingi was in San Fransisco and met the ship .

Added by Charles Conroy on 09 April 2008.
the flagwaver is correct we were there while the worlds fair was on in seattle i distinctly rember the horrifying ride to the top onthe lift attatched to the outside of the tower . they did have 3 turrets fwd and i believe aft also but two were removed during the mods . cheers jon

Added by Jon Kynneresly Harris on 14 April 2008.
Just to confirm. I was in Royalist from January 1963 to November 1964. The closest she got to Canada in that time was Pearl Harbor. She didn't get to BC after that either - she had one more Far East deployment before breaking down catastrophically in the Coral Sea on the way home.
I was in HMNZS Lachlan when we steamed north with emergency supplies. By the time we got there heroic efforts by Royalist's engine room staff (assisted by some volunteer weapons people) had got her under way again.
When we had a RAS, somebody made a blue with the "left hand down a bit" and we were so close together that we were passing stuff by hand across to our mates on the gun-deck above the ERA's mess aft.
Even proceeding on drastically reduced power from one unit she left Lachlan struggling to keep up and proceeded home to a big welcome and an ignominious end.

Added by Alan Henderson on 27 April 2008.
yr comments are correct but that happened after she came back fm the show the flag cruise to north america i believe the oriana stopped and transferred fresh fuit to the old girl b4 she got underway again not surprised old lachlan couldnt keep up with her we achieved abt 38 knots in bul up after her refit cheers jon

Added by Jon Kynneresly Harris on 30 April 2008.
I was in Royalist 1962 to 1965 whent to peal harbour and to the far east a few time was in the royal guard for the Queen at Waitangi given a sliver hook for this also spent five years on the Rotoiti from 1957 to 1962 then went on Royalist.

Added by Peter Hamilton on 20 August 2008.
Right on Jon. I was in the after engine room for the 38 knot full power trial you're referring to.
Snuck up onto the quarterdeck for a sticky beak at the rooster-tail - looked like a reversed Huka Falls. 60, 000 SHP in a 5, 000 ton ship certainly gives it a boost.

Added by Alan Henderson on 20 August 2008.
Hi who remembers the first far east commission. Good ship Good Crew.When the 5.25,s fired all the lights went out.also we did a 37 knot speed trial and shook 'all' out of us

Added by Barrie Mead on 22 January 2010.
Royalist was a modified Type II Dido class. There were two types of Didos - Type I which originally had three turrets up forrard and funnels raked back and Type II which had the funnels straight up and down. Royalist broke down in 1965 in the Coral Sea of "salt water condensiritis". The tug Carlock came out from Queensland to tow us away from the Reef. Then Lachlan came out to take over the tow. Dido story can be viewed at (Cut and paste)

Added by Jim Dell on 22 March 2010.
I was in Royalist on the Canada/USA cruise. It was 1962. I was a trainee bunting and was in the same watch as Ian Buckingham and Charlie Conroy. We were there for the City of Victoria Centennial and some of us took part in the parade past the Empress hotel during this event.

Added by Ken Smith on 23 October 2010.
Hi Guys my claim to this awesome ship was in 1960 she came to Australia for war games with combined navies of the commonwealth and was posted on a small cruise with 10 cadets from TS Melbourne. We did the cruise up the east coast we had a great time except on gunnery practice, my mate and I had no earmuffs and we both ended up with severe tinnitus years later. It was a great experience and still a big part of my early youth I think of often.
We had a rear admiral on board at the time and I remember his cap being blown of and him chasing it along the quarterdeck and saying to us with the gold braid it cost too much to lose he caught it.

Billy Hill

Added by Billy on 20 October 2012.
Yes she was awesome Billy.I was on her in November 1962 on Tour to Australia. It was said there were 700 personnel onboard and I as a Junior Seaman slept in the cable Flat. I lost my hearing to the guns off Jervois Bay in a shoot there because I had no ear plugs either. Imagine eight 5.25 barrels opening fire at once eh. Had blood coming out of both ears when I went below according to all the other seamen. Now classified as 65% deaf. I know she was capable of 36 knots as we had NOCA onboard and at one time we gave her a run. After that I spent a year on the Far East Fleet on HMNZS Taranaki and heard Royalist was over in Hawaii headed for the East Coast of America before heading for the Far East. We arrived back home on the 1 April 1963.

Added by Speed on 25 January 2013.
Hey Billy that wrong didn't I! It was November 1961 we were in Australia on Royalist and left for the Far East on Taranaki on the 30 April 1962. Haere.

Added by Speed on 26 January 2013.
to Ian Buckingham: when Royalist was delivered to Nz it had three turret Fw'd .Read carefully two 5.25 A&B; and behind B turret there was a STAAG turret which was later removed leaving two STAAG's a midships one of which I was my action station as " Radar operator" on while I was on that department..

Added by Tug on 29 January 2013.
I Was there on that cruise, 1962 she was the best ship I served on though Taranaki went close. I was EM for B Turret for some time.

Added by Roger Campbell on 15 March 2013.
You forgot to mention the 40/60 mounting just forward of your stag mounting Tug. My lookout site was just above it....After Port lookout.


Added by Speed on 18 March 2013.
I was on Royalist from 1963 and remained on board after she tied up alongside as security with a few stokers in 1965.You were correct about the salt water contaminating the feed water system and causing our breakdown and yes we did clean the system out with the help of the seaman, they were great and we managed to flash up the boilers and get under way and the speed was 18 knots and the reason Lachlan could not keep up.I was also in charge of that guard in Waitangi for that trip

Added by P.O.M.E. Mike Kahotea. on 25 August 2013.
Due to the unavailability of 5.25 gun turrets
only a few of the first bunch of Didos had 3 forward turrets . These were the ones with raked funnels . Some Didos were equipped with 4.5 guns

Added by John on 25 January 2014.
To Clarify Royalist had 4 5.25 twin Turrets A B X Y 2 Forward 2 Aft 2 Bofors and 2 Staags. Stabilised Tachometric Anti Aircraft Guns

Added by EM Roger Campbell on 17 May 2015.
Those of you on this trip <1962> will remember the work up and the drone that we shot down, caused mayhem amongst the yanks.have some great memories among them a certain Charlie conroy dispensing some lower deck justice to a seaman who shall remain unnamed who was causing mayhem after a run ashore and Charlie was called to set him on the right path.canadians were the most friendliest people ever and the worlds fair was terrific, what has stayed in my mind was the million dollar booth where they had a million one dollar pieces in a square see through display, i still have the souvineer dollar coin to this day. as stated great days and a super crew.wally strong nz15843.

Added by Wally Strong on 24 October 2015.
What about Scyllla and Charabidis

Added by on 28 October 2015.
The ships Bell was returned to HMS Royalist's original sponsor The London Fire Brigade and I think it is at their Training School. when delivered had three STAGG mountings one behind B turret with very limited arc of fire.

Added by Tug on 29 October 2015.
Hi to everyone yes I agree royalist was one great ship to have the pleasure to serve on, 63, 64 , 65. Car lock was not the tug to take us in tow of reef it was Royal Navy survey ship Dampier.she arrived on the following afternoon, took on fuel from royalist and then began to tow her away from the bellonaislandarea and into open water. There she had to leave royalist and make for port moresby to take on more fuel. In the meantime word came through arrangements had been made for car lock to come from Brisbane for tow.buzzes were rife. Going to Brisbane or Sydney and airlift fromaustralia.but most hoped Auckland would be the port.carlock finally itws announced to make tow.on 6th November at 2310 she was ready to take tow. Saturday was Aquire day but arnzzaf Sunderland from Fiji arrived and dropped4cannisters of mail from they aarived back to take photographs.on the 9th Lachlan arrived with stores but no beer and no films. On the 12th of november .at 0500 the tow was slipped and built up to ten knots car lock took up station on starboard quarter. Then we took more stores and fuel and most important was the booze. Arriving home on the 17th. Yes royalist was a great ship and the crew from 65 was a great bunch of gentleman.have a great xmas to all

Added by Kevin dickey on 23 December 2015.
I was on the Royalist from 63 to 66. I remember when the Dampier came alongside us we put a bloody big hole in her. I was on the Mess deck and next minute I was looking at the Chief Stoker shaving on the Dampier!
It was terrible site watching them cut up the Royalist. She could have been used as a training ship.

Added by Mike Lodge on 06 February 2016.
Did the '62 trip to Canada & States. If memory serves, it was by invitation to celebrate the centenary of the RCN. Seatle, etc, a bonus

Added by Kirk (Jacky) Boyd on 01 May 2016.
Did 57 trip to Japan ect, crew went down with Asian flue.

Did trip to States etc 62, Seatle Fair the million silver Dollars, GREAT TRIP GREAT CREW. KIA ORA KIA KAHA KIA TOA

Added by DALE MCGIFFORD NZ 15132 on 07 June 2016.
My dad wayne mcculloch did 1960-1963 on the Royalist he loved that ship.

Added by Blair McCulloch on 05 September 2018.
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Scotts' Shipbuilding, Greenock, United Kingdom

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