New Zealand's first significant military action in the war was when HMS Achilles, one of New Zealand's two light cruisers, became involved in the hunt for the German warship Admiral Graf Spee which had sunk nine British merchant ships. Eventually, with two other cruisers, the Achilles intercepted the German warship and attacked it on 13 December 1939. The Admiral Graf Spee fled into the neutral port of Montevideo, Uruguay, but eventually the commander took it out of the harbour and scuttled it. Four men had been killed on the Achilles. When the ship returned to New Zealand in early 1940 there was a huge welcome. This painting of the Achilles is by Frank Norton.
Using this item
Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: AAC 898 NCWA Q223
Gouache by Frank Norton
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