Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Repairs to HMNZS Achilles

Vestal's many repair jobs weren't restricted only to U.S. ships. On this date in 1943, my dad's ship, USS Vestal, began repairs to the New Zealand cruiser, HMNZS Achilles, which was part of the US Task Force at Espiritu Santo. While providing naval gunfire support off Guadalcanal, Achilles was badly damaged, having taken shrapnel and collision damage in addition to a direct hit on her after turret.

Not all repair jobs went smoothly. Apparently, the condition of the Achilles was such that, while coming alongside, it damaged the Vestal on its starboard main and second deck levels.

Temporary repairs were completed by the 31st. Achilles was sent to the UK for permanent refitting.

HMNZS Achilles
Source: Naval HIstory Homepage

Achilles was built for the Royal Navy in 1933, and commissioned into the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy in 1941. After her war service in the Atlantic and Pacific, Achilles was returned to the Royal Navy in England. She was recommissioned in the Indian Navy in 1948. Achilles was scrapped in 1978.

Sources: Naval History Homepage; Vestal War Diary, January 1943

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