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King George V inspects HMS New Zealand

The battleship HMS New Zealand was a gift to Britain’s navy from the people of New Zealand. The day before the ship departed on a tour of the colonies, it was visited by King George V, an old sailor himself. The King was particularly interested in the 12-inch guns, and navigation equipment. The Dominion newspaper reported that “His Majesty was greatly amused at the decorations of the gun-room, which… somewhat resembled a lady's boudoir [bedroom]." (7 February 1913, p.5).  New Zealand-born officers on the ship were introduced to the King and he met the ship's mascot, Pelorus Jack, a bulldog puppy who can be briefly seen in this clip.

Year:1913

Location:Royal Dockyard, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

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King George V inspects HMS New Zealand

The battleship HMS New Zealand was a gift to Britain’s navy from the people of New Zealand. The day before the ship departed on a tour of the colonies, it was visited by King George V, an old sailor himself. The King was particularly interested in the 12-inch guns, and navigation equipment. The Dominion newspaper reported that “His Majesty was greatly amused at the decorations of the gun-room, which… somewhat resembled a lady's boudoir [bedroom]." (7 February 1913, p.5).  New Zealand-born officers on the ship were introduced to the King and he met the ship's mascot, Pelorus Jack, a bulldog puppy who can be briefly seen in this clip.


Year: 1913

Length: 03:49

Production Company: Topical Film Company

Source: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Catalogue Reference: F5539 [King George V inspects HMS New Zealand]


People: King George V, Winston Churchill (First Lord of the Admiralty), Thomas Mackenzie (High Commissioner for New Zealand), James Allen (New Zealand Minister for Defence), Sir Joseph Ward (MP), Captain Lionel Halsey (HMS New Zealand)

Location: Royal Dockyard, Portsmouth, United Kingdom


This film indicates the enormous interest in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom at the first Colonial 'gift' battleship to the Royal Navy. The British newspaper the Daily Telegraph claimed "[t]he vessel is a source of pride to every Englishman, and the subject of amazement to those who thought to wrest Britain's sea supremacy." (7 February 1913, p.5)

With the King’s tour party on this 1913 inspection at the Royal Dockyard in Portsmouth was Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, and later architect of the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign. This film also shows New Zealand Ministers and officials: Thomas Mackenzie, New Zealand’s High Commissioner; James Allen, the Minister for Defence; and Sir Joseph Ward, who was Prime Minister at the time the ship was gifted to the Royal Navy.

Topical films featuring the inspection, including this one, screened in Wellington, at His Majesty's Theatre, and Auckland, at The King's Theatre, in mid-March 1913.

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King George V inspects HMS New Zealand

  • Royal Dockyard, Portsmouth, UK

  • 0:00

    King George V at gangway of HMS New Zealand shakes hands with Rear Admiral Herbert Leopold Heath and staff, Royal train and other dignitaries wearing top hats in background. King George ascends gangway, Winston Churchill in background meets officer.

  • 0:19

    Guard of Honour receives Royal party on deck, which is covered in a canvas awning.

  • 0:26

    King George inspects Guard of Honour in background, while dignitaries in foreground standing in front of sailors wait, group includes Winston Churchill and Thomas Mackenzie.

  • 0:39

    Sailors remove hats as King, escorted by Captain Lionel Halsey, inspects them, followed by Winston Churchill.

  • 0:59

    King George walks through the middle of Royal party, stopping briefly to talk to Sir Joseph Ward, then heads below deck. Sailors march off, away from camera, while dignitaries talk, Sir John Jellicoe joins group which includes Thomas Mckenzie.

  • 1:13

    Sailors march towards camera carrying canvas awning while sailors climb awning supports in background.

  • 1:33

    Dignitaries and ship's officers get ready for formal photo sitting beneath the New Zealand coat of arms.

  • 1:41

    King George talks to men standing in front of group and eventually sits down, other dignitaries follow.

  • 2:10

    Photo taken and group disperses.

  • 2:21

    King George (out of shot) pats bulldog puppy "Pelorus Jack", while dignitaries including Sir Hedworth Meux and Jellicoe and sailors in background look on.

  • 2:51

    Sailor signals with semaphore flags while another sailor looks through a telescope.

  • 2:59

    View from bow looking towards two 12" gun turret, with bridge tower in background.

  • 3:11

    King George descends gangway as officers salute him, followed by Meux.

  • 3:35

    King George talks to officer.

  • 3:44

    Officer directs dignitaries to their carriages in Royal train, James Allen in background.