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The Battlecruiser New Zealand: A Gift to Empire

The Battlecruiser New Zealand: A Gift to Empire

The Battlecruiser New Zealand: A Gift to Empire. By Matthew Wright, Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley, 2021. ISBN 978152678403 2 (Hardback).

Matthew Wright’s work on the HMS New Zealand, one of three Indefatigable-class battlecruisers captures the history of this ship. A gift from the Government of New Zealand to the Royal Navy. She was considered state of the art and Matthew spends nearly half of the book on the build of the ship. Which I think was necessary for a complete telling of her story. In addition, the accompanying pictures really help convey the history to the readers. But Matthew’s strongest talent is in research excellent firsthand primary source material on the ship and the key officers and crew on board her. In fact, these quotes and historical tidbits convey the human factor of the history and make for a much more enjoyable read.

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When telling the story of HMS New Zealand traveling around the world accompanying maps would have been useful. But, at the same time the information Matthew shares on Jutland and Dogger Bank is quite excellent. In fact, the author discusses a scientific analyiss of the British Battlecruiser shooting at Jutland and how in fact the data showed the results, to be so bad, the Naval Research originally considered the Jutland data to be “outliers”.

When you consider how many British Battlecruisers were sunk at Jutland, HMS New Zealand certainly is a special ship. One that Matthew clearly loves and appreciates with his book which has the utmost respect for her.

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Matthew provides great detail on the important individuals involved with the ship as well as the background and politics of the Naval world of that day.

I also really enjoyed Matthew’s analysis of Dogger Bank and more importantly the British Admiralty’s actions before and after. And the author explains the thinking of the Royal Navy. I really feel like I understand the Royal Navy much better post this book.

But, Matthew explains how Admiral Beatty fits into Jutland in a neat and intelligent manner. Especially relative to the questions about poor armor onboard the battlecruisers vs Beatty’s poor communication. Lastly, clearly the author is in the ‘Jelicoe camp’ vs the ‘Beatty camp’. Which becomes apparent, though many Naval historians are as well. In fact, the book’s introduction is written by Jelicoe’s grandson.

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Battle of Jutland’s Naval Standing

However, for students of Jutland, Dreandoughts and the Royal Navy I would highly recommend purchasing Matthew Wright’s:

The Battlecruiser New Zealand: A Gift to Empire. By Matthew Wright, Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley, 2021. ISBN 978152678403 2 (Hardback).

British Ships of the First World War HMS NEW ZEALAND. INDEFATIGABLE class battlecruiser. Built for the Royal New Zealand Navy but presented to the Royal Navy on completion in 1912. Fought at Dogger Bank and Jutland.
British Battlecruisers that Fought at Jutland – 19-N-4166
THE ROYAL NAVY IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR (Q 75279) Battlecruiser HMS New Zealand. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205320066

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The Battlecruiser New Zealand: A Gift to Empire