December 19. NI links with costliest event in RNZN history. Roll of Honour.

On the night of 19 December 1941, there occurred one of the most extensive but least known naval disasters of the Second World War when Royal New Zealand Navy ship HMRNZS Neptune (Photo) ran into an uncharted enemy minefield in the Mediterranean off Tripoli, and sank with the loss of 764 officers and men. Of the 764 men who lost their lives, 150 were New Zealanders. Eight from NI lost their lives. They were from Bangor, Belfast, Larne, Limavady, Portadown and Cullion in County Tyrone. Two were the sons of RN men who had served 18 and 24 years. Samuel Wylie from Belfast, a Boy 1st Class, was age 17. In 1943 Sgt. Norman Polland from Belfast , a bomb aimer in 138 (Special Duties) Sqdn. died in a training accident while taking part in a container dropping training exercise over Henlow Airfield.

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