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    D-Day Depot Ship - SS, TSS, RMS, HM(NZ)S Aorangi: New Zealand Jack.
    The SS Aorangi was an elegant, diesel-powered, passenger liner launched in 1924 for the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand to sail between Oceania and Canada. "Aorangi" is a Maori word that means "Cloud Piercer," and was the indigenous word for the tallest mountain in New Zealand.

    The New Zealand Blue Ensign of the Aorangi is a 36" X 72" completely sewn and appliqué wool flag that is finished with a wooden toggle and lead-line and loop common to Commonwealth merchant navies. It is marked on the obverse hoist, "RN New Zealand" and "2yd." On the reverse the markings read, "RN New Zealand Mer. Cruiser Aorangi Norm 44." This flag was likely used as a jack.

    She began her war service transporting troops from New Zealand until she was requisitioned by the British Ministry of War Transport and converted into a Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship (DEMS) capable of transporting over 2,000 soldiers. Although her name means "cloud piercer", she was truly a "wave piercer" and in short order sailed to Freetown, Durban, the near East, Singapore and Australia. Then it was on to Cape town, the River Platte and Halifax and back to Britain for more convoy duties that included voyages to Aden, Suez, Casablanca, Dakar, Liverpool, Algiers, Alexandria and Malta before returning to the UK for a refit.

    In the spring of 1944, she was fitted out as a Depot Ship with accommodations for small craft. During Operation Neptune, the maritime component of Operation Overlord, the invasion of Europe, Aorangi was anchored at Lee-on-Solent off the Hampshire coast about 5 miles from Portsmouth, servicing a fleet of tugs and auxiliary ships, providing food, water, ammunition, engine parts and relief crews. From D-Day until the end of July, the Aorangi serviced 1,200 vessels and countless other small craft. Her hospital took in wounded men from the beachheads. When her D-Day & Normandy service completed she transferred to the British Pacific Fleet. After the Japanese surrender, she remained at Hong Kong as an accommodation ship for men released from war service and waiting to go home. This flag is from a little-known, but vital ship, and would serve any WWII, maritime and D-Day collection well.

    The Royal Navy Awards plaque presented to the Aorangi after she was returned to her owner reads: "Aorangi War Service 1939-1946 - In the early months of the War Aorangi transported troops to FIJI and 1900 Air Trainees to Canada; she was Requisitioned by the British Ministry of War in July 1941 and subsequently transported over 34,500 troops & repatriated 5,500 civilians. During D-Day operations Aorangi acted as a Depot Ship for 150 Tugs and also a casualty clearing station whilst under the blue ensign. She was headquarters of the Commodore Fleet Train during the relief of Hong Kong."

    The flag is in good condition - it is used, worn and soiled, with a few small holes.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.

    For those who did not receive a hard copy of the auction catalog, we present here the introductory comments and history of Dr. Rungee and his remarkable collection. If you scroll further, you will also find various contemporary newspaper articles, as well as a selection of the many letters of donation and transmittal which accompanied the collection and a categorization of the collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2019
    14th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 349

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