At 11am on 14 May 1941, engaged in mine clearing operations in the Hauraki Gulf, the minesweeper struck a mine and sank immediately, eight miles north east of Bream Head. Five of her complement – Lieutenant D.W. Blacklaws, R.N.R., Petty Officer B.A. Mattson, Stewards G.E.R. Hobley and J. Richardson, and Able Seaman L. Purkin – were killed or drowned, and three seamen were injured, one seriously. The remaining five officers and 19 ratings were rescued, unhurt. The Puriri had been commissioned as a minesweeper in the 25th (New Zealand) Minesweeping Flotilla on 19 April 1941.
The Puriri, No. 93,999, steel, twin-screw motor ship, 927 tons gross and 423 tons net, built in 1938 by Henry Robb Ltd., Victoria Shipyard, Leith. Length 188.2ft., beam 35.2ft., depth 12.05ft. Prior to being taken over by the Navy Department she was owned by the Anchor Shipping and Foundry Ltd., of Nelson.

Text from New Zealand Shipwrecks, 8th edition (Hodder Moa, 2007). Used with permission of the publisher and authors.


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