Neville Peach was a Sea Cadet at TS Steadfast during World War II and went on to a near 30-year career in the Royal New Zealand Navy, retiring in 1977 with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He joined the navy as a sick berth attendant in 1947 and saw active service in the Korean War, including on raiding parties, during which one of his shipmates, Able Seaman Marchioni, was killed.
Lieutenant Commander Peach’s full biography at the National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy can be found here.
Cadets from TS Steadfast made a direct contribution to the war effort during World War II, splicing wire ropes for bren-gun carriers, and establishing a mine-watching station on the shores of Lyttelton Harbour.
These photographs from The Press, 19 June 1942, shows cadets splicing ropes. The caption records that they gave up a night a week to prepare the wire ropes for the New Zealand armed forces.
A cadet from this era, Victor Fifield, spoke of this work in an interview he gave in 1996. He said the ropes were used on the bren-gun carriers, for a winch that kept the vehicle’s tracks up.
Sea Cadets sailing 27-foot whalers on Lyttelton Harbour, as pictured in The Press on 27 March 1945. The traditional, clinker-built two-masted whalers were a staple of Sea Cadet training for decades. Two were purchased for the Christchurch Navy League Sea Cadets in 1934.
Sea Cadets pose for photos on an annual training camp at Quail Island in 1944, as pictured in The Press on 24 January that year.
Members of the Canterbury Division of the Sea Cadet Corps, the forerunner of TS Steadfast, are in the top photo. The bottom photo shows cadets from the Otago Division. Auckland and Wellington divisions also attended the camp.
The camp was commanded by Lieutenant Commander H.B. Anderson, seen right, talking to Commander T.S. Critchley, the Naval Officer in Charge at Lyttelton.