Lieutenant Commander Albert Henry Edginton 1919 - 2005

EdgintonID CardCropped1942

ID card Temp Lieutenant Edginton 1942.

Albert Henry Edginton was born in Levin on 13 January 1919, the son of Alfred James and Rhyna Gertrude Edginton.[i] In 1925 Alfred James Edginton was the local Plimmerton hairdresser with a shop on Steyne Avenue, the Edginton family living in a house behind the shop.[ii]  In 1925 Albert and his sister Florence started at Plimmerton School where Albert excelled, winning the Committee Cup in 1929 and was Dux of the school in 1932.[iii] Albert also joined the Plimmerton Boating Club where he had success in the Cornwall Cup (see The Smile of Victory).

After leaving school Albert joined the Social Service Department as a clerk. In June 1939 The Director of the Social Security Department provided Albert a character reference when he volunteered for the New Zealand Division of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.[iv] On 4 March 1940 Albert Henry Edginton was called up for navy service entering the Royal New Zealand Volunteer Reserve signing on for a four year engagement, as C/JX 247482 Ordinary Seaman Edginton. Basic training was in Auckland and Albert was promoted to Able Bodied (AB) Seaman in 16 June 1940. It would be in Navy Uniform that AB Edginton attended the second Social Service Department’s annual ball on 2 July 1940 which was also attended by Albert’s future wife Noel Paulin.[v]

AB Edginton was sent to The United kingdom in September1940 when, after additional training at HMS Ganges and Pembroke, was posted to HMS Liddesdale, a Hunt Class Close Escort destroyer. This was in February 1941. The Hunt class were all named after Scottish hunts. The HMS Liddesdale was engaged in convoy defense in the North Seas and North West Approaches to the UK preventing U-Boat attacks. AB Edginton remained with HMS Liddesdale until August 1941 before returning for further training at UK based shore training facilities where in November 1941 he was promoted to Temporary Sub Lieutenant. The ‘temporary’ rank reflected that it was for the duration of the war rather than a permanent naval rank. 

Albert Edginton had maintained contact with Noel Paulin and while he was still in England, an engagement notice appears in Wellington’s Evening Post announcing the engagement of Noel and Albert. [vi]


HMS Oakley

In February 1942, Temporary Sub-Lieutenant Edginton was posted to HMS Oakley, a newly commissioned Hunt II Class Close Escort destroyer. This would be Sub Lieutenant Edginton’s home for nearly two years. [vii] In 1942 HMS Oakley was based in the north of Scotland providing convoy escort in the North West Approaches as well as transits of ships up to and from Iceland where the Russian Convoys were being dispatched with urgent supplies for the USSR.[viii]

In January 1943 the HMS Oakley was attached to escort duty in the Mediterranean.  After the second Battle of El Alemein in August 1942, General Rommel’s forces had been forced back into Tunisia. The HMS Oakley and other naval forces combined with air operations conducted operations to prevent these Axis forces being resupplied or evacuated.  The Italian and German forces remained in Tunisia and finally surrendered in May 1943, and Allied attention turned to Sicily. HMS Oakley was attached as escort to the convoys now coming from North Africa in Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. HMS Oakley escorted the convoy to the beachhead and was involved in shelling enemy positions in support of the landings in July 1943. On 1 September 1943 Temporary Sub-Lieutenant Edginton was promoted to Temporary Lieutenant. [ix]

HMS Oakley continued with her duties of convoy escort and anti-submarine duties through to August 1944 when Temporary Lieutenant Edginton left the ship. He was granted Foreign Service Leave at the end of his initial engagement enabling him to return to New Zealand. 

On 16 November 1944 Albert Henry Edginton married Noel Paulin at St Andrew’s Church, Wellington.[x]  Temporary Lieutenant Edginton remained in New Zealand until February 1945 when he returned to England for ongoing training. Edginton returned to New Zealand October 1945 but with the end of the war was declared surplus to requirements on 4 December 1945. He was demobilised 30 January 1946 and returned to civilian life. [xi]

For his war service Albert Henry Edginton was awarded the following:

            Atlantic Star

            Africa Star

            Africa Clasp

            Italy Star

            1939-45 Star

            Defense Medal

            War Medal

            NZ War Service Medal

(He may also be entitled to the more recent Arctic Star)

Albert Henry Edginton did return to a naval career. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant on 4 September 1947, in a permanent position in the Wellington Division of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve. Based at HMNZS Oliphant, he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander on 1 September 1952 and Executive Officer of the Division on 31 January 1961.[xii]

On 5 December 1962 after 15 years of service, Lieutenant Commander Edginton was awarded the Volunteer Reserve Decoration (VRD). In 1965 and in accordance with Naval Regulations, Lieutenant Commander Edginton was placed on the retired list.[xiii]

The Queen’s Birthday Honours of 1965 listed Lieutenant Commander A H Edington VRD RNZVNVR (Rtd) as receiving the MBE (Military Division).[xiv]

Lieutenant Commander A H Edginton ‘crossed the bar’ in 2005.[xv]

Allan Dodson November 2013


[i] Marriage Certificate Albert Henry Edginton

[ii] Oral History: Jim Gyton

[iii] Enrolled Pupils 1904-1929: Seventy Five Years, Plimmerton School and its Environment

[iv] Service Record Lieut Commander A H Edginton

[v] Successful function – Social Services Department: Evening Post 2 July 1940.

[vi] Engagements Paulin – Edginton: Evening Post 19 January 1942.

[vii] Service Record Lieut Commander A H Edginton

[viii] Naval History Net : HMS Oakley

[ix] RNZVNR Promotions (London): Evening Post 1 October 1943

[x] Marriage register Paulin/Edginton

[xi] Service Record Lieut Commander A H Edginton

[xii] Service Record Lieut Commander A H Edginton

[xiii] Service Record Lieut Commander A H Edginton

[xiv] 1965 Queen Birthday Honours: Wikipedia

[xv] Deaths A H Edginton: Internal Affairs

Last Updated: 04/11/2013 12:18am