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A/1721 A.B. Lloyd Mansell "Manse" Lord, RNZN

Scarce RNZN Memorial Cross Group - HMS Neptune

SKU: ZM165
  • The emotive Memorial Cross group to Lloyd Mansell Lord, RNZN, who was lost on HMS Neptune when that ship was sunk by enemy mines on 19th December 1941 off the coast of North Africa. This remains New Zealand's largest naval tragedy.


    Lloyd Lord was born 11th July 1918 at Hamilton, New Zealand. Son of Lloyd Lovekin Lord and Doris Edna Heape. He was educated at Maungawhau School and Seddon Memorial Technical College, and was well known in swimming, tennis and cricket circles. He was employed as a motor body builder in  Auckland. He joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (New Zealand Division) in October 1936, and was mobilised in April 1940. He served in Scotland and was at Portsmouth during the blitz of 1940 before being posted to HMS Neptune in August 1941.


    The Neptune headed to the Mediterranean to replace naval losses suffered during the Crete campaign and joined Admiral Cunningham’s Malta-based Force K. On the night of 18 December, Force K sailed to intercept an important Italian supply convoy heading to Tripoli, Libya. At around 1 a.m. on the 19th, 30 km from Tripoli, the ships sailed into an uncharted deep-water minefield. The Neptune triggered a mine, then exploded two more as it reversed to get clear. Several attempts were made to assist the stricken cruiser, but when the destroyer HMS Kandahar also hit a mine, the Neptune’s Captain Rory O’Conor flashed a warning to other ships to ‘Keep away’.

    The Neptune struck another mine shortly afterwards and sank within minutes. Only one crew member survived.


    Lord's body later washed up at Tobruk, and he was buried there. This grave was subsquently lost in the fighting around Tobruk and today he has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Naval Memorial at the Devonport Naval Base, Auckland.


    Lord's service file shows his next of kin was issued the 1939/45 Star, Africa Star, Defence Medal, 1939/45 War Medal and New Zealand War Service Medal, however the group has been mounted with an Atlantic Star for reasons unknown, as he did not qualify for it. The Memorial Cross is correctly impressed A/1721 A.B. L.M. LORD and is suspended from a beautiful , ornate naval crown brooch. Group comes with service file and newspaper cuttings regarding the sinking of HMS Neptune.


    This group is worthy of further research. The RNZN Museum at Devonport hold a number of postcards and letters "Mance" wrote to his sweetheart, Betty, in Scotland. She evidently kept them all, and after she died, her husband donated them to the museum. 

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