On this day in history - 68 years ago today

Discussion in 'History' started by AndyWade, Dec 10, 2009.

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  1. On this day 68 years ago, 840 men of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse died when the ships were sunk in the defence of Singapore and our interests in the Far East.
    Overshadowed historically by Pearl Harbour just three days earlier, we should not forget the sacrifice these men made.
    It was a good week for the Japanese but a disaster for the allied forces.

    A service is being held today in 'The Sailors Church' in Liverpool opposite the Liver Building.
    Please spare one minute today to remember them if you can.
  2. Will do Andy, thank you for the reminder.
  3. I wasn't aware of the said event and the loss of so many lives. It must have been a truly terrible day!!!
  4. They were sent out,without air cover, to attack a Japanese invasion fleet and their escorts had to turn back to re-fuel. The Japanese launched co-ordinated air assaults and it was all over.
  5. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

    RN Ships and Boats transitting the area of the sinking still pay their respects
  6. The carrier that was supposed to be providing air cover had gone aground off Jamaica so they just sent them on without it.

    One of the 2 capital ships had no air conditioning and it is postulated that many of the ship's company had passed out at their action station before the sinking so never stood a chance.

    Air cover was supposed to be provided by the RAF, unfortunately they were equipped out there with Brewster Buffaloes (the kind of plane that made the Swordfish look cutting edge). Can't quite recall the details, but the AoCinC (Sir Robert Brooke-Popham) was up country at the time and the orders never reached the forward RAF bases to intervene.

    V/Adm Tom Philips went down with his ship.

    RIP all.
  7. Just a dit relevant to this thread, i hope.
    Prior to Jan 2003, when the misus and i moved to spain permenant we used to rent this couples grannie annex beside there small Villa. The dit is about the old bloke on the right, one steve donoghue the owner of the house
    He noticed i had a naval association emblem on a tee shirt i was wearing one day. So we sat down and started talking about our experiances from our 2 different times in the mob. He naturally was pleased too here about my dads time in the RN before and during WW2. Anyway we had had a few glasses of nelsons blood, when i happen to say that his wife had joined us in the pool but not him. He said your the paying guest and i didnt want to use it till you were happy with it. Then i put my foot in it lol.
    I said jokingly "Oh either you can,t swim or your scared of water", He shot out of his chair and went in the house. I though misarable old git, but he returned with a pile of photos and a grin on his face.
    I looked at the pics and the were all records and pics about Repulse sinking.
    He then laughed and said he spent as much time in the water before rescue as he was years of age at the time - he was 19.
    He was a young signaller and near the bridge when the bombing started. Soon they lost comms to the engine room and steering position and he was detailed as a runner to leg it up and down as required. Most times he had to pass through the canteen flat which was now an overflow for the sick bay and filling up with wounded, many of them his messmates. He did this several times and his wounded mates whould ask how things were going. However On what turned out to be his last time he got down as far as the ladder to that flat and could go no futher. The flat and sickbay had dissapeared, and bomb had gone off there. He said he didnt really remember the order to abandon ship, But strugling to get clear of the oil and he was spewing often. When he did get back to blighty he finished the war in destroyers. He said he still had occasional flashbacks espesially his mates faces in the canteen flat. We talked at great length about this and other things not realising the ammount of bubbly that was going down.
    He was a smashing bloke and his wife too, they became firm friends of ours. Steve sadly died 2006 aged 84, but we still see his wife viv regularly as she now lives near us out here.
    Just thought id throw this in.
  8. Of all the sad things that can be read about that tragic day, this excerpt from the list of those who died in Prince of Wales must rate as one of the saddest.

    James Young, Boy 1st class, D/JX 166629.

    Robert Emmanuel Young, Boy 1st class, D/JX 166632
    Twin brother of James Young, also lost.

    RIP lads.

  9. The wife's great uncle was on the POW as a boy seaman when he went for his "dip" in the oggin. He also got sunk by a u-boat in the English Channel later on in the war. He was saved on that occasion as he had gone below to stow his knitting as his L/H wanted to some gunnery drills. When he came back up on deck after the torpedo had hit there was no-one left at his gunnery station....
  10. Never heard that story before, do you have a source for it?

    A few things caused this. The need for radio silence, the inability of the Air forces to provide effective cover at that time, and Tom Phillips' resolve that aircraft held little threat against capital ships despite Billy Mitchell's proof that they could do just that in demonstrations several years before. Let's not forget the effect that just one torpedo (from a swordfish) had on Bismarck.

    He was a full Admiral.

    Amen to that.
  11. It is indeed. I'd be extremely interested in anything you have regarding this as I'd like to include it on the Force Z website if possible.
    Our 'Sailors Tales' section has a few personal dits on events that took place during the sinking.
    Please PM me if you can help.
  12. Andy, I'll have a look in the next week or so. It was something I covered 10 years ago and eithercame from a text (so I'll have the ref in an essay I wrote, or it was straight from the mouth of NAM Rodger, who was my supervisor.

    It would make sense if it was the REPULSE though, given her age. I think what was causing the fainting was heat exhaustion, but will need to go away and check the sources. Definitely a fairly mainstream line of inquiry though, unless I've literally dreamed it...
  13. AFAIK, he was an Vice Admiral, made Acting Admiral in Jan? 1941.

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