Repulse & Prince of Wales


I saw a prog on the Discovery Channel on 'How Inteligence Fails'
Typical misinformed product stated that ships Force Z, where sunk by Torpedo Bombers only, yet the movies of the attack showed bombs going off close to the ships.
This triggered and old memory, from long back.
There was a statement that one of the ships, it did not state which, lost electrical power to the AA guns when the electrical generators, where 'sheared' off their legs by underwater Bomb Blast Connsusion.
Any comment by member more knowagable than I.


Lantern Swinger


Thanks to all for your replys.
No mention of bombing in any of the reports, yet the Movei shown showed explosions some distance from the ships.
The loss of Singapore was IMHO the biggest disaster of WW II on the Brit front.


Lantern Swinger

I'm no expert on torpedoes, but what if some malfunctioned on contact with the water and blew up? As I believe happened to some of Ark Royal's Swordfish on their first strike against Bismarck? That may account for some of the explosions.

Just a thought, I'm sure there's enough torpedo gurus out there to put us straight!


My father was a stoker on Prince of Wales. He recounted several stories about that day and afterwards.

There were bombs. I know because one would have killed him if he hadn't seen it coming and jumped between the rails for the Walrus (or whatever the aircraft was).


When he took over command of Prince of Wales, a friend told Admiral Philips, "Tom, you've never believed in air. Never get out from under the air umbrella, if you do, you'll be for it.

With the Repulse, they sailed for the Far East. The Admiralty was against it but Churchill had insisted they sail. Whilst the rest is as the say is history-here is a little piece about their final cruise.

Anxiety over their exposed position when reaching Singapore, the Admiralty ordered the ships to sail for Port Darwin in North Australia. The next day, however, a Japanese convoy was reported off Indo-China. During the early hours of 10th December 1941, the two ships were sighted by a Japanese submarine. It made an unsuccesful torpedo attack, then shadowed the ships for five and a half hours sending regular position reports.

Airborne and heading for the ships were 27 Japanese bombers and 61 torpedo aircraft. When sighted the air attacks were executed with great skill-the high level bombers-Mitsubishi Betty's running in at 12,000 feet to distract the attention of the warships AA gunners, while the torpedo bombers, G3M2 Nells, initiated their torpedo runs from different directions.

Two torpedo hits were quickly registered on the PoW, severely damaging her propellers and stearing gear and putting many of her AA guns out of action. For some time the Repulse, by skilful evasive action, managed to avoid the attackers, but there was too many aircraft, and eventually she was hit by four torpedoes. At 12-33 she rolled over and sank, and 50 minutes later the same fate overtook the PoW who had sustained two more torpedo hits. 840 officers and men were lost, among them Admiral Philips and Captain Leach of the PoW. Captain Tennant of the Repulse survived having been pushed off his bridge by his officers.

A mystery still hangs over the loss of the two warships: it is the failure of Admiral Philips to break radio silence and call for help even when he knew his vessels had been sighted by the enemy. It was half and hour after the first torpedo attack that a signal was sent to Singapore, and it was captain Tennant not Philips who sent it.

One can only surmise what would have happened had the aircraft carrier Indomitable not grounded on leaving Jamaica during her working up, when she was later to sail on route to join up with these two ships.

It was the usual cock-up. Churchill interfering yet again. Admiral Philips first command experience in that war-Under estimating Japanese air power. As for Singapore-that is still the blackest period of our history.

Later in that war if you screwed up your chief would say ,"No wonder we lost fookin' Singapore."


Lantern Swinger
I was lucky enough to be onboard SHEFFIELD for the 60th anniversary of their sinking. We took a load of the survivors and their descendants out of Singapore and laid wreaths over each wreck!
A fantastic bunch of guys who enthrawled all us baby sailors with terrifying war stories into the early hours.
1LT warned all the messes not to let them drink too much due to their advancing age.
They put away all the tins before them and slid down the ladders like young gazelles!
Matelots at their best!!!!!!!!!!

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