Allied Warships

HMS Tenedos (H 04)

Destroyer of the Admiralty S class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassAdmiralty S 
PennantH 04 
Built byHawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
OrderedJun 1917 
Laid down6 Dec 1917 
Launched21 Oct 1918 
Commissioned11 Jun 1919 
Lost5 Apr 1942 
History

HMS Tenedos (Lt. Richard Dyer, RN) was hit by bombs from Japanese carrier aircraft during an air attack on Colombo harbour on 5 April 1942. Tenedos was in dock repairing defects when she was hit. 33 dead.

 

Commands listed for HMS Tenedos (H 04)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. John OBrien Milner-Barry, RN20 Jun 1939Jul 1941
2Lt. Richard Dyer, RNJul 19415 Apr 1942

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Notable events involving Tenedos include:


5 Dec 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (1)

6 Dec 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (1)

7 Dec 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (1)

12 Dec 1939
HMS Rorqual (Lt.Cdr R.H. Dewhurst, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (1)

12 Dec 1939
HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (2)

13 Dec 1939
HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (2)

14 Dec 1939
HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN) and HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr. R. Alexander, RN). (2)

20 Dec 1939
HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN) and HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr. R. Alexander, RN). (2)

22 Dec 1939
HMS Perseus (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (3)

22 Dec 1939
HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (2)

27 Dec 1939
HMS Perseus (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN) and HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr. R. Alexander, RN). (3)

29 Dec 1939
HMS Perseus (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Folkestone (Lt.Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (3)

30 Dec 1939
HMS Perseus (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Folkestone (Lt.Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (3)

2 Jan 1940
HMS Perseus (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Folkestone (Lt.Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (4)

16 Jan 1940
HMS Perseus (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr. R. Alexander, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (4)

17 Jan 1940
HMS Perseus (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr. R. Alexander, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (4)

24 Jan 1940
HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN) conducted exercises in the Malacca Strait together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (5)

25 Jan 1940
HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN) conducted exercises in the Malacca Strait together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (5)

26 Jan 1940
HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN) conducted exercises in the Malacca Strait together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (5)

29 Jan 1940
HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN) conducted exercises in the Malacca Strait together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (5)

8 Feb 1940
HMS Perseus (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr. R. Alexander, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (6)

15 Feb 1940
HMS Grampus (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (7)

15 Feb 1940
HMS Perseus (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (6)

15 Feb 1940
HMS Regent (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Browne, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (8)

16 Feb 1940
HMS Perseus (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (6)

16 Feb 1940
HMS Regent (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Browne, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (8)

27 Feb 1940
HMS Grampus (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (7)

29 Feb 1940
HMS Perseus (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (6)

1 Mar 1940
HMS Perseus (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (9)

1 Mar 1940
HMS Regent (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Browne, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (10)

7 Mar 1940
HMS Grampus (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) returned to Singapore. Exercises had been carried out together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN), HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr. R. Alexander, RN), HMS Perseus (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) and HMS Regent (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Browne, RN). (11)

12 Mar 1940
HMS Grampus (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Nowell, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (11)

13 Mar 1940
HMS Perseus (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (9)

21 Aug 1940
HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN). (12)

22 Aug 1940
HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN).

Upon completion of these exercises Rover set course for Aden. Rover was to proceed to Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Fleet based there.

For the daily positions of HMS Rover during the passage from Singapore to Alexandria see the map below.

(12)

16 Oct 1940
HMS Dauntless (Capt. G.D. Moore, RAN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore. (13)

17 Oct 1940
HMS Dauntless (Capt. G.D. Moore, RAN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore. (13)

27 Feb 1941
HMS Durban (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore. (14)

28 Feb 1941
HMS Durban (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore. (14)

1 Apr 1941
HMS Dauntless (Capt. G.D. Moore, RAN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore. (15)

15 Jun 1941
With her refit completed HMS Dauntless (Capt. G.D. Moore, RAN) departed Singapore for Penang.

Around 2230 hours HMS Dauntless and HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN) collided with near the Malakka lighthouse.

Both ships were damaged. HMS Emerald had 16 crew killed, HMS Dauntless one.

On the 16th they were joined by by the destroyers HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Pretor-Pinney, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN).

Both cruisers were able to proceed under their own power to Singapore where they arrived on the 17th. (16)

5 Dec 1941
The battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. Sir W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Vampire (Cdr. W.T.A. Moran, RAN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) departed Singapore for Darwin, Australia. This was to 'show the flag' in Australian waters.

The destroyers HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) and HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.P. Thew, RN) sailed with them for the first part of the voyage. They returned to Singapore on the 6th.

6 Dec 1941
Around 1330 hours, HMS Repulse (Capt. Sir W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMAS Vampire (Cdr. W.T.A. Moran, RAN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) were recalled to Singapore.

Strong Japanese forces had been detected in the South China Sea.

7 Dec 1941
Around noon, HMS Repulse (Capt. Sir W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMAS Vampire (Cdr. W.T.A. Moran, RAN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN), returned to Singapore.

8 Dec 1941

Sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse

Movements of Force Z, 8 to 10 December 1941

At 1735 hours, Force Z, made up of HMS Prince of Wales (Capt. J.C. Leach, MVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Admiral T.S.V. Phillips, KCB, RN), HMS Repulse (Capt. Sir W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN) escorted by the British destroyers HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Express (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Cartwright, RN), HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire (Cdr. W.T.A. Moran, RAN) departed Singapore for a raid against Japanese landing forces that were reported off the east coast of Malaya. Course was shaped to the east-north-east to pass east of the Anambas Islands in order to avoid possible minefields.

At 0125/9 an important signal was received from the Chief of Staff who had remained in Singapore, which confirmed that the air reconaissance asked for had been arranged, but it also stated that owning to the current military situation fighter protection off Singora the next day would not be possible. It also added that the Japanese had large bomber forces based in Southern Indo-China and possibly in Siam and that a requist had been made to the US General MacArthur to attack the Indo-China airfields with longe range bombers from the Philippines as soon as possible. Finally the signal stated that the airfield at Kota Bharu airfield had been evacuated and that we seemed to be 'loosing grip' in the other northern airfields due to enemy action.

A/Admiral Phillips decided, to carry on with the operation provided that he was not being sighted by enemy aircraft during 9 December. At 0400 hours course was therefore altered to the northward.

At 0620/9, HMAS Vampire reported an aircraft. It was sighted for a few seconds by one lookout only and as the weather was favourable for evasion, with frequent rain squalls and low cloud, the squadron held its course to the northward.

Between 1700 and 1830 hours, however, the weather cleared and three Japanese reconnaissance aircraft were sighted from the Prince of Wales at 1740 hours. This meant that all hopes of surprise had been lost, and a heavy scale air attack off Singora had to be anticipated. Under these cirumstances the Commander-in-Chief that the risk was unjustifiable and that the strike against the enemy landing fleet at Singora had to be given up.

At 1825/9, HMS Tenedos, which was by now getting low on fuel was detached to Singapore. She was also ordered to transmit a signal at 0800/10 to the Chief of Staff requisting additional destroyers to meet Force Z off the Anambas Islands at dawn on the 11th. The remainder of the squadron then altered course to the north-westward at 1850 hours and to the westward towards Singora at 1930 hours. The squadron continued to the westward until 2015 hours when A/Admiral Phillips finally decided to abandon the operation and return to Singapore at high speed.

At 2335/9, a signal was received mentioning a landing by the Japanese at Kuantan, this was over 150 miles to the southward of Kota Bharu and it seemed unlikely that the enemy would expect Force Z, last located on a northerly course and making for Singora, to be as far south by daylight. Kuantan was a key military position of great importance, it was not far off the return track to Singapore and was 400 miles from the Japanese airfields in French Indo-China. On these grounds A/Admiral Phillips decided to alter course for Kuantan at 0052/10 and increase speed to 25 knots.

Japanese reaction during 9/10 December.

Bad weather had precluded air search by shore base aircraft on 9 December but that afternoon the British squadron had been sighted by the submarine I-65. This report reached the 22nd Air Flotilla, based near Saigon, Indo-China at about 1600 hours. Aircraft then took off for a night attack but the British force was not found and all aircraft returned to their base around midnight.

In the meantime Force Z had been located by aircraft from the heavy cruiser Kumano and light cruiser Kinu and Admiral Kondo who was moving south from Hainan with the battlefleet (battleships Kongo, Haruna, heavy cruisers Atago, Takao and destroyers Arashi, Hagikaze, Nowaki, Maikaze, Ikazuchi, Inazuma, Asashio, Oshio, Michishio and Arashio), decided to keep in touch with Force Z by aircraft and submarine during the night and to attack at dawn with all available aircraft. He also ordered Vice-Admiral Ozawa's forces (heavy cruiser Chokai and destroyer Sagiri) and Rear-Admiral Kurita's forces (heavy cruisers Kumano, Mikuma, Mogami, Suzuya and destroyers Fubuki, Hatsuyuki and Shirayuki to join his flag at 0230/10 south of Pulau Condore, when he would move with his whole fleet to the southward on the flank of A/Admiral Phillips probable line of retreat.

The shadowing aircraft however lost touch with Force Z during the night owning to rain squalls however at 0221/10 the Japanese submarine I-58 sighted Force Z on a southerly course and attacked HMS Repulse with five torpedoes which all missed. She then surfaced and followed at 16 knots but lost contact at 0305 hours.

On receipt of the enemy report from the I-58 at about 0315 hours it was clear that Force Z was out of reach of the fleet which then set course for Camranh Bay at 0645/10. All was then dependend on aircraft and submarines.

At Saigon, twelve aircraft armed with two 60kg bombs took off at 0600/10 to conduct a sector search. About one hour later a striking force made up of 84 aircraft (30 bombers and 54 torpedo planes) took off and was ordered to the estimated position of the enemy task force. The force was organised in flights of of about 9 planes. The general plan was to attack continuously, stating with a bombing attack from about 8000 feet. All attacks were to be controlled by the flight leaders according to the way in which the situation developed. As will be seen the attacks were carried out almost exactly as planned.

The flights proceeded independently to the south along the 105th meridian. Nothing was seen of Force Z during this southerly run and after sighting Singapore they turned to the northward, a course which was to lead them straight to their quarry, which was sighted by a land based reconnaissance aircraft at 1026/10.

Loss of the Prince of Wales and Repulse.

In the meantime Force Z had been closing the shore at 25 knots and at dawn on 10 December was about 60 nautical miles east-north-east of Kuantan. The sun had just risen when HMS Repulse reported an aircraft which was not identified (Capt. Tennant later stated that it was Japanese). The force continued to the westward. HMS Prince of Wales launched a Walrus aircraft which arrived of Kuantan at 0800 hours. No enemy forces were sighted. HMS Express was then ordered to investigate and reported 'complete peace' and rejoined the force at 0845 hours. The Commander-in-Chief then decided to investigate a tug towing some barges which had been sighted at extreme visibility during the run in. Course was then altered to the northward and later to the eastward for this purpose.

It was during this run to the eastward that Force Z was attacked by successive waves of Japanese bomber and torpedo aircraft which eventually sank both capital ships.

Shortly after 1000/10 reports of hostile aircraft were received from the destroyer Tenedos, then being bombed 140 nautical miles to the south-east. At 1020 hours a shadowing aircraft was sighted from the Prince of Wales and the first degree of readiness was assumed. Soon afterwards an enemy aircraft was picked up by the radar of HMS Repulse.

At 1100 hours course was altered to 135°. A few minutes later nine enemy aircraft were seen approaching from the starboard bow, flying at about 10000 feet. All ships, except HMAS Vampire, which was outranged, opened fire. The enemy concentrated the high level bombing attack onHMS Repulse. One bomb fell just clear to starboard, seven very close to port, and one hit the port hangar, bursting on the armour below the marines mess deck at 1122 hours. This caused a fire on the catapult deck and fractured a steam pipe. No damage was done to the engine or boiler rooms and the fire was rapidly got under control.

Twenty minutes later nine torpedo bombers attacked from the port bow. They had been seen to cross from starboard to port at extreme range, and after making use of cloud on the port beam to do a series of turns together, attacked in waves of two or three in line abreast. The attack was very well executed and the enemy was in no way disturbed by gunfire from Force Z. HMS Repulse alter course right away to starboard and escaped unhurt. HMS Prince of Wales however altered course to port and it was thought at that time that she had avoided all torpedoes fired at her except one which hit the port side aft, approximately abreast of 'P 3' and 'P 4' 5.25" gun turrets, but it now seems probable that she was actually hit simultaneously by another torpedo abaft 'Y' turret. The consequences of this attack were disastrous. 'B' engine room, 'Y' boiler room, the port diesel engine room and 'Y' action machinery room were flooded. Both propeller shafts stopped and speed dropped to 15 knots. The steering gear was damaged and the ship was never again under complete control. Within a few minutes she assumed a list of 13° to port and increased her trim by the stern, till by 1220 hours the port side of the quarter deck was awash. All the 5.25" armament, except turret 'S 1', was put out of action either due to the list or failure of power.

As they crossed the line of advance after dropping their torpedoes, two of the enemy aircraft were hit. One crashed into the sea on the starboard beam.

At 1156 hours HMS Repulse was attacked by another group of nine torpedo bombers. These came in from her port side. Repulse altered course towards them and succeeded in combing a large number of torpedo tracks. Almost simultaneously a high level bombing attack developed, again concentrated on HMS Repulse. The ship was manoeuvering at high speed, being actually under helm when the bombs fell at 1158 hours and escaped untouched. There was one near miss to starboard and the remainder fell just clear to port.

Owing to independent avoiding action, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse had opened some distance apart. Captain Tennant, who was uncertain what signals the Prince of Wales had made, himself made an emergency W/T report 'enemy aircraft bombing' at 1158 hours and after the second high level bombing attack, he informed the Commander-in-Chief by visual that HMS Repulse had so far avoided all torpedoes and that damage from the bomb which had hit her was under control. He also asked him whether the flagship's wireless was still in action, in case he wished any reports made by HMS Repulse. At 1210 hours the Prince of Wales hoisted 'not under control' balls and Captain Tennant closed her, reducing to 20 knots to see if he could be of any assistance. In the meantime another attack was developing. About eight aircraft were sighted low on the horizon on the starboard bow of the Repulse. When about three miles distant they split into two formations. The right-hand one attacked the Repulse from the starboard side, dropping their torpedoes at about 2500 yards range.

Captain Tennant, foreseeing this, had already started to swing the ship to starboard, and anticipated no difficulty in combing their tracks. The left hand formation was appartently making straight for the Prince of Wales, at that time abaft of the Repulse's port beam, but suddenly turned straight at the latter and dropped torpedoes when about 2000 yards on her port beam. No avoiding action was possible as any large alteration of course would have incurred a hit from the torpedoes whose tracks were already being combed, and one torpedo hit amidships on the port side. This Repulse stood well and she continued to manoeuvre at 25 knots.

Almost at the same time HMS Prince of Wales was attacked from her starboard side. She seemed incapable of taking avoiding action, and sustained two hits at 1223 hours, and a further two a minute and a half later. The first two of these hits were forward of the breakwater and just before the bridge, the others aft, near 'Y' turret and abreast of 'B' turret. The immediate effect was to reduce the list to 3° to port, the starboard outer propeller shaft stopped and speed dropped to about eight knots. One of the attacking aircraft was shot down.

Fresh waves of torpedo bombers then attacked HMS Repulse from several directions. She shot down two at 1226 hours but a torpedo hit jammed her stearing gear, and, though she could still steam at well over 20 knots, almost immediately afterwards three torpedoes hit her abreast the superstructure, two simultaneously on the port side and one on the starboard side. She turned sharply 90° to starboard, listing heavily to port. This brought her fine on the Prince of Wales' quarter, steering a parralel course. Captain Tennant knew that the end was at hand, and at once gave the order for everyone to come on deck and cast loose the Carley floats. HMS Repulse hung for at least a minute and a half to two minutes with a list of 60° to 70° to port and then rolled over at 1233 hours.

During these attacks HMS Express had been screening the flagship's starboard bow, and HMAS Vampire on her port bow, while HMS Electra, which had been detached to pick up a man who had fallen overboard from the Prince of Wales at 1205 hours, was between the two capital ships. HMAS Vampire and HMS Electra now at once closed HMS Repulse by order of the Commander-in-Chief and they succeeded in rescuing 42 out of 69 officers (including Captain Tennant) and 754 out of 1240 ratings.

The Prince of Wales meanwhile had been heading north, her speed reduced to eight knots. Just after Repulse had capsized nine high level bombers were seen passing from port to starboard, and then ten minutes later a high level bombing attack developed from ahead. At 1244 hours a bomb hit near 'S 3' turret wrecking the port crane and canteen flat, and causing a fire. It failed however to pierce the armoured deck. The remainder of the bombs missed narrowly aft, falling on both sides of the ship.

At 1250 hours a signal was sent to Singapore requisting all available tugs, but by this time the ship was clearly doomed and a few minutes later HMS Express went alongside the starboard quarter, and the disembarkation of wounded and men not required to fight the ship commenced. Carley floats were launched and the gripes cast off the boom boats. By 1310 hours the ship was settling rapidly, listing steeply to port and orders were passed to inflate lifebelts and abandon ship. At 1320 hours HMS Prince of Wales heeled over sharply, turned turtle and sank.

Skilfully handled, HMS Express had remained alongside until the last possible moment and had to go full speed astern to clear herself, sustaining damage from a projection on the hull of the battleship, possibly the bilge keel, as she heeled over. The next three quarters of an hour was spent in rescue work, at the end of which time she was completely full and at 1415 hours course was set for Singapore. All the remaining survivors for whom she had no room were then on rafts or in boats, from where they were subsequently picked up by HMS Electra and HMAS Vampire. A total of 90 officers out of 110 and 1195 ratings out of 1502 were rescued. Neither A/Admiral Phillips nor Captain Leach was among them.

At 1515 hours, HMAS Vampire left the scene followed at 1602 hours by HMS Electra after she had made a final search of the area. All three destroyers arrived at Singapore between 2300/10 and 0000/11. (17)

26 Feb 1942

Operations by the Western Striking Force during 26/27 February 1942.

The object of the operations was to intercept and engage a reported Japanese invasion force.

Around 2115GH(-7.5)/26, the Western Striking Force, made up of the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN), HMS Dragon (Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Scout (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) H. Lambton, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) departed Tandjong Priok (Batavia), in accordance with the Commodore Commanding China Force's signal timed 1231Z/26, to intercept and engage, by night, an enemy force consisting of three cruisers, four destroyers and thirty transports which had been reported near Banka Island proceeding southwards. The Western Striking Force therefore proceeded northwards between Arnemuiden Beacon and North Watcher Island to position 04°45'S, 106°41'E where the Force turned to the southward at 0300GH/27 in accordance with the Commodore Commanding China Force's signal timed 1529Z/26.

There was no sign of the enemy during the passage north when, except for a few heavy rain squalls, the visibility was very good. At 0345GH/27, Commodore Commanding China Force's signal timed 1946Z/26 was received, stating that D/F bearings indicated that many Japanese units were in position 04°00'S, 106°30'E. This was 55 nautical miles north of the Western Striking Force's current position. It was decided to continue on southwards as it was not possible to engage the enemy before dawn and also to await the results of the dawn air reconnaissance. Two enemy reconnaissance aircraft were sighted at 0730GH/27. They commenced to shadow. This was reported to the Commodore Commanding China Force.

By 0800GH/27, the Force had reached the latitude of Babi Island, and as no further information had been received, it again turned north until 0900GH/27. Capt. Howden, the Senior Officer, decided that if air reconnaissance reported that the enemy was not overwhelmingly superior he should engage by daylight. If they were superior he would proceed eastwards to join the Eastern Striking Force in the Surabaya area which had been reported to be expected to proceed westwards to Batavia.

At 1000GH/27, the Force was back in the vicinity of Babi Island and in view of the danger of submarine attack Capt. Howden decided it was not wise to remain in the same area for too long, therefore the Force proceeded to the south-east and then northwards towards the South Watcher Island.

The Commodore Commanding China Force stated in his signal timed 0315Z/27 that air reconnaissance had failed to locate any enemy forces south of Banka therefore Capt. Howden decided to return to Batavia informing the Commodore of his intentions.

As the Force was approaching Edam Island around 1200GH/27 enemy aircraft were sighted but they did not attack. Fires were observed on shore so probably they had already expended their bombs.

At 1305GH/27, eight aircraft approached and dropped a large quantity of small calibre bombs. HMAS Hobart sustained some splinter damage and five ratings were wounded.

The Force entered Tandjong Priok around 1420GH/27. (18)

28 Feb 1942

Operations by the Western Striking Force from 28 February 1942 to 5 March 1942.

The initial object of the operations was to intercept and engage a reported Japanese invasion force.

Around 0045GH(-7.5)/28, the Western Striking Force, made up of the made up of the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN), HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN), HMS Dragon (Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) and HrMs Evertsen (Lt.Cdr. W.M. de Vries, RNN) departed Tandjong Priok (Batavia), in accordance with the Commodore Commanding China Force's signal timed 1021Z/27. An enemy landing force made up of thirty transports escorted by four cruisers and three destroyers had been reported at 1022GH/27 in position 04°20'S, 106°28'E. The Western Task Force had been unable so sail earlier due to delays in fuelling caused by Japanese air attacks. The destroyer HMS Scout (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) H. Lambton, RN) which had departed earlier for Tjilatjap had been recalled and joined the Western Task Force three miles south of Edam Island.

Capt. Howden, the Senior Officer, decided to proceed direct to the vicinity of the northern entrance to the Sunda Strait and then to sweep northward to engage the enemy which he thought to be en-route to Bantam Bay, the most likely place to land.

The Western Task Force arrived in position 05°48'S, 105°56'E at 0420GH/28. Course was then altered to the northward. Except for intermittent rain squalls the visibility was good. As no enemy had been sighted by 0500GH/28, course was altered to the southward. The passage of Sunda Strait was made at the Force's maximum speed of 24 knots. HrMs Evertsen had been lost out of sight in the darkness. She had not been seen after around 0400GH/28.

At 0650GH/28, when in position 06°04'S, 105°48'E, HMS Scout dropped astern to rescue a men she sighted on a raft. A lot of wreckage was sighted during the passage of the Sunda Straits.

In order to conserve fuel, speed was reduced to 22 knots at 0850GH/28, to 19 knots at 1000GH/28 and 18 knots at 1600GH/28.

At 2340GH/28, a signal was received from HMAS Perth that she had sighted a destroyer, later amended to being a cruiser.

At 2359GH/28, when in position 04°30'S, 101°05'E, the destroyers were detached to proceed ahead to fuel at Padang. The cruisers reduced speed to 15 knots. The destroyers were sent ahead in order to reduce the time the cruisers had to wait for the destroyers to rejoin. During the passage of the Seaflower Channel [between Siberut and Sipura island] the cruisers inceased speed again.

The cruisers arrived in position 260° Pandan Light 10 miles at 1740GH/1 and zigzagged between that position and Nyamuk Light. It had been hoped that the destroyers would be able to leave harbour around 1800 hours but this did not materialise. HMS Tenedos was seen passing Pandan Island at 2120GH/1 and at 2140GH/1 she secured alongside HMAS Hobart to transfer 512 evacuees. She reported that HMS Scout had previously left harbour with another load of evacuees but that she had to return due to contaminated oil fuel tanks.

In view of the long delay which would be entained in waiting for HMS Scout, Capt. Howden decided to proceed ahead with HMS Tenedos via Siberut Strait [to the north of Siberut Island] and then pass through position 00.32'S, 97.10'E at 15 knots towards the position where the RFA tanker Appleleaf (5891 GRT, built 1917) should be. HMS Dragon, HMS Danae and HMS Scout were then to overtake. HMS Hobart and HMS Tenedos therefore parted company with HMS Dragon and HMS Danae at 2207GH/1 by which time the evacuees had been transferred. HMS Dragon, HMS Danae and HMS Scout were able to proceed at 0530GH/2. They were ordered to rejoin during daylight on 3 March.

At 0150G/3, the Commander-in-Chief Eastern Fleet's signal 1635Z/2 was received by HMAS Hobart but it could not be decyphered owing to area tables for the East Indies Station not being held. Capt. Howden reduced speed to 8 knots to allow HMS Dragon, HMS Danae and HMS Scout to join around dawn and all ships were in company at 0751G/3.

HMS Dragon had been able to decypher the signal and it stated that auxiliary patrol ship HMS Kedah (Cdr.(Retd.) J.L. Sinclair, DSO, RD, RNR) was in trouble and that her speed had been reduced to three knots. Her position was 02°10'S, 90°40'E. HMS Dragon was then detached after transferring her 136 evacuees to HMAS Hobart at 1115G/3. She was to complete with fuel from the Appleleaf who was estimated to be 40 to 50 miles ahead and then to proceed to the assistance of HMS Kedah. HMS Danae and the destroyers were ordered to proceed ahead, made contact with the Appleleaf to inform her of the oil requirements of HMS Dragon.

A 1033FG/4, the Commander-in-Chief Eastern Fleet's signal 0305Z/4 was received instructing Capt. Howden to proceed with all his ships to Colombo if sufficient fuel remained. The Force therefore altered course for Colombo at 1100FG/4 when in position 05°32'N, 86°45'E.

At 1000F/5, when in position 05°47'N, 79°56'E, HMAS Hobart parted company with HMS Danae, HMS Scout and HMS Tenedos, to proceed ahead at 28 knots so as to arrive 2 hours and 20 minutes earlier then the other ships so as to avoid congestion in the harbour. En-route HMAS Hobert ran a full power trial for 40 minutes to see if any defects might have developed due to the recent near misses from bombing. The results of the trial very highly satisfactory.

HMAS Hobart arrived at Colombo at 1333F/5.

HMS Danae, HMS Scout and HMS Tenedos arrived at Colombo around 1730F/5.

Around 1030F/7, HMS Dragon arrived with HMS Kedah in tow. She had fuelled from the Appleleaf during the afternoon of the 3rd and then proceeded towards the reported position of HMS Kedah which she sighted at 0229G/5 and had her in tow around 0730G/5.

(19)

11 Mar 1942
The battleships HMS Ramillies (Capt. D.N.C. Tufnell, DSC, RN), HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, DSO, RN), HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, DSO and Bar, RAN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN), HMS Express (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Cartwright, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) departed Trincomalee for exercises.

On completion of the exercises HMS Royal Sovereign, HMS Express and HMS Tenedos parted company and proceeded to Colombo.

The other ships returned to Trincomalee. (20)

13 Mar 1942
HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN), HMS Express (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Cartwright, RN) and HMS Tenedos (Lt. R. Dyer, RN) arrived at Colombo. (21)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16000
  2. ADM 173/16012
  3. ADM 173/15917
  4. ADM 173/16419
  5. ADM 173/16494
  6. ADM 173/16420
  7. ADM 173/16270
  8. ADM 173/16461
  9. ADM 173/16421
  10. ADM 173/16462
  11. ADM 173/16271
  12. ADM 173/16501
  13. ADM 53/111941
  14. ADM 53/114178
  15. ADM 53/114037
  16. ADM 53/114223 + ADM 199/411
  17. ADM 234/330
  18. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for February 1942
  19. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for February/March 1942
  20. ADM 53/116490 + ADM 53/116604 + ADM 199/426
  21. ADM 53/116604 + ADM 199/426

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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