Saturday, 10 December 2011

The sinking of HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, the Royal Navy's Force 'Z' was sent from its base in Singapore to intercept a Japanese invasion force on its way to Malaya. Instead of achieving its objective, Force 'Z' was attacked by Japanese aircraft and its two main units – HMS REPULSE ...


... and HMS PRINCE OF WALES ...


– were sunk.


Of personal interest to me is the captain of HMS REPULSE, Captain (later Admiral) William G. Tennant KCB, KBE. He survived the sinking of his ship and later took on an important role during the D-Day landings, namely the transport, assembly, and setting up of the Mulberry harbours and the laying of the PLUTO pipeline.


Before he became the captain of HMS REPULSE on 28th June 1940, he had been instrumental in organising the evacuation of Dunkirk (Operation Dynamo). On 26 May 1940 Captain Tennant was sent to Dunkirk to aid in the evacuation process and to get the waiting British and French troops onto the boats waiting to take them off. He stayed at his post until the last boats left on 2nd June.

Had Captain Tennant not done such a magnificent job, my maternal grandfather – Sergeant Major Arthur Jackson – would not have been one of the lucky members of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) to be evacuated, and would probably have spent the rest of the war in a POW camp.

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