Saturday, 10 December 2016

The sinking of HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales

Only three days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour (on 10th December 1941), the Royal Navy's Force 'Z' - the battle-cruiser HMS Repulse, the battleship HMS Prince of Wales, and four destroyers (Electra, Express, Encounter and Jupiter) - was sent from Singapore to intercept a Japanese invasion force that was on its way to Malaya. It failed to do so, and in the process HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales were sunk by Japanese aircraft, with the loss of 840 lives.

The two ships under attack from the air.
HMS Repulse.
HMS Prince of Wales.


  1. Replies
    1. Stephen Briddon,

      Thanks for the warning. The offenders have been dealt with.

      All the best,


  2. A sad episode for British arms, capped off eventually with just about the most pusillanimous defence of Singapore as can be imagined. A particularly scathing account of this is to be found in Norman Dixon "On The Psychology of Military Incompetence". That account is sparing of Adm. Sir Tom Philips only in its brevity; Lt-Gen. Percival comes in for a more prolonged excoriating attack. Fascinating read.

    Many years ago I read an account of the Singapore campaign, and it is hard to fathom how Gen Percival could have made such a pig's breakfast of the whole affair. One account I read stated that the commander of the Japanese was saying to his staff shortly before Percival jacked it in: "if we don't secure the enemy's surrender within twenty-four hours, I shall myself be forced to ask for terms." Doesn't sound very Japanese, but it paints a picture.

    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      Percival had an 'interesting' career, and took part in some dubious operations during the 'Troubles' in Ireland. From what I have read about him he was an incompetent fool with a very high opinion of his own abilities, and in some ways typifies the worst sort of British officer.

      All the best,



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