March 1942

Mar

2

1942

Rescued from the sea by the Japanese Navy

HMS Encounter sunk along with HMS Exeter and USS Pope on 1st March 1942, her crew were stranded in the waters of the Java sea .

It must have been about midday, for the sun was vertical and we were just south of the equator. About 200 yards away we thought we saw a Japanese destroyer. Was she a mirage? We all saw her, so perhaps she was real, but our first emotion was not joy or relief, for we expected to be machine-gunned.

Mar

1

1942

HMS Exeter’s final battle

HMS Exeter fighting off an aircraft attack in January 1942 during the Battle of the Banka Straits.

The ship just came to a stop in all departments. The main engines stopped through lack of steam. The dynamos stopped. The turrets were motionless on different bearings. The steering failed. The inside became full of smoke as escaping oil fuel in the forward boiler room burst into flames. There was nothing we could do except sink her.