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Summary of the Battle

 

HMS Repulse sank at 12.35 p.m. with the loss of 513 men, she had only taken a matter of minutes to go under. HMS Prince of Wales had taken 50 minutes longer, her casualties were not quite as severe, due to her stronger hull withstanding more punishment, thus giving her crew more time to escape. The total lost aboard her amounted to 327 men.

 

Japanese airmen did not interfere with the rescue of survivors, in fact some books written on the sinking, state they flashed a signal, allowing the escorting destroyers to pick up survivors. I dispute this fact and feel the theory offered by Prince of Wales survivor, Bill Johns is far more plausible.

 

After the war Bill had many business dealings in Japan and to some extent understands their philosophy. He is adamant that the only reason no other vessels were attacked is that the pilots had specific orders to sink the two Capital ships; therefore none of them would accept responsibility for attacking any other ships in the vicinity. I feel this theory is proven during later battles in the months after the sinking, when further British warships were sunk by the Japanese, the men from these stricken warships, once in the water, were mercilessly raked by machine gun fire from the pilots who had sunk their vessels.

The initial high level attack.  Click here to view a larger version of this picture (opens a new window) (42499 bytes)

The initial high level attack; Repulse, (right of picture) is enveloped by smoke. The result of the 250 kg bomb detonating in the fan chamber. Prince of Wales (left) can be seen making an evasive manoeuvre

Aftermath of the first attack. Click here to view a larger version of this picture (opens a new window)  (32431 bytes)

Aftermath of the first attack. Repulse is only identifiable by her fighting top, peering through the smoke

Force Z under heavy attack. Click here to view a larger version of this picture (opens a new window)  (38641 bytes)

Force Z under heavy attack. The dire condition of the Prince of Wales is clearly evident, she can be seen steaming in circles. Repulse on the right of the picture is shown in a pall of smoke

The death throes of Repulse. Click here to view a larger version of this picture (opens a new window) (38916 bytes)

The death throes of Repulse. Already badly damaged from previous attacks she can be seen receiving 

  further punishment. In the bottom left hand corner of this photograph a torpedo bomber is clearly evident

The stalking and eventual sinking of Repulse and Prince of Wales. Click here to view a larger version of this picture (opens a new window) (41295 bytes)

The stalking and eventual sinking of Repulse and Prince of Wales.

 

 

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