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E Class Destroyer
1,427 Tons (Standard)
1,970 Tons (Deep Load)
329' x 33' 3" x 12' 6"
4 x QF 4.7" Mark IX guns
2 x Quad .50cal MG
2 x Quad 21" torpedo tubes
20 x Depth Charges
(1 rack 2 throwers)
Royal Navy Prewar
Royal Navy July 1938
Built by Hawthorn Leslie & Co. at Hebburn on Tyne in England. Laid down on March 15, 1933 as an E Class Destroyer. Launched March 29, 1934 as HMS Encounter (H10). Commissioned November 2, 1934 in the Royal Navy.
May 22, 1940 proceeded to Scapa Flow. On February 6, 1941 departed Gibraltar with convoy HG-53 in a feign to fool observers in Spain, then reversed course back to the Mediterranean, and safely returned to Gibraltar, and repairs were completed and escorted several Malta convoys.
On November 29, 1941, the HMS Jupiter and HMS Encounter, detached from the Mediterranean Fleet, joined up with Force G at Colombo, and the five ships sailed later that day. They rendezvoused with HMS Repulse at sea, and set course for Singapore arriving December 2, 1941.
On February 25, 1942 departs Batavia (Jakarta) as part of the "Eastern Striking Force" bound for Surabaja and conducts a sweep along the coast of Madoera to intercept Japanese transports reported near Bawean Island, but no contact was made.
On February 26, 1942 returned to Surabaja and joined the "Combined Striking Force". After refueling at 4:15pm, ordered to attack Japanese transports and warships sited 200 miles to the north-northeast, departing at 6:30pm.
On February 27, 1942 in the afternoon participated in the Battle of the Java Sea. Afterwards, Encounter rescued 113 surviving crew from Hr. Ms. Kortenaer. On February 28, 1942 in the evening departed Surabaya escorting HMS Exeter with USS Pope (DD-225) on what was to have been a round-about route to escape the Java Sea via the Sunda Strait.
On March 1, 1942 at the start of the Second Battle of the Java Sea (The Battle off Bawean Island, The Battle South of Borneo) the three Allied warships were intercepted by the Japanese heavy cruisers Nachi and Haguro plus destroyers Yamakaze and Kawakaze. The chase was soon joined by two more heavy cruisers Ashigara and Myoko plus destroyers Akebono and Inazuma.
At 8:00am the Allied ships were spotted by the Japanese cruisers that launched their floatplanes for spotting. Around 9:30am the Japanese opened fire while the Allied ships laid a smokescreen and turned away to the east. At 11:20am HMS Exeter steaming at 26 knots was hit in her boiler room with all power knocked out. Encounter turned back to lay a smoke screen to protect the crusier and render aid but was soon hit by splinters and set on fire. Aboard, Lt. Commander Eric Morgan ordered the destroyer scuttled to prevent capture but at 12:10pm the Encounter capsized and sank. During the attack and sinking, eight crew died aboard Encounter.
Fates of the Crew
The other 149 crew members floated in the open sea in life jackets and rafts or clining to debris. The next day, they were captured by Japanese destroyer Ikazuchi and became became Prisoners Of War (POW). During captivity a total of 38 died. At least four of the crew were transported to Japan and detained at Zentsuji Camp including Lt. Robin J. Connibear, Gunner J. V. Leiper, Lt. Cdr. E. V. St. J. Morgan and Lt. Edward Tyrrell.
On February 21, 2007 during the afternoon a group of divers off MV Empress including Vidar Skoglie, Phil Yeutter and Kevin Denlay discovered the shipwreck of HMS Encounter at a depth of 60-61 meters, several miles from the shipwreck of HMS Exeter confirmed earlier that same day.
HMS Encounter Crew members
Mansell.com Zentsuji Camp - British Prisoners Of War 1942-1945
King's College London - TYRRELL, Engineer Cdr Edward, RN (-1994)
The Guardian "British second world war shipwrecks in Java Sea destroyed by illegal scavenging" by Oliver Homes and Luke Harding November 16, 2016
"A preliminary report from an expedition to document sunken ships, seen by the Guardian, shows that the wrecks of HMS Exeter, a 175m heavy cruiser, and destroyer HMS Encounter have been almost totally removed."
History of War: "Java Sea Shipwrecks of World War 2: One of the men who found them reflects on their loss" by James Hoare November 23, 2016
Thanks to Kevin Denlay for additional information
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