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J Class Destroyer
1,,690 Tons (Standard)
2,330 Tons (Full load)
356.5' x 35.75' x 12.5'
3 x Twin 4.7" Mark XII guns
1 x Quad 2 pdr AA gun
2 x Quad QF machine guns
2 x Quad 21" torpedo tubes
20 x Depth charges
(1 rack and 2 throwers)
RN October 10-11, 1940
RN August 24, 1940
Built by Yarrow & Company at Scotstoun in Glasgow. Laid down September 20, 1937 as J-class destroyer. Launched October 27, 1938 as HMS Jupiter (F85). Commissioned June 25, 1939 in the Royal Navy (RN) under the command of Lieutenant Commander Norman V. J. T. Thew for service in the 7th Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet. Afterwards, underwent sea trials off Portland but experienced turbine problems repaired at Devonport Dockyard then continued sea trials in the North Sea and returns to Portland September 1, 1939 at the start of World War II.
On September 3, 1939 deploys with Humber Force to intercept German vessels in the North Sea and protect convoys. On September 22, 1939 escorts HMS Javelin after a collision to Tyne. On September 30, 1939 slightly damaged in a collision with HMS Jervis at Rosyth. On October 8, 1940 taken under tow by HMS Jervis when propulsion is lost and repaired at Scapa Flow. On October 22, 1940 aids HMS Javelin and HMS Afridi after collision with a cargo ship and towed one of the destroyers to Middlesbrough. During November 1940 and December 1940 continues patrols in the North Sea.
On February 14, 1940 refit at Humber Graving Dock for a month. On March 19, 1940 returns to Humber Force to escort convoys to and from Norway. On April 6, 1940 at Scapa Flow and the next day searches for German warships reported in the North Sea then returns. On April 27, 1941 undergoes refit for the next month including boiler modifications, water feed tank and structural stiffening required as a result of steaming at high speed in rough seas.
During June 1940 transfered to the 5th Destroyer Flotilla as part of Humber Force based at Immingham. In July 1940 conducts patrols and escorts convoys in the North Sea then to Harwich. In late August 1940 part of Operation CBX5 minelaying in Heligoland Bight north of Texel. On September 1, 1940 rescues survivors from HMS Ivanhoe (D16) and HMS Esk (H15) lost due to enemy mines.
In October 1940 to Plymouth to patrol the English Channel due to German destroyer redeployments. During the night of October 10-11, 1940 shelled Cherbourg, France. Afterwards, resumed patrol work off Plymouth and sorties with destroyers but due to propultion issues was unable to maintain speed or participate in the action.
On November 28, 1940 sorties again with destroyers to intercept German destroyers and assists HMS Javelin hit by torpedoes then escorts while towed by a tug boat back to Plymouth. On November 30, 1940 departs Plymouth with destroyers escorting HMS Manchester to Gibralter arriving on December 2, 1940 then departs six days later for the return voyage to Plymouth. On December 30, 1940 joins Operation GQ2 escorts HMS Adventure for minelaying and cover bound for Gibraltar arriving the next day.
On January 31, 1941 departs Gibraltar with Force H for attacks on on Tirso Dam in Sardinia and returns four days later. On February 6, 1941 departs Gibraltar with Force H and on February 9, 1941 participates in the shore bombardment of Genoa, Italy and mine laying operations then returns to Gibraltar. On February 11, 1941 under repair at HM Dockyard Gibraltar and twelve days later departs for Plymouth.
On March 2, 1941 begins refit at HM Dockyard, Devonport for the remainder of the month plus April and most of May. On May 18, 1941 a board of inquiry began at Plymouth to investigate suspected sabotage when foreign material was found in the main steam system On May, 24, 1941 undergoes trials and returns to service with the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.
On June 26, 1941 resumed service and was assigned to the 6th Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet for screening and patrol duties. During July 1941, arrives Greenock, Scotland and enters Scotts shipyard where 20mm cannons are installed for anti-aircraft defense. Next, to Liverpool to Grayson Rollo shipyard for A-bracket repairs. On August 1, 1941 arrives Clyde to escort a convoy VW10 arriving at Capetown, South Africa sixteen days later. On September 2, 1941 detached and the next day proceeds to Durban for repairs to hull leaks from structural defects. On September 12, 1941 departs Durban for Alexandria, Egypt to completion of repairs arriving twelve days later.
On October 1, 1941 with HMS Jervis and HMS Rorqual for anti-submarine exercises off Alexandria. During November nominated for transfer to the Eastern Fleet and departs Alexandria and arrives at Colombo Harbor on November 28, 1941. The next day joins Force Z including HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Repulse escorted by HMS Encounter, HMS Electra and HMS Express arrives Singapore on December 2, 1941.
On December 10, 1941 docked at Singapore for refit and does not sortie with Force Z to intercept the Japanese invasion force off Malaysia. After refit, performs convoy escort and patrols in the vicinity. On January 10, 1942 joins DM1 with HMS Encounter and HMAS Vampire escorting a convoy from Singapore to Durban arriving three days later.
On January 17, 1942 escorts USS Mount Vernon (AP-22) from Singapore and while in the Sunda Strait roughly 25 miles north-northwest of Krakatoa Island, Jupiter detached to respond to the distress signal from a nearby ship and for two hours conducts a two hour ASDIC sonar search for the enemy submarine, detects it and made two depth charge attacks against Japanese submarine I-60. Heavily damaged, the submarine surfaced astern and was too close for her 4.7" guns to fire. Unable to dive, the submarine attempts to engage the destroyer with its deck gun. Meanwhile, Jupiter changed course and opens fire with her starboard 20mm guns targeting the Japanese crew members attempting to reach the sub's 14cm deck gun and replacements as they fell.
Despite the gunfire, the submarine crew manages to open fire hitting Jupiter's stern 4.7" open gun turret killing three and wounding nine aboard. The destroyer fires three torpedoes but all miss. Turning, her forward 4.7" gun opens fire and scores two or three hits on the submarine disabling the deck gun but the submarine listing and smoking continues to return fire with a machine gun. With more 20mm fire the machine gun is silenced and is hit by another 4.7" shell between the coning tower and stern causing an internal explosion and more smoke.
At full speed, Jupiter passed 15' abeam of the submarine and drops another set of depth charges with shallow fuze. The explosion blows an enemy sailor out of the conning tower and flames shoot 15' to 20' upward as the submarine sinks by the stern at roughly Lat 6° 19' 30" S, Long 104° 49' 20" E in the southern Sunda Strait. Afterwards, three of the crew are rescued and taken aboard as Prisoners Of War (POW) and one later dies.
On February 2, 1942 escorts convoy DM2 with HMS Exeter and HMAS Vampire from Durban to Batavia (Jakarta) arriving nine days later. On February 12, 1942 departs for Singapore and inbound experiences air attacks. On February 25, 1942 transferred to the Eastern Striking Force with HMS Exeter and HMAS Perth with HMS Encounter and HMS Electra from Tanjong Priok to Surabaja. On February 26, 1942 departs Surabaja with the ABDA force to intercept Japanese Eastern Invasion Force.
On February 27, 1942 when the enemy force is not spotted, turns back for Surabaja to refuel. While entering Surabaya Harbor, a sighting report is received and the force alters course to intercept and began the Battle of the Java Sea. During the evening Jupiter was streaming near the northern coast of Java and suffered a violent explosion and sank. At the time, the explosion was believed to be caused by a Japanese torpedo. But, there where no Japanese forces in striking distance at the time of the explosion. Later it was found that Jupiter entered a minefield and hit an Allied sea mine laid earlier that day by Dutch minelayer Gouden Leeuw.
The shipwreck is located near the northern coast of Java and is very broken up from extensive salvage. The wreck is noted on British Admiralty charts and known since World War II and to locals.
Kevin Denlay adds:
"Jupiter is the only one of all the Battle of the Java Sea wrecks (2/27/42) that I haven't dived. Skipper has dived her many years ago and reports very very broken up from salvage and extremely poor vis, what we would call 'braille' diving. And its a little out of the way being right down on the coast, so although I would like to dive her just to complete the circle as it were, it's not something I expect to happen any time soon."
Naval History Homepage HMS Jupiter (G 85) - J-class Destroyer
Thanks to Kevin Denlay for additional information
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