Dodging Torpedoes Is Fun!

Classic British Understatement


HMS Repulse in transit to Singapore


Battlecruiser HMS REPULSE, painted in a dazzle camouflage scheme, while escorting the last troop convoy to reach Singapore. The ship was sunk a few days later with great loss of life on 10 December 1941 by Japanese torpedoes. (Photo and caption courtesy of Imperial War Museum)

“I found dodging torpedoes quite interesting and entertaining until in the end they started to come from all directions and they were too much for me.”

So wrote Captain William Tennant, RN, Commanding Officer of HMS Repulse when she was sunk off Malaya by Japanese planes on 10 December 1941. In an amazing demonstration of ship handling capability (and a bit of luck), Tennant managed to conn his almost 800 foot long battlecruiser to outmaneuver 19 Japanese torpedoes dropped from torpedo bombers. Eventually, planes came from every direction of the compass and sank the Repulse. Tennant survived to become a Knight Commander of Bath (KCB) and a full Admiral.


source: “Alarm Starboard!” by Geoffrey Brooke. As a young sub-lieutenant, RN, Brooke was aboard HMS Prince of Wales and witnessed the destruction of HMS Repulse. Captain Tennant was a family friend. In his memoir, Brooke says he saw Tennant on several occasions after the war but they never discussed the dreadful day of 10 December 1941.


HMS Repulse Haifa


Stern of HMS Repulse in Haifa, then part of the British Mandate of Palestine. July 1938. (Photo courtesy of the US Library of Congress)

A Classic Plane Used in Air Sea Rescue



PBY Catalina landing at NAS Jacksonville during WWII.

(official US Navy photo)

PB stands for “Patrol Bomber” and Y is the designation assigned to the manufacturer: Consolidated Aircraft. The PBY Catalina was the most widely used amphibious aircraft in World War Two. Manufactured in the US, many planes went via Lend-Lease to our allies.

While the US Navy called it the PBY, the British called it the Catalina and the Canadians called it the Canso. You often see this in aircraft names in World War Two. Our Allies would call planes received from Lend-Lease a different name than Americans used.


A Cave Makes A Great Bomb Shelter

Hastings Hi Res

“St Clements Caves formed a natural air-raid shelter for many Old Town families when bombing began in 1940. The caves were kitted out with 500 bunk beds and a new entrance was knocked through into Croft Road. The people ate, slept and generally lived as an underground community. A fully equipped medical centre, sick bay and dining hall were also added and an official inspector from the Civil Defence Commissioner remarked that it was “the best air-raid shelter in the country”.

From the official website of the City of Hastings in the UK.