Amongst the long list of ships lost during the two World Wars are two battleships that were literally sent to their doom on this day in 1941. The sinking of HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales is well documented and I won’t repeat all that is written about them, suffice to say a better account of the battle may be read at the relevant Wikipedia page. Technically HMS Repulse was a battlecruiser, and if anything even more vulnerable to air attack due to the bad design.
Many of the survivors of the sinking would become prisoners of war in the subsequent battles that put South East Asia into Japanese hands, they too would loose their lives as a result of their captivity.
The loss of these two ships was yet another nail in the coffin for the big gun ship, and a display of how vulnerable they were to air attack. The image below was taken from a Japanese aircraft during the initial high-level bombing attack. The battlecruiser Repulse, near the bottom of the view, has just been hit by one bomb and near-missed by several more. The battleship Prince of Wales is near the top of the image, generating a considerable amount of smoke. The Japanese writing in the lower right states that the photograph was reproduced by authorization of the Navy Ministry.
DRW © 2019 – 2020. Created 10/12/2019.
Image of HMS Prince of Wales in Singapore: Abrahams, H J (Lt), Royal Navy official photographer. Post-Work: User: W.wolny / Public domain.
Image of HMS Repulse leaving Singapore: Adams W L G (Captain), Commanding Officer, HMS CORINTHIAN. Post-Work: User: W.wolny / Public domain