HMS Exeter

      Sir Ninian Comper. "Christ walking on the water" in memory of the officers and men of HMS Exeter lost in the Java Sea, 1942

      St Andrew's Chapel

      From Exeter Cathedral web site

      Gary - I am trying to find information on the sinking of the Exeter on May 1st '42 at Sunda strait,and the following internment of the survivors,on the Celebes island.
      My father was on the gunnery crew,and survived the River Plate and Sunda strait.
      His name was James Edward John[Jim].
      Please e-mail if you have any information at all.

      Keval - >gary my father Michael "Snowy" Menzies was a POW in Zentsuji (Japan). A number of Exeter survivors including Capt gordon were in that camp.
      Capt Gordon wrote a book on his experiences (Called "Fight it Out" (I think)).
      As my father was not an officer he got to work out side the camp which in turn gave him the opportunity to scavange and pilfer what he could. he also established black market contacts (you can imagine the danger).
      Capt Gordon collected the officers wages (The Japs paid them wages !!) and passed it to Dad who would buy what medecine he could via his black market contacts. Thats what I've been told anyway.
      When i get the chance I'll check out the info i have on Zentsuji inhabitants from the Exeter.

      gerryhawkey - >Gary, I saw your message after I had posted my own Exeter message. My uncle Albert Hawkey was a purser on the Exeter. He survived 3.5 years as a prisoner and was taken to Australia to recuperate. H returned home in 1947. I know nothing of where he was taken as a prisoner. I am trying to gain that information for a family history. I imagine that you are doing the same. I will be happy to share any information with you. Please EMail if you are interested.

      George - Gentlemen, there is an amazing amount of information concerning subject on the Internet. Go to "Google" or whatever.

      gerryhawkey - My uncle Albert Hawkey was a prisoner from 1942. What camp were Exeter crew taken to? He received the oakleaf for maintaining morale when he was liberated and taken to Australia for recuperation.

      Rob Terry -

      My wife's father was on the exeter that sank and often spoke about the sinking and the treatment they recieved in the prisoner of war camp his name was frank hazell is there any list of the crew


      Gary Beaubouef -

      I am seeking information concerning my great uncle, Mr. Tommy Lang, of Glasgow, Scotland, who was a crewman aboard the HMS Exeter. He spent several years in a Japanese internment camp during the war and worked on the railroad in Thailand. I do not know his rank or any other information concerning his war years. I only met him a few times when I was a child and he, understandably, was reluctant to mention his experiences. Thank you for any information you can give me.

      Ron - There is a good web site on the sinking of Exeter at:

      Sean Williams -

      Like some of you, I have started to investigate my family history and have had some success with my Grandfather Victor George Williams, Asdic Technician P/JX23635.

      My website has some details on his service and photos of the Exeter as well as some photo's/drawings of Vic in his Uniform.

      He was killed by the Japanese 30 Jun 1943 and it was only last year that we found a small plaque for him at the Yokohama War Cemetery.

      Details of my site:


      Peter Hall - My uncle Gerrald Short went down on the Exeter. He was later to loose his like in a POW camp.I'm researching his life and would greatful for any imformatiom.


      Ron - >Peter.

      Alf King's story is quite near that of your late uncle and should help in your research:

      There is also a despatch on the Battle of the Java Sea:

      I have taken the liberty of adding him to the Roll of Honour with his own page.
      If you have a photo of him , email it to me with any verse.
      Also included the Commonwealth War Graves information below, if you have not already seen it.

      Initials: G B
      Nationality: United Kingdom
      Rank: Able Seaman
      Regiment: Royal Navy
      Unit Text: H.M.S. Exeter.
      Age: 20
      Date of Death: 03/05/1945
      Service No: D/JX184619
      Additional information: Son of Katherine Jessie Short, of Hove,
      Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
      Grave/Memorial Reference: 29. E. 7.
      Cemetery: AMBON WAR CEMETERY
      Country: Indonesia
      Locality: unspecified
      Their details are as follows: Travel Advice Unit Consular Division Foreign
      and Commonwealth Office Old Admiralty Building London SW1A 2AF Tel: 0207 008
      0232/0233 Fax: 0207 008 0164 Website: Opening Times:
      Monday to Friday 09.30 - 16.00 The gates to the Cemetery are normally kept
      locked but entry can be made through the side entrance and the resident head
      gardener's accommodation. A notice to this effect is situated outside the
      main cemetery gates. The location or design of this site makes wheelchair
      access impossible.
      Location Information: Ambon island lies close to the south west coast
      of Ceram in the Molucca Group of islands. It is reached by air from Jakarta
      with connecting flights at Ujung Pandang in Sulawesi (Celebes). Ambon War
      Cemetery (known locally as the Australian Cemetery) is on the opposite side
      of the bay to the airport. It can be reached by taxi travelling around the
      bay to Ambon town, or there is a ferry service across the bay which brings
      you to Ambon town. The Cemetery is 5 kilometres north-east of Ambon on the
      main road to Galala. Standing on the first terrace within the cemetery will
      be found the Ambon Memorial. This Memorial, in the form of a shelter,
      commemorates officers and men of the Australian forces who have no known
      grave. Many of those commemorated here died in the defence of Ambonia in the
      early months of the war against Japan and others were killed in the Allied
      assault on Japanese air bases established on Ambonia and Celebes. A large
      number perished in Japanese prisoner of war camps.
      Historical Information: The town of Ambon, situated on Laitimor
      Peninsula on the southern shore of Ambon Bay, was severely damaged during
      the war, first by the Japanese who bombed it heavily in January 1942 and
      later by the Allied forces who attacked it in 1943 and 1944. The War
      Cemetery was constructed on the site of a former camp for Australian,
      British and Dutch prisoners of war, some of whom had been transferred from
      Java in 1943, and many of those buried in it died in captivity. Other
      burials were of Australian soldiers who died during the Japanese invasion on
      Ambon and Timor. Soon after the war the remains of prisoners of war from
      Haruku and other camps on the island were also removed to Ambon and in 1961,
      at the request of the Indonesian Government, the remains of 503 graves in
      Makassar War Cemetery on the island of Celebes were added to the cemetery.
      The total number of graves in the cemetery is over 2,000. Of this total over
      half are Australians, of whom about 350 belonged to the 2/21st Australian
      Infantry Battalion. Most of the 800 British casualties belonged to the Royal
      Navy and Royal Air Force; nearly all the naval dead were originally buried
      at Makassar. The American airmen were killed with 7 Australian airmen in
      July 1945; all were buried in a collective grave in Plot 28. The non-war
      grave is that of a seaman of the Merchant Navy, whose death was not due to
      war service. The cemetery is laid out in a series of terraces approached by
      short flights of steps on the central axis. The Ambon Memorial, which is in
      the form of a shelter, stands on the first terrace. It commemorates over 450
      Australian soldiers and airmen who died in the region of Celebes and the
      Molucca Islands and have no known grave. The Cross of Sacrifice stands on
      the highest terrace in a wide expanse of lawn; the terrace below it contains
      most of the burials from Makassar. All the graves are marked with bronze
      plaques mounted on concrete pedestals and set in level turf. Tropical trees
      and shrubs are planted throughout the cemetery and around its boundaries.
      No. of Identified Casualties: 1768

      Paul -

      My uncle William Phillips was yeoman of signals with exeter, he was in fukwoka no2 and was killed in 1943. I have yet to make contact with any survivors who could tell me anything about him maybe how he died. I know the official record states fracture of the lower kranium, but this is said of many other pow's. I would like a copy of the list from mrs Jobling if possible.



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