- Francis, Richard
- WWII operations
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- March 2002 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
There was little respite for the remaining destroyers. On completion of refuelling and topping up with ammunition, HMAS Vampire sailed with the minelayer, HMS Tevior Bank, back to Kuantan where a minefield was laid without interference across the bay. (This later claimed 3 enemy vessels). Anti submarine patrols off Singapore followed. Vampire sailed again on 19 December 1941 in company with the old cruisers HM Ships Dragon and Durban escorting SS Erinpura (transporting many survivors of the disaster) to Colombo. After a mid ocean rendezvous with an eastbound convoy escorted by HMAS Hobart, all warships joined and returned to Singapore.
Coastal defence of Singapore Island had been provided by a series of artillery batteries around the perimeter, from modest 6 pounders to massive 15″ fortress guns designed to duel with battleships offshore. While predominately sited on the south of the island, the large guns could command the entire island and mainland Johore, as well as outrange equivalent weapons mounted in ships in the waters surrounding the focal area. The deficiency lay in their prime outfit of armour piercing shell, with no HE for land bombardment, although a rudimentary fire plan against land targets was devised hurriedly.
Evacuation of ships
On 13 December 1942 GHQ decided to evacuate the ships remaining in the naval base, with as many people as possible. The demolition of the docks and machine shops was left to the Army garrison. The fuel tanks had already suffered damage. The armament depot was extremely vulnerable too, and efforts were made to tow ammunition barges round to Keppel Harbour on the south side of the island. After the last retreating British troops crossed the Causeway from Johore Bahru on 1 Feb 42 it was blown up, leaving a 70m gap. A thin defensive perimeter line was hastily prepared on the northern shoreline,, awaiting the expected invasion.
- “The Fall of Singapore” by Timothy Hall (Methuen Australia Pty 1983)
- “Someone had Blundered” by Bernard Ash (Michael Joseph Ltd 1963)
- “Asiatic Land Battles: Expansion of Japan in Asia” by Trevor Nevitt Dupuy (Illustrated history of WW2 Vol 8, Franklin Watts Inc 1965)
- “Sinister Twilight” by Noel Barber (Collins 1968)
- “The Guns of Singapore” – Naval Historical Review(s) 1976/77
- “Changi Photographer” by Tim Bowden (Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1984)
- “HMAS Bendigo Corvette” by Members of her Ship’s Company – 1995
- “HMS Thanet (the story)” – www.john.weedon.btinternet.co.uk 2001
- “A Bitter Fate – Australians in Malaya & Singapore 19411942” by Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra 2002.