- Letter Writer
- None noted
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- June 2002 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
I was particularly interested to read your article “Capture of Hong Kong 1941 – the Naval Battle” [Dec 2001]. Cmdr Crowther was wrong to describe TAMAR as “the old wooden depot ship” as she was iron-hulled, and his recollection of her scuttling was not accurate. (In fact the operation has not been recorded in any published history that I can find, not even in the five volume official history of the War Against Japan).
Fifteen years ago I visited and talked to Laurence Kilbee, who as a Lieutenant RHKNVR commanding MTB 08 in 1941 kept a war diary. On Thursday 11 December 1941 he was ordered to sink TAMAR by torpedo. She was moored off Wanchai, SW of Kellett Island (now the Royal HK Yacht Club). Though he set the torpedo to 8ft (depth setting) nothing happened and he thinks that it hit the bottom and buried itself in the soft mud. A week later, just before the Japanese landed on HK Island, a demolition party sank her. However, she was in such shallow water that her three stump masts were visible until she was totally demolished by shipbreakers after the war. I have a photograph taken in September 1945 looking out from a balcony of Government House east over the harbour in which one can pick out these three masts.
Charles Addis (Lt Cdr RN)
[Ed: NB. LCDR Addis served in HMAS Penguin 1974-76 as Command NBCD Officer and OIC RAN NBCD School]