HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Cornwall

HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Cornwall

The Cruisers HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Cornwall were attacked and sunk on the 5th April 1942 by Japanese aircraft.

The ships were spotted by a reconnaissance aircraft from the heavy cruiser Tone, and subsequently attached by over 50 Val dive bombers. In less that 8 minutes HMS Dorsetshire had been hit by 10 bombs, and sank stern first after one bomb detonated a magazine.

HMS Cornwall was hit 8 times and sank bow first 10 minutes after HMS Cornwall.

The following day the cruiser Enterprise, accompanies by two destroyers Panther and Paladin rescued 1,122 men out of a combined crew of over 1,546. Among the casualties were 39 South Africans.

These two links provide an insight into the experiences of the crew:

Lt E. A Drew, Engineering Branch, HMS Cornwall

Walter Fudge, HMS Dorsetshire

The South Africans are honoured on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.