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HMS Encounter in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- HMS Encounter during the Second World War -

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HMS Encounter

   HMS Encounter was a class E Destroyer, her pennant was H10. She was built by Hawthorn Leslie & Co. of Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K. Encounter was launched on the 29th of March 1934
Known movements of HMS Encounter

  • 22 May 1940: HMS Ark Royal was proceeding to Scapa Flow in thick fog, with the destroyers HMS Brazen, HMS Encounter, and HMS Volunteer.
  • 6th Feb 1941: Force H under the command of Vice Admiral Somerville, set sail from Gibraltar. The battlecruiser HMS Renown, battleship HMS Malaya, aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, light cruiser HMS Sheffield and the destroyers HMS Fearless, HMS Foxhound, HMS Foresight, HMS Fury, HMS Encounter and HMS Jersey left Gibraltar to the west with convoy HG-53. This was done to fool German and Italian observers in Spain. In the meantime 4 destroyers HMS Duncan, HMS Isis, HMS Firedrake and HMS Jupiter left Gibraltar and steamed to the east to conduct a anti-submarine sweep. During the night Force H reversed course and passed Gibraltar on a westerly course back into the Mediterranean. There they were joined by the 4 destroyers that conducted the anti-submarine sweep.
  • 11 Feb 1941: Force H safely returned to Gibralta.
  • 19th February 1941 HMS Encounter sailed with HMS Isis from Gibraltar to take the route round the Cape of Good Hope to Suez to join the Mediterranean Fleet.
  • 30th April 1941 she was severely damaged at Malta by air attack and was further damaged the next day.
  • June 1941 Repairs were completed and Encounter took part in several Malta convoys with Force 'H' before sailing again round the Cape to rejoin the Mediterranean Fleet.
  • 25th February 1942 Encounter sailed from Batavia to Soerabaja, in response to an order at 11.25 a.m. from Admiral Conrad Helfrich that all available cruisers and destroyers were to join Admiral Doorman's Eastern Striking Force at Soerabaja. Commodore Collins despatched the cruisers HMS Exeter and HMAS Perth along with three British destroyers Jupiter, Electra and Encounter. The Australian light cruiser Hobart remained in harbour as she was short of fuel and could not be replenished in time to sail due to air raid damage to the only oiler earlier that morning. At dusk Eastern Striking Force sailed to carry out a sweep along the coast of Madoera in the hope of intercepting the transports reported near Bawean Island. No contact was made.
  • 26th Feb 1942 The Allied force returned to Soerabaja, where it was joined by the Exeter's detachment from Batavia. The Eastern Striking Force became The Combined Striking Force, under the command of Dutch Rear-Admiral Karel W.F.M. Doorman. The ships refuelled and at 4.15 p.m. orders were received from Admiral Helfrich to carry out a night attack on thirty Japanese transports, escorted by two cruisers and five destroyers, which had been sighted about two hundred miles to the north-northeast. They were then to proceed to Batavia. The force of 5 cruisers, HMS Exeter and USS Houston, HMAS Perth, RNNS's De Ruyter and Java along with 9 destroyers - HMS Electra, HMS Encounter, HMS Jupiter, USS John D. Edwards, USS Alden, USS John D. Ford, USS Paul Jones, RNN Witte de With and RNN Kortenaer all set sail at 6.30 p.m.they set course so as to sweep along the north coast of Madoera Island where a landing was thought possible.
  • 27th February 1942: HMS Encounter took part in the the seven hour Battle of the Java Sea. The destroyer Kortenaer was hit amidships at 17:13pm by a torpedo from the Haguro, she broke in two and sank almost immediately, losing 59 men from her crew of 171. The destroyer HMS Encounter rescued 113 from the stricken vessel with one survivor later dying on board. The Battle of the Java Sea,took the lives of 6,339 sailors from both sides.
  • 1st March 1942: HMS Encounter was scuttled by her own crew having being damaged by gunfire from the Japanese heavy cruisers Ashigara and Myoko in the Java Sea. Most of the crew were taken POW by the Japanese


13th Jul 1941 Convoy

27th Jul 1941 Convoy

4th Aug 1941 Convoy arrives

If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

Those known to have sailed in

HMS Encounter

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Bicker Harold Stanley. Ldg Stoker
  • Falle Sam.
  • Morgan E. V. S.. Lt Cmdr.
  • Syred Deryck R.. Surg. Lt.
  • Tyrrell Edward. Eng. Offr.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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There are 1 pages in our library tagged HMS Encounter  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

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Surg. Lt. Deryck R. Syred HMS Encounter

My father, Surgeon Lieutenant Deryck R Syred RNVR, qualified as a medical practitioner in April 1940. He joined the Navy as soon as he was allowed to in July 1941 as Surgeon Lieutenant RNVR. He joined his ship, the Destroyer HMS Encounter, in January 1942 at Singapore.

His ship survived the First Battle of the Java Sea on 27th February 1942, but along with the famous cruiser HMS Exeter and the US destroyer USS Pope was sunk on the morning of 1st March 1942 in what I believe was called the Second Battle of the Java Sea. The ships had been trying to escape the Japanese, who far outnumbered them. Encounter's crew were ordered to abandon ship after she had run out of ammunition and had been disabled. After spending the rest of the day and all the following night clinging to a makeshift raft with eleven companions (one of whom was a Spaniel dog), my father was rescued by a Japanese destroyer. Most of Encounter's crew survived and were taken prisoner.

He was at first imprisoned at Macassar in the Celebes, but was transferred to Fukuoka No 2 POW camp in Nagasaki Harbour in October 1942, where he remained until the end of the war. He spent most of his time there caring for sick and injured allied prisoners, most of whom had to work in the nearby Mitsubishi shipyard under harsh conditions.

My father was listed as missing until March 1943, from which time he was in correspondence with his family, very intermittently, some letters taking over two years to reach their destination. He eventually arrived in England in November 1945 and was demobbed in September 1946. He died of a brain haemorrhage in 1954, shortly after his forty-first birthday.

Gerald Syred

Ldg Stoker Harold Stanley Bicker HMS Encounter

Ldg Stoker Harry Bicker was reported missing when the Encounter went down, his local news paper reported in March 1943, a year after the ship had sunk: "Reported missing last March from HMS Encounter, in the Battle of Java, Leading Stoker Harold Stanley Bicker, son of Mrs Bicker, The Street, Adisham, and whose wife and two children are living at 13 Baden Road, Gillingham, is now officially reported a prisoner of war in Fukuoka Camp, Japan. Recently his mother received news that her younger son, Leonard, who is a Commando, was injured in the Dieppe raid, has been promoted Seaman Petty Officer."

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