The Royal Navy’s Revenge

Dear Sir - I was saddened to read of the plundering of Allied ships sunk during Battles of the Java Sea in early 1942 with such great loss of Allied lives. Mention was made of the loss of the cruiser HMS Exeter and the part played in her eventual loss by the Japanese cruiser Haguro. This Myoko class heavy cruiser of over 13,000 tons carried ten 8 in guns and saw considerable service in the south-west Pacific. In addition to the Java Sea, she saw action in the Coral Sea and Guadalcanal battles and survived the destruction of the Japanese fleet in the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf battles of 1944. But in 1945 the Royal Navy exacted revenge for the loss of Exeter, Encounter and Electra.

In May 1945, Naval Intelligence learned that the Haguro was to be used to reinforce the Japanese garrison in the Andaman Islands and Operation Dukedom was set in train to intercept her. Among the ships tasked was the escort carrier HMS Shah which carried the Avengers of 851 Sqn under Lt Cdr M T Fuller and trained in the torpedo bomber reconnaissance (TBR) role.

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