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Thread: Never mind Spitfires in Burma - what about Hurricanes near Jacatra?

  1. #1
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    Never mind Spitfires in Burma - what about Hurricanes near Jacatra?

    Whilst researching my family ancestry I discovered that my late uncle served as the 6th engineer on board SS DERRYMORE, an armed merchant ship carrying ammunition and six crated Hurricanes en route to Singapore when they were torpedoed in the Java Sea 50 miles NNW of Batavia(now Jacatra) by the Japanese submarine I-55. Also on board were 200 wounded airmen from the RAF and RAAF, nine of whom didn't make the rescue ship HMS Ballarat (amongst them who did make it was a pilot named John Gorton who would later become Australian Prime Minister '68-'71). The exact location of the sunken ship is known, so just how much of the Hurricanes would remain from the salt water after 70+ years?

  2. #2
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    Hi All,
    My next door neighbour told me his mate served on a carrier during WW2 in the far east and they dumped excess crated aircraft and engines into Trincomalee harbour after the war. The furthest I got with enquiries was with a dive group who said they were probably deeper than his company dive but to be honest he
    knew nothing of any aircraft wrecks that I described.. .

    I imagine the biggest problem with all these legends/Stories etc is proof ? pictures are one thing but peoples memories years after the event of whatever are a
    little sketchy as Mr Cundall could be experiencing, I wish all these latter day Indiana Jonese's well as If they are successful everybody benefits...

    Geoff.

  3. #3
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    According to the shipping records the Hurricane serials were Z 5557 and Z 5580-84 the latitude and longitude of the sunken ship are recorded (but not how deep the water is in this area?)

  4. #4
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    A fair amount would be left, but salvageable for airworthy components nope.

  5. #5
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    Assuming they weren't stowed in a hold which took the torpedo hit(s) of course?

    This from an airman on board the ship

    Firstly, the torpedo which we believe came from a miniature Japanese submarine, hit the next to the rear hold. In this was stored cement, a large number of flares and Hurricane fighter aircraft is huge crates.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/51/a5899251.shtml

    Moggy
    Last edited by Moggy C; 15th March 2017 at 19:32.
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

  6. #6
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    Does the fact its a war grave not put you off?

  7. #7
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    The fact that it is a war-grave wouldn't put-off illegal commercial scrap salvors...

    ...a whole sunken Dutch cruiser war-grave has mysteriously 'disappeared' in the region in recent years!
    WA$.

  8. #8
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    "Jacatra" or should it be Jakarta which was Batavia?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creaking Door View Post
    The fact that it is a war-grave wouldn't put-off illegal commercial scrap salvors...

    ...a whole sunken Dutch cruiser war-grave has mysteriously 'disappeared' in the region in recent years!
    Likewise HMS Exeter.
    Martin

  10. #10
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    But SURELY, if the Hurricanes were wrapped in wax paper, they would still be OK???????????
    In Memory of:
    Flt Lt Tony Hill who successfully photographed a small "Würzburg radar" at Bruneval. 5th Dec 1941

  11. #11
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    When we already have a reasonably good number of preserved Hurricanes flying and in museums, what really would be the point of going to all the trouble and expense of trying to raise, what would inevitably be, just a pile of corroded scrap?
    Work! You don't know what work is. When I was a boy...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sideslip View Post
    When we already have a reasonably good number of preserved Hurricanes flying and in museums, what really would be the point of going to all the trouble and expense of trying to raise, what would inevitably be, just a pile of corroded scrap?

    This is the "Hurricane Rule" the Spitfire Mustang and P-40 Rules are different

    Btw the "Hurricane Rule" is actually nearly moving to the others

  13. #13
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    Perhaps better to check the cargo lists of the vessels sailing in the PQ convoys, many sunk in the cold artic waters which might helped to keep them in rather good condition.

  14. #14
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    I have got the numbers of tanks that were lost on the Russian convoys...

    ...a hundred or more.....and they'd survive much better than any Hurricane...

    ...especially a Hurricane with a Churchill tank sitting on top of it!
    WA$.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wl745 View Post
    "Jacatra" or should it be Jakarta which was Batavia?
    Djakarta until adoption of modern Bahasa Indonesia 'Jakarta'. Nice Indonesian Air Force Museum in Jakarta with slowly corroding airframes, worth visiting.
    I remember seeing a derelict Mitchell or C-47 in the swamp alongside Dili airfield in 1989, in what was then Indonesia, never bothered to have a look in case of landmines or unsympathetic sentries with semi automatics.

    You could probably say that what is now Indonesia had the largest WW2 era airforce into the 1970's when you aggregate the derelict airframes in Irian Jaya, and what was left by the Japanese, Dutch, Americans. Not much left now at all. Lots of Hurricanes were shot down in Java in 1942, one made it to Australia and lasted until the 1950's before being scrapped.

    As you know, the Spanish and Portuguese divided the world between them in the 15th century, Spaniards of to the Americas, Portuguese off to India and the spices of the east. Later came the Dutch East India Company and Clive of India to sort things out again. The last holdout of the Portuguese was East Timor, so you can find the ruins of 400 year old forts there covered in vines, and look at the sea and imagine the red sails of caravels leading in the sunset. The you can find old coins from the time in the local markets. So many empires and so many stories have crashed like waves on the shore of these lands, that you can understand the prosiac take of the locals towards earning copper coins from dragging the scrap left by all these adventurers out of their jungles and seas. I am sure the beachcombers and bootleggers did a fine trade when the Spanish Armada washed up on Britain's shingle beaches.

    One 'Indonesian' Airforce which is quite undocumented was assembled by US interests in the southern Philippines in 1957 to support the 'Colonels Revolt' a failed coup, based in the Moluccas, against the Indonesian central government of Sukarno. This saw Mitchells flown by alleged US pilots engaged against Mustangs flown by Indonesian pilots. It all ended in embarrassment when an Indonesian Mustang shot down a Mitchell, and the captured Mitchell pilot, against orders, kept his dog tags which identified him as a US citizen.

    Probably the largest undocumented Air Force in South East Asia from the 1950's to 70's was operated by 'the Company', care of the US tax payer. Now there would be some stories to tell.

  16. #16
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    155 Squadron dumped a bunch of Mk VIII Spitfires at Medan airfield in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) in late 1945 early 1946. An image shows at least six aircraft.

    A similar situation and timing as happened at Hmawbi/Mingaladon.

    Interestingly the Medan Spitfire dump became a source of spares for the RNethAF operating their Spitfires here in 1947/8.

    Mark
    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  17. #17
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    I was lucky to be part of Operation Drake expedition and spent time in Sulawesi(Spice Islands) Indonesia. Powerand passion captures the feeling of the place well. Kept looking for relics and did spot an engine bearer near an old fort on the coast of an island town,sadly no photo but a local thought it was from a flying boat.Perhaps this could be a Dutch Dornier?

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