HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Cornwall


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

South Africans on HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Cornwall

Cruisers HMS Cornwall and  HMS Dorsetshire were sunk near Ceylon on the 5th April 1942 by Japanese bombs.

Many South Africans served on board and 39 of them lost their lives as a result of the sinking.

HMS Dorsetshire
HMS Dorsetshire

Stoker 1st Class Douglas Stewart BELL

Stoker 2nd Class Alexander Morrison BRUCE

Stoker 1st Class Albert EVENEPOEL

Stoker 1st Class Sender GEFFEN

Ordinary Seaman Horace George HOWE

Stoker 1st Class George KENDRICK

Able Seaman Norman Glen McINTYRE

Ordinary Telegraphist Robert McLELLAN

Able Seaman Laurence Victor MILNE

Able Seaman Douglas Edward MORROW

Able Seaman Charles Percy ORTON

Leading Stoker Roland Aylmer REDMAN

Able Seaman William John SCOTT

Stoker 1st Class Harry SEVEL

Stoker 1st Class Amos Alfred Sidney WILLETT

Able Seaman Walter Noel WILLIAMSON

HMS Cornwall
HMS Cornwall

Ordinary Seaman Hedley Crossman BESWETHERICK

 Stoker 2nd Class  John Stephen BOTES

Able Seaman  Noel Patrick COMMERFORD

 Engine Room Artificer 4th Class Cecil Edmund CRAWFORD

 Able Seaman  Charles Patrick Henegan DU PREEZ

Stoker 2nd Class  Charles Cecil William Peter DUTTON

Able Seaman  Raymond Frederick HANSLO

Able Seaman Kenneth Ian Blair KEITH

Able Seaman  Graeme Alexander Bruce KENYON

Able Seaman  Monty George Walter KIRSTEN

Electrical Artificer 4th Class  Edward Verdun LAW

 Stoker 2nd Class  William Kenneth McDAVID

Stoker 1st Class William Archibald MITCHELL

Able Seaman  Walter Alan PALMER

Ordinary Seaman  Noel William SPENCE

Ordinary Seaman  John Eric SQUIRES

Ordinary Seaman Eric Berkeley STEPHEN

 Stoker 1st Class Lawrence T. SWANN

 Stoker 2nd Class Maurice THORPE

 Able Seaman  Peter Henry Swift VERSFELD

Ordinary Seaman Benjamin François VINK

Stoker 2nd Class Gerald Francis WILLSON

Able Seaman Thomas Henry WRIGHT


These men are remembered  on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

Their names can be searched, and a certificate generated, such as this example for Noel Commerford of Cape Town.

We will remember them.