To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Navy-tn

C/JX 128533 (CKX 105640)


Herbert James Byford

Known as Jim


1911/04/28 - Born Rushden, Northamptonshire

1926/10/23 - Enlisted

Royal Navy

HMS Encounter



HMS Encounter-tn

In late 1939 the HMS Encounter was deployed at Scapa Flow for convoy defence  and anti-submarine duties in the North Sea, this continued into 1940.

In March 1940, the Encounter was transferred to Rosyth for North Sea convoy defence and support for mine laying operation off Norway.

HMS Encounter was deployed to Gibraltar for Mediterranean duties with 13th Destroyer Flotilla in July. Saw action in the Battle of the Mediterranean providing cover for Force ‘H’.

September the Encounter returned to Gibraltar with Force ‘H’ and joined Force ‘F’ for screening duties before rejoining Force ‘H’ in December.

March 1941,  and HMS Encounter was deployed at Aden for convoy defence.

After being hit by a bomb during an air raid in May, a refit was carried out in June, HMS Encounter was then again on convoy defence duty with Force ‘H’ until September when she joined WS (William Sail) 11 as ocean escort to Freetown and the Indian Ocean.

In November HMS Encounter joined ‘Eastern Fleet’ and was having a new propeller bush fitted so was unable to escort ‘Z’ Force on the 8th December. The force included the Prince of Wales and Repulse, which ended with an air attack and sinking of both ships off the east coast of Malaya.

January 1942 and HMS Encounter was again on escort duty with DM1 convoy which had detached from Convoy William Sail 12X at Bombay, carrying the 18th Division to the Far East. DM1 included the USS Vernon which carried the 53rd Brigade troops:- 1st Cambridgeshires and 5th and 6th Norfolks. Arriving at Singapore 19th January.

With a large Japanese Convoy approaching Java in late January, HMS Perth and HMS Exeter were ordered to leave Batavia, Java and sail to Surabaya to confront a  Japanese Force which had been sighted in the area preparing to land. The Allied fleet assembled with American destroyers and cruisers.

On 27th February, 1942 the scene was set for the ‘Battle of the Java Sea’. Concentrated fire on the Exeter quickly took it’s toll and damage to the engine room boilers had the ship limping back to Java. The Electra tried to escort the Exeter but was also hit, at this point the HMS Encounter entered the battle but the Electra quickly sank and the Encounter, under heavy opposition, made a retreat with the Jupiter and Witte de With (Dutch Ship). On the way back to Surabaya the Jupiter hit a mine and exploded with 78 of the crew being picked up by the Japanese. The Encounter picked up some survivors as many Allied ships were lost and reached Surabaya in tact.

On the morning of the 28th February the Exeter made it’s slow arrival badly damaged. Orders were received for the ship to sail for Colombo for repairs, escorted by the Encounter and USS Pope. That evening at 1900 hours the three ships plus other damaged vessels left Surabaya and headed for the Sundra Straits but the Japanese had anticipated the move and were waiting.

On the 1st March two Japanese destroyers attacked the slow moving HMS Exeter  had little chance of outmanoeuvring the destroyers and although the Encounter and USS Pope tried to protect her, she was soon lost. The Encounter was their next target and she suffered direct hits, then the USS Pope was attacked and again hit, all three ships were sunk. The Japanese picked up survivors and they were taken to Macassar in the Celebes to become prisoners of war.


Japanese PoW

1942/03/02 - Captured Java Sea

1942/03/10 - Macassar Camp, Celebes

Commander Lt-Col. Cooper

PoW No. J.M. 389

Japanese Index Card - Side One


Japanese Index Card - Side Two


1942/09/22 - Maros, South Sulawesi close to Macassar

1945/03/29 - Macassar, Celebes

Commander Lt. Chubb

1945/09/27 - Liberated

Liberation Questionnaire




1939-1945 Star-tn

Pacific Star

War Medal

1939-1945 Star






Terry Dobinson - Neice

Battle of the Java Sea

Liberation Questionnaire - COFEPOW

KEW Files:- WO 392/23, WO 345/8,


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