Chief Petty Officer
Walter Herbert Roach
E-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy in the early 1930s
1942/02/26 - Encounter, together with the destroyers Jupiter and Electra, escorted the HMS Exeter and HMAS Perth, arrived Surabaya. The following day, the Doorman force, including five cruisers and nine destroyers, departed at 2030 hours to patrol off the East coast of Java to seek out a known Japanese force in the area. The Japanese force were not located.
1942/02/27 - The Japanese located the Doorman Force at 0935 hours and tracked them. At 1030 hours Doorman ordered the force to return Surabaya but the Japanese attacked his force at 1437 hours with eight bomber. The ships were near Surabaya when Doorman received messages that the Japanese ships were 90 miles to the north, so Doorman sent out orders to intercept them.
The Japanese commander, Rear Admiral Takeo Takagi, realised the danger and intercepted Doorman’s force, opening fire at 1547 hours with long range torpedoes. One of these hit Exeter but did not explode. After three minutes it exploded in Exeters forward boiler room, causing damage to six boilers, this slowed down Exeter to 5 knots. HMAS Perth put down a smoke screen to protect Exeter but the Japanese carried on their assault.
At 1920 hours two Japanese destroyers closed to 6,500 yards and Encounter and Electra counter attacked the Asagumo and Minegumo. The range closed to 3,000 yards, Asagumo was damaged by Electra, but at 1946 hours the Asagumo sank the British destroyer.
Exeter, escorted by Encounter and Dutch destroyer Witte de With, continued on to Surabaya.
1942/02/28 - Temporary repairs had been made to HMS Exeter and accompanied by Encounter and the American destroyer Pope, they were ordered to Colombo. Departing that evening , via the Sunda Strait. They departed on the evening of 28th February.
1942/03/01 - At 0800 hours they were intercepted by the Japanese who had launched spotter planes. At 0930 Allied ships laid a smoke screen with the Exeter reaching a speed of 26 knots. At 1120 hours the Japanese hit Exeter again in her boiler room, she now had no power at all. HMS Encounter turned to lay a smoke screen to protect Exeter, but she too was hit and lost all power. Lieutenant Commander Eric Morgan, scuttled the ship and the ship sank at 1210 hours. The American destroyer Pope was also sunk
The survivors were in the water for about 20 hours, before being picked up by the Japanese. Becoming prisoners of war.
1942/03/02 - Captured by Japanese
Japanese index Card - Side One
Japanese Index Card - Side Two
Camp J.M. 127
Pomalaa Party, Celebes
Out of 184 survivors, 167 had had malaria and 86 had had dysentery.
Representations and protests made continually to Naval and Civilian authorities without success, till end of August when camp inspected by a Japanese Officer. This resulted in a supply of food and quinine and early removal to Macassar.
RECOMMENDATIONS. The death roll and sickness would have been undoubtedly greater except for the untiring energy and devotion to duty of Surgeon Lieutenant D.N. Ryalls, R.N.V.R. of HMS Exeter and Chief Petty Officer Walter Herbert Roach of HMS Encounter.
17th November 1973
KEW:- WO 392/26, WO 345/44,