HMS Exeter
Message Board

June 5, 2019

My Uncle was an Officer's Steward on HMS PRINCE OF WALES, he was a survivor after POW sinking. I understand that he was then on the Exeter, which was again sunk in the Java sea, he again survived and was a Japanese POW until peace was declared after the atomic bomb was dropped. I would like this confirmed, as I always remember the stories he told. His name was Ian Wilkinson (family nickname Boy, sometime changed to Roy) Please can you help me learn more?

Kind regards,
Dolores Osborn
Eairy Ploydwell, Isle of Man

Jan. 30, 2018

A bit of an up-date: So far as I know, there are only four remaining survivors from HMS Exeter (1941-42) and the Macassar PoW Camp: two in the UK, one in Canada, one in New Zealand. A wreath-laying ceremony is held on the Saturday closest to the 1st March, the date she sank during the second battle of the Java Sea. The wreath is laid at the "HMS Exeter" window in Exeter Cathedral. HMS Exeter Association has been formed combining the crews and descendants of the two latest "Exeter"s; details of meets and membership can be found on their website

Tom Jowett
Son of Exeter/Macassar survivor & vicechair of HMS Exeter Association

May 19, 2014

My Uncle, Able Seaman Alfred Callister D/SSX35799, served aboard the Exeter and was killed in action on 1st March 1942 (the day after his 20th birthday) and whilst I recognise that it is probably a long shot, I wondered if there was anyone who served on the Exeter and who might have known Alfred.  If so, I would love to hear from them.

Marilyn Mercer
Louth, England

Apr. 21, 2013

I wonder if you could help - my father in law, John Webb, is trying to get in contact with Leonard Chaffe who was on the Exeter and was also taken as a POW. We believe that he may have been working for Douglas Edworthy as one of his assistants on this ship in the NAAFI. John also served in the Navy but not on the Exeter - but grew up with Leonard in Exeter, Devon and would love to track him down. Any details or information would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks,
Mark Wallis

Apr. 23, 2012

I was wondering if you have a list of Exeter crew who survived  as Jap POW's.  I live in Thailand and on Anzac day often visit the war cemetery at Kanchanaburi there are quite a few graves there of Exeter crew. I am an
ex RN telegraphist. I had a, now deceased cousin who was a POW off the Exeter, Stoker Alf Maidment.

David S. Langdown

Reply 1
May 16, 2012

I have just read on your notice board a piece from Mr David S Langdown , who was asking if there is a site where he can see more about his deceased cousin who was a survivor on HMS Exeter. He Can find him "Alfred G. Maidment" Stoker 2nd Class on this site (HMS EXETER  ROLL OF HONOUR). 

My father "Douglas James Edworthy, Canteen Assistant, NAAFI"  was on the Exeter when it went down on 1st March. In his later years he tried to write his experiences down, but I think it was a combination of him not being a writer and reliving the past was too painful, and so only wrote four  pages. I then found on the Roll of HMS Exeter an article written by Mr. Alf King,  which over the years when my father did reminisce collates to the same story. Titled - Japanese POW.

My father died in 1992, my mother died December 2011, sorting out her estate I found these, the four pages and a photo on board HMS EXETER with three of his shipmates, I don't know their names.

I hope this will fill in some of the lost years for some.

"Lest We Forget"  

Jeff Edworthy

May 31, 2010

I stumbled across your web site because occasionally I look for things about my father and the places and things he did during his time in the Royal Navy.

My father was a seaman on the HMS Exeter between 1937 and 1940. He was in service during the Battle of the Rio de la Plata (that is the way crew members of the HMS Exeter referred to what I see written in English as the River Plate, and sometimes erroneously as other names).

Of course all of my life, I have had the privilege of hearing all his stories of that glorious and dangerous time of the Hero Generation.

Horace Samuel Cooper's heroic participation in the war against Fascism did not end with the Exeter, although he was lucky to transfer to other ships and shore establishments before the Exeter was repaired and took off for it's terrible fate in the Java Sea against the might of Imperial Japan. My father saw service on the HMS Kenya in the Maltese naval theatre, and along the Norwegian coast when protecting the supply route to Soviet allies in Murmansk and Arkangel. He took part in the commando raids against the Quisling's Norway. He also was part the RN's patrols in Icelandic waters. And he between ships he was stationed at many shore establishments throughout the British Isles.

After the War, he left war-ravaged England for a new life in the Union of South Africa ... there was no future in England, especially since our family's homes in Sheffield had been bombed, and my surviving relatives lived for many years in quanset huts provided by the post-War Labour government. Dad boarded a Belgian freighter in Antwerp and disembarked at Lobito Bay, Angola in 1948. He travelled across the Belgian Congo via Northern Rhodesia and down to Johannesburg, South Africa, where I was born in 1950.

Seeing all your photographs of the HMS Exeter and the Admiral Graf Spee was a great delight to me, and it has prompted me to thank you for posting them on the World Wide Web. They complement the collection I already have which also includes the HMS Exeter's official photographic album that all crew members of the HMS Exeter received upon completion of their tours.

My father died a few years ago, and he would have been pleased and proud to see what you have done in honour of his comrades of the Hero Generation.

Thank you ever so much.

Met vriendelijke groeten ...

Dave Cooper
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Page published July 8, 2009