Java Sea 2008 War Grave

54 of the ship's company of HMS Exeter - 1st March 1942
"Semper Fidelis" (Ever Faithful)
'They have no grave but the cruel sea, No flowers at their head,
A rusting hulk is their tombstone, At rest on the ocean bed.'

Diocese of Exeter Logo

This short address was specially written for this website by The Right Reverend Michael Langrish, Bishop of Exeter

As Bishop first of Birkenhead and, since 2000, of Exeter - the Diocese which includes Plymouth and Devonport Dockyard - I have now spent over fifteen years working in places which are integral to the nation's maritime heritage and which were vital to the naval actions between 1939 and 1945.

I have twice visited the current HMS Exeter and was fascinated to learn of the discovery of her famous predecessor which served with such distinction until her sinking in 1942.

However, the discovery of this famous ship, is not just a matter of interest for naval historians. It is also of immense significance for the survivors, the relatives of those who served in her and especially the relatives of those who died when she was sunk. The knowledge of the location of her wreck provides an identifiable final resting place for those who died with her and this is of profound significance for those who, until now, have not had this information.

Place is a subject which plays an important part within Christian theology, not least because a knowledge of place is part of our identity. I hope that the discovery of the wreck of HMS Exeter will help those whose relatives died there and that those who visit the chapel in Exeter Cathedral may be able to feel that they are, in some way, also linked to this place.

+ Michael, 22nd May 2008

The following links describe the finding of the wreck of HMS Exeter in the Java Sea in 2008, as well as other related matters

HMS Exeter wreck showing naval flag

HMS Exeter / Macassar Survivors

Tom Jowett is now the point-of-contact for the HMS Exeter / Java Sea / Macassar Survivors. Reunions of Survivors, Widows, Families and Friends are held on the weekend closest to the anniversary of the sinking, 1st March. Anybody with any connection to 'Exeter' / Macassar survivors, whether it be wishing to join in with these reunions, share memories, or simply pass the time of day, should contact Tom.

Tom's contact details:-

phone (UK) 07802 182710
Address: 32 Melbourne Avenue,
Thornton Cleveleys,

The ships career has been divided into two sections.

1928 1940:
The Battle of the River Plate,
Robin Brooks' planned painting

1940 1942:
The Far East and sinking in the Java Sea,
HMS Wreck Found

The Fifth HMS Exeter 1978 has been painted twice by Robin Brooks from life at Swan Hunters Neptune Yard in Newcastle. The following pages relate to this ship.

COFEPOW - Children and Families of the Far East Prisoners of War.

Our aim was to provide a memorial building in memory of all British Servicemen who were Prisoners of War in South East Asia under Japanese occupation during World War II and in so doing advance the knowledge of the public about these events.

Exeter Memories - An interesting site about the historic city of Exeter, Devon, England

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