A work in progress – the fuller biographies will emerge in due course: please sign up to the Newsletter (bottom of the page) and we’ll let you know when we’ve done more justice in writing up our extraordinary signatories.
Patrick M HAMILTON for the three Hurricanes and his knocking down of Japanese attacker in 5th April 1942 Raid on COLOMBO then in CEYLON and the eastern NAVAL BASE, when Singapore fell, for the British Eastern Fleet.
The Japanese Admiral Nagumo’s fleet had been spotted by a Koggala-based Catalina but the Easter Sunday air strike on Colombo was an unwelcome surprise. Luckily only three Royal Naval ships were in Trincomalee with most of the eastern Fleet maintaining radio silence at the Addu Atoll.
For Churchill, the continued existence of the remnants of the British Eastern Fleet with some Dutch warships too would prevent a Japanese troop invasion of Ceylon. Speaking at a dinner party at the British Embassy in America after the war, Winston Churchill called the attempted invasion of Ceylon as “the most dangerous moment of World War II” and that for him it “had caused the greatest alarm. Churchill had concluded that if the Japanese fleet had succeeded, they would have controlled the Indian Ocean.
The British lost over 400 men and the County class cruisers, HMS Cornwall and Dorsetshire, to air attack. During 1942 until after the turning point Battle of El Alamein the fear of Hitler’s overrunning Egypt had also been an added possibility of an extreme Axis strategic advantage. Nos 30, 258 and 261 were the three Hurricane Squadrons involved and the Fairey Fulmars of 273 Squadron.
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