Singapore under attack, Abbekerk lucky again
13 January 1942 During the night speed is reduced to 9 knots because the mines that could have been laid by a Japanese submarine. De warships set out paravanes as protection. Also several Dutch minesweepers are busy clearing the route DM.01 will take to Singapore. Just after daybreak a mine is spotted, floating just 30 meters behind Mount Vernon. The other ships are warned and evade the mine that is then destroyed by one of the warships.
As the ships approach the harbor it becomes clear Singapore is under attack. No less than 50 bombers and 20 fighters attack different targets in and around Singapore. The ships spread to their different berths and jetties and to everybody’s relief (and surprise) the planes again pay no attention to the arriving ships. It nearly goes wrong anyway.
When I stepped on deck to go and have a look at the steering machine at the stern, I just saw a fighter plane, obviously hit, falling out of the sky some sixty meters from the ship. That created a large water fountain and when that had come down the plane was nowhere to be seen. When you think about it, you see a human being killed right in front of your eyes. An Englishman, a Dutchman or a Jap? To be honest I did not give it much thought. I thought about the cargo in the ship and our absolutely hopeless position against an enormously outnumbered enemy force in the air.
As was expected we were ordered to anchor half a kilometre from any other ship and even further from the city and that was not for nothing. A well aimed bomb falling on our ship and all the other ships could go to the scrapheap.
Ass. engineer Adriaan Kik
De troops from the ships disembark quickly and the cargo’s of the passenger ships are unloaded in a hurry. A day later they are already leaving Singapore, now packed with refugees. Mount Vernon and Aorangie will be in the troopship role for the rest of the war. Narkunda will be sunk by German planes in November 1942 during the allied landings in North Africa.
The unloading of Abbekerks cargo also quickly starts. On both sides barges come alongside the ship and the crates with Hurricanes are taken ashore immediately. Next is the anti aircraft guns and anti tank cannons…
Merchant shipping losses in the area 12 january Toboali (Dutch): The coaster was bombed and sunk at Bagan Siapi, Dutch East Indies by Japanese aircraft. In 1944 she was salvaged, repaired and entered Japanese service as Aki Maru