Secret “Port T”: supply stop at Addu Atoll

Drawing from Lt Geofrey North, 35th LAA Regiment, Gunner aboard Abbekerk.

HMS Exeter, veteran of the Battle of the River Plate, succesfully escorted numerous convoys to Singapore. She would be sunk in the Battle of the Java sea 2 months later (source: Wikipedia)

5 January 1942 The ships anchor briefly in Addu Atoll’s bay, the most Southern island of the Maldives. Since several months the natural, well protected anchorage is being used by the Navy and known as Port T. Strategic of great importance as a supply harbour and later as airfield. Except for the deep anchorage, little else is there, so all supplies have to be brought in by ship.

It was a large atoll and the English had equipped it as a kind of assisting naval base. There were water- and oil tankers anchored. It is here that we bunkered.
Third mate Jacob Visser

Convoy DM.01 January 1942

Abbekerk in convoy DM.01 on the way to Singapore. Drawing from Lt Geofrey North, 35th LAA Regiment, Gunner aboard Abbekerk.

Thanks to the now full diesel tanks Abbekerk doesn’t have to worry about her fuel for the next few months and that will prove to be of great importance.  The ships stay here for just a few hours and then set sail again at full speed in eastern direction.

It was only necessary to stay a few hours and we continued on our way. The cruiser HMS Exeter being added to our escort. The Exeter carried a spotter aircraft which went away on reconnaissance everyday and always returned just before sundown.
Harry Tweedale, RAF 232 Squadron, aboard RMS Aorangie

Merchant Shipping losses in the area.

3 januari. 
Langkoeas (Dutch): The cargo ship was torpedoed and sunk in the Java Sea north of Bawean, Dutch East Indies by submarine I-58. The crew took to the lifeboats, one of which was rammed by I-58. Other survivors were machine-gunned. Only three of her 94 crew survived. They were rescued from Bawean by USS Paul Jones

4 januari. 
Kwangtung (British): The cargo ship was shelled and sunk in the Java Sea south of Java by submarine I-156, which machine gunned and rammed the lifeboats. There were 35 survivors

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