Allied Warships

HNMS Van Ghent (GT)

Destroyer of the Admiralen class

NavyThe Royal Dutch Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassAdmiralen 
PennantGT 
Built byKoninklijke Maatschappij De Schelde (Vlissingen, Holland) 
Ordered 
Laid down21 Aug 1925 
Launched23 Oct 1926 
Commissioned31 May 1928 
Lost15 Feb 1942 
Loss position3° 05'S, 107° 21'E
History

Originally named De Ruyter but name was changed to name the light cruiser HrMs De Ruyter.

HrMs Van Ghent took part in the action off Kangean against Japanese bombers on 4 February 1942. Later she took part in the Allied sortie against the invasion convoy for Palembang on 15 February, but during the transfer through Stolze Strait, HrMs Van Ghent (Lt Cdr Pieter Schotel) was accidentally beached on the reef of Bamidjo between Banka and Billiton island in position 03º05'S 107º21'E. There were no casualties and the entire crew was taken off by HrMs Banckert.

See also this website (offsite link).

 
Former nameDe Ruyter

Commands listed for HNMS Van Ghent (GT)

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CommanderFromTo
1luitenant ter zee 1e klasse (Lt.Cdr.) Jan Marie Lodewijk Ignatius Chompff, RNN6 Apr 193923 Dec 1940
2luitenant ter zee 1e klasse (Lt.Cdr.) Johannes Stephanus Bax, RNN23 Dec 19403 May 1941

3luitenant ter zee 1e klasse (Lt.Cdr.) Pieter Schotel, RNN24 Dec 194115 Feb 1942

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Notable events involving Van Ghent include:


4 Feb 1942
At 0130 hours, the Dutch light cruisers HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the Dutch destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN), HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) and HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN) departed their anchorage to the north of of Gili Raja Island (Pulau Gili Raja) for the Java Sea.

At 0500 hours they made rendes-vous with the US heavy cruiser USS Houston (Capt. A.H. Rooks, USN), the US light cruiser USS Marblehead (Capt. A.G. Robinson, USN) and their escorting destroyers USS Stewart (Lt.Cdr. H.P. Smith, USN), USS John D. Edwards (Lt.Cdr. H.E. Eccles, USN), USS Barker (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Miller, USN) and USS Bulmer (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Harris, USN). These American ships had also been anchored the north of of Gili Raja Island (Pulau Gili Raja) but had left a little earlier then the Dutch ships. The mission of the joint Dutch-US task force was a 'hit and run' raid into Strait Makassar.

Around 0955 hours the task force came under air attack in the by the Japanese in the Bali Sea in approximate position 07°28'S, 115°37'E and USS Houston and USS Marblehead were damaged. Houston was hit on the roof of her rear 8" gun turret heavily damaging it and it could not be repaired. (When USS Houston sank about four weeks later she still had only two operational 8" gun turrets). USS Marblehead was hit twice and also straddled and received serious damage resulting in that she had to be sent to the USA for repairs. The raid into Makassar Stait was now cancelled.

USS Houston had been sent towards Tjilatjap (Cilacap) on the south coast of Java for repairs. USS Tromp was later ordered to give her protection during her passage there and proceeded after her. She caught up with her to the south of Atlas Stait and both ships then proceeded in company until 0000/5 when Tromp left USS Houston again and proceeded to re-join the task force as ordered which she did at 1325/5 when she made rendes-vous with HrMs De Ruyter and the three Dutch destroyers. (1)

8 Feb 1942
HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the Dutch destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN), HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) and HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN) arrive at Tjilatjap (Cilacap) on the south coast of Java.

At Tjilatjap HrMs Tromp was fuelled by the US naval oiler USS Pecos (Lt.Cdr. E.P. Abernethy, USN).

Around 1800 hours Tromp departed Tjilatjap together with HrMS De Ruyter. (1)

9 Feb 1942
Around 0800 hours, HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN) and HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN), were joined by eight US destroyers USS Whipple (Lt.Cdr. E.S. Karpe, USN), USS Pillsbury (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Pound, USN), USS Edsall (Lt.Cdr. J.J. Nix, USN), USS Alden (Lt.Cdr. L.E. Coley, USN), USS Stewart (Lt.Cdr. H.P. Smith, USN), USS John D. Edwards (Lt.Cdr. H.E. Eccles, USN), USS Barker (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Miller, USN) and USS Bulmer (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Harris, USN).

At 1700 hours the Dutch destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN), HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) and HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN) also joined. Van Ghent developed engine trouble and was later replaced by HrMs Kortenaer (Lt.Cdr. A. Kroese, RNN). (After repairs Van Ghent re-joined the task force on the 11th.)

Around 2130 hours the US destroyers USS Edsall and USS Alden were detached and sent to Tjilatjap. (1)

12 Feb 1942
At 0200 hours, HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN), departed the Prigi Bay on the south coast of Java. Outside the bay she waited for HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN) which had also fuelled there. While leaving the bay De Ruyter collided with the US destroyer USS Whipple (Lt.Cdr. E.S. Karpe, USN) (or it was the other way round, Whipple colliding with De Ruyter, depending on what sources one reads, Dutch or American, sic.).

At sea the Dutch cruisers made rendes-vous with the Dutch destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN), HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN), HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN) and HrMs Kortenaer (Lt.Cdr. A. Kroese, RNN). The task force then set course towards the Sunda Strait.

At 1600 hours, HrMS Van Ghent and HrMs Kortenaer departed the formation and at 1830 hours HrMs Piet Hein and HrMs Bankert also left.

Both cruisers then continued their passage towards the Sunda Strait unescorted. (1)

14 Feb 1942
Around 1600 hours, the Allied task force, now made up of five cruisers; the Dutch light cruisers HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Java (Capt. P.B.M van Straelen, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN), the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN) and the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN). They were escorted by a total of ten destroyers, four Dutch and six American; HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN), HrMs Kortenaer (Lt.Cdr. A. Kroese, RNN), HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN), HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN), USS Stewart (Lt.Cdr. H.P. Smith, USN), USS John D. Edwards (Lt.Cdr. H.E. Eccles, USN), USS Barker (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Miller, USN) and USS Bulmer (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Harris, USN), USS Pillsbury (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Pound, USN) and USS Parrott (Lt.Cdr. J.N. Hughes, USN) depared Oosthaven (Bandar Lampung), Sumatra for a hit and run raid to the north of the Gaspar Straits to attack a reported Japanese convoy. (1)

15 Feb 1942
Around 0315 hours the Allied task force entered the Stolze Strait (to the east of Mendanau Island (Pulau Mendanau). The task force was clear of the strait around 0800 hours but not before the Dutch destroyer HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN) had hit a reef resulting in the loss of this vessel. The Dutch destroyer HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) remained behind to render assistance to her stranded sister but it was soon apparent that the ship was beyond salvage. Several valuable items of the equipment were however taken off and by 1700 hours the wreck of the Van Ghent was destroyed by the Banckert. The Banckert now made off for Surabaya with the crew of the Van Ghent on board.

Meanwhile around 1150 hours the first Japanese air attack on the remainder of the Allied task force started. The attacks, which came in five waves, lasted until about 1745 hours. No major damage was done to the Allied ships which had reversed course shortly after 1300 hours. Only the US destroyers USS Barker and USS Bulmer required repairs to their badly shaken up machinery spaces.

The task force was then split up with the De Ruyter, Tromp, Exeter, Hobart and the US destroyers Barker and Bulmer proceeding to Batavia to refuel. The Java and the remaining US destroyers proceeded to the Ratai Bay to refuel and the two remaining Dutch destroyers to Oosthaven to do the same. (1)

Media links


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. Files 2.12.03.6849 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

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