Allied Warships

HNMS Sumatra (40)

Light cruiser of the Java class

HrMs Sumatra in 1940.

NavyThe Royal Dutch Navy
TypeLight cruiser
Built byNederlandse Scheepsbouw Maatschappij (Amsterdam, Holland) 
Laid down15 Jun 1916 
Launched19 Dec 1921 
Commissioned26 May 1926 
End service30 Apr 1944 

On the outbreak of the war between Holland and Germany on 10 May 1940, HrMs Sumatra was stationed in Flushing, she left for England the following day.

The ship was given pennant number 40 by the British during the war.

Laid up at Portsmouth, England 6 November 1942.

Transferred to the Royal Navy on 30 April 1944.

Expended as blockship during the Normandy landings for Gooseberry 5 in position 147 degrees of the Quistreham lightship, distance 4500 meters and sunk in 7,5 meters water.

For HrMs Sumatra's full operational history see this website (offsite link).


Commands listed for HNMS Sumatra (40)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1kapitein-luitenant ter zee (Cdr.) Coenraad Hendrik Brouwer, RNN1 Feb 193929 Jan 1941
2kapitein ter zee (Capt.) Henri Jan Bueninck, RNN29 Jan 194127 Jan 1942
3kapitein-luitenant ter zee (Cdr.) Johannes Jacobus Lukas Willinge, RNN27 Jan 194217 Feb 1943
4kapitein-luitenant ter zee (Cdr.) Izaac Willem Reijnierse, RNN17 Feb 194310 Mar 1944
5kapitein-luitenant ter zee (Cdr.) Heinrich Witte, RNN10 Mar 194430 Apr 1944
6Capt. (retired) George Ernest Sutcliff, RN18 Apr 19449 Jun 1944

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Notable events involving Sumatra include:

24 Aug 1940
HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) departed St.Helena to make rendez-vous at sea with the troopship Orion (23371 GRT, built 1935) and her escort the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Sumatra (Capt. C.H. Brouwer, RNN). The next day, August 25th, around 170 hours (zone -1), HMS Dorsetshire took over the escort of the Orion toward Capetown while HrMs Sumatra proceeded independently to Lobito, Portugese Africa (now Angola) before she continued on to Capetown as well. (1)

18 Sep 1942
HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. G.I.M. Balfour, RN) and HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN) arrived at Pointe Noire.

They departed again later the same day for Freetown, via Lagos, escorting the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Sumatra (Cdr. J.L. Willinge, RNN). (2)

21 Sep 1942
HrMs Sumatra (Cdr. J.L. Willinge, RNN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. G.I.M. Balfour, RN) and HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN) arrived off Lagos. The destroyers then in turn entered Lagos to fuel before all three ships continued on towards Freetown escorting the troopship Highland Princess (14133 GRT, built 1930). (2)


  1. ADM 53/112038
  2. ADM 187/21 + File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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