Repulse is still a very imposing sight and it was a great honour to replace the Ensign on behalf of the survivors’ association

Lieutenant Adam Bolton RNR, HMS Vivid

The Prince of Wales survived for another hour before she too tank about eight miles to the east.

In all, around 840 officers and men – including the task force commander Tom Phillips and flagship captain John Leach – lost their lives. Repulse’s captain, Bill Tennant, survived and became one of the architects of the Normandy invasion.

The wrecks of both vessels have been visited fairly regularly since being discovered by Royal Navy divers in the mid-1960s – although the Prince of Wales has generally received the bulk of the attention.

Adam and Mike made five dives on the Repulse and despite fairly poor visibility – around four metres – the duo were able to make a fairly comprehensive survey of the lost leviathan.

“Repulse is still a very imposing sight and it was a great honour to replace the Ensign on behalf of the survivors’ association,” said Adam.

“The wreck is still in good condition overall, lying on her port side in 57 metres of water. One of the 15in turrets is still facing out pointing the massive barrels up to the sky.

“The rest of the secondary armament on the port side is all visible. The seabed is littered with live ammunition – mainly pom-pom rounds and some 4in shells are clearly visible.”

Sadly, despite the sanctity of the site – both ships are protected war graves – the Repulse has suffered at the hands of ruthless salvage hunters; pre-nuclear-era steel is particularly valuable.

These scrap dealers have removed two propellers and caused substantial damage to aft, using explosives around the shafts.

All images are courtesy of Mike Robinson, Wreckferret Photography. You can see more of Mike’s haunting photography of the wreck of the Repulse at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/93805587@N03/with/14038097668/