HMS Enterprise remembers lost lives of WW2 destroyer HMS Jupiter

Survey ship HMS Enterprise remembered the men of World War 2 destroyer HMS Jupiter while sailing in the Java Sea.

While the Royal Navy continues to support the government in its fight against COVID-19, the Echo-class ship is in the Asia-Pacific region and recently made stops in Vietnam and Singapore.

After spending time alongside for routine maintenance in Singapore, HMS Enterprise has returned to sea and, while transiting the Java Sea, held a service for the men who died during Jupiter’s sinking in February 1942.

Not since the next – and to date last HMS Jupiter, a Cold War frigate – passed over the wreck in January 1974, with HRH the Prince of Wales among her ship’s company, has the Royal Navy visited the last resting place of the wartime destroyer.

More than 45 years later, Sub Lieutenant Jack Ashbridge organised the ceremony at sea.

“As part of my training, I was tasked to prepare and lead a service of remembrance for the men who lost their lives on board HMS Jupiter,” he said.

“I was grateful to hear from the Jupiter Association who provided some memoirs from sailors who served during the war.”

These deep connections between the past and present are part of what makes the Royal Navy such a unique organisation.

Sub Lieutenant Jack Ashbridge

Accounts by Stoker George Squance and Able Seaman Harold Lock were read out by Engineering Technician Todd Millward and Able Seaman Ryan Payne.

HMS Jupiter was deployed to the Asia Pacific region in 1941 after spending time fighting German destroyers near Plymouth and helping in the chase and destruction of the Bismarck.

In January 1942, she sank a Japanese submarine but just weeks later, disaster struck. During the Battle of the Java Sea, she hit a mine and sank within minutes. More than 80 men went down with the ship and a quarter of those captured by the Japanese later died in prisoner-of-war camps.

Sub Lt Ashbridge added: “These deep connections between the past and present are part of what makes the Royal Navy such a unique organisation.

“Forgetting the sacrifices of those who served in the past would mean forgetting our identity – and our commitment to peace.”

HMS Enterprise has been in the Asia Pacific region since September, making port stops in Tokyo, where they hosted the Prince of Wales, Sasebo, Singapore and Vietnam.

Their week-long stay in Hai Phong, Vietnam, helped mark the 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership between the country and the UK.

For many of the ship’s company, the deployment was their first time visiting Asia.

And for Sub Lt Ashbridge, a submarine warfare officer, spending his time on board HMS Enterprise for his Common Fleet Time training – four months on an operational warship when rookie officers learn the basics of life at sea – has been a unique experience.

He said: “Given the fact this was the first time the Royal Navy had visited Hai Phong in Vietnam, joining Enterprise at this time was a real privilege.

“Vietnam is a vibrant country and the people were friendly and exceptionally welcoming.”

The ship’s planned maintenance in Singapore also has significance for Sub Lt Ashbridge who’s grandfather lived in the Commonwealth state while serving in the RAF.

“Although the street they lived on has changed nearly beyond recognition – dirt streets and bungalows replaced by tarmac and mansions – going there was an experience I doubt I would ever have had without the Royal Navy,” he added.