Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

1941:  December 10:   Loss of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse

Following the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese landed in northern Malaya on December 8.  The Royal Navy battleship, HMS Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse, along with four destroyers were sent to attack the invasion force.  In the late morning of December 10, after finding no targets, the Royal Navy ships were returning to Singapore and were attacked and sunk by Japanese bombers and torpedo planes.    Having no aerial defense, the ships became the first Allied warships sunk by air attack while operating on the high-seas in the Pacific War.  

Image:  80-G-413520:  Loss of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, December 10, 1941.   Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.