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Geoffrey Fearnley Pointing, one of the last of the survivors of a black day in British Naval history, has died aged 92.

Article about: image.jpg Geoffrey Fearnley Pointing, one of the last of the survivors of a black day in British Naval history, has died aged 92. Mr Pointing, who lived on the outskirts of Exeter, was one o

  1. #1

    Default Geoffrey Fearnley Pointing, one of the last of the survivors of a black day in British Naval history, has died aged 92.

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    Geoffrey Fearnley Pointing, one of the last of the survivors of a black day in British Naval history, has died aged 92.

    Mr Pointing, who lived on the outskirts of Exeter, was one of the sailors to survive when HMS Repulse, a 32,000-ton battle cruiser, was blown out of the water by Japanese high-level bombers and torpedo planes just three days after the Japanese destroyed the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii.

    The sinking of the Repulse alongside HMS Prince of Wales, regarded as the pride of the British Fleet, was seen as the start of Britain’s collapse as an imperial force in the Far East and blew away the myth that Britain ruled the waves.

    But for brave men like Mr Pointing, the sinking had a deeper and more poignant significance as it was his friends who were killed and maimed.

    Mr Pointing joined the Royal Navy as a boy sailor 2nd class in October 1936, aged 15 and just a year out of school.

    He and the 1,400 other crewmen on Repulse were involved in the hunt for the German battleship Bismarck, but lack of fuel forced them to cut short their efforts.

    The Repulse then escorted convoys across the North Atlantic until she received the fateful call to take up station in the Far East. She arrived at Singapore just as it was being bombed and, with the Prince of Wales, was sent North to intercept Japanese shipping.

    They failed to make contact with the Japanese and were steaming back to Singapore when Japanese aircraft, flying at the limit of their range, came in to view.

    When action stations sounded Mr Pointing was in the superstructure of the ship, high above its armoured deck.

    On one of the rare occasions he spoke about the tragedy, Mr Pointing said: “I was lucky where I was because those down below hardly had any chance. We were hit two or three times by bombs dropped from high altitude and then by torpedoes.

    “We had avoided some but then we were hit three times on the port side and twice on the starboard. We then got the order to abandon ship. She was listing heavily to port so we clambered off into the water from the starboard side.

    “I had on one of those ring lifebelts, the sort you have to blow up yourself.”

    As the Repulse went down she dragged many of those who had survived the bombing down with her. Leading Seaman Pointing was luckier. After floundering in the shark-infested water for about half an hour he was picked up by the whaler launched from HMS Electra. In all around 500 of the ship's crew of 1,400 perished.

    But Mr Pointing's ordeal was not over. He and other Repulse survivors sailed out of Singapore aboard a wooden coaster. But just after she left Singapore the vessel was sunk by a Japanese fighter plane.

    Luckily the wooden ship stayed afloat long enough for Mr Pointing and his comrades to make it to a deserted island - where they found another boat.

    He saw out the rest of the war with the Royal Navy and stayed on until 1961 when he retired. He married Edna Newcombe, the daughter of a Thorverton baker, and set up as an electrician before going out to work at Wyvern Barracks from 1963 to 1985.


    REST IN PEACE.

  2. #2

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    Sad News. RIP.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  3. #3

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    The man lived History....a sad loss indeed to see him gone.
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  4. #4

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    Rest in peace.

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