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James Phillip Henry Bremridge

Midshipman

 

When I was got on board the destroyer, I was laid out under the after gun, where I decided I could enjoy a good sleep. Someone now poured a kind of gruel in my mouth and ordered me to swallow it. It was then decided to move everyone forward out of the way. The upper deck was crowded with survivors, and I felt very foolish as my knees were practically useless and I felt very sleepy. I tried to squeeze into many a little corner and go to sleep on my way forward, but we were kept on the move. When I got to the mess deck, it was simply packed. I sat on the end of a mess stool, resting my head on the table, and I believe I dozed off to sleep. Almost everyone was smoking and the air was terrible. Being a non-smoker, within a few minutes this air started to take effect on me. I decided I must get out on deck to breathe, so I went out again, feeling very wobbly at the knees and very sick. While standing near the galley I heard the order passed, "Alarm, Aircraft," so I decided to retrieve my swimming belt, which had been taken off when I arrived on board. This I found by the after gun with my respirator and anti-flash gear. The latter I discarded, but re-tied the string of my swimming belt, blew it up to see that it was alright and then put it on. I did not let it down again until we arrived in harbor, as I didn't intend being caught in the water again without wind in my belt. I was beginning to feel much better now, so I went round and assisted in applying artificial respiration to one or two of the people brought in apparently drowned. There were several men on the upper deck, and the doctor was walking round and saying, "Alright, pack it up now, it's no good." I don't know how many passed out in this way, but I know of at least four.
I saw men in the water during the time I was swimming, kept afloat by their swimming belts but with their heads underwater. Almost all the men saved from Repulse had to swim, as very few of the lifesaving devices were got out. I only saw one boat, the wardroom motor boat, whose gunwale was too high for anyone to climb over, and two Carley floats. The floats were full, but the boat was empty. Practically the last men picked up from Repulse were on a Carley float well laden. This float carried Midshipman Bremridge, who had received a bullet in the stomach. He died in hospital the following Sunday after surgery. 

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Commonwealth War Graves Commission record:

In Memory of
JAMES PHILIP HENRY BREMRIDGE 
Midshipman
H.M.S. Repulse, Royal Navy
who died on
Saturday 13 December 1941 . Age 18 . 
Additional Information: Son of Lieut.-Comdr. James Philip Alfred Bremridge, R.N., and of Mary 
Eleanor Isabel Bremridge, of Newbury, Berkshire. 
Cemetery: KRANJI WAR CEMETERY Singapore 
Grave or Reference Panel Number: 35. A. 6. 

 

 

 

 

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