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WAR BOOTY It was dawn on April 9, 1942 when Japanese reconnaissance planes found their quarry. Below them, the British aircraft carrier H.M.S. Hermes and her Australian escort H.M.A.S. Vampire were cutting south through the crystal waters along Sri Lanka's east coast. Alerted to the peril, the Allied crews scrambled to action stations. But at 10:35 a.m., off Batticaloa, 70 Japanese dive bombers attacked the Hermes. Within 10 minutes the ship had taken 40 hits. It capsized and disappeared beneath the waves with 307 of its crew. The Vampire survived two near-misses and tried to counterattack with antiaircraft guns. But it...

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