October 7 (Sun) 1945, Sydney, Australia

After steaming down the coast at slow speed last night, we duly passed thru the [Sydney Harbour] Heads, in bright sunshine, just before 0900. We crept up the harbour & secured to buoy one, a very short distance from Man-o-War Steps.

HM Ships King George V & Suffolk are at Woolloomooloo [wharf] and [HMS] Indefatigable in dry dock.

R W Ravenhill Captain 10.X.45

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HMS Newfoundland ship’s company in Sydney Harbour in 1945, Capt. R.W. Ravenhill, CBE, DSC, RN commanding (lower centre). Image courtesy of C Canhan.

 

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August 15 (Weds) 1945, at sea, off Japan

Recommenced air strikes at dawn. Just before 0700, when the second strike was on its way out, a signal was received from C-in-C Pac [Commander in Chief Pacific] to “cancel all strikes”. Our aircraft were recalled but we maintained CAP. At 1120 signal was made by C-in-C “Cease hostilities against Japan”. The Captain said a few words over the broadcaster, & hardly had the cheering died away, when an enemy aircraft dived into the sea in flames, off our port quarter, and a bomb dropped astern of [HMS]Indefatigable. Other raiders were suspected to be above the fleet & hands went to repel aircraft stations. We stayed there for the next three hours while our fighters disposed of several enemy planes. Thus our cession of hostilities. The remainder of the day was uneventful.

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Burma Star broadsheet announcing surrender. Crown Copyright IWM (Documents.10455)

At noon (Japanese time) the Emperor spoke to the people of the empire over the radio, announcing the acceptance of the Japanese Government of the Allied demands made at Potsdam. This was the first that the enemy people heard of the peace negotiations, and it will not be surprising if certain elements continue to resist, despite the Imperial order to lay down arms.

Extract from memoirs of Lt A Canham

“When the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered and we dropped our guard for the first time in six years…….
As every ship was celebrating and flying its flags and colors and battle ensigns,  a flight of kamikazes came out of the sky.  Nobody was watching the radar or keeping a lookout.  Nobody was doing anything except engaging in exuberant joy! The war was over.  They had given up.  We had won.  Newfoundland was steaming about two hundred yards off the quarter of the carrier [HMS]Implacable when two kamikazes came in completely unopposed.  Nobody fired at them, we were all too busy……  Both planes went into the water between the two ships, missing us both.”

August 12 (Sun) 1945, at sea, off Japan

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HMS King George V following HMS Illustrious, 1945. Image copr. IWM A28001

Most of the fleet has left for Manus [PNG]. A British token force is remaining behind to take part in the occupation of Japan. This comprises [HMS] KGV, Newfoundland, [HMNZS] Gambia & 10 destroyers, also 1 carrier [HMS] Indefatigable.

The allies have acknowledged receipt of the Japanese surrender note. It is anticipated that we will be carrying out air strikes again tomorrow [Aug 13] as per schedule.

July 22 (Sun) 1945, at sea, off Japan

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Flight deck party pushing a damaged Firefly on the HMS Indefatigable, after an emergency landing. Image copr. IWM A3034

Units of the fleet are still oiling. On Friday we met the fleet train & were joined by [HMS] Indefatigable and [HMS] Barfleur. Three cruisers were sent to refuel from US tankers in the train of the next Task Group. We oiled by “buoyant hose” from San Adolfo [tanker] in 5 hours, taking in less than 1000 tons. US destroyers have been with the fleet over the last two days, and Admiral Halsey, USN has been aboard [HMS] King George V.