June 17 (Sun) 1945, off Truk/Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia [Part 2]

June 17 1945 TrukOn Friday morning [15 June], CS4 [Cruiser Squadron 4] transferred his flag from HMS Implacable to HMCS Uganda. The 4 cruisers and 3 destroyers then proceeded to the Eastern side of Truk and, lying just outside the reef in three groups, commenced to bombard air installations and gun positions. HMS Swiftsure & Teazer opened fire first and the remainder followed in quick succession. The particular targets were airstrips on Eten Island and gun positions on Uman. After putting our fire on to the the airfield the spotting aircraft developed engine trouble so we just had to blaze away without further corrections. The enemy did not return fire. After firing about 200 rounds altogether, we received the order to break off the action, and all the bombading force withdrew to the eastward, meeting up with [HMS] Implacable about noon.

Results of our shoot at the airstrip were described as good, as were the Destroyers’ efforts against the smaller gun positions. The other Cruisers did not apparently achieve all that they might have done, as the spotting aircraft were hindered by flak & for other reasons. Altogether, it seems to me that the operations against Truk have been more use as a practice for our forces than for any material damage that might have been inflicted on the enemy.

During the afternoon, the flag was transferred back to [HMS] Implacable, and further strikes flown off. Intruder patrols were sent out during the evening also. Shortly before midnight, course was set for Manus.

Yesterday morning, Saturday, we joined up with [HMS] Ruler & escort. A certain amount of interest was aroused later on by a depth charge attack by Destroyers on an asdic contact.

Today we entered Seeadler Harbour at 10 mins to 9, and secured in our old berth. Commenced fuelling soon after from [RFA] Rapidol.

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May 19 (Sat) 1945, at sea

Arrived off Seeadler harbour yesterday morning. 4″ & Close Range shoots at a sleeve target were carried out, the CR [close range] succeeding in shooting it down. The 4″ was not so good. We entered harbour & secured alongside an oiler just before lunch, casting off & anchoring at tea time, not far from the main base & officers club.

May 19 1945 to NZToday, after cancelling several signals for stores & equipment, we weighed at midday and set course for Auckland, NZ. Although, this is good news, about the best I’ve heard since I joined the service, I feel that I would rather have stayed up in the war for another 6 months or so before going home. I think the ship’s company are feeling somewhat “choked” about it. They think it is about time we did something useful too. Still, the folks back there would be pleased to see me, anyway. It is unfortunate that we are going there at this time of year as I doubt that the weather will be at all pleasant.

[Additional extract from the memoirs of Lt A C]
At one point we were required to go into dry dock for repairs, but the kamikazes had been so active and so many ships hit, that every dry dock in our area was full. The Navy told us they were sorry, but we’d have to go to New Zealand for repairs.

May 8 (Tues) 1945, Manus, Admiralties/Papua New Guinea [Part 2]

New four watch & two watch routines have been brought into force. These concern only the actual armament crews, as lookouts, Radar, plotting, & bridge personnel are still in 3 watches, and allow for HA/LA [High Angle/Low Angle] Defence in two watches, & a four watch cruising organisation in which about 3/4 of the AA [Anti-Aircraft] Armament is manned.

One of our USN Officers is producing a neat little news-sheet which comes to light about breakfast time each day. It is entitled the “Caribou Bull” & certainly helps us to keep track of things now that newspapers are non-existent and news broadcasts difficult to receive.

AWM Manus PNG 302556
Cruiser in floating dock, Manus, 1944

Seeadler Harbour is a large anchorage bounded by the Island of Manus to the south, and odd small islands & coral reefs the rest of the way round, the area being about 30-40 sq miles. The hills are covered in profuse tropical vegetation & even the smallest islands sport a few palm trees. United States installations include a couple of floating docks, which look capable of dealing with light cruisers, a repair yard for Landing craft and a large seaplane base for Catalinas.

May 8 (Tues) 1945, Manus, Admiralties/Papua New Guinea [Part 1]

May 7 1945Slipped from Woolloomooloo Quay at 0900 last Friday morning and left harbour. Just outside the Heads we were subjected to a massed air attack by [CAC] Boomerangs & Kingfishers carrying out torpedo & dive-bombing attacks. On conclusion, course was set for Manus, Admiralty Islands.

On Sunday, we shifted into topical rig & Divisions were held on the Quarterdeck.

Shipping of various sorts was met with during the trip. HMS Argonaut passed us last night. The weather has been warm & clear for the most part.

Entered Seeadler Harbour at [missing] this morning and anchored at the Eastern end near the floating docks. Weighed anchor about 1400 and secured alongside US oiler “Victorian”. Refueling was completed by 1800 and we proceeded to anchor further up the harbour. Ships in Company included HMS Illustrious. Today the war in Europe has ended. Slight resistance is continuing at a few points but is not expected to last long, and Tuesday the 8th of May is to be celebrated as VE [Victory in Europe] day. “Splice the Mainbrace” was ordered.