September 2 VJ-Day, 1945, Tokyo Bay, Japan

IWM A30511 Flagship sunset
Ensigns from all the Allied nations flown from HMS Duke of York on VJ-Day ceremonial sunset. Image copr. IWM A30511

This forenoon, Japanese envoys, including their foreign minister, and representatives of the United Nations, including the Supreme Allied Commander, General of the Armies, Douglas McArthur, met together on board USS Missouri, and signed documents for the complete surrender of Japan & its empire. The ship’s company were able to listen to a broadcast of the ceremony after Divisions & church. The day was generally celebrated by all who were in a position to do so. The ceremonial sunset on board the flag-ship [HMS] Duke of York was very colourful & moving.

For the third time in the last 9 months the order was given to “Splice the Mainbrace”. No doubt this was appreciated by the troops. Personally I would much prefer a pint of good cider. Letters posted today will be specially stamped “VJ-Day, Tokyo Bay”, aboard ship.

Advertisements

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.

IWM Docts.10455
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

IWM A28001 KGV
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.