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.

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August 29 (Weds) 1945, Sagami Wan, Japan

August 31 1945 IWM A30357
HMNZS Gambia, HMS KGV & HMS Newfoundland in Sagami Wan from deck of HMS Duke of York. Image copr. IWM A30357

Yesterday US Air Forces began taking over the airfields ashore. Transport aircraft have been crossing overhead all day. Anti-sabotage boat patrols are being maintained during the hours of darkness & double sentries armed with rifles & lanchesters posted around the ship.

Today [USS] Missouri moved into Tokyo Bay. Other units will proceed as berthing areas are check swept by our minesweepers. Admiral Nimitz has arrived by seaplane, and General McArthur is reported to be at Okinawa. Paint ship is just about completed, the hands having been busy on the hull since Monday. Upperworks are light grey & the other dark.

August 29 1945 Malcolm Wright

August 27 (Mon) 1945, Sagami Wan, Japan

Defense watches closed up at dawn. The allied ships headed for Japan in the following order – USS Missouri (Admiral Halsey) & destroyers; HMS Duke of York (Admiral Frazer), and destroyers; TF 38.4 comprising Battleships, Cruisers & destroyers; and TF 37 in the rear. Hellcats from TF 38.1 flew overhead. Land was sighted shortly after 0900 & at 1000 hands went to Action Stations. The land was scrub covered islands, of which we passed several. Ships were flying Battle ensigns & ready at the alert for any signs of treachery from the enemy. An American destroyer brought a Japanese pilot & interpreter to the flagship [HMS Duke of York] before we entered the bay. At 1300 we reverted to defense watches, the watch off preparing for entering harbour.

IWM A30385 Mt Fuji
HMS Duke of York with HMS King George V & Fujiyama, Sagami Wan. Image copr. IWM A30385

At 1500 we dropped anchor near Eno Shima [island in Sagumi Bay] after 52 days at sea. The country looked very green & hilly, Fujiyama being partially covered in cloud. The local populace did not seem very perturbed at or interested in our arrival. Hands went to bathe during the First Dog [watch] and an hour after dark we relaxed to cruising watches.