Convoy Route Codes
War Diary (WD) Numbers &
Extracted from ADM199/1478
WD 1, Parts I & II,
enclosure to VABPF No.1002/1 of 9/4/45
WD 2, Parts I & II, enclosure to VABPF
WD 3, Parts I & II, enclosure to VABPF
in separate document
WD 4, Parts I & II, enclosure to VABPF
WD 5, Parts I & II, enclosure to VABPF
WD 6, Parts I & II, enclosure to VABPF
WD 7, Parts I & II, enclosure to VABPF
War Diary No. 1
V.A.B.P.F. No 1002/1 of
been completed the British Pacific Fleet arrived in
Fremantle, under the
command of Rear Admiral Sir Philip Vian,
A Board of Inquiry was convened on board H.M.S.
to investigate the circumstances attending the
unfortunate incident which
occurred when the Fleet was attacked by torpedo bombers
H.M.S. ILLUSTRIOUS sustained damage and casualties from
our own ships’ gunfire.
On instructions from the Commander in Chief,
Fleet, the Fleet was split into two groups before
leaving Fremantle and group
ABLE comprising INDOMITABLE (Flag of F.O.C.A.B.P.F.),
INDEFATIGALE, ARGONAUT, BLACK PRINCE, GRENVILLE, UNDINE,
UNDAUNTED, WAGER, and
The Flag of Vice Admiral Sir H. Bernard
Rawlings, KCB, OBE,
Vice Admiral, Second in Command, British Pacific Fleet
in H.M.S. KING GEORGE V at 1600H.
Group Baker comprising H.M.S. KING GEORGE V
VICTORIOUS, EURYALUS, KEMPENFELT, WHIRLWIND, WHELP,
WAKEFUL, and URSA sailed
to February 10th
Owing to the fact that the Fleet had been split
groups it was not possible to carry out full scale Fleet
exercises as had been
intended but a useful start was made, during this
period, in exercising the use
of American signal books which had been brought into the
force before sailing
and which were used throughout the passage.
Low cloud and poor visibility restricted the
exercises that could be staged, but the following were
carried out on passage:
Low air approach with fighter interception and
employing a cruiser as radar picket.
Fleet manoeuvres with ships
conning from emergency positions.
(i). 14 inch throw short
firing by H.M.S. KING GEORGE V.
AA throw off firings by H.M.S. KING GEORGE V,
VICTORIOUS, and EURYALUS
Dive bombing exercise
(iv). Fire direction exercise
Range and inclination exercise.
(i). Individual T/B training
Fighter section training
No difficulties were experienced in the use of American
Signal publications and procedure, except in the case of
the United States
Radar reporting and fighter direction methods, which
must be practiced further
to become efficient. Manoeuvres
were carried out daily by V/S, W/T. and
Group Able arrived
Group Baker arrived
At 1130 the Commander in Chief, British Pacific
arrived on board H.M.S. KING GEORGE V where he met all
Flag and Command
Officers of the ships of the British Pacific Fleet.
to February 26th
The Fleet remained in
ships made good minor defects which had developed during
nearly four weeks at
sea, and the ships’ companies were given 48 hours local
leave. See also Part II
Flag Officer Commanding 1st Aircraft
Squadron in H.M.S. INDOMITABLE together with
ILLUSTRIOUS, QUICKMATCH, QUEENBOROUGH, and QUALITY
exercises and to fly on aircraft before making their
rendezvous with V.A.B.P.F.
and the remained of the British Pacific Fleet on 28th
February. H.M.S. ILLUSTRIOUS had to remain behind
she had developed defects and had to be docked to remove
her centre propeller
before rejoining the Fleet later.
V.A.B.P.F. in H.M.S. KING GEORGE V together with
CS 4 in
SWIFTSURE, R.A.D.B.P.F., D4 in QUICKMATCH, D25 in
GRENVILLE, D27 in KEMPENFELT,
accompanied by HOWE, cruisers, and destroyers of the
British Pacific Fleet
sailed from Sydney for Manus – E.T.A. 6th
During February, the British Pacific Fleet
arrived in the
Eastern theatre proper on completion of its first
operation – the attack on the
oil installations at
in Sumatra. A great deal of useful experience was
during this operational period – manoeuvring
Fleet, flying off with four carriers together, getting
accustomed to American
dispositions and signaling procedure etc; flying
exercises took place on every
occasion when the weather allowed.
2. On arrival at
Sydney all Flag and Commanding Officers of the British
Pacific Fleet were
formally introduced on board H.M.S. KING GEORGE V to the
Commander in Chief,
Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, GCB, KBE, the First Naval
Member of the Commonwealth
Naval Board, Admiral Sir Guy Royle,
KCB, CMG, and to
the Flag Officer in Charge, Sydney, Rear Admiral G.D.
3. Formal calls were
paid by the Vice Admiral, Second in Command, British
Pacific Fleet, on his
Excellency the Governor of New South Wales, Lord Wakehurst,
the Premier of New South Wales, Right Honourable
M. McKell, and on the Lord
Mayor of Sydney, Alderman Neville
Invitations to all Flag and Commanding Officers
by His Excellency the Governor, the Flag Officer in
Charge Sydney, the Lord
Mayor and Aldermen of the City, and by the General
Officer Commanding, General
Plant and others. These were entertained
on board H.M.S. KING GEORGE V at various times
thereafter, as were the
Committee of the British Centre, whose day and night
service in the
co-ordination of the hospitality of
outstanding, and others who had played a similar part.
4. Whilst in
number of meetings were held to decide the many points
which needed clearing up
before the Fleet sailed for its advance bases, the
subjects discussed including
the Command and Administration of the British Pacific
Fleet, oiling at sea,
tactical procedure and future movements, communications,
etc. These meetings were most valuable for we
arrived there a Fleet assembled without any existing
orders and organisation and
with administrative arrangements scarcely
in being: we start in fact from the
letter “A” and in many ways with an unaccustomed
alphabet to learn, but with
the overwhelming advantage of a personnel whose backbone
is accustomed to war,
to keeping the sea, and to the unusual.
5. The greatest
assistance was extended by all concerned ashore in
Fleet’s requirements were met to the fullest extend
6. The short call at
Fremantle had given us a foretaste of how Australians
regarded the entry of the
White Ensign, in force, into the Pacific War.
Our welcome at
universal and almost embarrassing hospitality there gave
proof of feelings
whose warmth is not easy to exaggerate.
That fortnight will stand the Fleet in good stead during
7. With ships as
crowded as they must be, with limited water allowance
and great heat, with
tropical rain and a high humidity, the passage between
Australia had many days of discomfort; those conditions
will probably be the
rule rather than the exception as the Fleet follows the
sun north in its
forthcoming operations. These will
entail periods of sea of an unusual length, but I have
no doubt that officers
and me will put with their discomforts in the way they
always will when they
know we are doing all we can for them.
That passage however stresses the need for amenity and
the occasion officers, not just as a pleasant thing to
have but as a very
necessary tonic and corrective, particularly should the
British Pacific Fleet
is relegated to duties in which the chances of fighting
8. It is borne too
upon my mind that it is imperative that the Dominions
and Colonies should see
more of His Majesty’s great ships and Fleets than they
have done in the past; I
can conceive of nothing which would so strengthen the
essential ties and
benefit both visitors and visited. In an
age which many of those who will man our Fleet tend more
and more to think that
life in the main consists of the movies and security, a
larger outlook comes to
be over more desirable for our people.
There is too another aspect, for when all is
said and done,
there yet exists even in the most remote parts of our
islands that old desire
“go to sea” which has always appealed to the very best
of our youth. In spite
of the growing counter attraction of things mechanical
both ashore and in the
air, this unique legacy persists and can still give to
the Navy precisely the
type we need; those also who deal with the boy-sailor
(for that is what most of
them are) know well that “foreign parts” remain today a
magnet and a
fascination to many.
When these two feelings are confined mainly to
between Portland, Invergordon,
and the Home Ports or
Services ashore in England, something is lost which as
the youth grows older is
replaced by a tendency to look on his Fleet as his
placed of business and on
his ship as a lodging between leave periods.
That is not a healthy process; it is also one which will
we need into other walks of life.
My talks with men and women of all types in
what I know of the reactions of our men confirm me in
the belief that there is
much which these two not unworthy creations, His
Majesty’s Navy and the British
Empire, can do to help each other and our race.
Twice in one generation our eyes had been
focused on the
Sea; it may be that in the coming years we can
through the Navy, a wider vision and a strengthened
War Diary No. 2
V.A.B.P.F. No . 1002/2 of
Manus, only some locations in text are shown
British Pacific Fleet was allocated Task Force Numbers
so as to conform with
The Battleships, carriers, cruisers, and destroyers were
Force 113 and the Fleet Train was designated Task Force
112. Task Force 113 remained as such until it was
allocated to the Commander 4th Fleet when it
became Task Force 57.
The First Aircraft Carrier Squadron, H.M.S.
(Captain J.A.S. Eccles)(Flag of AC1 Rear Admiral Sir
KCB, KBE, DSO), H.M.S. VICTORIOUS (Captain M.M. Denny,
CB, CBE), and H.M.S.
INDEFATIGABLE (Captain Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO), screened
by H.M.A.S. QUICKMATCH
(Captain D 4, Captain R.G. Onslow, DSO)(Cdr. O.H. Becher,
DSC, R.A.N.), H.M.A.S. QUIBERON (Lt Cdr G.F.E. Knox,
R.A.N.), H.M.S. QUEENBOROUGH
(Cdr E.P. Hinton, DSO, MVO), and H.M.S. QUALITY (LT CDR
G.L. Farnfield, DSO) sailed
H.M.S. ILLUSTRIOUS (Captain C. Lambe,
CB, CVO) remained in
docking to make good defects. The First
Aircraft Carrier Squadron flew in squadrons from NOWRA
and exercised night deck
landing training in H.M.S. INDOMITABLE.
The remainder of Task Force 113 under the
command of Vice
Admiral Sir H. Bernard Rawlings, KCB, OBE, 1st
H.M.S. KING GEORGE V, Flagship of V.A.B.P.F. (Captain
T.E. Halsey, DSO), H.M.S.
HOWE (Captain H.W.U. McCall, DSO), 4th
Cruiser Squadron, H.M.S.
SWIFTSURE, Flagship of CS 4 Rear Admiral E.J.P. Brind,
CB, CBE (Captain P.V. McLaughlin), H.M.N.Z.S. GAMBIA
(Captain N.J.W. Williams-Powlett,
DSC), H.M.S. ARGONAUT (Captain W.R. McCarthy),
H.M.S. BLACK PRINCE (Captain D.M. Lees, DSO), H.M.S.
EURYALUS, Flag of Rear
Admiral (D) temporarily (Rear Admiral J.H. Edelsten,
CB, CBE)(Captain R. Oliver-Bellasis)
Destroyer Flotilla, H.M.S. GRENVILLE (Captain D 25)
Captain H.P. Henderson),
H.M.S. ULSTER (LT CDR R.J. Hanson, DSO, DSC), H.M.S.
UNDINE (CDR T.C.
Robinson), H.M.S. URSA (CDE D.B. Wyburd,
URANIA (LT CDR D.H.P. Gardiner, DSC), the 27th
H.M.S. KEMPENFELT (Captain D 27 – Captain E.G. McGregor,
DSO), H.M.S. WAKEFUL
(LT CDR G.D. Pound), H.M.S. WHIRLWIND (CDR W.A.F.
Hawkins, DSO, OBE, DSC),
H.M.S. WHELP (CDR G.A.F. Norfolk), H.M.S. WESSEX (LT CDR
also H.M.S. UNICORN (Acting Captain C.M. Merewether),
sailed from Sydney in an
H.M.S. UNDAUNTED (LT CDR C.E.R. Sharp) remained
good defects and escort H.M.S. ILLUSTRIOUS later.
Communication by United States Navy books and
already in use by Task Force 113.
Bad weather prevented shore base aircraft from
that sleeve target firings arranged for the Force were
not carried out.
1st Carrier Squadron flew on her
aircraft from NOWRA.
Rendezvous was made with 1st Carrier
screen, and the whole fleet was then manoeuvred
Cruising Disposition No. (5 A) for the first time and
The Fleet was due to be shadowed and attacked by
aircraft. A few blue aircraft were
tracked, but no attack developed.
Weather prevented our carriers from flying off fighter
opposition. Altogether this was a disappointing
which provided little value.
After dark, SWIFTSURE and
out shadowing exercise with the Fleet.
Carried out Visual Radar Control Air Defence
Exercise. The weather was still rough.
Exercised tactical manoeuvring
EURYALUS and all destroyers carried out Radar
Fleet carried out Range and Inclination
After dark 4th Cruiser Squadron
carried out Night
INDOMITABLE exercised night deck landing
DTG 010122Z prefixed important, was received at 012130
K, and referred
to U.S. Submarine S 43 sailing from Caloundra
at sometime, corruptly received, on 1st
March. From the route given, it appeared that
submarine may well have been within striking distance of
the Fleet before the
warning signal was received and deciphered, and before
restrictions could be
imposed on the Fleet.
CCO Sydney signal DTG 022149Z was received at
030945K. This corrected the time of sailing from
on 1st March to 0800Z 2nd March,
but did not alter the
ETA of the submarine at any other point of her route,
inferring that a mistake
had been made in the original warning signal.
It is considered most important that early and
information of the movements of friendly submarines be
given to the Fleet.
CTF 113 signal DTG 021112Z, requested fuller
such movements, was made because American signals were
being received quoting
U.S. Submarines in code named areas or positions not
included in BPTM 05 of 16
Detached URANIA for
accordance with C in C 230433 February.
The Fleet was expecting to rendezvous with WHYALLA
tankers in position 24-50S, 155-10E at 0700K on 2 March.
At 1950K on 1st March, received and
deciphered WHYALLA’s DTG
enciphered in Naval Cypher
“M” which was a
compromised table) and which contacted the wrong
This signal stated that owing to southerly set
the Tanker Force would reach the rendezvous 12 hours
late and gave its position
course and speed at 0231Z on 1st March.
The course of the Fleet was therefore
adjusted to meet the tankers in their expected new
position at 0700K on 2nd
March. It spite of air and cruiser
searches, they were not contacted until much
later. At 1000K, WHYALLA and her tankers were
to be 78 miles south of 173 degrees from the original
rendezvous and 31 miles
085 degrees from their proper rendezvous and 38 miles
east of their position
based on WHYALLA’s signal
DTG 010231. When found the impression was that the
Force would never have been located or noticed at all if
all the ships had been
the size of WHYALLA.
The Fleet was divided into two groups, the Main
requiring no fuel, and the fuelling force of all
cruisers and destroyers,
placed under the Command of Rear Admiral Commanding 4th
Squadron. Screens for both forces were
relieved as necessary, and fuelling was completed by
1700 by which time all
destroyers and 5.25 cruisers had been topped right up
and 6 “
cruisers had fuelled for exercise.
The detailed fuelling program made by C.S. 4 seemed to
and smoothly carried out. Unnecessary
high steaming by fuelled ships from the Fuelling Force
joining the screen of
the non fuelling Force would be saved if they were
ordered to proceed to the
nearest position in the screen, other screening vessels
adjusting position as
Meanwhile HOWE carried out Radar Splash
and the carriers launched an air strike on the Fuelling
Force with fighter
protection controlled by VICTORIOUS and BLACK PRINCE.
PM. 25-50S, 155-39E.
EURYALUS with ARGONAUT under her orders carried
out V/T Fuse
Four Destroyer Flotilla
exercised flotilla night attacks on the Fleet in
cruising disposition 5A. From this, and similar
attacks on subsequent
nights, the weakness of a circular screen to prevent a
determined or suicide
minded enemy flotilla fighting their way into decisive
torpedo range of the
Main Body was shown. The necessity for a
simple and quickly ordered means of detaching a counter
attack of cruisers and
destroyers is evident and is now being considered.
It would however be undesirable to withdraw
cruisers from their anti aircraft protection positions
around the Main Body any
earlier than is necessary for this purpose.
Carried out aircraft Direction and Radar
No. 1. Attacking planes flew 90 miles
ahead of the Fleet before commencing their
approach. EURYALUS and ARGONAUT were stationed 15
30 degrees on either bow of the Fleet as Radar
Pickets. Full fighter protection was flown off by
carriers. Some very interesting Torpedo
Bomber and Dive Bomber raids developed, and the Fleet
evasively and as necessary for flying off standby
fighters to meet raids as
they developed. On such occasions
unnecessary and unrealistic confusion is caused to plots
by aircraft which
hover over the Fleet after completing their attacks;
they should form up and
remain well clear, but in sight of the Fleet.
Carriers exercised A.A. throw off firings.
out independent exercises. First Battle
Squadron exercised H.A. Drills with single aircraft and
then with EURYALUS,
SWIFTSURE, and BLACK PRINCE exercised emergency conning
communications. It was found that when
in a single line ahead,
ships had to haul out of line
for their secondary control position personnel to read
the Flagship’s Signals.
27th Destroyer Flotilla carried out
night attacks on the Fleet representing a damaged force
returning to base. One cruiser with destroyers in
sector moved out to counter attack, and the exercise
finished in true Saturday
night style with a blaze of starshell
27th Destroyer Flotilla continued to
during the night.
The temperature began to rise
considerably, the weather being calm and sultry.
out 6” Radar Splash Calibration firings, with
photographic marking by
SWIFTSURE. Detached UNICORN and screen
of 2 destroyers.
investigate radar surface contacts to eastward.
Ships identified as U.S. SEABARB and Australian ALAGNE
southbound. No warnings of these ships had been
Exercised Dummy Suicide attacks on the
Fleet. Enemy Aircraft occasionally strafing with
bursts short, attacked every ship in the Fleet in most
realistic manner for two
hours, and providing very useful training.
Carried out Height Find Exercise.
Several groups of apparently large aircraft
flying from East
to West detected ahead of the Fleet and displaying
I.F.F. Total number of aircraft estimated at
50. They were eventually identified as
friendly transports by carrier aircraft.
HOWE carried out 14” Long Range Throw Short
Firing on KING
A.A. Throw off Firings by all ships of the
More aircraft detached ahead, flying from west
to east and
not displaying I.F.F. No warning had
been received of these or the forenoon aircraft.
Altered course of the Fleet for 30 mins.
To avoid Radar Contact. KEMPENFELT
detached to investigate, identified ship as eastbound
U.S.S. STRATFORD. No warning of this ship had been
UNICORN and screen rejoined the Fleet.
Carried out Visual and Radar controlled fighter
exercise for Battleships, Cruisers, and Aircraft
Carriers, 9 detected (n.b.
into record) by A.C.1, with Fireflies representing
hostile snoopers, and 24
fighters, and 2 Avengers as friendly A/S patrol.
One Hellcat “ditched”, the pilot being recovered
Spoke H.M.A.S. SWAN, who requested permission to
proceed – a courtesy
sometimes forgotten these days. Formed Fleet into
groups disposed astern for
passage through the islands.
out 6” throw off firings. Groups
exercised emergency conning and communication.
Maintained A/S patrol and C.A.P. at readiness to
possible snoopers from Rabaoul.
1st B.S. ,
4th D.F. carried out Radar Interrogation
It was hoped to operate night fighters from
weather conditions were not suitable.
Detached UNICORN and screen to enter harbour
at 1300. Carried out Air Defence
Exercise to north eastward of Manus with 6 shore
based Corsairs as Blue aircraft simulating torpedo,
dive, suicide, and level bombers. When
the signal from Manus was received to the effect that 8
aircraft were being
provided, it was hoped that it might be a corrupt group
for 80, but such hopes
did not materialize, and in fact only 6 Blue aircraft
A C.A.P. of 8 Hellcats and Jack of 8 Seafires
were operated in defence of
the Fleet. Whilst flying on aircraft after the
one Hellcat crashed overboard from INDOMITABLE, but
fortunately the pilot was
recovered safe and well by the crash destroyer.
After the exercise, the Fleet divided into
Manus between 1300 and 1600.
War Diary No. 2
No. 1002/1 of 9/4/45)
1. This passage from
Manus provided most useful training for the Fleet.
2. UNICORN was
retained in company with the Fleet whenever her limited
speed of 18 knots
permitted. She was no hindrance and
joined in with Fleet work in an efficient manner.
3. Certain destroyers
consistently burn more fuel than others.
The cause of this is being investigated.
4. There is definite need for improvement in all
check their I.F.F. identification.
5. Air exercises and manoeuvres
whilst the Fleet was in the recently adopted Cruising
Dispositions 5 A, B, and
C gave excellent opportunity of studying the problems of
A.A. fire distribution
and Fire Discipline generally.
As a result of this experience it will now be
lay down a definite policy with regard to the A.A. Defences
of the Fleet at night, particularly in regard to the
restrictions that must be
imposed on ships being screened, in order to avoid
damage from our own gunfire.
War Diary No. 3
V.A.B.P.F. No. 1002/3 of 10th
1. Task Force 113,
under the command of Vice Admiral Sir H. Bernard
Rawlings, KBC, OBE, and
comprising the First Battle Squadron H.M.S. KING GEORGE
V (Flag of V.A.B.P.F.),
First Aircraft Carrier Squadron H.M.S. INDOMITABLE (Flag
of A.C. 1), 4th
Cruiser Squadron SWIFTSURE (Flag of CS 4), 25th
H.M.S. GRENVILLE (Captain D 25), 4th
Destroyer Flotilla H.M.S.
QUICKMATCH (Captain D 4), and 27th Destroyer
KEMPENFELT (Captain D 27) arrived at Manus from Sydney
March. H.M.S. ILLUSTRIOUS was left
her centre propeller removed, H.M.S. URANIA and H.M.S.
UNDAUNTED remaining with
her as escort to Manus on completion.
March to 11th March
2. During this period
the fuelling of the Fleet was carried out, destroyers
and cruisers proceeding
alongside the oilers at their berths in the
being intended that Capital ships and carriers should be
fuelled at their own
berths in the
It was soon found that the swell was too heavy
the carriers in these berths, H.M.S. VICTORIOUS, the
first to fuel, smashing
both her own catamarans; a tug had then to be provided
to tow the oiler clear
In view of the above, a signal was made to the
British Naval Officer asking for berths to be allocated
in the Eastern
anchorage to complete the fuelling of the
carriers. This was arranged accordingly and U.S.
steel catamarans were provided by the Commander Naval
Base Manus for the H.M.S.
VICTORIOUS. Fuelling was successfully
completed but not before H.M.S. INDOMITABLE had smashed
one of her own
catamarans in the process.
The catamarans carried by our carriers are for
use in calm
water and are in no way suitable for the open anchorages
of the Pacific. The U.S. Navy has developed steel
from the pontoon structures used widely by them for
lighters and sea
bridges. We shall be dependent on the
U.S. Navy for the loan of theirs until we can get our
own. They cannot be carried in a ship and once
erected would have to be towed from place to place as
Even in the Eastern anchorage the swell caused
ammunition ships, oilers, etc were alongside the
cruisers and it is apparent
that in an exposed anchorage such as Manus a large
supply of hard fenders is
Some cocoanut trees were obtained locally and
all ships were
instructed to make additional fenders.
It was later arranged that on all future
fuelling our carriers, U.S. Navy steel catamarans should
be provided, and that
the carriers should be allocated the best available
berths in the
3. During the period
of 12th to 15th March various harbour
exercises were carried out in addition to the sea
exercises given below.
Destroyers, together with two cruisers,
proceeded to sea for
sleeve target firing, day torpedo attack exercises, and
transfer of stores at
H.M.S. BLACK PRINCE and H.M.S. ARGONAUT
proceeded to sea to
carry out B.P.T. firings at a target towed by H.M.S.
GUARDIAN but conditions
were unsuitable and the practice was cancelled.
H.M. Ships INDOMITABLE, VICTORIOUS, and
INDEFATIGABLE with a
screen of six destroyers proceeded to sea for
exercises. On completion the carriers
returned to harbour having
flown ashore a proportion
of their Squadrons to
had been made with U.S. Authorities for this to be done,
the carriers landing
the necessary personnel, etc.
H.M.S. STRIKER arrived.
H.M.S. ILLUSTRIOUS, accompanied by H.M.S. URANIA
UNDAUNTED arrived and proceeded to fuel in the
Three destroyers carried out AA sleeve firing.
Aircraft carriers, less H.M.S. ILLUSTRIOUS,
proceeded to sea
with a screen of six destroyers and carried out Air
Direction and Reporting
Exercise, Radar Height Calibration Exercise, and B.P.T.
firings at a target
towed by H.M.S. GUARDIAN.
Carriers carried out dusk and night air
followed by night encounter exercise with destroyers.
RUSSELL F. CHITTENDEN. On
arrival at Manus, some doubt was felt as to C.T.F. 113’s
responsibility for the surrounding area and this was
never entirely cleared up
but when a report was received on 14th March
that the U.S. Ship
RUSSELL F. CHITTENDEN was aground and abandoned in
position 5-55S, 148-10E, H.M.S.
SPEAKER, on passage from Sydney to Manus, was instructed
by W/T to look for
survivors of the wreck. It was difficult
to discover the details of the survivors or what was
being done about it by the
local authorities. H.M.S. SPEAKER
searched with aircraft without success, eventually
leaving H.M.S. PARRETT, one
of her escorts, to continue the search.
H.M.S. PARRETT was joined by S.S. ATLAS, who had
previously sighted the
wreck, and the survivors were recovered from an islet by
H.M.S. PARRETT on 17th
March. The position of the wreck was
finally given as 08-26S, 1150-04E, 8 miles east of
survivors being landed at Finschaven.
H.M.S. SPEAKER arrived
H.M.S. ILLUSTRIOUS sailed and joined A.C. 1 for
1st Battle Squadron proceeded to sea
exercises, but the receipt of messages from the
Commander in Chief, British
Pacific Fleet, DTG 141205Z and DTG 141208Z instructing
TF 113 and TF 112 to
report to CINC PAC forthwith for duty in operations
connected with ICEBERG,
changed the situation. All exercises
were immediately cancelled and H.M.S. HOWE was ordered
harbour whilst H.M.S. KING
GEORGE V proceeded to get in V/S
touch with A.C. 1 to arrange for re embarkation of
aircraft and air personnel.
Arrangements were made to top up the fleet with
ammunition, and stores as quickly as possible and it was
decided that the Fleet
could be ready to sail at
17th March. CinC
PAC was informed accordingly in CTF 113’s signal DTG
8. The features of
the departure were:
embarkation of aircraft, stores, etc.
The time table for these was in some measure the sport
of the swell and
the lack of boats.
preparation of operation orders and arrangements for
fuelling in the forward area
for a period of up to three weeks continuous operations.
The speed (9
knots) at which the tankers could be moved to the first
aircraft between the carriers UNICORN, SPEAKER, and
SLINGER so that the Fleet
might leave as fully equipped as could be contrived.
9. The topping up of
the Fleet continued and the operation orders which had
been prepared in the
rough were redrafted and brought up to date preparatory
to issuing them to the
PAC replied to CTF
113’s signal reported the B.P.F. ready for service in
his signal DTG 160602Z
10. H.M.S. SLINGER
At 2330, Captain E.W.L. Longley-Cook, CBE, RN,
the Fleet, left for
by air to discuss
the forthcoming operations with CinC
In order to have the oiling force in position at
appointed time for the B.P.F. to top with fuel, as far
forward as possible,
before going on to strike in Sakishima Area, TU. 112.2.1
TU 112.2.5 were sailed on the 17th.
Former consisted of H.M. Ships STRIKER, CRANE, FINDHORN,
the oilers SAN AMBROSIO, CEDARDALE, and SAN ADOLPHO, the
latter comprising H.M.
Ships PHEASANT, SPEAKER, and KEMPENFELT.
11. 0630. Battleships and
cruisers, less H.M.S. BLACK
PRINCE, screened by GRENVILLE, ULSTER, UNDINE, URANIA,
and UNDAUNTED sailed
from Manus for Ulithi.
H.M.S. EURYALUS was delayed by a foul cable
and a jammed cable holder, but rejoined the Fleet
shortly. The aircraft carriers were delayed to
complete the embarkation and adjustment of aircraft
which had been hampered by
adverse weather conditions. They sailed
at 1100 with a screen of six destroyers and completed
the passage to Ulithi as a
H.M.S. BLACK PRINCE remained at Manus to complete the
fitting of S.G.
radar and sailed on 20th March.
URSA also remained behind to dock for hull repairs.
0815. Battleships and
cruisers carried out AA sleeve firings.
Four sleeves were shot down.
Seven U.S.N. aircraft took part in this and the
practices went off in an
unusually prompt and efficient manner.
1720. H.M.S. EURYALUS
dropped depth charges for practice.
1800. H.M.S. KING
GEORGE V carried out Type 253 Interrogation tests of
ships in company.
2130. Radar contact
was obtained of TU 112.2.1 and TU 112.2.5.
12. The following
exercises were carried out.
0830. H.M.S. KING
GEORGE V and H.M.S. ARGONAUT – Range and Inclination
1100. H.M.S. KING
GEORGE V – 5.25 long range
throw off firing at H.M.S.
H.M.S. SWIFTSURE damage control exercise.
EURYALUS – VT fuze test,
throwing off at H.M.S.
ARGONAUT. Owing to a number of early
bursts, H.M.S. EURYALUS had to be ordered to cease fire
and move further from
the screen before resuming.
1400. H.M.S. HOWE –
5.25 Main armament control long range throw short firing
at H.M.S. SWIFTSURE.
1600. H.M.S. KING GEORGE V – 5.25 Blind main
control long range throw short firing at H.M.S.
1730. H.M.S. KING GEORGE V and H.M.S. HOWE – VT
At 1000 H.M.S. EURYALUS reported a transport and
craft convoy 25 miles on the starboard beam of the Fleet
and at 1145 radar
contact was obtained of several unknown ships, bearing
040 degrees, course 320,
9 knots. This was the first news of so
large a body of ships (fifty plus) being in our
0500 sighted a hospital ship on a similar course
starboard bow. She drew clear to
starboard of the screen.
0645. Sighted a
bearing 90 degrees bound for Ulithi.
0700. Sighted a U.S. D.E. apparently on
patrol. Nothing had been heard of these ships
ordered to proceed 4 miles ahead for entering harbour.
0930. Battleships and
destroyers entered harbour.
1000. Anchored in
carriers, screened by H.M. Ships QUICKMATCH, QUALITY,
WHELP, and WAGER arrived at Ulithi.
Immediately on anchoring “Flash Red” (Aircraft
Imminent) was received. It came to
nothing but later, having received details of a suicide
attack recently carried
out on the anchorage, in which one U.S. Carrier was hit,
Fleet A.A. Stations
were adjusted to suit.
14. During this
period final arrangements were made to complete fuelling
and ammunitioning before
the Fleet sailed for Operation
ICEBURG. The fuelling was done by
destroyers and cruisers proceeding alongside the tankers
detailed. The tankers serviced the
battleships and carriers, fuelling commencing at 1800 on
and completing pm. 22 March.
5000 fuzes Mark 40
by ComSerRon 10 to H.M.
Ships KING GEORGE V, HOWE,
ARGONAUT, and EURYALUS to replaced fuzes
32. The supply was very promptly
executed and U.S. Navy personnel advised and assisted
ships’ staffs when
carrying out the unfuzing
H.M.S. BLACK PRINCE arrived at Ulithi
at 1600 on the 22nd and fuelled before
anchoring in her allotted
Captain E.W.L. Longley-Cook returned on board
a.m. on 21st
March having flown from
to Ulithi and previous
Besides providing useful preliminary liaison between the
two Staffs, his
discussion with CinC PAC
and the information and
operational data, not at that time received by
V.A.B.P.F., which he obtained,
simplified the preparation of the final operational
orders in the short time
The same morning, Vice Admiral C.H. McMorris,
U.S.N., Chief of Staff to CinC
PAC, accompanied by
Captain H.S. Hopkins, R.N., British Pacific Fleet
Liaison Officer, arrived by
to discuss general
matters with the Vice Admiral, Second in Command,
British Pacific Fleet. Admiral Nimitz had intended
to come to Ulithi himself
but he had been laid up the previous day
with a cold. The Flag Officers of the British
Pacific Fleet came on board H.M.S. KING GEORGE V to
lunch and to meet him.
The considerable activity which had prevailed
last days at Manus increased in intensity at Ulithi,
but transferred itself mainly to Flag Officers meetings
and their offices.
There was a continuous stream of intelligence
material (flown by special plane from
arrival of which required hurried modification and remodification
of such plans as had already near-crystallised.
Typing the distribution to the Fleet of both
plans and intelligence matter went on throughout the
night of the 22nd
March, the boat shortage and the swell in no way
In spite of everything, the British Pacific
designated Task Force 57,
sailed from Ulithi at 0630
on 23rd March for Operation
ICEBURG; three ships had cable holder jambs on leaving.
War Diary No. 3
V.A.B.P.F. No. 1002/3 of 10/4/45
Ulithi, only some locations in text are shown
This period under review is notable in that for
time a principal if not the principal British Fleet has
passed under the direct
orders of an Allied Commander in Chief.
Signals relating to this not unhistoric
happening are attached as Appendix No. 1.
2. Before the Fleet
arrived at Manus, a signal was received from the
Commander in Chief, British
Pacific Fleet, indicated that the Fleet might not, after
all, take part in
operation ICEBURG and that an alternative allocation,
possibly in General
MacArthur’s area, was being tentatively
discussed. This latter would have meant that the
would not be in action until about the middle or end of
At period of 4 to 5 weeks inactivity in Manus’s
climate at a time when the Fleet and the aircrews in
particular had been keyed
up to believe that offensive operations were to take
place in the very near
future, would have done much to take the edge off a
Fleet which at that time
was at its keenest.
3. It was therefore
suggested to the Commander in Chief, British Pacific
Fleet, on 9th
March that, until such time as our future was finally
decided, the best means
of continuing Fleet training would be for the Fleet to
carry out a minor
offensive operation against an enemy held target.
A strike again Truk
was proposed to take place about 20th to 25th
being considered that this would not interfere in any
The proposal was referred by
the Commander in Chief to the Admiralty who replied
through the Commander in
Chief, British Pacific Fleet on the 11th
March that no action was to
be taken for the present.
The unpleasant period of waiting was ended on 14th
March by the signals from the Commander in Chief,
British Pacific Fleet which
instructed the British Pacific Fleet to report to Com
Fifth Fleet for duty in
connection with Operation ICEBURG.
4. The decision that
the Fleet was to be under Fleet Admiral Nimitz and was
to take part in
Operation ICEBURG gave immense and universal
satisfaction, not only to ourselves
but to every American Naval Officer and man whom
we met. Talk runs pretty freely in
Manus, and it had seemed to be generally know
future was undecided and might lie not with Admiral
Nimitz but with the Seventh
Fleet. There is no doubt that the
American Fleet personnel were strongly against the
latter and indeed they
regard the whole delay and circumstance with
Every assistance possible was rendered by the
at Manus and Ulithi.
Fleet Admiral Nimitz I found had originally
intended to come
himself to meet us at Ulithi,
but was laid up when
the day came. Instead he sent us his
Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral McMorris
seaplane, who gave us on his behalf a very genuine
welcome. I look on this as reflecting very exactly
matters stand we shall contrive to keep them at that
6. Observations on
the facilities at Manus and Ulithi,
reference to berthing and boat work are given below.
(a). Owing to
heavy swell, berthing of ships
alongside one another was uncomfortable and caused
some minor damage.
(b). The berthing plan of the harbour
was found to be much too widely spaced and caused
undue strain on boat
work. According, a plan was drawn up and
put into effect making better use of the space
allotted to the British Pacific
Fleet and bringing the ships of the Main Body of the
together. H.M.S. TYNE’s
berth was not suitable to berthing a large number of
destroyers alongside and
this caused delay in maintenance work.
It was arranged for
TYNE’s berth to be shifted under the
regroup the destroyers round her, but the early
sailing of the Fleet precluded
this being effected.
(c). Owing to the great area covered by the harbour
and the distances between the various centres
used by the Fleet, the need for a Fleet of harbour
surface craft was severely felt, and this added
greatly to administrative difficulties.
The small number of boats carried by the ships of the
Fleet was unable
to compete with the requirements for communications
and a great strain was put
upon them as they were constantly running.
The conditions of boatwork
were not good, as a
strong breeze was normally blowing from the westward,
and there were frequent
squalls with heavy rain. This detracted
considerably from making use the somewhat meager
recreational facilities ashore. I do not wish to
imply by the word “meager”
that we were not welcome to use such facilities as
they were. They were in fact scanty, although
some iced beer.
Although it is not our policy to call on the U.S.
authorities for logistic support,
there were occasions in which assistance was asked
this was always readily
given, our method of approach being through the Senior
British Naval Officer,
Manus. It was found the supply of fresh
water for the Fleet was going to be an acute
difficulty, but the Commodore U.S.
Naval Base came to the rescue. This is
the subject of a separate report by the Rear Admiral
Commanding Fleet Train.
7. Manus is an amazing example of what the
accomplish when they set out to “plan big”.
After making full allowance to unlimited
manpower means and
an open cheque book, the
fact remains it was
conceived and carried out by men with great minds and
drive. In passing I might mention that Manus at
time of the year possesses quite the most objectionable
climate that I have
ever known; it appears to improve but a little at any
time. I found myself wondering therefore under
circumstance and by whose whimsical conception these
have been named in honour
of Their Lordships.
(e). The distance between the Fleet and the
anchorage at the northern end of the harbour
10 miles) was too great for ships’ boats.
Realising this, the
an L.C.I. at the disposal of the Vice Admiral, Second
in Command, British
Pacific Fleet; this proved of the greatest value, not
least so as a “staff
boat” for Staff Officers in their many lengthy trips
in bad weather.
(f). Ships of the Fleet were berthed in a fairly
formation and inter communication was on the whole not
as difficult as at Manus
as long as ships were not away fuelling.
But conditions of boatwork
were far from
comfortable, as there was a fair swell and a choppy
During the passage from Manus to Ulithi
full advantage was taken of continuing Fleet Practices
and it is considered
that the Fleet sailed from Ulithi
ICEBURG fully worked up as time and circumstances had
permitted. This is however still much to learn.
Appendix No . 1 to Part II
enclosed in transcription document).
ICEBURG is covered in a separate document
which is not available
On to Okinawa,
only some locations in text are shown
COMMANDER IN CHIEF, BRITISH PACIFIC FLEET’s
30TH JUNE 1945
War Diary No 4
No. 1002/4 of 23rd June 1945)
The second phase of the ICEBURG operations
completed, CTG 57 in H.M.S. KING GEORGE V with H.M.
TENACIOUS, and TERMAGENT (n.b.
used throughout. Correct spelling
from the remainder of the
Fleet, and at 2200, set course for
The rest of the Fleet, under the command of
Vice Admiral Commanding, First Aircraft Carrier
Squadron, set course for the
fuelling area before proceeding south for Manus and
At 0118 obtained radar contact with the oiling
bearing 162 20 miles, steering 260 at 9 knots.
At 0930, speed was reduced to 12 knots to enable Field
Charts of Guam harbour to
be transferred to the three destroyers. Speed was
increased again to 20 ½ know at
Altered course to 122 at 1700.
on patrol at 1800.
At 0846 sighted one
Reduced speed to 19 knots at 2000.
0715 land in sight,
to 17 knots and altered course to 100 degrees.
0905 stopped one mile off Orote
all ships embarked pilots and the British Naval Liaison
Officer to the
Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, Acting Captain H.S.
Hopkins, R.N. boarded
H.M.S. KING GEORGE V. At 0920 entered
0940 H.M.S. KING GEORGE V secured to buoy
whilst H.M. ships TROUBRIDGE and TERMAGENT proceeded to
a tanker to fuel. H.M.S. TENACIOUS anchored and
tanker after H.M.S. TERMAGENT had finished topping up.
The Vice Admiral, Second in Command, British
called on Admiral Nimitz, the Commander in Chief,
Pacific Fleet immediately
after arrival in Guam, and in the evening dined ashore
at Admiral Nimitz’
At 1030, Admiral Nimitz came on board H.M.S.
KING GEORGE V
where he inspected the Marine Guard of Honour
afterwards introduced to the Senior Officers, Commanding
destroyers, and Senior Staff Officers.
Nimitz then addressed the assembled company, which
representative team of offices and men from the 3
At 1630, an “At home” was held on board H.M.S.
V, the invitation being extended by the Vice Admiral,
Second in Command,
British Pacific Fleet, Captain and Officers of the ship
to the United the
United States Authorities at Guam. The
number attending had unfortunately to be limited but
about 100 Officers and a
few military and naval nurses attended the party, which
was held on the Quarter
In the evening, the Vice Admiral, Second in
Pacific Fleet, entertained Admiral Nimitz and other
senior United States
Officers to dinner on aboard H.M.S. KING GEORGE V.
At 0700 H.M.S. KING GEORGE V left
preceded by H.M. Ships TROUBRIDGE, TERMAGENT, and
TENACIOUS, who formed A/S
screen as soon as the harbour
At 0715 set course 270 degrees 24 knots.
At 0835 altered course to 195 degrees and
Between 0850 and 1015, H.M.S. KING GEORGE V
carried out long
range and close range firings at two sleeve targets
provided by CTG.
94.10. The destroyers carried out
similar practices between 1030 and 1145.
At 1200 H.M.S. TROUBRIDGE carried out firing at smoke
At 1700 altered course to 190 degrees.
At 0325 altered course to 145 degrees and
resumed zig zag
The Captain of the Fleet, Captain E.W. Longley
transferred to H.M.S. TENACIOUS for passage to Manus and
so as to arrive before the Fleet.
At 0255 course was altered to 175 degrees, speed
At 0600 off Manus, in TBS touch with H.M.S.
At 0630, H.M. Ships TROUBRIDGE, TERMAGENT, and
were detached to Manus. Screen was then
taken over by H.M. Ships GRENVILLE, UNDINE, URCHIN, and
Speed was increased to 23 knots, course as
requisite to pass through the off lying islands.
TEAZER northbound to Manus.
At 1030 contacted R.F.A. DINGLEDALE and proceeded
to fuel on course 185 degrees, speed 9 knots.
At 1100, H.M.S. GRENVILLE came alongside and
mail and correspondence.
At 1440 sighted H.M.S. CRANE southbound
At 1445 completed fuelling and course set for
Strait at 23
At 2100 passed H.M.S. IMPLACABLE and escort to
northbound to Manus.
At 0415 altered course to 125 degrees.
At 0730 altered course to 150 degrees.
At 1655 altered course 180 degrees, speed 22
At 2000 altered course to 170 degrees.
At 0700 altered course to 165 degrees
0900 passed H.M.S. BEGUM, northbound, who
permission to proceed.
At 2100 altered course to 175 degrees
W.A.S. patrol provided by one Beaufort
0812 reduced speed to 20 knots.
At 1700 altered course to 195 degrees.
W.A.S. patrol provided by one Catalina.
At 0658 reduced speed to 17 knots.
At 0730 altered course to 255 degrees
At 0920 reduced speed to 16 knots.
At 1115 altered course to 275 degrees
At 1200 manoeuvred
as necessary to
At 1420 destroyer took station astern
At 1440 embarked pilot and proceeded up
At 1530 secured at No. 6 WOOLLOOMOOLOO.
War Diary No. 4
V.A.B.P.F. No. 1002/4 of 23rd
As Task Force 57 had been under the Commander in
Pacific Fleet during the ICEBURG operations, it was a
fitting and pleasant
finish that the Flagship of the British Pacific Fleet
was able to visit
Fleet Admiral Nimitz and his staff. It
was unfortunate that Admiral Spruance, the Commander
Fifth Fleet, was unable to
be there at that time.
2. The welcome given
to this small representative portion of the British
Pacific Fleet was most
warm, and every facility, both social and recreational,
was extended to the
Officers and men of the Flagship and accompanying
destroyers. An issue of beer was made to the
companies in the canteen ashore, and motor transport was
put at the disposal of
Officers and ratings for sightseeing tours of the
Practically 50% of the ship’s companies were
landed each day.
3. On arrival at
Guam, the Vice Admiral, Second in Command, British
Pacific Fleet, accompanied
by Captain E.O. Ewen,
Senior United States Liaison
Officer, Captain J.P.L. Reid, R.N., Chief of Staff, and
Lieutenant Commander B.
Bingham, U.S.N. , additional Flag Lieutenant lent for
the Guam visit, called on
Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Admiral R.K. Turner,
Forces), Vice Admiral J.H. Hoover (Commander Forward
Area), Vice Admiral C.A.
Lockwood, Jr. (Commander Submarine Force), Vice Admiral
W.A. Lee (Commander
First Battle Squadron) were also visited during the
afternoon, all of whom
returned the call on the following day.
4. In the evening a
cocktail party was held at the Commander in Chief
Pacific Fleet’s Headquarters
to which senior staff and ship’s officers were invited,
after which the Vice
Admiral Second in Command British Pacific Fleet dined
with Admiral Nimitz at
5. On the morning of
29th May, Admiral Nimitz, wearing “white
undress”, came on board
H.M.S. KING GEORGE V where he inspected the Marine Guard
was introduced to Senior Staff and ship’s officers and
afterwards addressed the
6. The press correspondents
interview held that forenoon was less
formidable than had been previously anticipated as a
list of their questions
together with the Chief Censor’s comments had been
obtained beforehand and
controversial subjects were successfully eluded.
7. The official trip
round the Island, under the guidance of Major General
H.L. Larsen, U.S.
Marines, and the visit to other U.S. establishments,
proved to be most
interesting; a B 29 which had just returned from a raid
being inspected at the same time.
An immense amount of work has been, and is
in developing air facilities of
prosecution of the war against Japan,
facilities which will, at the same time, have
considerable potential value in
the post war economic development of commercial air
lines in the Pacific. The layout and design will
make it a very
8. About 100
representative officers from the more important staffs
ashore attended a cocktail party on board H.M.S. KING
GEORGE V during the
evening, and thereafter Admiral Nimitz and all other
Flag and Field Officers
present dined on board the Flagship.
655/BPF/825/OPS of 11
WAR DIARY No. 5
No. 1002/5 dated 15th July 1945)
The main body of the Fleet Arrived in
commenced storing and making good defects, etc.
H.M.S. HOWE sailed from
for Durban for
The Vice Admiral, Second in Command, British
and other Flag Officers present attended the Commander
in Chief’s meeting to
discuss the future employment and constitution of the
The Rear Admiral Commanding, Fourth Cruiser
H.M.S. IMPLACABLE, sailed from Manus for Operation
Strikes on Truk
carried out by TG
H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester arrived on board
GEORGE V, inspected the Marine Guard of Honour
ships company, thereafter walking round the ship and
visiting the wardroom,
gunroom, and warrant officers’ mess.
Commander Hutchinson, Staff Officer Operations
to the Vice
Admiral, Second in Command, British Pacific Fleet,
Commander Smeeton, Staff
Officer Air Plans, Commander Lewin,
Staff Fighter Direction Officer, both on staff of
the Vice Admiral Commanding, First Aircraft Carrier
Squadron, together with
Captain Ewen, U.S.N.L.O.,
with the Pacific Fleet left
Sydney by air for Leyte , to
operation with the Staff of Commander Third Fleet.
Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of
honoured the Vice Admiral,
Second in Command, British
Pacific Fleet, with their presence on board H.M.S. KING
GEORGE V for luncheon.
Staff officers from the staffs of the Vice
in Command, British Pacific Fleet and the Vice Admiral
Aircraft Carrier Squadron returned from
The Vice Admiral, Second in Command, British
and the Chief of Staff had the honour
of dining with
Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of
Sydney units of TF 113 consisting of H.M. Ships,
V (wearing the Flag of the Vice Admiral, Second in
Command, British Pacific
Fleet), FORMIDABLE (wearing the flag of Vice Admiral
Commanding, First Aircraft
Carrier Squadron, GAMBIA (wearing the flag of the Rear
Fourth Cruiser Squadron), BARFLEU (wearing the Flag of
the Rear Admiral
Commanding, Destroyers, British Pacific Fleet,
VICTORIOUS, BLACK PRINCE,
GRENVILLE (Captain 24th Destroyer Flotilla),
URANIA, UNDAUNTED, URCHIN, WRANGLER, and WESSEX took
departure from Sydney
Heads for passage to Manus.
WAR DIARY No. 5
No. 1002/5 dated 15th
The object of the main body of the Fleet
the ICEBERG operation was to facilitate the storing of
ships, repair the
carriers’ battle damage, boiler clean, and generally
store for the next
2. After an absence
of over three months, 62 days of which were spent in the
operating area and 24
days storing ship, etc., in the unpleasant climate of
Manus, Ulithi, and Leyte
where recreational facilities were
non-existent or impracticable on account of distance,
the sight of Sydney
Bridge on the return was a very pleasant
experience. Four days’ leave was granted to each
resultant invasion being quickly dispersed by the
accommodated in their own homes a large percentage of
for the period of their leave.
3. H.M.S. EURYALUS spent her replenishment
period at Brisbane where the reported that local
authorities had done
everything possible, insofar as their limited resources
permitted, to meet the
ship’s repair and storing requirements during this
period. A very warm welcome was given by the
first cruiser of the British Pacific Fleet to visit that
4. H.M., H.M.C. and
H.M.N.Z. ships SWIFTSURE,
IMPLACABLE, TROUBRIGE, TENACIOUS, TERMAGANT,
TERPSICHORE, and TEAZER remained
at Manus before proceeding on Operation INMATE on 10th
June. The object of this operation was to
neutralize the air installations in the enemy held
same time providing battle experience for newly joined
units of the British
Pacific Fleet. These strikes took place
on the 14th and 15th June – H.M.S.
RULER acting as a
spare deck for H.M.S. IMPLACABLE.
5. The period in harbour
just sufficiently long for the ships’ staffs to make
good many defects, etc.
which had developed during nearly 3 months’ constant
steaming. Unfortunately, H.M.S. INDEFATIGABLE’s
repairs could not be completed in time and the Fleet had
to proceed to sea for
the initial stages of the July – August operation with
only three carriers.
6. On the staff side,
there were frequent meetings with the Commander in Chief
and the various Flag
Officers to discuss the broad principles of the next
operation, details of
which had been obtained by staff officers from the Vice
Admiral, Second in
Command, British Pacific Fleet, and the Vice Admiral
Commanding, First Aircraft
Carrier Squadron, during their visit to the Commander
Third Fleet at Leyte.
7. Ships which were
able to complete defects in time were sailed to
Bay for sea
exercises, including bombardment practices, and for deck
landing and air
training for the reconstituted air squadrons.
All these ships, except the carriers, came into Sydney
up with fuel before sailing for Manus.
War Diary No. 6
No. 1002/6 of 10th
PART I (n.b.
not shown in
of Task Force 37 were split into the following groups so
as to facilitate
individual practice requirements:
37.1 KING GEORGE V (VABPF)
37.2 FORMIDABLE (AC 1) and attendant destroyers (WESSEX,
WRANGLER) with IMPLACABLE, VICTORIOUS, TERPSICHORE, and
TEAZER joining on
37.3 BLACK PRINCE with EURYALUS, UGANDA, and
37.4 BARFLEUR (RA (D)), QUIBERON, GRENVILLE, URANIA,
UNDINE, URCHIN, UNDAUNTED, ULYSSES.
In the orders for passage, it was arranged that
Unit, under its Flag Officer, should proceed
independently, making the most of
all opportunities for carrying out individual practices,
keeping with 30 miles
of KING GEORGE V during the day, and closing to radar
touch by nightfall. The aircraft carriers were
ordered to follow
a track approximately 10 miles to the Eastward of the
route of the main force,
otherwise acting independently for flying
practices. Throughout the passage
economy of oil in
the destroyers was the determining factor.
1030 – Destroyers carried out sleeve target
1145 - KING GEORGE
V, GAMBIA, and BLACK PRINCE carried out long and close
rang AA firing position
in 75 degrees South Head, 10 miles. The
sleeve targets were towed by Naval Aircraft from N.A.S.
1000 – KING GEORGE V carried out range and
BLACK PRINCE and on completion, the cruisers carried out
exercises with KING GEORGE V at 10,000 yards.
1500 – EURYALUS joined CS 4 from
0300 – Radar contact was obtained with a group
bearing 280 degrees, 21 miles. These were
identified as QUICKMATCH, QUIBERON, QUALITY, QUADRANT
who, to ease the fuelling
situation, had been sent previously to fuel before
from there to join AC 1 and relieve WESSEX and WRANGLER.
Owing to sea conditions, the calibration firing
KING GEORGE V had to be canceled. During
the forenoon, however, the following exercises were
Bombardment communication exercises – KING
GEORGE V and
Dummy Air Reporting Exercises – with cruisers.
1200 – IMPLACABLE, accompanied by TEAZER and
joined AC 1,
and GAMBIA joined
CS 4. These ships sailed from Manus.
1800 – CS transferred his flag from
1930 – Commenced night encounter exercise. For
exercise, KING GEORGE V was assumed to be a damaged
battleship, with three 6”
cruisers in company, returning to base.
The attacking force under RA (D) consisting of TG. 37.4
with BLACK PRINCE and
2040 – Exercise completed.
by AC 1 to return to Sydney. WRANGLER proceeded to
fuel, and for onward passage to Manus.
1015 – EURYALUS having reporting leaking boiler
were estimated to require 48 hours to repair, parted
company and proceeded to
TERPSICHORE and TEAZER joined TG 37.4 having
been detached by AC
1 on account of their low percentage of fuel remaining.
0830 – KING GEORGE V carried out bombardment
exercise with BLACK PRINCE.
1000 – KING GEORGE V carried out 5.25 throw off
BLACK PRINCE as target.
Between 1030 and 1030, the destroyers carried
out Rapid Open
Destroyers exercised manoeuvres
during the afternoon and at 1500 – formed screening
diagram No. 36 on KING
2000 – cruisers,
independently during the day carried out Night Encounter
exercise which was
completed at 2300.
Bad weather postponed until 1000 the AA throw
which had been scheduled for 0800.
Fighters (from the 1st Carrier Squadron)
carried out a
strafing attack on the Fleet which had been disposed in
a circular formation so
as to exercise co ordination of gun control.
1800 – BARFLEUR, who had suffered from slight
damage from prematures
during the practice firing, was instructed to
proceed ahead of the Fleet to effect repairs at Manus.
0945 – The Fleet commenced close range firing at
targets towed by naval aircraft from Ponam.
1100 – KING GEORGE V entered
followed by the other groups as already formed.
The Fleet stored, ammunitioned,
and fuelled in preparation for the forthcoming
operation. These operations were greatly assisted
this occasion by a calm sea with no swell.
Ships were able to fuel, ammunition, and store in their
instead of having to find a temporary anchorage, out of
the swell in the
The following signal
was sent to the Commander Third Fleet reporting Task
Force 37 was ready to
proceed on operations:
report Task Force 37 for duty with the 3rd
Fleet. We are much looking forward to this out
operation under your orders.”
At 0600, KING GEORGE V (Flag of VABPF),
FORMIDABLE (Flag of
AC 1), NEWFOUNDLAND (Flag of CW 4), BARFLEUR (Flag of RA
(D)), together with
IMPLACABLE, VICTORIOUS, UGANDA, GAMBIA, EURYALUS,
ACHILLES, BLACK PRINCE,
GRENVILLE, UNDINE, URANIA, URCHIN, ULYSSES, QUIBERON,
QUADRANT, TROUBRIDGE, TENACIOUS, TERMAGANT, TERPSICHORE,
TEAZER sailed from
Manus. UNDAUNTED was delayed by a boiler
defect but was sailed at 1730 to catch up with the
War Diary No. 6
No. 1002/6 of 10th September 1945)
The sailing of the British Pacific Fleet from
28th June marked the commencement of its
second operation in the
Pacific under American leadership – this time under the
Commander Third U.S.
Fleet. The first objective of the
operation was announced as a strike against airfields
and installations in the Tokyo
area. It is regrettable that H.M.S. INDEFATIGABLE’s
departure with the Fleet had to be delayed
on account of compressor trouble as, with H.M.S.
INDOMITABLE refitting, only
three carriers remained to make the initial strikes.
With the main Fleet base being at Sydney the
task set for
the British Fleet may be paralleled to sailing from
Plymouth to strike Reo de
Janeiro, with one fuelling by harbour
tankers at St
Vincent, Cape Verde Islands, and a second at sea en
2. The stay at Manus,
which was of 36 hours duration, was taken up more or
less completely by
meetings to discuss the best way of utilizing the forces
at our disposal and of
adapting these forces to American methods when the
British and American Task
Forces were operating in company. A
considerable amount of American
operation orders was received on board
the Flagship on arrival at Manus which, together with
our own operational
orders, had to be distributed to the Task Force before
3. Storing, ammunitioning,
and fuelling of the Fleet was accomplished
in the time allotted thanks to the whole hearted endeavour
of the Rear Admiral Fleet Train and the Commander Naval
Base Manus. The logistic side of an operation is,
not always appreciated but there can be no doubt that,
consideration the immense distances in the Pacific, this
support plays not the
least part in the prosecution of the war against
War Diary No. 7
V.A.B.P.F. No. 1002/7 of 1st October 1945)
0600 – Task Force 37, consisting of KING GEORGE
V (Flag of
VABPF), FORMIDABLE (AC 1), VICTORIOUS, IMPLACABLE,
NEWFOUNDLAND (Flag of CS 4),
BLACK PRINCE, EURYALUS, ACHILLES, UGANDA, GAMBIA,
BARFLEUR (Flag of RAD),
GRENVILLE (Captain D4), UNDINE, URANIA, URCHIN, ULYSSES,
QUALITY, QUADRANT, (Captain D 24), TENACIOUS, TERMAGANT,
sailed from Manus for Operations under Commander Third
Fleet, UNDAUNTED was
delaying owing to boiler defects and sailed later to
join TF 37, WRANGLER and
NORMAN accompanied TF 37 and returned later to Manus.
0730 – Sleeve target firing carried out with
aircraft from Ponam.
1330 – Carrier aircraft carried out Kamikaze
attacks on the
1400 – Air Warning and engaging exercise.
1550 – Fighter direction exercise.
0430 – Night air interception exercise
1010 – KING GEORGE V, cruisers, and destroyers
A.A. throw off firing at aircraft provided by the
1120 – Commenced fuelling destroyers,
ACHILLES and KING GEORGE V acting as the “servicing”
1545 – Whilst BARFLEUR was fuelling alongside,
Admiral Destroyers took the opportunity of coming on
board KING GEORGE V for
discussions with the Vice Admiral, Second in Command.
1900 – WRANGLER and NORMAN detached to return to
0855 – Aircraft from FORMIDABLE were flown off
Kamikaze, height calibration and bombardment
1040 – Fighter Direction Exercise with aircraft
2112 – Commencing manoeuvring
exercises by TBS.
0500-0830 – course of speed of the Fleet were
necessary to pass large convoys and a number of single
ships sailing in both
directions and apparently en route for
and Guam and
0515 – A.A. Throw off Firings
1015 – Dive bombing exercise with straffing
attacks by fighters using live ammunition.
A height calibration exercise was carried out
1050 – Jackstays were rigged for and after for
VICTORIOUS to practice message drops on KING GEORGE V.
1100 – One aircraft carried out window dropping
practice radar operators in selection of target etc.
1725 – The Rear Admiral Destroyers, together
communication officer and that of the 4th
Cruiser Squadron came on
board for discussions with the Vice Admiral, Second in
1830 – Air Warning and engaging exercise.
0830 – Aircraft practiced forming up and
followed this up
with an attack on the Fleet. Before the
aircraft were flown on, another message drop exercise
was carried out on KING
1240 – UNDAUNTED joined TF 37 and requiring
topping up after
a fast passage.
1345 – Commencing fuelling BLACK PRINCE,
TENACIOUS from KING GEORGE V, FORMIDABLE, and VICTORIOUS
respectively. BLACK PRINCE and TENACIOUS were
all being low in fuel.
1835 – The Carriers practiced night deck landing
and two Avengers provided targets for a night air
warning and engaging
0900 – A.A. Throw off firing.
1210 – A most realistic massed air attack on the
staged by carrier aircraft.
1810 – Night air warning and engaging
exercise. During this exercise the Fleet took
action and the screen was ordered to make smoke as
2100 – The Fleet, using an imaginary aircraft
controlled by KING GEORGE V carried out dummy blind fire
0900 – Sleeve target firings.
1030 – Fighter direction exercise.
1445 – passed second
FINDHORN, GAWLER, DERG, SAN ADOLPHO, SAM AMBROSIO, and
WAVE MONARCH, to the
Eastward, en route to the fuelling area.
1600 – Damage control exercise with concurrent
conning, steering, and communications.
1900 – Night air warning and engaging exercise.
0137 – made contact
oiler group, DINGLEDALE, SAN AMADO, WAVE EMPEROR,
escorts, USK, BARLE.
0430 – commenced
D.S.B. routine around the Fleet.
1840 – The Fleet disengaged from the oiling
force for the
The following exercises were carried out during
using aircraft from RULER:
off firing by FORMIDABLE and VICTORIOUS
range firing by FORMIDABLE
0113 – T.G. 30.8, the U.S. Logistic Group was
radar and course altered to pass to the Westward.
0400 – Commenced oiling
1155 – QUIBERON reported a sub contact.
KING GEORGE V cast off from the oiler and the
Fleet was turned 50 degrees to starboard.
1200 – the contact
was reported non
sub and the Fleet resumed the oiling course.
1210 – Owing to trouble with fuel hoses, KING
GEORGE V was
changed over from SAN AMADO to WAVE EMPEROR to
1837 – Fleet disengaged from oiling force for
night. WAVE EMPEROR being empty was sent back to
Eniwetok escorted by BARLE as it was evident, as it had
been throughout the
planning stage, that the tanker capacity would be a most
critical and anxious
factor. In the event this move was to
prove invaluable and justified the risk of moving one of
our best oilers with a
solitary escort. Fortunately, the U boat
threat developed near the
0545 – Commenced oiling.
KING GEORGE V fuelled from DINGLEDALE and
SAN AMADO thus completing the fuelling of the Fleet,
with the exception of some
of the destroyers who, by this time, required topping up
1400 – Fleet disengaged from oiling force.
1635 – Carriers carried out sleeve target
0430 – TF 38 was sighted to the westward and the
Fleet manoeuvred so as to
pass to the eastward of the American
Fleet which had by then commenced to oil.
0710 – Course altered to close U.S.S.
Flagship of Admiral Halsey, Commanding the Third Fleet.
0745 – QUADRANT and TERMAGANT closed KING GEORGE
FORMIDABLE respectively to transfer V.A.B.P.F. and A.C.
1 and staffs to
conference with the Commander Third Fleet.
0815 – C.S. 4 assumed tactical command during
the absence of
V.A.B.P.F. and A.C. 1.
1040 – U.S.S. FRANK KNOX closed KING GEORGE V to
correspondence and operation orders.
1050 – To familiarize the Americans with the
type of planes
employed in the British Pacific Fleet, a “recognition”
flight was flown over
ships of TF 38.
1500 – A “recognition” flight, this time by
planes, was flown over the Fleet by TF 38.
1515 – V.A.B.P.F. and A.C. 1 returned on board
1600 – TF 38 disengaged having completed oiling
and with TF
37 set course for the flying off position (37-10N,
WAR DIARY No. 7
V.A.B.P.F. No. 1002/7 of 1st October 1945)
On arrival at Manus the Fleet had reached the
of the Forward area and still had still a further 2300
miles to steam before
the flying off position for the first strike could be
reached. The further 10 days required for a
North and the fuelling en route were most valuable, as a
very intensive programme of
exercises was carried out on passage. The programme
designed to exercise the Fleet in the types of attacks
most likely to be
encountered under forthcoming operational conditions,
and it is considered that
the Fleet arrived in the combat area in a fully worked
up condition, live
attacks on the Fleet giving the
necessary touch of reality to the exercises.
Message drops onto a forecastle jackstay by
were tried out for the first time in the B.P.F. and
after, a few abortive
attempts, worked reasonably well although it remains a
method of passing information as, even when the message
bag catches the
jackstay, it is liable to be carried over the side of
2. The meeting with
Admiral Halsey on board U.S.S.
16th July enable
British Staff Officers
from A.C. 1 and V.A.B.P.F. to meet their American
opposite numbers and discuss
points which required clarification before the two
Fleets sailed in
company. This, the future was to prove,
was I believe, but one side of the matter, more
important was the fact that it
enabled us to take the field with a feeling that we were
to operation with and
under the orders of those whom we now know personally,
and already liked.