Allied Warships

HMAS Shropshire (83)

Heavy cruiser of the London class


HMAS Shropshire seen here as HMS Shropshire

NavyThe Royal Australian Navy
TypeHeavy cruiser
ClassLondon 
Pennant83 
Built byWilliam Beardmore & Co. (Dalmuir, Scotland) 
Ordered 
Laid down24 Feb 1927 
Launched5 Jul 1928 
Commissioned20 Apr 1943 
End service10 Nov 1949 
History

Given to Australia by the British government to replace HMAS Canberra.

While under refit at Chatham Dockyard she was commissioned as HMAS Shropshire on 20 April 1943. However, the refit occupied many months and it was not until 25 June 1943 that Shropshire was formally handed over to the Royal Australian Navy.

Decommissioned to reserve on 10 November 1949. Sold to be broken up for scrap on 16 July 1954. Broken up by Arnott Young at Dalmuir and Troon arriving on 20 January 1955.

 
Former nameHMS Shropshire

Commands listed for HMAS Shropshire (83)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. David Hugh Harries, RAN28 Dec 19427 Apr 1943
2Capt. John Augustine Collins, RAN7 Apr 19436 May 1944
3Capt. Henry Arthur Showers, RAN6 May 194425 Sep 1944
4Capt. Charles Alfred Godfrey Nichols, RN25 Sep 194414 Apr 1946

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Notable events involving Shropshire include:


21 Jul 1943
HMS Renown (Capt. W.E. Parry, CB, RN), HMAS Shropshire (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) and HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (1)

17 Aug 1943

Combined convoy WS 33 / KMF 22.

This convoy was assembled off Oversay on 18 August 1943.

On assembly the combined convoy was made up of the following (troop) transports; Antenor (British, 11174 GRT, built 1925), Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921), Boissevain (Dutch, 14134 GRT, built 1937), Cameronia (British, 19297 GRT, built 1920), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Duchess of Richmond (British, 20022 GRT, built 1928), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914), Glenartney (British, 9795 GRT, built 1940), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Johan de Witt (Dutch, 10474 GRT, built 1920), Marnix van St. Aldegonde (Dutch, 19355 GRT, built 1930), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Orduna (British, 15507 GRT, built 1914), Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925) and Tegelberg (British, 14150 GRT, built 1937).

The convoy was escorted by the escort carrier HMS Hunter (Capt. H.H. McWilliam, RN), heavy cruiser HMAS Shropshire (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN), destroyer HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN), sloops HMS Weston (Lt.Cdr. E. Gleave, RNR), HMS Chanticleer (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Bristowe, DSO, RN), HMIS Narbada (A/Cdr. A.W. Beeton, RIN), cutter HMS Totland (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.E. Tourtel, RNR) and the frigates HMS Barle (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Davies, RNVR), HMS Ettrick (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Woolfenden, RD, RNR) and HMS Usk (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Pattinson, DSC, RNR).

The AA cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) joined the convoy around 0955B/20.

HMS Charybdis parted company with the convoy around 2210B/21 and proceeded to Gibraltar arriving there on 22 August.

The entire combined convoy arrived at Gibraltar on 24 August 1943.

From Gibraltar the convoys continued on as KMF 22 and WS 33.

7 Mar 1945
Task Unit 74.1.1, made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN, flying the broad pendant of Commodore H.B. Farncomb, DSO, MVO, RAN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN) and the destroyers HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, DSO, RAN) and HMAS Warramunga (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted exercises off Manus. (2)

10 Mar 1945
Task Unit 74.1.1, made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN, flying the broad pendant of Commodore H.B. Farncomb, DSO, MVO, RAN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN) and the destroyers HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, DSO, RAN) and HMAS Warramunga (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted exercises off Manus.

On completion of the exercises HMAS Shropshire and HMAS Arunta set course for Sydney while HMAS Hobart and HMAS Warramunga set course for Leyte to report to CTF 74. (2)

17 Jun 1945
Around 1000I/17, HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN) arrived off Labuan Island. Commodore Farncomb took over the fire support duties for which HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN), HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, DSO, RAN), USS Hart (T/Cdr. W.D. Coleman, USN) and USS Metcalf (T/Cdr. D.L. Martineau, USN) remained with him. He hoisted his broad pendant in HMAS Shropshire. CTG 74.3 then left the area around 1720I/17 for Tawi Tawi.

On 18 June, HMAS Shropshire conducted a bombardment of the Japanese stronghold on Labuan Island between 1455I/18 and 1550I/18.

At 1655I/19, Commodore Farncomb transferred his flag from HMAS Shropshire to HMAS Arunta for the upcoming landings at Lutong (just north of Miri). (3)

20 Jun 1945

Landings at Lutong.

Composition of the forces taking part was as follows;
Task Group 74.1 was the Fire Support Group under Commodore Commodore H.B. Farncomb, DSO, MVO, RAN made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN) and destroyers HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, DSO, RAN), USS Hart (T/Cdr. W.D. Coleman, USN) and USS Metcalf (T/Cdr. D.L. Martineau, USN).
Task Unit 76.20.50 was the Lutong Assault Unit under T/Capt. F.B.C. Martin, USN (COMLCI(L)FLOT 8) which flew his flag in USS LCI(L)-546 (Lt.(jg) H.K. Wells, USNR).
Task Unit 76.20.51 was the LSM Unit under T/Cdr. W.E. Verge, USN (COMLSMFLOT 7) which was made up of the following LSM's; USS LSM-54 (Lt. D.L. Newborg, USNR, with T/Cdr. W.E. Verge, USN on board), USS LSM-133 (Lt. C.D. Davis, USNR) and USS LSM-269 (Lt. H.T. Turner, Jr. USNR).
Task Unit 76.20.52 was the LST Unit under Lt. F.P. Lawrence, USNR and was made up of the following LST's; USS LST-562 (Lt. F.P. Lawrence, USNR), USS LST-573 (Lt. G.W. Hessemer, USNR) and USS LST-667 (Lt. W.S. Biernat, USN).
Task Unit 76.20.53 was the LCT / LCM Unit under Lt. DeMoss, USNR (COMLCTGR 74), which was made up the following LCT's; USS LCT-1310, USS LCT-1312, USS LCT-1317 and USS LCT-1331. Also one LCM was attached to this unit.
Task Unit 76.20.54 was the Control Unit under Lt. J.R. Goodrich, USNR. It was made up of the patrol vessels USS PC-1120 (Lt. J.R. Goodrich, USNR) and USS SC-732 (Lt.(jg) I.L. Mann, Jr., USNR).
Task Unit 76.20.55 was the Support Unit under Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sargent, USNR, which was made up of the following LCS(L)'s; USS LCS(L)-46 (Lt. W.P. McCarthy, USNR), USS LCS(L)-58 (Lt. D. Gregory, USNR), USS LCS(L)-60 (Lt. W.H. White, Jr., USNR), LCI(R)'s; USS LCI(R)-71 (Lt.(jg) C.C. Benson, USNR), USS LCI(R)-72 (Ens. C.R. Weiner, USNR), USS LCI(R)-74 (Ens. V.J. Goerke, USNR), LCI(M)'s USS LCI(M)-359 (Ens. T.S. Adair, USNR), USS LCI(M)-431 (Lt.(jg) J.C. Elkins, USNR) and LCS(L)(S)'s USS LCS(L)-961 (?) and USS LCS(L)-985 (?).

Around 1530I/19, the Lutong Assault Unit departed Brunei Bay for the operation. Escort was proviced by the three destroyers from Task Group 74.1. Commodore Farncomb flew his flag in HMAS Arunta. HMAS Shropshire and HMAS Hobart remained standy-by at Brunei Bay and would be called upon for bombardment duties if needed.

At 0701I/20, the order 'Deploy' was given.

At 0738I/20, USS PC-1120 reported that the ' Line of Departure ' had been established.

At 0830I/20, the destroyers began their bombardment duties.

At 0911I/20, wave 1 departed for the beach led by the Support Craft. Mortar ships began their bombardment duties.

At 0914I/20, the 2nd wave departed for the beach.

At 0917I,20, the 3rd wave departed for the beach.

At 0921I/20, support craft began firing a rocket barrage.

At 0925I/20, the rocket bomberdment ceased.

At 0926I/20, the 4th wave departed for the beach.

At 0930I/20, wave 1 landed.

At 0932I/20, wave 2 landed.

At 0935I/20, wave 3 landed. Also the destroyers ceased their bombardment.

At 0942I/20, wave 4 landed.

at 1014I/20, the Beachmaster requisted that the second assault force be landed.

At 1017I/20, CTU 76.20.50 ordered the second assault for be landed. These troops were were taken in by LCVPs as they became available.

At 1024I/20, LCT's and LCM's were ordered to get underway and beach.

At 1043I/20, USS LCM-269 was sent in to beach and test conditions for unloading.

At 1102I/20, USS LCS(L)-961 and USS LCS(L)-985 were ordered to help broached LCVP's.

At 1123I/20, all troops of the second assault had been landed.

At 1132I/20, the beachmaster reported that an LCVP from USS LST-667 was sunk 15 yards from the beach.

At 1317I/20, LVT's commenced reloading on USS LST-573 and USS LST-562.

At 1415I/20, CTU 76.20.53 reported that USS LCT-1317 completed unloading at 1119I/20, USS LCT-1312 at 1145I/20 and USS LCT-1310 at 1152I/20.

At 1530I/20, the ' Line of Departure ' was dissolved by CTU 76.20.50.

At 1740I/20, USS LCT-1331 completed unloading.

At 1915I/20, USS LSM-54 and USS LSM-133 beached.

At 0400I/21, USS Hart was detached to make rendezvous with HMAS Shropshire and HMAS Hobart in position 05°30'N, 114°45'E. The cruisers departed Brunei Bay around 0630I/21. Rendezvous was effected around 0900I/21 but by then they had been ordered to return to Brunei Bay taking USS Hart with them.

At 0930I/21, CTU 76.20.50 went ashore to observe unloading and to arrange for the return of released POW's to Brunei Bay.

At 1050I/21, the Beachmaster informed CTU 76.20.50 that the reserves would not be needed and may return to Brunei Bay.

At 1325I/21, all LSM's were unloaded and retracted from the beach.

At 1800I/21, Task Unit 76.20.50 got underway to return to Brunei Bay. They were screened by USS Metcalf, USS PC-1120, SC-732 and the minesweepers USS YMS-4 (Lt.(jg) F.D. Bender, USNR), USS YMS-6 (Lt. M. McVickar, USNR), USS YMS-51 (Lt.(jg) A.L. Giesenschlag, USNR), USS YMS-68 (Lt. G.L. O'Neil, USNR), USS YMS-259 (Lt. M. Goedjen, USNR), USS YMS-313 (Lt.(jg) W.H. Reibold, USNR) and USS YMS-340 (Lt. P. Schminke, USNR).

USS LCS(L)-46 and USS LCS(L)-58 remained at Lutong.

At 0645I/22, HMAS Arunta returned to Brunei Bay. Commodore Farncomb then left the destroyer and re-hoisted his broad pendant in HMAS Shropshire.

Task Unit 76.20.50 returned to Brunei Bay in the morning of the 22nd, around 0900I/22.

(4)

22 Jun 1945
Around 1800I/22, HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN, flying the broad pendant of Commodore H.B. Farncomb, DSO, MVO, RAN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN), HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, DSO, RAN), USS Hart (T/Cdr. W.D. Coleman, USN) and USS Metcalf (T/Cdr. D.L. Martineau, USN) departed Brunei Bay for Tawi Tawi where they arrived around 0800I/24. (3)

27 Jun 1945
In the morning HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) bombarded Japanese shore guns off Balikpapan.

Later that day Tromp joined Task Force 74.1 which was made up of the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN), the Australian light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN), the Australian destroyer HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, DSO, RAN) and the US destroyers USS Hart (Cdr. W.D. Coleman, USN) and USS Metcalf (Cdr. D.L. Martineau, USN). (5)

3 Jul 1945
Around 1300I/3, Task Group 74.1, made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN, flying the broad pendant of Commodore H.B. Farncomb, DSO, MVO, RAN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN) and the destroyers HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, DSO, RAN), USS Albert W. Grant (T/Cdr. G.S. Higginbotham, USN, with COMDESDIV 112, T/Capt. B.J. Mullaney, USN on board) and USS Killen (T/Cdr. J.L. Semmes, USN) departed the Balikpapan area for Tawi Tawi where they arrived around 1300I/4. (6)

24 Jul 1945
On 24 July 1945, Task Force 74, under T/Rear-Admiral R.F. Good, USN, departed Subic Bay for exercises.

Task Force 74 was made up of the following Task Units;
74.1 under Commodore J.A. Collins, CB, RAN, was made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN, flying the broad pendant of Commodore J.A. Collins, CB, RAN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN) and the destroyers USS Albert W. Grant (T/Cdr. G.S. Higginbotham, USN, with COMDESDIV 112, T/Capt. B.J. Mullaney, USN on board), USS Killen (T/Cdr. J.L. Semmes, USN), HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN) and HMAS Bataan (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN).
74.2 under T/Rear-Admiral R.F. Good, USN, was made up of the heavy cruisers USS San Francisco (T/Capt. J.E. Whelchel, USN, flying the flag of T/Rear-Admiral R.F. Good, USN), USS Tuscaloosa (T/Capt. J.G. Atkins, USN), USS New Orleans (T/Capt. J.E. Hurff, USN) and the destroyers USS Haraden (Lt.Cdr. L.J. O'Brien, Jr., USN, with COMDESRON 51, T/Capt. H.J. Martin, USN), USS Stevens (T/Cdr. G.W. Pressey, USN), USS Hart (T/Cdr. W.D. Coleman, USN), USS Metcalf (T/Cdr. D.L. Martineau, USN), USS Shields (T/Lt.Cdr. G.T. McDaniel, Jr., USN, also COMDESDIV 115) and USS Wiley (T/Cdr. B.P. Field, Jr., USN).
74.3 under T/Capt. H.L. Challenger, USN, was made up of the light cruisers USS Phoenix (T/Capt. H.L. Challenger, USN), USS Nashville (T/Capt. A. MacOndray, Jr., USN) and the destroyers USS Charrette (T/Lt.Cdr. G.P. Joyce, USN, with COMDESDIV 102, T/Capt. W.H. Watson, Jr., USN), USS Conner (T/Lt.Cdr. W.A. Sissons, USN), USS Bell (T/Cdr. B.H. Shupper, USN) and USS Burns (T/Cdr. J.T. Bullen, Jr., USN).

At 0730I/24, the destroyers commenced leaving Subic Bay in the following order; HMAS Bataan, USS Killen, USS Haradan, USS Albert W. Grant, USS Hart, USS Charrette, USS Bell, USS Burns and USS Conner. From 0743I/24, the cruisers USS San Francisco, USS New Orleans, USS Tuscaloosa, USS Phoenix, USS Nashville and USS Shropshire commenced leaving Subic Bay.

At 0953I/24, the Task Force commenced scheduled AA exercises. These were completed at 1146I/24.

At 1159I/24, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart and the destroyers HMAS Warramunga, USS Wiley and USS Stevens joined the formation. These had departed Subic Bay shortly before 1000I/24.

At 1900I/24, USS Hart and USS Conner were detached for picket duty and did not participate in this night's exercises.

Around 2015I/24, the formation closed the imaginary enemy for a simulated attack. This exercise took about half an hour and included simulated torpedo attacks.

The Task Force then cruised in the general area off Subic Bay throughout the night.

At 0627I/25, USS Conner returned from picket duty and resumed her station in the destroyer screen. At 0655I/25, USS Hart also rejoined. On returning from their picket stations both destroyers acted as target for tracking drills.

Tactical maneuver exercises were carried out durning the morning.

At 1300I/25, schedules AA firing exercises commenced.

At 1706I/25, Destroyer Division 102 left the formation and formed in column in the following order; USS Charrette, USS Bell, USS Conner and USS Burns. At 1807I/25, Destroyer Division 102 formed a scouting line with an interval of 5 miles between ships. At 2002I/25, the division maneuvered to close the range to the remainder of the Task Force and at 2114I/25 they commenced torpedo attacks on the cruisers with a simulated firing of torpedoes at 2131I/25. At 2142I/25 the exercises were completed. USS Charrette and USS Conner took station in the destroyer screen while USS Bell and USS Burns took station as picket destroyers for the night.

At 0603I/26, USS Burns returned from picket duty followed by USS Bell at 0640I/26. Both destroyers took up station in the screen.

At 0936I/26, commenced Force tactical maneuvers which were completed around 1252I/26. At 1152I/26, USS Stevens had been detached to investigate a reported plane crash.

At 1302I/26, scheduled AA firing exercises commenced. At 1413I/26, USS Stevens rejoined. AA exercises were completed at 1500I/26. At 1433I/26, CTF 74 hoisted his flag in USS Tuscaloosa, having transferred from USS San Francisco by means of USS Albert W. Grant.

At 1503I/26, USS Tuscaloosa, USS New Orleans, USS Charrette, USS Conner, USS Bell and USS Burns parted company for Manila Bay where they arrived later the same day. These ships were now known as Task Unit 74.4.

All the other ships proceeded to Subic Bay also arrived there later in the afternoon of the 26th. (7)

29 Jul 1945
Task Force 74 was informed that a Japanese convoy had been reported to the south, in the Gulf of Siam, and that they were to intercept.

Therefore, around 0200I/29, the heavy cruisers USS San Francisco (T/Capt. J.E. Whelchel, USN, flying the flag of T/Rear-Admiral R.F. Good, USN), HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN, flying the broad pendant of Commodore J.A. Collins, CB, RAN), light cruisers USS Phoenix (T/Capt. H.L. Challenger, USN), USS Nashville (T/Capt. A. MacOndray, Jr., USN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN) and the destroyers USS Haraden (Lt.Cdr. L.J. O'Brien, Jr., USN, with COMDESRON 51, T/Capt. H.J. Martin, USN), USS Stevens (T/Cdr. G.W. Pressey, USN), USS Hart (T/Cdr. W.D. Coleman, USN), USS Shields (T/Lt.Cdr. G.T. McDaniel, Jr., USN, also COMDESDIV 115), HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN) and HMAS Bataan (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) departed Subic Bay.

Around 0325I/29, also the heavy cruiser USS New Orleans (T/Capt. J.E. Hurff, USN) and the destroyers USS Bell (T/Cdr. B.H. Shupper, USN) and USS Burns (T/Cdr. J.T. Bullen, Jr., USN) departed Manila Bay to join the other ships of Task Force 74 at sea which they did around 0800I/29.

Around 1015I/29, Task Force 74 reversed course after having been recalled.

Around 1145I/29, USS New Orleans, USS Bell and USS Burns were detached to return to Manila Bay while the other ships returned to Subic Bay. All ships around at their destination around 1730I/29.

31 Jul 1945
Exercises were commenced by ships from Task Force 74.

Around 0630I/31, the destroyers USS Wiley (T/Cdr. B.P. Field, Jr., USN) and USS Hart (T/Cdr. W.D. Coleman, USN) departed Subic Bay for A/S exercises with the submarine USS Carbonero (T/Cdr. C.L. Murphy, USN).

Around 0700I/31, the heavy cruiser Tuscaloosa and the destroyers Shields and Metcalf departed Manila Bay for exercises.

Around 0730I/31, the heavy cruisers USS San Francisco (T/Capt. J.E. Whelchel, USN, flying the flag of T/Rear-Admiral R.F. Good, USN), HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN, flying the broad pendant of Commodore J.A. Collins, CB, RAN), light cruisers USS Phoenix (T/Capt. H.L. Challenger, USN), USS Nashville (T/Capt. A. MacOndray, Jr., USN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN) and the destroyers USS Haraden (Lt.Cdr. L.J. O'Brien, Jr., USN, with COMDESRON 51, T/Capt. H.J. Martin, USN), USS Stevens (T/Cdr. G.W. Pressey, USN), USS Shields (T/Cdr. G.B. Madden, USN, also COMDESDIV 115), USS Metcalf (T/Cdr. D.L. Martineau, USN), HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN) and HMAS Bataan (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) departed Subic Bay for exercises.

Around 0800I/31, the heavy cruiser USS New Orleans (T/Capt. J.E. Hurff, USN) and the destroyers USS Bell (T/Cdr. B.H. Shupper, USN) and USS Burns (T/Cdr. J.T. Bullen, Jr., USN) departed Manila Bay for exercises.

Exercises commenced around 0930I/31.

Around 1515I/31, USS Carbonero proceeded to Subic Bay escorted by USS Hart. USS Hart then rejoined USS Wiley around 1730I/31 and both destroyers then joined the other ships of Task Force 74 for the exercises.

During the night of 31 July / 1 August, USS Stevens and USS Metcalf were detached to serve as picked destroyers. They rejoined shortly after 0700I/1.

On the two above destroyers rejoining, USS Bell and USS Burns detached for A/S exercises with USS Carbonero.

AA exercises were conducted during the morning of 1 August and at noon USS Bell and USS Burns rejoined on completion of their A/S exercises, which were then taken over by USS Stevens and USS Metcalf.

The remainder of the day was spent conducting gunnery and tactical exercises. Around 1645I/1, USS Stevens and USS Metcalf rejoined on completion of their A/S exercises.

Around 2130I/1, USS Bell and USS Hart were detached to take up picket stations for the night. They rejoined around 0700I/2.

Around 1400I/2, USS San Francisco, USS Haraden, USS Stevens and HMAS Bataan parted company to proceed to Manila Bay where they arrived around 1630I/2.

The remainder of Task Force 74 arrived at Subic Bay around the same time.

12 Aug 1945
After fuelling, and with the bulk of Task Force 37 being sent to Manus, Vice-Admiral Rawlings had the following ships left; battleship HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, KCB, OBE, RN, 2nd in command British Pacific Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Indefatigable (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Newfoundland (Capt. R.W. Ravenhill, CBE, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.J.P. Brind, CBE, CB, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. R.A.B. Edwards, CBE, RN), destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. G.F. Burghard, RN, Capt. D 24), HMS Teazer (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Taylor, DSC, RN), HMS Tenacious (Lt.Cdr. D.F. Townsend, RN), HMS Termagent (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Scatchard, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Terpsichore (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Wakeful (Lt.Cdr. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN), HMS Wrangler (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Warren, RN), HMS Barfleur (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, DSO, DSC and Bar, OBE, RN), HMAS Napier (Capt. H.J. Buchanan, DSO, RAN) and HMAS Nizam (A/Lt.Cdr. W.F. Cook, RAN).

This force was now named Task Group 38.5 and was to operate as in integrated unit of the American Task Force 38. As the British Fleet Train had now been streched to the limit and the British had to depend on the Americans for fuel.

Also on this day the battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Admiral B.A. Fraser, GCB, KBE, RN, C-in-C British Pacific Fleet) and the destroyers HMS Wager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN) departed Guam to join Task Group 38.5 off Japan.

At 0815/13, HMS Indefatigable launched her first strike aircraft to attack targets in the Tokyo area. A second strike was flow off at 1315/13 but the selected targets could not be attacked due to the unsuitable weather conditions.

On this day only 4 luggers were claimed sunk. Some buildings, locomotives and other rolling stock were claimed to have been damaged.

During the day a total of 21 enemy aircraft were shot down by the Combat Air Patrol while trying to approach the fleet.

At 1815/13 flying operations had ceased and course was set to position 31°45'N, 144°00'E to refuel.

During the 14th, Task Group 38.5 fuelled from American tankers. At 1710/14, they set course to return to the operations area. It was noted by Vice-Admiral Rawlings that the state of equipment and efficiency of American tankers was much higher then the British ones. The Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary had much to learn on this subject.

At 0400/15, HMS Indefatigable launched her first strike aircraft from position 34°00'N, 142°00'E to attack targets in the Tokyo area. They were unable to attack the selected target due to bad weather in that erea but they spotted a camouflaged factory so it was decided to attack this factory instead. It was successfully bombed. The strike aircraft were intercepted by 12 Japanese fighters but 4 of these were shot down by the escorting fighters while 4 more were probably shot down. One Seafire did not return and one Avenger had to ditch due to being heavily damaged.

At 0700/15, a signal was received that all further strikes were cancelled for the moment.

Four hours later news was received that the Japanese had accepted the Allied peace terms and that all offensive operations had to cease.

At 1120/15, two bombs fell close to HMS Indefatigable as a Japanese aircraft had penetrated the defences unnoticed.

Task Force 38 then set course to proceed to position 32°45'N, 143°20'E to await further instructions.

On the 16th HMS Duke of York, HMS Wager and HMS Whelp joined Task Group 38.5. Vice-Admiral Rawlings however remained in tactical command of the Task Force.

On the 17th, Task Group 38.5 set course to proceed to position ' British Drink ' (32°25'N, 143°30'E) for an underway replenishment by ships from the British Fleet Train.

At 0200/18, they made rendezvous with the tankers San Adolpho (7365 GRT, built 1935), San Ambrosio (7410 GRT, built 1935) and Wave Governor (8190 GRT, built 1945), stores ship Fort Wrangell (7213 GRT, built 1944), escort carrier HMS Ruler (Capt. H.P. Currey, OBE, RN) and their escorts, the sloop HMS Ruler (Capt. H.P. Currey, OBE, RN), frigates HMS Odzani (A/Lt.Cdr. J.N. Burgess, RANVR), HMS Usk (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.B. Medlycott, RNR) and the minesweepers/corvettes HMAS Ballarat (A/Cdr. N.R. Read, RAN) and HMAS Burnie (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Andrewartha, RANR).

Fuelling commenced at daylight and continued until 1700/18. The tankers San Adolpho (7365 GRT, built 1935) and San Ambrosio (7410 GRT, built 1935) were empty now and were ordered to proceed to Leyte to refil escorted by HMS Usk and HMAS Burnie.

At dawn on the 19th fuelling continued but now only from the Wave Governor.

Replenishment continued during the 20th. During the day the escort carrier HMS Speaker (A/Capt. U.H.R. James, RN) arrived with aircraft replenishments. She was being escorted by the destroyer HMS Queenborough (Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC and Bar, RN). The escort carrier was ordered to transfer all possible aircraft to HMS Indefatigable and HMS Ruler and then prepare to embark Allied POW's from when the Fleet was able to put into Tokyo Bay.

Also the tanker Carelia (8082 GRT, built 1938) joined the Logistics Group. She was being escorted by the minesweepers/corvettes HMAS Cessnock (Lt. A.G. Chapman, RANR(S)) and HMAS Pirie (Lt. C.K. Mackenzie, RANVR). The tanker Wave Governor was then ordered to proceed to Ulithi for rapid refilling and return as soon as possible. She was being escorted by HMS Odzani.

In the afternoon Task Group 38.5 was disbanded and the ships were diveded over two American Task Forces; HMS Indefatigable, HMS Troubridge, HMS Teazer, HMS Tenacious, HMS Termagent, HMS Terpsichore, HMS Wakeful, HMS Wrangler and HMS Barfleur were ordered to join Task Group 38.3 while HMS Duke of York, HMS King George V, HMS Newfoundland, HMNZS Gambia, HMAS Napier, HMAS Nizam, HMS Wager and HMS Whelp joined Task Group 38.4.

On 21 August, Task Force 38, proceeded to the south-west to position 30°30'N, 142°00'E to continue replenishment with typhoon warnings meanwhile coming in. The Logistics Group remained near area ' British Drink ' though. HMS Queenborough had collected mails and was ordered to proceed to Manus via Ulithi.

On 22 August, the destroyers were topped up with fuel and aerial photogaphs were taken off the fleet.

At daylight on 23 August, the British destroyers were topped up with fuel by HMS Duke of York and HMS King George V. At noon the fleet was now in position 33°35'N, 144°08'E. In the afternoon the plan to enter Japanese waters was received and as a consequence HMS Duke of York was detached with HMS Wager and HMS Whelp to form Task Group 30.2 and join the US flagship USS Missouri which formed Task Group 30.1 together with some destroyers.

HMS King George V, HMS Newfoundland, HMNZS Gambia, HMAS Napier and HMAS Nepal formed Task Force 37 again. They were reinforced by two US destroyers, USS Uhlmann (T/Cdr. S.C. Small, USN) and USS Benham (T/Lt.Cdr. W.L. Poindexter, USN).

On August 24th, the ships upperworks were painted and some efforts were made to remove the signs that the ships had been at sea for a long time. The destroyers conducted some exercises.

At daylight on August 25th, the destroyers, including the two US destroyers, were topped up by HMS King George V, HMS Newfoundland and HMNZS Gambia. In the late afternoon or early evening HMAS Quickmatch (Cdr. J.K. Walton, RAN) arrived from Manus with mail and fuelled from HMS King George V while transferring the mail. Later a signal was received to close the Japanese Coast.

On the 26th a signal was received to return to the previous area as weather was still unsuitable to enter Japanese waters. HMAS Quickmatch was ordered to join the Logistics Group and transfer and collect their mails and then return to the southwards. In the afternoon a signal was received to enter Japanese waters (Sagami Wan) on 27 August and Tokyo Bay on 30 August so course was set to get closer to the coast.

On the 27th Task Force 37 entered Sagami Wan and around 1450/27 anchored in their assigned berths. The two US destroyers were ordered to rejoin the US Fleet.

The 28th was spent painting and cleaning the ships. Also the hospital ship Tjitjalengka (10972 GRT, built 1939) arrived and anchored in Sagami Wan. She was being escorted by the sloop HMS Crane (Lt.Cdr. R.G. Jenkins, DSC, RN).

On the 29th Task Goups 30.1 and 30.2, the American and British flagship groups entered Tokyo Bay at daylight, so HMS Duke of York, HMS Wager and HMS Whelp were the first British ships to enter Tokyo Bay.

On 30 August, HMS Teazer and HMS Terpsichore, which both had minor defects, entered Sagami Wan and joined Task Force 37. Also the destroyer HMS Quality (Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN) joined at daylight, coming from Manus. She was the first destroyer to arrive from the destroyers sent to relieve those still at sea with HMS Indefatigabele.

Later on the day, HMS King George V, HMS Quality, HMAS Napier and HMAS Nizam were ordered to enter Tokyo Bay. They anchored off Yokohama. HMS Teazer and HMS Terpsichore also entered Tokyo Bay and secured alongside the battleships to make good their defects. HMS Quality, after having fuelled was sent out to sea to join HMS Indefatigable while HMS Speaker, now fitted out to embark POW's, entered Tokyo Bay.

On 31 August 1945, more British and Commonwealth ships entered Tokyo Bay, these were HMS Newfoundland, HMNZS Gambia from Sagami Wan and HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN, flying the broad pendant of Commodore J.A. Collins, CB, RAN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN), HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN) and HMAS Bataan (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) which came from Okinawa.

Also ships from the Logistics Group entered Tokyo Bay, these were the tankers Carelia, Dingledale (8145 GRT, built 1941), Wave King (8159 GRT, built 1944), stores ship Fort Wrangell, escort carrier HMS Ruler, sloop HMS Crane, HMS Pheasant (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN), HMS Woodcock (A/Lt.Cdr. S.J. Parsons, DSC, RN), frigate HMS Derg (Lt.Cdr. N.B.J. Stapleton, RD, RNR) and the minesweepers/corvettes HMAS Cessnock, HMAS Pirie and HMAS Ipswich (T/Lt. R.H. Creasey, RANR(S)).

On September 1st, HMS Tenacious entered Tokyo Bay having been relieved by HMS Quality. HMS Speaker reported that she had 35 officers and 340 other ranks of former POW's that had already arrived on board. Most of them were in bad shape.

At 0930 hours on 2 September the formal ceremony of surrender took place on board USS Missouri. The war had ended.

17 Aug 1945
HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN, flying the broad pendant of Commodore J.A. Collins, CB, RAN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN), HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN) and HMAS Bataan (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN) departed Subic Bay for Japan via Leyte and Okinawa.

They arrived in Tokyo Bay on 31 August 1945.

Sources

  1. ADM 53/117015 + ADM 53/118432
  2. Report of proceedings of Task Group 74.1 for March 1945
  3. Action report from HMAS Shropshire 17-22 June 1945
  4. Action report CTU 76/20.50 on the Lutong operation
  5. Files 2.12.03.6855 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  6. War diary COMCRUDIV 15 for July 1945
  7. War diary COMDESDIV 102 for July 1945

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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