Up half the night joining the rest of Task Force 35 (support group). We, the Buchanan, Lardner and Lansdowne, with Battleship Divisions 3 and 4, the backbone of the pre-war fleet, took our place in the long column heading for Sagami Wan. At 1030 went to GQ and remained there until anchoring in the late afternoon. The guns remained in condition 1 (ready to fire) until one hour after sunset when they went into condition 3. Mt. Fuji was clearly visible and the crew gets a big kick out of finally seeing it. We are close to the beach (1,500 yds) because the bay is so deep and we are the southernmost ship in the anchorage—just off Kamakura. Some Japs are in swimming nude on the beach and others are fishing. We see some soldiers in a green building that looks like a powerhouse. They are looking at us with glasses too. A lot of civilians are straining to get a look at us, standing on small wooden piers, tombstones and clear spaces in the woods. All of the houses are of wood and of conventional construction, except for unturned roof corners and miraculously undamaged. We can see a 5-inch gun and command post and gashes in the hillside looking like handball courts—camouflage and probably containing coastal defense guns. Quite a sensation.
The Lansdowne and Lardner skippers came over and we worked our boat patrol schedule. Mac, our Executive Officer, took our whaleboat at 180: and initiated the patrol. A couple of hours later he signaled he was in trouble and drifting into the beach. We asked Lansdowne to send their boat to retrieve ours but Mac shipped the rudder again and returned unassisted. We hoisted the boat and let the Lansdowne patrol. Mac had tangled with a floating fish trap after nearly opening fire on a buoy. We established additional armed sentries on deck in defense against midget subs, suicide boats and swimmers.
August 28 — Finally off War Zone routine: USS San Diego goes to lower Tokyo Bay
0041 Awoke for dawn GQ somewhat surprised that the night had passed without incident. Turned in after GQ but the mess boy woke me at 0730 to ask me what I wanted for breakfast. I felt like shooting him. We have been without eggs for two weeks anyway. The guns are again at GQ and its beginning to get on the crew’s nerves. They see the Japs swimming and going home at night and wonder just who won the war. At 1300 got underway and relieved another DD on picket station about 10 miles south of anchorage. Relieved and proceeded at 1800 to our anchorage after dark.
For the first time within memory of all but a bare half dozen we were not blacked out for the night. Had movies topside, but I turned in. After about two reels, word was received to proceed to tanker for fuel. l was not very happy about it as it was very dark with the wind blowing at about 25 knots and the tanker 10 miles away. This is going to be my first night “landing.” The Lardner finally cleared the tanker about 2300 and we went alongside—a very wide landing, not so snappy but safe. The San Diego (with Chas T. Henry on board) proceeded to lower Tokyo Bay.
August 29 — Early beginning of another long day: task force proceeds to lower Tokyo Bay.
0000 our commodore wants us to stay up here so we are poking around trying to find an empty berth. Wending our way around American and British hospital ships, cruisers, battleships, etc., and even tugs. Finally found a hole and dropped the hook with all ships in vicinity warning us about fish traps and stakes As soon as we anchored, the British cruiser Newfoundland swung 180 degrees and came dangerously close. We decided to get underway and move into a clear spot nearby and at 0200 we anchored near the Missouri, King George V and Duke of York.
At 0430 was awakened and was told the South Dakota was getting underway to lower Tokyo Bay. Gun crews were finally allowed to stay in condition 3 in the daytime. 0500 Lardner came alongside and passed mail just after we got underway to screen the South Dakota (Admiral Nimitz’s flagship) proceeding with caution as there were three mine fields in channel still to be swept. 0930 sighted a beached damaged Waketake-class DD and a couple of demolished concrete forts at entrance to Tokyo Bay Can see the Battleship Nagato over at Yokosuka Naval Yard with a couple of obsolete cruisers and other damaged ships.
0000 anchored near San Diego (not yet docked). Could see a lot of Jap planes (“Nicks” and “Irvings”) and some damaged buildings in vicinity of Yokosuka. Looked at Yokohama and Tokyo through rangefinder and could see a forest of stacks (none smoking) and some damaged buildings. About noon underway to establish anti-midget sub patrol. One minesweeper reported finding one unmanned and awash off Yokohama. It capsized when they attempted to retrieve. Others have had better luck and two Jap subs (one the I-14 and the worlds largest!) had just been brought into Sagami Wan with prize crews from sea. Stopped and retrieved a half-sunk rowboat, which will be handy as a punt for getting at our waterline: also retrieved a 4-by-4 piling dangerous to navigation.
Commodore Simpson went by on his way to the upper bay to rescue prisoners of war. He signaled that he couldn’t take us along (his old DesRon 12 flagship). Admiral Nimitz (arrives) in a Coronado seaplane. This patrol is tricky dodging mine sweeps, ships at anchor or changing berths, etc. Commodore Simpson ashore at Omori prison camp in South Tokyo reports conditions shocking. Open wounds not dressed, broken bones not set, men starving, suffering from beri beri, dysentery, etc. Reports Pappy Boyington, Guadalcanal Marine ace, among those rescued. Finally turned in about 2200 after the officer of the deck was sufficiently oriented.
August 30 — Battleship Nagato boarded; San Diego docks at Yokosuka Naval Yard; first sighting of POWs; transferred 40 POW correspondents with horrifying reports on POW treatment
Awakened at 0700 and found the DD Nicholas (captained by D.C. Lyndon, my first classmate at the Naval Academy) was waiting to relieve us. They had met a Jap DD on the 27th and taken some Japs to Admiral Halsey on the Missouri. We proceeded to anchorage but found our berth occupied by transports busy sending Marines ashore at Yokosuka. We anchored and watched the show. American planes are landing at the field at Yokosuka, says the commodore, but I am not sure.
0830 our APD (transport ship) went alongside the BB Nagato, boarded, hauled down the Jap flag and hoisted ours. They report Nagato #10 boiler still warm, a diesel OK as is the anchor engine and steering gear. Other steam lines cut.
1030 brother Chas. T. on board the San Diego which went into Yokosuka and tied up to the dock—the first allied warship to make fast to a Jap dock. 1230 underway to go to San Diego to pick up 40 correspondents. Disappointed when the latter met us at the breakwater. We took them to the upper bay to see the prisoners that the commodore’s gang were bringing out.
1400 arrived in vicinity of cruiser San Juan, hospital ship Benevolence, a couple of APDs and a limey DD. The prisoners that can walk are up on topside and are easy to spot. You don’t need to see the tags or brand new dungarees or white hats recently issued to them to tell who they are. Their elbows stick out and the few in skivvies only have thighs the thickness of my arm. While we were there, other boatloads arrived and they were delirious with joy. They had red hat bands or arm bands. There were many British and some Dutch. We dropped the newsboys and returned south. Just as we were about to anchor we were ordered back again—18 miles each way. We brought them back after dark and took them to the Iowa, where they got their stuff released and transmitted.
As I was rounding up between the Iowa and Missouri, I cut the latter’s bow too close, my stern coming about 40 feet and there was much shouting. The Missouri sent over a little later for my name and a little later I signaled an apology calling it an error in judgment, etc. I don’t know whether I’ll get a letter of reprimand or not.
The correspondents’ stories were gruesome. Among those rescued was the skipper of the Tang, some Houston survivors, civilians from Wake Island, Peking legation guards, Corregidor men, British, Dutch, US Army men, carrier pilots, etc. The B-29 men were treated worst. The only torture was applied at Manila and consisted of deliberate starvation. All of these men were the better conditioned men from the Philippines, etc., who were employed as slave laborers in the Tokyo industrial districts.
Pappy Boyington, the famous Marine ace, says he was beaten so hard on the fanny with a baseball bat that his head would snap back and his back would bend so that he could see his own back. There were no sanitary facilities and the head was a bucket in the corner. The feces were dumped out the window where they were gathered up by the POW s and spread in the garden. They had lived on rice and grass the last several months. Before going to the head, they had to bow low before the guard and humbly request permission. After they were finished, they had to bow and politely thank the guard. If they didn’t they received a beating. Those with dysentery and diarrhea were going off and on at all hours and were often too weak to go through the routine and were beaten unmercifully. Others couldn’t get up from their bunks or urinated there until they died or the Americans arrived. When the latter did arrive the Japs went down or their hands and knees.
We’ve noticed white letters on a large building on the Yokohama waterfront yesterday on the top floor, “Three Cheers for the US Navy.” We anchored after dropping the correspondents. 741 more prisoners rescued today.
August 31 — At anchor; planning for transferring Admirals Nimitz and Halsey
A rainy day with winds up to 30 knots. We have 100 fathoms (anchor chain) out in 25 fathoms (depth) but continue to worry about APD ahead—they don’t hold well (at anchor). Two Jap subs came in with US crews aboard. The Wren (LCdr. Henry was former executive officer of this destroyer in the Aleutians) just brought in 11 US subs. They look tiny by comparison. HMAS Shropshire, Hobart and some Aussie tribal-class DDs just came in (Bataan and Warramunga). 1800 O’Bannon just arrived with a Jap sub which surrendered in Sagami Wan with 200 Nips aboard.
2100 received a shock: Admirals Nimitz and Halsey are boarding us tomorrow for a ride to Yokohama to see General MacArthur and then go to the hospital ship Benevolence to see the POWs. I don’t think I’ll sleep so well tonight. I have never docked the Buchanan before.
September 1 — Transferred Admirals Nimitz and Halsey
0500 Another rainy day. 0715 underway to South Dakota. 0755 Fleet Admiral Nimitz and Admiral Halsey came aboard and we broke out a 5-star flag and were off to Yokohama. 0830 Went alongside a dock portside to—another wide landing. Wind off port quarter blowing me off and I took 10 minutes getting the stern in. The admirals left walking (no transportation) and went to see General MacArthur.
We are at an Osaka Line dock with all the windows intact. The 11th Airborne Div. men are here and handled our lines. They flew in a day or so ago and are hungry. We gave them coffee and food. There is no visible evidence of damage as far as we can see. Only a half-sunk carrier. All buildings intact. Appropriated two coils of 6-inch manila in the dock warehouse—also some light bulbs. The destroyer Navy bums wherever it goes. One warehouse is filled with undelivered prisoner-of-war mail from August 1942 and later. The 11th Airborne Div guys say there are four Jap divisions outside of town and that we are here by courtesy only.
A geisha house up the street was to open officially in two days after the girls had all been inspected but the boys got there last night. There was a little gunplay and one fellow went there today and found the place evacuated. During the admirals’ absence a signal corps general, half a dozen colonels and a couple of Navy captains and commanders came aboard. We fed them coffee and cookies and sold some of them soap and cigarettes.
Finally the admirals arrived and we got underway about 1030. 1115 hove to off Benevolence and the big shots went over to see the POWs. 1145 they returned and we headed for the BBs. The three admirals had lunch in the commodore’s cabin—small steaks—while the commanders and colonels had lunch in the wardroom and I had a steak sandwich on the bridge. 1200 dropped Admiral Nimitz and he signaled a “well done.” 1245 dropped Admiral Halsey at the Missouri and headed back for Yokohama.
1400 docked starboard side at same dock and some Army and Navy public relations officers came aboard. Also some aviators who wanted some diesel oil to run a radio station at the airfield. Their car ran out of gas in the middle of town and they swapped cars with some Jap officers and continued. The atmosphere in town is weird. If you look at a Jap, he faces away from you and stands at attention or looks at his feet or has a funny smile. At night, especially, there isn’t another American in miles but you aren’t molested. Yet they always look to see if you have your pistol. There aren’t any girls around—all taken to the hills. Nothing is in the stores—all hidden. The Americans are avoided and ignored. A couple of Jap tugs are around—one stood by to assist in coming alongside the dock the first time.
1430 Rear Admiral Ballantine, General MacArthur’s liaison officer, came aboard with a schedule for tomorrow. We were to take General MacArthur out to the Missouri for the signing of the peace treaty and he would like to be invited to breakfast. I gathered Admiral Ballantine accepted our invitation to dinner. The food at the Grand Hotel is poor, mostly fish. The commodore and I were invited up to his rooms at 1745.
An army major and captain, some of General Kenny’s airedale staff boys, drove me around the city (Yokohama) with a Jap interpreter. After one 600-plane raid it was a shambles—worse than Manila. The business district was flattened. Only the perimeter walls of buildings still stand. Elsewhere it is a hobo jungle of rusty tin shacks. The Jap interpreter said 150,000 were Killed and countless injured.
Returned to the dock about 1750 and found Charlie Lyndon [CO, Nicholas] tying up ahead. Later the Lansdowne and Taylor moved alongside us. ComDesRon 21 in Nicholas called a conference and showed us the Op-Order, which the Nicholas was to take MacArthur. The commodore went in my place up to the Grand Hotel to see Admiral Ballantine and had dinner on the Buchanan in my place. Had dinner with Charlie Lyndon on the Nicholas. Upon returning to the ship after the movies. Learned of another change and that we would take MacArthur after all. Talked the AGC Teton out of a case of eggs and some oranges for the breakfast; also 10,000 gallons of water and the loan of a new set of colors—not bad. The San Diego has left Yokosuka and moved out into the bay. Tomorrow she departs for home. We have a draft of men to send but can’t get them out to her.
September 2 — Generals MacArthur, Southerland, Marshall piped aboard; the signing pen flap; MacArthur, Wainwright return trip; Generals Doolittle, Stilwell, Kenney, LeMay, etc., alongside and cross over deck to dock; quick trip to flattened Yokohama district
0500 cloudy but not raining. No wind, thank God. The press started crossing our ship to get on the Taylor at 0600. Russians dressed like generals even to the medals. Chinese. Aussies. Negroes, even 4 Domei correspondents. The band is already on the dock. 0630 General Stilwell and a little later General Doolittle are on the dock. Taylor clears our side. Jap envoys embark on Lansdowne and she leaves. Three are in frock coats and top hats one in white linen and the rest are in army uniform. Some allied dignitaries arrive and at 0715 the Nicholas leaves with them. 0730 General MacArthur, Generals Southerland and Marshall and several others of his staff are piped aboard the Buchanan and we break out the 5-star red general’s flag before an army guard of the 11th Airborne and the army band. We stayed around for a few minutes on the general’s orders so the band could play and feel their efforts were appreciated. 0735 underway with no trouble and we headed for the Missouri under orders to arrive in such time that General MacArthur could step aboard at 0845. He stepped aboard at 0842 and we cleared the side. I surged back and forth a couple of times jockeying her into position for the bow—which wasn’t so good but it helped us from being any earlier.
We then anchored about 1800 yards from the Missouri on her starboard bow where we could see the ceremony on the boat deck by turret 2. I went up into the director and watched through the rangefinder and passed it to the crew. Saw Australian General Sir Thomas Blamey sign and the French General LeClerc and the Russian and Dutch and British, etc.
After the signing we got underway and proceeded alongside the Missouri‘s port side after the Taylor took off the correspondents. The general allowed some Russian photographers to board us if they stayed aft out of the way. I and Commodore Pancoast both tried to get them to move aft. All they did was say yes and stand there. General MacArthur came aboard and shook hands with the commodore again and was followed by others plus General Wainwright, who had recently returned from a Manchurian prison camp after surrendering at Corregidor 3½ years ago.
We got underway and proceeded to Yokohama at 22 knots. I failed to mention the air show put on by the B-29s and Navy planes at the conclusion of the signing. I hear General MacArthur is a little whizzed off at Vice Admiral Ramsay. The general signed part of his name with one pen, part with another and intended to give one to his wife and one to his son. He forgot to take them when he left the table and Admiral Ramsay picked them up and gave them to his aide. I understand a very senior officer was sent to retrieve them.
General Wainwright came up to the bridge and Admiral Ballantine introduced me to him. He was hearing about prefabricated merchant ship construction for the first time. He was pale and thin even for one with the nickname “Skinny.” 1100 had no trouble making the dock. Piped General Mac over the side. The commodore presented me as captain of the ship and the general shook my hand and thanked me and said he enjoyed the stay on board. Shortly thereafter, a British destroyer, Woodcock, wished to come alongside but I told her to go alongside the Lansdowne and Taylor ahead of us. 1130 Nicholas came alongside and brass started pouring off across us to the dock. Among those present that I recognized were Generals Doolittle, Stilwell, Kenney (in a flying jacket), LeMay (with a cigar), other US 4-star and 3-star generals I didn’t know. Also Australian General Blamey, French General LeClerc, Chinese, Russian, Dutch generals, a British 4-star admiral, Dutch and Russian navy people, a New Zealand army and an air marshal. 1150 excitement over and all four ships got underway and proceeded to our anchorages in the outer bay off Yokosuka.
At dinner, I remarked to the commodore that I was surprised that General MacArthur looked so pale with a few freckles after these last few years of outdoor campaigning in the tropics. He said that Admiral Ballantine (on MacArthur’s staff as Navy Liaison Officer) says that the general uses anti-wrinkle or cold cream and dyes his hair. The commodore further stated that the general came down the “stairway” in the manner of a somewhat doddering old man.
Located 18 POW Australian nurses captured at Rabaul in a camp outside of Yokohama. About half had TB but had not been molested.
September 3 — POW rescue detail
0800 reported to Commodore Simpson (POW Rescue Detail) and was told to fuel. 0830 underway to fuel but the line of about six DDs ahead of us discouraged us and we anchored near a provision ship and took on supplies. 1400 underway to fuel but there are still three ahead of us. 1430 anchored near tanker. 1630 underway and Mac took her alongside. Fueled, took on ice cream and at 1730 underway with Lardner and San Juan proceeding to Hamamatsu, about 150 miles SW of Tokyo, to free POWs. 1830 joined hospital ship Rescue, some LSMAs and APDs and the Lansdowne.
September 4 — Transferring POWs
0545 anchored off Hamamatsu. Sent in boats from APDs. 0830 Commodore Simpson reported not enough water over the bar and surf too heavy to use LSM. Investigating further. 1330 flash report from the beach. First load 273 POWs from Narumi (180 Americans, 81 British and 2 Dutch). The day ended clear with the beach visible and a total of nearly 900 POWs liberated. All boats were utilized in transferring several hundred from the AH to the APDs after screening. For the most part they are in pretty good shape and walked aboard the hospital ship carrying their belongings. Wind shifted to the west, setting us toward the beach.
September 5 — Off to Tokyo
0775 About 200 POWs transferred from Rescue to Lardner together with Commodore Simpson and proceeded at high speed to Tokyo. The day is clear sunshine with light breeze. I took a sunbath and the crew went swimming over the side.
September 6 — Crew members first trip to the beach
Another beautiful day. 0500 first trips into the beach to pick up POWs. One of the APDs returned from Tokyo, but not the commodore. 0700 sent boat to APD to pick up clothing and delivered to the Rescue. 1300 thirty hand liberty party went ashore and returned at 1730. When they landed at this fishing village, the inhabitants fled the fields. When they returned through the village on the way to the boats, the inhabitants lined the narrow streets waiting to trade almost anything out their hats and kimonos for cigarettes. One of our red-bearded water tenders frightened them half to death. First red beard they had ever seen, I suppose. The sailors trooped through houses, fields, even a convalescent soldiers’ barracks. They saw people sleeping on tiny low benches that we would use for coffee or tea tables. The sailors brought back rifles, bayonets, caps, flags, etc.
September 7 — More POW reports on horrendous treatment in camps
Hazy with sea calm. 0440 underway and went alongside an APD to pick up repatriates. Others arrived by boat and we ended up with about 200 including US Army, Navy, Marine personnel and civilians; also British, Australian and Canadian Army; Royal Navy, Portuguese civilians and some war correspondents who came for the ride. They really enjoyed breakfast. 0630 underway for Tokyo. Spent a good while in the wardroom talking to the repatriates. The following is what I heard.
The first was Mickey Owen, a correspondent for Our Army in the Philippines and captured at Corregidor. He knew Don Hamilton very well and worked with him loading ships (for the Japanese) on the Manila waterfront until he left for Japan in July ’44. Don was OK then. Another man this morning, who didn’t know Don, said that some of the Manila port detail were in Japan. Maybe Don got through all right. Owen was just getting over a broken arm. It seems a soldier caught him receiving soybean oil from a Jap civilian fellow factory worker. Besides being beaten and having his arm broken he was made to stand at attention for 24 hours with his head up and eyes straight ahead. If his eyes strayed he was clubbed. He happened to mention it as though it were a routine matter that he witnessed a minor infraction, i.e., a POW smoking when he wasn’t supposed to. He was clubbed unconscious and the offender was beaten so severely that he died before being brought to trial. The Japs were especially rough on big men, delighting in clubbing them. He witnessed the questioning of one POW. It was unusual in that it was very gentle with “don’t you think this” and “don’t you think that,” etc. The results were negative. At the end the Jap picked up a club the size of a baseball bat, looked it over, deciding whether it would do. Then gave the POW a terrific clout on the head. He said, upon being shown pictures of American POWs in German camps, that many POWs believed that the Japs received instructions on how to handle POWs from the Germans—a sort of unified Axis policy. The Jap doc in the camp was supposed to have studied in Germany. The only hint of it was that he spoke a few German words that the American doc could understand. His medicine was primitive. The standard Jap cure for yellow jaundice, beri-beri and a few other things was fantastic. They would take something like a slow-burning firecracker fuse about the thickness of a horse hair and stick the end of it against the skin with some adhesive substance. The other end would be lit and a hole would be burnt in the skin. That went for Japs as well as Americans.
He said that in the Philippines he thought about his wife and kids a lot but upon reaching Japan all he thought of was food. He kept a diary—three had previously been confiscated—over ¼ million words and I read parts of it. At one point he asked various hungry men to write a note to his wife. Their wits were dulled by hunger. Their notes had no originality at all. Sex was a subject never mentioned or thought of. He said that you can bet that convicts in US prisons guilty of perversion are well fed. The Jap propaganda before the fall of Bataan stressed sex. The Americans were so tired and weary it was merely a joke to them. In Japan he worked in a locomotive works. I told him of Carl Mydans and others coming home in the exchange ship, which was known as the Puta Maru. He considered San Tomas, etc., as places where one received excellent treatment. He cooked his goose in going home on the exchange ship by being a little too frank in views during an interview. He had known Japs a long time and showed no fear of them and was very brash, but he overdid it and he missed the exchange ship. They questioned him about MacArthur, especially about his private life. They tried to get him to write an article on how lecherous MacArthur was, etc.
He used to help load contraband on the Jap hospital ships in Manila and on the ships the Japs used to protest to us about molesting. In a Manila paper, a photo of the results of strafing on one of the ships appeared. He inspected the ship the next time in and could find no trace of the alleged shell holes, etc. Rabaul had been receiving hospital ships for more than a year and probably received lots of supplies by this means. Halsey wanted to stop it but CinCPac wouldn’t allow it. At the end of the war, a hospital ship was searched off Borneo and it contained contraband rifles and arms—and soldiers dressed as patients. As we entered Tokyo Harbor, Mickey was on the bridge and was amazed at the various types of US ships: LSTs, LCIs, etc.
The next fellow I talked to was a British army officer, who hadn’t seen England or his family for nine years. He was captured at Hong Kong. They had three planes, one a trainer, at Hong Kong until the Japs set them on fire by strafing the day after the war started. The Japs didn’t even muster them or count them for the first two months after capture. Many were the Hong Kong militia and their families are still there in camps, they hope. The Chinese and Eurasians in the militia drifted back into the native population, which the Japs have reduced from 2,000,000 to 500,000. Many of the Britishers could have probably been smuggled into Free China during those first few months. They expected to be re-occupying Hong Kong in less than two years so they worked on the airfield with a will for the Nips, moving hills with picks and shovels. They had some meat from the cold storage until it gave out. Then they lived on the ancient rice, which the Hong Kong government had stored long ago to feed the Chinese population in the event of a siege. They expected the Jap attack in mid-1942 and were caught unprepared. Besides the rice, which was worthless, they were given “the sweepings of the vegetable market.” This Britisher developed pellagra. British Red Cross supplies came in after a few months, after the Japs had taken plenty and lots more had spoiled. The POWs were allowed to have the rest. It saved this fellow’s life. Besides bulk tea and Indian wheat used to make a type of Indian pancake, there was a quantity of rancid, odoriferous fat used by the Indians in making their cakes.
It was a “damned rough show.” One Britisher in the Buchanan wardroom had dysentery while a prisoner and was refused permission to go to the head. When he made a mess shortly thereafter, he was made to get on his hands and knees and lick it up. In Japan, they worked in a factory making tin landing boats and suicide motor boats and small steam rollers. All the machinery was at least 29 years old and was American, German, British or Nip copies of same. None was lubricated. Power was distributed in an overhead wheel and leather belt system. All the white metal had long since been worn from the bearings. When they smoked too badly, the pulley was stopped and a mixture of fish oil and resin was poured on it. The bearing clearance was so large that it immediately ran out again. There were about 4,000 civilian war workers of poor quality and several hundred POWs. By using ten men for every job requiring one man in a modern factory, they got things done in a poor sort of way. Shortly after they were moved, the factory was completely destroyed. A Belleau Wood plane crashed dropping them supplies and the pilot was killed while the crew were badly injured. A fighter field was discovered nearby and they flew out the Navy crewmen and the sick POWs in DC-3s. This fellow was in no hurry to get home after nine years. He wanted to fatten up for a few months first.
The next fellow was a naval reserve lieutenant captured at Corregidor; a former Far East Paramount movie distributor in naval intelligence—a bachelor and former resident of the Army-Navy Club in Manila. He knew my former classmates, POW Tom Suddath, K.G. Schatt, etc. He was a camp leader and had a busy time of it these last few weeks keeping the men in line, etc. He was exhausted and turned in on my bunk for a while.
The Jap camp commander was unusual and certainly an exception. He was a schoolteacher who had never been out of Japan and spoke poor English. He kept asking about America, if everybody owned an automobile, etc. He looked upon it as a sort of paradise. He kept telling them “the glorious day will soon be here” and “Japan very tired of war,” etc. The camp leader received the impression that the camp commander envied him—about to go back to America while he had to return to school teaching.
One end of the barracks was hit by a bomb but everybody except the sick were at the factory and nobody was hurt. It was their happiest day when the planes dropped supplies. Men wept and one fellow who had been blind saw again for the first time in six months. The Nip commander turned over the keys to his quarters to the camp leader and said, “Command us, we are your servants.” On the way to Hamamatsu, the prisoners rode in second class trains with plush seats with plenty of leg room. They had previously been moved from Nagoya when there weren’t any industries left standing for them to work at. They took three months to get to Japan from the Philippines—the worst period of all. The Jap civilians in the factories referred to the B-29 as that wonderful new plane. Every child was acquainted with it and spoke of it in awe. They were considered impregnable and in the last few months no fighters interfered and the flak was feeble. This is in contrast to the flak around Tokyo and large industrial sections. No mention was ever made of the atomic bomb. A surprising number of repatriates intend to return to the orient, whether to square things with the Nips or because they feel behind the times at home. I think it would be an excellent source of experienced AMG talent.
1330 moored alongside dock in Yokohama and unloaded most of repatriates. Lardner moored alongside. 1430 cleared the dock with help of tug—water was too shallow to back out. 1500 dropped American navy, marine and Canadian POWs at Ozark and proceeded to go alongside tanker. 1700 cleared tanker, visited mail barge—no luck—and then returned to anchorage at 1830.
September 8 — More POWs arrive
Anchored off Yokohama in transport area. Lots of army going ashore. Commodore became local POW coordinator. 1300 HMAS Warramunga (DD) and HMS Tenacious (DD) arrived with more POWs. Sent communications officer into Yokohama as liaison officer with army medical unit. He is living aboard the hospital ship Benevolence—lucky fellow (nurses). About 700 POWs were brought in today on APDs and DDs from Hamamatsu of all varieties. Besides the usual Americans, British, Australian, Dutch and Canadian army and navy, there were civilians, merchant marine, Russian, Greek and even one Egyptian. Rescue returned just after dark and wasted valuable time asking for a pilot prior to entering Yokohama harbor.
September 9 — Steam to Yokohama inner harbor
Beautiful day. I got a sunbath. Looks like we will sit in Tokyo Bay during next POW operation with Commodore Pancoast directing things at this end. Loungren on the beach is working with the army. As the POWs come in by train or boat, they are screened on the hospital ship and then evacuated—the army evacuating their own. The Ozark took out a load to Guam yesterday of navy, marine and Canadians. Three C-54s are coming in today and 96 will go out this afternoon. We are now surrounded by LSTs loaded with trucks, troops and boats. This next operation is to Sendai on NE Honshu, several hundred miles from Tokyo. The minesweepers get there the 10th and our gang departs without us on the 11th. 1645 underway and made a wild, windy (30 knots) coming alongside Yarrand, APA 84, which was yawing about 70 degrees. Delivered 40 tons of stores (clothing, cigarettes, fruit juices, etc.). 1830 cleared and anchored.
September 10 — Busy harbor bringing in troops and picking up POWs
0830 underway and at 0900 moored to buoy #5 in inner harbor, Yokohama to facilitate visual communications with POW center, USS Monitor and the hospital ships. 1000 commodore and I went over to the Monitor. 1500 have gone through the Monitor—about 500 navy, marines and Canadians. More arriving by train. Commodore Simpson and his bunch have left for Sendai, found a shed full of POWs—many more Canadians than I thought were out here—captured at Hong Kong. Off the harbor, half a hundred transports and supply ships are anchored, unloading troops by boat. The docks in the inner harbor are full most of the time and the piers are piled high with supplies. The damaged or half finished Jap hulks are slowly gathering around buoys between the breakwaters.
I can see a bridge with civilians crossing and US soldiers guarding it at one end and Jap policemen in black with swords at the other end. All the women wear a Jap version of a slack suit. It is pretty, printed material like a dress but ends up in slacks instead of a skirt. 1230 LSM 488 moored alongside. 1330 LSM cleared side and went over to Monitor to pick up Canadian and US POWs (200) to be taken to BBs for billeting until they can be flown out, 96 a day, by NATS at Kiya Razu Airfield across the bay from Yokohama. One of the POWs on the Monitor today had an Egyptian mother and a Turkish father, was a British citizen whose home was in New York, was a member of the British merchant marine, torpedoed by a German sub, was brought as a POW on a German ship and spent most of the war in a Jap prison camp until rescued by the Americans. Beat that if you can! 1600 both LSMs tied up alongside for the night. 2000 the NATS priority officer came aboard for a conference. Found we had a backlog of 18 planeloads billeted on the battleships and requested more planes.
September 11 — Had Yokosuka port director aboard; three enlisted men takeover the famous shrine city of Kyoto
0600 both LSMs cleared the side to transfer POWs to BBs or airfield. Have about five BBs full now. 200 more POWs arrived during the night. Had a fellow from the Port Director Yokosuka on board for lunch. He said they had a 3000-ton Jap sub there with a three-plane hanger. Their subs seem pretty crude and crowded inside. There are small Nip DDs there, each with tremendous quantities of manila line in forward holds. All the interiors and furnishings are of wood. The bunks, lockers, doors, toilets, etc., are tiny. The Nip DDs aren’t even guarded and so far there appears to be no plan for putting prize crews aboard. The other day the Nagato had four boilers lit off. The British and Aussies have collected tremendous quantities of loot—silverware, linen, stores, etc., at Yokosuka. The US underwater demolition teams also collected plenty as they were the first ashore—swords, binoculars, pressurized stuff, etc. Some of the Jap equipment is excellent and the rest junk—there is none just fair. 1330 sent the exec ashore to get a look at the Asiatic Fleet organization and also the list of ships going back, when and to where.
At Yokosuka there were numerous caves loaded with stuff. All of one thing is not stowed in one place, however. When the Americans arrived, the PT boats were in cradles on the sea wall with propellers badly barnacled. A number of fast cabin cruisers with beautiful diesels were also fitted with torpedo launching racks. A great number of midget two-man subs were found. The shops looked like they hadn’t turned out much work in the last year.
Five POW stragglers just were brought in—two marines and three navy enlisted men. They had taken over the shrine city of Kyoto since the surrender. The marine sergeant was the mayor. The other marine was the chief of police. The navy men held other jobs. When three colonels arrived, they had to be brought before the ex-POWs before they could get a hotel room. The POWs had all the geishas lined up and were drunk as coots when picked up. They had been captured at Corregidor and the marine sergeant was really a rugged character.
1800 both LSMs tied up alongside for the night. One skipper came to the movies as did the armed guard crew from a nearby merchant ship. A boat rammed a log and sank off our bow. We picked up the crew and transported them into the dock.
September 12 — More souvenir loot; Jap overseers hard on “coolie labor”; separate whorehouses for officers; Nips eager to please; primitive factory equipment; souvenir looters to be punished; etc.
One of the LSMs went up to the dock to pick up British Commonwealth less Canadians POWs to deliver to a British escort carrier. The commodore now is in charge of embarking and billeting the British.
Six HATS C-54s due in today, but Lt. Copeland ’43, our gunnery officer, who has been on temporary duty in the port director’s office at Yokosuka, came back to pick up laundry and drop his souvenirs. He said the first two days ashore were spent collecting souvenirs for admirals—ensigns, etc.—and then they set up shop. He had the Jap port director sword as well as some flags, etc. They have two US Navy interpreters whom the Japs are continually bringing gifts to—Sumari dolls, etc. They have gangs of coolies shoveling garbage and doing tasks all day long. The Nip servicemen are husky but the rest are skinny and in rags. The Jap overseers say we are spoiling the coolies by not working them hard enough, yet our people work them from 0700 until dark with an hour off for lunch—and they work with a will. The port director said they haven’t had much work for the shops in the last year and it has been hard inducing the workers to remain and the discipline has been poor. The shops are all belt drive with no safety devices and look vintage 1910. The AC electrical powerhouse is the same way.
There is electrical train service into Tokyo and Yokohama—the uniform is one’s ticket. Yokosuka town is like Norfolk or Vallejo with a tremendous red light district. Yesterday they ran liberty for 5% of the crew. There were whorehouses with signs on ‘Officers Only’ and there were lines a block long, including commanders. The girls get rest periods and would then come out and talk to the people in line until their rest period was up and they had to go back to work. Maybe the Jap navy way is better. Their paymasters issue tickets and the sailors are marched to the red light districts by their officers.
The Missouri people were quite impressed with the Nagato. I think they plan to sink her. One of the Nip DDs is brand new, not quite completed and with no radar—about 1800 tons. Another Nip DD sank at her moorings. The whole of Yokosuka is catacombed with storage caves and communications center caves. It would have been almost impossible to bomb out. The Nips everywhere are eager to please, helpful and cooperative. The people ashore find it hard to believe that they would commit atrocities. With them I suppose, they are either servant or slave, or the all powerful arrogant boss. Nothing in between.
Hudson of the Wren is in charge of the boat pool with over 90 boats. A few Nip tugs are being used. One collects garbage from the fleet daily, with a yeoman bossing the Nip tug crew around. Their bridge glasses are tremendous—binoculars on gimbals rather than signalmens’ telescopes. All verniers, etc., on sextants are engraved on ivory. Their bridge instruments are expensive, if not all as good as ours.
The country villages are very primitive, just a short distance from modern cities. ComThirdFleet put out this message to everybody about how looters would be punished, yet his flagship is loaded down with it—teak furniture, linens, crystal, etc. The admiral has two beautiful 4-foot vases of porcelain inlaid with gold, etc.—museum pieces. The boys had not been ashore at Yokosuka two hours before there were two rape cases—marines. That night a marine sentry was picked off by a sniper. Since then there has been no violence there. In Yokohama there are still things happening at night.
1630 HMAS Warramunga arrived from the coast of Sendai with British, etc.—24 English men, ten women, five children, five Canadian nuns, Australians, New Zealanders, African natives, Indians, Malayan men, women and children, Spaniards, Armenians, Greeks, Arabians, Javanese—quite a load. 1700 the 26 of the crew on liberty have returned, having visited Yokohama. They rode in an electric streetcar—enjoyed looking over the wall into public baths, where the women were of all ages. They collected a few souvenirs—but not many left. I hear General Wainwright is getting $50,000 for his story. Several Wake Island marines just came in and said Colonel Devereaux is on Hokkaido and flying in tomorrow. One officer has been assigned to find Devereaux. Lonnigren went into Tokyo and found the officer at 0100. Colliers and the Saturday Evening Post are both offering $20,000 for his story and others are trying to get at him first for $3 or 4000, so this officer has to take him under his wing and protect him from the vultures.
September 13 — First Trip to Tokyo; downtown damage; limited shopping available scarcity of food and clothing: the Palace grounds
1100 Several of the Wren gang came aboard on their way to Yokohama. I was executive officer of the Wren before coming to the Buchanan. I went with them and after walking thru the ruins, we caught a train to Tokyo. It was electric and crowded. We stood up all the way for 45 minutes and hoped we didn’t acquire any fleas from the crowd. We had an 11th Airborne sergeant from Scranton who showed us the ropes. He is assisting MacArthur, who has a nice home overlooking Yokohama. The guards all live in a fine home with all US conveniences—former home of the Standard Oil boss here. The soldier’s skin was yellow, as he had been taking Atabrine daily. He said MacArthur would shortly move to Tokyo and shortly thereafter go to San Francisco. The sergeant had lots of silk stockings, kimonos, etc., ready to send home. He said there was nothing of that sort in Tokyo and the only way to get it was to go into the suburban residential districts and canvas house to house.
All the factories between Yokohama and Tokyo were damaged. Some residential districts didn’t seem to have been hit. Along the tracks there were holes burrowed in the hillsides as air raid shelters. We got off at the station in the center of Tokyo and walked to Ginza Street, the main drag. About 2/3 of each block was in ruins, although many store fronts existed along the street while the back of the stores had disappeared. About half the buildings still standing were usable. There were half a dozen department stores, which were all very crowded. Many of the shelves were bare. They featured toilet articles, cosmetics, school supplies, cheap drawings, a little lacquerware, cheap women’s hats, patterns, very expensive vases, radio parts, tennis racquet frames at $1.50, etc. There were no food stores. Under the railroad bridge, a man had a piece of paper spread on the ground and was selling dried fish. Others were selling paper collars and cheap kitchen utensils. About one person in fifty had leather shoes; the others had wooden clogs or canvas shoes with rubber soles. Sold tissue newspapers and people stood in line for them. Saw no fat people except pregnant women, and they usually had a child strapped to their back and another underfoot. I saw three hunchbacks. No women in kimonos and only one in a skirt, and she spoke English. A few White Russians around.
Many Japs can read and write English but not too many can speak it. Many have gold teeth and they craved chocolate bars at 20 yen: 15 yen equal one dollar. In the now-vacant lots on the main drag, vegetable gardens were in evidence. Men urinate anywhere except on the sidewalk. I sold my cigarettes for 10 yen a pack, as the army disapproves and I wished to liquidate in a hurry. They even accept the invasion yen they flooded the Philippines with but here they haven’t caught on yet.
We walked up to the palace grounds but could not cross the moat. It is also surrounded by a high gray stone wall with all the stones of the same size. The policemen are all of the same size dressed in black uniforms with silver swords with gold trimmings. This is standard throughout Japan and there is a police box every three or four blocks. All Japs passing the palace grounds would turn toward it and bow. One girl walked several blocks toward it, bowed and then turned around and went back where she came from. The gatehouse is very beautiful on the outside. Near the palace grounds, there are huge office buildings belonging to Nip mining interests and are about the size of the Castle and Cook Building and as undamaged as the palace.
In Tokyo, there are less than a dozen US sailors but lots of soldiers and several officers. Some US Army nurses in uniform slacks were shopping, and two in civilian slacks and bandanas practically stopped traffic. Nearly all the Nip men were wearing remnants of uniforms of all sorts. Some of the luckier ones had cavalry boots. All wore the soft army type caps, even 7-year-old boys and old men. Apparently it is a civilian type headgear, where the western-type civilian felt hat cannot be afforded. I saw one man in a kimono and an occidental-type felt hat. I saw no women in occidental dress except the aforementioned English-speaking one. Many men wear the World War I leg wrapping type puttee. I saw maybe a half dozen all day in business suits and white Panama hats. Some fishermen and especially longshoremen wear the loose kimono top and what can best be described as wrestler’s woven trousers tights and then the inevitable sneakers with the big toe separated from the rest of the shoe. I saw only one woman all day wearing tabis and none wearing an obi. After wandering about a little more, I caught the electric express, a 20-minute ride back to Yokohama, and returned to the ship.
September 14 — Second trip to Tokyo (alone); incendiary bomb damage; Imperial Hotel
After waiting until noon for the exec to leave the ship, I finally went in his stead and took off alone for Tokyo. It is quite a sensation alone on a station platform with several hundred Japs looking you over while waiting for a train—some of them sullen ex-army men and officers. We all crowded aboard and I was glad to see some American doughfoots at the forward end. I could see over everybody’s head between us. We were packed like sardines and they could have knifed me and nobody would have been the wiser. I hope I smelled just as bad to them as they did to me.
I watched the other side of the tracks today and saw much more destruction than the day before. Houses and factories are burned out, which means for the houses—leveled for blocks and blocks. Rusty tin shacks show that some people survived and are trying to live there. There are no bomb craters—all incendiary bomb damage. The people are trying to raise vegetables and the place smells to high heaven.
After a long hot ride, we arrived in Tokyo and I arrived at a red brick and marble station of mid-Victorian style. It has been badly damaged, as had the surrounding buildings. I passed many large office buildings, some damaged and some not. There were very wide avenues, which helped minimize the damage, and also a small lake. I passed a number of large insurance companies and banks (Bank of Taiwan, etc.).
Finally, some soldiers picked me up in a jeep and dropped me at the Imperial Hotel. It was not damaged, although it was somewhat in disrepair. It is most unusual—having a disjointed appearance. It is earthquake-proof and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright to float on the mud underneath, rather than on solid foundations.
I was too late for lunch and the bar was closed. I went into the grille and had some sandwiches and iced tea for only 4 and 112 yens. I didn’t eat the fresh tomatoes, although they were the first I had seen in more than a month. All the waiters. Bellhops, etc., spoke English and I paid in US money, receiving the correct change in Jap.
I walked through the theatre district and the local Fleet Street, and caught a train home after disposing of my cigarettes at 30 yen a pack—three times what I received yesterday. I was pressed for time and didn’t sell my chocolate bars, although some ensigns did at 20 yen a bar. The train going back was faster and not so crowded.
September 15 — Ship’s Exec ordered ashore and then invited to tea; more POWs arrive; they received gifts from citizens of Shigawa; Jap civilians smuggled food to the POWs
I had to order the exec ashore to get him to go, but he was glad he went. Tokyo now was out of bounds for the navy, so they hitched a ride about five miles down the road and headed for the hill. After about a mile, they came upon a small Buddhist temple, which was closed. The people next door were at home and invited them in. They took off their shoes and sat on the proffered cushions. Their hostess spoke some English. They had tea and were each given a beautiful doll in a glass-fronted box. No payment could be accepted but gifts of cigarettes and chocolate bars from Lititz, PA were. In a shop in town, they bought other dolls for cigarettes and returned to the ship on the train.
A group of POW ships just arrived from up north. The citizens of Shigawa presented several mementos to the enlisted men of those ships in appreciation of the organized sightseeing party committing no atrocities.
Asst. Engineer Maguire from the Buchanan went up to Atsugi Aerodrome on the 2nd and saw some Aussie nurses who had been captured in New Britain. He was the first navy man they had seen. They were awaiting transportation back to Okinawa by air. They said the townspeople were sympathetic and furnished them food. An old woman lived next to the camp and would smuggle it in when the guards slept. They were taken to a city for two weeks and kept in a police station. The girls tore down the black silk curtains and made clothing. When they left, nothing was said. An Australian army nurse drove up and they deserted Maguire.
September 16 — More shore exploration; huge Buddhist monastery; beautiful temple full of gold trimmings and other treasures; cemeteries gold box mausoleums; Trumbull Ladd grave; Major Devereaux aboard; Tokyo Rose; Selfridge attempt to aid Wake; Jap film snows Buchanan
0900 went ashore alone and hitched a ride a few miles out of town toward Tokyo. I struck into the interior but after a mile of slums I returned to the highway. There, after quite a search, I found a shop selling dolls. I bought a toy horse, oxcart and samurai swords for cigarettes and candy bars. I had to return to the ship for more cigarettes and drop my purchases.
1130 returned ashore with Johnson and Reed and hit the highway again. After a good bit of walking, looking for shops, we headed  and found Reed’s Buddhist temple again.
Instead of following yesterday’s trail we branched off to the right and climbed a hill. On the other side was a park and lily pond. Beyond was a huge Buddhist monastery extending over several acres. All the Japs took off their hats and bowed as they passed one massive wooden gate.
We went inside and entered a dormitory. We took off our shoes and went gown the long halls. The rooms were made up of partitions of either woven mats or rice paper. The outside windows were of glass. There were living quarters for monks and a modest place of worship with a figure of Buddha and a huge drum. The place was nearly deserted and stacks of chattels indicated somebody was moving out. Outside on a brazier some beans were stewing. Many of the buildings were connected by sheds, whose floor space was half stone and half polished wood—so you could walk with or without shoes. There were [some] printing presses, file cabinets, etc., in the sheds and they looked packed up and ready to move.
We went into another temple that must have been 100 feet long aside 90% of the floor space was raised about two feet and fenced off. There was a gold altar and figure of Buddha life size. There were two gold lotus plants about four feet high. The alcove housing Buddha had beautiful red and gold tapestries on the walls and supporting columns. In the foreground was matting and a bookstand for the priest conducting the service. Also, a wooden spherical gong about the size of a barrel, beautifully carved and with a rod the size of a baseball bat beside it to beat it with. There were several 4-foot ornamental vases and two huge drums, one at each end of the building on the raised platforms. They were larger than hogsheads with skin stretched across both ends.
In the background were tiers and tiers of golden shafts about the size of cigarette cartons and inscribed with Jap characters—probably each representing some departed soul. In front of the raised platform were steps, probably to kneel on, and a wooden collection box the size of a wardrobe trunk. All the buildings were made of massive timbers, with the columns and eaves ornately carved. When we left we heard the drums booming. Behind the monastery was a cemetery about a city block in size. It was well cared for although there were few flowers in evidence. Their cemeteries have a great deal more masonry and less grass than ours. They go for stone urns and low walls, etc.
We had to return thru the monastery and on the other side among several other stone “plaques” about 20 feet high and three feet wide. I found one with an English inscription as well as Japanese. It was somebody “Trumbull Ladd, 1847–1921, an American Scholar, Gentleman, and Friend” erected by his pupils and friends.
There were several well-to-do homes nearby but all had their gates shut. There was a pavilion with a bronze bell about ten feet high and a battering ram to ring it. It was quite similar in shape and design to the one at the Naval Academy, although much larger.
We returned to the highway, but most of the stores were closed. We caught a ride to the store I had visited earlier in the day, and cleaned them out. We caught a ride back to the ship in a truck. Quite a few white women—former civilian POWs—were in evidence on the ride back.
1530 Major Devereaux, commander of the Wake Island garrison, came aboard from the South Dakota. He had just come in by flying boat from Hokkaido. He is very thin and small. We all went up to the commodore’s cabin for a cup of coffee. The marine major detailed to look after him and take him back to the states was here to get him. They had been corporals at OCS in 1925. They are flying to Guam in the morning. Devereaux had a complete list of the whole Wake Island outfit including the civilians—whether dead, alive, etc., and he wonders whom he should give it to. He mentioned the one Wake Island civilian worker who assisted in the propaganda broadcasts of Radio Tokyo and wondered if they had caught him.
That brought up the subject of Tokyo Rose and the other marine said they had caught her. She was Japanese, born in USA, and a grad of Southern Cal. She had come to Japan in ’41 to see a sick aunt who wasn’t expected to live. Shortly thereafter. All women were made to work. She took a stenographic job in the broadcasting company. A few months later, after the war started, an Australian major came in and heard her talk. The next thing she knew, she was in a radio program and that is how she got started. Actually there were three Tokyo Roses and the Australian major and the American Wake Islander who helped with the script. She furnished names and addresses of all. The Australian is supposed to nave gotten a little dope out during his broadcasts by using certain inflections his voice, etc. At any rate, the court martial will decide and it may save him from hanging.
After about a half hour, Major Devereaux and party went to the Monitor to spend the night prior to the plane trip. He was very polite and shook hands all around, etc. In the course of the conversation, the commodore mentioned he and I (on the USS Selfridge) were on our way to the relief of Wake and I told them we were 300 miles from it when it fell and that we dropped the marines and radars and pilots off at Midway on the return trip and that they paid off dividends there a little later. I don’t suppose Major Devereaux knew that his wife and father died while he was a prisoner of war—at least he didn’t show it. A half dozen of his officers have been hanging around several days and have refused to be evacuated, waiting for him to be found and brought in.
On the truck coming back to the ship, I got to talking with a soldier who had been all over Europe and just now had seen Tokyo. He was much impressed with their modern buildings, etc. He said there wasn’t anything to compare with it.
Even in England, if things were OK 100 years ago they are OK now. But not in Japan. They were progressive: intelligent and industrious, and more Americanized. Their railway bridges, breakwaters, etc., are definitely not one-horse affairs.
One of the sailors went into a very modern movie theater in Tokyo and saw a Jap newsreel of the 11th Airborne landing and our amphibious landing, and the fleet at anchor in Tokyo Bay. It also showed MacArthur just after he stepped aboard the Missouri and the Buchanan in the background—the bridge structure forward of the bow. It also showed the surrender ceremony with the Japs signing, etc. Then it showed a man speaking, the emperor, telling them that the war was lost and to obey orders of the Allied Occupation Forces. While this man (the emperor) was speaking, all the Japs took off their hats and bowed their heads.
The feature picture was Japanese and the boys didn’t stay long. The Nips were much amused at the Americans even coming into the theatre at all. The movies, like the streetcars and trains, are free to the Allies.
The sailors picked up a Jap boy about 20 years of age who was studying English as he intended to go to America as a businessman. He was their Tokyo guide. Among other things he said that the Japanese people “did not like” Tojo because he didn’t do a successful job of killing himself. Also, in the Japanese mind, the B-29s were the most feared weapon and they struck terror into the hearts of the Japs, which is easy to believe after seeing the devastation from Yokohama to Tokyo.
The reserve Marine Colonel CO of the prewar legation guard at Peking came in on a POW train.
September 17 — More POWs arrive
Commodore Simpson’s bunch arrived this morning with 500 POWs, including Chinese laborers. 0930 Commodore Simpson came aboard for short visit with our commodore. Yokosuka red light district has been placed “out-of-bounds.”
September 18 — Typhoon in Yokohama Harbor; ships banging into each other
Up all night with typhoon as diversion. Had engines standing by, boat hoisted and anchor watch. 0100 had LSM leave from alongside. 0200 LCT dragged down bow; nobody even appeared to be up. Our anchor chain ripped up his superstructure some but he didn’t touch us. Walked out the anchor chain as the wind increased and had 60 fathoms on deck by 0800. Also had starboard anchor underfoot to reduce yaw. I was certainly glad to see the dawn. Wind hits well over 60 knots in the gusts and barometer down to 29.30 inches.
Four Jap hulks, two medium tankers and two unfinished freighters, broke adrift between the inner and outer breakwater, banging into LSTs and tankers on going aground. Three ships around us gave up and got underway to moor to dock or anchor.
1200 we seem to be riding OK but the barometer won’t go up and the wind doesn’t go down much. ComThirdFleet says it is all over but I fail to see signs of it and am keeping the main engines standing by. The voice radio is full of reports of boats adrift, etc. 1300 retrieved merchant marine-type lifeboat, which we righted and tied up astern. 1400 barometer rising—29.40 inches. 1900 barometer 29.58 inches and sea calm.
September 19 — Yokosuka Officers Club
Beautiful day dead calm. 0830 underway, exec at the conn, and fueled and anchored a mile off Yokosuka breakwater at 1115. 1300 called on squadron commander inside breakwater. Only thing new was the dope that we would be in the Reserve Fleet in the Atlantic. Returned to the ship and at 1530 got underway and went alongside Lansdowne way inside breakwater.
1630 went ashore to the officers club. It is a former Nip Officers Club and very nice, except you have to bring your own liquor. We sat on sofas and had Old Home Week went into a bathroom and the washbasins were modern but came to just above my knees. The mirrors were so low I had to stoop to look at them. The urinals and toilets were correspondingly low and small. They had toilet seats. I had heard previously that they didn’t, considering them unsanitary, and that the toilets were countersunk in the floor and flush with it.
The officers at the base are living at the club and their apartments are very nice with sliding panel doors and windows. The lounges on the main floor are western style, however. The grounds are attractively landscaped.
Can’t see too much of the yard but the shop buildings looked like old ones at Bremerton or Mare Island. There were five graving docks, one of which served as a building ways and could handle at least a cruiser. The Jap DDs are old stuff except one, which is a good-looking large destroyer.
Returned with the commodore after everybody had eaten dinner, including my guest Hudson of the Wren and Yokosuka Boat Pool. Besides furnishing us with a boat, he brought me a two-handed Samurai field sword.
September 20 — The town of Yokosuka
1300 went ashore and looked over the town of Yokosuka—no bars or restaurants open, but the merchants were doing a brisk trade. I bought a few dolls—none very good. The sailors were running the prices up. Only one block of Yokosuka seemed to be burned out; very little evidence of damage at the Naval Base. The large building ways have 15–20 midget subs in various stages of construction. There are lots of suicide boats, all badly damaged by our forces to prevent their use. I am told that no great effort is being made to build up the recreation facilities and orders are not to build anything permanent. No effort has been made to put their graving docks in operation. Apparently permanent occupation is not contemplated here.
September 21 — Some enforcement on booty hunters; detailed description of Shiranuhi-class destroyer
One of our officers bought 10 cartons of Philip Morris cigarettes at ½ price or 25 cents per carton. Took them to Tokyo and cleared well over $80 on the deal. The Army will have him court-martialed if they catch him at it. A couple of marines were caught here in Yokosuka with $2,000,000 in gold they had found in a cave. Some $80.000 in jewelry is missing from caves also. The wealthy in Yokohama also hid their treasures in caves where it was looted by the  Airborne.
I spent the morning in what appeared to be a Shiranuhi-class destroyer moored about 500 yards from us. It was very interesting. The torpedoes and tubes were immense with stowage for reloads and tracks and trucks on deck to handle them. The forward and after gun mounts had been removed. The wardroom (officers’ mess) was forward under the crews messing and berthing space. All furniture and lockers were of wood. The radio room was tiny, as was the radar room. No CIC (combat information center) in evidence. The fire control (gun aiming) seemed primitive, with no gyro stabilized element. All optical instruments had been removed. They had a gyro compass of Japanese make. The sound gear seemed to be a hydrophone giving relative bearings and was located in wardroom country. The torpedo directors seemed fairly complicated. Lots of voice tube communications, although there were a few phones.
The galley range was small and coal fired. There was coal forge by #1 stack. The anchor engine was small and 2-cylinder steam reciprocating. The anchor chain was old-fashioned wrought iron with no swivel, just a U-shackle. She was an old ship—the ladders all had their tread worn thru. She seemed about 1800 tons. On the weather decks, she had linoleum held down with brass strips. No evidence of aluminum CRS or any monel in her construction. The ice box was wooden and just a bit larger than an 8 cu. ft. household refrigerator. There were bags of unpolished rice in the forward hold.
Her radars were not installed nor were the antennas, although they were there. It is evident that English is their second language. About half the numerals and lettering was English—the rest Jap. Even the signal flag bags had one half of each. The gyro and magnetic compass cards had NESW and intercardinal points in English letters.
I went into one fireroom and one engine room and the shaft alley. The fireroom had an airlock, although it might have been only a communication booth. Otherwise it looked like an open fireroom, as you could walk inside the boiler casings. I saw only reciprocating pumps and two boilers in the fireroom. The engine room had a longitudinal bulkhead down the centerline separating the port from the starboard engine rooms. Each shaft appeared to have an H.P., L.P. and cruising turbine, the latter clutched to the H.P. shaft. The reducing gear had [%-enable] oil pressure gages. I didn’t go down to the lower level and look at the pumps but I understood they are centrifugal. Aft of the shaft engine rooms was a shaft alley housing switchboards. The steam pressures didn’t appear to be very high probably.
Later in the afternoon I went ashore to the  and had occasion to visit the basement. There in one room was a steam boiler being tended by American sailors. They had appropriated a Jap brazier and had a coffee pot simmering or two. Over the fire box was a brass name plate in English which said “Osaka Iron Works Engineering and Shipbuilding 1900.” Evidently the club is quite old. There was a pool room and bar and also a bath. The latter was a large tiled room with four individual tubs countersunk to accommodate one person with just his head above the level of the floor. These were to be used to remove most of the dirt. In the center of the room were two large baths, each about six feet square and three feet deep—suppose this is where they soaked. There were also showers.
September 22 — Midget sub building yard; Tokyo 80% in ruins
[Held] captain’s inspection in the morning and took a walk in a drizzle in the afternoon. Visited the only large building ways in Yokosuka. There was an assembly line and fabricating center for midget subs. They are far cry from the ones used at Pearl Harbor and Sydney. The hull is all welded and built in about five sections. There were subs in various stages of completion. Everything is made there except the appurtenances. The sub had a diesel generator room, radio periscope, canopied conning tower, control room, battery room, watertight compartmentation, H.P. air bottles and torpedo tubes, etc. Its manufacture is not simple. Huge boring machines and lathes face off the flanges between hull sections and for the torpedo tubes, etc. There were great quantities of steel plate, a good foundry, lots of welding machines using covered welding rod, air hammers, manifolds, compressors, etc. All tools were left about as though all work has stopped suddenly.
Walked past the administration building and the enlisted men were in line, each receiving a Jap rifle and bayonet as a souvenir. A group of Jap laborers under the direction of US sailors were burning wooden and cardboard cartons, which might be needed this winter to keep them warm. I saw a small gasoline truck with a charcoal burner—a dangerous combination. It was a British Morris. The commodore was lucky enough to get a ride to Tokyo and back. He saw much more of Tokyo driving around than I did and in his opinion, about 80% of the city is in ruins rather than 45% as the Japs claim. He brought back some dwarf cedar trees which will probably die if they have to subsist on our distilled water.
September 23 — Eight U.S. bases to be built; aboard the 5800-ton Jap submarine; topside on the BB Nagato; alert on the Yokosuka red light district
Another rainy day. Hudson from the boat pool came out for a shower, shave, and to be paid. Some of his men salvaged some cigarettes that had been under water and sold then to the Japs for 37,000 yen or $2,400. The commodore was talking to the PAC Fleet intelligence officer yesterday. He was enroute to Tokyo to see the army to obtain permission for the navy to take things out of the country. He is the navy’s official “souvenir” man. He said we are going to build eight bases and the first one will be at Yokosuka. The boat pool had found a Chevrolet hidden in the brush and have fixed it up after removing the charcoal burner. They were going to Tokyo today, Sunday. Hudson gave me a Jap battle flag.
I heard today where “hunkey dory” comes from. The waterfront street of Yokohama is Honko Dori approximately. The sailors have corrupted it into “Hunkey Dory” and have always been able to get home (or to their ship) OK.
In the afternoon we took a boat to look over the Japs subs—the largest it the world. We were not allowed below but saw plenty topside. Three of them, T400, T401, T41 were alongside the subtender Proteus. We were on the T400. She is immense—5,800 tons submerged. The Buchanan is up to 2200 tons.
Her fo’c’sle has catapult tracks running out of the hangar under the conning tower. The tracks extend about 100 feet on the foc’s’le. There is an airplane handling crane about 45 feet high that is hinged and can be countersunk into the deck. Aft of the conning tower there is an AA platform with a couple of 20mm quads and a single 20mm. On the main deck aft there is a 5-inch gun. She is covered with a plastic paint, which is supposed to absorb sound and so defeat echo ranging gear. She is said to crash dive in 55 seconds, which is phenomenal. The US has found that the larger the sub the slower she dives—but not the Japs. She was commissioned in January yet diving to only 300 feet—about half the depth a US sub will go. We were at the 300 foot stage in 1938.
The hangar is a cylinder about 12 feet in diameter and about 60 feet long—holding three planes. A plane averaged about two flights before being lost in recovering due to rough seas. The hangar has a slight grade—same as the catapult—and is covered with wood, to deaden the sound I suppose. She has a top rudder as well as one under the boat but still must turn very slowly. She has fire control radar horns and also search antenna. She has schnorkel—telescopic like a periscope, of which she has two. She has a telescopic mast. Her RDF (directional radio finder) is countersunk. Her bridge binoculars are permanently mounted and watertight. 20 power. She is filthy down below. The Nips have been working on her until today. She is being readied for a return to the States.
We then circled the Nagato in our boat. Like all Jap ships she had outside degaussing but hers had been removed. She had the top of her mainmast, tripod type, missing and her bridge was badly buckled from a bomb hit. Yet the conning tower appeared undamaged. She had casemate guns like the Nevada’s secondary. There are some pompoms atop turret 1. Otherwise her AA battery was nil—either demilitarized or obliterated. A boiler like those found in oil fields was located temporarily on her main deck. I saw no catapults. She needed a paint job.
Later I took a walk through the red light section of Yokosuka. All houses were out of bounds. I talked to a SP (shore patrol) in front of one of them and a pharmacist’s mate. They had just finished taking smudges and found 50 out of 51 of the girls had syphilis. At the window of another, I saw a geisha girl with a formal wig in the best Butterfly tradition. She is the first attractive Nip girl I have seen.
September 24 — Silver ingots found in cave
Copeland came over for lunch today. He told me of some silver ingots found in a cave full of officers’ uniforms. They were dusty and everybody stumbled over them, mistaking them for lead at first. Commodore Kessing is using one for a door stop in his office. He offers it to anybody who can lift it with one hand. It is worth a fortune. 1600 went ashore and happened to see Jap laborers loading silver into a US truck. Visited Jap home, at present occupied by LIS Navy Port Director officers and two houseboys, each working for 45 yen weekly, about $3. Yet each was intelligent, wore wrist watches and one supported a family. The house was entirely of wood with sliding windows and screens for walls. The fence posts were concrete, however.
September 25 — Classmate skipper of giant Jap sub
Ran into a classmate who is skipper of the T-400, big Jap sub.
On September 30, the USS Buchanan departed Tokyo Bay area for Sagami Wan, Okinawa and Seattle.
Source: Diary of LCdr. Daniel Henry, courtesy Charles Henry and Alfred Bloom.