On This Day
1945 > WW2
On This Day - 1945
- January 10, 1945
HMA ships COWRA and KAPUNDA, (minesweepers), bombarded Japanese troop positions at Halmahera, New Guinea.
- January 9, 1945
HMAS AUSTRALIA suffered her fifth kamikaze attack. The Japanese aircraft struck the cruiser on the top of her third funnel. CMDR G.H. Gill, RANVR, reported: “Australia was the recipient of many signals before her departure from Lingayan Gulf, both from American, and her fellow Australian ships”:- VADM Oldendorf, (TG 77.2) signalled: “Your gallant conduct and that of your ship has been an inspiration to us all. Sorry to lose you at this time.” Berkey, (CTG.77.3), said: “Sorry the hell birds concentrated on you. My deep regrets for losses in the stout ship’s company.” RADM Weyler, in his letter forwarding the Report of Bombardments, commented; “The performance of AUSTRALIA is particularly to be commended. Heavily hit three times and with the greater part of her dual-purpose battery out of commission, she nevertheless executed scheduled fires in her usual effective manner.” Kinkaid, Commander Seventh Fleet, in a report to the Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet, remarked, “HMAS AUSTRALIA received two minor and three major hits from enemy suicide planes. Despite the resulting damage and casualties, the fire schedule was executed in a very satisfactory manner. Her performance during the entire operation was excellent.”
HMA Ships, WESTRALIA, MANOORA, and KANIMBLA landed troops on Luzon.
- January 8, 1945
HMAS AUSTRALIA, (cruiser), was hit twice by kamikaze bombers in 15 minutes. The first aircraft skidded into the ship’s port side and the second exploded alongside, blowing a hole 4.3m by 2.4m in the cruiser’s side. AB L.G. Jeffery and AB A.J. Mitchell were awarded the DSM for ‘devotion to duty’ in this action.
The landing ship-troops, HMAS WESTRALIA, (CMDR A.V. Knight, DSC, RANR(S)), fought off a determined attack by kamikaze aircraft at Lingayen Gulf, The Philipines. A Zero fighter was shot down only 3 metres from the ship’s stern and the after end of the ship was showered with flying wreckage. One rating was slightly wounded. The ship’s steering gear was temporarily disabled, but was repaired within twenty minutes.
- January 6, 1945
HMAS AUSTRALIA, (cruiser), was hit by a Japanese kamikaze plane for the third time. The ship’s casualties were 14 killed and 26 wounded.
- January 5, 1945
The Battle of Lingayen Gulf, 5 to 9 January. HMA Ships AUSTRALIA, SHROPSHIRE, ARUNTA, WARRAMUNGA, GASCOYNE and WARREGO were engaged.
HMA Ships AUSTRALIA and ARUNTA were hit by Japanese kamikaze planes. A Zero carrying a large bomb dived on ARUNTA from low altitude but clever manoeuvring caused the aircraft to miss and plunge into the sea within metres of the destroyer’s steering gear room on the port side. ARUNTA was holed and damage was caused to her steering motors. Stoker PO R.A. Hand and AB H.L.E. Sellick were killed. In the same attack a second kamikaze dive was made vertically into HMAS AUSTRALIA’s upper deck, amidships on the port side. The explosion killed 25 and wounded 30 of the cruiser’s crew. A fire set by the explosion was soon extinguished and reports indicated damage was slight and fighting efficiency was not greatly impaired.
HMA Ships GASCOYNE, (frigate), and WARREGO, (sloop), and the USS BENNION, (destroyer), engaged two Japanese destroyers in a running battle near Luzon. The faster enemy destroyers withdrew and escaped.
- January 3, 1945
LCDR J. M. Ramsay, RAN, of HMAS NAPIER, (destroyer), embarked in ML 829 for a reconnaissance of Akyab, Burma. He was the first Allied officer to enter the port since its surrender to the Japanese in May 1942.
- January 2, 1945
Japanese bombers attacked the 85-ship Minesweeping and Hydrographic Group in Surigao Gulf. HMA Ships WARREGO, (sloop), and GASCOYNE, (frigate), were on the escort screen which shot down one of the aircraft.
- January 1, 1945
LCDR R. Lauchlan, RAN, was appointed to OBE for outstanding service as Squadron Anti-submarine Officer to CDRE(D), Eastern Fleet, in the Burma Campaign.