- Thomson, Max
- WWII operations, History - WW2, Letter to the Editor
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Moresby I, HMAS Hawkesbury II
- September 1998 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
There was a uniqueness about the RAN involvement in the Japanese surrender ceremonies in Timor, raised in Peter Evans’s (Fairmile Association) letter in REVIEW Vol 19 No. 2 when he listed the Fairmiles present.
Fascinatingly, there were two Japanese surrenders at Koepang.
In the first of them on September 11, 1945 Brigadier L.G.H. Dyke of Adelaide (later Major-Gen Dyke CBE DSO) accepted the surrender of some 3,235 men comprising the Japanese force in Timor. That surrender was held aboard HMAS MORESBY.
MORESBY was again present some three weeks later when, on October 3, 1945, another surrender ceremony took place in a colourful setting ashore at Koepang. Lt. General Yamada surrendered a force of about 36,000 men who made up the Japanese forces in the entire Lesser Sunda Islands – including troops of the 48th Japanese Division.
Lieutenant-Commander Ian K. Purvis, RAN (later Commodore Purvis OBE) CO of the frigate HMAS HAWKESBURY, commanded the naval ceremonial guard assembled for the occasion. It was made up of men from HMA ships MORESBY, HAWKESBURY, GYMPIE, KATOOMBA and GLADSTONE.
Lt.Cdr. Purvis, in HAWKESBURY, had not been present at the first Koepang ceremony on September 11, for on September 12 the frigate had arrived in Singapore – the day Admiral Mountbatten accepted the formal Japanese surrender from Lt.General Seishiro Itagaki as delegate for Field Marshal Count Terauchi who was ill.
HAWKESBURY was the sole RAN ship in Singapore that day, where the British Eastern Fleet was headed by Admiral Sir A.J. Power, C-in-C, flying his flag in HMS CLEOPATRA; HMS NELSON (Flag of Vice Admiral Walker), F.S. RICHELIEU (Flag of Rear Admiral Holland).
After Singapore, then Koepang, HAWKESBURY attended a whole series of small local Japanese surrender ceremonies throughout the Dutch East Indies. During an extensive surveillance at each of these General Blarney’s Proclamation was read to the assembled populace; Japanese surrendered; their supplies were dumped; civil-administration was restored and intelligence gained on “downed” allied airmen through that vast area.