- Dowle, Ron
- Biographies and personal histories, Ship histories and stories, WWII operations
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- September 2005 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Next the regulating petty officer was called to the bridge and I was called up on a charge of altering ship’s course without orders. Here I was put on Captain’s Report, to appear before the Captain when next in harbour. Later I was brought before him and charged. The Captain, Lord Ashbourne, was a real gentleman, but I suppose he had to stand by his officers, and heard the charge. I do not know what his thoughts were, but all he did was to issue a reprimand (not to be recorded on my papers) which meant that no action was taken.
The Captain was then given command of a couple of USN destroyers, with several troop landing craft, for US Marines to land and take a couple of Japanese-held islands near Manus Island, near the Equator. We timed our arrival for just before dawn and raked the shores with gunfire, but there was no return fire (although previous reports had stated that eight inch guns were mounted ashore, far bigger calibre than ours, and. could have blown us out of the water from a range of ten miles or more). The Marines landed with still no return fire. On reaching the other side of the island the Americans reported every Japanese dead, killed by their own hand – hari kari. Later they learned from the few natives that the Japanese had forced them to help shift the artillery from the western side of the island the day before. Spy system gone wrong!
After this we entered Manus Island and were boarded by the American press and Life Magazine from New York, but they were only able to take photos as we were not allowed to talk. This was followed by a return to Townsville, then Gladstone, and finally Geelong for another load of mines. This turned out to be the last trip for mines, which we laid successfully and then steamed back to Milne Bay.