WORLD WAR TWO: PIKE, J.G.
No Place No Publisher.
Midshipman's journal chronicling the closing months of the War in the Pacific between March 1944 and August 1945. In considerable detail and with maps and hand-drawn diagrams, this account covers Pike's service on HMS Newcastle and HMS Gambia, Crown Colony-Class Light Cruiser of the Royal Navy. The ships served in New Zealand, India, and was involved in attacks on Honshu, a night action and bombardment of Kamaishi. It also depicts the last days of the war with Japan. The entry for 15th August 1945 reads: "At 1129 a message was received from CTF which read 'CEASE HOSTILITIES AGAINST JAPAN'. At that same moment a Judy appeared dead astern flying straight at us firing her machine guns. There were a large crowd of men standing on the quarterdeck and soon as the plane was spotted, everyone immediately ran for their respective stations. No alarm was given. However two Seafires were close on its tail and the plane was blown to pieces over our foremast. It all happened in about one minute and after the shock we found that five men had been killed by machine gun bullets and 11 wounded. Among the dead was my very close friend Midshipman Joe O'Keefe R.N.R. The only officer on the Gambia that was killed in action. It seems impossible that the war is over after six long horrible years."A further fascinating entry is an account of the surrender of the Japanese fleet at Sagami Bay: "It was fitting that the fleet anchored as the sun set behind Fujiyama which symbolised the last sunset of the once powerful Japanese Empire beaten to her knees in defeat now." The diary concludes with an entry regarding the collection of British POW's: "Our duties at Yokosuka were the occupation of the dockyard area, to make an inventory of all supplies… a large body of Japanese troops in the area and be at 'stand to' in case of attempted suicide attacks by disgruntled Japanese. Today I accompanied Lt. Comm. Davis-Goff by con… to Ofuna a few miles to the North West of Yokosuka to a prisoner-of-war camp where air force prisoners were imprisoned. On our arrival we were greeted by a large throng of prisoners some in a severe state of emaciation and others looking surprisingly cheerful and healthy. I was later informed that the healthy ones were the "new boys" shot down recent to the war's end." These are the last words of the diary. Also included are his medal group consisting of 1939-45 and Burma star with Pacific clasp, war medal with oak leaves, Africa Service medal, New Zealand medal and Colonial Special Constabulary medal.