Convoy Route Codes
Extracted from ADM199/1478
REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS
Command in Chief, British Pacific Fleet’s
6 December 1945
PREPARATION OF NAVAL
FORCES FOR CHINA COAST.
As a result of news received on
the 10th of August 1945
that Japan was
willing to accept the terms of the Potsdam meeting
with adjustments, a signal was made to me by my
Headquarters at Sydney on the
11th of August asking if I had any information
of Government policy
2. I was at that time
in H.M.S. DUKE OF YORK and replied on the 12th
of August that I was
awaiting instructions from the Admiralty but directed a
Task Group each for
be prepared. These
Task Groups were made up from ships in Australian waters
at the time with the
addition of EURYALUS, ARGONAUT, and six destroyers which
were returned from
A.C. One from Japanese waters.
of these Task Groups was as follows:
Task Group 111.2
the flag of Rear Admiral Harcourt, Flag Officer
(Flying the Flag of Rear Admiral Servaes,
Flag Officer Commanding 2nd Cruiser Squadron.
Flag of Rear Admiral Daniel, Flag Officer
and four destroyers.
4. Later it was found
that logistic considerations would not permit despatch
of a Task Group to
T.G. 111.4 was used to augment the Hong Kong Task Groups.
5. Prisoners of War
Contact teams for
Formosa, and Hong
Kong were organized the assembled. At the
time it was not clear whether entry
would be made
under operational control of CINCPAC.
Accordingly, CINCPAC was asked to consider employment of
Submarine Flotilla and Hospital Ship OXFORDSHIRE which
were at Subic and within
two or three days steaming of Hong Kong.
6. At the same time
ADMIRALTY was asked for information of any arrangements
for provision of a
military garrison at
informed of preparations in the B.P.F. for proceeding to
the China Coast in the
event of Japanese capitulation.
7. By the 15th
of August, it was clear that H.M. Government intended to
Kong as a Crown Colony and that the
would not participate.
8. Sailing of forces
Two hours after the news of the acceptance of
August, the Task Groups for the China Coast sailed
It was appreciated that our entry into Hong
Kong was dependent on our ability to sweep
passages. The Australian mine sweepers
on loan to the B.P.F. from the Australian Commonwealth
Naval Board had been
employed on escort duty and were accordingly dispersed all
over the operational
areas. Before the advent of peace
A.C.N.B. had agreed to lend a number of A.M.S. for
sweeping operations in the
Tsushima Straits in conjunction with
At these ships were present in
area, A.C.N.B. was
asked for the loan of those ships, which were ordered to
concentrate at Subic pending
approval by the Australian Government to their being so
9. Loan of ships from Royal Australian
In view of the urgency of assembling a naval
force ready to
make immediate entry, and that Admiral Harcourt could not
Kong until 26th August, A.C.N.B. was
whether the Australian Squadron, consisting of
then at Subic, could
undertake the initial entry of Hong Kong until
the arrival of Admiral Harcourt. On the
17th August, the Australian Government decided
that this squadron
could not be made available for this purpose, but approval
for the A.M.S. then
to proceed to Hong
Kong was given. The
only B.P.F. ships which could reach
Admiral Harcourt’s Task Group were MAIDSTONE, submarines,
and minesweepers. As the latter were not
considered an adequate force, it was necessary to await
the arrival of Admiral
Harcourt. Task Group 111.2 arrived on Subic on 25th
10. Other Activities
While the Fleets were proceeding to their
various services for their maintenance and welfare, and
the recovery of
prisoners of war and the rehabilitation of
being organized and put into operation.
11. Amongst other
requirements it was necessary to continue with the planned
relief of Age and
Service Groups. It was therefore decided
to run a ferry service with CVEs
Kong, about every nine days, and another weekly
from Manus to
employing the fast minelayers and destroyer reliefs for
the Tokyo Force. CVEs
were also to
port parties, and other personnel for the rehabilitation
of the colony. VINDEX, the first CVE to proceed on
ferry service, left Sydney on 21st
August. At the same time hospital ships
were disposed; three on the China Coast, and
On 30th August, Rear Admiral Fleet
Train, with the greater part of the Fleet Train, sailed
from Manus for Hong
12. The activities of
Task Force 37, up to the capitulation of
13. On the 11th
August, CINCPAC accepted my office of a British force of a
cruisers, one fleet carrier, and the necessary destroyers,
to participate in
the naval occupation of
KING GEORGE V (flying the Flag of Vice
Admiral, Second in Command, British Pacific Fleet),
NEWFOUNDLAND (flying the
Flag of Flag Officer Commanding, 4th Cruiser
INDEFATIGABLE, eight R.N. and two R.A.N. destroyers,
composed this force. The remainder of Task
Force 37 withdrew to
Manus as previously arranged, to wait there until the
situation cleared. The Cease Fire was received on 15th
August and the strikes planned by the Third Fleet on that
day were cancelled.
The remainder of T.F. 37
those units joined T.G. 111.2 and 111.3.
14. Entry into Japanese waters
Due to a typhoon interfering with the assembly
for the lift of
U.S. Army occupation forces, Naval
prevented from entering Japanese waters until 27th
August, when the
Third Fleet, including the B.P.F. Force, anchored in
Sagami Wan. The following day, sufficient berths had
swept inside to allow the entry into Tokyo Bay of
MISSOURI, IDAHO, and DUKE OF
YORK with WHELP and WAGER.
15. On the 29th
and 30th, the remainder of the U.S. forces,
with KING GEORGE V and
other British and Dominion ships in company, entered Tokyo
Bay. On the latter day, large scale airborne
landings took place and landing parties from the Third
Fleet and the B.P.F.
occupied Yokosuka Naval Base and the forts at the entrance
of the Bay.
The British Commonwealth Force consisted of 300
Outside, INDEFATIGABLE and eight destroyers
the U.S. Carrier Task Force, prepared for any
emergency. It soon became apparent that no Japanese
treachery was to be expected, and the
ordered a big reduction in Carrier strength. This
allowed the withdrawal of INDEFATIGABLE
and her destroyers on 3rd September without
relief. This meant that IMPLACABLE could be prepared
P.O.W. evacuation ship, instead of sailing to relieve
16. Evacuation of P.O.W
As early as 27th August it had become
Com 3rd Fleet that action by Naval
was necessary for early evacuation of Ps.O.W.
It was felt that it would take several days
for the Army air lift, through
to Manila, to get
into its stride and the U.S. Navy wanted to take their
service personnel quickly to Guam. This
division of U.S. Ps.O.W.
into two categories
presented difficulties to British Forces who were
extremely limited in
shipping, one hospital ship and two CVEs
immediately available. Added to this, it
was understood that the Supreme Commander Allied Powers
was responsible for the
evacuation, and yet our liaison and main assistance might
have been expected
from CINCPAC and Com 3rd Fleet.
However, the Army Air Machine soon got up to speed and
Commonwealth Ps.O.W. were
clear of the Japanese mainland by 28th of
17. It was possible
during this time for me to obtain personally from S.C.A.P.
his views on the
evacuation of Ps.O.W. and
internees from the
Coast. This will be dealt with more fully in a later
section and it is only necessary to mention here that
General MacArthur gave me
special permission for the first load of internees from
Kong to be taken to
In accepting this, he insisted that Hong
Kong must be made ready as soon as possible for
of other internees from the
Coast. It transpired, however, that some authority
to accept the decision of the Supreme Commander and this
resulted in the
indecision over the destination of H.T. EMPRESS OF
AUSTRALIA which gave an
unfortunate impression of muddle to the remainder of the
18. British Liaison Officer
A British Commander R.N. was accepted by
S.C.A.P. as British
liaison officer on his staff. This was
necessarily a temporary arrangement until the Chiefs of
Staff had decided on
the British Military Representative on the staff of
19. I sailed in DUKE
OF YORK on 9th September for
Kong. In co
operation with the
and 5th Fleet, ships of the B.P.F. left in
used for the evacuation of Ps.O.W.
areas. SPEAKER went to Nagasaki, GAMBIA to Wakayma,
and destroyers to Hamamatsu, Sendai, and Ominato.
given to open the Yokohama Yacht Club as a White Ensign
Club for ratings.
Vice Admiral Rawlins left in KING GEORGE V on 20th
September, turning over the duties of C.T.F. 57 (the new
title) to Rear Admiral
20. Rear Admiral Brind
reported on 5th October that it was the
to reduce the Fleet in Japan as soon
as the Army was well established. He
added that there seemed no need for a lavish display of
the Flag at this
moment, as everyone in Japan had
their eyes turned to their internal problems.
21. Paragraph 9 showed
the arrival of Admiral Harcourt’s force (T.G. 111.2) at
Bay on 25th August. On 29th
August C.T.G. 111.2 was in
W/T touch with the Japanese commander at
that day British aircraft flew over the Colony dropping
22. Though there was
considerable risk from American mines, the location of
which were received from
the Japanese, Admiral Harcourt entered Hong Kong the next
day in SWIFTSURE,
accompanied by EURYALUS, PRINCE ROBERT, and destroyers,
leaving outside the
mineable waters B.S. 1 in ANSON and carriers who entered
23. Admiral Harcourt becomes Commander
On arrival, Admiral Harcourt assumed the title
of C. in C.
Hong Kong and turned over the duties of C.T.G. 111.2 to
Admiral Daniel. From then on Admiral Harcourt’s
problems cannot be considered as being within the scope of
24. Force SHIELD
Naval parties were landed everywhere; the only
available, until arrival of a Brigade of Commandos from
the South East Asia
Command, being the Royal Air Force Personnel of Force
This force, that arrived
too late for its
function of building airfields for British bombers at
directly involved with the B.P.F. as the EMPRESS OF
AUSTRALIA, carrying 3,000
R.A.F. personnel, threatened to run out of food while
awaiting entry into Hong
Kong on their new job.
Replenishment was carried out at Manus by the Fleet
Train. This did influence the number of ships of
T.F. 37 that were able to turn around without visiting
Australia, but it was
not serious owing to the complete absence of any isolated
requiring offensive action. The arrival
of Force SHIELD in the Pacific was certainly a most happy
solution to the
problem of developing
25. Fleet Train
Rear Admiral Fleet Train moved most of his units
Kong in early September, and their resources
were used for
rehabilitation as well as continuing to support the fleet
Coast and in Japan.
26. Flag Officer Western Area, British
On my arrival at
Kong on 14
September, a new organisation
was set up to
coordinated the movements of the B.P.F. on the China
Coast. This consisted of Flag Officer Western area,
B.P.F., carried out by Rear Admiral Fisher in addition to
his duties with the
Fleet Train. His organisation
of T.F. 112 consisted of:
under Rear Admiral Daniel
under Rear Admiral Servaes
(Air Train) under Commodore, Air Train
under Captain Love
The last named force, consisting of Escorts, was
report to C.T.G. 112.3 in case developments showed the
accompanying U.S. forces
up the Yangtze. Up to the present, this
had not materialized, and there is every indication that
British ships will not
be allowed in the River for a considerable time.
27. Rear Admiral Servaes
visited Com 7th Fleet in
that his Task Group was available at Leyte to
operate under 7th Fleet orders, but that
circumstance might arise
when it might be necessary to withdraw these forces if
H.M. Government directed
him to send ships to China ports
independently of U.S.
28. No immediate
operations were planned for 7th Fleet except
the early support of
landing parties at Keijo in
the provision of food supplies from the air to prison
camps in Formosa. I ordered C.T.G. 112.3 to take up
immediate entry into Formosa ports
again, as it was though the Ps.O.W.
conditions would be bad.
Com 7th Fleet agreed and the group left Leyte
September. They arrived at Kiirun
on 6th September, and while COLOSSUS and
TUMULT remained outside,
ARGONAUT, and QUIBERON entered harbour.
On 6th September, it was reported
that all moveable Ps.O.W. had
been embarked in U.S. ships
and were on their way to Manila. The Hospital Ship
MAUGANUI arrived on the 8th
September and, after waiting a few days for fine weather,
evacuated the sick to
This enabled C.T.G. 111.3 to report on the 9th
of September that all Ps.O.W.
to be in Formosa had
29. On 11th
September, C.T.G. 111.3, who had transferred his flag to
area. On 12th September,
P.O.W. teams were flown into Shanghai by
aircraft from COLOSSUS, but the main entry was delayed
September, when T.G. 111.3 anchored off the Yangtze Bar.
30. On 19th
September, Rear Admiral Servaes
ARGONAUT, and three destroyers in company, secured off the
Bund in Shanghai, and
the following day,
TUMULT arrived at
31. Difficulties with Chinese
Both these movements had been communicated to
the Naval Attaché,
but it was
realized that this was a delicate matter with the Chinese
Government. During my visit to Chungking the
reason for this was made evident. The
Chinese did not appreciate our method of operating under
either through ignorance or misunderstanding.
This had resulted in the feeling that the British flag had
under the cloak of the U.S. forces who
had necessarily to enter Shanghai in
force in order to continue supplies to the Chinese Army.
32. Difficulties with Commander 7th
Rear Admiral Servaes’
task was not
made easier by the disinterested attitude adopted by Com 7th
Fleet. It was clear that the latter was
in an embarrassed position,
and he was expecting
requests from British forces to visit Chinese ports on
their own, yet under his
authority. This, in fact, was never
done. A matter which also caused local
dissatisfaction was the berthing of the British flagship
out of sight of the
main section of the Bund. It could
hardly have been expected that Com 7th Fleet
would have allocated
the long established, but pre war British berth at the
hear of the line to the
British flagship, but it is that better arrangements might
have been made if
the U.S. Admiral had not deliberately put the British
forces out of his mind.
33. C.T.G. 111.3’s (n.b.
document shows C.T.G. 111.2’) activities in
connection with Ps. O.W. and
internees are described in Rear Admiral Commanding Second
No. 082/927/253/1 of 15 September 1945.
Commanding Officer, H.M.S. BERMUDA, contacted the American
authority, internees in Weishen
This was not helped by the fact that the
railway line ran through still armed Japanese forces and
Route Army. The latter
being the most unreliable.
35. On 11th
October, U.S. Marines landed at
was thought advisable politically for British Forces to
withdraw during these
operations. This would have been an
excellent time for a visit at Wei Hai
Wei, where it
was understood there were a number of Chinese cooks and
stewards of the old
China Fleet that might be willing to re engage.
However, it was thought inadvisable at this stage to pay
to this port without correct diplomatic approval.
36. COLOSSUS, who had
been covering the entrance into
the air, was ordered to Jinsen
in Korea on the
24th of September to evacuate British and
American P.O.W. to Manila.
37. On the 25th
August, A.C.N.B. signaled the C. In C. B.P.F. asking
whether a cruiser or
larger vessel could be made available for the surrender of
the Japanese forces
38. T.G. 111.5,
consisting of GLORY, HART, and AMETHYST, was formed, and
the surrender was
signed on board on 6 September. This has
been the subject of a separate report of
of 12th September 1945, forwarded under C. in
Prisoners of War and Internees
39. During the days
following the end of hostilities, and in default of any
policy from higher authority,
it was assumed for the purpose of organizing P.O.W. relief
teams that the U.S.
authorities would be responsible for Japan and Korea and
authorities would be responsible for their own nationals
in Shanghai, North
China, and Formosa, and for all nations in Hong
Kong. It was further gleaned from various sources
that all Ps.O.W. from
be eventually concentrated in Manila.
40. The situation was
still obscure on 28th August, so I asked
S.C.A.P. whether he
accepted responsibility for evacuating RAPWI* to
*RAPWI: Recovery of Allied Prisoners of War and
41. At the same time
Admiralty was asked who was the
authority for dealing with Ps.O.W.
matters in the
Pacific, and for my information on plans for their
42. On the 30th
of August a reply was received from Admiralty giving the
repatriation of Ps. O.W. in the Pacific.
A reply was also received from S.C.A.P. on the 31st
but, as it was somewhat ambiguous, I asked for
confirmation that S.C.A.P.
accepted responsibility for transporting America Allied
Ps. O.W. for
and U.K. in
accordance with the Chiefs of Staffs’ directive.
This last signal was never answered but, from
developments later, it was clear that the U.S.
authorities were implementing this plan.
of B.P.F. Units for carrying RAPWI
Meanwhile, it was clear that all available
be required for moving Ps.O.W.
I ordered my Headquarters to prepare plans for IMPLACABLE,
and later for
FORMIDABLE and GLORY, at
fitted to evacuate Ps.O.W..
Matters remained in this unsatisfactory
stated for several days while I discussed the situation
with S.C.A.P. who had
not received the Chiefs of Staff’s directive, showing his
responsibilities. On the 4th September, I
issue a directive to implement the policy for the
repatriation of Ps.O.W.
44. Policy for evacuation of RAPWI
Briefly this was
To use H.M. ships to the maximum extent
possible for the evacuation of Ps.O.W.
and final repatriation.
To make Hong Kong a collecting
and processing centre as far
as possible, to take the overflow from Manila.
It was clear that
would became an important
staging and routing point for Ps.O.W.
and the B.P.F. liaison
personnel in the Philippines was
strengthened. Up to
this time, very little information on numbers and
location of Ps.O.W.
was coming in from
Army sources. Without this information
it was impossible to make any plans, and a system of
reporting in the B.P.F.
was evolved in order to formulate plans and to keep
It was appreciated that the
would not, in principle, accept any responsibility for
civilian internees in their rehabilitation camps, or for
them. This was very forcibly
demonstrated at Manila when the EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA
arrived there with some
1000 British civilians embarked who were refused
permission to land (Paragraph
17 also refers). Although Admiralty
approval permitting these civilians to travel to U.K. in
EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA gave an indication that H.M.
Government accepted some
responsibility towards internees – no general policy had
been received. As there were still approximately
civilian internees in China, the
Admiralty were asked on 10th of September for
guidance in this
matter. A reply was received three days
later intimating that civilian internees would receive
equal treatment as
prisoners of war, and arrangements were put in train to
find out how many
required transport to U.K. and
bids for shipping made.
47. It has
transpired that not as many as was first thought, wished
to return to U.K. and
shipping already engaged should be adequate.
Although some internees have left
Hone Kong, none from that area and further north as yet
sailed from China.
48. In the early
stages there was some difficulty in deciding who was a
P.O.W. and who was an
internee, various authorities interpreting these words
differently. It was therefore necessary to define
“P.O.W.”, which was done in order to include as many
possible. No cases have been reported of
any difficulty on this matter, particularly after it was
announced that civilians
would be treated similarly to Ps.O.W.
Task Group 111.2 entered
the 30th of August
The most serious hospital cases, number 321,
were embarked in the Hospital ship OXFORDSHIRE.
The ship landed 35 sick Canadian subjects at Manila, and
then proceeded to Australia,
disembarking the remaining patients at Brisbane on the
19th September and Sydney on the
22nd of September.
Further evacuations of Hong Kong took placed in
AUSTRALIA which left Hong Kong on the 12th of
September (900 Ps.O.W. and
1000 internees), GLENGYLE, which left Hong Kong
on the 18th September (600 British internees),
which left Hong Kong on the 18th of September
for Madras (800 Indian
P.O.W.), TAKLIWA (800 Indian P.O.W.), HIGHLAND MONARCH
(400 internees and 350
Indian P.O.W.), and the Hospital ship TAIREA (550 Indian
P.O.W.) The three last named all left
Kong about the 5th October.
In addition, a number of RAPWI with destinations
been lifted in ferry CVEs on
passage from Hong
About 700 RAPWI, including Indians, British, and
These were evacuated in H.M.S. GLENEARN and
Hospital ship GERUSALEMME to Hong Kong on the
17th and 18th of September, assisted
QUEENBOROUGH, and WHIRLWIND.
P.O.W. teams were flown in from Task Group 111.3
from H.M.S. COLOSSUS on the 12th
September. No extensive evacuation has so far taken
place. H.M.S. GLENEARN left on 2nd
approximately 400 internees, where she arrived on the 6th
and has since proceeded to Ceylon. Hospital Ship
EMPIRE CLYDE arrived at Shanghai on 19th
The majority of RAPWI in
been evacuated in U.S. Ships.
Hospital ship MAUGANUI embarked 94 sick at
Kiirun and arrived at
September. After embarking further sick,
20th September for New
Zealand landing 370
459 British P.O.W., including many from H.M.S.
embarked in H.M.S. MAIDSTONE at Macassar
at Fremantle on the 30th September.
The majority are proceeding in the ship to
The majority of RAPWI in
lifted by U.S. Forces. H.M.S. COLOSSUS embarked
354 British and Australian for Manila,
arriving on the 4th October.
H.M.S. RULER and H.M.S. SPEAKER assisted in the
H.M.S. SPEAKER ran to Okinawa and to Manila. Details
of the lifts carried are not
known. H.M.S. RULER arrived
27th of September with 485 British and
Small numbers of RAPWI were also embarked in
INDEFATIGABLE and other H.M. ships returning to
Hospital ship TJITJALENGKA embarked 382 British
Australian sick from Japan, landing the former at Auckland
on the 4th
of October, and the latter at Sydney on the 12th
of October. Hospital ship VASNA, with 73 sick from
The remainder were
in U.S. ships
The evacuation of
America has, in the main, been carried in
but substantial assistance has been given by B.P.F. ships,
IMPLACABLE embarked 2127 British Ps.O.W.,
11th October. H.M.S. GLORY
followed with 1460 (including 37 Canadian sick and 119
fit) leaving Manila for Vancouver on the
9th October. H.M.C.S. PRINCE
ROBERT also took 41 Canadians and others, leaving for
Vancouver on the
H.M.S. FORMIDABLE embarked 1200 Ps.O.W.
mainly Australians and arrived
Sydney on the 13th
October, followed by H.M.S. SPEAKER with 624, also mainly
(c). H.M.S. COLOSSUS
embarked 200 Europeans, mainly Hong Kong volunteers for
passage to Hong Kong
and India, on the 4th of October.
H.M.S. LOTHIAN embarked 277 Asiatics
for passage to
Small numbers of RAPWI have also been embarked in
ferry CVEs calling
passage to Australia.
57. It was clear that
the 1943 Treaty would make a difference to the pre war
freedom of movement of
H.M. ships on the China Coast, but in the early days of
the peace, when British
requiring urgent attention, humanitarian, rather than
diplomatic action had to
58. With Admiralty’s
concurrence, it was arranged that, except at
B.P.F. would operate under the American Commanders.
However, to make it quite clear to the
Chinese Government where British ships were operating,
Naval Attaché, Chungking, was
kept fully informed of such assignments.
59. Though this
arrangement should have worked at
might have resulted elsewhere in considerable
embarrassment for Com 7th
Fleet. He could hardly be expected to
sponsor visits of H.M. ships to ports outside his
horizon, and the presence of H.M. ships, as if in support
of any landings that
he was expecting to make with U.S. Marines, appeared
60. Com 7th
Fleet therefore put T.G. 112.3 out of his mind, as
apparently did the U.S.
while the former relegated the British flagship to a berth
out of sight of the
main section of the Bund, the latter failed to make the
understand our method of operating under the U.S.
61. I hoped I had
cleared up both these points while at
while succeeding in showing to the Chinese that our
appearance in Shanghai should
not have appeared furtive, I was unable to obtain from
Admiral Kincaid much
promise of greater interest in the British forces.
62. His lack of
consideration reached its limit in the manner that T.G. 74
made it appearance
Though expecting a Service force in support
of the lift by U.S. Ships of the Chinese from Kowloon, I
hardly expected a large invasion with the added intention
of settling themselves
in as if at a U.S. Base.
63. It was evident,
however, that Admiral Kincaid had little knowledge of
secondly, that he had not previously worked with British
forces. As soon as I had represented the matter to CinC
Pac, the situation immediately
changed, and a good liaison was thereafter established
between Admiral Kincaid
and Rear Admiral Servaes.
During my visit to Admiral Chen Shao-Kwan
appreciation of the suggestion that minesweepers should
assist him in clearing
ports and I
arranged for this operation immediately on return to Hong
Kong. I consider
this shows that there is no strong objection to the free
movement of my fleet
and, after a few months of formal negotiations, we may
well be allowed the
privileges on the Coast, but not in the rivers, that we
used to have.
on the 12th
September and commenced sweeping.
Further operations are not in progress with full co
operation of U.S.
(Sgd) Bruce Fraser, Admiral