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BRITISH PACIFIC FLEET - August to October 1945


Transcribed by Don Kindell

George Cheedle, "Subby" Neil, Maurice Whiteing, three of the crew of HMS Indomitable, serving with BPF (Paul Whiteing, click to enlarge)

on to British Pacific Fleet, Dec 1945-June 1946
or back to Admiralty War Diaries


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)


China, East Indies, Australia & New Zealand Stations September 1939 to March 1942

  Areas of Operations (click to enlarge). Only some locations in text are shown  

Click for Convoy Route Codes and Operation Code Names


Extracted from ADM199/1478



Enclosure to Command in Chief, British Pacific Fleet’s 1340/BPF/1780/OPS of 6 December 1945



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 regarding Hong Kong and Shanghai.

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 Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore 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.

3.  Organisation of these Task Groups was as follows:

            (a)    For Hong Kong  - Task Group 111.2

INDOMITABLE (flying the flag of Rear Admiral Harcourt, Flag Officer commanding 11th Aircraft Squadron.)

            (b).   For Shanghai – Task Group 111.3

BERMUDA (Flying the Flag of Rear Admiral Servaes, Flag Officer Commanding 2nd Cruiser Squadron.

            (c).    For Singapore  - Task Group 111.4

ANSON (Flying the Flag of Rear Admiral Daniel, Flag Officer Commanding 1st Battle Squadron
VENGEANCE and four destroyers.

4.  Later it was found that logistic considerations would not permit despatch of a Task Group to Singapore and T.G. 111.4 was used to augment the Hong Kong Task Groups.

5.  Prisoners of War Contact teams for Shanghai, Formosa, and Hong Kong were organized the assembled.  At the time it was not clear whether entry into Hong Kong would be made under operational control of CINCPAC.  Accordingly, CINCPAC was asked to consider employment of MAIDSTONE, 8th 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 Hong Kong and was 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 reoccupy Hong Kong as a Crown Colony and that the U.S. authorities would not participate.

8.  Sailing of forces

Two hours after the news of the acceptance of the surrender terms by Japan on 15 August, the Task Groups for the China Coast sailed from Sydney.  It was appreciated that our entry into Hong Kong was dependent on our ability to sweep adequate 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 U.S. forces.  At these ships were present in the Borneo 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 employed. 

9.  Loan of ships from Royal Australian Navy

In view of the urgency of assembling a naval force ready to make immediate entry, and that Admiral Harcourt could not arrive off Hong Kong until 26th August, A.C.N.B. was asked whether the Australian Squadron, consisting of SHROPSHIRE, HOBART, WARRAMUNGA, and BATAAN, 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 assembling at Subic to proceed to Hong Kong was given.  The only B.P.F. ships which could reach Hong Kong before 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 of August.

10.  Other Activities

While the Fleets were proceeding to their occupation area, various services for their maintenance and welfare, and the recovery of prisoners of war and the rehabilitation of Hong Kong were 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 from Sydney to Hong Kong, about every nine days, and another weekly service from Manus to Tokyo, employing the fast minelayers and destroyer reliefs for the Tokyo Force.  CVEs were also to carry to Hong Kong medical stores, port parties, and other personnel for the rehabilitation of the colony.  VINDEX, the first CVE to proceed on this ferry service, left Sydney on 21st August.  At the same time hospital ships were disposed; three on the China Coast, and two at Tokyo.  On 30th August, Rear Admiral Fleet Train, with the greater part of the Fleet Train, sailed from Manus for Hong Kong.

Movements of Task Force 37

12.  The activities of Task Force 37, up to the capitulation of Japan, are described elsewhere.

13.  On the 11th August, CINCPAC accepted my office of a British force of a battleship, two cruisers, one fleet carrier, and the necessary destroyers, to participate in the naval occupation of Japan.  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 Squadron), GAMBIA, 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 were ordered to Sydney, except those units joined T.G. 111.2 and 111.3.

14.  Entry into Japanese waters

Due to a typhoon interfering with the assembly of aircraft in Okinawa for the lift of U.S. Army occupation forces, Naval forces were 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 been 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 seamen and Royal Marines.

Outside, INDEFATIGABLE and eight destroyers remained with the U.S. Carrier Task Force, prepared for any emergency.  It soon became apparent that no Japanese treachery was to be expected, and the U.S. authorities 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 immediately in Sydney as a P.O.W. evacuation ship, instead of sailing to relieve INDEFATIGABLE.

16.  Evacuation of P.O.W

As early as 27th August it had become apparent to Com 3rd Fleet that action by Naval forces was necessary for early evacuation of Ps.O.W.  It was felt that it would take several days for the Army air lift, through Okinawa to Manila, to get into its stride and the U.S. Navy wanted to take their own 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 only being 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 British Commonwealth Ps.O.W. were clear of the Japanese mainland by 28th of September.

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 China 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 Hong Kong to be taken to Manila.  In accepting this, he insisted that Hong Kong must be made ready as soon as possible for the reception of other internees from the China Coast.  It transpired, however, that some authority in Manila refused 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 Hong Kong internees.

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 S.C.A.P.

19.  I sailed in DUKE OF YORK on 9th September for Okinawa and Hong Kong.  In co operation with the U.S. 3rd and 5th Fleet, ships of the B.P.F. left in Japan were used for the evacuation of Ps.O.Wfrom other areas.  SPEAKER went to Nagasaki, GAMBIA to Wakayma, and destroyers to Hamamatsu, Sendai, and Ominato.  Opportunity was 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 Brind in NEWFOUNDLAND and later SWIFTSURE.

20.  Rear Admiral Brind reported on 5th October that it was the U.S. policy 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 Subic Bay on 25th August.  On 29th August C.T.G. 111.2 was in W/T touch with the Japanese commander at Hong Kong and that day British aircraft flew over the Colony dropping messages.

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 later.

23.  Admiral Harcourt becomes Commander in Chief, Hong Kong

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 difficult problems cannot be considered as being within the scope of this report.

24.  Force SHIELD

Naval parties were landed everywhere; the only other guards available, until arrival of a Brigade of Commandos from the South East Asia Command, being the Royal Air Force Personnel of Force SHIELD.

This force, that arrived too late for its function of building airfields for British bombers at Okinawa, became 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 Japanese resistance requiring offensive action.  The arrival of Force SHIELD in the Pacific was certainly a most happy solution to the problem of developing Hong Kong air facilities.

25.  Fleet Train

Rear Admiral Fleet Train moved most of his units to Hong Kong in early September, and their resources were used for rehabilitation as well as continuing to support the fleet on the China Coast and in Japan.

26.  Flag Officer Western Area, British Pacific Fleet

On my arrival at Hong 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:

            T.G. 112.2 under Rear Admiral Daniel

            T.G. 112.3 under Rear Admiral Servaes

            T.G. 112.4 (Air Train) under Commodore, Air Train

            T.G. 112.5, British River Patrol under Captain Love

The last named force, consisting of Escorts, was sent to Shanghai to report to C.T.G. 112.3 in case developments showed the necessity of 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.

Movements of C.T.G. 111.3

27.  Rear Admiral Servaes visited Com 7th Fleet in Manila, reporting 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. operations.

28.  No immediate operations were planned for 7th Fleet except the early support of landing parties at Keijo in Korea, and the provision of food supplies from the air to prison camps in Formosa.  I ordered C.T.G. 112.3 to take up the 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 on 3rd September.  They arrived at Kiirun on 6th September, and while COLOSSUS and TUMULT remained outside, BERMUDA, 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 Manila.  This enabled C.T.G. 111.3 to report on the 9th of September that all Ps.O.W. known to be in Formosa had been evacuated.

29.  On 11th September, C.T.G. 111.3, who had transferred his flag to BELFAST, left for the Shanghai area.  On 12th September, P.O.W. teams were flown into Shanghai by aircraft from COLOSSUS, but the main entry was delayed until 18th September, when T.G. 111.3 anchored off the Yangtze Bar.

30.  On 19th September, Rear Admiral Servaes in BELFAST, with ARGONAUT, and three destroyers in company, secured off the Bund in Shanghai, and the following day, BERMUDA and TUMULT arrived at Tsingtao.

31.  Difficulties with Chinese Government

Both these movements had been communicated to the Naval Attaché, Chungking, 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 American command, either through ignorance or misunderstanding.  This had resulted in the feeling that the British flag had slipped in 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 Fleet

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. original document shows C.T.G. 111.2’) activities in connection with Ps. O.W. and internees are described in Rear Admiral Commanding Second Cruiser Squadron’s No. 082/927/253/1 of 15 September 1945.

34.  Tsingtao

In Tsingtao, the Commanding Officer, H.M.S. BERMUDA, contacted the American Army P.O.W. authority, internees in Weishen district being brought into Tsingtao.  This was not helped by the fact that the railway line ran through still armed Japanese forces and Communist 8th Route Army.  The latter being the most unreliable.

35.  On 11th October, U.S. Marines landed at Tsingtao and it 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 any attention to this port without correct diplomatic approval.

36.  COLOSSUS, who had been covering the entrance into Shanghai from 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 at Rabaul.

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 proceedings.  (GLORY’s 394/2018 of 12th September 1945, forwarded under C. in C., B.P.F.’s 924/BPF/1566/OPS)

Repatriation of 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 that British 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 Japan would 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 Manila.

            (n.b.  *RAPWI:  Recovery of Allied Prisoners of War and Internees)

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 eventual evacuation.

42.  On the 30th of August a reply was received from Admiralty giving the policy for repatriation of Ps. O.W. in the Pacific.  A reply was also received from S.C.A.P. on the 31st August, 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 Canada 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.

43Conversion of B.P.F. Units for carrying RAPWI

Meanwhile, it was clear that all available transport would be required for moving Ps.O.W. and I ordered my Headquarters to prepare plans for IMPLACABLE, and later for FORMIDABLE and GLORY, at Sydney to be 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 decided to issue a directive to implement the policy for the repatriation of Ps.O.W.

44.  Policy for evacuation of RAPWI

Briefly this was

(a).  To use H.M. ships to the maximum extent possible for the evacuation of Ps.O.W. and final repatriation.

(b). To make Hong Kong a collecting and processing centre as far as possible, to take the overflow from Manila.

45.  Reports

It was clear that Manila 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 outside authorities informed.

46.  Internees

It was appreciated that the U.S. authorities would not, in principle, accept any responsibility for receiving civilian internees in their rehabilitation camps, or for repatriating 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 8,000 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 elsewhere in Asia, and preliminary 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 Shanghai for 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 categories as 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.

Evacuation of RAPWI

49.  Hong Kong

Task Group 111.2 entered Hong Kong on the 30th of August 1945.  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 EMPRESS OF 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), LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE 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 Hong Kong about the 5th October.

In addition, a number of RAPWI with destinations in Australia have been lifted in ferry CVEs on passage from Hong Kong to Sydney.

50.  Hainan

About 700 RAPWI, including Indians, British, and Dutch, were uncovered in Hainan.  These were evacuated in H.M.S. GLENEARN and Hospital ship GERUSALEMME to Hong Kong on the 17th and 18th of September, assisted by KEMPENFELT, QUEENBOROUGH, and WHIRLWIND.

51 Shanghai

P.O.W. teams were flown in from Task Group 111.3 in aircraft from H.M.S. COLOSSUS on the 12th September.  No extensive evacuation has so far taken place.  H.M.S. GLENEARN left on 2nd October for Hong Kong with approximately 400 internees, where she arrived on the 6th October, and has since proceeded to Ceylon.  Hospital Ship EMPIRE CLYDE arrived at Shanghai on 19th October.

52.  Formosa

The majority of RAPWI in Formosa had been evacuated in U.S. Ships.

Hospital ship MAUGANUI embarked 94 sick at Kiirun and arrived at Manila on 15th September.  After embarking further sick, she left Manila on the 20th September for New Zealand landing 370 patients at Auckland.

53.  Macassar

459 British P.O.W., including many from H.M.S. EXETER, were embarked in H.M.S. MAIDSTONE at Macassar and arrived at Fremantle on the 30th September.  The majority are proceeding in the ship to U.K.

54.  Korea

The majority of RAPWI in Korea were lifted by U.S. Forces.  H.M.S. COLOSSUS embarked 354 British and Australian for Manila, arriving on the 4th October.

55.  Japan

H.M.S. RULER and H.M.S. SPEAKER assisted in the evacuation of Japan.  H.M.S. SPEAKER ran to Okinawa and to Manila.  Details of the lifts carried are not known.  H.M.S. RULER arrived Sydney on the 27th of September with 485 British and Australians.

Small numbers of RAPWI were also embarked in H.M.S. INDEFATIGABLE and other H.M. ships returning to Australia.

Hospital ship TJITJALENGKA embarked 382 British and 54 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 Japan and Okinawa, arrived at Sydney on the 22nd October.

The remainder were evacuated to Manila in U.S. ships and aircraft.

56.  Manila

The evacuation of Manila to North America has, in the main, been carried in U.S. ships, but substantial assistance has been given by B.P.F. ships, as follows”

(a).  H.M.S. IMPLACABLE embarked 2127 British Ps.O.W., arriving at Esquimalt on the 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 2nd October.

(b).  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 Australian, reaching Sydney on the 15th October.

(c).  H.M.S. COLOSSUS embarked 200 Europeans, mainly Hong Kong volunteers for passage to Hong Kong and India, on the 4th of October.

(d).  H.M.S. LOTHIAN embarked 277 Asiatics for passage to Singapore, leaving Manila on the 14th October.

(e).  Small numbers of RAPWI have also been embarked in ferry CVEs calling Manila on passage to Australia.

Movements of H.M. Ships on China Coast

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 Ps.O.W. and internees, were requiring urgent attention, humanitarian, rather than diplomatic action had to be taken.

58.  With Admiralty’s concurrence, it was arranged that, except at Hong Kong, all 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 Shanghai, it 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 immediate operational 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 politically unsound.

60.  Com 7th Fleet therefore put T.G. 112.3 out of his mind, as apparently did the U.S. Authorities at Chungking, for 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 Chinese Government understand our method of operating under the U.S. Commander.

61.  I hoped I had cleared up both these points while at Chungking, but 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 in Hong Kong.  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 China and, 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.

64.  Minesweeping

During my visit to Admiral Chen Shao-Kwan at Chungking, he expressed appreciation of the suggestion that minesweepers should assist him in clearing the South China 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.

65.  Minesweepers arrived in Amoy on the 12th September and commenced sweeping.  Further operations are not in progress with full co operation of U.S. Minesweeping Forces.

                                                                                    (Sgd) Bruce Fraser, Admiral


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