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Rising Sun*
12-05-2008, 04:11 AM
SEQUEL TO 1942 SYDNEY HARBOUR MIDGET SUB RAID REVEALED
By Bob Wurth
Author of Saving Australia

When the ashes of four of the six submariners killed in the 1942 midget submarine raid on Sydney Harbour arrived home in Japan later that year, Radio Tokyo called their return a chivalrous act that "greatly impressed" Japan.

The first Japanese ambassador to Australia, Tatsuo Kawai, took the ashes back to Japan and handed them to relatives of the young men on arrival at Yokohama. Kawai had come to Australia in March, 1941.

"The heroes' actions so impressed the Australian people that in spite of the fact that Australia recognises herself as the 49th state of America, they responded with the courtesy and honor of a naval funeral," Kawai told Japanese newspapers.

The National Archives referred my request to declassify the secret Australian wartime file to the historical division of the Department of Foreign Affairs, which acquiesced, believing that the bizarre details would no longer give offence to Japan.

The Curtin Government allowed the four young men from the two Japanese submarines recovered in 1942 to be cremated in Sydney with full military honors.

Japanese newspapers in 1942 also praised the Australian action in returning the ashes. This greatly interested the military propaganda section of the Allied Intelligence Bureau called the Far Eastern Liaison Office or FELO, based at Windsor and Indooroopilly in Brisbane.

FELO's director, naval commander John Proud, according to a letter to Port Moresby in December 1942, concocted a plan to cremate Japanese war dead from battlefields in New Guinea. The plan was to drop them with the identity of the dead together with leaflets drawing attention to this "chivalrous act" and deploring the unnecessary wastage of life.

"This scheme may seem fantastic at first" he said "but it has been inspired by the somewhat spectacular reaction in Japan to the action of the RAN in cremating the bodies of the Japanese who were killed in the submarines in Sydney Harbour, and returning the ashes to Japan.

"The cremating would, of course, be done on a comparatively small scale and 'off the record' there would be no guarantee that the ashes were those of the person named on the label," Proud wrote.

Proud's scheme eventually got the approval of the Allied Commander in Chief, General Douglas MacArthur.

By January 1943, Proud believed that Japanese morale was beginning to crack. He thought the return of the ashes of more Japanese "would impress the Japanese soldier that he is fighting 'gentlemen' and therefore offset the Japanese propaganda which has been to the effect that Europeans have no sense in tradition and are rather brute beasts." Proud thought the exercise would show that "the other fellow" was not so bad after all.

"It would cause considerable embarrassment to the local commanding officers. If the leaflets were properly designed they would inform the troops of our action and the commanding officer would not dare to ignore the return of the ashes," Proud added.

As the plan went ahead, undertakers and Japanese experts were consulted. One intelligence chief asked: "Is it necessary to use genuine Japanese bodies? Would not ashes of cremated animals be just as effective? There would be no difference in the chemical composition." But no animal ashes were ever used.

Commander Proud and his FELO staffers in Brisbane insisted on using only the ashes of war dead and urns identical to those used in Japan were obtained. During 1943 the accompanying leaflet was written and amended. It stated that Allied commanders "respect the traditional regard of the Japanese soldiers for the return to the homeland of the ashes of those who have been killed in battle."

By the end of end of August 1943, all was set. The urns and leaflets were attached to parachutes and loaded aboard an RAAF bomber in Port Moresby commanded by Flying Officer Gerard Keogh, who before the war had been an assistant district officer in New Guinea and a gold miner at Wewak. Keogh's wife Justina, mother Hessie and father Edmond lived at East Maitland in New South Wales.

Keogh had orders to fly over occupied Lae to drop the remains of the Japanese soldiers. The aircraft soared over the Owen Stanley Range while Proud and his staff in Brisbane anxiously awaited news.

Several years back I was sitting in the reading room of the National Archives in Canberra when an archivist delivered to me the long-closed file that had been secret since the war. It had just been declassified at my request. As I came near the end of the now declassified file I came across a cable from Port Moresby to Brisbane dated September 1, 1943. The details were not published in my book for reasons of space. I recall that when I read the cable in the NAA reading room, I could feel the hair rise on the back of my neck. The cable read:

"FOR FELO. AEROPLANE WITH F/O KEOUGH AND ASHES OVERDUE FEARED LOST. BELIEVED NOT TO HAVE REACHED LAE. SUGGEST SEND MORE ASHES AND LEAFLETS."

Keogh's bomber crashed flying to Lae, killing the pilot and crew. The cause of death on Gerard Keogh's service record reads "Flying battle." Proud desperately tried to resurrect interest in his fantastic psychological warfare scheme and to drop more Japanese ashes, but it was abandoned by his senior officers, who thought the scheme no longer worth the effort and risk. http://www.savingaustralia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6

As a sad irony, Keogh's B-24 crashed on the mission by flying into a cliffside on a mountain trying to cross the Owen Stanley Range and burst into flames, incinerating most of the crew and re-cremating the Japanese ashes.

Cuts
12-05-2008, 07:23 AM
SEQUEL TO 1942 SYDNEY HARBOUR MIDGET SUB RAID REVEALED
By Bob Wurth
Author of Saving Australia

...

"The cremating would, of course, be done on a comparatively small scale"

...http://www.savingaustralia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6

Well they were in a Japanese midget submarine...

;)

Rising Sun*
12-05-2008, 08:40 AM
Well they were in a Japanese midget submarine...

;)

Yes, and they produced midget results for mammoth effort. http://www.ww2australia.gov.au/underattack/sydharbour.html
http://www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/midgetsub/doc.asp

The Japanese should have done a lot better at Sydney as it was a typical Australian f**k up of the highest order in the early stages of the war with Japan. Apart from the unchallenged reconnaisance flight over Sydney and its Harbour by the float plane launched earlier from a Japanese sub, the Harbour was nicely illuminated and the naval dockyard remained brilliantly illuminated for most of the relatively lengthy sub attacks as bureacratic stupidity prevented RAN operational / fighting officers giving orders to the obstinately stupid civilian dockyard manager to turn off his f**king lights at the height of the attack!

Those so called 'midget' subs were anything but 'midgets'. People tend to think of them as the type with the operator riding on the outside rather than the type actually used.


The Type A Japanese midget submarines used in the Sydney raid were approximately 24 metres (80 feet) in length, had a crew of two, carried two 18-inch torpedoes, had pre-charged batteries driving a 600hp electric motor, and could remain submerged for about 12 hours. On display at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, is a composite craft made up of the remains of midget Ha-14 and Ha-21, while the remaining conning tower (from Ha-21) is on display at the Naval Heritage Centre, Garden Island, Sydney. None of the five mother submarines survived wartime operations. Interestingly, I-22 and I-24 had launched previous midget submarines during the Pearl Harbour attack of 1941 six months before. http://maritime.heritage.nsw.gov.au/public/Site_View.cfm?Site_ID=4

They required large subs to carry them, so they diverted large subs from other duties to deliver them to points where they generally achieved little more than tactical nuisance and occasionally somewhat greater psychological damage to the enemy, but overall none of it of any significance in tactical or strategic terms. To paraphrase Churchill, Never in the field of human endeavour did so few do so much to achieve so little.

These subs held a special place in the minds of the IJN leadership as the carriers of the flower of Japanese naval spirit. When the mother subs carrying the midgets left Kure for Pearl Harbor Admiral Ugaki (Yamamoto's Chief of Staff of the Combined Fleet) wrote in his diary of the midget submariners he admired so much:

"They expect never to return alive; they are ready to die at the scene of battle. Their preparedness is admirable. Our old 'death defying' spirit never changes. We can rely fully upon them."

This turned out to be a bit of a disappointment as the midgets did sweet FA at Pearl, apart from giving up one crew member who was eternally shamed by his capture.

The midgets were known by the IJN to be dangerous and unreliable, but Ugaki in particular along with many other senior officers admired the spirit of their crews and gave them a prominence in operations that their achievements showed was a spectacular waste of resources and, worse, brave men as each midget required a mother sub to carry it, usually to a futile or insignificant action.

What is interesting is that the midget crews and the attitudes surrounding them show a kamikaze spirit in the IJN at the beginning of the war and long before it was created under the pressure of looming defeat in 1944-45 in the better known kamikaze aircraft pilots.

Rising Sun*
12-05-2008, 08:42 AM
Well they were in a Japanese midget submarine...

;)

Are you going to be here for a while this time?

Some of us, including me, have missed your presence and contributions.

Then again, others haven't. ;) :D

navyson
12-05-2008, 04:54 PM
Speaking of Japanese midget submarines, here is a pic of the one located in the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg, TX:http://www.nimitz-museum.org/george_bush_gallery.htm And standing next to it, it is by no means "midget".

P.S. There is a pic below it of a B-25, supposed to be from the Dolittle Raid over Japan.

Cuts
12-06-2008, 07:52 AM
Are you going to be here for a while this time?

Some of us, including me, have missed your presence and contributions.

I sincerely hope so, the life of the millionaire playboy is not all it's cracked up to be !
:D



Then again, others haven't. ;) :D

Ah, different opinions. :)
Just part of life's rich and colourful tapestry.

Rising Sun*
12-06-2008, 07:56 AM
I sincerely hope so, the life of the millionaire playboy is not all it's cracked up to be !
:D

How would you know? :D




Ah, different opinions. :)
Just part of life's rich and colourful tapestry.

Or tapas. ;)

Cuts
12-06-2008, 08:42 AM
I sincerely hope so, the life of the millionaire playboy is not all it's cracked up to be !
:D
How would you know? :D
It's what they're all saying, doncha' know ol' bean.
They're no longer interested in being waited on hand and foot by a bevvy of suntanned, semi-naked beauties.




Personally I think they're isane.





Ah, different opinions. :)
Just part of life's rich and colourful tapestry.Or tapas. ;)

Sapristi brains !
What, what, what, what, what ?
That hadn't ocurred to me Gryptype, you think of everything !