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15 October 2014
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VE Day in the Far East

by James C. Jack

Contributed by 
James C. Jack
People in story: 
James C. Jack
Location of story: 
Off Sakishima Islands, North Pacific
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
11 May 2005

Bombing-up on VE +1 Business as usual!

I was a Radio Mechanic in 1834 Squadron, R.N.A.S. on board HMS Victorious, operating as part of the US Pacific Fleet, under the command of Admiral Chester Nimitz, U.S.N.
The news of D-day was celebrated on board by the Captain, M.M.Denny ordering "SPLICE THE MAINBRACE".
The celebration was, however, somewhat muted and one could sense a certain amount of resentment in relation to the celebrations in London, while as far as we were concerned the war was very far from over. This fact was driven home the following day, when as the photo shows, the Avenger squadron was being "bombed up" for that day's strikes on Japanese airfields, these attacks being designed to stop the flying of Japanese replacement planes to Okinawa where there was an on-going American landing. A few weeks later we were back in the area again, but a bit further north, actually attacking targets on the Japanese "mainland". While we were there the atom bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In spite of that,however our planes continued for a day or two with their own bombing raids. Little wonder that the air crews showed a somewhat lukewarm enthusiasm for these raids, when you compare the size of the bombs they were dropping (as in the picture) with the megatons that the A- bomb represented. However, there can be little doubt that the dropping of the A-bombs saved the lives of countless allied servicemen, for I am convinced that the Kamikaze attacks would have increased a thousand-fold once the home islands of Japan were attacked. Who knows? The ultimate deterrent may have done just that and made the prospect of nuclear war so terrible that it is unlikely that anyone will ever contemplate it - no matter how power-crazed they are. Anyway, I guess most of us who were fighting in the far east, were very happy to see the end of the war and the REAL celebration of PEACE that came with VJ day.

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