AN EARLY MILITARY NEWSLETTER ANNOUNCING THE JAPANESE SURRENDER: FASCINATING MIMEOGRAPHED NEWSLETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 3, 1945 FROM THE USS SALAMAUA
(WORLD WAR II). Mimeographed typescript of the USS Salamaua News. No place, September 3, 1945. Two sheets of beige paper, staple-bound as issued, each measuring 8 by 13 inches; pp. 2. $9500.
Original mimeographed USS Salamaua News newsletter containing detailed news of Japanese surrender, preliminary reports on POWs in Japan and their treatment by the Japanese, Japanese reactions to the surrender, brief news from around the world, and baseball standings, accompanied by a black-and-white photograph of the newsletter's owner, Lt. Commander Fred R. Salisbury II of the Salamaua.
This newsletter was issued for crewmen on the USS Salamaua, best known for being attacked on January 13, 1945. This ship newsletter from nine months after the attack kept the crew of approximately 570 officers and enlisted men informed of world events—particularly those relevant to their service. This issue of the newsletter provides details of the Japanese surrender; initial reports on prisoners in Japanese prison camps; and other world news including standings for the National League and American League baseball teams.
Notable quotations from the newsletter include: "TOKYO BAY Japan surrendered formally and unconditionally to the United States and its allied partners today… MacArthur told the Japs that 'As supreme commander for the allied powers, I announce it is my firm purpose in the tradition of the countries I represent to proceed in the discharge of my responsibilities with justice and tolerance while making all necessary dispositions to insure that terms of surrender are fully, promptly and faithfully complied with… President Truman, speaking over a radio hookup… proclaimed Sunday, September 2nd, as 'V-J Day,' The day of formal surrender by Japan… Liberated allied prisoners of war Sunday recited more instances of beating, hunger, and humiliation… There was no indication of deliberate German scale mass extermination… Approximately 4,200 Americans, British, and Dutch remain in camps in the Tokyo-Yokohama area… TOKYO The Japanese said Saturday that for two days after Emperor Hirohito told his people the war was over, several planes, evidently flown by fanatical suicide pilots, dropped pamphlets on major Japanese cities asking the people to disregard the Emperor's word and fight on…"
The USS Salamaua had participated in the invasion of Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines. A kamikaze attack carried out by a Ki-84 airplane left a 16-foot by 32-foot hole in the Salamaua's flight deck. It also sparked a number of fires. The plane had carried two 551-pound bombs, allowing it to penetrate deeply into the lower decks. One bomb detonated near the tank tops, just above the bilge and narrowly missing the bomb stowage compartment. The blast sent debris and fuselage across the flight deck, collapsing a number of bulkheads. The second bomb failed to explode and was ejected through the starboard side of the ship at the waterline. The 20-inch hole it left allowed seawater to rush into the ship. As a result, the ship lost power, communications, and steering, becoming a sitting duck.
While the Salamaua sat immobile, two more planes tried to strike it. One crashed into the sea, while another detonated in mid-air as it approached. The failure of those pilots meant that the attack killed only 15 of the Salamaua's crew. Another 88 crewmen were injured, some seriously.
When Rear Admiral Calvin T. Durgin, in command of a task force, asked for the origin of the smoke he saw coming from the Salamaua, he received the reply, "Something just went through our flight deck." The starboard engine was submerged and the ship listed 8 degrees to starboard. Yet, the crew managed to get the ship functional using only the portside engine. Ten long hours after the attack, the Salamaua was able to break away to Leyte for repairs. An entire day of pumping failed to alleviate the flooding, so the ship merely underwent stabilization repairs before being sent to San Francisco for two rounds of repair. The Salamaua returned to the Philippines in May and eventually was retired from service in 1946, earning the dubious distinction of being the last ship to be successfully attacked by a kamikaze. This fragment belonged to Lt. Commander Fred R. Salisbury II of Minnesota. Salisbury worked in his father's business, a furniture manufacturer, until the outbreak of World War II, Salisbury enlisted in the U.S. Navy in February of 1942 and was assigned to be lieutenant commander of the USS Salamaua, a Casablanca-class escort aircraft carrier. Salisbury was released on inactive duty in March 1946 and became vice president of the family business. Laid-in photograph of Salisbury in Guam in 1945.
A fascinating World War II artifact.