August 1945 – James Fahey’ Diary

USS Montpelier

From: The Secret Diary of an American Sailor, Seaman First ClassJames J. Fahey aboard the USS Montpelier :

2 August – All hands rose at 4:30 am because of storm warnings, the ships turned back 110 miles from Shanghai.  A typhoon is heading towards our position.  We will then travel south and patrol around until the danger passes.  The sea was full of enormous swells today.

3 August – It was very chilly on the midnight to 4 am watch.  The sea was very rough.  All hands were up for sunrise General Quarters at 4:30 am.  We were to refuel the destroyers today but could not because of the condition of the ocean.

The radio reported that 820 B-29 super forts hit Japan — 819 planes returned to their home bases.  It was the largest raid in history.  They dropped 6600 tons of bombs.

Clement Attlee defeated Churchill in the election for Prime Minister of England.  The Detroit Tigers are in first place by 3 games in the American League.  A B-25 medium bomber crashed into the Empire State Building in NYC.  Fourteen were killed and many suffered injuries.

The weather cleared and we headed up the China coast again.  Capt. Gorry spoke over the loudspeaker informing us that we were 140 miles from Shanghai.  We will advance north of the mouth of the Yangtze River and then proceed to the one fathom curve.  The battle cruisers, Guam and Alaska will not go up as far as us..  We will return and join the cruiser at approximately 2:30 am.

It will be a very dangerous mission because of the many reefs we could be grounded upon.  I wonder what Fleet Admiral Nimitz has in mind when he made plans to send us up there.  This is a very bold undertaking.

4 August –  We cruised up the Yangtze River in the heart of Jap-held territory.  The only ship we came across was a Chinese fishing schooner.  It was very chilly on watch again.  During the day we patrolled about 150 miles from Shanghai.  We refueled a destroyer in the morning.  In the afternoon we fired at sleeves that were towed by our carrier planes.

5 August – We left the Yangtze River.  Last night we came close to ramming a 1000-pound mine, but we detected it in time.  A destroyer blew it up with machine-gun fire.  The explosion was terrific.

Our practice was interrupted today because of Jap airplanes.  Our CAP combat air patrol planes from our carriers went after them.  The Japs dropped their bombs in the water and ran for home, but our fighters caught up to one and shot it down.  Our fighters shot down a couple more around 4:30.   It must have burned the Japs to see us having practice in their own backyard.  Sunday mass was held in the crew’s lounge.

James Fahey

6 August – The weather was very clear and sunny as we went to General Quarters.  Jap bombers were overhead at 30,000 feet.  We held our fire.  They looked like little white spots in the sky.  It took some time to locate them.  They were directly overhead and remained there for some time.  But as they positioned themselves in formation, they headed away from the fleet.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

“AND WHAT’S MORE, YOU CAN EXPECT A PRETTY STRONG LETTER FROM MY MOTHER, SO THERE!!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Walter Ashley – Bristol, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-26 tail gunner, 320th Bomb Group

Arthur Bleecher – Denver, CO; Merchant Marine, WWII, radio operator / US Army, Korea, Antiaircraft , Bronze Star

Malcolm Foster – Milford, DE; US Army, WWII

Clarence Helgren – Elgin, TX US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co G/511/11th Airborne Division

William Matthews – Brewster, MA; US Navy, WWII

Wendell O’Steen – Meigs, GA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Interpreter / Korea

William Pollard – Pleasantville, KY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 1st Lt., antiaircraft

Kenneth Stetson – CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-29 pilot

Charles Troeller – Lehigh Acres, FL; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Thomas Zinglo – Hollywood, FL; USMC, Korea

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on January 14, 2019, in First-hand Accounts, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 116 Comments.

  1. Always enjoy these first-hand accounts. Especially liked the fact that he added other things that were going on in the world at that time – elections, baseball, and even a plane crashing into the Empire State Building.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoy the understated, matter-of-fact tone of these diaries. They give such a good sense of what it was like to be in these situations: high drama combined with mundane detail. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of the plane crashing into the Empire State Building. I found a good bit of information about it, including some remarkable photos. I’m not sure which day of the week it happened, but one article noted that everyone was back at work the following Monday: another example of that generation’s sense of duty, I suspect.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All so matter of fact, G. It amazes me that Fahey could be so dispassionate about the experience, like managing to avoid a huge mine, or ending up in the heart of enemy territory. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  4. GP, this is a fascinating diary. Thanks for sharing it. I don’t remember being taught about the Empire State Building being hit by a plane back then. Wow…
    Have a great rest of the week. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

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    Like

  6. I can sincerely appreciate the diaried share of time and events. Tibthink, with all that was going on, it is unbelievable that some men and women actually sat down to put their experiences into script.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent post. Too often the experiences of soldiers, sailors, or marines not in the limelight are not reported. Great job.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I recently saw a moving documentary on the USS Indianapolis. Thank you for reminding us of the challenges and dangers the men w/ these extended assignments at sea face, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I just saw that myself. An hour and half program that showed the R/V Petrol searching for the wreckage along with WWII footage and memories from the survivors. Very interesting. I’m glad you found it to also be of interest, Anna.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I got a laugh out of the military humor especially the gunner.
    I also want to share this great story on my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It is impressive, that amid the chaos and destruction, how matter-of-fact the entries are. Keep these accounts coming!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ik lees al die berichten hier enorm grag en ben er al heel wat slimmer door geworden doordat ik nu een beter kijk heb gekregen op de geschiedenis

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Fascinating personal account. Thanks for researching and sharing GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I love the way he takes it all in his stride, and I like especially the way that he reports events without a great deal of comment, such as “Clement Attlee defeated Churchill in the election for Prime Minister of England” and, probably more important to most people on the ship, “The Detroit Tigers are in first place by 3 games in the American League”.
    Thanks for sharing this diary, I really enjoyed it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. That was strange; that seaman not using the 24 hour clock, 4.30 am , surely he meant 0420 hours, 🙂 I got into that habit when I went into the army in 1953 and still use that 24 hour clock.It’s now 15.58 hours AEST

    Being out in the Pacific he probably would not have heard of Doolittles raid on Berlin, some months earlier; almost 2000 planes, bombers and fighter escorts, involved.

    I can recall seeing on newsreals at the movies, the story of the plane crash, into the Empire State building and seeing reports in our newspapers, in England.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wiki carries a good summary of Montpellier—

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Montpelier_(CL-57)

    —always fascinating, GP. Thanks …

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hmmm, August 6, 1945. No mention of Hiroshima. I guess he was not aware?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Wow! This is so wonderful to read! Diaries, memoirs, and journals bring us a much more accurate and personal narrative of history! More so than history books do! We can learn so much from people like James J. Fahey…not just facts, but about attitude, determination, loyalty, patriotism, service, coping in the toughest of times, ETC!
    Thank you for sharing this, GP!
    And so grateful for James J. Fahey!
    I appreciated my history teacher in high school…he didn’t just share facts from a history book…he researched and shared personal stories of our men and women who serve(d) our country.
    (((HUGS)))

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I do like these excerpts.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Just another day. And another. The resilience of people in hard places. Stunning in its placid, matter-of-fact manner, peppered with wry editorial comments. Amidst it all the Tigers are in first place by 3! An excellent slice of life, G.P.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly, Brad. I was struck by that off-hand remark about the Tigers too! Sometimes it’s just the little thinks that make an impression and they write it down.

      Liked by 2 people

      • One can only imagine how dearly people in extreme circumstances cling to some aspect of “normal” life. That’s something that hasn’t changed. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think that’s why so many people “look back”. Things seemed simpler without the cell phones, internet and news media zooming around the globe in a heartbeat. Back then, if it wasn’t on the 6 o’clock news, we didn’t hear about it, plain and simple.

          Liked by 2 people

          • And Mr. Fahey’s diary as well as Smitty’s tremendously articulate letters that first attracted me to The Pacific Paratrooper might be evidence of how much more important it was for the “ordinary” person to get down things that matter. What wouldn’t I give for some blog posts from Smitty? Nope. Don’t need ’em. He wrote those letters!

            Liked by 1 person

            • [Smiling], thank you for that. But I’d give my life to have him back – and writing to boot. When Smitty was Secretary at his local Elks lodge, he wrote their newspaper “Hello Bill”, plus columns for his VFW. He enjoyed it. Not bad for a man who had to quite school after 9th grade to help support his mom and grandmother.

              Liked by 2 people

  20. I really like these first-person accounts, GP. You have to wonder why those Japanese bombers didn’t bomb the fleet.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Enjoyed reading this personal account.

    Like

  22. It’s always interesting seeing what individuals felt important enough to write down.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. GP: Please add to your Farewell Salutes, Michael C. Vasey Sr., US Army Military Police Corps, VN.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. How did they detect the mine?

    Liked by 1 person

  25. 6,600 tons of bombs! Seems enough to last through every war fought past and present until there is….peace maybe? This personal memoir is riveting. You continue to educate on my countries history in such an engaging way. Thank you so very much. All my best to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Excellent post. I”m impressed with the breadth of Fahey’s diary observations. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Interesting to read those personal account especially since they were not supposed to write them for fear of getting into the enemy’s hand. I know someone from NY who did the same thing who told me he could get court martialed if he got caught. But still it gave us the complete story.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Great GP! Reading diary’s really can tell us another history, very often i think. Thank you, and have a nice day! Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Fascinating account. Hard to imagine 6600 tons of bombs.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. 820 B-29’s. Good God. I wonder what passed through my mother-in-law’s mind at the sight of B-29’s over Tokyo? She would have been twelve years old in 1945.

    Liked by 3 people

  31. Always fascinating to read these very personal memoirs. And to find out what the fleet was doing, so close to the end of the war.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  1. Pingback: August 1945 – James Fahey’ Diary — Pacific Paratrooper – Site Title

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