Document courtesy of David Anderson:



Interview of
Air Group 12


In the
26 June 1944


I know you will be especially interested in our work with the British Eastern Fleet. I first took over VF 12 when Howard Caldwell had the group, and we were the first squadron to have F4Us. As you all know, we were around San Diego a long time getting the bugs out of the F4U. We went on out to the Pacific, and then eventually went aboard the SARATOGA. Just before we went aboard the SARATOGA, they took the F4Us away from us and gave us F6Fs, which at the time made me very sad as we had worked with the F4U, done a lot of testing, and gotten the bugs out of it, and had gone through all the headaches. We would have like to fight with it once as most of my boys had about 200 hours in the plane. But, Admiral Sherman came up and said, “Do you want to change, Joe? What do you think about it?” I said, “What the hell difference does it make what I think about it? I’m going to do what you say.” So, we changed over to F6Fs. We went up to Espiritu and picked them up. Then the SARATOGA picked the rest of the group up in Noumea and came up to Espiritu, and we took over the F6Fs and commissioned them with our men (we flew our men up). At that time we were not completely streamlined, and we couldn’t operate if we didn’t take our men with us. We got a few hours on the airplane and then went down to Efati. Some people had just one half-hour of field-carrier landings and some had two; two was the most we had. Then we went out and landed aboard the SARATOGA. The day we went out


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the weather was bad, and we had a pretty tough time finding her, but when we did find her and got aboard, we had to wait awhile until the rain squall was through. We all qualified that day making four landings without any trouble.

The SARATOGA stayed in Efati and we worked over at Villa. Things went along, swinging around the hook. Nothing was happening. A year ago there was just one carrier in the Pacific, and that was the SARATOGA. Just as we left to go to the SARATOGA, the ESSEX got out there, but we were the only carrier in the South Pacific, and the SARATOGA was supposed to keep the Jap fleet from coming out, or be there in case we were needed. It is pretty hard to keep up the morale when you’re not fighting, as people well know. When you are fighting, you can wallow in mud and everything else, and not be fed, and morale is at the top, but when you are swinging around the hook or loafing, it is pretty tough to keep up morale.

 Admiral Fitch being such a grand person, we were invited up to dinner one night. We had five boys in the squadron who could really sing. Everytime my singers would go, naturally I had to go along with them, so we got a lot of free dinners.

Howard Caldwell had worked before to get half our group up to Guadalcanal for a week or ten days to get a little combat experience…

(Pages 2 through 9 skipped as they relate to Pacific USN operations)


CDR. CLIFTON, USN                                                       SECRET

We went on back to Majuro to refuel and got the word there that we were going on a secret mission. When we first got to Honolulu they asked us how long before we thought we should go back. I said, “Well, I feel that we could go back for three months.” The three months were up then and the boys started hollering, “One more operation”. At Majuro we refuelled and took on a lot of ammunition. We turned over a couple of our airplanes that had been hit. We kept our night fighters – 40 fighters. We had 20 SBDs, and 18 TBFs. The captain said he would tell after we left each port when we were going to hit the next port. We went through Tasmania and right there we hit a storm, and I mean a storm. The SARATOGA rolled 29 degrees to one side and 32 degrees to the other side. She took green water over the bow at 6 knots, and it took the gun sponsons off just like they were paper. The flight deck looked like a washboard, and it knocked the right hand corner up a little bit and also the left hand corner, so they cut that out and put in concrete. They’re probably the only carrier that has a concrete flight deck – part of it.  Jack Shoemaker, who is the first lieutenant, repaired the catwalk and took a picture of it to show the Bureau of Yards and Docks what a good job they could do at sea. The storm lasted about three days and I never saw anything like it. The old ship just shook all over, but she took it. We finally went into Tasmania and picked up some appleas and some fruit and stayed there one night. From there we went to Perth and stayed there one day. Captain Hopkins came out to see us. He had the air station there. We got a little more fuel and provisions there and then headed to join the Eastern Fleet.

We joined up with the Eastern Fleet which met us about two days out of Ceylon. The first thing that came aboard was this secret weapon – a Barracuda. It landed aboard with Admiral Moody. The captain called Howard and me up to meet him. He is a very fine person. They took the pilot down in the wardroom and gave him a good square meal. Moody said he wanted us to come out there and wanted me to take care of all the training and everything they were going to do on the beach. (There wasn’t much training to do on the beach; they didn’t have any place to put us.) Anyway, we paid our respects and he said that he hoped we would have a party (they call a strike a party). He took off and went back and landed aboard and the next day we went over and landed aboard the ILLUSTRIOUS, paid our respects and met


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their squadron commanders. They only have 36 or 40 airplanes, two squadron commanders for one group of fighters and one group of VT, one squadron commander for 14 VT, another squadron commander for 14 VT, another squadron commander for 14 VF, and another squadron commander for 14 VF. They are very pressed for personnel, but they have six squadron commanders. We only have three in one group. I found out when I went aboard the ILLUSTRIOUS – Lt. Cassidy, Lt. Motts and Lt. Winterrod were down at Miami with me and we had trained quite a number of these British boys.  In fact, one of their squadron commanders for fighters had gone through down there. We hit it off pretty well; they certainly were glad to see us, and everything went fine. They went back to their old signals again – cut down around your knees, high you give low, and low you give high. They used those signals going back. We put one of our assistant signal officers on their ship. We went back to Trincomalee, anchored, and started relaxing.

When we got into Trincomalee, I said to Admiral Moody that I wanted all our pilots and their pilots to get together, and meet each other and see what our tactics were, and all do the same thing – just as I had done with the LANGLEY and PRINCETON. They were 100 per cent, absolutely. When we got there the ILLUSTRIOUS invited the Air Group over for a party. I think it is worth mentioning. I said to the boys, “These boys are really going to pour it to us over there, and I don’t care if you line your stomach with peanuts, but I don’t want to see anybody drunk underneath the table.” They were laying for us, too. You’d have your glass half empty and turn around to talk to somebody and it would be full again. When it ended, they found out they had used too many rations that day. The British were hanging on the chandeliers. My boys really went to town. I don’t know whether they went outside and took a little exercise or poured it down their boots. A lot of these kids who had been down in Miami I think they wanted to take my shirt off. The Exec. Got very worried, but I said that they were all right. Finally, the boys all went over the side, saluted, went down and got in the boat, and, of course, they just got back to camp before they collapsed, but they really did their stuff. The next day the British said, “Say, you used our rations up. You drank us underneath the table”. I said, “Well, we’re used to relaxing like that, if it comes down to it.” Well, that got a good feeling and everything was fine.


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They told us to take 30 fighters off to put on the beach and four SBDs and four TBFs. The gas truck took 45 minutes to gas one airplane. We didn’t want to operate a lot except for some of our new people we hadn’t had a chance to break in much, who had just been picked up in Pearl Harbor. We had quite a number of spare pilots to use as a first team because we couldn’t afford to take any chances on tearing the airplanes up since we had no replacements. I said to the captain, “Why the hell do they want us to bring 30 airplanes in here when they can’t take care of more than four or five.” We took over some of our mechs, and we lived at this camp at Trincomalee. The RAF has a good place and the Fleet Air Arm has a rotten place. I lived with part of the group. Most of them wanted to live on the ship and would come ashore every morning. I fortunately didn’t eat there; I would go back to the ship every two days with my water jug, and get a lot of sandwiches. As a result I didn’t get dysentery. The facilities of the camp were pretty good. The drinking water was very bad and they had Indians cooking so the food wasn’t so good. For two days we would shift the crews back and forth. We did a little gunnery, a little escort work to show the British how we escorted. But, at that time, they were changing over and getting some new F4Us, so they didn’t get a chance to do much flying.

We stayed there for about a week. Admiral Summerville came over and met us, and said that he hoped he could have a party for us. We did too. Well, it hem-hawed around; we were going to strike one day and then we weren’t going to strike. The captain called up and said that we were going to sit out here and maybe not do a damn thing. Finally they decided they were going to hit Sebang, which is a submarine base. Intelligence gave us one field at Sebang and one field about 25 miles from there. At this time, the ILLUSTRIOUS had Barracudas and F4Us. They had, I think, about 20 or 22 F4Us. They were supposed to have had 28, but they didn’t have them all in commission. We had a conference aboard, briefed, and went over what we were going to do. At first they wanted to bombard first and then make an air strike, which was backwards. The captain suggested it was best to make an air strike. The British Eastern Fleet was made up of two relics, the VALIANT and the QUEEN ELIZABETH – very slow. They had the RICHELIEU and the RENOWN,


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which are up to date. The ILLUSTRIOUS was the only carrier, except for the SARATOGA with her three destroyers, which really are destroyers, and some British cruisers and destroyers. Their destroyers don’t have much range. The cruisers were pretty good, but nothing to compare with any of ours. We’d have a conference on the ILLUSTRIOUS, and Admiral Moody would put the captain on one side and Howard on the other, but his staff was made up of nothing but observers, who didn’t know a lot. They were absolutely cooperative, and wanted to fight just as anyone else does, but as one of the Admirals said “We’re fighting in Lord Nelson’s time”. This is off the record but a British Admiral said it, so I’m just repeating it.

We decided to hit Sebang, and our primary target was three oil tanks, shipping, if it was in the harbor, the dock area, and any planes that were on the field. At that time, they were checking the Barracudas climbing with the SBDs and TBFs, and we found out that they can climb about even with them but their range is very short. We decided that our striking force from the SARATOGA would go in ahead and hit, and then they would follow us in five or ten minutes. We would take the primary targets for the targets for pinpoint bombing. I will say that this is the best divebombing outfit I’ve ever seen in my life. VB-12 boys are really good. They practiced a lot on the sled, and they can really put them where they’re supposed to.

We went in on the oil refinery, and as soon as we got in close to the target where we could see it, I took a division ahead, and took a few pictures and looked down to see if there were any planes taking off on the field or any shipping in the harbor. It was pretty hard to see, and if I could tell the pilots how to make their approach it would be a lot better than waiting to get in the harbor to make their approach while they were under A/A.  There were three freighters alongside the dock and they were hard to see. The TBFs were supposed to take the freighters with 2000lb. bombs – masthead bombing with the fighters on top strafing just ahead of them. The oil refinery was given to the SBD. I forgot to mention that they wanted to send two divisions of fighters down to a field 25 miles away. I said, “No, I want to keep them with us until I see that we have no fighter opposition, and then I’ll have plenty of time to dispatch them and let them go on down there.” When we saw we had no fighter opposition we sent another division down to this field to neutralize it so they couldn’t send any planes out. They found


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some Betty’s and they got four Betty’s on the ground. Then they came on back up and joined us. The bombers went in and slapped the oil tanks. I think we had eight planes on them and after four I think they had abolished them so we called the rest of the bombers to go over and hit revetments on the field and take part of the dock area. The VT picture showed a couple of tankers there, and a destroyer escort in the bay with more guns that I ever saw in my life. It was strafed. When we got over the field I dispatched some fighters to strafe the field. There were seven or eight DC3s there. One of them was loaded up ready to take off, and they set him afire. I took some pictures. I thought this was my last chance, that I was all washed up with the old war, so I did a couple of strafing attacks and took pictures. Then the bombers finished and went out over the rendezvous point, and I told them to wait there if they had plenty of gas. A lot of bombs hung up on the SBDs, as you probably know, and some of the TBFs also. Maybe it was cockpit trouble. I think some of the SBDs had already put in some RUDMs on the hanging up of the bomb rack. It seems that it was OK on the deck, but in a dive it would tighten up. So I told these boys to go back in and drop their bombs. In the meantime, little Elondike, my wing man, just as we finished strafing, got hit. Somebody said, “Your wing man’s smoking.” I looked back, and told him to head out over the water. It looked like hea was headed over the beach. I realized that you can’t love anyone more than your wing man, so I picked up the speaker and said, “Elondike must be picked up”. We had a submarine out there which did a grand job.  Elondike got over the water, and the plane caught fire. It was smoking, and the fire was in the right wheel. It rolled over and something fell out, and it was Klondike. He got in his rubber boat, and was 4 or 5 miles off the beach.

I said to keep three divisions there; one over the submarine, one over the field, and one over Klondike, and the rest of us would rendezvous and return to base. The British had attacked second and had landed aboard. We had attacked first, and were still there. The submarine did a marvellous rescue, but the communication with it wasn’t very good. Dose could talk to him, but we flew down alongside the submarine, and lined it up on Klondike. It got there in excellent time. A Jap destroyer started out for the submarine and the boys strafed and it turned and went back. We didn’t have a lot of ammunition left because we didn’t know Klondike was going down and require a lot of strafing. There was a shore battery out there. As the submarine


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got close we strafed the battery a little.  There were a couple of shells that hit near the submarine, and threw a little shrapnel on the bridge, but it didn’t hurt anybody. The boys came back to the ship, and I said, “Captain, we ought to make another strike. There are some targets there, and some more planes on the ground.” There was nothing the Captain could do. They had planned one strike, and that was all they were going to make.

Our pictures showed that we had gotten about fifteen planes on the ground, the oil tanks and two freighters. The British came in and did a good job, but there wasn’t much left for them to hit. They put some bombs in the dock area, but didn’t do any strafing whatsoever. The strafing was up to them if they had wanted to do it. You don’t strafe if you have fighter opposition, you escort your bombers, but if you don’t have any fighter opposition, there isn’t any reason why you can’t utilize your fighters for strafing. We got back to Trincomalee and received word that the submarine had come in. I went down and met the submarine, and took ice cream. They hadn’t had any ice cream in years, and really appreciated it. Our Captain invited the Captain, officers and crew of the submarine over to the SARATOGA for a movie and dinner. It happened to be the night that we were having a cake for the 78,000th landing on the USS SARATOGA. They got a big kick out of it.

One day Admiral Somerville and his Chief of Staff came over to the SARATOGA and had a conference. The conference consisted of Captain Cassady, Howard Caldwell and myself. We planned the strike on Soerbaja. We had to use the TBFs because it was going to be over 200 miles strike and the Barracuda’s didn’t have the range, and they weren’t as good as the TBFs – and most all of them know it. I don’t want you to get the wrong impression – they were all good boys. Lowe, who had been on the VICTORIOUS and worked with the SARATOGA, had the VT. He had a good outfit. They all want to do a good job, and they all want to fight. But they do lack experience, and I always maintain that you can’t get good unless you operate.

At first, they didn’t want to take the TBFs because they had not operated on ILLUSTRIOUS but they tried them one day and did a grand job, which tickled us to death, because we wanted to put the TBFs on there. The skipper of the fighter squadron has been on ILLUSTRIOUS one year in July. He had made thirteen carrier landings. They average about nine carrier landings.


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Admiral Somerville was a grand person with a grand sense of humor, and he couldn’t have been nicer to us. He gave us everything we wanted. There was an officer’s club down there and they gave us our rations for liquor on the beach. Of course, we couldn’t have it on board the ship like the British. Our boys got along fine, and our relations were excellent. Any criticism or any advice we gave them was all constructive. Captain Cassady did a lot for them. He taught them a hell of a lot, and they know it. He could probably run for King out there and get it, if he wanted to. You do it tactfully; you don’t say, “You dumb cluck, this is not right.” You don’t have to make them think they know, because they know that they don’t know. In fact, we had to go to some of their air stations and explain methods to some of their boys. I asked them if they knew how many gallons of gas they used per hour, and if they could refuel and rearm their planes. You know how many of them could? Half of them don’t know how many gallons per hour they got – nothing like our people. We had to teach them how to lean out. But I think they have learned and seen the dividend its pays. A few boys used seventy gallons of gas an hour more than some of the rest of them. Admiral Moody came to me before we hit Soerabaja and asked me to speak to the men about fuel consumption. It had to be pounded into them to show them that this might save their lives.

Admiral Somerville went over to Colombo, and he sent the SARATOGA around there for a week. There had to be a lot of planning for it, because there had to be a lot of refuelling and he wanted to take everything he had. In Colombo we had a meeting on the ILLUSTRIOUS with Admiral Moody and all his staff, and we went over to strike again and got the intelligence. We had pretty good dope except the intelligence reports were very poor. We told the Fifth Air Force, that the intelligence reports on the airplanes in the area were rotten. If we had known, we could have planned much better. The Dutch were in Trincomalee with a squadron there. We got along fine with them. They had had families and homes in Soerabaja and had gotten out just before the Japs arrived. They didn’t know we were going to make the strike, but they were talking about Soerabaja – what a great place it was – how pretty it was. By talking to them we learned a few things before we made the strike, that they had a lot of dummy fuel tanks there, and that the oil refinery was really one of the best refineries in the world. It furnishes


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about 10 per cent of all the fuel for the Dutch East Indies. That was the primary target, plus shipping, and any airplanes on the ground. We got an intelligence report that there were fifty operational airplanes in the area. Within eighty miles there were thirteen airfields, and we thought we would get a chance at a little opposition. We had 24 fighters, counting my division which was four planes.

Sixteen F4Us were top cover, and we were low cover. We worked with the British a couple of times as escort. They would spread out too far, or get up too high, and their discipline wasn’t very good. We had a couple of talks, and they really improved a lot.

At Colombo, as you know, we had a grand time. Lord Mountbatten came aboard and inspected the ship. The boys found out that he was going to inspect and I’m proud of the SARATOGA. She really was spick-and-span. They fed him ice cream, pineapple juice and coc-cola. He hated to eat all of it, because he hadn’t had any for so long he thought he would get sick.

He had been aboard the SARATOGA before, but we had gotten ready for him this time. He made a very good talk to the enlisted men. It was hotter than the devil. It was a little long, but it was a very good talk. He complimented us on our strike at Sebang. When we hit Sebang it was just like giving them a needle. We could just have anything after that. He invited us to Kandy, where he moved his headquarters, for lunch. And the captain dropped a few hints there. Admiral Somerville got the Eastern Fleet, and Lord Mountbatten became the Supreme Commander. He thought that the field at Trincomalee was under the Fleet Air Arm where as it is run by the R.A.F. which operates about five or ten airplanes. It has a barracks with about 500 men there. He thought had a field there, but he didn’t The Fleet Air Arm should operate the field; they have many more airplanes. They had those poor Indians working there. One battalion of Seabees can do more work in one day, I believe, than about a million Indians can do in two months or a year. They don’t use shovels, they use baskets – they carry one rock over and then walk back and sit down. They would make a WPA worker look good, A WPA worker would look so energetic that it wouldn’t even be funny. And if you beat them they go off in the woods and hide. If they see an airplane coming in


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they usually all go off and hide. They have two hangars that were hit two years ago and they haven’t picked the debris up yet. I guess it is because they can’t get those Indians to go in those hangars.

We stayed around for a while. There were parties all the time. Adm. Somerville gave a party. We gave a party for the officers of the Eastern Fleet. It was a grand party – we broke our singers out. We sang for them and it was very good. Capt. Cassady was sitting near, and at the back was Adm Somerville. So we sang, “He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”, for both of them. Capt. Cassady stood up and Adm. Somerville didn’t see him, and said, “Oh hell, that is really messed up”. Finally I said, “The only way to cover this is to give four Na and three Navys for the eastern Fleet”. He thought that was swell. He really enjoyed it and thought it was a successful party, and he stayed until the bitter end.

We shoved off for this strike, having had one rehearsal, thank goodness. We had all gone over it, and briefed the British, and everybody had covered it thoroughly so that they all knew the thing to do. Everyone knew how we were going to strike, how we were going in, what altitude (depending upon the weather to a certain extent) and what other targets we would take. We had first, second and third targets. I have never seen a more thorough plan. We were going to have one practice rendezvous. We were going in as one group – the SBDs, and our TBFs, the British TBFs tucked in under our TBFs, with our lover cover, and their high cover, all in one strike – the SARATOGA leading. Six SBDs took the dry docks, twelve were to hit the oil refineries, and the rest of the TBFs with 2000lb. bombs were to attack freighters, and any shipping in the harbors. The fighters were told to strafe, if there was no opposition. Each division of six planes had four fighters with it. We split the SBDs because the oil refineries were seven miles from the dock area. Four fighters with six airplanes made it perfect.    They would go where they wanted to, and had their four fighters over them.

We took off with an excellent rendezvous of thirty-five minutes, and in forty minutes we left for the target. We climbed around the ship to about 5/6000 feet before we left. There was unlimited visibility and weather conditions were perfect when we started. Our bombers got up to 18,000 feet which put the low cover about 1200 feet above, and the high cover 2000 feet above them. There


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were mountains up to 15,000 feet with one groove we could go across in case there was not such good weather. There was supposed to be quite a bit of A/A around the oil refinery, but nobody opened up! Four SBDs practically destroyed the oil refinery, but I couldn’t stop the rest of the SBDs. That was practically a waste. The next time we are on an oil refinery or something like it, there ought to be a pause to see if it has been destroyed, and if so, remaining planes should be sent some where else because there is no use of wasting bombs. That taught me a lesson. We went into the harbour but there were no fighters, and we didn’t see any airplanes. There was a hospital ship, the biggest thing we saw, and I cautioned the boys against attacking it. That night Tokyo Rose came on and said that we strafed and bombed the hospital ship. They probably had the damn thing full of ammunition anyway, but we didn’t touch it. There were too many other good targets. I have never seen so many targets in all my life. We went in on the dry docks, tankers, and freighters, and saw no opposition, so I told some of the fighters to go down and strafe the fields. We caught quite a number of planes on the ground and there were many more we had to leave. We got only one hit on the dry docks, and damaged it where it would be inoperative. There was a seaplane tender in the dry dock, but they didn’t put one down on that tender as they should. The boys did masthead bombing, and Rowbottom, who is missing, dropped one right in the middle of a freighter but got hit by A/A.

He called and said that he would make a crash landing two miles off the beach. The boys saw him in his rubber boat. The torpedo boys had 2000lb bombs and only had a very few misses. We strafed destroyers and escorts and the camera gun showed that we had set them afire. They started to open up with A/A then, and hit one of my wing men in the tail. They must have been sound asleep. Adm. Somerville said that we had caught them with their kimonos over their heads. We swing around, and one of the boys gave “Tally-ho at 11o’clock”, so I said, “Skipper don’t shoot. Get up there and see what it is – it might be a TBF.” This guy was going like hell, and it turned out to be a Betty so we shot him down.

We went back out, rendezvoused, and climbed up about 5000 feet to go back across. We passed right over a field at Malang so one of the boys called over and said he had a bomb that hadn’t released from an SBD. I said, “Well, just hold that bomb, and we’ll drop it on the hangar on the Malang field.” One of the


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divisions of fighters will go down with you.” We went down to take some pictures and the field was full of airplanes. So I said, “Two more divisions come down and strafe”, and I called one of the British divisions to come down and strafe. We strafed the field. The bomb missed the hangar, but the lucky devil hit right in the revetment in a bunch of airplanes. We strafed as long as we could stay and got quite a number of airplanes, and set the hangar on fire which was crammed full of airplanes. We got the airplanes and they were not dummies either.

We went on out and landed aboard. It made us feel pretty good. We knew this was the last time, and I have never seen the boys come aboard as they did. We got on and respotted the deck before the ILLUSTRIOUS had half of theirs on. They had a little bad luck and a couple of barrier crashes, but they really landed faster than ever before. They got that old mutual admiration society going. “You’re looking good. How am I looking?” They started sending dispatches that they had never seen landings aboard like that, and a lot of stuff. We developed these pictures in an hour and a half, and with all our Intelligence Reports and Action Reports, we dropped them on the flag ships – the QUEEN ELIZABETH, RENOWN and the ILLUSTRIOUS. We did the same thing in Sebang. The British couldn’t believe it. This Admiral got our CIC and our Intelligence officers over and raised hell with his. He said, “You can’t get them out in a whole day and they get them out in two and a half hours – I want to have you tell me what you do”.

We tried all the time to look good. I forgot to mention that at Sebang we got three VALS that came out – a suicide squadron with torpedoes on them. We picked them up at 68 miles, before the British picked them up, and in the water they went. We were always fighter director, and we’ve got second class radar on the old sister SARA. We haven’t got the best, but she was the best out there. I said to the British, “You all invented this stuff. Why in hell don’t you have as good radar as we have?” They said, “We don’t know, but yours is better”.

The day we got ready to leave, Admiral Somerville lined the British fleet up, and asked to SARA to do an about face and come through with the destroyers. Every ship went by had the men lined up at the rail and it


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would be, “Hip hip hooray – hip hip hooray – SARATOGA – SARATOGA”.  We would have to return it, and we were pretty hoarse by the time we got through that line. We turned around and left them, and our destroyers came by to get in position. Our sailors lined the rail, and yelled, “Hip hip hooray – hip hip hooray DUNLAP, DUNLAP, DUNLAP.”

We came back to Perth and stayed one night; they were grand to us there. Then we shoved off and got word that we were going to Sidney. There was a boy in the VB outfit who was engaged to a nurse back in the States. She was in Brisbane. She couldn’t come back for two years unless she was married. It wasn’t an over-night romance and we knew that we were going to Sidney, so when we got to Perth I asked the Captain and Exect to allow him to meet us at Sidney and go up to Brisbane. He went out to get his plane and it was all painted up with “You’ll be sorry”, and a lot of stuff like that, but he got married anyway.

Sidney is what everybody says it is. We had a good time there. None of our men got on report, and nobody got into any trouble which is a fine thing. The citizens were grand to us. They had never seen a carrier before, and it couldn’t have been nicer...