Aug 31, 2014
The documents of Surrender were signed aboard the USS Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay, to much fanfare on September 2, 1945. Given the finite size of the Bay, not every ship afloat in the Pacific was going to be able to squeeze in and be present during the ceremony. A little more than 250 Allied ships of all types and sizes were there – from battleships to sloops.
War and Politics, Politics and War - as the old song says – go together like a horse and carriage. A British Task Force arrived in the Pacific late in the Okinawa campaign – at Churchill’s insistence and agreed to by Roosevelt before his death. The Brits, who still had vast colonial stakes in Asia, did not want the US to single-handedly win the War in the Pacific (despite the fact that we actually had done so).
(Page 333, Victory in the Pacific, 1945 by Samuel Eliot Morison:)
On that day (Aug. 11) Admiral Halsey invited Admiral Rawlings to a conference and suggested the the British flagship fuel from the same tanker as his. While HMS King George V and USS Missouri were fueling, the two admirals and their staffs conferred. Later that day, Admiral Rawlings received word from Admiral Fraser, C. in C. British Pacific Force, that Admiral Nimitz had agreed to incorporate a number of his ships in Task Force 38, for the naval occupation of Japan. Accordingly, HMS King George V, Indefatigable, Gambia and Newfoundland, with ten destroyers, under Admiral Rawlings, became TG 38.5 (Boston was in TG 38.4) on August 12 and passed under the command of Vice Admiral McCain, CTF 38. The rest of the British force, excepting Admiral Fraser’s Duke of York, then headed for Manus.
30 British (which included Australian and New Zealander) ships were present in Tokyo Bay for the signing of the Surrender, including the battleship King George V, three cruisers, 10 destroyers and sixteen other vessels. The crew of the USS Boston, veterans of each Fast Carrier Task Force 58 and Fast Carrier Task Force 38 battles and operations in the Pacific (except Okinawa); survivors of the unparalleled perilous salvage of the Crippled Cruisers after the Battle of Formosa, did not get to experience the Surrender and the closure it brought first-hand.
There was no room for them and their amazing ship in the Tokyo Bay that day.