World War II: The War at Sea – Full Documentary

World War II: The War at Sea – Full Documentary

(gentle dramatic music) – [Narrator] The aircraft carrier, kingpin of the Pacific naval war. A war in which aircraft, whether
land-based or carrier borne have dominated the scene. In the European war, there
have been a number of occasions when capital ship has
been sunk by capital ship. The Scharnhorst by the
Duke of York’s guns, Bismarck by the Rodney and King George V. But in the Pacific, it’s
been mainly aerial warfare, because of the enormous
distances it involves. In the first three years fighting, aircraft have inflicted
all the major casualties. Think of Pearl Harbor, where 150 Japanese planes
smashed up eight battleships and a number of other
vessels belonging to a power with whom Japan was officially at peace. Think of the Prince of
Wales and the Repulse, sent to the bottom by
aerial torpedoes and bombs. On the other side of the picture, think of the Battle of the Coral Sea, in which the Japanese lost
a carrier, four cruisers, and two destroyers. The Battle of Midway, when
they lost four carriers, two cruisers, and had three battleships and four cruisers damaged. Think of the Battle of the Bismarck Sea in which a whole convoy of 12
transports, three cruisers, and seven destroyers was smashed. In all these actions, no
capital ship has even been in action against another capital ship. So that’s the character
of the Pacific war. This film will show you the
picture from both sides, the fellow being bombed and
the fellow doing the bombing. Here a New Zealander is
setting out on a bombing trip. Here also is a part of
an America task force in the southwest Pacific. Somewhere beyond the horizon
is a Japanese naval force. Right overhead, Japanese
aircraft are attacking the United States warships, paying special attention
to aircraft carriers, whose own fighters are
defending the fleet. Plane v. plane and plane v. carrier. When things begin to
happen, they happen fast. (guns firing) Most of us who have been bombed have felt that we were personally
selected as the objective. Aboard ship, you know you’ve
been specially selected. You are the target. And it’s the cameraman’s
unenviable job to keep turning while everyone else goes flat and bombs come screaming down. (bombs exploding) Jap planes being shot down into the drink, carriers taking evasive action, carriers being hit, hits or near misses, plane v. plane and plane v. carrier, bombs and flack, it’s all here in one historic
screen record of sea water. And if we get away with
it, thinks the cameraman, our luck’s in. Aircraft Carrier X this ship was called. Actually, it was The Enterprise. (bombs exploding) The carriers are the chief
targets, no doubt of that. A near miss, and another over there. And now for a closeup of a direct hit. Then to fight the flames, men jump to it. Then they turn back for a
moment as a new attack develops. Another direct hit. That was on the after
elevator of the flight deck. Made a pretty good mess. (guns firing) (bombs exploding) The ship battles on, passing
the wreckage of jet aircraft burning on the sea. The firefighters carry on with their job, the fight to save their ship. A fight they eventually won. There’s not a moment’s
let up in this battle against the enemy bombers. Although many are destroyed,
the blitz continues. Another carrier, same battle. Notice how a big ship can
swing when she’s in a hurry. Another near miss. Just watch what the
concussion does to that plane. (guns firing)
(bombs exploding) You might think from these pictures that the battle was going
against the Americans. Those batted aircraft are back from battering the enemy fleet. Actually, during this
battle of Santa Cruz, American aircraft succeeded in damaging two Japanese aircraft carriers,
one of them probably sunk, two battleships, one again probably sunk, and three cruisers. And in order to show you how it feels to be on the hitting end of the operation, we’ll take a look at the
Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Early in March 1943, the approach of a large Japanese
invasion force was reported. Over a score of two
transports and their escorts had been spotted be
reconnaissance aircraft, New Zealand, Australian, and American, which observed and
photographed the concentration of enemy ships at Rabaul in New Britain. Ever since the Japs had been
beaten back in New Guinea, the Allies had been expecting
enemy reinforcements in strength, and now they were on the way. The chance to strike a great
blow from the air had come. Royal Australian and Royal
New Zealand Air Force and their American comrades
had all been longing for just such a chance. And how they took it. New Zealand and Aussies grand
staffs as keen as the men who would fly the planes in action. Hours, days, weeks of
toil in sweltering heat were about to be gloriously rewarded. It didn’t matter which of
the three Allied forces you belonged to. You were an anti-Jap flying man, and that was all that counted. Kitty Hawks, Mitchells,
Beaufighters, and Bostons took off. And the cameraman took off with them to make a film record of the show. A score of ships takes a deal of sinking. And not only the fate of New Guinea, but the security of
Australia and New Zealand might well depend on the
heaviness of the blow about to be struck. Heavy bombers, medium
bombers, and fighters all went up in a mighty concentration against the mighty Japanese concentration. There’s a liberator on
her way out to the target, and what a target. Every member of every crew
knew what was expected of him. The Japs have had it coming
to them, they thought. And now they’re going to get it. Neither ack-ack nor zeroes
were destined to save the Japs from annihilation in the Battle
of the Bismarck Archipelago. From scores of planes marked
with the British roundel or the American star, the
bombs went down into transports packed with Japanese troops. Ship after ship was hit. This historic battle lasted two days. Ships were sunk outright
and ships were set on fire. Fighters and bombers that
had used up their bombs ripped into the battle again, raking anything that had so
far escaped with cannon fire, giving them something to be going on with until bombs could sink
them or set them ablaze. Relentlessly, scientifically, the extermination of
the Japanese continued. Surviving ships attempted to carry on. Their task was to steam
through the straits between New Britain and New Guinea and to reach Finschhafen, Lae, or Salamaua on the North Coast. Although they were being
attacked all the way, right after the last, the
depleted convoys still hoped to succeed in landing reinforcements. A few got within a
comparatively short distance of Finschhafen, but the
enemy tried to reach port in small boats and landing
barges crammed with troops, all fully armed, and intent
on reaching New Guinea to carry on the fight. They, too, were wiped out
by the guns of the aircraft. And when a small target
like that is missed, well, we can always have another go. No surrender was offered. No quarter was given. 22 ships and 15,000 troops were destroyed. It was a major disaster for Japan. Yes, in the Pacific War,
it’s the combination of sea and air power which counts in the struggle for mastery. This struggle the United Nations can bring enormous supremacy, both
in ships and aircraft. Properly applied, that supremacy
will confound the strategy of Japan and sweep away an
empire won by treachery. (powerful music) (dramatic music) – [Narrator] Sydney, Australia, and the battleship King George V. Having played her great part
in the defeat of Germany, she and many other units of the Royal Navy are now 12,000 miles or more
away, fighting our other enemy. For the war goes on and
the Navy is bringing it’s great strength to bear upon Japan. With fighting ships like
the famous aircraft carrier Illustrious and with fighting leaders like Admiral Rawlings,
Task Force Commander and Rear Admiral Vian. In New Zealand waters, the
dominion’s new cruiser Gambia was among the ships actively
engaging in the Pacific War earlier this year. Since this film was made, many
actions were being reported, ranging from the Straits of
Malacca to the Ryukyu islands. Naturally, no story of British
naval action in the Far East would be complete
without special reference to the Fleet Air Arm. From our carriers, Corsairs and Avengers have been doing great work. Here’s a closeup of an arrestor hook, which you can see in
operation as planes land on. Landing on is a tricky
business in any weather. That’s pretty obvious. When a pilot’s been wounded
or his aircraft damaged, it’s more than tricky. Landing successful, but it was made with the additional danger of fire. And although the pilot’s
clear of the danger, an aircraft blazing on the
flight deck of a carrier is, well, quite a blitz on its own. (gentle dramatic music) Eventually the plane is dumped overboard, being damaged beyond hope of local repair. On this occasion, a number of pilots was
still less fortunate. They were picked up at sea by a destroyer and presently transferred to a carrier, apparently little the
worse for their experience. Now a glimpse of the flagship HMS Howe, 35,000 sister ship of the KGV. When her guns to into
action against Jap aircraft, the Jap Navy, or Japanese
installations ashore, perhaps the Japanese war
makers begin to revise their opinion as to what kind
of a people they think we are. (dramatic music) Sailing under the command of
Admiral Sir James Somerville, the C-in-C Eastern Fleet,
it was a strong force that supported the surprise
attack on Sabang and Sumatra. Battleships, cruisers,
destroyers, and submarines. There are also American,
French, and Dutch ships. And American carrier-borne
aircraft took part, as well as the fleet era. Hellcats, Corsairs, Avengers,
and Barracudas did the job. Aircraft as seen on
their way to the target, the operation taking place only four days after the transfer of the
Southeast Asia command from New Dehli to Ceylon. The main target was the Port of Sabang on an island off the most
northerly point of Sumatra. Commanding the western approach
to the Straits of Malacca, Sabang with its dockyard power station, wharves, barracks, hangers,
workshops, and radio station, presented excellent objectives, not to mention shipping in the port. A Jap destroyer, which
tried to make a getaway, was hit and set on fire. Another suffered the same fate. Also an escort vessel
and two merchant ships. Over a score of enemy planes
were destroyed on the ground. And direct hits with
heavy bombs were obtained on all objectives. These pictures give a pretty
idea of some of the damage done in the attack, which to quote Admiral Somerville, “caught the Japs with their kimonos up.” (triumphant music) Let no one imagine that recent
victories in the Pacific indicate a walkover. The Japanese continue to
fight back with a fanaticism quite unknown in the West. And they’ve combined their latest V-Weapon with the national glorification
of suicide in battle. One type of plane is a
small rocket-driven machine, launched from a larger
aircraft and flown by kamikaze, or suicide pilot. He has no parachute. He’s locked in his cockpit. The plane has no landing gear. And it detonates with a
huge explosion on contact. From Okinawa come the first
pictures of this weapon, called the baka bomb. It carries 2,000 tons of
explosive in its nose. Kamikaze pilots are the
elite of the Jap Air Force, most of them between 18 and 20 years old. Trained to die by suicide in battle, they are lionized after
completing their training course, and special prayers are said for them. As their days are
numbered and they know it, they’re allowed a last glorious fling with the very best Geisha girls. And their pictures are in all the papers, for they’re national heroes in advance. Wearing ceremonial robes, with heads almost completely shaved, they march through the streets to receiving the most profound honor from the people everywhere. Then they’re ready for their
last, inevitably fatal flight. It means death for them. But it may spell a
triumph for the emperor. So banzai! And now for the first time, the United States Navy has released films of kamikaze pilots in action. You’ll have read a lot
about them in the papers. This is it. (plane engines roaring)
(guns firing) That one nearly got a destroyer. Here a Japanese V-pilot
has ended his career with a direct hit on the
carrier of the Essex class. He has caused casualties and
damage on board an enemy ship. And it’s for just that
purpose that his own life was written off from the
first day of his training. In this action, the sky
seemed full of suicide planes. Even when they were
hit, they still came on. Their loss, of course, is 100%, and a very big proportion are killed without scoring any success. Oh yes, it’s a costly weapon. But the Japanese hold life cheap. And some kamikaze pilots
do get their targets. (kamikazes exploding) Here, the famous carrier
Bunker Hill has been hit. Fires are spreading among
the planes on board. The flight deck is like an inferno. But the crew fights for
the life of the ship, while men who’ve been blown
overboard are being rescued. (dramatic music) A cruiser has come alongside
to help in fighting the fire. At any moment, if the
flames reach fuel tanks or ammunition, fresh explosions
may add to the crisis. Air attacks, mostly by suicide pilots, sank 33 ships and damaged over
50 in the Okinawa campaign. But when this film was
made, not one battleship, fast cruiser, or carrier
had been sunk by them. Here again, saved like the Franklin by the devotion of her crew, the Bunker Hill survived the attack after fighting fires for eight hours, and the loss of hundreds of men. In addition to the special
danger of suicide pilots, the Allies in the Pacific
are also encountering all the more orthodox methods of attack. 60 miles off the coast of Japan, an American carrier force was dive bombed by Jap land-based aircraft. In this case, no serious damage
was done to the task force. But Jap losses were heavy. And as you will see, some
were pretty spectacular. (planes exploding) (guns firing) Pictures like these show clearly how the Jap is fighting back. American and British servicemen out there know all about it, of course. But everyone in Britain
should know it, too. So far, we’ve only seen the
results of enemy attacks. But the many dangers
inherent in carrier warfare mustn’t be overlooked. Landing on is just welcome. (plane engines roaring) An American plane landing
on uses its emergency tank. There goes the tank, it burst into flames. But the pilot is safe. (dramatic music) That’s the emergency tank
that caused the trouble. And now another pilot escapes
from a very tight corner. With his plane enveloped
in flame and smoke, he seems at first to
be dead or unconscious. But he, too, is rescued from
what at one moment appeared to be almost certain death. Pictures to remember, just
in case anyone tells you that from now on the Jap war
is nothing to worry about. The road to Japan and to the
liquidation of Japanese cruelty and greed is marked with
suffering and death. In two months off Okinawa,
in the Jap homeland, American naval casualties
totaled over 4,000 wounded and over 4,000 missing or killed. These are facts to note and
pictures to bear in band. For Japan cannot be smashed
except by the skill, the courage, and the sacrifice
of Allied fighting men, by land, air, and sea. (“Taps”) (lively music) – [Anthony] Here we are
with the British Task Force in the Pacific, thousands
of miles from our bases and on our way to replenish
from the fleet train, which provides all our needs during the brief spells
between the business of seeking out the Jap
in the striking area. All replenishments must be done at sea. And the most important
of these is, of course, oil fuel for the ships and
petrol for the aircraft. Here is a heavily laden
tanker, the fleet train, closing a carrier. This destroyer will be
refueled at the same time. A rocket carries a heaving
line across between the two. Longer ropes are then hauled across. And eventually, the massive hose pipe through which the vital fuels pass. Meanwhile, britches boys are rigged. Supplies, the one linked with home mails, even spare pilots, now that key personnel, all must be hauled
across from ship to ship. This looks like a tug-of-war. It is, a tug in the Pacific war. It’s an extra heave to
keep the jackstay taut, as the extra heavy load goes across. This is our first experience of this type of long-range sea warfare. In the North Sea and the Mediterranean, we could always return to
our bases and dockyards. Here, we have to stay at sea. But the Royal Navy soon adapted itself to these new conditions. Famous ships are in company. Amongst others, the
battleship King George V and the aircraft carriers
Indefatigable, Illustrious, Indomitable, and Victorious. Great ships, but only forerunners
of the mighty Royal Navy, which will come out to the Pacific now that Germany has been eliminated. Now the work of the fleet train is done and the taskforce can get
back into the fighting area. They move off once more,
in search of the Jap. Pilots must keep fighting fit. They keep in trim with
fencing and other sports. This time, our naval
aircraft will bomb and stuff Jap air fields in Sakishima
Islands and Formosa, preventing their use by the enemy against our American allies on Okinawa. Our aircraft are stowed between
decks in enormous hangars. Great lifts carry the folded
aircraft up to the flight deck. A last minute briefing before the strike. Men of England, Scotland,
Wales, and Ireland, men from the Dominions, most of them veterans
of air warfare in Europe are now already experienced
in the new conditions of the Pacific. Soon their numbers will grow and grow. This is no one particularly exciting day the Britain’s Task Force in the Pacific. It’s just typical of
routine, daily operations. Here are the deadly Corsair fighters, easily distinguishable by
the cut of their wings. Now they’re ready for the takeoff. Tops are removed. The pilots opens up his throttle. And away she roars down the flying lane. Next, an Avenger is off on the job. Notice the straight cut of the wings as compared to the Corsair. The steam jet in the
bow helps the navigator to keep the ship dead into wind. While our aircraft are away
seeking out the Jap bases, the ships in the Task Force
are naturally a favorite target for Jap suicide bombers. Here comes a kamikaze, a
suicide bomber who has made use of cloud cover to slip
through our fighter’s screen. The pilots feed the public
padlocks to the rudder bars. It’s a robot bomb with a strange
ability to twist and turn. (guns firing) Here’s another, heading
for the Illustrious. He goes down to naval guns, so close that his rubber dinghy is blown from the shattered plane
onto the flight deck. Meanwhile in the gathering dusk, our naval aircraft are
returning from their strike against the Jap airfields. The carriers turn into wind. And the Avengers with
flaps down come in to land. The arresting gear pulls them up sharply. The hook is released and pilot
taxis forward at full speed to make room for the next arrival. Specially detailed men guide
them to the right spot. There isn’t an inch to spare
on the crowded flight deck. Meanwhile, Corsairs have been giving fighter protection overhead. Now it’s their turn to land. The lurch of the ship beats this one, which crashes into the island. As the petrol belly tank explodes, firefighters rush into action. The pilot’s safe but the plane is harried. Streams of foam subdue the fire. But the Corsair looks as
though it’s a write-off. There’s no room in carriers
for wrecked planes. So this one is a souvenir
for Father Neptune. Men on deck search anxiously
for missing aircraft. It’s a matter of personal anxiety. Two Corsairs, out on a special
mission, have yet to return. The carrier, like a hen
anxious for her chicks, cannot settle down until the
last of her brood is home. (plane engines roaring) That sounds like them. Yes, here they come. The batsmen has his pads up, lit up because of the growing darkness. Months of training now show their value. The Corsair lands almost in darkness. But it’s a perfect landing. The last of the chicks is home to roost. The Task Force is ready to move off again. Tomorrow, it may be the Ryukyus or perhaps the mainland of Japan. But whatever the job, the Royal Navy will be more than equal to the task. (triumphant music) – [Narrator] Pictures of part
of the British Pacific Fleet underline the overwhelming
force being brought to bear against Japan before the
offer to surrender was made. Supplementing the strength
of the American beat, we had deployed our most powerful units, such as the KGV and
battleships of her class. Chief emphasis, however, was
naturally on the fleet era, with its new and powerful carriers and their complements
of Seafires, Fireflies, Avengers, Corsairs, and the rest. Before the first atomic bomb was dropped, the Japanese Air Force
and Navy had been mauled and smashed beyond recognition. Although invasion and terrific
land battles lay ahead, Japan was already a defeated nation. A few enemy planes which
ventured out to sea during the operation
filmed here were destroyed. Allied sea and air power were supreme. (triumphant music) On this occasion, an American
Task Force was operating very close to the British ships. Pilots from both fleets
were engaged in air strikes against the Japanese mainland. There was also a meeting at sea aboard the American battleship Missouri, between Admiral Rawlings
and Admiral Halsey. The British admiral is seen
coming across from a destroyer. It was Admiral Halsey’s Third Fleet, which together with carrier Task Force 38, opened the all-out offensive
against the Jap mainland, an offensive preliminary
to the invasion of Japan. Hellcats, Corsairs,
Helldivers, and Avengers began a dawn-to-dusk
onslaught of enemy forces afloat and ashore. (plane engine roaring)
(guns firing) It’s reported that over 70 Jap airfields were so severely shot up that
they never got their fighters off the ground to counter Allied blows. Four days after the airstrikes, the Third Fleet was in
position to deal Japan an indignity without precedent. Admiral Halsey and his
staff check final details. Zero Hour, and the sounding
of general quarters. Action stations, a great moment this. 16-inch guns are brought to bear as the fleet steams off
Shumshu Island itself, at a point only some 300 miles from Tokyo. The Imperial steelworks behind the hills were shelled for two hours. In two days, not one enemy shot was fired. Loss of face, it was loss
of her very existence as an empire. The Japanese warlords knew it, whatever they may be saying. Total defeat in the
coming months was certain when the atomic bomb, saving far more lives
than the lives they took, compelled surrender now. (bombs exploding) (dramatic music) – [Narrator] This was one
of the pre-surrender scenes off the coast of Japan. A part of the powerful
Anglo-American fleet steaming in towards Sagami Bay, Missouri, Admiral
Halsey’s mighty flagship, in which the actual surrender
was to be signed later. Admiral Halsey, himself pays a visit to the British flagship. He comes across by
destroyer and britches boy to HMS Duke of York, where
Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser was waiting to give him
the warmest of welcomes. No wonder they were feeling good, for they and the seamen they led had already given the
Japs a fearful thrashing before the atom bombs finished them off. And besides, here was
the Anglo-American fleet en route for Tokyo and the
rescue of our prisoners. Air cover was continuous and complete. No chances were being taken, for Japanese treachery
had long been a bye word. Well, if they’d wanted
to start anything now, they would have been for it. The sky, by the way, was showing
signs of a violent typhoon which presently delayed the plan of action by some hours. And now a Japanese pilot
comes aboard Duke of York, bringing charts and full information about mine fields, and so on. They were taking no
chances with him, either. They searched him at once. (triumphant music) Then led by the Iowa, the
Missouri, and the Duke of York, the Great Fleet, including King George V, cruisers and destroyers,
steamed their victory across the Tokyo Bay itself. This was the moment for the
British and American navies. Pearl Harbor and Singapore, Prince of Wales and Repulse. If the Japanese didn’t know
then what kind of people we are, they certainly knew now. Yes, it was a moment of pride and triumph and the Fleet anchored in Tokyo Bay. But yet, the uppermost
thought in every ship was the rescue of comrades ashore. The first film of one of
the first rescues made was taken from a landing craft, one of several, which
dashed in near Yokohama. Near the waterfront showed
little signs of bombing, but behind those buildings, they say the town had been
flattened and work paralyzed. And that’s the signals
the prisoners had painted on a large mill. As the landing craft came in, the prisoners came running and
dancing out onto the jetties. All of them had been captive
for some three years. Mostly British soldiers from Hong Kong, also a number of sailors, some Americans, and a few Italians. They were nearly all in American uniforms, which had recently been
dropped by parachute. They weren’t in bad shape,
considering everything. These were their quarters, in a ramshackle, tumbledown old building, crude and comfortless. All the same, a good deal
better than some places they’d been in, they said. They were taken off in landing craft to an American hospital ship at once. This was before occupation
troops had landed in Japan. As you can see, these
prisoners were pretty fit, considering, but were they feeling good? It’s difficult to imagine
just how they must have felt. At last they were free. And soon the many thousands
of other prisoners would be free, too, though many would have to
be nursed back to health. Captivity, starvation, ill
treatment, these were over. And almost in the shadow of Fujiyama, the Anglo-American fleet
was lying at anchor. Our men were free again. Japan itself was now the prisoner. (dramatic music) – [Narrator] This was Okinawa
on the eve of the signing of Japanese surrender. Hundreds of transport
planes were ready to leave with airborne troops, who
were to begin the occupation by landing on Natsuki. (dramatic music) When MacArthur himself landed
on the Natsuki airfield, about 18 miles from Tokyo, Japan’s fate as a power and
an empire was very near. Yes, it was indeed a satisfactory moment for MacArthur and the men he led, when Old Glory was hoisted here. As the American planes came roaring in, the Japanese went trudging out. For them, the bitterness of total defeat was only just beginning. MacArthur’s staff gave sharp
orders to Japanese officers and every precaution was
being taken against treachery. From Natsuki, the scene changes
to the battleship Missouri. This great ship provided the
stage for the end of the drama and the final curtain. MacArthur coming aboard is
greeted by Admiral Mimitz. The pictures that follow
show the highlights of the formal surrender ceremony, the whole of which lasted
only about 20 minutes. (triumphant music) First, the arrival of the
Japanese and power to sign. The one-legged Shigemitsu,
Japan’s foreign minister, togged up as he thought
appropriately for the occasion, hobbled to the table. General Umezu was to sign on
behalf of the general staff. (powerful music) General Douglas MacArthur,
showing little signs of what he must have been
feeling, opened the proceedings. – We are gathered here, representatives of the
major warring powers to conclude a solemn agreement whereby peace may be restored. It is my earnest hope, and indeed the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn occasion, a better world shall
emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past. A world founded upon
faith and understanding. A world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of
his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance, and justice. I now invite the representatives of the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese government and the Japanese Imperial
General Headquarters to sign the instrument of surrender at the places indicated. – [Narrator] Shigemitsu
was the first to sign Japan’s unconditional surrender. All of us who watch this historic picture would do well to remember
that although these signatures have brought peace now, they
do not guarantee it forever. The maintenance of peace will
demand our utmost vigilance for long years to come. Umezu followed Shigemitsu. – [Douglas] Will General
Wainwright and General Percival step forward and
accompany me while I sign? – [Narrator] MacArthur
then put his signature to the document, using two pens, one of which he handed
to General Wainwright, thin and haggard from his captivity. The other he presented
to General Percival, a prisoner since Singapore. Then briefly, he rang down the curtain. – Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always. These proceedings are closed. (triumphant music) – [Narrator] This is the story
of the return to Singapore and the Japanese
unconditional surrender there. Some of the first of the
occupation force to land were those famous Indian
fighters, the Dogras, coming to the men who first
met the Japs in Malaya and Kota Baru in January 1942. Units of the RAF regiment
were also early to land. It must have been a fine sight
for the people of Singapore to see British and Empire troops in the streets of the city again after 3 1/2 bitter years
of occupation by Japan. For a short time even now, a few Japanese guards were retained as a purely temporary police force while the first landings were going on. But that didn’t last long. The release of our prisoners and internees was obviously a priority duty. And Japanese guards were
made to remove barricades at prison camps, as well as
many other places on the island. As for the prisoners,
well, we may have thought there’s a cigarette famine here at home. But we haven’t known the half of it. Reports of atrocities and ill treatment followed thick and fast upon
the liberation of Singapore. Here among the first authentic pictures is stark evidence of starvation and lack of medical treatment
for sickness and disease. All the criminals responsible
must be caught and punished. But thank heavens, there
is also picture evidence of another kind. In fact, in a great majority
of the films so far received, our prisoners and internees
appear to be in good shape, considering everything. The facts of the situation
are far from complete. Indeed, many relatives still await news of husbands and sons. Although in this film we see only a few of almost 200,000 captives
liberated by SEAC, most of them, here at
Changi, for instance, appear to be in better health
than what was expected. And sooner than expected, Singapore and been reoccupied
without the great assault which had been planned. The time was almost intact. Thousands of lives had been saved. And now the Supreme Earl,
Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten was there in person to receive
the surrender from the Japs. He enters the municipal building where the surrender is to be made. And here come the Japanese. General Itagaki and his crew
of army and navy officers, who are marched along under strong guard and booed by the crowd. This is a picture we’ve
all been waiting to see for a very long time. In they went, or rather were taken, to the appointed place
and told where to stand. (dramatic music) Then in his own time, Lord Louis entered and indicated that they could sit down. Here’s an extract from what he told them. – I have come here today to receive the formal surrender of
all the Japanese forces within the South East Asia Command. I wish to make this plain. The surrender today is
no negotiated surrender. The Japanese are submitting
to superior force, now massed here. General Itagaki signed on behalf
of Field Marshal Terauchi, who really was ill. Lord Louis’d had that checked out. Itagaki has been reported as fire eater, breathing defiance till the end. But he signed on the dotted line. Lord Louis’s signature accepted
the Japanese capitulation. More boos and jeers
greeted Itagaki and Co. as they were marched away. (crowd jeering)
(dramatic music) Then the Supreme Earl
read his order of the day to the parade, with thousands
of the people of Singapore watching and listening. General Slim, that
great British commander, was by his side. – I wish you all to know
the gratitude and the pride that I feel towards every man and woman in this command today. You beat the Japanese soldier in battle, inflicting six times the number of deaths that he was able to inflict on you. And you chased him out of Burma. The defeat of Japan last
month is the first in history. For hundreds of years, the
Japanese have been ruled by a small set of militaries. And they have been taught
to look on themselves as a superior race of divine origin. They have been encouraged
to be arrogant to foreigners and to believe that treachery
such as they practiced at Pearl Harbor is a virtue, so long as it results
in a Japanese victory. They are finding it very
hard to accept defeat. And they have not been too proud to try and wriggle out of
the terms of their surrender. You may well find, therefore,
that those Japanese who have a fanatical belief
in their divine superiority, and who feel that we are too
soft to put them in their place will try and behave arrogantly. You are to stand no
nonsense from these people. You will have my support in
taking the firmest measures against any attempts at
obstinacy, impotence, or non-cooperation. – [Narrator] The ceremony
wasn’t yet complete. The Union Jack had still to be hoisted. The was the flag about which
Lord Louis had already said. – In 1942, the Japanese
ordered that the Union Jack and a white flag should be carried through the streets of Singapore. In reply, a British officer
explained that no Union Jack was available, as all had been burnt. The Japanese accepted this explanation. The officer concerned retained
this Union Jack in Changi, where it was used for funerals. It has been handed back to
me for hoisting ceremoniously on this historic occasion. (triumphant music) – [Narrator] After the
Supreme Earl had called for three cheers for the King, he drove through vast Singapore crowds, Chinese, Malays, Indians, and the rest. And I think we can all judge for ourselves as to the population’s reaction to the return of peace,
justice, and freedom to the city and island of Singapore to Malaya, and to all Southeast Asia. (triumphant music) (gently dramatic orchestral music)


  1. Hang on, according to almost all other WW2 documentaries ONLY the USofA fought in the Pacific against the Japanese.
    Well how about that, there were also Australians, New Zealanders, Brits, Indians, Dutch, Canadians…. not to mention the numerous local assistant and resistance forces

  2. I'm not seeing much Aussie at the Japanese surrender ceromony. I guess we don't count except as a "British Colony"…We wanted the Emporer hung, so there is that..😏

  3. no mention of the plight of Americans and Philipinos who bore the brunt of resistance from the Japanese on the early days in the Pacific ….far more of what was expected of them to last

  4. I've studied WW2 quite a bit, especially the Pacific Theatre. I've never seen such a depiction of the British side. OUTSTANDING !

  5. Interesting archive film, but the WW2 commentary is laden with propoganda, and as we now know full of factually incorrect nonsense…..

  6. My grandfather was a WWII veteran. He served as an MP and crossed the Atlantic 4 times. He was present at Normandy. We need with his burial fund. We would be so grateful to even have our link shared.

  7. British Pacific Fleet Task Force 57
    Rear-Admiral Vian recalled the situation:

    Admiral Nimitz (left), Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser and General Spaatz take a tot of rum with the ship's company of HMS DUKE OF YORK.

    Meanwhile Admiral Fraser, appreciating fully the great importance, from a national point of view, of the Royal Navy engaging in the most modern type of sea warfare in company with the Americans who had perfected it, had been striving to convince Admiral Nimitz that the British would not only be able to operate alongside the Americans without calling on them for logistic aid, but that their Fleet would be of real help in the task which lay ahead – defeating Japan. He found that, like Admiral King, Admiral Nimitz felt that the fast United States carrier striking forces were perfectly capable of dealing, on their own, with the operations contemplated for the final reduction of the enemy…

    Admiral Fraser set himself to break down opposition. At the same time he realised that nothing but a really powerful Fleet could pull its weight alongside the great forces the Americans were using. Nothing but the very best would be expected by our Allies, who were by this time experienced veterans in the new forms of ocean warfare. It is a measure of his success that, when at length the British Pacific Fleet joined the Americans, they were greeted by a signal from Admiral Nimitz: “The British force will greatly increase our striking power, and demonstrate our unity of purpose against Japan. The United States Pacific Fleet welcomes you.”

    Admiral Fraser wrote fondly of an instance which would set the scene for the relationship of mutual respect and support that would feature in operations between Task Force 57 and 58:

    “I remember very well when I first went over to see Admiral Nimitz in Honolulu. At the end of our talks I was congratulating him on what the American fleet had done. He said, “Yes, I think we have done very well. There’s only one thing we envy you, and that is your British traditions.” I was very surprised and said, “Do you really think so, Admiral?” “Yes,”, he said, “it’s the thing you've got which can neither be bought nor sold. Guard it with your lives.” I always remember that. Wonderful thing for an American admiral to say.”

  8. Ever look at our past and wonder how we ever managed to evolve? Sometimes I think our species doesn't deserve the lives we've been given. Sickening.

    The movie Fury about a WW2 tank group has one line in it that really struck close to the bone for me….pardon, I forget the characters names…

    Veteran: Wait till you see it.
    Greenhorn: See what?
    Veteran: What a man can do to another man.

  9. This Documentary should be Aired on all the American networks as well as schools etc just to show that there
    were other countries fighting in the Pacific in WW2.

  10. The Formidable, Illustrious, Indomitable, Victorious, Colossus, Glory, Venerable and Vengeance were all armed with American aircraft, Paid by the American taxpayer. The tax rate was up to 90% to pay for the war dept. We did not learn from that and we now owe over 21 trillion. And today I have to go to the VA hospital to check my injured leg. They asked me to bring my private insurance card LOL

  11. Why was not the east reinforced, resupplied, redeployed, and given them and the civilians they were responsible for a good chance of holding or turning the Japanese away at the start of things?!

  12. I wonder who was really in charge of ALL the killing that was so orchestrated by Russia, France, UK, Italy, Germany, Japan, China, India, Spain, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, US, and all the other smaller countries and islands. So many stupid deaths, killings, and murders if some central shot callers were not involved, it still seems as there was a plan behind it ALL!?

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