A Midshipman’s diary – deemed to be of great historical interest – has been consigned for entry into TW Gaze Auction Rooms’ biannual Militaria auction later this month.
It was kept by midshipman John G Pike, a Royal Naval Reserve, who lied about his age to join the Second World War effort as a 16-year old.
He was British, and born in Port Shepston, South Africa, in 1927, and one of his responsibilities was to report prisoner of war comments and claims when they landed in Japan.
He reportedly said they were not allowed to keep their logs.
And his family, based in north Suffolk, believe this is the only one he was successful in retaining.
The log, detailing the close of the war between March 1944 and August 1945, will be sold along with the medal group consisting of 1939-45 and Burma star with Pacific clasp, war medal with oak leaves, Africa Service medal, New Zealand medal and Colonial Special Constabulary medal, at TW Gaze in Diss on Saturday, May 20.
Accompanied with detailed maps, his account covers the service of HMS Newcastle and HMS Gambia, Crown Colony-Class Light Cruiser of the Royal Navy. It depicts service in the Pacific in New Zealand, India, attacks on Honshu, night action and the bombardment of Kamaishi. It also depicts the last days of the war with Japan
The diary concludes with an entry regarding the collection of British POWs.
“Our duties at Yokosuka were the occupation of the dockyard area, to make an inventory of all supplies… a large body of Japanese troops in the area and be at ‘stand to’ in case of attempted suicide attacks by disgruntled Japanese.
“Today I accompanied Lt. Comm. Davis-Goff by con… to Ofuna a few miles to the North West of Yokosuka to a prisoner-of-war camp where air force prisoners were imprisoned.
“On our arrival we were greeted by a large throng of prisoners some in a severe state of emaciation and others looking surprisingly cheerful and healthy. I was later informed that the healthy ones were the ‘new boys’ shot down recent to the war’s end.”
These are the last words of the diary.