War Diary of Captain Alan W. Willis (Lieut.Cmdr. R.D. R.N.R. Ret’d )

“We loaded for Rangoon which had been re-occupied by Allied Forces five days before our arrival on 7th. May having steamed the 40 miles up river to the port .Two days later we were to sail again -this time to Kyaukpyu, where we were joined by Captain (LST’s) and staff before proceeding to Trincomalee (Sri Lanka). For the next three months our LST visited many ports in India including a spell in dry dock to effect repairs. We then made practice landings with Indian troops and in early September we loaded vehicles and troops in company with 24 other LST’s in Madras in preparation for an assault on the beaches of Port Swettenham (Malasia). When we arrived we were to find no opposition as all local Japanese forces had surrendered so we beached and unloaded our troops and vehicles leaving the assault area to anchor off Singapore. From here I and some members of my crew attended the Official Surrender Ceremony on 12th September -a very moving experience after the long years of war .Incidentally I recall at that time supplying a quantity of bread for our ex- prisoners of war who had just been released from notorious Changi ja il.” “We later returned to Madras (S.E.India) where on 30th September we loaded 90 vehicles and 327 Indian troops for an assault on Padang beaches (Indonesia) where Jap troops were still fighting . Unfortunately owing to generator trouble we were not able to leave port so were forced to unload .Later we left Madras for Cochin (S.W.India - now a very fashionable holiday resort) but encountering very bad weather took shelter in Colombo harbour. When eventually we reached Cochin we carried out much needed repairs, remaining there until February 1946. From here we finally sailed to Manilla in the Philippines via Singapore ,where we joined 10 other LSTs after a final visit from Captain (LSTs) .We sailed in company to Subic Bay Manilla where we arrived on 1st.April.Here we decommissioned and shortly after returned the ships to U.S. Naval authorities from whom they had been loaned for the duration of hostilities” All these voyages must be set against a background of working in unfamiliar and often crowded waters with no navigating beacons or radar, requiring the utmost concentration to avoid collision or shipwreck. We also note that Alan had no leave from the time he left U.K. waters with LST 1 1 in December 1944 to the conclusion of his effective service when the ship was de-commisioned in April 1946 . Subsequently he was brought home as passenger in H.M.S. Rocksand and demobilised after a wartime service (on 27th August 1946) of nearly seven years. It is interesting to note from Alan’s records that during his command of LST 11 he had steamed 28620 miles, transported 1169 vehicles and some 4000 Page 10
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