August 15, 1945
Today is the70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War the most destructive event in human history. It was hard-fought to the last minute.
HMS Indefatigable joined the American Third Fleet in Japanese waters after August 10, 1945, to provide low altitude interception protection against kamikazes to the American fleet, since British carriers had armored decks and were better able to take hits from the attacks.
On August 15, 1945, three Seafires of 887 and four Seafires of 894 Squadrons were assigned as escorts to six Avengers of 820 Squadron and four Fireflies of 1772 Squadron, for a dawn strike against the kamikazes on Kisarazu airfield, 30 miles south of Tokyo. Operating with American aircraft from two other carriers, this was officially the last airstrike of the Second World War, and was flown to prevent any attempt by die-hard Japanese fliers to attack the Allied fleet off Tokyo Bay after the surrender went into effect at noon.
When the formation was over Odaki Bay at 0545, they were hit by ten A6M5 Zeros and four J2M Raidens of the 302nd Kokutai. In the ensuing dogfight, the Seafires claimed 7 shot down, 3 probables and 4 damaged. While this was a confused action with some US Navy Hellcats flying nearby also joining in, it is very possible that Sub‑Lieutenant Gerry Murphy, who destroyed two Zeros, had actually fired the last shots of the final dogfight of the Second World War.
Japanese Chief Petty Officer Yoshinari was credited with shooting down the Seafire flown by Sub‑Lieutenant Fred Hockley, who bailed out and was captured. Nine hours after the surrender was announced on radio by the Emperor, Hockley was beheaded on orders from a senior Japanese officer and buried in the woods in a shallow grave. The Japanese officers who obeyed this order were, by their own admission, well aware of the surrender. The officer who ordered the execution of Hockley and the officer who carried out the murder were hanged as war criminals in November, 1945.
This is a model of Sub-Lt. Murpjhy’s Spitfire, a conversion done with the Hasegawa 1/32 Spitfire Vb and the Greymatter Figures resin Seafire conversion set.
12 additional images. Click to enlarge.