Ex-crew recognises photos of sunken Japanese battleship

2015-03-06 12:12
Filipino World War II historian Professor Rico Jose shows pictures during an attack on Japanese World War II battleship Musashi at his office in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila. (Aaron Favila, AP)

Filipino World War II historian Professor Rico Jose shows pictures during an attack on Japanese World War II battleship Musashi at his office in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila. (Aaron Favila, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tokyo - A former crewmember on a Japanese battleship that sank during World War II said on Thursday he recognised photos of wreckage discovered this week off the Philippines by a team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Shizuhiko Haraguchi served as a gunnery officer on the Musashi, one of the largest battleships in history, when it was being fitted in Japan before it departed for the Pacific in 1943.

He said he recognsed underwater photos taken by Allen's team of a large gun turret and a catapult system used to launch planes.

"I recognized that main turret, which I was assigned to," Haraguchi, aged 93, said in a telephone interview from his home in Nagasaki in southern Japan where the ship was built, fitted and tested. "I felt very nostalgic when I saw that."

The Musashi had nine 46cm guns, which were each 20m long, he said.

Haraguchi said other details released by Allen convinced him that the wreckage was that of the Musashi. He said a round base shown in a photo of the bow was where a chrysanthemum decoration used to be, an Imperial seal that only battleships were allowed to carry.

Allen said his team found the battleship at a depth of 1km in the Sibuyan Sea using an autonomous underwater vehicle following more than eight years of study.

Hit by torpedoes

Allen called the Musashi an "engineering marvel" and said he was honoured to have found a key ship in naval history.

Historians and military experts praised the apparent discovery of the legendary battleship after 70 years, saying it would help promote interest in World War II studies. A group supporting navy veterans said survivors would want to hold a memorial service at the site.

Haraguchi left the ship just before its departure because he was transferred to an aviation unit in eastern Japan.

The apparent discovery on Sunday of the battleship comes as the world marks the 70th anniversary of the war's end.

The Musashi, commissioned in 1942, sank in October 1944 in the Sibuyan Sea during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, losing about half of its 2 400 crew members. Only a few hundred eventually returned home alive. The ship was repeatedly hit by torpedoes and bombs dropped by planes from Allied aircraft carriers.

The naval battle, considered the largest of World War II, crippled the Imperial fleet, cut off Japanese oil supplies and allowed the US invasion of the Japanese-held Philippines.

"The discovery of the Musashi was really a nice surprise," Haraguchi said. "It was as if the spirits of her crewmembers who sank with her were telling us to remember them for the 70th anniversary."

Read more on:    japan

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.