The Okinawa Memorial
Facts and Figures
On the evening of 25th May 1945 Task Force 57 retired southwards after being at sea for 62 days (with a break of 8 days at Leyte in the Philipines) having taken part in Operation Iceberg - the invasion of Okinawa. During the invasion the British Pacific Fleet operated as TF 57, part of the 5th Fleet. The object set the BPF was to prevent the Japanese air force using the five airfields in the Sakishima Islands to stage aircraft through from Formosa to attack the US forces in Okinawa.
The initial assault on the island of Okinawa took place at dawn on the 1st April 1945, and on that day the BPF encountered Kamikaze attacks for the first time. At 0728 that morning a suicide bomber hit the base of the island of HMS Indefatigable. By the end of the operation, all 5 British aircraft carriers, the Indefatigable, Formidable, Indomitable, Illustrious and Victorious had been hit at least once by a kamikaze or bombs and the destroyer Ulster and the cruiser Swiftsure also sustained casualties.
Many who served in the BPF at this time will probably not know that a memorial has been erected on the island of Okinawa.
"The Cornerstone of Peace" was erected to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War and the Battle of Okinawa to "convey to the people of Japan and throughout the world, the "spirit of peace" which has developed through Okinawa's history and culture. It is a place to remember the 200,000 people who lost their lives in the Battle of Okinawa and other battles, to appreciate the peace in which we live today; to pray for everlasting world peace."
Among those 236,095 people listed on the memorial are the names (only) of all 82 from the original TF57 that died during the campaign. Details of the memorial and the names of those men from the BPF who are inscribed have been obtained by Mr. Stan Deighton of the HMS Illustrious Association after a great deal of research and assistance from the U.S. and Okinawan governments. (See acknowledgement below).
It is of interest to note that the number of names inscribed are:-
Place of origin Number
JAPAN Okinawa 147,731
Plus other casualties making a total of 236,095
During the operation 28 USN ships were sunk and 171 damaged by Kamikaze aircraft.
According to Stan's research the number of deaths in each ship were:-
HMS Victorious 22
HMS Indefatigable 20
HMS Indomitable 10
HMS Illustrious 9
HMS Ulster 4
HMS Formidable 15
HMS Implacable 1*
HMS Swiftsure 1
* S/Lt (A) P.J. Croxall is listed although HMS Implacable was not actually in the Okinawa campaign but was on passage to join the BPF at the time.
The following ex shipmates from HMS Indefatigable are among those 82 men listed on the memorial on the Island of Okinawa.
Allen William J. Seaman AB 01.04.1945 Kamikaze
Askew Albert E. Supply Steward 01.04.1945 Kamikaze Buckingham Alfred Supply Steward 01.04.1945 Kamikaze
Cooper Anthony G. 894 Sqdn S/LT (A) (P) 27.03.1945 Note (4)
Gibson William G. 894 Sqdn S/LT (A) (P) 01.04.1945 Kamikaze Heppenstall Norris V. 887 Sqdn S/LT (A) (P) 06.041945 Note (1)
James David M. 820 Sqdn S/LT (A) (O)16.05.1945 Kamikaze
McIntyre John A.R. 1770 Sqdn S/LT (A) (O) 03.05.1945 Note (2)
Munro Alexander J.W. Supply Steward 01.04.1945 Kamikaze
Onion Kenneth Seaman AB Radar 01.04.1945 Kamikaze
Pepper Arthur C. Photographer 01.04.1945 Kamikaze
Quigley Norman T. 894 Sqdn S/LT (A) (P) 01.04.1945 Note (5)
Taylor William E. Eng Stoker 17.02.1945 Note (3)
Teavan Harry Seaman AB 01.04.1945 Kamikaze
Teff Leonard A. LT (E) AEO 01.04.1945 Kamikaze
Thomas Wallace G. Supply Steward 01.04.1945 Kamikaze
Vaughan Alan M. Medical Surgeon LT 01.04.1945 Kamikaze
White Peter J. Seaman AB Radar 01.04.1945 Kamikaze
Williams Gordon H. Seaman AB Radar 01.04.1945 Kamikaze
Yarde Samuel C. 894 Sqdn S/LT (A) (P) 27.03.1945 Note (4)