Pearl Harbor remembered by Noblesville’s Navy Club Ship 29

Dr. John Shively, a World War II Pacific Theatre historian, talks about the first 24 hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

Dr. John Shively, a World War II Pacific Theatre historian, talks about the first 24 hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

Sailors, soldiers, students and the community came together to remember and learn more about the 1941 attack on Hawaii during the annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day program on Dec. 6 at Noblesville City Hall.

The program, which was conducted by Navy Club Hamilton County Ship No. 29, featured World War II Pacific Theatre historian Dr. John Shively. During his presentation, Shively talked about the 24 hours after the attack and other events in lesser-known areas of the Pacific Rim.

“The ultimate outcome of the attack on Pearl Harbor is Japan loses the war,” Shively said.

Three locations Shively focused on were Midway and Wake islands and Shanghai, China.

“The object of the Japan attack, which was Eastern Island (of Midway), was never hit,” he said, adding that the Eastern Island was where the airfield was located.

Shively said the 4th Marines Battalion was ordered to evacuate Shanghai and relocate to the Philippines.

“All Marines taken to the Philippines surrendered at Corregidor Island,” he said, adding that the river boats SS Harrison and USS Wake remained to guard the coast. “The skeleton crew of the USS Wake was overwhelmed by the Japanese. It was the only ship in the U.S. Navy that strikes her colors.”

On Dec. 7 1941, The SS Harrison was ordered back to Chinwangtao, North China from Manila to evacuate 144 Marines at the U.S. Embassy in Peking. Shively said the ship tried to navigate out of the Yangtse River below Shanghai when it was trapped by a Japanese cruiser. The captain ordered the ship run aground at full speed and tore its bottom plates out.

“The Marines onboard are among the first POWs taken in the war,” said Shively. “The Japanese repaired the Harrison and put a flag on it. They carried POWs in prison camps back to Japan as slave labor.

Shively said the Harrison was torpedoed and sunk by the American submarine USS Pampanito in the South China Sea on Sept. 12, 1944.

“Four hundred British POWs died on board,” he said. “The submarine turned around and picked up 70 of them.”

Shively said the news of Pearl Harbor reached London two and a half hours after the attacks. Queen Wilhelmnia, exiled monarch of Holland, received the news of attack on Pearl Harbor one hour later. Shively said Wilhelmnia immediately declares war on Japan even though the country has not attacked the Netherlands East Indies.

“Holland is the first country to declare war on Japan. She’s a gutsy woman,” Shively said.

Dec. 7 was the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor prompting America’s participation in World War II.

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