Manus and Drydock

I found these sets of pictures from the USS Boston Cruise book:

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Manus is an island in the Admiralty Island chain, just north of New Guinea.  There is an exceptional port called Seeadler Habor at it’s northeast corner.  It was here, after the japanese were defeated on the island, that the navy set up a floating drydock.  In late November, the USS Boston entered the drydock and her boilers were overhauled, she was painted stem to stern and she was relaunched by mid-December.

Here, she enters drydock:

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The ship in drydock:

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Working on the ship:

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All hands were required to help paint:

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Drydock at Manus Island


Manus Island is a part of the Admiralty Islands off the coats of New Guinea.  In 1942, the Japanese established a military base on Manus island.  This base became a problem for the US, since it strategically interfered with shipping from the west coast of the US to Australia.  Operation BREWER (which the USS Boston did not participate in), attacked the Admiralty Islands on February 29th, 1944.  Manus Island was caputured and Seeadler Habor was established as a base by the US Navy.

The USS Boston arrived on November 21st at Seeadler Harbor on Manus Island to dry dock and repair her boilers.  Among the constant reminders of war seen by the men on the USS Boston, must have been the remains of the USS  Mount Hood.  On November 10th, just 11 days before the Bostron arrived at Seealer harbor, the USS Mount Hood exploded.  It was loaded with ammunition, and at 8:55am a small flash was noticed, followed by 3800 tons of ammunition exploding.  Only small fragments of the ship were left.  18 ships were damaged in the harbor and 378 people died and 372 were wounded in this tragic accident.

Later I’ll describe the Boston’s trip to Manus Island.


November Aboard the USS Boston


After returning to the city of Boston from a month-long Caribbean shakedown cruise, the Boston crewmembers continued final preparations before leaving for the Pacific through the first half of the month. On Nov 14, the ship left the Fore River Navy Yard in South Boston (Quincy, MA) for the last time, heading south for the Panama Canal. On the 23rd, they transited the Canal, reached the Pacific, and headed north to San Francisco.   The men spent their first Thanksgiving Day together at sea, off the coast of California.   Next day, they sailed beneath the Golden Gate Bridge and began a few days Liberty in San Francisco.


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After months of wild combat action ending with the Battle for Leyte Gulf (also called the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea) (Oct. 23-26), the Boston and the other ships of her Task Group anchored in the lagoon at Ulithi (north of Palau and south of Guam).   On Nov 1, the ships left Ulithi and headed back to the action in and off the Philippines. And there was plenty of action!   After 21 days of continual combat, the Boston was ordered south to the Admiralty Islands into dry-dock for a paintjob and quick overhaul of her boilers. (See picture above)   She steamed out of the action, heading south on the 22nd. The ship remained there for two weeks.   The men had liberty on the naval-base island of Manus Island.


japan suicide boats

After the Surrender of Japan, a Demilitarization Task Group was formed, with the Boston in command. The men spent the month of November ranging up and down the coast of Japan, seizing weapons and destroying suicide subs and boats.   The first of three groups of sailors mustered out and headed home on Nov. 9th.   The ship remained on Occupation Duty until the end of February, 1946.  See the full size picture here.

Steve Kelly