Manus and Drydock

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

manus header 550

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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1943:  After transiting the Panama Canal on Tuesday, Nov. 23, the Boston anchored at Balboa Harbor. The men were given afternoon liberty in Balboa City. They departed Balboa and headed north on the 24th. The men feasted on Thanksgiving Day off the coast of California on Thursday, the 25th. The ship entered San Francisco Bay on the 28th.  The men had liberty in San Francisco through Dec 1.

1944: The Boston, a capital ship of Task Group 38.1 (under the command of William Halsey) spent most of November in constant combat off the Philippines. By then the ships were experiencing their first encounters with the Japanese “Special Attack Corps” – also known as “Devil Divers” or kamikazes (“Divine Wind”) – that would extract a murderous toll on the men and ships of the US Navy by war’s end.  On Nov, 21 the Boston was ordered south to the Admiralty Islands into drydock for a quick overhaul of her boilers.  She detached from her Task Group and headed south on the 22nd. The ship remained there for two weeks.  Thanksgiving was celebrated in Seeadler Harbor, off Manus Island, at the naval-base in the Admiralty Islands. Manus Island is south of the Equator between New Guinea and the Caroline Islands.

1945: 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 coasts of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu.  They were tasked with seizing weapons and destroying suicide subs and boats.  Thanksgiving was spent off the coast of Japan.

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.