Bryan Wearne - Kamikaze
Department of Veterans' Affairs
The Leyte one was the first time we came across the suicide - the kamikazes, were landing at Leyte I can see it plain as – I'll shut my eyes now - this suicide plane coming towards us – and I suppose he's about 50 metres away – and the pilot – everybody there was lots of ships firing at him – I remember the pilot pulled the hatch back and he got up like this – I could still see him – he had leather, he had goggles and you could see the bullets hit him – and he was coming straight for the side of the ship where I was anchored – and I had a Stoker.
My Stoker was 'Curly Mobs' who came from Brisbane – big a tall skinny bloke – and on the stern of the barge we used to carry two swivel turrets [which] were mounted 30 calibre running automatic machine guns – which the Stoker and the Stern Chiefman had to man – and so I gave the command – because the troops were climbing down the scrambling net into the barge ready for us to take them in – when this suicide bomber was coming straight towards us – and I shouted out to Curly “Here he comes Curly quick”, and he fell ass over head down the turret looking for his tin helmet – so all we've got was his feet sticking out the top of the turret.
So it wasn't as scary because by the time the bullets hit that bloke – poor Jap – he swung around and sank into the water about 50 feet astern of the ship. Now that didn't worry us. But then on the way to Lingayen – about quarter to six one night – on our way up to Lingayen – and these bloody suicide blokes - when they come down they don't stop – nothing stops them – doesn't matter what you hit them with – bits fly off – they still come down and down – when they come down they come down they 'prrft'.
They hit an aircraft carrier that was up on the starboard side – it hit just on the water line – and it listed over, it immediately listed over – and I remember writing in me book – frightened for the pilots from the plane that had flown up to tackle them – wondering how the Hell they are going to land because the deck would have been like this – it was taking in – a destroyer got hit by another one – it got taken in tow but it sank just before we got to the Lingayen Gulf.
But they are frightening you know – and that was the only ever time that I was ever frightened during the war – when I think back now – never any other time was I ever frightened – and there was a damn sight more going on in lots of other places – but there was something different about them.
None of us wanted to show that we were frightened – you know – sought of we sought of think oh blimey tell ya we're lucky you know we didn't get hit in the world we're in – but the Westralia which was astern of us she got burnt on the side didn't she you know – I thought to myself “you only need a couple of hundred yards brother and if it's not us it's them you know”. I think we all felt the same that they were the most insidious thing that we'd ever encountered you know – nothing else that I can remember during the war ever frightened me like they did.