David Mattiske - End of the war

Running time
2 min 34 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


From the end of '43 to now into May, June, July of '45, on something like 15, 16 major operations, including the Philippines, and never once been hit. Whereas ships all around us had been hit. We were saying to ourselves, the domestic talk was "Well, one of these days, we'll have to cop it, you know, on the law of averages." And at this stage. My action station was the loading number on Number 10 Bofor in the port waist, out in the open. We thought, "Well, you know, we'll have to be on our toes."

And then one morning about 8:00, half-past eight, the loudspeakers come on. Oh, announcement. "We've just received a signal that a--" whatever they called it, a special type bomb had been dropped on a town in Japan." Oh, that sounds interesting!" We don't know what that's all about. And then a few days later, a bomb has been dropped on Nagasaki and these are atomic bombs, with all that sort of destructive power. Oh, that's interesting. We just continued our work, chipping and painting and sweeping, doing whatever we have to do in port.

And then finally, we're told "The Japanese Cabinet," or whatever they were, "have sued for peace. They're willing to surrender. Not really an enormous amount of excitement. There was no sort of yelling around cheering and running around carrying on like a pork chop. Perhaps the mood was "Thank God it's all over. Are we going to celebrate?" They found lots of bottles of beer, extra food, you know, people coming from ashore with supplies to do this and do that. We have a big party.

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