- Walker, Jefferson H., MVO, Lieutenant Commander, RAN
- RAN operations, Ship histories and stories, WWII operations, History - WW2
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Parramatta II
- December 2010 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Of course, I was terror-stricken throughout. I don’t think it would be possible not to be. But I was much too busy at the time to even think about it. The following days, however, when imagination set in were very nasty. The ship cluttered up with dead and wounded also did no good for our nerves. Two men died of wounds and we had a burial at sea.
We had a brief time in harbour and were off again without delay, back to the same area but, thank heaven, we were left alone. Then, after another day or two, back we came into harbour again for a bit of rest. Then I landed on shore with Peter More, the intention being to play a game of squash, dine in style, then have a real roar-up at a cabaret. We felt we deserved it. The game of squash occurred according to plan but between that and dinner came the taxi, which just goes to show, doesn’t it? Although I don’t quite know what it goes to show, we both fetched up in hospital, and now I am resting on shore to let things mend up again, and thoroughly enjoying the enforced rest. The ship, under No. 1, although at sea is also having an easy time, I think, so I am not very worried about her. I expect to rejoin her shortly.
You will of course, understand that although none of the above is now censorable, there are bits about my feelings which on no account get to the press, or have similar publicity. I don’t mind you showing this account to friends if you wish, but don’t let it pass out of your hands.
We afterwards agreed that the experience was ‘God awful’, which about sums it up. I finished with much pride in my men, who fought that most terrifying battle like veterans. The survivors of the Auckland were also splendid, and theirs was a greater ordeal than ours. The object of the operation was achieved, which is of course the main thing.
The full text of the signal I received afterwards was:
‘C-in-C – – repeated Parramatta
Personal from First Sea Lord.
The ship-handling and shooting of HMAS Parramatta must have been very good when picking up the survivors of HMS Auckland as all attacks were avoided and three aircraft shot down.’
I don’t think I could have anything which would make me more proud of my party. This letter is not so much a ‘news’ letter as a ‘battle’ story, isn’t it? I will therefore not intrude other matters, but leave it as it is – the simple story of a frightened child.