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View Full Version : Unusual message recieved during Battle of Okinawa



ThreeCrow
02-02-2005, 05:23 PM
This story may be a bit of legend and I cannot remember where I read it (may have been an old "Reader's Digest") or testify to its veracity as I was but a few days old at the time.

After several days of constant attacks by Kamikazi aircraft the strain on the officers and crews of the taskforce was at maximum. Then came a message from Flag. It was short and consisted of just... "Hebrews 13:8".

One exhausted captain surmised that Flag had sent a biblical message of hope and courage from the bible that he could pass on to his weary crew. He looked it up (in the midst of yet another Kamikazi attack) and read:

"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever."

I do not know if he passed this to the crew. Does anyone here have further information about this?

Cheers

ThreeCrow
02-02-2005, 05:23 PM
This story may be a bit of legend and I cannot remember where I read it (may have been an old "Reader's Digest") or testify to its veracity as I was but a few days old at the time.

After several days of constant attacks by Kamikazi aircraft the strain on the officers and crews of the taskforce was at maximum. Then came a message from Flag. It was short and consisted of just... "Hebrews 13:8".

One exhausted captain surmised that Flag had sent a biblical message of hope and courage from the bible that he could pass on to his weary crew. He looked it up (in the midst of yet another Kamikazi attack) and read:

"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever."

I do not know if he passed this to the crew. Does anyone here have further information about this?

Cheers

gerhardius
02-02-2005, 05:44 PM
I have read that too, possibly in "The Last Great Victory." It was pretty common for Royal Navy, and RCN, vessels to carry a bible for signalling. My ex-navy Father informed me of the practice when I was a kid and we visited HMS Belfast in London. This is a pretty good guide to the use of the bible in RN signals:

http://www.axfordsabode.org.uk/bibleq0a.htm

a classic example quickly googled:

from HM Corvette to C-in-C Plymouth:
"Roman Emperor [damaged merchant vessel] in tow, badly damaged, please send tugs."

from C-in-C Plymouth to HM Corvette:
"Revelations 3-11" [Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown]

ThreeCrow
02-02-2005, 06:26 PM
Gads..... I thank you...... it had never occurred to me that such quotes could be used to convey tactical intentions. Probably easier to implement than having code talkers on every ship.

One would think that such a system would work to better advantage and have more success in the Pacific theater or China-Burma-India.

I don't know about the Middle East.

Cheers

gerhardius
02-02-2005, 06:50 PM
I love the odd messages: so much traffic was housekeeping that it seems any tale of an entertaining signal spread rapidly. I called my father to ask him about the bible and signalling and he mentioned hearing from another officer about a cruiser signalling to a ship that bumped her stern:

Cruiser to HM ship:
"touch me there again sir and I will scream"

HM ship to Cruiser:
"John 11:35" [Jesus wept]

AlmightyTallest
02-02-2005, 06:52 PM
I read about that very incident with the Kamikazi planes in an old Naval WW2 history book from 1953. I can't remember it's name though http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

I do remember they looked at the Chaplain on ship and told him that no irreverance was intended. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I have also read about a U.S. picket destroyer, constantly harrassed by Kamikazi put a huge sign on the side of their ship. It said the following:

"U.S. Carriers that way ----->"

lol, the sign actually pointed to where the U.S. carriers were in the battlegroup. When your under fire, I guess you can expect some dark humor. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

ThreeCrow
02-02-2005, 09:11 PM
....and so much which was mis-understood.

What was the message from Wake Island?.... "the situation is in doubt".... whereupon the support fleet turned about rather than risk the loss so early in the war. The Marines maintain that the message meant... "We will hold till you get here".

And there was a Japanese term... something that I cannot remember.... (something like "Mokugitsu"?).... that was a response to an allied ultimatum delivered in September 1945. The response could have been translated as "I will consider this" or "I reject this absolutely".

The rest is history.