Monday, July 30, 2012

Henry Allison Page III and the USS Birmingham (May 1945)


Henry Allison Page III was my grandpa - Sam Welles - best friend/Rhodes Scholar buddy who was KIA by a kamikaze fighter in May 1945 while serving on the USS Birmingham. 

Kamikaze hit on the USS Birmingham that killed  LT Page
with LT "Whiskey Joe" Matthews peering into hole.
Photo Courtesy of Gary Young, whose father served on the USS Birmingham.

Henry Welles' copy of Victory in the Pacific
(My father was named after Henry Page)
Photo By Donna Welles 07/30/12

 Harvard Professor Samuel Eliot Morison included an account of Henry's death in 
his "Victory in the Pacific 1945":

The oft-battered Birmingham (Captain H. D. Power), now flying the flag of rear Admiral Deyo, having completed her forty-first gunfire support mission, anchored off Hagushi during the morning watch 4 May, hoping for a little peace and quiet. The forenoon watch had been on duty nearly five minutes when 14 planes were reported closing, 60 miles distant. They were intercepted by C.A.P., but apparently with slight success as ten or twelve broke through and made for a cruiser. While these were absorbing the gunners' attention, an Oscar, which had approached from over Okinawa, undetected by radar, was sighted by the lookouts about a mile distant and almost directly overhead. It dove through a barrage of 20-mm fire, at 0841 crashed Birmingham just to starboard of No. 2 six-inch turret, broke through main deck, passed through the communications officers' cabin, killing Lieutenant Henry Page who had just gone below, and exploded in the sickbay where sick-call was just being held, killing or severely wounding nearly everyone there, including all but five corpsmen of the medical staff. And the bomb, too, exploded on first platform deck.

See also the dedication to Henry Allison Page III found in "Profile of Europe" by Sam Welles (1948)

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