Pacific War diary, 1942-1945, 1960: Finding Aid
Published in February 2019
- Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
- Publisher Address:
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
- Call number: MS 480
- Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
- Title: Pacific War diary, 1942-1945
- Dates: 1960
- Size: 0.2 linear feet
- Container Summary: 2 folders containing 2 volumes
- Creator: Fahey, James J.
- Language(s) of material: English
- Abstract: James J. Fahey was a Seaman First Class in the United States Navy during World War II. Pacific War Diary, 1942-1945 by James J. Fahey, comprising two volumes, was transcribed in 1960. The manuscript, which comprises a hand-corrected typescript of Fahey's loose leaf diary, spans the entirety of Fahey's service as a Seaman First Class aboard U.S.S. Montpelier (Light cruiser: CL-57) during World War II. In the diary, Fahey discusses his participation in the Solomon Islands Campaign, the Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign, the Philippines Campaign, the Borneo Campaign, and the early stages of the Occupation of Japan, as well as daily shipboard routine, recreation, and reflections on the islands, people, and weather of the South Pacific.
Biography of James J. Fahey
James J. Fahey, of Waltham, Massachusetts, was born on July 23, 1918 to Michael and Mary Fahey in New York City, but was placed in an orphanage in 1921, along with his sister and two brothers, following the death of both of his parents. Dropping out of high school after two years, Fahey worked various jobs until he enlisted in the United States Navy like his two brother before him. Having enlisted in the Navy as a Seaman First Class on October 3, 1942, Fahey first reported to Great Lakes Naval Training Station. Following completion of his training, he was attached to U.S.S. Montpelier (Light cruiser: CL-57) from November 1942 until December 1945, assigned initially to a 40mm machine gun crew. While aboard Montpelier, Fahey participated in the Solomon Islands Campaign, the Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign, the Philippines Campaign, the Borneo Campaign, and the early stages of the Occupation of Japan. Following his discharge from the Navy at the conclusion of World War II, Fahey returned to Waltham, working first for Artisan Metal Works, and later for the Waltham sanitation department. In 1963, with the help of Samuel Eliot Morison, Fahey's personal diary was published as Pacific War Diary by Houghton Mifflin. Fahey was also a key benefactor of the Church of Our Lady Queen of the Missions in India. James J. Fahey died on September 23, 1991.
Description of Contents
Pacific War Diary, 1942-1945 by James J. Fahey, comprising two volumes, was transcribed in 1960. The manuscript, which comprises a hand-corrected typescript of Fahey's loose leaf diary, spans the entirety of Fahey's service as a Seaman First Class aboard U.S.S. Montpelier (Light cruiser: CL-57) during World War II. In the diary, Fahey discusses his participation in the Solomon Islands Campaign, the Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign, the Philippines Campaign, the Borneo Campaign, and the early stages of the Occupation of Japan, as well as daily shipboard routine, recreation, and reflections on the islands, people, and weather of the South Pacific.
Volume 1, with its first entry of December 13, 1942, commences with U.S.S. Montpelier leaving Philadelphia for the Pacific Theater via the Panama Canal. From that point until the entry for May 10, 1944 (page 177), the diary focuses on Montpelier's participation in the Solomon Islands Campaign as a member of Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet. Specific actions noted by Fahey include the Battle of Rennell Island off Guadalcanal on January 29, 1943 (pages 12-16); the bombardment of Vila-Stanmore on Kolombangara on March 5-6, 1943 (pages 23-26); bombardment of the Shortland Islands on June 30-July 1, 1943 (pages 39-41); bombardment of Munda on July 11-12, 1943 (pages 43-46); liberty in Sydney, Australia beginning on October 19, 1943 (pages 63-67); bombardment of Buka-Bonis on Bougainville and the Shortlands on November 1, 1943 (pages 71-75); engagement with a Japanese force at Empress Augusta Bay on November 2, 1943 (pages 75-80); and the invasion of Emiraus beginning on March 20, 1944 (pages 153-157). Beginning with the diary entry of May 10, 1944 and continuing through the end of Volume 1, the diary focuses on the Montpelier's preparation for and participation in the Marianas Campaign. Actions noted include target practice against live Japanese pill boxes on Bougainville commencing May 20, 1944 (pages 181-185); preparation for and the bombardment of Saipan on June 14, 1944 (pages 198-212); the Battle of the Philippine Sea beginning on June 19, 1944 (pages 213-218); a return to the bombardment and fighting on Saipan and Tinian on June 24, 1944 (pages 220-239); and bombardment of Tinian in support of the invasion beginning on July 23, 1944 (pages 246-249).
Volume 2 continues Fahey's discussion of the bombardment of Tinian and the Marianas Campaign, beginning mid-entry on July 25, 1944 (pages 250-256). From August until October 1944, the Montpelier returned to the United States, during which time Fahey returned home to Waltham, Massachusetts (pages 256- 267). From the entry of October 25, 1944, when the Montpelier left Mare Island until the entry of May 26, 1945, the diary focuses on the Montpelier's experiences in the Philippines Campaign. Engagements and actions discussed include the sinking of tanker by Japanese submarines at Ulithi (pages 278-279); kamikaze attack during refueling operations at Leyte on November 27, 1944 (pages 281-290); support for the invasion of Mindoro beginning on December 12, 1944 (pages 299-306); support for the amphibious landings at Lingayen Gulf and the invasion of Luzon (pages 322-341); attempts to rescue an Allied regiment near Subic Bay in mid- February 1945 (pages 351-352); bombardment of Bataan and Corregidor, and subsequent landings, beginning on February 13, 1945 (pages 353-362); encounters with booby-traps on Grandy Island (pages 363-364); the invasion of Palawan beginning on February 27, 1945 (pages 367-369); and the invasion of Mindanao beginning with the entry of April 11, 1945 (pages 385-391). Beginning with the entry of May 19, 1945 and continuing through the entry for July 2, 1945, the diary discusses operations off Borneo. Specific actions noted by Fahey include the landing of Australian troops at Brunei Bay in June 1945 (pages 404-407) and support for landings at Balikpapan, including bombardment and mine sweeping support, beginning on June 12, 1945 (pages 409-436). The final section of the diary written in the war zone, commencing on July 3, 1945, was written during anti-shipping operations conducted by Montpelier in the East China Sea and operations in Japan following Japan's surrender. Fahey discusses Montpelier's role as part of a special task force appointed by Admiral Nimitz to destroy all Japanese vessels encountered along the Chinese and Japanese coasts in preparation for possible invasions of China and Japan (pages 447-454); attacks by kamikazes in the vicinity of Okinawa in late July 1945 (pages 454-455); a second sweep up the Chinese coast and Yangtze River beginning on August 3, 1945 (pages 457-460); an attack on U.S.S. Pennsylvania on August 12, 1945 (pages 462-464); the Japanese surrender (pages 465-471); Montpelier's entry to Wakanoura Bay [Wakayama] and subsequent evacuation of Allied prisoners of war (pages 474-483); a Japanese typhoon on September 18, 1945 (pages 484-486); and support for the landings of the Army at Hiro in October 1945 (pages 487-490).
The diary also notes everyday routine and occurrences, such as meals, church services, and shipboard recreation and liberty. Fahey also reflects upon the weather in the Pacific, the jungles of New Hebrides, the nature of fighting the Japanese (pages 50-51), the difficulties of watch duty (page 70), crossing-the-line ceremonies (pages 311-314), reports from other fronts of the Pacific and European Theaters, Filipino life under the Japanese (pages 371-373), the ruins of Manila (pages 381-382), and the atomic bombing and ruins of Hiroshima (pages 491-492) as well as the various islands visited throughout the Pacific.
The Pacific War Diary, 1942-1945 comprises two volumes. Diary entries are arranged chronologically.
Access and Use
Access is unrestricted.
Copyright and Permission
The Pacific War Diary, 1942-1945 is the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.
Acquisition and Appraisal
Pacific War Diary, 1942-1945 was originally donated to the United States Naval Academy Museum, date unknown.
Provenance and Acquisition
Transferred from the United States Naval Academy Museum in February 1975.
Location of Originals
The location of Fahey's original diary is unknown.
Related Archival Material
James J. Fahey's military personnel file may be available at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.
Materials Cataloged Separately
No materials been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.
Publications Citing These Papers
Fahey's manuscript was published as Pacific War Diary, 1942-1945 in 1963.
Processing and Other Information
Pacific War Diary, 1942-1945, MS 480
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note:
Fahey, James J. Pacific War Diary: The Illustrated Abridged Edition. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1993.
This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in February 2019. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in February 2019.
Name and Subject Terms
- Fahey, James J.
- Montpelier (Light cruiser : CL-57)
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Borneo
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Japan
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Mariana Islands
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Pacific Area
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Philippines
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Solomon Islands
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations, American
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American