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Was Harry Potter Aboard Missouri?

by Nov 30, 2019

Yes, it’s true, according to official sources, Harry Potter, a war correspondent for the Australian Evening Paper, Group 3, was aboard the USS Missouri to witness the end of World War II on September 2, 1945.

Harry Potter (below, left), and Roy Driver, an Australian Department of Information cameraman, accompanied the US Army 11th Airborne Division during the Allied occupancy of Japan’s Atsugi Aerodrome on August 30, 1945, and subsequently, were among those authorized to witness the formal end of World War II aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

According to the photographic records of the Australian War Memorial, the two men were the first Australian war correspondents to reach Japan at war’s end.

Their names are included among an illustrious list of “newspaper correspondents and others” provided in response to a 1948 letter from Colonel Timothy McInerny, Director of Public Information in the Justice Department under President Truman.

The letter was addressed to General Omar Bradley, Chief of Staff of the US Army, who in turn referred the letter to others under his command for response. In the response by those under General Bradley’s command, Colonel McInerny is advised “that a more complete listing was prepared by General MacArthur’s Headquarters and this office is still continuing the search to locate a copy of that list.” [as are we.]

The source for the list that was provided in response is described in a “memo for the record” as “the log of the Battleship Missouri and the memory of Col. LeGrande Diller who was General MacArthur’s P.R.C. [Public Relations Officer]. Colonel Diller [at that time] promised to furnish additional information from his personal collection of records.”

A copy of the name list and the response letter, provided to our Historical Research Committee courtesy of James Zobel, Senior Archivist for the MacArthur Memorial, includes 196 names of War Correspondents from nine countries and the United States. The USS Missouri War Diary and Action Reports confirms a total of 170 war correspondents aboard for the ceremony.

Our research of this topic and others, continues.