Diary of William Ritchie

20 October 1944

Another memorable day in the life of the great Ritchie. At midnight we passed Dinogat [Dinagat] Island and entered Surigao Strait and Leyte Gulf. Tight squeeze for a convoy of this size with little or no maneuvering space. 5:30AM went to our first GQ. At this time we had a steering casualty and by losing control for a few seconds, we missed a mine which was picked up by the ship directly astern of us, in her paravane. Lucky, already? 6:30AM Saw our first Jap plane which flew over our convoy and was fired upon but not hit. Much too high. 8:00AM Anchored in San Pedro Bay near Tacloban between between Leyte and Samhar [Samar]. 10:23AM Troops debarked and we moved in closer to the beach. The beachhead had been secured with slight opposition. The pounding that beachhead got and was getting paid dividends in saving many soldiers lives. Several GQs during the day but we didn’t fire.