Jap dive bombers hit landing beach at dawn. One Betty shot down.
HMS [HMAS] Australia hit by bomb on bridge at 7 AM killing 1 Lt, seriously wounding the Commodore, Captain, navigating officer and 4 other men. Exec officer had control in emergency steering. Task Force we passed a few days ago also made a landing a few miles below us. Jap planes came in a few at a time strafing and bombing most of the beach. Fighters stopped two big raids before they reached us during the afternoon. A Filllppino [Filipino] wearing Army khaki, no shoes and medical insignia came out to ship in canoe. His Army uniform was pressed and creased. Was part of the Army before the Japs came. Japs have taken most everything they had. The fellows gave them all kinds of clothes, candy, cigars, cigarettes, apples, etc. Honolulu, Australia and some other ships left at 1500. We left at 1600 with LST’s, 1 APA, 1 AK and 3 DD’s. A few planes raided us after dark, but no damage. Started SE after getting out of entrance at 9 K. Met large convoy coming from Guam shortly after midnight—over 100 ships. Ross tied up to tug being made ready for trip back. Unloading, LST’s were under fire from Japs all day, but town of Tacleban [Tacloban] was taken from the Japs. DD’‘s laid smoke again shortly after sunset to cover ships. BB’s are still sitting around. At least 600 ships involved in operation.
The patrolling we were doing was going up and down the beach about a half mile out and we had contact with the men on the beach. We were their artillery and we shelled machine gun nests and anything that needed to be hit. We had a chart and they had a chart and they would say, “Fox 22”. We looked on the chart and fired one shot to where we thought it was. They would respond to go up or down. We fired one shot at a time until they said “Bullseye”, then we opened up and shot all five guns at the same time until we knocked it out.