Amateur colour film shot by British journalist ( Sunday Times, Sunday Chronicle, Daily Graphic) William Courtenay of his arrival in Japan on 30 August 1945 with the US 11th Airborne Division, his journey to Yokohama and the official Japanese surrender on board USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
B-29 aircraft on runway ('DODE' nose-art on one). Pan of airfield (Nichols Field, Manila) showing aircraft and airmen. Air-to-ground views of Ie Shima island, off Okinawa. Two white-painted Japanese Mitsubishi Ki-57-II ('Topsy') aircraft with green crosses on their fuselages on a runway on Ie Shima (these were the aircraft which brought the Japanese peace delegation from Tokyo). Air-to-ground views. Douglas C-54 Skymaster lands at Nichols Field and Japanese officials disembark. Army Vice Chief of Staff Kawabe Torashiro (amongst fifteen others such as the Foreign Office representative Katsuo Okazaki and Air Force representative Colonel Masao Matsuda) is greeted by US Colonel Sidney Mashbir and introduced to General Charles Willoughby, head of MacArthur's Intelligence Division. Willoughby shows Kawabe into a waiting car, climbs in after him and they are driven off, the remaining group following behind in a fleet of vehicles, to Manila for negotiations (19 August 1945). CUs of Japanese group and Americans as they arrive at City Hall Manila and enter building to receive instructions on how the United States are to occupy Japan. Sunken Japanese shipping in Manila Bay. Views of the Australian cruiser HMAS Shropshire at anchor and of the US battleship USS New Jersey (also shots on board). General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander of the Southwest Pacific, arrives by car at Santo Tomas University in Manila, where he is welcomed by various academics in order to receive an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws. CU of Major General William C Chase, commander of the Flying Columns on the drive to liberate Manila. (9 minutes) Air-to-ground shots of sea and land, as War Correspondents fly from Manila to Okinawa (28 August). Arrival of MacArthur's C-54 Skymaster (BATAAN) at an airbase on Okinawa (29 August). MacArthur disembarks with his Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Richard K. Sutherland, and greets his colleagues, General Kenny commanding the Far Eastern Air Forces and General Robert L Eichelberger commanding the US 8th Army. Various shots of airfield and air force personnel. Air-to-ground shots of sea and coastline as the first elements of the US 11th Airborne Division fly from Okinawa to Japan (some 15000 men of the 11th Airborne Division were to be landed between 8am and 10 am and it required the mobilisation of 250 Skymasters to undertake this). A brief glimpse of Mount Fuji is seen through the haze. The aircraft passes over a hazy devastated Yokohama and lands at Atsugi airbase (15 miles from Yokohama) 30 August 1945. (16 minutes 35 seconds) Personnel disembark. William Courtenay, the journalist and cameraman, is seen standing at the bottom of the ladder wearing an Australian hat (which he removes). Shots of airfield showing immobilised (propellers removed - stipulated at Manila to prevent their use) Mitsubishi Raiden fighters and other aircraft. C-54 Skymasters on runway and taxiing. The Stars and Stripes are raised over an airport building and a sign, 11th Airborne Division, is displayed prominently on the side of a building. Japanese soldiers, probably a work detachment, stand gazing into the camera, some smiling. Japanese military and civilian police (civilian police are in black) and civilians are seen amongst this group. There is much activity on the airbase, with more C-54s landing and US Air Force personnel and armed US troops making preparations for departure by lorries to Yokohama. The countryside is seen from the back of an open lorry, in convoy with others. The sides of the road are guarded by armed Japanese soldiers, their backs towards the passing vehicles (a security precaution arranged at the Manila conference, to guard against any possible insurgency). Yokohama suburbs, devasted by fire bombing (which intentionally left the infrastructure relatively intact), with trains running. (21 minutes 45 seconds) USS Missouri with sailors lining ship's rail, seen from approaching boat. On board the Missouri preparations for the surrender ceremony are underway (the surrender was signed in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945). The Japanese delegation assembles, led by Mamoru Shigemitsu (with walking stick) of the Foreign Office and General Yoshijiro Umezu Army Chief of Staff. MacArthur arrives and speaks into a microphone, which is positioned behind the surrender table and on the opposite side to where the Japanese group of eleven are formally standing. (29 minutes 45 seconds) The Allied delegation stands in a large formal group, according to nationality (front row: Nimitz/USA, Hsu Yung-chang/China, Fraser/UK, Derevyanko/USSR, Blamey/Australia, Cosgrove/Canada, Leclerc/France Helfrich/Netherlands, Isitt/New Zealand). The Japanese sign, overseen by Lieutenant-General Sutherland, Shigemitsu first followed by Umezu. MacArthur then signs first for the Allies, using several pens. He gives one to General Jonathan Wainwright and another to General Arthur Percival, who are standing behind him. Admiral Chester Nimitz signs next, gesturing to Admiral William Halsey who comes and stands beside him. The rest of the Allies follow. (The camera is positioned behind and slightly to the right of the Japanese, away from the main group of cameramen and photographers who can be seen to the left-hand side of the frame. According to Courtenay's notes, Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey, Australian Commander-in-Chief, had arranged personally with MacArthur for Courtenay to have a privileged position on the 16 inch gun turret). (34 minutes 30 seconds) The Japanese take their copy of the surrender document and depart. A large formation of aircraft flies overhead. CUs of Allied delegates including, Lieut. General Walter Krueger, General Stillwell, General Leclerc. Informal and mixed groups stand around talking, including Eichelberger, Stilwell and Admiral Slew McCain (laughing in group). A shot of Commodore Matthew Perry's flag, first flown in Japan in 1853, now mounted in a glass-fronted frame on the Missouri's bulkhead.(Admiral William Halsey requested the flag be specially flown in from the US for the ceremony). William Courtenay is seen (in Australian hat) with a group of Russians and also shaking hands with General Sir Thomas Blamey. CU of an emaciated General Arthur Percival smiling at camera, followed by MS of an alternately smiling and severe-looking Admiral Halsey. General Willoughby talks to Leclerc and the Russian delegates (in French and Russian, respectively). MacArthur, together with Nimitz and Halsey, leave the Missouri transferring to the destroyer USS Buchanan alongside, which will take them back to Yokohama. CUs of US, Soviet and British officers standing and sitting together.