Who remembers VJ Day? How many of the past few generations even know what V-J Day is all about? The Victory over Japan (VJ) is the day the Japanese officially accepted the surrender terms from the Allied Nations on August 14, 1945. Although in the England they recognize the date as August 15, and the official signing of surrender occurred on September 2, 1945.
Memories of My Dad
My Dad, Leo T Tyrrell, was twenty years old on VJ Day and the photo below is the only one I have of him during this time period. Unfortunately he died in 1995 and didn’t talk about his WWII years. I never even saw photos of his childhood or my parents in the 1950s.
I have been on a search for several years to piece together my Dad’s military record and from what I understand he was on the Destroyer the USS Edison 439 on this day seventy years ago when the war ended. The ship was at Pearl Harbor for training and immediately set sail to be in Japan for the Occupation during September of 1945.
I have learned a lot about this photo from military history buffs on Twitter. It appears this photo was taken at a general field hospital, note the bandage on his right hand, and the uniform and boots would of been those issued for general patients at that time.
Honoring My Dad
The painting below was generously done by coffee artist Nathanael Manzer, who saw my photo on Twitter and sent me this in the mail! Imagine my surprise. My apologies for the late shout out, I have since had it framed and it hangs besides the photograph.
Talking to My Dad’s Shipmate
In the years I have been searching for information on my Fathers military history I often thought how amazing it would be if I could actually talk to someone who served with him in the military. Since so many veterans from World War II and Korea have died over the years that hope started to fade.
However, I found a website which discussed the USS Edison and decided to contact the author via email. Now this website was built in the mid 1990’s and the chances of the email being active was remote, so I called the phone number listed, not knowing what to expect.
The voice mail answered Franklyn Dailey Jr. and I was encouraged, must be a son, or military historial buff who wrote the book “Joining the War at Sea.” After some phone tag during the day I was actually speaking to an elderly sounding man who started asking questions about my Dad, what ship did he serve on, what job did he do, etc.
It took me a few minutes to realize I was speaking to a World War II veteran who served on the same ship, he did not sound 94 years old. When I explained that my Dad brought and loaded ammunition to the guns Mr. Dailey exclaimed “I was his Gunnery Officer!”
Oh my, a chill went through my body and gave me goose bumps. He not only served with my Dad, but was his senior officer (his boss) seventy years ago. It didn’t matter to me that Mr. Dailey only vaguely remembered the name Tyrrell, but I realized the book he wrote would tell intimately of the job my Dad did, the men he served with, and recants stories my Dad never told.
I eventually had to pull off to the side of the road and finish the conversation. I often thought I might possibly speak with someone in the 82nd Airborne that served with my Dad in the 1950’s, in Operation Longhorn, or Snowshoe, but I never dreamed I would speak to someone from his WWII days.
Frank ended the conversation with “We will get to know each other better, and have more conversations” That we will. I have since purchased his book and will be spending this weekend reading it from cover to cover. Maybe my Dad is even mentioned somewhere, at least now I will be able to attach a place and activity to the ribbons below.
The story is not finished, I have lots to tell as I have also obtained ship muster logs
Articles About the DD 439 Edison Destroyer
There isn’t very much online regarding the Edison DD439 but here are some interesting places to start.
- WW II Destroyer Engine-room Throttlemen controlled 50,000 horsepower!
- Destroyer history: Edison DD439
- NavSource Naval History- USS Edison DD439
- USS Edison Ship History
Information and Recognition of VJ-Day
Let us never forget that day, the day the last World War ended when so many families gave everything, their lives, their sons, their daughters for freedom.