(NOTORO by Yoshihara M.)

IJN Oiler/Seaplane Tender NOTORO:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 1998-2015 Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, Allan Alsleben and Peter Cundall.

Revision 8

24 November 1919:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Shipbuilding.

3 May 1920:
Launched and named NOTORO.

1 June 1920:
Captain Ishiwata Takenori (28) is appointed Chief Equipping Officer.

10 August 1920:
Kobe. Completed as a 14,050-ton SHIRETOKO-class fleet oil tanker. NOTORO can carry 8,000-tons of oil. Captain Ishiwata is the Commanding Officer.

20 November 1920:
Captain Ishiwata is appointed CO of YAKUMO as an additional duty.

1 December 1920:
Captain Takakura Masaharu (27) (former CO of KATSURIKI) is appointed CO. Captain Ishiwata assumes full-time command of YAKUMO.

25 July 1921:
Captain Miyano Koji (28) (former CO of KATSURIKI) is appointed CO.

12 September 1921:
The CO of KURAMA, Captain (later Rear Admiral) Teraoka Heigo (27) is assigned additional duty as CO of NOTORO.

1 December 1921:
Cdr (later Captain) Tsubota Kozaru (29) is appointed CO. Captain Teraoka is reassigned as CO of KIRISHIMA.

1 December 1922:
Captain Honda Kazuma (30) is appointed CO.

15 February 1923:
Captain Kioka Hideo (30) is appointed CO.

1 December 1923:
Captain Suzuki Hideji (30) is appointed CO.

1 June 1924:
Completes conversion to a seaplane carrier/tender and is registered n the IJN. NOTORO can operate as a tanker while in the seaplane role. She carries eight Type 14-1 Yokosuka E1Y1 three-seat reconnaissance floatplanes, two of which are reserves and disassembled until needed. NOTORO's tail code is painted on her floatplanes' red tails in white three-character Katakana letters spelling "NO" "TO" "RO".

1 December 1924:
An unknown officer is appointed CO.

15 April 1925:
Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Kitagawa Kiyoshi (33) assumes command of NOTORO while concurrently appointed CO of HIRADO.

1 December 1925:
NOTORO is reassigned to the Combined Fleet.

1 December 1926:
Cdr Kitagawa is promoted to Captain.

1 December 1927:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Onishi Jiro (34) (former XO of YAKUMO) assumes command. Captain Kitagawa is reassigned as CO of HOSHO.

10 December 1928:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Matsubara Masata (35) (former XO of FUSO) assumes command. Captain Onishi is reassigned as CO of FURUTAKA.

20 February 1930:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kondo Eijiro (36) assumes command. Captain Matsubara is reassigned to the Kure Naval District.

ca. 1930:
NOTORO's four boilers are replaced by six Hiyabara boilers.

1 December 1930:
Captain Fujisawa Takamasa (35) assumes command. Captain Kondo is reassigned as CO of the HOSHO.

September 1931:
An explosion of unknown origin destroys NOTORO's avgas tank and damages several E1Y1 floatplanes.

18 September 1931: The "Mukden Incident":
Liutiaohu, about 25 miles from Mukden (now Shenyang), the capital of Manchuria. Japanese soldiers detonate an explosive on the Japanese-owned Southern Manchurian Railway. Chinese soldiers retaliate with gunfire. The Japanese Kwantung Army reinforces their troops and settles the conflict. The Japanese continue N to Mukden, attack the city and win control the next day. The “Mukden Incident” is the beginning of the Pacific War.

19 September 1931:
Mukden and several towns in south Manchuria are bombed and then occupied by the Japanese. The Kwantung Army seizes banks, utilities and municipal administration centers.

21 September 1931:
China appeals to the League of Nations. The Foreign Office in Tokyo indicates Japan's intention to localize the Manchurian dispute, but the Kwantung Army begins occupying the whole of Kirin Province and soon conquers all of Manchuria. The Japanese set up the puppet state of Manchukuo headed by the former Emperor of China, Henry Pu-Yi. China appeals to the League of Nations. The League sends V. A. G. R. Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lytton, to Manchuria to lead a Commission to investigate.

1 December 1931:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Mitsunami Teizo (37) (former XO of NOTORO) assumes command.

20 January 1932:
In protest over the Mukden Incident, in the preceeding weeks, the Chinese boycott the import and sale of Japanese goods. The Japanese retaliate by burning factories and shops. The Japanese Consul-General demands that Shanghai’s Mayor Wu T'ieh-ch'eng dissolve all anti-Japanese organizations, pay compensation and end anti-Japanese agitation. Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Shiozawa Koichi (32)(former CO of FURUTAKA), CO of the 1st Expeditionary Fleet, knows NOTORO will arrive on 24 January, so he further backs demands on the mayor.

21 January 1932:
Departs Kure.

24 January 1932:
NOTORO arrives at Port Arthur (Lushun), Manchuria.

28 January 1932: The "First Shanghai Incident":
Arrives at Shanghai. Although Mayor Wu gives in before the deadline, other foreign settlements mobilize as does Admiral Shiozawa. The IJN's Shanghai Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) of about 2,500 troops is dispatched to evict two divisions of the Chinese 19th Route Army from Shanghai. That same day, the Japanese attack the forts of Wusong and Jabei.

That same night, Rear Admiral Shiozawa has NOTORO's seaplanes drop flares to frighten the opposition. The Chinese think they are being attacked. They retaliate and there are many Japanese casualties.

29 January 1932:
Huangpu (Whangpoa) River, Shanghai. The CO of the IJN's fleet units calls on NOTORO, anchored in the Yangtze River, to launch an aerial attack on Chinese military positions in Shanghai. Captain Mitsunami dispatches his E1Y3 floatplanes. They make ten low-level attacks on the old Chapei sector, artillery positions outside the city and on an armored train in the North Railway Station from which sniping came.

The attacks, in foggy weather, result in a heavy loss of civilian lives and property. The Chinese unify against the Japanese who are unable to capture Shanghai. Large-scale fighting breaks out. The IJN brings its heavy naval guns to bear on the Chinese.

1 February 1932:
The IJA is called in to assist the badly outnumbered Shanghai SNLF. By the end of the month, the IJA troops number 50,000 men under General Shirakawa.

2 February 1932:
NOTORO is attached to Vice Admiral (later Admiral/Ambassador to USA) Nomura Kichisaburo's (26) (former CO of YAKUMO) Third Fleet.

1 March 1932:
General Shirakawa's troops encircle the Chinese 19th Route Army and force a Cease-Fire. That same day, the Japanese establish the puppet government of Manchukuo (former Manchuria). They make the last Emperor of China, Henry Pu Yi, the Emperor of Manchukuo.

11 May 1932:
Reassigned to the Combined Fleet.

25 May 1932:
Re-equipped with Type 90 No. 3 Kawanishi E5K/E5Y three-seat reconnaissance floatplanes.

1 December 1932:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Kuwabara Torao (37) assumes command.

25 February 1933:
Geneva, Switzerland. The League of Nations. The Lytton Commission reports that Japan violated Chinese sovereignty and should return Manchuria to China. At a Special Assembly, 40 nations vote that Japan should withdraw. Only Japan votes against it. Instead of returning Manchuria, Japan instructs its representative Yosuke Matsuoka (later Foreign Minister), to walk out of the League. After withdrawing from the League, Japan also decides that she will no longer abide by restrictions such as the Washington of 1922 and the London Treaty of 1930 that impose limitations on the number and size of her warships.

20 October 1933:
Commander (later Vice Admiral) Imamura Osamu (40) (former CO of ATAGO) assumes command. Captain Kuwabara is reassigned as CO of RYUJO.

15 November 1934:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sakamaki Munetaka (41) (former Chief Air Officer of KAGA) assumes command.

15 November 1935:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Uwano Keizo (41) (former Chief Air Officer of KAGA) assumes command of NOTORO. Captain Sakamaki is reassigned as CO of HOSHO.

1 December 1936:
Cdr Nakamura Hozuku (39) assumes command. Captain Uwano is reassigned.

7 July 1937: The Marco Polo Bridge (The"First China Incident") Incident:
Hun River, Lukuokiao, China. Japanese troops are on night maneuvers at the Marco Polo Bridge bridge. They fire blank cartridges during their maneuvers. Chinese troops across the river fire back, but do not cause injuries. At morning roll call, the Japanese discover a soldier missing and assume the Chinese have captured him. The Japanese demand entry to the Beijing suburb of Wanping to look for the soldier, but the Chinese refuse. The Japanese then shell the city. An undeclared war on China begins.

11 July 1937:
The IJA and IJN agree to operational jurisdictions in the event of a full-scale war with China. The IJA takes responsibility for northern China and the IJN assumes assumes responsibility for central and southern China. At this time, the IJN's air power in-theater consists of only about 80 planes carried by carriers KAGA, RYUJO and HOSHO on station in the East China Sea.

9 August 1937:
The Japanese bring in two divisions, several cruisers and destroyers, This increases IJN strength in Shanghai waters to 30 warships.

19 August 1937:
Sasebo’s 23rd Sea Scout Unit is embarked aboard sub tender TAIGEI.

15 September 1937:
Arrives in South China. After establishing a base at Niujianshan, half of the 23rd’s Type 95 Kawanishi E8N2 “Dave” two-seat float reconnaissance biplanes (6) are transferred to the seaplane tender KAGU MARU.

2 October 1937:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Okada Jisaku (42) (former CO of 23rd Air Group) assumes command. That same day, the remaining half of TAIGEI’s 23rd Sea Scout Unit’s Type 95 Daves is transferred to NOTORO and the Sea Scout Unit is disbanded.

As a wartime measure, NOTORO's aircraft code is changed to "13-xx" to obscure the identity of the ship from which they operate.

1 December 1937:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Yanagimoto Ryusaku (37) (former Asst Naval Attache to Great Britain) assumes command. Captain Okada is reassigned as CO of RYUJO.

NOTORO is fitted with two 80-mm (3.15-inch) guns and about twenty 20-mm AA guns.

12 December 1937: The"China Incident."
Yangtze River, above Nanking. About 1327, LtCdr (later Cdr) James J. Hughes' (USNA ’15) river gunboat USS PANAY (PR-5) is attacked by IJN aircraft while escorting three Socony Vacuum Oil Company barges MEI PING, MEI SHIA and MEI AN. The attack continues until 1554 when PANAY sinks. Three men are killed and 43 sailors and five passengers are wounded. Two of the three oil barges are also bombed and destroyed.

Tokyo. American Ambassador Joseph C. Grew immediately lodges a formal protest. The Japanese government accepts responsibility, but claims the attack was unintentional.

Washington, DC. The United States government, militarily unprepared, is anxious to avoid war. The Roosevelt Administration accepts the Japanese "mistake" explanation. After an indemnity of $2.2 million is paid in April 1938, the incident is officially closed.

24 February 1938:
Off Nan Hsiung, China. NOTORO launches five Type 95 floatplanes and seaplane carrier KINUGASA MARU launches eight Type 95s to attack the city. Some of the Type 95s carry bombs while the others serve as escorts.

A group of twelve Gloster “Gladiators”of the Chinese Air Force’s 28th and 29th Squadrons takes off from Nan Hsiung’s airfield to intercept the Japanese. One Type 95 from each seaplane carrier fails to return and another Type 95 from NOTORO crash-lands. NOTORO and KINUGASA MARU each lose one other aircrew man killed.

12-25 October 1938: The Fall of Canton (Guangzhou):
The Japanese launch a major offensive in southern China. NOTORO, tender KAMOI and carriers KAGA, SORYU and RYUJO participate. The Japanese Army seizes Canton on 21 October, virtually unopposed. The city has been bombed for several months and most of the inhabitants have already fled. The capture of Canton cuts the strategically important Canton-Hankow Railway used by the Chinese to transport foreign military imports into the interior.

9 November 1938:
Cdr (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Hayakawa Mikio [44] (former ADC to Cdr Prince Hiryoshi Fushimi) assumes command. Captain Yanagimoto is reassigned to the Naval General Staff. Later, he is KIA at Midway as CO of SORYU.

15 November 1938:
Cdr Hayakawa is promoted to Captain.

5 December 1938:
Captain Kijima Shigeo assumes command. Captain Hayakawa is reassigned as ComDesDiv 28.

1 July 1939:
Sasebo. The CO of TATSUTA, Captain (later Rear Admiral) Matsura Tadayuki (40), assumes command of NOTORO as an additional duty.

15 November 1939:
Sasebo. Captain (later Rear Admiral) Akiyama Katsuzo (40), CO of the AOBA undergoing moderization in the yard, assumes command of NOTORO as an additional duty. Captain Matsura resumes full-time command of the TATSUTA.

5 April 1940:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Sato Shiro (43) (former CO of SHIRIYA) assumes command. Captain Akiyama resumes full-time command of the AOBA that continues undergoing moderization.

19 October 1940:
Cdr Yamagata Shunji (45) is the posted as the Commanding Officer. Captain Sato is reassigned as CO of JINGEI.

15 November 1940:
Cdr Yamagata is promoted Captain.

NOTORO is in the 6th Naval Air Group.

15 January 1941:
Assigned to the Sasebo Naval District.

25 June 1941:
Captain (Ret) Horiuchi Kaoru (40) is posted as Commanding Officer.

October 1941:
NOTORO is in Patrol Squadron 2. The tail code of her aircraft is “Z1-xx”

November 1941:
NOTORO's aircraft tail code is changed to "N2-xx."

November 1941:
Sasebo. Japan's control of French Indo China and the mandated islands obviate the need for seaplane tenders. Japan has a greater need for tankers to transport oil from the East Indies to the homeland. NOTORO begins reconversion to an oiler.

December 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

2 December 1941:
NOTORO receives the signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" from the Combined Fleet's flagship NAGATO. It signifies that hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time). [1]

8 December 1941:
NOTORO is in Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's (37) (former CO of HARUNA) Southern Expeditionary Fleet.

December 1941:
Arrives at Yalin, Formosa.

15 December 1941:
At 2330 NOTORO and transport KASHII MARU arrive at Sana, Hainan Island.

2 January 1942:
At 1300 arrives at Sasebo.

7 January 1942:
At 1100 departs Sasebo.

9 January 1942:
At 1000 arrives at Kure.

11 January 1942:
At 1230 departs Kure and at 1530 arrives at Kanokawa.

12 January 1942:
At 1100 departs Kanokawa.

19 January 1942:
At 1630 arrives at Hong Kong.

22 January 1942:
At 1000 departs Hong Kong.

24 January 1942:
At 1500 arrives at Takao.

28 January 1942:
At 0930 departs Takao.

1 February 1942:
At 1230 arrives at Sasebo.

16 February 1942:
At 0730 departs Sasebo for Balikpapan, Borneo and Macassar, Celebes.

23 February 1942:
At 1600 arrives at Davao.

26 February 1942:
At 0700 departs Davao.

1 March 1942:
At 0830 arrives at Balikpapan and departs later that day at 1030.

2 March 1942:
At 1630 arrives at Banjarmasin.

5 March 1942:
At 0500 departs Banjarmasin.

6 March 1942:
At 1530 arrives at Macassar.

9 March 1942:
At 0800 departs Macassar.

21 March 1942:
At 1100 arrives at Sasebo.

26 March 1942:
At 1500 departs Sasebo.

27 March 1942:
At 2000 arrives at Kanokawa.

29 March 1942:
At 1100 departs Kanokawa and at 1400 arrives at Kure.

31 March 1942:
At 1030 departs Kure and at 1330 arrives at Kanokawa.

1 April 1942:
At 1200 departs Kure and at 1500 arrives at Kanokawa.

3 April 1942:
At 1100 departs Kure and at 1400 arrives at Kanokawa.

4 April 1942:
At 1000 departs Kanokawa and at 1300 arrives at Kure.

6 April 1942:
At 1200 departs Kure.

8 April 1942:
At 1000 arrives at Sasebo.

11 April 1942:
At 1300 departs Sasebo for Singapore and Port Blair, Andaman Islands.

22 April 1942:
At 2200 arrives at Singapore (Seletar).

24 April 1942:
Departs Seletar for Singapore port.

25 April 1942:
At 1200 departs Singapore.

29 April 1942:
At 1630 arrives at Port Blair.

1 May 1942:
At 1820 departs Port Blair.

5 May 1942:
At 1544 arrives at Seletar.

8 May 1942:
At 1000 departs Seletar.

18 May 1942:
At 1000 arrives at Sasebo.

2 June 1942:
At 1500 departs Sasebo for Truk, Rabaul, and Saipan, probably carrying aircraft.

12 June 1942:
At 1530 arrives at Truk.

15 June 1942:
At 0900 departs Truk.

19 June 1942:
At 1230 arrives at Rabaul.

21 June 1942:
At 0950 departs Rabaul.

27 June 1942:
At 0730 arrives at Saipan.

2 July 1942:
At 1330 departs Saipan.

9 July 1942:
At 1000 arrives at Sasebo.

15 July 1942:
Captain Yoshida Shiro (36) (former CO of KUMAGAWA MARU) assumes command.

25 July 1942:
At 0730 departs Sasebo for Dairen, Manchukuo.

28 July 1942:
At 0800 arrives at Dairen.

29 July 1942:
At 1900 departs Dairen.

2 August 1942:
At 1000 arrives at Tokuyama.

4 August 1942:
At 1600 departs Tokuyama.

6 August 1942:
At 1800 arrives at Shimotsu.

8 August 1942:
At 1500 departs Shimotsu.

10 August 1942:
At 0830 arrives at Yokosuka.

13 August 1942:
At 1700 departs Yokosuka.

16 August 1942:
At 0830 arrives at Hiro.

18 August 1942:
At 1600 departs Hiro.

21 August 1942:
At 1730 arrives at Niigata.

24 August 1942:
At 0600 departs Niigata.

25 August 1942:
At 1400 arrives at Maizuru.

28 August 1942:
At 1600 departs Maizuru.

3 September 1942:
At 0800 returns to Yokosuka, Japan.

8 Sepember 1942:
At 0900 departs Yokosuka ultimately for Truk, Rabaul and Saipan, probably carrying aircraft.

9 September 1942:
At 1245 arrives at Yokkaichi.

10 September 1942:
At 0900 departs Yokkaichi.

21 September 1942:
At 0900 arrives at Truk.

23 September 1942:
At 0800 departs Truk.

28 September 1942:
At 1300 arrives at Rabaul.

4 October 1942:
At 0600 departs Rabaul.

10 October 1942:
At 1700 arrives at Saipan.

13 October 1942:
At 0600 departs Saipan.

20 October 1942:
At 1000 arrives at Hiro.

21 October 1942:
At 0900 departs Hiro and at 1500 arrives at Kure.

25 October 1942:
At 0630 departs Kure for Truk, probably carrying aircraft. Transits the Bungo Suido (Straits) that same day.

5 November 1942:
At 8-20N 152-27E meets up with destroyer YUZUKI.

6 November 1942:
At 1430 arrives at Truk.

10 November 1942:
At 1000 departs Truk with Naval tanker IRO for Kure escorted by destroyer YUZUKI. When 10 Ri outside atoll YUZUKI is detached.

E 19 November 1942:
NOTORO is joined by minelayer NATSUSHIMA at 32-01N, 135-35E.

20 November 1942:
NATSUSHIMA is detached off Fukajima.

21 November 1942:
At 0900 arrives at Kure.

1 December 1942:
At 1230 departs Kure, probably carrying aircraft.

16 December 1942:
At 1500 arrives at Surabaya, Java.

20 December 1942:
At 1400 departs Surabaya.

22 December 1942:
At 1300 arrives at Balikpapan.

24 December 1942:
At 1800 departs Balikpapan.

27 December 1942:
At 1500 arrives at Surabaya.

30 December 1942:
At 0700 departs Surabaya.

2 January 1943:
At 1030 arrives at Balikpapan.

8 January 1943:
At 0900 departs Balikpapan.

9 January 1943:
Makassar Strait, Netherlands East Indies. At about 1600, LtCdr (later Captain) Philip D. Quirk’s (USNA ’32) USS GAR (SS-206) fires three Mark-14 steam torpedoes at NOTORO and claims two hits. USS GAR's crew hears at least two torpedoes hit and NOTORO's screws stop.

15 January 1943:
At 1125 arrives at Balikpapan under tow from YAMABATO MARU, Borneo. Undergoes emergency repairs.

22 January 1943:
At 0700 departs Balikpapan under tow from KASUGA MARU No. 2 GO.

31 January 1943:
At 1540 arrives at Singapore. Undergoes repairs, probably by the IJN’s No. 101 Naval Workers Division (Repair Unit) at Seletar Naval Base. Remains under repairs until August. A shortage of parts may explain the long delay.

May 1943:
Enters drydock.

End July 1943:

25 August 1943:
At 1200 departs Singapore for Balikpapan, Borneo. Probably loads fuel.

31 August 1943:
At 1800 arrives at Balikpapan.

4 September 1943:
At 0825 departs Balikpapan in convoy No. 2607 also consisting of KYOEI MARU and six unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer ASAKAZE, submarine chaser CH-6 and auxiliary gunboat MANYO MARU.

11 September 1943:
At 1620 arrives at Palau.

16 September 1943:
At 0600 departs Palau for Truk in convoy No. 8161 also consisting of fleet tanker KENYO MARU escorted by submarine chaser CH-29.

20 September 1943:
Departs Truk for Japan in a convoy No. 4920 that includes SHINYUBARI MARU escorted by destroyer OITE and auxiliary submarine chaser TAKUNAN MARU.

W of Truk. About 2300 that same day, in a radar attack on the surface, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Roy M. Davenport’s (USNA ’33) USS HADDOCK (SS-231) fires a spread of six bow torpedoes. One hits and damages NOTORO. She makes for Truk

21 September 1943:
At 1444, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from NOTORO that reads: “At 2300 hours on the 20th in 07-23 N, 150-11 E, this ship was hit by one of 3 torpedoes fired at her. ----- can make 9 knots ---- heading for Truk. Expect to enter port at 1500 on 21st. Have 5 meter hole in ---- side ---- frames 8, and 10 to 14 inclusive. ”

Arrives at Truk at midnight escorted by subchaser CH-29 and enters port via the South Channel. Undergoes battle-damage repairs, probably by repair ship AKASHI.

1 October 1943:
An unknown officer assumes command.

24 January 1944:
Repairs are completed.

13 February 1944:
At 0213 departs Truk for Yokosuka in convoy 4212 consisting of storeship IRAKO and TATSUURA and HIBI MARUs escorted by kaibokan OKI and MANJU and subchaser CH-31.

27 February 1944:
At 1030 arrives at Yokosuka.

6 March 1944:
At 1515 departs Yokosuka.

7 March 1944:
At 1824 arrives at Owase Wan.

8 March 1944:
At 0520 departs Owase Wan.

10 March 1944:
At 0958 arrives at Innoshima. Drydocked at Hitachi's shipyard.

18 May 1944:

20 May 1944:
Departs Innoshima.

3 June 1944:
At 0415 Minesweeper W-17, torpedo boat SAGI and patrol boat PB-38 and four other unidentified escorts depart Imari Bay for Miri, Borneo escorting convoy MI-05 consisting of KENEI, HINAGA, NIPPO, FUYOKAWA, SURAKARUTA, TATSUJU and SHOEI MARU and tankers TACHIBANA, NITTETSU, TOA, CERAM, SANKO (YAMAKO), AYAKIRI, AYANAMI, OEI, TOKUWA, TAKETSU (BUTSU), IKOMASAN, MARIFU, TOYO MARU No. 3 and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2 and fleet oiler NOTORO plus eleven other unidentified ships.

8 June 1944:
NOTORO having detached from the convoy arrives at Kirun.

9 June 1944:
The rest of the convoy arrives at Takao. TOYO MARU No.3 is detached. NOTORO departs Kirun to join the convoy.

11 June 1944:
Departs Takao with tanker BAIEI MARU having joined.

14 June 1944: Arrives at Manila. 18 June 1944:
Minsweeper W-17 kaibokan CD-14 and CD-18, torpedo boat SAGI, patrol boat PB-38, minelayer MAESHIMA, auxiliary subchasers CHa-22 and CHa-95 and two unidentified warships departs Manila escorting convoy MI-05 consisting of fleet oiler NOTORO, tankers TACHIBANA, SAN DIEGO, BAIEI, KENZUI, ATAGO, JINEI, AYANAMI, CERAM, OEI and TOKUWA MARUs, YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2, and KYOEI MARU No. 8 and cargo/transports ARIMASAN, HINAGA, NIPPO (ex-Swedish NINGPO), TATSUJU, SURAKARUTA, TEIFU (ex-French BOUGAINVILLE), ROKKO, DAIZEN, MIIKESAN, NICHIYO, HIDA and SEIWA MARUs.

23 June 1944:
At 1257, arrives at Miri.

25 June 1944:
At 1915, NOTORO departs Miri for Singapore in convoy MISHI-03 with the SAN DIEGO, NICHIYO, HIDA, FUYUKAWA, AYANAMI, KYOEI No. 8, BAIEI, NIPPO (ex-Swedish NINGPO), DAIZEN, TEIFU (ex-BOUGAINVILLE), SEIWA, SURAKARTA, HINAGA, MANILA, ARIMASAN, ROKKO, TATSUTAMA (ex-American SS Admiral Y. S. WILLIAMS), TOA, KENZUI and JINEI MARUs escorted by auxiliary minesweeper CHOUN MARU No. 6, TOSHI MARU No. 2, torpedo boat SAGI, kaibokan CD-18, subchaser CH-21 and minesweeper W-17.

28 June 1944:
South China Sea. Off Singapore. In the early evening, lookouts aboard Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Reuben T. Whitaker’s (USNA ’34) USS FLASHER (SS-249) spot smoke on the horizon. At 2100, USS FLASHER’s radar picks up a convoy consisting of 13 merchants and several escorts. Whitaker, operating in relatively shallow water (150 feet), decides to wait until after the moon sets to make a surface attack on the convoy’s two largest ships.

29 June 1944:
At 0111, Whitaker fires three bow torpedoes at freighter NIPPO MARU from 3,600 yards. Then he fires his other three bow torpedoes at NOTORO. At 0117, two or three torpedoes hit NIPPO MARU and two or three torpedoes hit NOTORO. NIPPO MARU carrying 598 troops and 30 civilian passengers, breaks in two and sinks by the bow. 10 crewmen, 75 soldiers and two passengers are killed. NOTORO remains afloat, but goes dead in the water. The escorts begin blindly dropping depth charges. Whitaker, still on the surface, leaves the area on four engines.

At 1230, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message that reads: “1. AYANAMI MARU will --- towing of NOTORO and proceed to Singapore under the escort of W-17. Position 00-45 N., 105-45 E. Course 306 [degrees], Speed 3.5 knots.”

30 June 1944:
At 1650, NOTORO is towed into Seletar Naval Base, Singapore and undergoes repairs by the IJN’s No. 101 Naval Workers Division. The work proceeds very slowly because of the reliance on Chinese labor. [2]

5 November 1944:
Seletar Naval Base. 53 USAAF Boeing B-29 “Super Fortresses”, based near Calcutta, India, bomb and damage the King George VI Graving Dock (drydock). The Graving Dock is out of service for three months.

NOTORO, under repair in the drydock, is damaged heavily in the attack. She is taken out of service and reduced to a floating fuel oil storage tank for the remainder of the war.

12 January 1947:
Scrapped. [3]

3 May 1947:
Removed from the Navy List.

Authors' Notes:
[1] Mt. Niitaka, located in Formosa (now Taiwan), was then the highest point in the Japanese Empire.

[2] When the former British Seletar Navy Yard reopened under Japanese control in March 1942, about 1000 Chinese laborers were employed, but as time passed many escaped or died because of illnesses and oppressive working conditions.

[3] NOTORO may or may not have been scrapped in 1947. Scrap metal prices were very low at that time and there were an inadequate number of breaking facilities as drydocks were needed for repairs. Many merchant ships were scuttled to form a breakwater near Pulau Brani, roughly where the main container port is today.

Thanks for assistance go to Tony Tully, the late CDR John D. Alden, Matthew Jones for CO information, USN-Ret, Mr. Jean-Francois Masson of Canada, Mr. Gilbert Casse of France and Frido Kip of the Netherlands. Thanks also go to reader James Pratt for information contained in Revision 1 and to John Whitman for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages.

- Bob Hackett, Sander Kingsepp, Allan Alsleben and Peter Cundall.

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