Sinking of the Masaya

Based on the diary of the late Edgar Roy Cochrun, Chaplain, United States Army

Chaplain Cochrun departed by air from Port Moresby on 25 March 1943 to visit Dobadura, Oro Bay and Milne Bay, New Guinea. He was driven by Jeep after arriving at Dobadura to visit different units. On Friday, 26 March he arrived by Jeep at Oro Bay, which he describes in his diary as a sub base. He endured five air raids that night and six on 27 March, again during the night.

The Masaya was a former four-funnel flush deck destroyer built for the U.S. Navy and commissioned in February 1920. It was written off and converted to a banana carrier in the 1930s. By 1943 it was being used as a troop carrier in WWII until it was sunk on 28 March 1943. The following account of the sinking of the Masaya is quoted from Chaplain Cochrun's diary.


Sun Mch 28 - at 12 noon sharp Japs attacked docks in force - up to 50 planes flying low. Sank Dutch ship "Bantam" at docks. She burnt at docks. She burnt to water line. Destroyed about 40% of docks. Made 3 low dive bombing runs - over our heads.

Sank USAT Masaya 5 miles off shore Oro Bay. Ship hit by two bombs. Sank in 1 hr 40 minutes. 10 men killed. 2 wounded.

Was at dock when survivors landed. They were picked up by small boats.

Aust Capt (of Masaya) spoke to me most highly of the Am. Gun Crew.

"They were at their post firing when a bomb hit them." All were killed -- 8 -- ages from 19 to 23. One was 23, two were 19. Of such is our American army.