Japanese sailors pose for a photograph against the backdrop of the battleship Fusō. During the Battle of Surigao Strait in the Philippines, the Fusō was torpedoed and sunk by the USS Melvin (DD-680), a Fletcher-class destroyer on 25 October 1944. Only a few dozen men survived the rapid foundering and oil fire. There is evidence that some of these were rescued by the destroyer Asagumo, which was itself sunk a short time later. It is also possible that some who escaped the sinking reached the island of Leyte only to be killed by Filipinos, as is known to have happened to survivors from other Japanese warships sunk in the Battle of Surigao Strait. In all, only ten crew members are known to have survived, all of whom returned to Japan. Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. May 1943.
IJN Hatsuse steaming through the open swing bridge, at Newcastle Upon Tyne. Around 1899-1901.
Built at the Armstrong-Whitworth, Elswick Works.
Hatsuse was a Shikishima Class Battleship and her story began immediately after completion in 1901. When sailing for Japan she was to represent the Meji Emperor, at the funeral of Queen Victoria.
Hatsuse was not to wait long before seeing battle, for just three years after her completion, began the Russo-Japanese War. At the Battle of Port Arthur Hatsuse was to take two direct hits, loosing seven crew and seventeen injured.
It was on May the 14th, 1904 that disaster would strike the Hatsuse. For acting as flagship, with Admiral Nashiba aboard, Hastsuse along with the Yashima (posted earlier) and several smaller ships, made for Port Arthur to relieve a Japanese blockading force. But Hatsuse hit first, one mine, which disabled her steering, to which Yashima responded and subsequently struck a mine. The Hatsuse then drifted into a second mine igniting a magazine, killing 496 crew and sinking the ship. The Captain of the Hatsuse and the Admiral and 334 crew were however saved by the Tatsuta and Kasagi, who came to their aid.