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katherinefiona
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Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:17 pm

New Member Profile

Post by katherinefiona » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:29 pm

Hi, My name is Katherine Cummings and I live in Tascott, NSW, Australia, about 50k north of Sydney. I am writing a biography of my father, John Walter Cummings, who took part in the Tarawa campaign and commanded a British ship (HMS Viti) attached to the Americans for liaison and supply. We lived in the Gilbert Islands during the years immediately pre-WW2 and my father at that time commanded the medical yacht RCS Kia Kia. I have posted some comments about errors concerning the wreck of RCS Nimanoa, the other government vessel in the Gilberts at that time. Nimanoa was a wooden ketch, 100 ft long and was _not_ the hulk that the Japanese used as a machine gun nest during the re-taking of Tarawa. That hulk (or what remains of it, was a steel hulled Japanese freighter sunk by bombing earlier in the war). I was at the 60th anniversary observance in 2003 and inspected the Japanese wreck at that time. I met three Marines who had taken part in the re-taking of the Gilberts, and talked with the Gilbertese man who had been house-servant to successive Japanese admirals (first the construction admiral who built the defences and then the fighting admiral who replaced him).
I am 77 years old so that when we left Tarawa in 1941, before the Japanese arrived, I was six. I have clear memories of the islands and these have been reinforced by conversations with my father and with my older sister. I have also researched extensively in printed and manuscript records dealing with the Tarawa campaign.
I would be interested in any first-hand comments about the Tarawa campaign or anyone who has any knowledge of my father, John (Jack) Cummings, or his ship, the HMS Viti, during WW2.
Katherine

consultology
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Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:30 pm

Re: New Member Profile

Post by consultology » Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:55 pm

Katherine, I just noticed your post, so hope this tardy reply is still welcome. Very interesting to read about your father and HMS Viti at Tarawa. This ship very likely the one built in Hong Kong for the then-colonial governor of Fiji, Sir Harry Luke, who was also High Commissioner of the Western Pacific. The ship was then known as RCS Viti (RCS = Royal Colonial Ship). I highly recommend Sir Harry's published diary, if you can find a copy: From a South Seas Diary 1938 - 1942, published in London by Nicholson & Watson in 1945. In the book you will find lots of information about the good ship Viti, and you will doubtless enjoy Sir Harry's notes from his tours of the Pacific islands in the early days of the war. He was a keen observer and historian. You probably know that Viti and Fiji have the same meaning.

I am the same age as your good self (b. 1935) and had the pleasure of living in Sydney during the war. Now it is Texas.

As a thought, perhaps the subject name of your post and my reply could be changed to something like 'HMS Viti in WWII'. I'm not sure how to do that, but possibly the administrator could assist.

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