With the US Navy 'going up the Slot'
1st July 1943: A machine-gunner on the USS Montpelier describes a hit and run attack in the treacherous waters of the Solomon Islands
If Japanese had abandoned their attempt to cling on to Guadalcanal, they still held on to bases on other islands in the archipelago. There were many bitter battles still to be fought in the region, battles that would continue right to the end of the war. The Montpelier’s gunnery action on the 1st July was far from unusual - but this first-hand account by a crew member is.
James J. Fahey1 was an ordinary seaman on the light cruiser, the USS Montpelier. He was writing a far-from-ordinary diary, albeit on many different scraps of paper. At the time he was writing in secret, as such diaries were against orders. But when it was published in 1963 it was acclaimed as a rare - even unique - record of the perspective of the ordinary US seaman: