Tobi and World War II
Information gleaned from various sources & on various subjects
The Japanese Surrender
After the war had ended, US military search units went ashore on the Southwest Islands and found that the Japanese Army forces on Tobi (439), Sonsorol (639), and Merir (261) did not know that hostilities had ended. These Japanese units were a part of the 35th Division with headquarters in the Celebes, but because of their location within the limits of the Pacific Ocean Areas, the US Commander Marianas ordered that their surrender be accepted by the Island Commander Peleliu.
On October 6, 1945, the unconditional surrender of the Japanese held islands under the command of the senior Japanese Imperial Forces based on Sonsorol, Fana, Merir, and Tobi Islands took place on the USS Carroll (Carroll (DE 171) at Sonsorol Island. The surrender document is in English and in Japanese.
Later in October the Japanese were evacuated from the islands. On October 21, the Japanese cruiser Sakawa evacuated 800 and on October 29, the remaining Japanese military were evacuated by the special ship Etorofu..
In the meantime, US military government units moved the 20 Southwest Islanders on Merir to Sonsorol to join the 156 inhabitants already there. The 123 Tobians were left undisturbed on Tobi. The US supplied 23 tons of rations to the inhabitants of these three islands to meet critical needs.
This photograph shows the signing of the surrender document on the USS Carroll. Thank you to Maurizio Bertolino and the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association (http://www.desausa.org) for the photograph.
During the War
Manuel S. Sablan spent 27 days on Tobi in 1944 after the Japanese boat taking him to New Guinea from Angaur was sunk.
Selected pages from Bruce M. Petty, Saipan: Oral Histories of the Pacific War. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2006.
A mention of Tobi Island from Jack McKillop's website on the Lockheed PV Ventura and Harpoon.
Photographs of Hudson planes: arriving at Warbirds Aviation Museum and Hudson 16-22.
Updated: April 26, 2012