Warrnambool's Alex McCulloch was one of the few Australians in Tokyo Bay in September 1945 to witness the official Japanese surrender at the end of World War II.
Mr McColloch, 102, was just 50 metres away from the battleship USS Missouri on board the Australian corvette, HMAS Ipswich, where he was able to watch on as the Japanese formally surrendered to the Allied forces.
The occasion marked the end of the Second World War which had begun six years and one day earlier with Germany's invasion of Poland.
The Japanese surrender was actually announced on August 15, Mr McCulloch's birthday, but wasn't formally signed until September 2.
Tokyo Bay was filled with battleships, destroyers, light and heavy cruisers and aircraft carriers and Royal Australian Navy vessels.
Mr McCulloch recalled coming alongside the battleship HMS King George V.
"It was like pulling up alongside a brick wall," he said.
"There were lots of boats around.
"I wasn't on board when it was signed but was say 50 metres away.
"One of the most beautiful sights in Japan was seeing the mountain with snow on top and, of course, it was cherry blossom time too."
Mr McCulloch said later he, and other servicemen who had been in Tokyo Harbour to witness the signing, got the opportunity to go on board the USS Missouri when it stopped in Sydney harbour.
He spent more than an hour on deck, but didn't get the chance to go below deck.
"It was huge," he said.
Mr McCulloch joined the navy in August 1940.
He'd left school at 15 and went to work in the briquette factory in Yallourn until floods stopped production. At age 24 he signed up.
Mr McCulloch said he mainly worked on escort ships during his time in the Navy.
"It was terrific. A terrific lot of blokes. You find the navy people stick together," he said.
"I don't regret any time I spent in the service."
In June 1942, Mr McCulloch was first posted as an anti-submarine officer to the HMAS Ipswich which was used to perform escort duty along the Australian coast.
In October 1942 he was posted to the HMAS Kybra which in May 1943 escorted the torpedo-damaged SS Ormiston through the defensive minefields to the safety of Sydney harbour.
The SS Ormiston had been torpedoed off the coast of Queensland by a Japanese submarine, leaving a large hole in the port bow.
From July 1943 to July 1944, he was in command of motor launch Winbah, a 62-foot cruiser that was one of what became known as the Hollywood Fleet.
"She was very handy. Enough accommodation for 10 I suppose," Mr McCulloch said.
He said the Winbah was a luxury motor cruiser that was taken over by the Navy because so many vessels had been lost during the conflict. It was used as an escort ship in the harbour and patrolled from Sydney to Port Kembla.
He was eventually posted back to the HMAS Ipswich which was one of 60 Australian minesweepers, known as corvettes, built during World War II in Australian shipyards as part of the Commonwealth Government's wartime shipbuilding program.
Mr McCulloch said he recalled heading to the Philippines and then to Tokyo Bay in August 1945 for about three weeks and was there to witness the end of World War II.
"One thing I always remembered. You don't get a second chance at sea. You got to be very careful; careful blokes are not hurt," he said.
"A couple of the fellas did some remarkable things."
Mr McCulloch said he moved from his home of 40 years in Mount Waverly, where he worked as a teacher and principal, to Warrnambool three years ago to be closer to family.
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