You are not logged in.

Dear visitor, welcome to WesWorld. If this is your first visit here, please read the Help. It explains in detail how this page works. To use all features of this page, you should consider registering. Please use the registration form, to register here or read more information about the registration process. If you are already registered, please login here.


Monday, October 28th 2019, 5:19pm

The Philippine Gazette, Thursday, 30 June 1949

The Senate voted today to amend the Naval Armament Replenishment Act of 1949, authorizing the immediate construction of two additional ocean escorts of the Numancia class and four additional coastal escorts of the Alcotan class.


Friday, November 1st 2019, 12:25pm

Philippine News and Events, July 1949

Puerto Princesa Naval Operating Base, Friday, 1 July 1949

Following an agreeable stay in Palawan to tour the naval base and shipyard there, Commander Stevens and Kapitein-luitenant ter Zee Buis had been obliged by their duty to return to Manila, arrangements being made to fly on the daily Philippine Airlines flight. This offered Capitaine de Corvette Couturier the opportunity to delve further into the state of the Philippine ‘observation network’ that spanned the Kalayaan Islands.

Commander Salazar arranged a meeting between Couturier and Vice Admiral Fernando Suarez, commander of the Western Fleet; a somewhat exceptional get-together but one recognizing the importance of close Frano-Philippine cooperation in the face of aggressive Chinese moves. A chart of the area hung on one wall of the Admiral’s office.

“You have had the opportunity to examine some of the stations at the northern end of our network. What are your impressions Capitaine?”

“Given the constraints of the Treaty, I believe you have done very well. Of course, the islands are not – in the strict legal sense – ‘garrisoned’, but there is a more than sufficient presence to enforce sovereignty. The value of the lighthouses and beacons as aids to navigation are invaluable without question, as is the ability to track ship and air traffic through the archipelago.”

Suarez nodded. “While I personally wish that there was a larger regular naval contingent assigned to the stations, we are able to work quite closely with the Constabulary and our civilian contractors to get the most out of what we have.” Couturier kept his thoughts regarding the ‘liberal’ interpretation taken by his hosts of the limits of Article VII to himself.

Admiral Suarez went on to explain that he wanted to give Couturier the opportunity to observe the more southerly portions of the network, though this would necessitate a tour of inspection by ship. “As yet we have not been able to build an airfield on any of the atolls in that area. It is being worked on…”

It transpired that the frigate Jolo was due to depart for her regular patrol in two days’ time, and if he wished Couturier could accompany her. A cable was sent to the embassy in Manila explaining the nature of his extended absence, the reply to which authorized him to act at his discretion.


Monday, November 4th 2019, 1:23pm

Naval Operating Base Cavite, Saturday, 2 July 1949

His flight back from Palawan had deposited him at Nielsen Field in the late afternoon, and Phillip Buis had opted to stop at his office at the naval base before retiring for the evening. During the lengthy tour of the Kalayaan archipelago he had taken copious notes on what he had observed, as well as sketching his impressions of what all he had seen. While nothing overt had been said by his hosts, he had eschewed taking a camera with him to take photographs, so the Intelligence Staff of Headquarters, Far East Fleet, would have to be satisfied with them. But he did have file photographs culled from Philippine newspapers that would supplement what he had seen.

It took him some effort to locate the rather faded clipping from a back issue of the Manila Times that his predecessor, Lacomblé, had left behind. Where he had found it Buis did not know, but it certainly answered the question of where the Philippine Navy had gotten the basic idea and experience for building structures in shallow waters. There was a long tradition in the fishing – and smuggling – communities for construction of such out of local materials.

A more recent newspaper item showed how these sort of structures had been incorporated into the initial Philippine efforts to stake out their observation network. The larger structures he had seen during his tour were not unlike this fragile shacks, only constructed from more durable materials – structural steel and sheet iron rather than mahogany and matting.

He thought of the many areas of the Indies where similar conditions prevailed – the Schouten Islands, the Le Maire Islands, or just about anywhere along the Vogelkop Peninsula. He scribbled a note to outline his thoughts for the next day when he got down to writing his proper report.

He assembled several clippings from various newspapers that had illustrated the early stages of the Philippine reoccupation of the islands. One spoke to the cooperative efforts between the Philippine Navy, the Constabulary, and private contractors. This would provide a useful frame of reference for his report on that aspect of his tour. Another useful clipping in the file Lacomblé had assembled showed survey work on Fiery Cross Reef – or Kagitingan as it was shown on Philippine charts. This was interesting for despite the proximity of Fiery Cross Reef to the Tizard Bank, it had not featured in his tour.

He also found a clipping of the first RDF antenna erected on Itu Aba; it was still in service there, though supplemented by newer equipment.

While some of the equipment he had seen in use was of French origin the bulk of what the stations were equipped with was of Chilean origin, and assuredly in need of replacement or upgrade. He scribbled another note for himself to include a recommendation that Batavia pass to Phillips the suggestion that a salesman call in Manila.

He paused, yawned, and checked his watch. It was after midnight. He carefully put his notes and the clippings in a folder and locked it in his desk. After a good night’s rest he would begin to turn notes in a draft and then polish the draft into a final report.


Sunday, November 10th 2019, 10:09pm

The Manila Chronicle Tuesday, 5 July 1949

A spokesman for the Ministry of Civil Affairs announced today that orders had been placed with the British aviation firm Short Brothers for an additional quantity of its Sealand utility amphibian. The eight aircraft comprising the order will join those already employed by the Philippine Constabulary in support of operations in the southern provinces and the Kalayaan archipelago. In related news, the Ministry of Defense has ordered a quantity of fifty M47 recoilless artillery pieces from the Zastava Ordnance Works of Kragujevac, Yugoslavia, for extended troop trials.


Wednesday, November 13th 2019, 7:07pm

Del Carmen Air Force Base, Friday, 8 July 1949

It had taken some persuasion on his part, backed up by the ambassador, but Major Collin Kelley had finally contrived an invitation to visit Del Carmen Field, home of the Philippine Air Force’s Second Fighter Wing – the first unit to be equipped with the Russian designed MiG-15 interceptor. He was impressed with the speed with which the three squadrons of the wing had converted to their new mounts; apparently an advanced contingent of PAF pilots had undergone training in the Russian Federation in order to qualify as flight instructors, and, in addition to the single-seat interceptors, a number of two-seat conversion trainers were assigned, facilitating continued training under the guidance of a mentor.

Kelley was given the opportunity to take a check ride in one of the two-seater MiGs, with strict instruction not to touch anything. His hosts were leery of losing one of the costly aircraft to an accident caused by a foreigner. It did however give him the opportunity to form opinions regarding the MiG: it was fast, maneuverable, and swift climbing. He would later report to Washington the details he had observed but he could not make direct comparisons, being a bomber pilot and unfamiliar with the service’s latest fighter aircraft.


Sunday, November 17th 2019, 6:47pm

The Philippine Herald, Sunday, 10 July 1949

Reconnaissance Squadron Five of the Philippine Navy Air Service, presently stationed at Naval Air Station Cavite has completed conversion to the American-built Consolidated PB4Y patrol bomber. This long-range aircraft will significantly increase the Air Service’s search and strike capabilities over the China Seas in the face of continuing Chinese threats. As more aircraft are delivered by the manufacturer the Reconnaissance Squadron Two, which operates the Consolidated PBY flying boat out of Puerto Princesa, is expected to convert to the PB4Y before the end of the year. Suggestions have been made in the Senate that a further expansion of the Air Service should be made; however, no formal decision has been reached.

The Bohol Chronicle, Wednesday, 13 July 1949

The Ministry of Defense has confirmed reports that the Fourth Composite Wing, based in Palawan, has exchanged its Lockheed P-38E interceptors for the de Havilland Vampire Mk.31 fighter bomber.


Wednesday, November 20th 2019, 10:16pm

The Manila Times, Sunday, 17 July 1949

The Ministry of Defense has announced the formation of two additional tank battalions for the Army – the 108th Tank Battalion at Fort Aguinaldo, Manila, where it will form part of the Fifth Infantry Division, and the 109th Tank Battalion at Fort Natividad, Tarlac, as an element of the Sixth Infantry Division. Both battalions will draw cadres from units of the 21st Tank Brigade and will be equipped with surplus M45 “Sherman” medium tanks made available by the conversion of the 21st Brigade to the Char-8A4bis Montbrun.


Tuesday, November 26th 2019, 4:30pm

The Mindanao Examiner, Thursday, 21 July 1949

The Admiralty Court in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, has found Chinese fishing vessel Haoyuan No.88 guilty of illegal fishing in Philippine territorial waters and condemned the vessel as lawful prize of the captors, the frigate Jolo and the patrol combatants Alfonso and Amadeo. The trawler is to be sold at public auction on Sunday next.


Friday, November 29th 2019, 8:47pm

The Manila Times, Sunday, 24 July 1949

Yesterday evening the Casino Union was the site of a dinner honoring the pioneers of civil aviation in the Philippines. Among those recognized for their contributions were: Norwegian-born Laurie Reuben Nielsen – entrepreneur and aviation enthusiast who in the 1920s laid out Manila’s first airport, today’s Nielsen Field; American-born Paul Irvin Gunn – who with Senator Don Andreas Soriano founded Philippine Air Lines and who served as its first managing director; Carlos Arguelles – civil engineer and architect responsible for constructing the civil airports at Cebu City, Davao, and Zamboanga; and Tomás Mapúa, dean of the Department of Aeronautical Engineering at Far Eastern University, responsible for training many of the current generation of Philippine aircraft designers and engineers.


Wednesday, December 4th 2019, 8:33pm

Naval Operating Base Puerto Princesa, Tuesday, 26 July 1949

Vice Admiral Fernando Suarez, commander of the Western Fleet, was busy with a final read through of the report prepared by his staff before endorsing it for transmission to Manila. It covered the sector the north-northeast of Itu Aba and southeast of Pagasa.

“The area of the Loaita Bank is approximately twenty nautical miles long stretching from Loaita Island (10°40′N, 114°25′E) to the northwest of Dangerous Ground. It comprises a number of maritime features, including shoals, reefs, an island, two sand cays, and a lagoon.” There followed a mass of survey data, hydrologic information, and observation reports. He continued reading.

“With an area of 6.45 hectares Loaita Island is the tenth largest of the naturally-occurring Spratly Islands. The island is fringed by reefs and shoals; Its calcarenite outcrop is visible along its western side at low tide. The present shape of the island indicates sand buildup along its eastern side. Migrating sea birds deposit guano on the island’s surface and sea turtles lay their eggs on the island. The island is covered with mangrove bushes, above which rise coconut palms and other small trees.”

Suarez nodded. This was at least something. Given time and resources facilities here could be developed at far less cost than building an artificial island as had proven necessary elsewhere. Manila would prefer such options. He went on to the next section.

“Lankiam Cay (10°43′N, 114°32′E) is the smallest of the naturally occurring Spratly Islands. It has an area of 0.44 hectares and is located approximately seven nautical miles northeast of Loaita Island. The surface of the cay has been severely eroded in recent years and only the calcarenite foundation can be seen at low tide.”

This seemed less promising. There was far from adequate area upon which to establish any sort of permanent facility but enough it could conceivably tempt the Chinese to establish a toe hold; if they were desperate enough to have tried to found a base in the depths of Macclesfield Bank what might they try where dry land stood above the high water mark? He continued.

“Loaita Cay (10°43′N, 114°21′E), has an area of 0.53 hectares, located approximately five nautical miles northwest of Loaita Island. It is barren of any vegetation. No underground water source has been found in the area. It is subject to significant erosion, and the sand build up depends largely on the direction of prevailing winds and waves.”

He turned to the back of the report and checked the map thoughtfully provided as its first annex.

This confirmed his impressions. Effective occupation would require some investment but this could be minimized. He turned to the recommendations made by his staff.

(1) Recommend establishment of a manned observation post with dradis, radio listening post, and navigational beacon on Loaita Island.

(2) Recommend establishment of an unmanned visual observation post on Lankiam Cay, to be used by roving patrols from Loaita Island.

(3) Recommend establishment of a similar unmanned post on Loaita Cay to control and deter Chinese fishing activities within the reef and shoal system.”

Suarez pondered a moment before endorsing the report, signing the cover memorandum addressed to the Chief of Naval Operations.


Tuesday, December 10th 2019, 4:13am

Naval Operating Base Cavite, Friday, 29 July 1949

Capitaine de Corvette Arsène Couturier was ensconced in the office his hosts had provided for him in the naval headquarters annex busily reviewing the latest correspondence that had been routed to him. Like his Dutch counterpart, whose office was just down the hall, he received regular briefings on the activities of the Philippine Navy and was made privy to much of the intelligence obtained on the principal regional threat – the Imperial Chinese Navy. But today’s budget was rather routine, and Couturier was pleasantly surprised to have his reverie interrupted.

“Good afternoon mon capitaine!” It was Salazar, his recent escort on his tour of the Kalayaan archipelago.

“Good afternoon to you too Commander. What has brought you north to Cavite?”

“Officially I am delivering a report from Admiral Suarez to the Chief of Naval Operations, but I am taking the opportunity to deliver your share of the spoils.”

Couturier could not quite fathom the meaning of this last remark. “Spoils?”

Salazar laughed. “You recall that Chinese fishing trawler the Jolo took into custody on our way back to Palawan, the Haoyuan No.88? She was declared lawful prize and condemned by the Admiralty Court. When she was sold the proceeds were divided among the officers and crews of the Jolo, the Amadeo, and the Alfonso.”

“I am sorry – I still do not quite comprehend…”

“It would not be proper for the court to award a serving French naval officer a share, but the officers of the Jolo took up a collection towards a gift to compensate you for missing out.” With this he reached into a valise and set down on Couturier’s desk a rather large bottle of Tanduay Rhum.

The Frenchman hefted the bottle appreciatively. “Aged too?”

“Indeed. Something to save for special occasions.”


Friday, December 13th 2019, 8:59pm

The Bohol Chronicle, Sunday, 31 July 1949

The recently commissioned coastal escorts Cernicalo and Esmerejon have been temporarily assigned to the Western Fleet to strengthen naval patrols in the Kayalaan Islands in the wake of increasing poaching by Chinese fishing vessels.


Thursday, December 19th 2019, 3:10am

Philippine News and Events, August 1949

The Manila Times, Monday, 1 August 1949

Philippine Airlines has reached an agreement with the German Junkers organization to acquire four refurbished Junkers Ju252 twin-engine airliners for operation on its high-density domestic routes. When delivered the new aircraft will supplant a portion of its fleet of Douglas DC-3 aircraft; the first of the new aircraft is expected to be delivered in early October.


Saturday, December 28th 2019, 8:06pm

The Mindanao Post, Sunday, 7 August 1949

The light cruiser Batangas was completed yesterday at the Cavite Naval Shipyard, Manila. The latest of the Benguet-class vessels to be commissioned, she is to be followed by the Tarlac and the Sorsogon in the months ahead. The Batangas will now undergo a period of training before being assigned to operations; it is expected that she will visit our southern waters where the ship and her crew will find a warm welcome.


Saturday, January 4th 2020, 5:33pm

Naval Operating Base Puerto Princesa, Thursday, 11 August 1949

Vice Admiral Suarez reacted to the message from the Chief of Naval Operations with professional satisfaction. The report prepared by his staff for development of additional observation stations in area of the Loaita Bank had been approved – rapidly so; Manila had at last decided agreed with his position that the Chinese would seek a toe-hold somewhere in the South China Sea no matter the political or diplomatic consequences. Preliminary work could begin immediately; the complete program could start as soon has the necessary materials and manpower had been assembled.

The communique contained further good news. The coastal escorts Cernicalo and Esmerejon, assigned to his command last month on a temporary basis would remain with the Western Fleet until December, at least, and perhaps thereafter should the Chinese again bestir themselves. Moreover, the escort destroyers Roxas and Rosario, due to complete their operational training later in the month would also be assigned to his command.

With more ships available Suarez hoped that the depredations of Chinese fishing vessels could be kept in better check.


Monday, January 13th 2020, 1:39am

The Manila Herald, Monday, 15 August 1949

The Ministry of Defense has announced its intention to send a squadron of the Philippine Navy, including the armored cruiser Mindoro, on a goodwill visit to Thailand, reciprocating the visit of the Royal Thai Navy’s visit this June.


Friday, January 17th 2020, 5:48pm

The Manila Times, Friday, 19 August 1949

The first two of six Societe Francaise Du Gyroplane SH.22 Cigale utility helicopters on order for the Philippine Army Air Corps were handed over today at Fort Aguinaldo, Manila, where the Air Corps Instruction Center is temporarily based.

The Philippine Herald, Sunday, 21 August 1949

The armored cruiser Mindoro, the light cruiser Bulican, and destroyers Catanauan and Calasiao departed Cavite this morning for Sattahip Naval Base in Thailand, for a goodwill visit.


Wednesday, January 22nd 2020, 2:48am

The Bangkok Recorder, Friday, 26 August 1949

A squadron of the Philippine Navy, comprising the armored cruiser Mindoro, the light cruiser Bulican, and two destroyers arrived this morning at Sattahip. Under the command of Commodore José Alejandrino the Philippine vessels are reciprocating the visit a flotilla of our latest warships to Manila last June. It is expected that the visiting squadron will remain for three or four days before departing on their return voyage.

The Freeman (Cebu), Tuesday, 30 August 1949

The destroyers Roxas and Rosario have called at the San Fernando Naval Base at the conclusion of their operational training. They are scheduled to depart next week to join the Western Fleet.


Wednesday, March 4th 2020, 9:15pm

Philippine News and Events, September 1949

The Bangkok Recorder, Friday, 2 September 1949

The Philippine Navy squadron which called last month departed this morning on its return voyage.

The Manila Chronicle, Sunday, 4 September 1949

The first example of the eight Short Sealand amphibian utility aircraft ordered in July arrived yesterday on its delivery flight from England. It will soon join its brethren in service with the Philippine Constabulary operating in the southern provinces.


Wednesday, March 11th 2020, 12:01am

Naval Operating Base Cavite, Wednesday, 7 September 1949

Kapitein-luitenant ter Zee Phillip Buis took a break from writing his most recent report to his superiors in Batavia to walk down to the bay-side esplanade to watch the armored cruiser Mindoro and her consorts steam into the harbor, fresh from their good will cruise to Thailand. He was not entirely certain why his hosts had sent her – certainly it reciprocated the recent visit of a Thai squadron – but he suspected its purpose was to gently remind China that the Philippines too could reach out into the South China Sea if it was necessary to do so.

The naval yard itself hummed and hammered with activity. Buis was well aware that beside the heavy cruiser Leyte – whose form was only just taking shape in the Cavite’s Number One graving dock – two light cruisers were nearing completion and two ocean escorts were on the ways. But, as he had already noted in his report, much of the Philippine Navy’s construction program was taking place elsewhere, far from the prying eyes of the Chinese naval attaché. Under the terms of the Treaty of Saigon the Philippines had been committed to a restoration of normal diplomatic relations with its former enemy; a fact Buis knew annoyed his hosts no end. Rumor had it that on several occasions the Philippine Foreign Ministry had been on the brink of expelling the Chinese ambassador and the entire embassy staff. He made a mental note to ask Couturier if the French Government had views on that subject.