Helena Cut 4 Notches
Before Japs Sank Her
Copy of clippings donated by EUGENE E. LAJEUNESSE MM1C USS Helena CL-50 1941 to 7/43.
(Age of the clippings has caused yellowing and loss of some words)
At an Advanced Invasion Base, South Pacific, July 6 (Delayed) (AP).---At least two Japanese cruisers and two destroyers were sunk by the cruiser Helena before it went down with colors flying in the decisive American naval victory in the Kula Gulf today.
The Helena was the only American ship lost when a small number of United States warships topped the Japanese navy's bid to reinforce Kolombangara and Munda, central Solomon objectives of the powerful offensive against the enemy in the South Pacific.
The U.S.S. Helena. She went down with her guns firing.
Japs Breeze In.
The naval battle, which resulted in the loss of at least nine Japanese cruisers and destroyers, came after the Japanese, thinking they were undetected, steamed boldly into Kula Gulf, an eight-mile channel between New Georgia Island and its northern neighbor, Kolombangara.
As the Japs steamed down the channel our light cruiser task force opened fire.
The cruiser Helena loosed its six-inch guns upon two of Hirohito's best cruisers. Both were sunk. Then she sank at least two destroyers before going down herself. Alan Jackson, of Oakland, Calif., International News Photo photographer, who was aboard the Helena, corroborates the fact that she had hit her third target when her bow was blown off.
(Apparently the cruiser's gun crews remained at their posts aboard the doomed ship and sank the fourth Japanese warship (web mgr. note: words missing)
Destroyers Join Fight
In the meantime, other cruisers of our task force were lobbing over shells which sent other Japanese cruisers and destroyers to the bottom, while our destroyer escort took time to engage enemy vessels when not picking up survivors.
Jackson, who lost at least $100.00 worth of equipment and all the films taken during the action, plus personal property, said that the Helena had been firing for six minutes when it was hit.
He said the majority of the crew of 1,200, except those in the engine rooms, went over the side of the ship into the ocean and were picked up by destroyers.
(In dispatches to Australia, Osmar White, an Austraian correspondent, estimated the number of survivors at 600. The number in the crew as reported by Jackson was much larger than the 700 to 800 usually carried (web mgr. note: words missing)