Colonel Cosgrave's blunder

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Peter H
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Colonel Cosgrave's blunder

Postby Peter H » 25 Jan 2008 04:26

Tokyo Bay,September 2nd 1945:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/reportsfromabroa ... 60427.html

The man who signed the historic documents for Canada was 55-year-old Col. Lawrence Moore Cosgrave. At the time he was serving as a Canadian liaison officer in Australia and presumably was the closest available Canadian of sufficient rank to appear at the signing. But the simple act of writing his name was not uneventful.

The New York Times correspondent, Robert Trumbull, in a special dispatch to the Globe and Mail wrote, "Colonel Cosgrove emerges as the feature player in an incident [that] … put a touch of humor in the gravest ceremony of our time."

For some inexplicable reason —and who among us has not had the same difficulty in filling out a form — Colonel Cosgrove wrote his name not on the line above "The Dominion of Canada," as was intended, but on the line below. It was a blunder that set off a chain reaction, forcing the remaining signatories to sign below the place designated for their country. The New Zealand representative, the last to sign, had to affix his signature in the bottom margin of the page. "Col. Cosgrave's botch … will rank high among the historic bobbles of our time." hooted correspondent Turnbull in the Globe.

Several months later, the captain of the USS Missouri recounted what happened when the signing ceremony was over. "The Japanese came forward to pick up the Japanese copy of the surrender papers," Capt. Murray recalled, "and (they) started to question something on it. General (Walter) Sutherland (MacArthur's chief of staff) took a pen and drew a line on the thing and said 'Now that's fine. Now it's all fixed'. So (the Japanese representative) took his copy and folded it up and went on down the gangway."

What the famously abrupt Sutherland had done was amend the august surrender document with a series of cross-outs and scribbles. It is the Japanese copy of the surrender, the botched copy, that now resides in the Edo-Tokyo Museum. On the other copy, the one the Americans took back to Washington, Col Cosgrave got it right.

While it was nine o'clock Sunday morning on Tokyo Bay, because of the time difference, it was eight o'clock Saturday night in Ottawa. There, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King was following developments. He had organized a dinner party at a country club to mark the historic signing, and was apparently fed information by aides as events unfolded. "Next came word of the signatures by the U.S. and later the U.S.S.R., the Chinese and Canada." King wrote in his diary that night, "I made the announcement of each of these in turn. All stood when Canada 's signature was announced. The entire company rose." It appears no one in Canada was aware Cosgrove was, literally, making a mess of things.

Who was Cosgrove? He was an educated man. He graduated from R.M.C. and McGill. He was a brave man. During the First World War he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order not once but twice, for "conspicuous gallantry in action." France gave him the Croix de Guerre. Incidentally, he also served under Col John McCrae, the author of the famous war poem, "In Flanders Fields." Cosgrave was an accomplished man. He finished the war a Lieutenant Colonel and wrote a book, Afterthoughts of Armageddon published in 1919. He then served in a variety of consular posts throughout Asia and in the 1950s in Europe. In 1945 he was, fatefully, Canada's military attaché in Canberra. Despite his other accomplishments history cruelly remembers him only as the man whose brief walk on the world stage was marred by a misplaced signature.


Note-some books give his name as Cosgrove.Was it Cosgrave or Gosgrove?

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Peter H
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Postby Peter H » 25 Jan 2008 04:46

It seems Macarthur distracted Gosgrove during the signing,perhaps why he stuffed up signing the Japanese copy of the surrender document.

Film of the ceremony shows MacArthur saying something to Gosgrove,perhaps small talk,but interupting his train of thought.unfortunately not shown on this clip version of the ceremony here.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 0463473694


The Japanese refused to accept the surrender document because of the Canadian signature stuff up until Sutherland manually corrected each signature with a notation of the country below.This delayed the Japanese delegation getting off Missouri until 9.30am,15 minutes after the ceremony's expected completion.Meanwhile the Allied air parade over Missouri had commenced with the Japanese delegation still aboard.This had not been planned this way.Somwhat embarrasing to all.

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Michael Emrys
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Postby Michael Emrys » 25 Jan 2008 11:08

No military operation is ever complete without at least one SNAFU.

:lol:

Michael

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Postby Delta Tank » 28 Jan 2008 18:58

When I was reading this thread, I said to myself, I am sure MacArthur will be blamed for something! And I was not disappointed. I had a bad meal last night, MacArthur caused it. It rained yesterday and ruined my picnic! It was that damn MacArthur again! Everything that has gone wrong in this world while MacArthur was alive was obviously his fault! We should start a thread and list the 54,000,000,000,000 things that MacArthur did that was wrong or caused someone else to make a mistake.

I believe the Colonel made the error because he was nervous or he forgot his glasses.


Mike
Any errors in my post, please blame it on the ghost of MacArthur.

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Peter H
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Re: Colonel Cosgrave's blunder

Postby Peter H » 25 Apr 2009 01:37

From Rain of Ruin,Donald Goldstein

Gosgrave signing
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Peter H
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Re: Colonel Cosgrave's blunder

Postby Peter H » 25 Apr 2009 01:41

..a nervous footnote to the ceremony.As Shigemisu and Kase look on,Sutherland corrects the Japanese copy of the surrender,marred by the Canadian signatory's error..
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Peter H
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Re: Colonel Cosgrave's blunder

Postby Peter H » 25 Apr 2009 01:45

Other signatories--General Kuzma Nikolaivich Derevyenko of the Soviet Union.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuzma_Niko ... Derevyanko

In 1950s, Derevyanko started to suffer from the effects of radiation poisoning that he received during his visits to the sites of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. He died on the December 30, 1954, and was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery.
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Peter H
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Re: Colonel Cosgrave's blunder

Postby Peter H » 25 Apr 2009 01:49

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Peter H
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Re: Colonel Cosgrave's blunder

Postby Peter H » 25 Apr 2009 01:53

Blamey of Australia,Leclerc of France
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Peter H
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Re: Colonel Cosgrave's blunder

Postby Peter H » 25 Apr 2009 02:00

Admiral Conrad Helfrich of the Netherlands,Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser of Britain

Helfrich
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conrad_Emil_Lambert_Helfrich

Fraser
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Fraser,_1st_Baron_Fraser_of_North_Cape
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Peter H
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Re: Colonel Cosgrave's blunder

Postby Peter H » 25 Apr 2009 02:04

The Japanese delegation receives honors as it leaves Missouri..
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Peter H
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Re: Colonel Cosgrave's blunder

Postby Peter H » 25 Apr 2009 02:12

Japanese on Lansdowne return to Yokohama..
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