Alexander Majors Victim Of Kamikaze Attack
By James Donahue
Near the end of World War II, as the Japanese were desperately fighting to drive the Allied
Forces out of the Pacific Theater, they resorted to suicide bombing missions called the kamikaze.
The liberty ship Alexander Majors was severely damaged by a kamikaze while serving as a
supply ship during the allied invasion of Leyte, The Philippines, in November, 1944.
It was Sunday, November 12, when a line of kamikaze aircraft dropped down out of the sky
over a fleet of ships anchored at Dulag Harbor, in the Leyte Gulf.
During the attack, nine vessels were hit, including the Alexander Majors. The attack was
especially deadly on two nearby troop ships filled with men. A kamikaze hit the Thomas Nelson killing 133 of the 578 troops
and three Armed Guardsmen. Another 88 soldiers were injured. Also hit was the Jeremiah M. Daily where 100 of the 557 troops
and six other crew members died.
As a kamikaze zeroed in on the Alexander Majors, Armed Guard gunners deflected it with
a round of five-inch shells, but the aircraft struck the mainmast and exploded, with its bomb on board, showering the forward
part of the ship with burning gasoline. Sailors leaped over the rail and into the sea to save themselves. Two of the 80 members
of the merchant crew were killed in the attack and 16 others were hurt.
All in all, five other freighters anchored in the harbor that day were hit by suicide aircraft,
but all were able to steam back to the United States under their own power for repairs.
The Alexander Majors was launched in December, 1943. It survived the war and was sold to
private owners in 1947. The ship was scrapped in 1973.