Target Hong Kong

A true story of U.S. Navy pilots at war

Target Hong Kong cover


Brought to life by the personal accounts of six Navy pilots and one British POW, this is the history of the U.S. Navy airstrikes on Japanese-held Hong Kong.

Commander John Lamade started the war in 1941 a nervous pilot of an antiquated biplane. Just over three years later he was in the cockpit of a cutting-edge Hellcat about to lead a strike force of 80 aircraft through the turbulent skies above the South China Sea. His target: Hong Kong. As a storm of antiaircraft fire darkened the sky, watching from below was POW Ray Jones. For three long years he and his fellow prisoners had endured near starvation conditions in a Japanese internment camp. Did these American aircraft, he wondered, herald freedom?

Trawling through historic records, Steven K. Bailey discovered that the story of the U.S. Navy airstrikes on Japanese-held Hong Kong during the final year of World War II had never been told. Operation Gratitude involved nearly 100 U.S. Navy warships and close to a thousand planes. Target Hong Kong brings this massive operation down to a human scale by recounting the air raids through the experiences of seven men whose lives intersected at Hong Kong in January 1945: Commander John D. Lamade, five of his fellow U.S. Navy pilots and the POW Ray Jones. Drawing upon oral histories, diary transcripts, and U.S. Navy documents, this book expertly narrates the intertwined experiences of these servicemen to bring the history to life.

Table of Contents

Place Names
List of Illustrations
1. January 1945
2. December 1941
3. We Are Now Prisoners of War
4. Boxing Day, 1941
5. Training Days
6. Little Jack and the Big John
7. Manila Bay
8. Convoy Hi-87
9. Crew Two
10. Hot, Straight, and Normal
11. Shootin' Star
12. The Most Frightening Thing
13. Blanket Missions
14. A Complete Failure
15. Target 8
16. Fifteen to Twenty Seconds of Flotation
17. Intense to Unbelievable
18. Three Planes Down
19. Triple X
20. The Man in the Harris Tweed
21. The Bombing of Bungalow C
22. The Results Were Not Commensurate with the Losses
23. The Navy Department Deeply Regrets to Inform You
24. Houseguests
25. Eager Beavers
26. Courts of Inquiry
27. Killed on a Sunday
28. Ten Centuries
29. The Bombing of Bungalow A
30. On the Beach
31. Forever and a Day
32. Reparations, Reassignments, and Record Jackets
33. Ninety-four Pounds
34. Hungjao Road
35. Unknowns


Product details

Published Feb 06 2024
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 368
ISBN 9781472860101
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 8-page plate section in black and white
Dimensions 9 x 6 inches
Series General Military
Short code GNM
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Steven K. Bailey

Steven K. Bailey is an established author and tenu…


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