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Battle of Surigao Strait museum opens

By Erwin M. Mascariñas,

Surigao City — The Battle of Surigao Strait (BOSS) Memorial and Museum officially opened to the public here with the presence of dignitaries and ships from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the Philippine Navy (PN) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PSG).

AUSTRALIAN FRIGATE. Two tug-boats approach the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Anzac-class frigate, the HMAS Stuart (FFH 153) while on docking maneuvers towards the Surigao City Port and Ferry Terminal, late in the afternoon of Oct. 24. Photo by Erwin M. Mascariñas.

 On the afternoon of Oct. 24, the Battle of Surigao Strait Memorial and Museum in barangay Punta Bilar was officially inaugurated and opened to the public with the presence of guests from government agencies and dignitaries from Japan, Australia, and the United States of America.

As the opening coincide with the 75th year commemoration of the Battle of Surigao Strait, a flotilla of naval vessels became one of the highlights of the occasion. RAN ships arrived in the waters of Surigao City on the afternoon of Oct. 24.

For the first time three RAN ships participated the event which are the Anzac-class frigate, the HMAS Stuart (FFH 153), fleet replenishment vessel HMAS Sirius (O 266), and HMAS Leeuwin (A 245).

The PN first modern corvette, the Pohang-class BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39), and two Jose Andrada class coastal patrol boats,   the BRP Ismael Lomibao (PC 383) and BRP Rafael Pargas (PC 379). The Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) multi role response vessel, the BRP Malapascua will be join the navy ships.  

The museum showcased several World War II artifacts, replicas and photos which included a Japanese Type 93 long lance torpedo and other war memorabilia.   

Mayor Ernesto Matugas with the the Surigao City Tourism Office and hopes that the site will become a tourist destination that is meant to educate the visitors of the lessons of war.

The two veterans; 95-years-old David Mattiske and retired Rear Admiral Guy Griffiths who is 97-years-old, who served under the Royal Australian Navy on board the heavy cruiser HMAS Shropshire never missed a single activity within the 3-days of commemoration.

Dr Fernando A. Almeda Jr, historian and president of Surigao Heritage Center and a key figure in the creation of the Battle of Surigao Strait pointed out that the remembrance should go beyond commemorating but a reminder that war is madness.


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