Pearl Harbor explosions kill 163

B-1 bandsmen were in port awaiting orders to move to their shore assignment when a series of explosion at Wes Loch rocked Peal Harbor. This accident remained classified until January 1960, when the Navy finally reported that 163 were killed, 396 injured, and seven LSTs were lost and three others heavily damaged. [see The Forgotten First, 108-110]

Some of the period reports:

“Pearl Harbor Blast Shakes Navy Yard” NY Times May 26, 1944: 7
–The explosions and fire, which could be heard in Waikiki, 15 miles away, “rocked Pearl Harbor Navy Yard.” The subsequent fire could be seen for miles. No announcement of the explosion was permitted until May 25, and even then, the number of craft involved was not disclosed and there were no details on casualties.

“Men Killed, Hurt in Pearl Harbor Ammunition Blast,” Washington Post, May 26, 1944: 1
–Quotes Navy announcement: The explosion and fire “resulted in destruction of several small vessels, some loss of life and a number of injuries.”

“Ammunition Explosions Take Toll of 137 at Pearl Harbor,” LA Times, Jun 15, 1944: 1
–“worst mishap of the war” on May 21 left 27 dead, 100 missing, 380 injured.

“Marine Private Sees Big Hawaii Ship Explosion” Chicago Defender, Jul 1, 1944: 11
“We thought the Japs were bombing Pearl Harbor again,” said Marine Private first class Wilbert Morris Sanders of Raleigh.