The naval battle of Leyte Gulf was fought on October 25, 1944 in the waters off the coast of the Philippines. It was not only the greatest naval battle of the Second World War, it was also the largest naval engagement ever fought on the high seas.
In a presentation this coming Saturday at 2:00 PM, October 25, the Seventieth Anniversary of the battle, at the Eldred, Pennsylvania World War II Museum, Earl McElfresh will describe the events leading up to this battle and the part his father, Lt. John M. McElfresh, as skipper of P.T. 490, played in this enormous sea fight that effectively knocked the Japanese navy out of the war.
Lt. McElfresh is mentioned prominently in every account of this battle, which involved 200,000 men and 244 ships, including the two largest and most powerful battleships every launched, Japan’s Yamoto and Musashi.
In a talk entitled, “My Dad vs. the Empire of Japan,” McElfresh will detail the actions of his father as he earned the first of two silver stars awarded to him by the President of the United States: “For conspicuous gallantry as officer in tactical command of P.T.’s 490, 491 and 493 in action against enemy Japanese forces during the battle for Leyte Gulf on October 25, 1944.”
Earl McElfresh of Olean is a Cattaraugus County Legislator and owner of McElfresh Map Company. The World War II Museum is located at 201 Main Street in Eldred.