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"Montevideo Maru" / April 2013/ Williams
"Montevideo Maru" / April 2013/ Williams

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson / Peter F Williams

A monument commemorates the sinking of the "Montevideo Maru" which is the largest maritime disaster in Australian history. On 22nd June 1942, the Japanese ordered 845 Prisoners of War (POW) and 208 civilian internees to board the Japanese ship, "Montevideo Maru", for transport to Japan.

The ship bore no markings to indicate that it carried POWs. The POWs were members of the 2/22 Battalion AIF, New Guinea Rifles, an Anti-Tank Battery, an Anti-Aircraft Battery, Coastal Defence Battery, a Royal Australian Air Force group and a detachment of the 2/20 Field Ambulance. (Uniquely, the members of the 2/22 Battalion Band were all members of Salvation Army Bands).

On 1st July 1942 an American submarine, the USS Sturgeon, attacked and sank the Montevideo Maru unaware that more than 1000 POWs were locked in its holds. There were no survivors. No indication of its sinking, or of the tragic loss of life was given by the Japanese Government.

Location

Address:Wendouree Parade & Carlton Street, Prisoner of War Memorial, Ballarat, 3350
State:VIC
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.553209
Long: 143.821559
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict
Sub-Theme:WW2
Actual Event STart Date:01-July-1942
Actual Event End Date:01-July-1942

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 7th February, 2004
Front Inscription

Memorial to those who died on the Montevideo Maru 1st July 1942.

On the 23rd January 1942 Japanese forces invaded Rabaul, on the island of New Britain and quickly defeated the small Australian garrison - Lark Force.

About 160 of the Australian soldiers who surrendered were massacred in February, at Tol plantation.

On 22nd June 1942, the Japanese ordered 852 Australian prisoners of war and 208 civilian internees to board the Japanese ship, Montevideo Maru, for transport to Japan.  The ship bore no markings to indicate that it carried prisoners of war.

The prisoners of war included members of 2/22nd Battalion.  1st Independent Company, Fortress Artillery, Engineers, Signal Units, No. 17 Anti/Tank Battery, Anti/Aircraft Battery, No. 19 Special Dental Unit ; Detachments from : New Guinea Volunteer Rifles, 2/10 Field Ambulance, Ordinance Corps, 8 Division Supply Column, Canteen Services HQ NG Area, Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Australian Navy.  The 2/22 Battalion bandsmen were all members of Salvation Army Bands.

On 1st July 1942 an American submarine, the USS Sturgeon, attacked and sank the Montevideo Maru unaware that more than 1000 prisoners of war were locked in the holds.

There were no survivors - no indication of the sinking, nor of the tragic loss of life, was given by the Japanese government.

The sinking of the Montevideo Maru is the largest maritime disaster in Australian history.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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