2nd / 12th Australian Field Ambulance - Australian Hospital Ship CentaurPrint Page Print this page

2nd / 12th Australian Field Ambulance : 2-April-2011
2nd / 12th Australian Field Ambulance : 2-April-2011
Photographs supplied by Glen Yeomans / Russell Byers

The plaque commemorates personnel who served in the 2nd / 12th Australian Field Ambulance during World War Two and members of the unit who lost their lives on Australian Hospital Ship Centaur which was sunk by the Japanese in 1943.

The 2nd / 12th Australian Field Ambulance  was an Australian military unit of the Second Australian Imperial Force, serving during World War Two. During their six years of service, over 200 soldiers were killed, the highest figure for a non-combatant unit in Australian history. The majority of the unit's casualties were suffered during the sinking of the hospital ship Centaur in May 1943. During the war, the 2/12th deployed personnel in support of Australian combat operations against the Japanese on Ambon, Timor and in Borneo before being disbanded in 1946.

The Centaur, 2/3rd Australian Hospital Ship, was a motor passenger ship converted in early 1943 for use as a hospital ship. In November 1941 it had rescued survivors of the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran after it had sunk and been sunk by H.M.A.S. Sydney.

On 12 May 1943 the Centaur sailed unescorted from Sydney at 0945 hours carrying her crew and normal staff, as well as stores and equipment of the 2/12th Field Ambulance but no patients. It was sunk without warning by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine on 14 May 1943 at approximately 0400 hours, its position being approximately 27°17` S, 153°58` E about 50 miles east north-east of Brisbane. Of the 332 persons on board, only 64 survived. These survivors spent 35 hours on rafts before being rescued. 



Address:Fairbairn & Limestone Avenues, Australian War Memorial Sculpture Garden, Campbell, 2612
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.280169
Long: 149.147612
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Conflict
Actual Event Start Date:03-September-1939
Actual Event End Date:15-August-1945


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 22nd October, 2000
Front Inscription

2 / 12th Australian Field Ambulance

Darwin             Ambon
Morotai            Timor 
Tarakan            Lutong
Labuan            Kuching

Australian Hospital Ship Centaur

Dedicated by the Unit members and relatives on 22 October 2000


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