National Archives staff did some painstaking detective work to match the translated names on the list to the actual names of the prisoners of war and civilians on board the Montevideo Maru.

The names on the Japanese list were often different to the names on the English version of the list, and these names were often different again to each individual's actual name. Sometimes this could be attributed to language differences (eg 'S' for 'L'). One of our Japanese-speaking team was able to assist with this – read the translation notes for a more detailed explanation.

These differences made the Archives' research immensely important, as we wanted to be able to link the names of all the prisoners of war and civilian internees on board to related material held in the Archives collection.

Online resources

In order to match names, the researchers used a variety of sources – the two main ones being the Australian War Memorial's Roll of Honour and the Department of Veterans' Affairs Nominal Roll. The privately maintained website Australian POWs WWII was also an invaluable resource.

They were able to use an advanced search feature on the Roll of Honour, which enabled them to obtain the names of all servicemen who died on the registered date of death for the sinking of the Montevideo Maru (1 July 1942). Examining each record, they eliminated those who had died in other theatres of war.

Following the launch of this website, we became aware of a further research source. This is the translation of the Montevideo Maru Roll on the Australian Army History Unit's website 'the army list'. You can view the roll and related information about its history.

Using this roll identified some initial 'matching' errors. These have been amended.

There are a number of names that do not appear on either the Japanese or the English list recently received by the National Archives of Australia. Each of their service files indicate that their next of kin was notified of their death aboard the Montevideo Maru. These names have been included and are searchable on this site.

Archival resources

Records from the Archives were also cross referenced – firstly with two incomplete versions of the nominal list [A7030, 6 and MP742/1, 336/1/1614] which we already held in the collection.

Finally, the service dossiers for the prisoners-of-war and the civilian death notices for the internees from the Archives were retrieved from storage in our repository, so that the researchers could read them to confirm their unit, age and possible other names used by the servicemen (at least two servicemen had changed their names).

Contact us

Do you think that you might be able to help us with some of the names we were unable to match? Or perhaps you think we might have got the wrong name against a particular file? Please contact us and we can update our website.

Web resources

http://www.awm.gov.au/research/people/roll_of_honour/

http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/

http://www.australian-pow-ww2.com/montevideo_maru_11.html

http://www.army.gov.au/Our-history/Primary-Materials

National Archives staff member scanning a document

Scanning records

Research into the names on the list enabled Archives staff to scan all corresponding service records.