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.
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.
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).
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.