The worst maritime disaster in Australian history

On 1 July 1942 the Montevideo Maru, carrying more than 1000 prisoners of the Japanese forces, most of them Australian, was sunk by an Allied submarine.

The prisoners had been captured in January 1942 by Japanese forces in Rabaul on New Britain, in the former Australian territory of New Guinea, and they were being transferred to Hainan, off southern China.

The Montevideo Maru was torpedoed off Luzon by the USS Sturgeon, unaware that it was carrying Allied prisoners. All the prisoners on board died. read more

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List of prisoners of war and internees

The National Archives of Australia has recently acquired what is reliably thought to be the most complete list of those on The Montevideo Maru when it was sunk in July 1942. The list is in two parts – Japanese and English. The Japanese part has the names of all Australian servicemen who were prisoners of war (POWS) and civilian internees on board – the English part lists the POWs. A translated copy of the Japanese list (entire list) is available to browse

The deaths on the Montevideo Maru were not fully revealed in Australia until after the end of the war. An Australian Army officer sent to Tokyo to investigate POW matters located a nominal list in Japanese of those on board when it sank. Expert historical opinion considers it likely that this recently-acquired list is a copy containing the same information. read more

Your memories

  • of Maramakas Plantation, New Ireland. Son of Ernest Albert and Ellen Ann Ashby; husband of Emily Myra Ashby. read more
  • Fr. Jim was greatly loved by his family and is an inspiration by his devotion to serving Jesus and God’s children. read more
  • Captured by Japanese March 17, 1942 held at Rabaul as prisoner of war until boarding the Montevideo Maru. read more

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