The missionary martyrs of the Montevideo Maru

The sinking of the Montevideo Maru
The sinking of the Montevideo Maru is the worst maritime disaster in Australia’s history. Of the ship’s total complement of about 1,140 (including 88 crew), there were reportedly only 18 survivors.

On 22 June 1942, some weeks after the fall of Rabaul to the Japanese, 845 prisoners of war mostly from the Australian Army’s Lark Force, and 208 civilian internees, were embarked from that port onto the ship. She was proceeding without escort to the Chinese island of Hainan, when she was sighted by the American submarine USS Sturgeon near the northern Philippine coast on 30 June. Unaware that it was carrying Allied prisoners of war and civilians, the Sturgeon fired four torpedoes at the Montevideo Maru before dawn of 1 July, causing the vessel to sink in only 11 minutes. Australians in the water sang “Auld Lang Syne” to their trapped mates as the ship sank beneath the waves.

The sinking is the worst maritime disaster in Australia’s history. Of the ship’s total complement of about 1,140 (including 88 crew), there were reportedly only 18 survivors (all crewmen), one of whom died soon afterwards. Among the missing was Reverend Syd Beazley of the Methodist Mission, the uncle of former Australian Labor Party opposition leader Kim Beazley and brother of Kim Beazley Sr. Another was Tom Vernon Garrett, the grandfather of former Midnight Oil lead singer and current (former) Australian Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett. Another individual, Richard Kingsmill Pennefather Moore, had served in the Imperial Camel Corps as a Lieutenant and awarded a Military Cross. His son, William Richard Moore, married Nora Wish Garrett, aunt of Peter Garrett.

Also amongst those lost were 22 Salvation Army bandsmen, the majority being members of the Brunswick Citadel band. The bandsmen had enlisted together and comprised the majority of the band of the 2/22nd Battalion.



Further information:

A list of the names of all who perished:

Refer also :

Listed below are the names of sixteen missionary martyrs who lost their lives on that day. Their lives are no more, or no less important than any of the other lives lost on that day. A terrible tragedy.

1. Carpenter Missionary, Sydney Colin BEAZLEY, Western Australia, Age 33
2. Reverend William Lawrence Irving LINGGOOD, Melbourne, Victoria, Age 40
3. ‘Reverend Laurie’ Lawrance Archibald McARTHUR, Orroroo, South Australia, Age 38
4. Reverend William Daniel OAKES, Braidwood, NSW, Age 36
5. Methodist Missionary, Ernest Wilfred PEARCE, Sydney, NSW, Age 42
6. Reverend Howard James PEARSON, Kadina, South Australia, Age 29
7. Reverend John William POOLE, NSW, Age 28
8. Reverend Herbert Bolus SHELTON, Tamworth, NSW, Age 43
9. Reverend Thomas Nevison SIMPSON, The Mallee, South Australia, Age 33
10. Reverend Jack William TREVITT, NSW, Age 28
11. Reverend Brother Clifford Ambrose BRENNAN, Rabaul, New Britain, Age 26
12. Reverend Father J. HENNESSY – Marist Mission Society
13. Reverend Father David Bertram McCULLAGH, Age 31
14. Pastor Edwin Malcolm ABBOTT, Sydney, NSW, Age 33
15. Wife of Pastor ABBOTT, Una Frances ABBOTT, Home Duties, Sydney, NSW, Age 35
16. Mission sawmiller, Trevor David COLLETT, Mussau, New Ireland, Age 29

Source with further details on the above:

Arthur Gullidge
Refer also:

Australian chaplains at war
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