Jun 292009

MAC will be closed on 1 July for attendance at the inauguration of a plaque in memory of the Australian victims of the Japanese hellship, Montevideo Maru.

Montevideo Maru

Thousands of victims came from two dozen countries and more professions, including merchant mariners – Norwegian seafarers who operated tug in Manila are just one example.  They were forced into dark, sweltering, cramped cargo holds under appalling conditions, to be taken as slave labour for the Japanese war effort.

Some went mad, some died of malnutrition and disease, others because the unmarked vessels were attacked by allied forces.

Montevideo Maru was sunk off the Philippines with its sad, human cargo of Australians taken prisoner in Rabaul. Hundreds died.

Now a plaque is to be installed at Subic Bay Freeport in the only monument in the world to those who suffered and died in that too-often forgotten atrocity.

MAC will be reading the Ode, well-known in the UK and Commonwealth countries:

They shall not grow old, as we that are
left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the
years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in
the morning,
We will remember them.

Australia’s ABC News carries the story here.

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