Media release: Monday, 16 July 2012
Relatives of the men killed on the Montevideo Maru in 1942 are adding heartfelt tributes to a new website honouring their memory.
The site, set up by the National Archives of Australia, includes the digitised list (in Japanese and English) of prisoners of war and civilian internees presented by the government of Japan to Australia earlier this year.
It enables relatives to post their own photographs of and tributes to those who lost their lives when the unmarked Japanese freighter, carrying war prisoners, was torpedoed by the American submarine USS Sturgeon.
Among the tributes are moving memories, such as 'Wilf…never got to meet his new daughter' and 'he was greatly loved and our family were devastated when told of his death in 1946'.
Others underscore the personal tragedies of those left behind: 'My father left for the war when I was 5 months old'; 'Dad (99)… still carried this picture of his younger brother in his Bible' and 'He was 17 when he left – he forged his parents' signature'.
New photos added to the site by relatives show weddings, family groups, mates at the beach, sweetheart pics and men posing proudly in their uniforms before they left.
The tributes indicate what publication of the list means to those who have been searching for answers. One wrote: 'at last we have answers', while another shows how the loss is still being felt by younger generations: 'Finally the definitive advice on the fate of a much loved uncle for my late mother and her sisters - orphans who were his favourite nieces'.
Tributes and photos can be added to the website at http://montevideomaru.naa.gov.au/