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Salvos join forces with Montevideo committee

The Montevideo Maru Memorial Committee has been boosted by the appointment of two members of the Salvation Army, John Cleary and Lindsay Cox, by Australian Territorial Commander, Commissioner James Knaggs.

“The sinking of the Montevideo Maru was a tragedy for the Salvation Army, with the loss of so many Salvation Army Bandsmen who were part of the 2/22nd Battalion,” Commissioner Knaggs said. “Please know that we are supportive of the efforts of the Committee, and would be willing to provide whatever support is appropriate and possible.”

The Committee was established earlier this year to represent the interests of the families of the soldiers and civilians captured in Rabaul and the New Guinea islands after the Japanese invasion in January 1942, many of whom are believed to have perished on the Montevideo Maru when it was torpedoed off the Philippines on 1 July 1942.

The purpose of the Committee is to gain national recognition and greater understanding of the tragedy and its antecedents in the interests of relatives and the historical record.


John Cleary has been described as one of Australia's leading commentators on religious affairs. He is a member of the ABC's specialist religion unit and is best known for his years as presenter of The Religion Report and the philosophy program, Meridian.

John is a member of the Salvation Army and former bandmaster of the Brunswick Band, closely connected to the 2/22nd Battalion and the Montevideo Maru. In 1994 his book on the Salvation Army in Australia, Salvo, was Australian Religious Book of the Year.

Head&Shoulder Lindsay Cox is the Melbourne-based Territorial Archivist for the Salvation Army's Australia Southern Territory.

As a Salvation Army bandsman and an ex-CMF soldier, he has long been interested in the tragic story of the 24 Salvation Army bandsmen who enlisted in the 2/22nd Battalion, featured in the comprehensive files and photographic collection at the Salvation Army Heritage Centre, where there is also a permanent exhibition.

Lindsay is author of Brave and True, a detailed account of the Band of the 2/22nd Battalion. He has also written several other books on Australian Military history and early Salvation Army history.

A memorial service for the 1,053 men who died on the Montevideo Maru will be held at Subic Bay, 150 km south of the site of the sinking, on 1 July. Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Rod Smith, will unveil a plaque at the Hell Ships Memorial.

This week, planning began on a major submission to the Commonwealth Government to gain national recognition of the sinking as a major national event and to secure the Government’s engagement in further historical research into the matter, which, like the fall of Rabaul in January 1942 – even 67 years after the event – remains shrouded in mystery.


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Jeff Green

Would Lindsay Cox please contact Jeff Green (once of Buckingham, England) regarding Ian Pegg?

Jeff Green 22 Nov 09

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