Dumbstruck media? Or a conspiracy of silence?
MP said to have spent $5M on Samoan properties

Dear Minister: Ailsa's letter from a bitter heart


Ailsa Nisbet is 87 and lives in Murrumbeena, a quiet and leafy suburb 13 km south-east of the Melbourne GPO. Nick Cave grew up there. So did Bill Shorten.

Last month, after making the long journey to attend the Montevideo Maru commemoration at Subic Bay, Ailsa wrote an impassioned letter to Veterans’ Affairs Minister, Alan Griffin. Here’s what she had to say:

I have just recently returned from a Montevideo Maru dedication in Subic Bay in the Philippines. It was a very emotional and long waited for recognition of the worst disaster in Australian history that so few people know about.

I lost a precious brother on that boat and know just what, after 67 years, this means to us. I believe you said you weren’t aware of any ‘document or cover up’. I can assure you it was a complete cover up from the Australian Government as well as the Japanese and we have waiting too long from some recognition of this disaster.

The ‘boys’ who escaped, because of no ammunition, guns etc, were treated as deserters when they returned and have been fighting for a Defence Medal all these years with many promises of being ‘looked into’ by so many politicians and ‘high up’ personnel and so far no result, they apparently didn’t serve long enough!

These beautiful young boys from the 2/22nd Battalion were sent to Rabaul – all volunteers to save our precious country, young gallant men who wanted to be in the Middle East to finish off the war, as they said.  It was not a picnic for them.  There was doubt that they would receive any deferred pay – 5/- a day pay was all they had – they were treated so badly.

I am sure their effort in Rabaul prevented Australia being taken over, as men with a minor resistance, they prevented a walk into Australia by the Japs and we would have lost this precious freedom we have here. The men who are left (14) are nearing the end of their lives – wonderful men who work tirelessly for remaining relatives and have fought for the Defence Medal, are too ill and frail to fight any longer, so I am begging you to do something about it.

Don’t put in on a shelf and say you will look into it - do it before it’s too late. We all have our freedom and our wonderful country because of what these gallant young men sacrificed for us.  I sometimes wonder why they bothered – they only seem to be remembered on special occasions like Anzac Day and then forgotten.

I am 82 years of age and would like to see this recognition for them before I die too. This letter is written from a bitter heart.

Thank you for reading it.

Photo: The annual get together marking the anniversary of the formation of the 2/22nd Battalion at Trawool in NE Victoria was held recently. Marg Curtis reports that there was a great turn up of around 100 family members and the weather was terrific.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)