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Time for recognition: release of MvM submission

Beazley and I will meet Vets Minister on MvM

Veterans’ Affairs Minister Alan Griffin MP will meet with Prof Kim Beazley, ambassador-designate to the US, and me next Tuesday to discuss how the Australian Government can better recognise the Montevideo Maru tragedy.

“The Montevideo Maru sinking is Australia's most devastating loss at sea, but is a quiet part of public consciousness of World War II history,” Prof Beazley has said in a submission to the Federal Government.

The Japanese ship, carrying over 1000 Australian prisoners of war captured in Rabaul, New Guinea, was torpedoed off the coast of the Philippines on 1 July 1942. All the prisoners died.

The submission argues that War Cabinet decisions that led to the fall of Rabaul with the loss of so many Australian troops and civilians imposes a moral obligation on the Australian government and people that needs to be properly addressed.

Despite the passage of time the disaster of Rabaul and the Montevideo Maru remains powerfully imprinted on relatives of the 1500 or so people who died, including 1053 on the ship, but it is a muted part of Australia’s history.

There has been a continuation of grief and frustration, sustained to this day, for the relatives.

This is because they lack knowledge of how and where many of their loved ones died and because of failure by previous Australian Governments to appropriately recognise the tragedy and effectively respond to a profound need for closure.

The submission seeks permanent national recognition for those who died in the form of a memorial in Canberra and the declaration of the sinking site as an official war grave.

It also seeks the formation of a working party to plan how the tragedy can be made a better known part of Australia’s history.

“Getting this story more firmly into our national consciousness is a noble effort,” says Prof Beazley.


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Carole Worthy

I agree with Kim Beazley's comment. Yours, John Schindler's and the committee's work has been a noble effort.

I thank you all for your committment to this Task, for the sake of families directly affected by the loss of all those lives and for Austalians of the future who now have the opportunity of claiming this knowledge as part of our history and our national identity.

I very much look forward to watching the documentary tomorrow night and hope to be able to buy a DVD when they come out.

Sue Pascoe

Thank you so much for all that you are doing! The forthcoming discussions sound promising.

I'm one of those who will be eagerly awaiting the DVD. I do hope the film is well received when John [Schindler] has invested so much time, effort and money into it.

Peter Jackson

All best wishes for a productive and successful meeting with Alan Griffin.

Rev John May

Do hope all goes well with your meetings and discussions. Many thanks for the information.

I have arranged to view the Montevideo Maru program tomorrow with some friends.

Best of good wishes.

Cheryl Rajamae

I am just so happy to find out that you are meeting with Alan Griffin and I am hoping that he does agree that more recognition will be given to the men who went down on that ship Montevideo Maru.

I was told alot about Uncle Franky (Francis Meddings, who went down on that ship) and his best mate Wilfred Trigg (Wilfred's parents have long passed over). I have never forgotten all the things Grandmar and Grandad told me about "your Uncle Frank".

I don't have Foxtel but would love to be able to buy a DVD of the Montevideo Maru documentary.

Each Rememberance Day I not only think of my own father and uncle Frank and Wilfred Trigg but all the men and women who fought to make this a better country for us to live in.

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