On this day, Monday 22 June, in 1942, 1,053 men – military prisoners and civilian internees – were marched from their camp to Rabaul harbour.
“On other days they had walked the same route to work on the docks,” wrote Ian Hodges, “but this time they carried whatever kit they possessed and were flanked by guards with machine guns.
“Chinese and New Guinean dockside labourers saw them board a ship, the 10,000-ton Montevideo Maru… The labourers were among the last to see her human cargo alive.”
So on this day we remember the 201 civilians, ranging in age from 15 to 63, who were marched aboard that ship, including the 23 crew members of the Norwegian merchant vessel, Herstein.
And we remember the 852 personnel from these military units, most of them attached to Lark Force:
2/22 Battalion Bandsmen, all members of Salvation Army Bands
1st Independent Company
No 17 Anti-Tank Battery
No 19 Special Dental Unit
New Guinea Volunteer Rifles
2/10 Field Ambulance
8 Division Supply Column
Canteen Services HQ
Royal Australian Airforce
Royal Australian Navy