SS Montevideo Maru
Dorothy Hughes, granddaughter of Herbert Shelton, who died when the SS Montevideo Muro was torpedoed in 1942
81 years ago, a US submarine torpedoed the SS Montevideo Maru off the coast of the Philippines.
Unknown at the time was that the ship was carrying over 1600 prisoners of war captured around the Rabaul region of Papua New Guinea.
It was to be the worst wartime maritime incident involving Australians.
For many of the relatives of people on board, there has been a long search and hope that the ship's remains would be found, bringing a sense of closure.
In the past month, this has been achieved.
For Gisborne Anglican parishioner and former Diocesan Children’s Ministry coordinator, Dorothy Hughes, this enabled her to reflect with certainty on what had happened to her grandfather, Herbert Shelton.
During the First World War, Herbert was a young soldier at Passchendaele, Belgium. After returning to Australia, Herbert trained to be an accountant, but soon felt the call to be a missionary in New Guinea. He trained as a Methodist missionary, and was stationed in Rabaul.
In the early hours of July 1, 850 service personnel and over 210 civilians from 14 countries were embarked on the ship, bound for Japan. The ship was mistaken as a supply vessel and was torpedoed by a US submarine north of the Philippines.
The ship will remain in the South China Sea undisturbed, some 4 km beneath the surface.
On ANZAC Day, Dorothy laid a wreath at the Memorial Cairn on the corner of Mount Macedon Road and Honour Avenue.
As she laid the wreath, Dorothy was also wearing a diamond brooch that had been fashioned out of her grandmother's engagement ring.
Dorothy said that in laying the wreath, it would enable her to reflect on all those who served with her grandfather.
It will also enable a time to remember "the families they left behind and who honour their sacrifice."
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Gisborne Anglican Parish
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