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07 July 2011

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Thank you for such a memorable story...as I'm a Rabaul whose parents n siblings survived this horrific war before I was born !!!

... In 1975, when I first met Rudi, we spent time visiting a number of war relics and he told me about the death of his father. As it is written above, be was bashed to death by a Jap soldier. Soon after, a Japanese naval officer, who had befriended Rudi, heard about this and sought retribution for his death. I don't know what happened to the Jap soldier, but I sure wouldn't have wanted to be in his sandshoes!

Rudi told me that the naval officer took a truck load of rice and a few soldiers to where Rudi lived and went to apologise to his mother and family for the stupidity of the army in causing his fathers death. He said that he brought the truck load of rice for the boy (Rudi) and his mother thought that they wanted to take Rudi away with them in exchange for the rice .... the whole village upped and took off into the jungle .. I can only imagine the startled look on the Japs face. However, the rice was left for the villagers.

My uncle Rev. Dr. James Gerard Hennessy perished on the Montevideo, Maru. Father Jim as we have always called him. Was originally from Concord, Massachusetts, USA. He was a Roman Catholic Missionary on Buka Island off Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. He was seized by the Japanese for helping the Australian Military. I enjoyed reading the post of the 12 year old boy's eyewitness account. I have a booklet written by an American Cardinal Richard Cushing (who was a friend of my uncle) entitled "Where is Father Hennessy? Now we have the Answer". It features a a letter written on 15-10-45 by an Australian priest on Rabaul who witnessed my uncle boarding the Montevideo Maru on approximately June 22, 1942 at about 6 or 7 am. The priest was Rev. V.S. Turner, S.J. (a Jesuit Catholic Priest), whose address on the letter said Chaplain, Manresa, Hawthorn, Victoria Australia. I hope this helps to know about another eyewitness.

My age is 75 and I am proud to be a Life Member of the Rabaul & Montevideo Maru Association.

My late father, Stewart G. Nottage was one of the officers captured in Rabaul. He was a member of the small garrison posted there.

To my knowledge he and the late Lt Kenneth Robertson were the only two of the SX numbers [South Australkian troops] to return to Adelaide in late September 1945 and were quite unaware until late October 1945 that their young men were drowned in the hold of the Montevideo Maru when the then government in Australia released the names of the deceased.

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