Australian hospital ship sunk in WWII discovered

268 medical and support staff perished off coast of Queensland

December 28, 2009

The AHS Centaur was torpedoed and sank May 14, 1943.

An Australian hospital ship downed off the coast of Queensland during WWII has been found, according to Reuter’s news agency.

The AHS Centaur, with 268 people on board, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on May 14, 1943 while sailing to Port Moresby in Papua, New Guinea.  Most of the dead were medical staff and supporting personnel.

Also according to Reuter’s, the wreck’s location in an underwater gully near Brisbane was confirmed by a team led by U.S. marine search expert David Mearns. (Watch a YouTube video interview with Mearns below.) It was located near the site the ship’s navigator, one of 64 survivors, had indicated.

The sinking of the Centaur was considered a war crime and one of Australia’s greatest wartime disasters. Commanding the attacking submarine was Hajime Nakagawa, who never faced charges in the Centaur’s sinking but was subsequently convicted of other war crimes.

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