Centaur Memorial - Burleigh Heads, south of Brisbane. Photograph, taken in 1998, loaned by George Waddingham.

Centaur was built for the cargo/passenger service between Australia and Singapore. She was requisitioned in 1940 and later converted for use as a hospital ship. Despite having the red crosses on her hull fully illuminated she was torpedoed and sunk with the loss of 268 lives, including 11 women nurses. This was the largest loss of life on any merchant ship torpedoed in the Pacific in World War 2. (see story below the picture)

Her remains have been found in 167 metres of water, some 9 miles off the northern tip of Moreton Island, near Brisbane, Queensland. The site is now a war grave.

The compromise between speed of loading and clarity makes the story on the memorial difficult to read. My apologies. It says:

CENTAUR WAS BUILT IN 1924 FOR THE OCEAN STEAMSHIP COY. (BLUE FUNNEL LINE, LIVERPOOL,UK). IN EARLY 1943 CENTAUR WAS CONVERTED TO A HOSPITAL SHIP. ON HER SECOND VOYAGE FROM SYDNEY TO NEW GUINEA SHE WAS TORPEDOED BY THE JAPANESE SUBMARINE NoI-177 AT 4.10 AM ON MAY 14TH 1943 OFF STRADBROKE ISLAND. CENTAUR SANK IN LESS THAN THREE MINUTES. OF THE 332 PERSONS ON BOARD ONLY 64 SURVIVED AFTER CLINGING TO THE RAFTS AND DEBRIS FOR 34 HOURS. THEY WERE RESCUED BY THE DESTROYER USS MUGFORD.

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