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2/1 HMAHS Manunda


The "Manunda" was commissioned as a hospital ship on 22 July 1940. Captain James Garden was appointed Master of the "Manunda". His staff and Mercantile Navy men who formed the crew of "HMAHS Manunda" were as follows:-


Capt. James Garden Master
W.T. Wilson Chief Engineer
Jones Assistant to Chief Engineer
McKenzie Assistant to Chief Engineer
O'Malley Electrician
Shacklock Chief Radio Operator
Longstaff     Purser
Johnson     Chief Steward
Gus Hampton  Bosun
Milburn     Ship's Carpenter
Tom Minto     First Mate
Utting     Mate
Smith     Mate
Powell  Mate
Rev. John Blakemore Chaplain

The 2nd Officer of the Manunda, Rupert Mafeking Blunt, is not shown on the crew list of the Hospital Ship Manunda as he died in a tragic accident on board the ship in Sydney when he fell down an No. 1 hatch at approximately 0900K on 30 July 1940.

The Commanding Officer of the General Hospital that was based on "HMAHS Manunda" was Lt. Col. John Beith. Members of the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) also served on board "Manunda" under the command of Matron Schumack. 

The "Manunda" made 4 trips to the Middle East between November 1940 and September 1941.

The "Manunda" sailed from Darling Harbour in Sydney on 7 January 1942 and arrived in Darwin on 14 January 1942. Over the following 5 weeks the ship undertook normal routine tasks and practised evacuation procedures. Medical staff visited military hospitals in the Darwin area. They watched the build-up of activities in and around Darwin and were shocked at the news of the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942. 

At about 10.00am on Thursday 19 February 1942, the nursing orderlies on board "Manunda" were undergoing an examination of their practical nursing skills in the wards onboard the ship. They heard the air raid siren and as they raced to collect their helmets and respirators, they could hear the first Japanese bombs dropping on Darwin. There were some 55 ships in the harbour at the time of the attack. Six large ships and two smaller ones were sunk. There were about 176 people killed and about 200 seriously wounded on board ships in and around Darwin Harbour.

"Manunda" received a near miss which sprayed shrapnel across its decks killing four people. 76 holes were peppered in her plates from this near miss. Another bomb which just missed the bridge, exploded on B and C decks,. It caused extensive injuries amongst the staff and damaged the navigational instruments.

One of the aid-posts was hit. By this time there were many fires on board the "Manunda". The medical and nursing staff quarters were totally destroyed.

Some of the life-boats were manned by the hospital crew to rescue seriously injured men from the water.

There were 11 members of the ships crew killed on the Hospital Ship "Manunda". 18 others were seriously wounded and another 40 or so received minor wounds.

Sister Lorraine S. Blow was one of the seriously wounded crew members. Matron Schumack was badly shaken as a result of the Japanese attack, but remained calm and supervised the nursing of the wounded and dying. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross in recognition of her courageous conduct following the Japanese attack.



Bevir, Robert John  NX65289 Cpl AAMC 2/1 HOSP SHIP (Army) Australia Killed In Action
Connell, Alexander   Cook      
De Mestre, Margaret Augusta  NFX70211 Sister  AANS 2/1 HOSP SHIP DARWIN (Army) Australia Killed In Action
Hocking, Boyns Hedley VX68883 Capt (Dentist) AAMC 2/1 HOSP SHIP STAFF (DENTAL) (Army) Australia Killed In Action
Holmes, John Arthur   Steward      
Humphrey, Harold Edmond   Steward      
Kane, Michael Patrick George "Victor"   Steward      
MacKay, William   Greaser Australian Merchant Navy   Died 23 Feb 42
Smith, Allan Scott   Third Officer Australian Merchant Navy   Died 20 Feb 42
Smith, Richard Thomas   Cook Australian Merchant Navy    
Spinney, William   Steward      
Thom, Robert Alan   Assistant Purser      



Dee, Jack VX 58562 Gunner 2/14 Field Regiment   Already on board Manunda at the time of the attack.
O'Connell, Patrick Vincent (see Note below)   Fireman SS Zealandia   Mortally Injured on SS Zealandia and transferred to HMAHS Manunda where he died.
Masson, James   AB SS Xealandia   Mortally Injured on SS Zealandia and transferred to HMAHS Manunda where he died.


Note:- Paul Constance contacted me on 17 November 2011. His mothers maiden name is Mary O'Connell. He told me that the P. O'Connell (fireman) who died on the Manunda hospital ship bombed in the raid on Darwin in 1942, was his mother's brother brother, Paul's uncle Patrick Vincent O'Connell (28 years of age at the time). He was mortally wounded on SS Zealandia and transferred to Manunda where he died.

There were 2 Smith's on the Manunda.

Name: Allan Scott SMITH
Age: 33 years
Occupation: Australian Merchant Navy
Date of Birth: 1908
Place of Birth: Chatswood - N.S.W.
Date of Death: 20 February 1942
Memorial: Panel 12 - Northern Territory Memorial Sixth Plaque - Australian Merchant Seamen's Memorial

C.W.G.C.: In memory of - Third Officer Allan Scott SMITH - Hospital Ship Manunda (Melbourne) - Australian Merchant Navy - who died - age 33 - on