Gottfred Gundersen and the Herstein
Posted by: Andrea Williams
Date: January 03, 2009 09:29PM
Would anyone know if Gottfred Gundersen survived WWII and if there are any family members I could contact for some information about his time in Rabaul Papua New Guinea in early 1942 please?
I would also appreciate if anyone has any knowledge of an official nominal roll for the Japanese ship, Montevideo Maru,sunk on 1 July 1942 off the coast of the Philippines.
Gundersen was Captain of the Herstein which was on loan to the Australian government at the time of her final voyage. The Herstein had reached Rabaul by mid January 1942 and Gundersen was ashore when Japanese bombs sunk the Herstein. 30 crew members survived and became prisoners of the Japanese from January 1942 to June 1942. In June 1942 they were taken aboard the Montevideo Maru for transfer to Hainan. On 01 July 1942 the Montevideo Maru was sunk by allied fire and over 1000 prisoners drowned. It carried no markings as carrying prisoners of war and became Australia's greatest maritime tragedy. There will be a private plaque commemorated to the Montevideo Maru on 1 July this year in Subic Bay, Philippines.
Currently there is no accurate nominal roll available in Australia for the Montevideo Maru. We believe one was brought from Japan to Australia in Dec 1945 but it has since disappeared. It would be great if we could locate this roll of the Montevideo Maru prisoners - perhaps one was sent to the owners or manager in Copenhagen or Oslo?
If anyone has any knowledge about Gottfred Gundersen or the official nominal roll of the Montevideo Maru I would appreciate it please.
With many thanks.