ONE of the darkest moments of World War II – which left a scar on Macksville – was remembered in the town this morning.
The Macksville sub-branch of the RSL conducted a commemoration of the sinking of the Australian Hospital Ship, Centaur, at the War Memorial in River St.
“The unarmed, unescorted, brilliantly lit hospital ship which should have been protected by the Hague and Geneva conventions was proceeding north to collect the wounded from Port Moresby when she was attacked at 4.10am on the morning of Friday May 14, 1943,” said Jan Thomas OAM, honorary secretary of the 2/3 AHS Centaur Association Inc.
“The torpedo struck her fuel bunkers and she sank in under three minutes, taking with her 268 non-combatant medical and merchant marine lives, including Macksville's Dr Hindmarsh.
“As she had no wounded on her outward voyage, she was carrying as passengers 193 members of the 2/12th Field Ambulance to Cairns for tropical training before proceeding to NG.
“Only 14 of this unit survived.”
Today’s ceremony included the naval cadets from TS Culgoa at South West Rocks, who mounted a catafalque party.
Among the attendees were members of the Nambucca Valley unit of the the Naval & Mariners’ Association of Australia.
Members of five Mid North Coast Centaur families from Coffs Harbour to Wingham also paid their respects/ Students from four local schools read the Litany of Hope.
WATCH: Introduction and Welcome, Wendy Litchfield, Secretary, Macksville sub-Branch, RSL: