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The men of the Merchant Marine to be remembered

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MEDIA RELEASET he H on C on S ciacca MP M in is t e r for V e t e r a n s ' A ffa ir s 10 March, 1995

The Men Of The Merchant Marine To Be Remembered

The unsung heroes of Australia's World War Π effort - 14,000 merchant mariners - will be remembered at a national commemoration on Sunday, March 12, 1995 at 11am at the Merchant Navy War Memorial as part of the Australia Remembers:1945-1995 program. The Memorial is located on the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin, adjacent to the carillon.

Reverend Hill, Senior Chaplain of the Missions to Seaman in NSW, will officiate at the commemoration and the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Con Sciacca, will address the gathering.

The Australian merchant navy consisted of about 12,500 Australian seaman and 1500 sailors from other countries, mainly the United Kingdom. Many of these mariners went to sea in ships not designed for warfare, with little or no armour plating and very few were armed.

Merchant ships were a vital component of Australia's war effort and ensured the trade of food, goods and machinery continued despite the threat of enemy mines in Australia waters.

In some cases the merchant ships were converted to hospital ships. In May, 1943 the hospital ship Centaur was sunk by a Japanese submarine - 268 lives were lost and only 64 survived.

Media Adviser: Amanda Lampe (06) 277 7820 (W) (018) 499 538 (06) 273 3966 (H)