Of the medical personnel and civilian crew aboard, died, including 63 of the 65 army personnel. The Scottish-built vessel was launched in as a combination passenger liner and refrigerated cargo ship and operated a trade route between Western Australia and Singapore via the Dutch East Indies now Indonesia , carrying passengers, cargo, and livestock.
At the start of World War II, Centaur like all British Merchant Navy vessels was placed under British Admiralty control, but after being fitted with defensive equipment, was allowed to continue normal operations. Centaur was relocated to Australia's east coast in October , and used to transport materiel to New Guinea. In January , Centaur was handed over to the Australian military for conversion into a hospital ship, as the ship's small size made her suitable for operating in Maritime Southeast Asia.
The refit including installation of medical facilities and repainting with Red Cross markings was completed in March, and the ship undertook a trial voyage: Before dawn on 14 May , during her second voyage, Centaur was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine off North Stradbroke Island , Queensland.
The majority of the aboard died in the attack; the 64 survivors were discovered 36 hours later. The incident resulted in public outrage as attacking a hospital ship is considered a war crime under the tenth Hague Convention. Protests were made by the Australian and British governments to Japan and efforts were made to discover the people responsible so they could be tried at a war crimes tribunal.
In the s the probable identity of the attacking submarine, I , became public. The reason for the attack is unknown, with theories that Centaur was in breach of the international conventions that should have protected her, that I ' s commander was unaware that Centaur was a hospital ship, or that the submarine commander knowingly attacked a protected vessel.
The wreck of Centaur was found on 20 December ; a claimed discovery in had been proven to be a different shipwreck. The refrigerant was brine and the insulation was cork. In December , Centaur underwent a minor refit in Hong Kong, with a supercharger and a new propeller fitted to the engine. At the beginning of , Centaur was placed at the disposal of the Australian Department of Defence for conversion to a hospital ship.
When AHS Centaur was relaunched on 12 March , she was equipped with an operating theatre, dispensary, two wards located on the former cattle decks , and a dental surgery, along with quarters for seventy five crew and sixty five permanent Army medical staff. Her port of registry was Liverpool. As a vessel of the British Merchant Navy , Centaur was affected by the British Parliament's outline of how the Merchant Navy would respond to the declaration of war, primarily submission to the Admiralty in all matters excluding the crewing and management of vessels.
She was also fitted with port and starboard paravanes and degaussing equipment for protection against naval mines. Unwilling to leave the shipwrecked men at sea, but afraid of having his ship captured by the Germans, Centaur ' s master decided to take the lifeboat in tow, after allowing nine wounded men aboard. With the commencement of hostilities between Japan and the British Empire, it became clear that the three hospital ships currently serving Australia— Manunda , Wanganella , and Oranje —would not be able to operate in the shallow waters typical of Maritime Southeast Asia , so a new hospital ship was required.
Centaur entered operation as a hospital ship on 12 March According to the position extrapolated by Second Officer Gordon Rippon from the 4: Of the people on board, 64 were rescued.
The survivors spent 36 hours in the water, using barrels, wreckage, and the two damaged lifeboats for flotation. At the time of rescue, the survivors were in two large and three small groups, with several more floating alone.
At the time of the attack, none aboard Centaur witnessed what had attacked the ship. Due to the ship's position, the distance from shore, and the depth, it was concluded that she was torpedoed by one of the Japanese submarines known to be operating off the Australian east coast. At the time of the attack, three KD7 Kaidai were operating off Australia's east coast: In December , following official protests , the Japanese government issued a statement formally denying responsibility for the sinking of Centaur.
Historians were divided on which submarine was responsible. As an official history of the Japanese Navy, Sakamoto's work was considered to be official admission of the attacking submarine's identity. The media were notified of Centaur ' s sinking on 17 May , but were ordered not to release the news until it had been announced in the South West Pacific Area's General Headquarters dispatch at midday on 18 May, and in Parliament by Prime Minister John Curtin that afternoon.
The initial public reaction to the attack on Centaur was one of outrage, significantly different from that displayed following the loss of Australian warships or merchant vessels. Curtin stated that the sinking was "an entirely inexcusable act, undertaken in violation of the convention to which Japan is a party and of all the principles of common humanity". People also expressed their sympathy towards the crew, with several efforts to fund a new hospital ship established.
With some people unable to believe that the Japanese would be so ruthless, rumours began to spread almost immediately after news of the attack was made public.
The attack was universally condemned by Australian servicemen, who commonly believed that the attack on Centaur had been carried out deliberately and in full knowledge of her status.
Six days after the attack on Centaur , a request was made by the Australian Department of Defence that the identification markings and lights be removed from Australian hospital ship Manunda , weapons be installed, and that she begin to sail blacked out and under escort. When the consideration was made that the ambulance drivers' weapons incident just prior to Centaur's voyage may have been partially responsible for the attack, it led to the tightening of rules regarding who was allowed to travel on a hospital ship.
After consultation with the Australian armed forces, General MacArthur, the Admiralty, and the Australian Government, an official protest was sent. On 26 December , a response to the Australian protest arrived. Torpedo attacks in Australian waters were common at this time, with 27 Japanese submarines operating in Australian waters between June and December Several actions on Centaur ' s part may have contributed to her demise.
This theory stems from the various rumours spreading after Centaur ' s sinking. The Guaranteed Future Value GFV is the minimum value of your new or approved demonstrator Toyota at the end of your finance contract, as determined by Toyota Finance, subject to fair wear and tear conditions and agreed kilometres being met. Please speak with your Dealer for more information. Please contact the dealer to confirm vehicle location and availability for date of intended visit.
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Accordingly, please talk to your local Toyota Dealer to confirm the price that is specific to you. Statutory charges are current as of today. Terms and conditions apply. Free onroad costs includes 12 months registration, 12 months compulsory third party insurance CTP , a maximum dealer delivery charge and stamp duty. Toyota Corolla Bringing together style, convenience and versatility, with creature comforts like air conditioning, Cruise Control and an LCD Multi-Information Display, everything a driver needs is at your fingertips.
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|Hot gossip photos blue escorts Brisbane||At the beginning ofCentaur was placed at the disposal of the Australian Department of Defence for conversion to a hospital ship. IUUU 13 May: UU Unknown date: UUU 18 May: For Demonstrator cars the recommended drive away price shown includes the balance of 12 months registration, 12 months compulsory third party insurance CTPa maximum dealer delivery charge and stamp duty.|
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