2020 Virtual Centaur Commemorations

Due to the coronavirus 19 social restrictions currently in place in Australia, we are commemorating the 2/3 AHS Centaur on the 14th May 2020 virtually.


Today we remember, we are separated, but we are very much together.

We remember with deep sadness and much affection those close to us that we knew only briefly or never got to meet.

Our 268 husbands, wives, fathers, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends dedicated to helping others with injuries and pain, whose lives were brutally cut short by the inexplicable actions of a Japanese submarine commander on 14th May 1943.

We also remember those who survived but have lived with the trauma ever since, as well as our Centaur nurses in this International Year of the Nurse.

Lest we forget.

Richard Jones, President 2/3 AHS Centaur Association 

Crossing the Bar

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea,

   But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

      Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

When I embark;

   For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crost the bar.


In remembrance, below are some photographs of the victims of the Centaur (whose descendants are on the 2/3 AHS Centaur Association Inc. committee):Cronulla Beach 1943 Fred, Elsie and Pammy

Pam Gilbert with her parents on Cronulla beach in 1943 just before the Centaur sailed. Pam’s father was Pte Fred Lewis Fortier 2/12th Field Ambulance, she also lost her uncle Pte Alan D (Bub) Fortier.

1943 GordonCecilyBethKeithAtHome

Major Keith Jones (on the left), father of Richard Jones at a family gathering with his siblings, two days before Centaur sailed. Major Gordon Jones (on the right), a doctor with the 2/12 Field Ambulance, died a few days later when Centaur was sunk by the Japanese submarine off Moreton Island. Both Keith and Gordon were destined for the Atherton Tablelands, a staging post, prior to travelling later to Papua New Guinea. Keith learnt about the sinking of Centaur while on the train travelling north from Sydney.

Last photo separated 1

Captain Bernie Hindmarsh, Ships Medical Staff, father of Jan Thomas, on Saturday 8 May at Circular Quay with his wife Alma during his last leave.  Alma noted on the back of the photo that ‘Bernie spent his last leave breathing down the necks of the Navy for more life rafts’. It was a short turn-around leave for the staff of the Centaur, and she travelled to Sydney to be with him.  The children were left at home.


Pte Michael O’Brien (father of Patricia O’Brien) in Darwin in 1942. They were standing in cattle trucks from Alice Springs to Darwin late 1942. From there he had leave in Melbourne, then train to Sydney to board the Centaur. The Centaur kept close to the coast, as the 2/12th Field Ambulance were going to the Tropical Medical Centre just north of Cairns for training on their way to New Guinea. Otherwise all ships going north were sent way out to sea so the threat of submarines was reduced.

22 Hoare

Pte John Hoare, brother of Doug Hoare.


The family photo of Pte Jack Forrest, uncle of Michael Forrest from Charleville in Queensland. The photo shows Jack in the back row, in a white suit, with the family he left behind;  his parents (Michael’s grandparents), six brothers and two sisters.

Please find below a “Tribute to Victims” AHS Centaur film:


‘Let us remember the Centaur, a vessel of mercy on the turbulent waters of a world at war’



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2 Responses to 2020 Virtual Centaur Commemorations

  1. Pat O’Brien says:

    Dear Jan and Caroline
    Thank you so much for your beautiful memorial. So respectful and gentle.
    Patricia O’Brien

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