ONE MORNING OF THE WAR. Darwin Feb. 19, 1942. Heading for the hospital ship MANUNDA, herself bombed. Collection of late P.O. Hector Clark, RAN.
3790. Crew from the stricken troop ship ZEALANDIA row across to the hospital ship AHS MANUNDA, which had herself been bombed and suffered casualties - but shows no sign of the damage aboard in this photo.
The folowing is an extract from Peter Dunn's 'Australians At War' website detailing AHS MANUNDA's ordeal at the start of the raid. ...
'....At about 10.00am on Thursday 19 February 1942, the nursing orderlies on board MANUNDA were undergoing an examination of their practical nursing skills in the wards onboard the ship. They heard the air raid siren and as they raced to collect their helmets and respirators, they could hear the first Japanese bombs dropping on Darwin. There were some 55 ships in the harbour at the time of the attack. Six large ships and two smaller ones were sunk. There were about 176 people killed and about 200 seriously wounded on board ships in and around Darwin Harbour.
MANUNDA received a near miss which sprayed shrapnel across its decks killing four people. 76 holes were peppered in her plates from this near miss. Another bomb which just missed the bridge, exploded on B and C decks. It caused extensive injuries amongst the staff and damaged the navigational instruments.
One of the aid-posts was hit. By this time there were many fires on board the MANUNDA. The medical and nursing staff quarters were totally destroyed.
Some of the life-boats were manned by the hospital crew to rescue seriously injured men from the water.
There were 11 members of the ships crew killed on the Hospital Ship MANUNDA. 18 others were seriously wounded and another 40 or so received minor wounds.
Sister Lorraine S. Blow was one of the seriously wounded crew members. Matron Schumack was badly shaken as a result of the Japanese attack, but remained calm and supervised the nursing of the wounded and dying. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross in recognition of her courageous conduct following the Japanese attack...'
The page on AHS MANUNDA on Peter Dunn's Australians At War' website, with the names of the casualties, can be found here:
Photo: From the Collection of the late Petty Officer Hector Clark, RAN 1919-1927, RANR 1930, RAN 1940-46, courtesy of his daughter Faye Clark of Molong, NSW.
Hector 'Nobby' Clark, originally from Sorrento, Victoria, was on the doom defence vessel HMAS KANGAROO during the bombing of Darwin and his ship lost three men killed. At the end of WWII he was serving on the frigate HMAS HAWKESBURY.