On January 6, 1943 the Myoko Maru left Rabaul as part of a convoy with three other transports, a light cruiser, and four destroyers. Spotted by RAAF aircraft and attacked along the way by 43rd BG B-17 bombers.
During the night of January 7, 1942 the convoy reached Lae on and further attacks were made without any obvious success. A single P-40 Warhawk from the 49th Fighter Group dropped a 300 lbs bomb, and scored a direct hit at 2:10pm and destroyed its engine. It was beached at Malahang across from Butibum River, east of Lae on January 8, 1943.
Japanese Army soldier "Nakajima" on a landing barge (via ATIS 208):
"On the 8th early in the morning the enemy planes came again. At 1410 a bomb was dropped on No. 3 ship, Myoko Maru, near the lower part of the funnel. It destroyed the engine and rendered the ship un-manageable. Five army members of the crew were wounded buy none was killed. At that time my MLC [landing barge] just left the Myoko Maru. I was covered in soot. Mt face was black, but no damage was done."
This ship was still intact when the Allies captured Lae in September 1943. On board, they found cargo including bicycles, barbed wire and motorcycles. Its hull plates were begun to be salvaged by May 1944. Coal from the ship was used in the Australian Army camp at Lae.
Post war, some wreckage including the propeller shaft remains in the sand.
Adele Kelly adds:
"I was born in Wau in 1941. As a young girl I remember going to the Myoko Maru to visit my "uncle" Jim Hoile and his wife Connie, who lived on the wreck! I do believe my father Dave Wood actually had the salvage rights to the ship, but am not sure. I remember going back out to the wreck in 1956 and there wasn't much left of it."
By 1956 the ship was already well rusted and no visible sign of any name. Even the villagers didn't know. I believe it was totally scrapped. I have not been back to Wagen village since but in 1956 the wreck was visible from Voco Point, opposite the Hotel Cecil, in Lae as it was only 9 miles away but there was no sign of it when I visited Lae in later years. The Hotel Cecil I believe has also been demolished. It was a very large cargo ship around 7,000 tons I would say, and had been run aground with the bow up on the beach near Wagen village.
Albert Cross recalls from 1956:
"This vessel went aground near Wagen village. The vessel was, in 1956, already well rusted and no visible sign of any name. The wreck was visible from Voco Point, opposite the Hotel Cecil, in Lae as it was only 9 miles away but there was no sign of it when I visited Lae in later years. I believe it was totally scrapped. One of my friends in Lae in 1956 was Wally Jackson who was in the salvage business so I think he may have been involved in the vessels salvaging for scrap. I believe he is also dead now so I can't check with him either."
Zadrach Ginuni remembers:
"The village [near the wreck]
is called Sipieya, 'meaning ship on fire'. The wreck of the ship is still there
but gradually disappearing. I have personally seen the ship and know the story
behind it as I grew up in Lae. During WWII, my father was a small child and he
has passed stories onto me over the years."
X Marks the Spot by David Pennefather Myoko Maru reference
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
January 10, 2018