On June 24, 1944 with the coastline of Japan in sight, one of the Japanese ships in a convoy with Prisoners of War on board, exploded after being torpedoed by the US submarine USS Tang commanded by Lt.Cdr. R.H. O'Kane. Tamahoko Maru was closest to the torpedoed vessel was almost blown apart and water poured in through a hole in her side. There were 80 men sleeping on top of the main hatch cover and not one of them survived.
Hundreds of prisoners jumped into the sea as the “Tamahoko Maru” started to sink. Some were later picked up by a Japanese whale chaser. In total, 560 POWs died. Of the 267 Australians on board only 72 survived. The following day, 212 survivors were brought into the harbour at Nagasaki to spend the rest of the war in the POW camp, Fukuoka 13 where many more lost their lives.
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November 16, 2018