Seventy-six-year old Janice Braund has spent a lifetime searching for her father. He died just three weeks before her second birthday after the auxiliary transport ship HMAS Patricia Cam was bombed by the Japanese off the coast of northern Australia 75 years ago. Although officially listed as lost at sea, a chance encounter presented a different story, leading Braund on a quest to find out what really happened to her father.
“This is the culmination of an enormous trip that I have had since I was 18,” Braund said. “I don’t have to look any more, everything’s wonderful. I’ve got there, after all these years, 75 years, looking for him … or wondering about him from the time I was two, it’s absolutely first class, and I know he would be tickled pink.”
Percy Cameron’s life was commemorated in a Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial marking the 75th anniversary of the sinking of Patricia Cam on 22 January 1943. He was one of 19 crew members on board Patricia Cam carrying supplies to outlying missions when a Japanese floatplane, with its engine cut, dove out of the sun at about 1pm and released one of its bombs. Also on board were five local Yolgnu men and Reverend Leonard Kentish, the senior Methodist Missionary in the Northern Territory, who was in charge of the local coast watchers.