The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (TX5433) Private Vivian Tasman Maynard, 2/40th Battalion, 2nd AIF, Second World War.

Place Asia: Japan, Nagasaki
Accession Number AWM2016.2.153
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 1 June 2016
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (TX5433) Private Vivian Tasman Maynard, 2/40th Battalion, 2nd AIF, Second World War.

** Due to technical issues this recording is of poor quality and not for public display **

Speech transcript

TX5433 Private Vivian Tasman Maynard, 2/40th Battalion, 2nd AIF
KIA 24 June 1944
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 1 June 2016

Today we pay tribute to Private Vivian Tasman Maynard, who died on active service during the Second World War.

A Tasmanian Aboriginal from the Furneaux Islands, Vivian Tasman Maynard was born on 12 May 1919. The son of George Arnold Maynard and Sarah Jane Maynard of Flinders Island, he worked as a labourer prior to his enlistment in the Second Australian Imperial Force on 29 May 1941.

Maynard was sent to Darwin, where he joined the 2/40th Battalion. As part of the 23rd Brigade of the 8th Australian Division, the 2/40th Battalion was an all-Tasmanian-raised battalion. When Japan entered the war in December 1941 the 2/40th Battalion embarked for Timor, where it would form the bulk of “Sparrow Force”.

The Japanese attacked Timor in February 1942 with amphibious and parachute landings. Three days later, however, the odds against Sparrow Force were mounting: food, water, and ammunition were running out, casualties were mounting, and the Japanese force was closing in.

Following an ultimatum from the Japanese, the decision was made to surrender, and Maynard was one of the 22,000 Australians who became prisoners of the Japanese. The men of the 2/40th spent the first seven months of their captivity imprisoned in a camp at Usapa Besar, Timor. Between July and September the prisoners were moved to Java. Arriving first at Surabaya, they were transferred to the “Bicycle Camp” in Batavia.

In early 1944 Maynard was selected for a work party to be sent to Japan. The party comprised Australian, British, American, and Dutch prisoners from the camp at Batavia. They arrived in Singapore and sailed for
Manilla in the Philippines, surviving a typhoon before landing at Formosa (modern-day Taiwan). There the prisoners transferred to a larger ship, the Tamahoko Maru, and departed for Japan in mid-June.

On the night of 24 June 1944 the Tamahoko Maru was within two hours of its destination, the Japanese city of Nagasaki. It was close enough to see lights from the shore, and Japanese sailors aboard the ship began singing and toasting their arrival home. Before they could reach it, however, the American submarine USS Tang, lying in wait and unaware that Tamahoko Maru was carrying allied prisoners of war, fired off six
torpedoes at the convoy. Within minutes a tanker, a freighter, and two cargo ships, including the Tamahoko Maru, had been hit and were on their way to the bottom.

On board the Tamahoko Maru were 772 Australian, British, Dutch, and American prisoners of war. Of these, 560 were killed, including 190 Australians. The survivors were picked up by Japanese boats and continued the journey to Japan.

Private Maynard was among those who were killed in the incident. He was 25 years old. He is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial at the Kranji War Cemetery.

Maynard’s name is listed here on the Roll of Honour on my left, among some 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Vivian Tasman Maynard, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the
hope of a better world.

Dr Lachlan Grant
Military History Section