An informal group portrait of officers and senior non-commissioned officers from the Anti ...

Accession Number P02312.004
Collection type Photograph
Object type Black & white
Physical description Black & white
Place made Pacific Islands: Bismarck Archipelago, New Britain, Gazelle Peninsula, Rabaul Area, Rabaul
Date made December 1941
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


An informal group portrait of officers and senior non-commissioned officers from the Anti Aircraft Battery Rabaul at the battery's position at Frisbee Ridge not long before the Japanese attacks on Rabaul. Left to right: N107796 (NX191442) Sergeant (Sgt) Bruce Mcintosh Gilchrist; NX145642 Lieutenant (Lt) Peter Wallace Fisher; TX6004 Chaplain John Lovett May; N85247 Lt Selby, Officer Commanding; NP5413 (NX191434) Sgt Ernest Green and N107797 (NX191443) Sgt Hamilton John Frederick Peters. The Anti-aircraft Battery was equipped with two out-dated 3 inch anti-aircraft guns. When the Japanese attack was expected the battery was moved to Frisbee Ridge, on Observatory Hill, overlooking Simpson Harbour, and was also assigned the additional role of costal defence against landing craft. Of the fifty-three officers and other ranks in the battery only seven including Lieutenants Selby and Fisher survived the retreat from Rabaul in 1942 following the Japanese invasion. Some were massacred by the Japanese at Tol during the retreat. Chaplain May elected to stay at Rabaul with the wounded and the nurses. He survived the war as a prisoner of war in Rabaul and later Japan. Sergeants Gilchrist, Peters and Green were taken prisoner of war (POW) and held at Rabaul. On 22 June 1942 they were among an estimated 845 POWs and 209 civilians who embarked from Rabaul aboard the Japanese transport ship MV Montevideo Maru. The POWs were members of the the Anti Aircraft Battery Rabaul, No. 1 Independent Company, 2/22 Battalion and other units of Lark Force. Civilians included officials of the New Guinea Administration and missionaries. The ship sailed unescorted for Hainan Island. On 1 July 1942 all of the prisoners died when the Montevideo Maru was torpedoed by a US Navy submarine, USS Sturgeon, off the coast of Luzon Island in the Philippines.