Stolen Years: Australian prisoners of war


HMAS Perth

“To the memory of the gallant ship HMAS Perth”

HMAS Perth was sunk in the battle of the Sunda Strait on 1 March 1942. Ten survivors tried to sail from Java to Australia in a boat they called “ANZAC”. Captured by the Japanese, they kept the boat’s sail, and decorated and signed it.

The sail passed from prisoner to prisoner in Java, and, eventually, it was returned to Australia. The inscriptions were added, including the names of 310 members of the Perth’s company who became prisoners of war – 105 of whom died in captivity. This sail embodies the bonds of mateship in captivity.


Prisoners of the Japanese