Main Navigation

Sisters to honour father at Centaur service

Tuesday March 2, 2010

The two daughters of the Centaur's Red Cross representative are in Brisbane to take part in today's memorial ceremony.

Their father, Red Cross officer Darwin Clark, died alongside 267 sailors and army medical personnel when the hospital ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on May 14, 1943.

Rosemary Brown and Carolyn Lewis described their father as 'a marvellous' man who had worked tirelessly to help the troops during the war.

'It will be a day of mixed emotions for us,' Mrs Brown said. 'It will bring back the grief, but also the pride of who he was and what he did.'

Now in their 80s, the two sisters were teenagers when they heard the news of their father's death on the wireless. 'Our world fell apart at that moment,' Mrs Lewis said. 'Our mother never really recovered from losing the man she loved. She grieved for him the rest of her life.'

The wreck of the hospital ship was located late last year off the Queensland Coast, two kilometres underwater, the large red crosses meant to protect it from attack still clearly visible on the side of the hull.

Executive Director of Queensland Red Cross, Greg Goebel, said today's service was an important way for the families of those who died to remember their loved ones and ensure their sacrifice was not forgotten.

'As an organisation tasked with educating Australians about the laws of war, and the need to protect the red cross emblem, this is a tragic but eloquent reminder of the necessity to preserve humanity during times of armed conflict,' he said.
Mrs Brown and Mrs Lewis have called for people to respect the ship's status as a war grave. 'The ship is our father's grave,' said Mrs Lewis. 'I'd like to know that he and all those who died will be left to rest in peace.'

The sisters, who live in South Australia, will bring copies of some of their most valued possessions to the service, including a photo of Mr Clark and his final letters to the family.

What: Interview with Rosemary Brown and Carolyn Lewis following service
Where: St John's Cathedral, Ann Street, Brisbane
When: Following the 11am service, Tuesday, 2 March
Contact: Joe Cropp on 0400 942 861