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Handwritten note detailing merchant seaman Robert Rose's war experiences

Date: after 1945
Overall: 254 x 203 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Robert Rose
Object Name: Note
Object No: 00047631
Related Place:Deutschland, Australia, France,

User Terms

    One page manuscript note written outlining the war experiences of merchant seaman Robert Rose during World War II. The first line written at the top of the page reads: Traded on Australian coast till signing F C articles. Beneath this are listed various dates and events including being sunk by the Raider Kormoran on 26 June 1941 and taken aboard as prisoner, being transferred to a prison ship which was also sunk 31 January 1942, surviving on a raft until picked up by a German submarine, transported to German prison camp Marlag und Milag and then being freed on 28 April 1945.
    SignificanceThese items form part of a collection of material relating to Robert Rose's wartime experiences. They provide a rare insight into the experience of merchant seamen as prisoners of war - a much lesser-known story than that of members of the armed forces.
    HistoryThese postcards and letters relate to merchant seaman Robert Rose's wartime memorabilia and experiences. Two postcard photographs are of prisoner-of-war groups. A handwritten page 'Traded on Australian coast....’ describes Rose's war experiences.

    There are also two photocopied letters from the Department of Transport and a letter from the Department of Veterans' Affairs, relating to his application for benefits as a prisoner-of-war, and a manuscript letter signed Hardy dated 17-9-1979 concerning numbers of merchant navy casualties in World War II.

    The newspaper article includes a photograph of a docked ship with the captions 'S.S. Mareeba, which was sunk by the Kormoran' and 'Prisoner of the Kormoran by James Taylor (author of Gold/ From the Sea), reviewed on this page'. It is annotated 'S.M. Herald July 15th 44'.

    This news cutting relates to Robert Rose's wartime manuscript that describes the sinking of Rose's ship the MAREEBA by the German raider KORMORAN in the Indian Ocean on 26 June 1940; eight months imprisonment at sea in two German ships and a submarine; imprisonment in a prisoner of war camp in Germany until his release in 1945, and transfer to England before repatriation to Australia.

    Rose's wartime account is written in pen and ink in a Wartime Log for British Prisoners provided by the War Prisoners' Aid of the YMCA in Geneva. It appears to have been written shortly after the events recounted. It includes family snapshots sent to Robert Rose in the prison camp, and detailed records of sporting events held in the camp.

    Rose was aware of the deep effects these events had on him, and at the end of his account he commented on the changes he saw in himself, chiefly a loss of 'my old faith in the human race'.

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