End of long hunt for Centaur

By Tuck Thompson - Courier Mail

Australia's top political and military officials will lead the public in a national service of remembrance today for the 332 victims and survivors of the sinking of the AHS Centaur.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Premier Anna Bligh, Governor-General Quentin Bryce, Chief of Army Ken Gillespie and Chief of Navy Russell Crane are among those expected to attend the service at St John's Cathedral on Ann St in Brisbane's CBD on Tuesday, March 2, at 11am.

The wreck of the hospital ship, torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in May 1943, was found before Christmas about 50km east of Moreton Island.

The discovery and marking of the war grave has brought closure for hundreds of Centaur family members around Australia, many of whom will attend the service. Centaur survivor Martin Pash of Melbourne, 87, will be among the speakers.

Centaur Primary School pupils will read the names of 268 men and women non-combatants lost on the hospital ship.

Following a campaign by The Courier-Mail in August 2008, the Commonwealth and Queensland governments jointly agreed to a $4 million search. Family members had spent more than a decade lobbying for a search without success, as some within government feared a rift with Japan.