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The Merchant Navy is not often recognised for it's role in the two world wars. However, through the tireless efforts of men, women and families of this 'Forgotten Service' it is now being recognised. Queensland Insurance was founded by shipowners Burns Philp & Co Ltd and who indeed lost the vessel SS MacDhui from enemy fire in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea during the 2nd World War whilst on a mission to evacuate civilians. Other Burns Philp ships were commissioned to serve and the SS 'Morinda'' and MV 'Bulolo' can be seen from the Burns Philp House flag at the top left corner of this page.
Some 60,000 merchant seafarers were lost in World War II and 36,000 lost in the Battle of the Atlantic 1939-45 itself, when Liverpool, England was the Allied base. A feature on this website will be dedicated to the Merchant Navy and related memorabilia will be welcome. Flotilla Australia have an excellent website covering Burns Philp Ships.
I was privileged to serve at sea on both the MV Bulolo and the SS Morinda (Webmaster) Here and go to Burns Philp.
Flotilla Australia is non profit website that offers postcards of ships in return for welcome donations to keep this excellent site afloat.
This particularly horrible event was the sinking of one of the last ships evacuating from Singapore. She was the British registered Vyner Brooke and therefore would have flown the Red Duster. She was known as the Sarawak 'Royal Yacht'. Here is one more occasion where the Red Duster went down with its ship.
The Royal Yacht Vyner Brooke was named after the Third Rajah of Sarawak - Sir Charles Vyner Brooke. Before the outbreak of war with the Japanese, 'Vyner Brooke' sailed between Singapore and Kuching and was requisitioned the Royal Navy as an armed trader when Japan entered the war.
Our QI representatives in Sarawak were the Bian Chiang Bank that was part of the Vyner Brooke dynasty and under control of the Singapore based South East Asian office. Aged Harry Tay, Manager of the Bian Chiang Bank, had many photographs and memorabillia of the Brookes and spoke fondly of the Rani, wife of Rajah Vyner Brooke. This LINK tells the awful truth of the slaughter and cruel incarceration of brave women. Here