10 August 2015

Lloyd Williams

A wonderful story from Bill
It was only when I spoke to Glyn prior to emailing him this story of Corporal Lloyd Lentell Williams, that we both realised a common tread across several return. This was the sixth time we have returned medals, which were issued to the families of those who were lost when the Montevideo Maru sank. If there is one defining characteristic that unites them, it is the treasured memories of their loved ones, memories that they still hold so dear.
The search to return the Australian Service Medal of VX50632 Corporal Lloyd Lentel Williams, began with a phone call from Cindy at the Cranbourne RSL.
“We have a medal that has been passed in at the club and we would like to return it. I have looked up the Serviceman, but all we have been able to find is that he was killed when the ship he was a POW on was sunk.”
Without thinking it came to my mind “The Montevideo Maru”.
“Yes that’s the one.” she replied.
And so began the search. A search that took me back, back in time to memories of previous searches involving other POWs who had been lost when the Montevideo Maru sank after it was torpedoed by the USS Sturgeon off the Philippines.
As Lloyd had never married, it became a family search first looking back to his parents, to try and locate any siblings, all of whom would have been born after the cut off date (1920) of the Published Victorian Births Register. A further distraction was that the details surrounding the sinking of the Montevideo Maru, and the subsequent loss of life, were never released to the families until well after the end of the war.
After a somewhat tedious and confusing search, I was fortunate to find a mention of Lloyd’s loss in The Argus newspaper of Tuesday 9th October 1945, which said:
‘WILLIAMS.-On or about July 1, 1942, lost at sea while P.O.W., VX50632 Lloyd Lentell, 2/22nd Battalion, Rabaul, second dearly loved son of Leslie and Gwen Williams, 18 Morven street, Mornington, and loved brother of Lesley (Mrs. Milton), Frank (A.I.F.), Ken (A.I.F.). and Ian (A.I.F.), aged 24 years. -A wonderful son and bravest soldier.’
I now had the family and above all Lloyd’s siblings identity I was able to harness the unique research skills of the Australian Surnames Group came to the fore. I eventually found myself talking to Tim, the grandson of Lloyd’s sister Ada. Tim is a school teacher and has made it his responsibility to maintain the War Service history of his Uncle Lloyd and his three brothers, Frank, Ken and Ian.
Tim admitted that for many years now he has searched for Lloyd’s medals but with no success. But as he admitted when we spoke, he has never given up looking, and the return of Lloyd’s ASM has only encouraged him to keep searching.
The returned medal tally is now 1706.

This picture is of Lloyd from his service file

 The Montevideo Maru
The Freighter Montevideo Maru. Before the war, it operated as a passenger and cargo vessel, travelling mainly between Asia and South America.
On 22 June 1942 an estimated 845 prisoners of war (POWs) and 209 civilians died when she was torpedoed by a US Navy submarine, USS Sturgeon, off the coast of Luzon Island in the Philippines. The ship sank quickly, this with the fact that the holds in which the prisoners were kept had been battened down, contributed to the loss.

Lloyd's ASM

No comments:

Post a Comment