Northern Territory Government

Roll of Honour


US Army Transport Meigs at San Francisco

John A. Cleborne was 3rd Officer on board the Meigs. Little is known of his life. He arrived in San Francisco aged twenty-one, on 23 October 1941 from Manila, aboard the Meigs. At that time, he had three years length of service at sea. He was 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighed 180 pounds. He was no more than twenty-two years old when he died in Darwin.

Cleborne was transferred to the hospital ship Manunda, where he died of wounds at 21:00 hours on 20 February 1942. He was buried at sea at 11 am. on 21 February 1942 at Lat. 12°37’ S Long. 128° 00’ E.

The USAT Meigs was a United States Army transport vessel. It was used as an ammunition and equipment carrier for the Australian Army during the war. She was the largest ship sunk on 19 February 1942, weighing approximately 12,000 tonnes and measuring 103 metres long.

The Meigs had just returned to Darwin as part of a convoy that had been turned back from Portuguese Timor, as the attempt to reinforce the country was over. The convoy had departed on the 15 February 1942 and was made up of the Houston, Mauna Loa, Portmar, Tulagi, HMAS Swan and HMAS Warrego.

Today the Meigs is a dive site off Darwin; she lies in 18 metres of water and is only visible during neap tides.

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