Northern Territory Government

Roll of Honour

HOLMES, John Arthur

HMAHS Manunda

HMAHS Manunda.


John Arthur Holmes was a member of the Australian Merchant Navy and worked as a steward on the Australian Hospital Ship Manunda. Born in 1899, he was the son of John Arthur and Emma Holmes. He married Kathleen Holmes of Coburg, Victoria.

HMAHS Manunda was anchored in Darwin Harbour near the merchant ship Zealandia and the oil tanker British Motorist when it was first hit by shrapnel and then a bomb, during the first Japanese air attack on Darwin, 19 February 1942. Twelve members of the crew and hospital staff were killed, including John Holmes, and forty-seven others were wounded. The medical and nursing staff quarters were destroyed, B and C decks were severely damaged and fires started on board. Despite the chaos, Manunda continued to treat incoming wounded and staff manned the life-boats rescuing injured men from the sea.

John Holmes was forty-three years old when killed during the bombing of Darwin. He has no known grave.

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