Northern Territory Government

Roll of Honour

ROSEN, Jacob Lewis (Jack)

Neptuna wreck

Wreck of the Neptuna, alongside the Darwin Wharf with a Catholic Mission supply boat sailing past

Jack Lewis Rosen was born in 1894 in Sydney, New South Wales. His parents, Samuel and Rebecca Rosen, of Maroubra, also had seven other children: Kitty, Vera, Rose, Albert, Minnie, Henry and Woolf. Rosen joined the Merchant Navy in Annandale on 18 August 1939. Rosen is known as Jacob Lewis Rosen on the Commonwealth War Graves website.  

Rosen was the Chief Steward on the Neptuna.

The MV Neptuna was crewed by eighteen Australian Officers, four Cadets, and over one hundred Chinese sailors. She arrived in Darwin Harbour loaded with two hundred depth charges and a very large quantity of anti-aircraft shells for the Navy and Army. 

When the Japanese air attack began the Neptuna was berthed alongside the main wharf awaiting maintenance. The first bomb hit the ship below the waterline and she began taking on water; she then received a direct hit causing her to catch on fire. When the fire entered No. 3 and No. 4 hatches, the Neptuna blew apart, creating a huge mushroom cloud caused by the explosion of the ammunition she was carrying.

Most of the surviving ship’s company were rescued from the wharf and the harbour and taken aboard HMAS Platypus, a depot ship being used as a casualty clearing station. Thirty-six of the ship’s crew were killed, including the Master, Captain William Michie.

Rosen is remembered by his family in newspaper advertisements in the Sydney Morning Herald, and is commemorated on panel 12 at The Northern Territory Memorial, which stands in the Adelaide River War Cemetery

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