Casino resident Zelma Lollback, with a photo of her brother, Owen Patrick McGuire, on the wall behind her. Her brother, a soldier attached to an army Field Ambulance unit, died in the sinking of the AHS Centaur in May 1943.
Casino resident Zelma Lollback, with a photo of her brother, Owen Patrick McGuire, on the wall behind her. Her brother, a soldier attached to an army Field Ambulance unit, died in the sinking of the AHS Centaur in May 1943. Jacklyn Wagner

Centaur wreck photos overwhelm

SIXTY-SEVEN years ago, Zelma Lollback, 81, of Casino, was devastated by the loss of her brother when the Australian hospital ship Centaur was sunk near Moreton Island, off the Queensland coast.

The ship was torpedoed during World War II by a Japanese submarine on May 14, 1943. Only 64 of the 332 people on board survived.

Now Mrs Lollback’s feelings off loss and grief for her brother, who she was very close to, have once again been stirred after seeing the underwaterimages of the Centaur taken over the weekend.

The photos confirmed the ship, identified bysonar in December 2009, is indeed the Centaur.

“Absolutely overwhelmed,” is how Mrs Lollback described her current state of mind. “It was devastating, shocking, to see different parts of the wreck.”

Mrs Lollback was just 15 when police officersarrived at the family’s Coraki farm with the news 23-year-old Owen Patrick McGuire had been on that ill-fated voyage.

“We were very, very, very upset,” Mrs Lollback said.

Mr McGuire, one of 14 children, was serving with the 2/12 unit of the Field Ambulance.

He had served 15 months in Darwin and had just become engaged to a girl from Newcastle when his young life was lost.

Mrs Lollback said she had spent every Anzac Day since his death in tears.

She now hopes to travel to where the Centaur went down to lay a wreath in memory of her brother.

Yesterday, a memorial plaque was placed on the wreck after special permission was granted by the Federal Government.



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