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Motor Vessel "Behar" (Sinking)

Volume 436: debated on Wednesday 30 April 1947

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asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that Chief Engineer Joseph N. Craig, a Merchant Navy officer of Aberdeen, and other members of the crew of the British merchant vessel, m.v. "Behar," were killed while in Japanese hands at Batavia in March, 1944; what were the circumstances in which this tragedy occurred; where the dead are buried; and what provision has been made for their dependants.

The "Behar" was sunk by a Japanese cruiser in March, 1944. Three of the crew were killed by shellfire, and the survivors taken on board the Japanese vessel. After some days some were landed in Batavia but 69, including Engineer-officer Craig, were detained on board, and executed by the Japanese on the night of 18th March, 1944. The vessel was not in harbour at the time, and it is probable the bodies were committed to the sea. Those responsible for this appalling crime are now in custody and will be shortly brought to trial. The dependants of those who lost their lives have been awarded allowances under the Mercantile Marine War Pensions Schemes.