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Attitudes to the war
Funeral broadcast
Military funeral for the Japanese midget submarine crew at Eastern Suburbs Cemetery in Botany Bay on 10 June 1942

Narrated by Fred Simpson, Australian Broadcasting Commission

[Listen to a recording of this broadcast: 14 Mb]

The scene is one of quiet simplicity. The occasion of the cremation of four brave men who died for their country, the country whose policies are viewed with abhorrence by us. But whose brave men in death are honoured as all brave men are honoured throughout the world. There are no mourners present, but there were many who came to pay their respects. I notice high ranking naval officers, then too the uniforms and accredited war correspondents, members of the press and broadcasting personnel. Together with the civilian witnesses whose faces reflect the tension of the moment.

A naval firing party has drawn up in two ranks.

“Naval firing party. Salute arms.”
“General salute. Present arms.”
“Reverse. Arms.”
“Rest on your arms. Reverse.”

The caskets of the Japanese naval men are being slowly carried between the ranks by the naval party.
[sound of steps]
“Firing party, halt. Reverse arms. Right to left, incline.
“Slow march.”
[sound of steps]
“Firing party, halt. Left turn. By the right turn. Quick march.”
“Rest on your arms. Reverse.”

The firing party has followed the caskets to the cremation chapel. Slowly, slowly with measured tread, the caskets are now being carried up the aisle of the chapel where they will be placed together, and covered with their flag, the symbol which they have died to serve. There is to be no ceremony of Christian burial. These men may have held Christian faith, but more likely they worshipped the gods of their own ancestors at their own Japanese shrines. We are not to know.

Slowly, the first casket is taken from our view. And here at this point, there is quiet thinking by all of us. For some time until the next casket. And now the next casket and the next. Finally taken from our gaze. Each and all of them still covered by the flag of the Rising Sun. Little else remains to be said by this simple ceremony. These men, when setting out on their ill-fated quest may easily have said with Alan Seeger, “I have a rendezvous with death at some disputed barricade.”

The caskets, having been placed in the cremation chamber, the officer gives the final orders. And the firing party salutes the dead.

“Naval firing party, shoulder arms.”
“Party with blank cartridge ... load. Present.”
“Fire.” [firing] “Load. Present ... fire.” [firing] “Load. Present … fire.” [firing] “Unload. Order arms.”
“Naval party will fix bayonets. Fix.”
“Firing party, attention. Shoulder arms.”
“General salute. Present arms.”
[Last Post and Rouse]
“Firing party, shoulder arms. Right turn. Quick march.”

Printer version

Midget Submarine Links
Midget Submarine
Body identification
Navy funeral
Funeral broadcast
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