William Robert Reynolds
William Robert Reynolds

In Memory of


William Robert Reynolds

NGX480 New Guinea Volunteer Rifles
who died age 21
on 01 July 1942

Son of John Arthur Reynolds and Ada Reynolds, of Cremorne, New South Wales, Australia

Remembered with honour
Rabaul Memorial, Papua New Guinea

William Robert Reynolds

William Robert Reynold’s original military records did not survive the war as they were probably destroyed when the Japanese invaded New Britain in January 1942.  It is known that he became a prisoner of war of the Japanese.  His archive records appear to have been reconstructed after the war and it may be that as he was a member of the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles before the invasion he most likely played a role in the defence of Rabaul and consequently was given Australian Imperial Force status.

Rifleman William Robert Reynolds, the son of John Arthur Reynolds and Ada Reynolds (nee Keag), was born on 28 November 1920.  He was educated at the Toowoomba Grammar School.  He was enlisted into the Australian Imperial Force in the Territory of New Guinea on 21st January 1942 and allotted the regimental number of NGX480.  His service records show that he had previously served in the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles with the regimental number of NG4019.  His next of kin was shown as his father, Mr John Arthur Reynolds, Civil Servant, Public Works Department, Rabaul.

Rifleman William Reynolds became a prisoner of war when captured by the Japanese when the Allied Forces defending Rabaul were overcome on 22nd January 1942.  He was initially reported as missing in action on 22nd January 1942.  He is known to have died whilst being transported to Hainan off southern China as a prisoner of war on board the “Montevideo Maru” which was sunk by an American submarine off the Philippine Coast on 1st July 1942.  The Japanese transport, carrying approximately 1050 service personnel and approximately 200 civilians, had sailed unescorted from Rabaul on 22nd June 1942 and was sunk by the United States submarine “U.S.S. Sturgeon” off the coast of Luzon in the Philippines.  All prisoners died when the ship sank.  At the time of his death William Reynolds was 21 years of age.  He has no known grave therefore his name appears on the Rabaul Memorial, Rabaul, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea.  For his service during World War 2 he had entitlement to the 1939/1945 Star, the Pacific Star, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal 1939/1945.  His name is commemorated on Panel No. 72 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School World War 2 Honour Board.

It would appear that his mother, Mrs Ada Reynolds, 22 Murdoch Street, Cremorne, New South Wales, was notified of his death on 18th October 1945 after the conclusion of the war when the news of the sinking of the “Montevideo Maru” became known.

The cover of a booklet consisting of 41 folded pages of handwritten Japanese script on rice paper, bound together with a separate 48 page typewritten list in English (translated by Dr Ta-Yan Leong) that shows the names of all prisoners of war and civilians on the Montevideo Maru when it was sunk.  Both the Japanese and English lists have been digitised and are available on the National Archives of Australia website.


Australian War Memorial photograph 303640
Montevideo Maru


USS Sturgeon
Photo: Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Centre, Washington DC


Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a day student on 30th January 1934 and left the School on 4th December 1936.  His parent was shown as Mr J.A. Reynolds of Toowoomba.  He was an extension scholar and passed the Junior examination in eight subjects.


External Links


Australian War Memorial Honour Roll

Military Record

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