91 Year Old Brother of Stoker Charles Alexander PETHEBRIDGE (HMAS Perth) seeks whereabouts of the Albert Medal

Medals Gone Missing was contacted on the 4th of August, 2012 by a family friend of 91 year old gentleman, John PETHEBRIDGE. It was indicated that his brother, Stoker Charles Alexander PETHEBRIDGE was a Prisoner Of War to the Japanese.

According to the World War Two Nominal Roll, Charles Alexander PETHEBRIDGE was born on the 6th March, 1923 at Northcote in Victoria.  He enlisted into the Royal Australian Navy on the 30th June, 1941 and was on board HMAS Perth during the battle of the Sunda Straight on the 1st March, 1942 when she was sunk.

On the 12 September, 1944 his brother was aboard a Japanese transport vessel SS Rakuyo Maru which was sunk by an American submarine, the USS Sealion II.  As a result of saving multiple lives, his brother Charles was awarded the Albert Medal.   His citation reads as follows:- 1944

IMAGE RIGHT: The bronze Albert Medal, similar to that awarded to Stoker W/2164 Charles Alexander PETHEBRIDGE of HMAS Perth.

12 September 1944 Stoker 2nd Class Charles Alexander PETHEBRIDGE of the RANR, Australian prisoner of war on board the Japanese SS Rakuyo Maru, carrying 1317 Australian and British POWs from Singapore, it is believed to Formosa.  Sailing in convoy, torpedoed and sunk by US submarine Sealion II in the South China Sea on 12 September 1944 (not the 22nd as listed in some sources). Some 1,159 POWs were lost, the few survivors being picked up by the Japanese and by the returning US submarines, including 54 by USS Sealion II. Stoker Pethebridge saved the lives of other POWs in the sea at the eventual cost of his own. Posthumously awarded Albert Medal, gazetted 17 July 1945.

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following Award:

Albert Medal in Bronze (Posthumous).

Stoker Second Class Charles Alexander PETHEBRIDGE, R.A.N.R., W.2164.

For gallantry in saving life at sea at the cost of his own.

When the ship on which he was a passenger was torpedoed, Stoker PETHEBRIDGE got away with twenty others on a raft. During the ordeal which followed PETHEBRIDGE left this raft on several occasions, without a life‑belt, to go to the help of those who through physical weaknesses could not pre­vent themselves from slipping into the sea.

The strain of this merciful work upon himself was such that he could not carry on, and during the night which followed the sinking of the ship, he himself disappeared. His citation is listed in the Naval History Homepage. According to a family friend (Elizabeth MOIR) the Albert Medal belonging to Charles Alexander PETHEBRIDGE is missing.

IMAGE LEFT: The Japanese merchant vessel, SS Makuyo Maru which was sunk by the American submarine, USS Sealion II during 1944.  Stoker Charles Alexander PETHEBRIDGE was on board this vessel and was posthumously awarded the Albert Medal for saving multiple lives during this incident.

Obviously, his 91 year old brother John PETHEBRIDGE would like to know where this medal is located.  If anybody has any knowledge of the whereabouts of the missing Albert Medal, could they please contact the Medals Gone Missing Administrator.

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About gary

Gary Traynor is the volunteer Administrator of the Militaria based website MEDALSGONEMISSING. The aim of this "NOT FOR PROFIT" website is to reunite families, with lost War Medals and other items of militaria. Anything from medals to items of uniform. What Gary refers to as their "lost heritage". He has been actively involved in the Militaria world and researching of Military History for well over 30 years. As a result, Gary also conducts valuations and offers advice on all items of militaria. He has acted as advisor to a number of television and Foxtel productions; including Sir Tony Robinson's "Tour of Duty" series which featured on the History Channel. Gary is a field historian and conducts tours to Gallipoli, The Western Front, Kokoda and many other major battle sites around the world. He was a member of the Australian Army Reserve (UNSWR & 4/3 RNSWR) and served for 23 years with the New South Wales Police Force. He is perhaps the only person who has been employed at the Australian War Memorial in all three capacities .... as a volunteer, part time and full time employee .... starting as a qualified tour guide, working in the public galleries as an Information Assistant and finally Assistant Curator in Military Heraldry & Technology. Medalsgonemissing is a website that will assist you in locating your family's lost war medals and other awards. If you have an ancestor who served in any of the British Commonwealth Armed Services at any time - and whose medals are lost/stolen or simply missing....then so long as the medals are out there - this site will help you to locate them. However the site also contains articles of interest in relation to Military History, War Memorials & Uniforms / kit. Please explore our website as there is sure to be something of interest to you.
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