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MISSION to Seafarers Newcastle will host this year’s annual Newcastle Merchant Navy Memorial Service in memory of the seafarers who died during times of war.

This year, the service will be held on Saturday 4 June at the Mission to Seafarers Newcastle building at 1100.

The first service as held in 1994 with the unveiling of the Newcastle memorial for merchant mariners lost in times of war, which sits on the Newcastle harbour foreshore.

According to Mission to Seafarers, the annual event coincides with the anniversary of the sinking of local steamer Iron Chieftain off Sydney on 3 June 1942. It was the first Australian ship sunk by a Japanese torpedo.

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The Merchant Navy Memorial Committee has this year highlighted the sinking of Wollongbar off Crescent Head on 28 April 1943.

Owned by the North Coast Steam Navigation Company, Wollongbar was also torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Of its crew of 27 seafarers, only five survived.

Mission to Seafarers said the annual memorial service not only connects the city of Newcastle with the mission and the maritime community, but also ensures the sacrifices of seafarers during times of war are not forgotten.

The Merchant Navy Memorial Committee has invited guests to arrive at the mission centre at 96 Hannell Street, Wickham, Newcastle at 1045 for an 1100 start.

Additional parking will be available at Carrington Public Car Park with bus transfers available from the water police station from 1015.

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