CURTIS, Reginald George

  1. Service Details
  2. Personal Details
  3. Unit and Rank Details
  4. Fate
  5. Commemoration
  6. Notes
  7. Sources

Service Details

Branch of Service
World War II
Date of Enlistment
Place of Enlistment
Paddington NSW

Personal Details

Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Wagga Wagga NSW
Address (at enlistment)
Goulburn NSW
School(s) Attended
Canberra Grammar School
Car salesman
Next of Kin
Son of Stanley George and Evelyn Josephine Curtis (both deceased) of Goulburn, NSW. His next of kin on Dept of Veterans' Affairs nominal roll is shown as the Venerable Archdeacon Pike, his grandfather.

Unit and Rank Details

Service Number
Final Rank
Final Unit
1 Independent Company AIF


Died 1 July 1942 aged 24 years, at sea, South West Pacific area.


AWM Roll of Honour, Canberra ACT: Panel 71.
Rabaul Memorial Panel 4.
Canberra Grammar School. Roll of honour 1939-45; and memorial window in school chapel.
Roll of honour Goulburn NSW
NAA RecordSearch


Curtis was orphaned as a two year old and raised by his grandparents at St. Saviour's Rectory in Goulburn. He was schooled at Canberra Grammar where he was a notable athlete and rugby player. Curtis enlisted in December 1940 and was transferred to the 1st Independent Company in May 1941. The 1 Independent Company was a commando unit and was sent to Kavieng in New Ireland in July 1941 to resist a possible Japanese invasion and, if necessary, fight a guerrilla war. The Japanese landed at Kavieng on 22 January 1942 and, vastly outnumbering the commandos, soon captured the town. A few of the men of 1 Independent Company were captured but most escaped by boat. However, their boat was spotted a few days later by Japanese aircraft on 2 February 1942 and they were taken prisoner in Rabaul.

On 22nd June 1942, the Japanese ordered 852 Australian prisoners of war (including 133 men of 1 Independent Company) and 208 civilian internees at Rabaul to board the Montevideo Maru for transport to Hainan Island in the South China Sea. The ship was not marked as carrying prisoners. It was sighted by an American submarine, the USS Sturgeon, on 1 July 1942 off the coast of Luzon in the Philippines. Unaware that it was carrying POWs, the Sturgeon torpedoed the Montevideo Maru. In the single biggest maritime disaster in Australian history, all the prisoners on board, including Reginald Curtis, were killed. He was aged 24 years and has no known grave. No indication of the sinking, or of the deaths of those onboard, was given by the Japanese Government.


Australia. Department of Veterans' Affairs. World War 2 nominal roll. <>
Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Debt of Honour Register.
AWM Roll of Honour and Roll of Honour Circulars <>
The Canberra Times - 2 July 1932, 2 December 1933, 11 December 1943, 10 December 1945
NAA RecordSearch
'The Canberran : Magazine of Canberra Grammar School', 1932 (p.19), 1933 (p.21), 1934 (p.35)

Create Certificate
Montevideo Maru Memorial at the Australian War Memorial.

Montevideo Maru Memorial at the Australian War Memorial.

Reg Curtis (standing, second from left), Canberra Grammar athletics team, 1932.

Reg Curtis (standing, second from left), Canberra Grammar athletics team, 1932.

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