SBA Alec Hill was executed by the Japanese after being a POW since February 1945. SBA Hill was from HMAS Manoora which had arrived at Morotai in January 1945 and in February 1945 unknown to authorities on board Manoora, ratings, eager for some excitement, managed to persuade the RAAF pilots flying from Morotain to allow them to accompany them on operational sweeps over enemy held islands in the Celebes. For several days sailors joined their air force counterparts on these exceedingly dangerous missions until tragedy struck when a Beaufighter from 31 Squadron in which Sick Berth Attendant Alec Hill had ‘hitched a ride’ was shot down by Japanese anti-aircraft fire. The pilot, Pilot Officer William McGuigan, and Hill survived a force landing in the sea but Flight Sergeant Allan Lewis did not. Both men made it safely ashore but were subsequently captured by the Japanese becoming prisoners of war. Following four months in captivity at Tonsea Lama the pair were transferred to the Japanese Naval Prison at Manado. A few days later, on 19 June 1945, they were taken from the prison and executed by bayoneting at the same time as two Dutchmen and two Indonesians. The discovery was made following the cessation of hostilities and Hill’s remains were subsequently buried in the Morotai War Cemetery on 9 November 1945. Over the ensuing decades the war graves were relocated on two occasions and SBA Hill now rests in Plot 28 Row D Grave 5 in the Commonwealth War Cemetery at Ambon. He was to be Manoora’s only death through enemy action during the war.
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