James LeBlancAble SeamanHer Majesty's Australian Hospital Ship 'Centaur'Australian Merchant Navy1897Yarmouth, Nova ScotiaJuly 24, 1939Melbourne, Victoria, AustraliaMay 14, 194346Sydney Memorial, Rookwood, Cumberland Council, New South Wales, Australia Panel 9.Commemorated on Page 168 of the Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on April 5, September 2, and November 8James LeBlanc was born in Yarmouth Co., NS, in 1897. MV Centaur, was a motor passenger ship (3223 tons) owned by the Ocean Steamship Company Ltd and registered at Liverpool, England. The ship was made available by the Ministry of War Transport for conversion to a hospital ship in January 1943, for use in the New Guinea area. At approximately 4 am on Friday May 14, 1943, during a voyage northwards, Centaur was off Brisbane with Point Lookout, on Stradbroke Island, bearing West South West distant twenty four miles when the ship was struck without warning by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine. The ship sank quickly with a loss of 268 lives. The following day, 15 May 15, 1943, the American destroyer USS Mugford located and rescued sixty-three men and one woman, taking them to Brisbane.
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Research Notes:The Canadian Virtual War Memorial lists James Le Blanc as “James LaBlanc” and the “Spouse of Muriel Elizabeth LeBlanc of Wentworthville, New South Wales, Australia”. Muriel Elizabeth (Jenkins) LeBlanc was married to James Urban LeBlanc, born in Australia (1896-1974).