Hain Steamship Company

Part of the P&O Group

 This website should not overlook the horrific fate of the 111 (85 crew, 17 service personnel, 9 passengers) souls on board the Behar, on 9 March 1944, the ship bound from New Zealand and Melbourne to Bombay. The Japanese heavy cruiser Tone intercepted the ship near the Cocos Islands. Their shells quickly set the ship ablaze and sinking. All personnel (except three already killed) were taken aboard Tone.

What has become known as the Behar massacre took place that evening on Tone’s deck: 53 crew, 15 gunners and 4 passengers were felled and beheaded. The remainder were put ashore at Tandjong Priok to see the war out as prisoners-of-war.

Justice meted out by the War Crimes trials affirmed seafarers’ wartime dangers.