It would be years before it became known what had happened to the Rev. Leonard Kentish, and before a measure of justice was extracted.
With the plane's departure, two sailors clinging to another distant hatch floated away, and were not seen again. After a 12-hour struggle against a strong current, the remaining 18 survivors made it ashore on a rocky islet in the Cumberland Strait in the early hours of the next morning. Two succumbed to injuries on the first day. The survival of the others, and their rescue on January 27, was another feat of endurance - particularly a 35 mile barefoot trek that the CO, Lt 'Sandy' Meldrum, made to reach a coastwatchers station on Wessel Island to secure help.Of of the 24 aboard the ship, 13 ultimately survived.
After the war, the missionary's wife, Mrs Violet Kentish, made enquiries through every official avenue, trying vainly to ascertain what had happened to her husband. Noone knew. She began writing to the newspapers. A former Intelligence Officer, Alfred Wilson, read one of her letters in the Melbourne Argus, while commuting to work one morning.
Wilson had been in the Darwin area, and de-briefed survivors from the Patricia Cam. in 1943. He had also been on Macarthur's intelligence staff in Australia, and was not without influence. The intelligence officer used his contacts in the Occupation Forces in Tokyo to have further enquiries made.
Eventually, it was learned that Rev. Kentish had been taken to the Japanese-held Dobe (or Dobo) Island in the Arus group [now Indonesia] where, after much cruel abuse, the missionary had been beheaded three and a half months after his capture, on the fourth of May, 1943.
On the 23rd of August, 1948, the man who ordered this execution, Sub Lieutenant Sagejima Maugan, was hanged as a war criminal in Hong Kong's Stanley Jail. Two other Japanese servicemen, Hoyama Kenzo, and Kohama Shozuke were sentenced to life imprisonment for their part in the Rev. Kentish's execution. And thus ended this strange, sad episode of the Pacific War.