Wednesday 19 March 2008 by Mal Booth. 64 comments
News

The discovery of HMAS Sydney

The recent reported discoveries of the wrecks of HMAS Sydney and the German raider Kormoran off the coast of Western Australia have fulfilled the hopes of many people who for years have grieved, waited and wondered about exactly what happened to these two ill-fated naval ships.

002434 HMAS Sydney crew members look at photographs (July 1940)

The sinking of the Sydney is the most terrible loss ever suffered by the Royal Australian Navy. It occurred on 19 November 1941 after a sudden and disastrous battle with the Kormoran. None of Sydney's complement of 645 men survived. The Kormoran was also sunk, and 80 of its crew died. 317 survivors of the Kormoran's crew were picked up in the days following the battle.

With the deaths of all on board the Australian cruiser, the only accounts of the action are from some of the Kormoran's survivors. These circumstances have led to the circulation of many rumours, accusations and conspiracy theories. Perhaps the physical evidence recently found on the ocean floor might put some of these to rest.

At the Australian War Memorial the loss of life on the Sydney is commemorated primarily through the Memorial's Roll of Honour. The Australians who died are remembered alongside more than 102,000 others who died in the Australian armed forces in time of war.

In its collections, the Memorial holds records, artefacts, photographs and works of art that help tell the story of HMAS Sydney and its final battle. The most haunting of these is a life raft, known as a "Carley float", which was recovered empty 300 km off Carnarvon a week after Sydney was sunk. The Carley float it is so far the only piece of the Sydney recovered after the battle.

The Carley float on display in the Memorial’s Second World War Gallery.

It was presented to the Memorial in 1942 and has rarely been off display since then. It can be seen today in the Second World War gallery, along with other records and artefacts associated with the Sydney, the Kormoran and the men who served in them.

HMAS Sydney and the Roll of Honour

When HMAS Sydney was sunk on 19 November 1941, all 645 men on board died. However, a ship's complement usually consists of a mixture of personnel. In the case of HMAS Sydney in November 1941, 629 of these men were serving with the Royal Australian Navy, and their deaths are commemorated on the Memorial's Roll of Honour under the name of their ship. A further six men on board were serving with the Royal Australian Air Force, their job being to fly and maintain the ship's aircraft. They are commemorated on the Roll under the name of their squadron, No. 9 Squadron RAAF.

There were four civilians, men who staffed the ship's canteen. Three of these were Australian and they appear on the Memorial's Commemorative Roll. This is a form of commemoration which can include Australian civilians who have died as a result of wars or warlike operations in which Australians have been on active service. The fourth canteen worker was British.

There were six men on board who were serving with the British Royal Navy. Their names are commemorated elsewhere as they were not serving as members of the Australian Military Forces.

Further reading:

My thanks to Anne-Marie Condé, Wendy Gadd and Jennie Norberry who developed all the content for this post. Mal

Comments

Bob Thompson

Hi, It was my understanding that a float with HMAS Sydney was washed ashore at Christmas Island along with a body from the HMAS Sydney. I am sure in my mind that there was a body that at the time was reported in the newspaper. Can you confirm what I believe is right. Regards Bob Thompson

Stephen Bickell

Now it has been found finally, I hope it just gets left there in peace, it should not be disturbed in anyway, or anything removed from it, even for the war memorial. This is a gravesite, the same as the german ship, and both should be left untouched. I was hoping it would never be found, as these days all the latest submersible diving ships can be bought for a price, and who knows who will attempt too dive too it, to see what they can get, like the Titanic wreck? I hope I am wrong, but some things are best left unfound, in mystery, it was a wartime tragedy, and must not be tampered with.

Mal Booth says:

For Bob Thomson: We have received the following information from sources at DVA about this. A body was found on Christmas Is during the war and was buried on the island. The Japanese overran the Island and the precise grave location was lost until last year when it was found and the body exhumed. The remains are with the Department of Defence (Navy) now to positively identify but it is generally assumed that it is someone from Sydney, although no official announcement has been made so far. Once the remains have been confirmed one way or another, and interred in an appropriate war grave, DVA will take over (via CWGC or OAWG) the permanent care of the grave.

Leigh Harris (AWM)

The Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd MP, announced the discovery of the Kormoran at the Australian War Memorial on Sunday 16 March. This is the transcript link http://www.pm.gov.au/media/Interview/2008/interview_0136.cfm

Sandra PLAYLE

I would like to congratulate all the people involved in the project. Although this tragic wartime event occured before I was born (in Geraldton), it left me with goose pimples at the news of its discovery. Whilst it will renew memories for many families it will bring closure to at least know that these wonderful men have been 'found'. Bright Blessings Sandra

Jan Brady

Can we all take a deep breath and wait until it is actually proven to be the Sydney before we all start discussing and making suggestions about what should and should not be done with the wreck. It may just be coincidence that a wreck has been found 'nearby' the Kormoran. After all the western coast has a long history of wrecks. My understanding of the end of the encounter is that the Sydney steamed off over the horizon in flames. It could have steamed on for sometime before sinking. My father, who was an internationally recognised shipping historian and who, incidentally, was a Rat of Tobruk, argued that the distance the Sydney could have made could have been significant given the type of ship she was DESPITE the obvious damage. There has already been at least one other recent announcement that they Sydney had been 'found' which proved to be false. Can we wait???

Michael Franklin

Having read alot of articles and reports from the National Archives, I believe the body found washed ashore in 1942 had an autospy done and has also been done by the RAN including dental and DNA testing however, I cannot locate any mention if a facial reconstruction was ever completed. I had seen this done of the BBC History channel and also with the FBI where missing persons are identified. With todays technology could not this also be done especially when there is a photo of all the HMAS Sydney's crew together on the bow of the ship, though I am aware that when the ship returned from the middle east most of the crew were transferred to elsewhere. Is this correct? My grandfather who was with the AIF in WW2 mentioned that the had some friends who served on board at the time a few of whom he grew up with, however, am not sure if this was prior prior or after the Sydney returned to Australia. The facial reconstruction would be quite interesting. I also note that the navy appears to be set on Petty officers and above as the body in question was in white overalls, however, the soldier who found the body commented on finding the body in blue, but had been bleched due to the exposure... Interesting stuff... I think this body should be enshrined in the War Memorial like the unknown soldier

Shaun Hunt

At last she has been found. Like all the other deep depth wrecks the HMAS Sydney will cast a spell over all who take an interest in her. Let the cameras roll and the tests be done. Leave the hulk alone but by all means recover articles from the debris field, they will make a wonderful addition to the Australian War Memorial.

John Williams

The RAN Ceremonial Unit SA will take part in a major tribute to the crew of HMAS Sydney on ANZAC Eve 2008 on the Port River at Port Adelaide. Sixty Adelaide school students will represent the 60 South Australian sailors lost in the HMAS Sydney tragedy in 1941 during an ANZAC Eve commemoration on the Port River on April 24. The focus of ANZAC Light on the Water 2008 will be on the 645 lost crew of the Sydney when up to 3000 cardboard lifeboats bearing lighted candles are launched on the river from the Birkenhead pontoons. Adelaide and regional schools students and their families and war veterans are making all of the lifeboats. The names of the 60 lost South Australian sailors will be on the sides of the lifeboats to be launched by the sixty school students. A special March and Salute by the RAN Ceremonial Unit will be a Dedication to the 645 officers and men of Sydney. And a one-hour Ceilidh Music Concert by the SA Pipes and Drums will include a special Ode to the Finding Sydney Foundation search team. The SA Pipes and Drums won international acclaim for their Ceilidh Music at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Semaphore Port Adelaide RSL, the Merchant Navy Association SA and the Vindicatrix Association SA staged the first ANZAC Light on the Water on ANZAC Eve 2007 during the first Port Festival. Work on the 2008 commemoration has been underway since late last year and indications that HMAS Sydney might be found early this year prompted organisers to put plans in place for that. The overall focus in 2007 was on the merchant seamen who rowed our troops ashore at Gallipoli in 1915. Event Director John Williams said while the Gallipoli lifeboats had inspired the creation of the event in 2007, each year the commemoration would focus on a significant chapter in the history of Australians at war. “It is appropriate that this year we should focus on the loss of the Sydney and its 645 crew and forour local community the South Australians who were lost in the tragedy.” “Students related to any of the HMAS Sydney sailors will be the first to be invited to launch the lifeboats. “All surviving relatives of the 60 sailors and the Finding Sydney Foundation search team leader David Mearns will be invited as guests of honour at this unique Port Adelaide commemoration. “Relatives, if they wish, will also have the opportunity to float flowers from a vessel on the river during the ANZAC Eve commemoration. “It is to be hoped that the commemoration will help to bring final closure to the relatives.” “This year we are breaking with tradition and having a female Minister, Ali Wurm from St Bede's Semaphore who will pay tribute to the HMAS Sydney crew, their relatives and the Finding Sydney Foundation search team. “This will be the first time a female Minister has officiated at a public ANZAC Eve commemoration. “The new Federal Labor MP Mark Butler and Port Adelaide Mayor Gary Johanson will be among guest speakers. “It is planned that the new Port Adelaide Seafarers Memorial will incorporate a Tribute to the HMAS Sydney Crew and the discovery by the Finding Sydney Foundation.” The sinking of the Sydney on November 19, 1941 with the loss of all 645 crew devastated many Port Adelaide families. The wreck was found on Sunday March 16 by at a depth of almost 2.5km about 100 nautical miles off the West Australian coast. ANZAC Eve April 24 6 pm to 7 pm Ceilidh Music Concert in Black Diamond Square by SA Pipes and Drums with Ode to Finding HMAS Sydney 7 pm Surf Lifesavers to light candles in lifeboats on pontoons 7.15 ANZAC Light on the Water to begin with traditional Indigenous Welcome 7.30 pm Royal Australian Navy Ceremonial Unit Parade and Salute to the crew of HMAS Sydney with National Anthem and one minute silence 7.45 pm Mayor of Port Adelaide Gary Johanson Mark Butler MP and other speakers 8 pm Prayers for relatives of the HMAS Sydney crew and Blessing of the Boats 8.15 pm Lifeboats launched from pontoons 9.30 pm Port Adelaide Sailing Club boats retrieve all the lifeboats For further information on this media release contact johnwilliams@cobbers.com phone John Williams, Vice President Merchant Navy Association SA (08) 8242 0079 The City of Port Adelaide Enfield, Department of Education SA, Port Centre Co-ordination Group, Naval Association SA, South Australian Maritime Museum, Port Adelaide Sailing Club, Royal Australian Navy, North Haven Surf Lifesaving Club, Port Adelaide Visitor Information Centre, Port Adelaide Caledonian Society, Department of Transport SA, Port Adelaide Historical Society, Port Adelaide National Trust Branch, Maritime Union of Australia and a team of dedicated volunteers from Semaphore Port Adelaide RSL, Merchant Navy Association SA, Vindicatrix Association SA and local residents all support ANZAC Light on the Water. Information and video on http://www.portenf.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm

Jim

I see in the media that an inquiry into the sinking of the Sydney is to be conducted. I fail to see the point, this tragedy happened 66 years ago and do we really want to know what happened?. If, as it has been speculated that there has been some sort of conspiracy of silence as to the events surrounding the sinking and anything that happend subsequently, then this should remain unsaid and uninvestigated. Let the fallen on both sides rest in peace.

Lynne Victorsen-Bennett

This is a very personal and emotional time for the families of the Sydney and I do include our family. My great uncle was an Able Seaman and up until her finding on 17 March, one of the places I felt where I could visit and pay tribute to him was at the AWM - Sydney's carley float and the memorial wall. It is also a relief she will be known as a wargrave, but I also fear that whilst todays technology has allowed us to find her, as Stephen Bicknell said - there may be those who will try to reach her for their own personal gain. We can only put our trust in the Australian Government, Australian Navy and the Australian War Memorial to ensure she is secure and safe from those who mean her harm. I have reseached our family history for many years and have developed a special interest in their military records. The Sydney has always remained an unfinished chapter, now I fell I can turn my attention to other family members who lost their lives and are buried at Quinn's Post - Gallipoli, Pozieries - France and (WWII) Sandakan. May they all rest in peace.

Joe "Doc" kralich

In the course of WWII, many cruiser class warships were lost. These ships were smaller than a battleship but vastly exceeded the armor and guns of the more common destroyers. My Father and Uncle were to see the Japanese sink their ships, my Dad’s the USS Cooper was recently located and dived to in the Philippines and the wrecks of the American cruisers off Guadalcanal have also been looked at but the tale is just heartbreak for the families and shipmates who survived. Seems that cruisers are well such that many do not get overboard on some instances, destroyers go down so fast that only the deck crew gets off. Questions and such, the American events saw that just luck saved the few crews that made it to the waters. In the most noted circumstance the USS Indianapolis, lost most after they survived and almost all in the water. I suspect that this was the fate of your countrymen. My uncle was “saved” but he was embittered by seeing most all fade into the sea after his cruiser sank) (During the early hours of 9 August Vincennes was patrolling westward from Tulagi with her sister ships Astoria (CA-34) and Quincy (CA-39) when a force of Japanese cruisers attacked. In a brief, intense gunfire and torpedo battle, the three American cruisers were utterly devastated. Vincennes and Quincy sank within an hour, and Astoria followed them under shortly after noon. They, with the Australian cruiser Canberra, were the first large ships lost in a body of water that would soon be known as "Iron Bottom Sound". HMAS Sydney, rest now in the deep, fate was set as the waters were not as warm or calm as with the above cited events, and with those few survived. In another day the USS Indianapolis would have had no survivors. I can say that I know the feelings many if not all you great Aussies have. Tears and more but I hope as with my Dad’s ship that the families can visit the site. Yes, the families want to know everything. The valour and courage needs to be recalled. While America sat on the sidelines, you Australians fought the nazi’s , HMAS Sydney stopped the murdering German raider. Saved who knows how may lives from that evil ship? I’ll think of that. My Dad’s ship sent many of its foes to the bottom, I’ll also note that the cruiser Vincennes and the USS Cooper were found with guns turned as with the HMAS Sydney at 90 degrees. What honour, all I can do is share the event that we experienced with finding the USS Cooper. Sadly, it was not reported much in the American news, you Australians do remember. I well tear up and hope that a few words are well received. God Bless the Officers and Crew of a very fine ship! I also served, in another war (Vietnam) got to visit Australia, my best to the families and all who read this. "Doc"

Leisa Tocknell

My Uncle was on the Sydney. His name was Roy Foster. He was one of the 6 RAAF men on board. He was married to my Fathers sister,Phyllis Robertson, who is now deceased. My father has lost contact with Roy's family and I would like to establish contact. My family is pleased the Sydney has been found, though it was an emotional week for my father. My fathers opinion is leave her be now.

Phillip ware

I would like to congratulate and thank all those involved in the finding of the Sydney. My father, Leonard Frank Ware was lost on the Sydney. I was born on 18 January 1942. His wife, my mother, age 92 is still alive. I look forward to meeting other descendants of the crew at the commemorative service in Sydney at St Andrews on 24 April. I think it would be wonderful if the descendants could march as a group as part of the Anzac Day March but I don't know if this could be organised. The descendants are a unique group and we need an opportunity to meet each other and share our experience. Every descendant that I have seen interviewed expresses a very strong wish to visit the site of the sinking. I also have this strong desire to visit the site and for me that would finally bring closure.

JeffW

I,too,would like to thank thank my Aussie brethren for their sacrifices to the cause of freedom for us all.This was,indeed, a sad,tragic time for everyone.My sympathies go out to all of the Allied and Axis combatants and their families.May the good crews rest in peace and honor.

Robert Goller

My father Gordon Melton Goller served on the Sydney from 1939 in the Mediterean until it returned to Australia. I have the pictures of him marching in the streets of Sydney. He was Naval reserve and was the air defense officer. He left the ship when it returned to Australia. He went on to serve in Darwin,and Bouganville amongst other places. He told my mother and brother a lot about the Sydney including his role. He meet the survivors of the Kormoran when the came back to Australia for a reunion in the 1970's. I am glad that the Sydney has been found and we can know the truth. My father survived the war and died in 1989 aged 77. Thank you for those that found her. Even though my father survived it is still emotional because it is a huge part of our family history.

peter lamprey

Do you or anyone think that gas shells were used against HMAS Sydney? I am asking this because of the gas mask seen on the sea bed and the lack of survivers. With the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them. God rest their souls. They are home at last.

Anne-Marie Conde (AWM)

For Peter Lamprey: thanks for your comment. A respirator was issued to all sailors on the completion of training and would have been carried throughout a sailor's service, from one ship to another. Respirators were also carried at action stations. There would have been about 700 of them on Sydney when she went down.

Andy Wright

I've always been fascinated by the loss of the Sydney and followed the fundraising efforts to conduct the search and the actual search itself intently. Finally, some closure for the families of both sides who lost their husbands, brothers, sons, uncles and cousins. The footage we have seen has been phenomenal and should be enough for us to piece together what probably happened while leaving those men, and the ships, in peace. We will always remember them. Looking forward to any material the AWM publishes on the discovery and commemoration.

Yvonne Osborn

As the daughter of A.B. Arthur Andrews, who was lost on HMAS Sydney, I would like to say thank you to the search team and to the Foundation for all their efforts in actually getting the search funded and organised. It has been quite traumatic for me to see the video footage and photographs, and I grieve for the crew who must have gone through sheer hell at the time. My father's battle station was A Turret, and it was particularly confronting to see the damage inflicted here,apparently during the opening minutes of the action. I can only hope the death was swift and merciful for all concerned. Now those who died are lost no more, we can grieve, lay them all to rest, and hope that they are never again disturbed. Truly, may they all, including those who died on the Kormoran, rest in peace.

geoff berry

Is anyone aware of the availability a photograph of Stanley George Silk, Petty Officer on HMAS Sydney in 1941?

Liz Holcombe says:

For Geoff Berry: there is a photo of Chief Petty Officer Stanley George Silk in the Memorial's collection. The photo shows a group of decorated Petty Officers, and it was taken in June 1941. Read the recommendation for his award, a Distinguished Service Medal.

Felicity

Funny I should come across this... my (step) Grand-father was on HMAS Sydney while they were defending Crete against the Italians and Germans and while he was on there he typed a diary of the daily things that went on... though it seems I only have a quarter of it and the paper is slowly falling apart but it is a very interesting read... it is interesting reading his diary about all the other ships around him, the King being there, bomb raids etc

geoff berry

Thank you Liz for the reference to the photograph containing Petty Officer Stanley George Silk...this is the only one I have come across so far...are you aware of any other photographs of Stanley George Silk?

Lisa Atherton

Hi, My husband's uncle died on the HMAS Sydney and his name was Petty Officer William Railton Oliver Smith. As he was part of the British Royal Navy he is not included on any roll of honour in our National War Memorial even though he died serving our Country. I am deeply disappointed at this as we have no where to go to pay our respects. I was also wondering if there are any photos or information about him as we have nothing to go on.

Lisa Atherton

Sorry, William Railton Oliver Frith

Mal Booth says:

Hi Lisa, the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial commemorates only members of the Australian armed forces who died during war (for specific details please see: /roh/intro.asp). As Petty Officer Frith was not a member of the Australian armed forces (in this instance, the Royal Australian Navy) he is not eligible for inclusion on the Memorial's Roll of Honour. At the time of his death he was one of several members of the Royal Navy on temporary loan to the Royal Australian Navy. His name is probably recorded on a Royal Navy memorial or within a roll of honour book, somewhere in the UK. It may be him in this photo of a Petty Officer Frith in August 1940, but on the information we have, it isn't possible for us to say for sure: http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/306701

Susan Hammond

Following today's ANZAC march and commemoration service at The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne I had the pleasure to meet the daughter of Benjamin Simpson - Petty Officer on HMAS Sydney. This was totally unexpected and may never had happened if tourists had not stopped to take a photograph of Italian soldiers in dress uniform. This lovely lady told me she had marched for the first time and that she had marched for her father. She showed me a beautiful portrait she carried of her father and told me that she was two when he died, her father was 30. Sometimes very special things happen - I will remember this lovely lady and her father Ben and treasure this very random meeting. Lest we forget.

Louise Genge

I have, like so many others been intrigued with wondering whether HMAS Sydney would ever be found.Although I personally had no family member on board my husband did, Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Francis Harrison Genge I have for some time been looking for a photo of him-can anyone help? Thanks Louise

Leslee Williams

My Father's Uncle was Ernest Brennan from the Sydney, much loved Uncle, the service at St Andrew's was such a moving day, and as this was the final farewell from my Dad to his mate and relative, Dad can feel at peace to know what happened to Ern, I myself never new him inperson, but I sure did know him through my Father who talks about Ern and other family members from other War conflicts all the time, I myself and so proud of all my ancestors, By the way my Father worked with one of the Sailors from the Komoran, his name was Helmut and Dad said he was a lovely man and a gentleman and they spoke of the disaster. they were good friends.

Patricia Sabine [AWM]

For Louise Genge: Unfortunately the Memorial does not have a portait photograph of Surgeon Lt Commander Francis Harrison Genge in the collection. However it may be possible that historians at the Royal Australian Navy's Sea Power Centre (www.navy.gov.au/spc/) can assist you. The Memorial would of course be keen to obtain an image for the Roll of Honour. It is possible that he will be listed in a group photograph. We will continue our research along those lines.

Tara Solway

I too would like a photo of Stanley George Silk. My family only found out on ANZAC day this year that he was our Unlce and was a member of the crew aboard the HMAS Sydney. I would greatly appreciate any information about Petty Officer Silk and any photographs.

Mal Booth says:

Tara, there is a photo of Chief Petty Officer Stanley George Silk in the Memorial’s collection. The photo shows a group of decorated Petty Officers, and it was taken in June 1941. Once you have found the photo on the link above, you should then select the link "Go to this record in our Collections Search" (which appears beneath the catalogue details) if you would like to order a higher resolution copy of it.

John Groves

My mother Lillian Gladys Ware's brother Leonard Frank Ware was on the HMAS Sydney, i am glad to see that they have found her. If anyone has photo's of Leonard i would dearly love one, as he was my uncle and i would love to show my children and grandchildren

Louise Genge

Thanks Patricia, I have a photo from a newspaper of Francis H Genge, only problem is the person who obtained the clipping didn't put a date Must have been not long after the Sydney disappeared and the heading says "More Portraits of Sydney Personnl" The clipping I have is poor quality and also has Lieut Commander Wilkinson: Stoker William Mc Lean; Chief Petty Officer W.A.M. Sands; Leading Supply Assistanat A.M Mc Kay; Able Seaman Gordon F Bone: Bandsman John D. Mulhall; Petty Officer John Strugnell. If anyone would like a copy sent please email me and I will forward a copy. Louise

Don Hill

I have just returned from the UK, where I spent quite some time with my 93 yr old uncle, who was a Pilot Officer with the RAF in WW11. After spending the latter part of the war in various POW camps after being shot down over Germany, he then spent 2 years after the end of the war as an RAF Staff Officer in command of 'mopping up' in Singapore, Burma and Indonesia. During conversations with him recently he related that at this time when he was in the east there was a lot of strong speculation that whilst the Sydney was in conflict with the Kormoran, it was actually finished off by a torpedo fired from a Japanese submarine. Has any other speculation of this nature been aired previously?

geoff barrington

Looking at the images of the HMAS Sydney that have been posted it is clear that the Kormoran’s "gunnery" was exemplary. I'm not so familiar wth navel gunnery to to be able to fathom this, but it seems that the Sydney almost simultaineously received direct hits to it's Bridge and three of it's four main turrets from the Kormoran's two 'old' 5'9" guns. What would have been the chances of that. Is there someone "in the know" who could make an informed comment about that?

Jocelle Canaya

Hi, I'm Jocelle from Bigfoot Entertainment. I came across your blog and i read about USS Cooper. Coincidentally, our company just launched in DVD - USS Cooper:Return to Ormoc Bay. This is a documentary film. Rob Lalumiere a deep-sea diver recovers the history of this sunken destroyer. Hank Wagener an 81 year old veteran/survivor of USS Cooper reminisce as he travels aong to bid final farewell to his 191 comrades lost in the tragedy. If you like to see more about USS Cooper, feel free to visit at www.usscooper.com Hope to hear from you more. thanks, Jocelle Bigfoot Entertainment

Ron Larsen

Hi there from Canada I am intrigued by the stories of wartime situations and especially those of the British Commonwealth Members at that time. I have dear old uncle who served in the RAAF during WW2 and he was assigned to two separate naval vessels as a signalman. The names of the vessels were- HMAS Air Host and HMAS Air Master. Both were sea rescue vessels. I am trying to find pictures of either or both of the vessels for him as he has a private collection of personal military items. He does not have anything to indicate his involvement with the RAN though. If anyone can help with this endevour please contact me. I have discovered that such a service did exsist during the war. Uncle Bob immigrated to Canada after the war as he met a girl here and so he returned after the war to be with her. He is proud of his Aussy roots and still talks the talk. He is also very old and in bad physical condition and I am sure he is on his way out but he would certainly like to have a picture or two. Thanks for any help that you can give in this project. Regards ROL

Shane Lovering

I remember as a young man looking at the remains of the life raft found from HMAS SYDNEY in the War Memorial, it brought home to me the full horrors of war and what our people and country endured during these times. I am because of them a proud Australian and now that HMAS SYDNEY has been found and our boys are at last home, let them be remembered and let them rest in peace forever. We Will Never Forget You.......

Geoff Green

Hello, The Kormoran's lifeboat is in the small railway museum at Carnavon, W.A. It is being "repaired" and there is real danger that the essential entity of this important historical relic may be lost. I suggest that action be taken to properly restore this lifeboat.

Tom Lee

The mystery with what really happen with Sydney and the conflict with the Kormoran, will hopefully come to an end soon, I read with great interest all the other post and would like to thank everybody that took time to post their information. Tom Lee.

Hubert Davis

Ron Larsen (Canada) June 2nd.2008 I have a lot of info on RAN Air Sea Rescue boats including HMAS Air Host and photos of HMAS Air Master both of which served in Borneo 1945.. I served in HMAS Air Chief and HMAS Air Save 1944,45,46. as a Telegraphist. However most of the 20 "crash" boats had two RAAF Wireless Air Gunners aboard in the crew. Hub Davis

George French

The secret to any mystery is that it is usually wrapped up in another. As part of an alliance of nations, clues to Australia's history are wrapped up in the histories of those other nations. America's history in the Pacific Theatre includes the lion's share of those clues. That is why these histories are classified and concealed for generations. If we learned the truths, as painful as they are, we would no longer be subject to the manipulations of those who conceal. In the case of the Sydney, I had the fortune to read Michael Montgomery's book Who Sank the Sydney. The rendezvous with the Japanese submarine seems the most plausible. I find it very difficult to believe that Kormoran could overpower Sydney in a surface action. Any naval vessel approaching a suspect vessel would have been by regulation at action stations. To think Kormoran could shoot it out with her is an insult to Australia's stellar naval heritage. In his book he mentions Japanese ration cans being found in one of the German lifeboats. That can't be explained away. The carley float was found riddled with machine gun bullets from close range. The position of the wrecks prove the Germans lied about Sydney drifting off on fire. Even though I'm a Canadian, I'll be damned if I'd take the word of a murderous Nazi and impugn the reputation of a fine Australian captain. On the other side of the world a German ship would have to rendezvous with a friendly nation's navy. Only Japan would have the resources for such a meeting in hostile waters. Now we need to look to America's declassified material printed in Day of Deceit. Pearl Harbour was planned to happen by the intelligence services. A memo from The Secretary of War even ordered American forces to not fire on the approaching Japanese. So how does that affect the Sydney? If it was revealed a Japanese sub torpedoed her, hostilities would have started Nov. 19th 1941 not Dec. 7th. Further required reading is The Great Pacific War by a British WWI intelligence officer named Hector C. Bywater. He outlined the whole Pacific War in the 1920's. He was Jane's expert in naval affairs and a syndicated correspondent. These matters were debated in the Baltimore press with Undersecretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1929. Japan's Naval Attache at their Washington Embassy bought the book and had it translated into Japanese for use as a text at the Imperial War College. He was Isoruku Yamamoto. Both Bywater and his colleague died worlds apart on the same day. One in an air raid in Britain and the other fell to his death from the Tokyo police headquarters. Wars are generally orchestrated as the greatest frauds perpetrated on mankind. That is the great secret the governments keep from their people. The Pearl Harbour operation was a brutal trick. Many are enraged, but the author served in the Great Pacific War. He accepted it as necessary. I agree with him. A terrible menace was sweeping the world. Its only hope was America. With its isolationist policy, the fascists would have saved them for last. Then it might have been too late. To turn public opinion around instantly the unprovoked attack is the most successful ploy. We are emotional creatures. No power on earth could have stopped the sleeping giant aroused. What happened to Syndey was concealed for the greater good. The time has passed. 645 fine sailors walked into an unexpected ambush. I believe they were murdered by fascist thugs. They did their duty. Now it's our turn. "All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.""All great truths begin as blasphemies." George Bernard Shaw.

Jim Eagles

I'm intrigued by the FSF release of photograph and video of the Sydney. A turret with steel over the barrels B turret with half the turret roof missing X turret with barrels pointed down but otherwise intact Y turret with barrels pointed to left (of picture) otherwise intact but the video Hunt for HMAS Sydney shows a fifth turret with no turret roof at all and completely demolished. Since when did Sydney have five turrets What a crock

Amanda Rebbeck says:

Hi Jim This is most likely a case of seeing A Turret from another angle. A Turret was totally destroyed with no roof or rear with the bow folded back over the barrels. The other three turrets are as you correctly identified them: B Turret is missing its left side of the turret roof. X Turret is complete and Y Turret complete with funnel laying on top

Jim Eagles

For Gary Oakley The explanation you give is not good enough. The video shows that the piece of metal lying over the barrel of A turret is not jagged from an explosion, but is a single sheet of metal lying freely over the barrels. Y turret does not have the funnel lying over it but what looks like fishing nets and you can see some of it going into the end of the pipes on the top of the turret, they are not 4 inch shells. Most of all, the photograph of the searchlight platform is wrong as well. the funnel behind it is of a Leander class alright,but not a modified Leander. The searchlight platform has no steel coaming around it like the Sydney but it had guardrails and probably splinter matresses like other British ships. The searchlight platform also has quite plainly a mounting on the end of it with two circular holes, these are precisely like British warships that had a Carley float mounted there, while Sydney did not have this. Altogether I have found 22 things wrong with the very few photographs released so far and the video is even worse. It is supposed to be of the Sydney wreckage area but includes what we expected to be Kormoran as well. The tyre portrayed as Sydney wreckage is a truck or car tyre, it has a square profile while the Walrus, the only aircraft it could have come from, had a round profile. The are many other errors of identification as well. They have all been sent to the Cole Inquiry. This leaves us with an even bigger mystery now, why has all this been done ? Jim Eagles Townsville, ex-RAN Communications Branch

Jim Eagles

Cole Inquiry submission at www.defence.gov.au/sydneyii/PTE/PTE.004.0001.pdf shows a photographs captioned HMAS Sydney in the first few pages. Actually it is not of the Sydney but HMAS Australia about 1941, at a guess. Australia was a County Class D84, 9,850 tons with 8 inch guns. Sydney, Modified Leander, D48, 7.105 tons with 6 inch guns. Very careless of them Jim Eagles Townsville

Stephen Clifford

I am related to F/O Raymond Barker Barrey A/407000 who was killed serving with 9 RAAF Squadron as the OC the RAAF Deatchment on board HMAS Sydney, November 1941. I am related to Ray on his Wife's side of the Family and I am trying desperately to find a photo of him or his Walrus or him on HMAS Sydney from which he flew while on HMAS Sydney for most of 1941. I am also trying to contact anyone who may be able to tell me about him. From Rays extended family 7 served and 6 were killed. I would appreciate any pointers you can give me apart from contacting the RAAF or 9 RAAF Association as I have already exhausted that avenue. They suggested that I try the HMAS Sydney II Association. Any suggestions etc would be greatly appreciated I would also appreciate a contact to the HMAS Sydney Association. ANY material on Walrus and or Seagull Aircraft on HMAS Sydney II or on the RAAF Deatchment members and in particular Ray would be deeply appreciated. Please feel free to email me on trustn1@bigpond.com with the subject line HMAS Sydney. I would also love to make contact with the other Family Members of those killed on HMAS Sydney from the RAAF Detachment or those that served on HMAS Sydney as part of the earlier RAAF Deatchements. Would espicially love to make contact with former S/L Tom Price as he saw Ian through his inital period on HMAS Sydney before Tom was posted away. Also intrested in talking to or contacting any members that were part of 2 Course in 1940 at RAAF Point Cook which was Ray's Training Course which he graduated from as a Sgt. Lastly if the Pilot of HMAS Perth who was a POW after her loss is still with us i would love to talk to him as he and RAY shared sometime at RAAF Richmond and Rathmaines and were also on the same course at the Seaplane Training Flight. His name was Allen Vernon McDonough and his S/N is A/407008 (NB notice his and Ray's S/N). Ray enlisted in 1940 was trained at Point Cook then sent to the Seaplane Training Flight and arrived at 9 RAAF Sqd in 1941. Ray replaced the earlier pilot F/L Thomas McBride Price DFC RAAF who served with HMAS Sydney throughout the Middle East and had his Seagull shot down during a shore Bombardment spotting flight which led to the award of his DFC. Tom Price later converted to Catalina's and reached the rank of S/L and survived the war serving on seaplanes the entire war in the Pacific. The FAA in the RN then loaned a Walrus to HMAS Sydney to replace her shot down Seagull V. Ray is always remembered to me by his smile (which I have never seen). At a Family reunion one time His wife reported "it lit up the room even if he suffered from big ears!" lol. They were married in Sydney as Ray was based at RAAF Rathmines at this time and when he was posted to HMAS Sydney they thought it was fate in a good way as Sydney was Ray's Home port. One of the last letters Ray wrote to his brother Clemet Barrey (served with RAF survived war - painting of him in the AWM) was describing how he "planned to set up shop with his new wife" in Sydney and as it was HMAS Sydney's home port he would always be "guaranteed a hot feed ashore and a beer or two". He also described the Walrus as being something like flying a "push bike" and that it leaked water on the pilot "a dam lot" while taxying to be recovered. I think the best line in that letter is the one where he describes being catapulted off HMAS Sydney the first time in Sydney Harbour as being "better then riding with no brakes down that hill that nearly killed him as a kid" back in South Australia. Its something I value highly - even if its only a photocopy. After dad left the army in 1983 we moved to Nyngan and unfortunately during the flood in 1993 we lost almost all his material that was passed down to us. It was very heartbreaking indeed. Yours in Thanks, Stephen Clifford Sydney NSW. PS The casualties were 4 RAN and 2 RAAF. 1 RAAF came home. 2 were Killed on HMAS Sydney (1 RAN 1 RAAF) 2 were Killed on HMAS Perth 1 was Killed on attachment to SRD in 1944 and the last one was killed flying Lancaster's in 1945 in the UK with a RAF Squadron. All were encouraged not to join the AIF on their Great War relations views and all were lost in water related incidents. Ray was married in 1941 and had no Children. His wife never re married and is now deceased (and missed greatly especially those stories of eating rabbit in the great depression!)

Stephen Clifford

arghhh mistake. Ian refers to Ian Sewart Ross RAAF 18839 also killed with 617 RAF Squadron in 1945 Bergen Norway. My mistake i meant Ray who was on HMAS Sydney. Apoligises! Stephen.

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