The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (S6116) Ordinary Seaman Raymond Owen Venning, HMAS Kuttabul, Royal Australian Navy, Second World War

Accession Number PAFU2014/031.01
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 31 January 2014
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Troy Clayton, the story for this day was on (S6116) Ordinary Seaman Raymond Owen Venning, HMAS Kuttabul, Royal Australian Navy, Second World War.

Speech transcript

S6116 Ordinary Seaman Raymond Owen Venning, HMAS Kuttabul
KIA 1 June 1942
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 31 January 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Ordinary Seaman Raymond Owen Venning.

Raymond Venning was the son of Norman and Annetta Venning and was born in Pinnaroo, South Australia, on 4 June, 1923. His father served with the Light Horse during the First World War, and would go on to serve his country again in the second. Raymond attended the Yarraville School and Pinnaroo Higher Primary School before gaining his commercial intermediate certificate with merit. After leaving school, Venning joined the Pinnaroo Postal Department, but two years later transferred to Canberra to work as a clerk. He became an active member of the Manuka Intermediate Australian Rules Football team, where his red hair quickly earnt him the nickname "Bluey".

Venning enlisted for service with the Royal Australian Navy on 23 November 1941 at the age of 18. He began his training at HMAS Cerberus, the naval base near Melbourne in Victoria. In April 1942 he transferred to HMAS Penguin, the naval base on Garden Island in Sydney Harbour. During his time there he lived on the depot ship Kuttabul, a Sydney Harbour ferry acquired by the Royal Australian Navy that acted as accommodation for men waiting transfer to their final posting.

On the evening of 31 May 1942, three Japanese midget submarines entered Sydney Harbour. Shortly after midnight, one of the Japanese submarines fired two torpedoes at USS Chicago, an American heavy cruiser moored near Garden Island. Both torpedoes missed the cruiser. One ran aground and failed to explode, but the second torpedo exploded against the sea wall near Kuttabul. The ferry broke in two in the explosion, and quickly sank, leaving just the uppermost deck exposed. Nineteen men from the Royal Australian Navy and two from the British Navy were killed as a result.

One of those men was Ordinary Seaman Raymond Venning, who had been at the base a little over a month, and was killed just three days before his 19th birthday. He was initially posted as "missing, believed killed", but his body was later recovered. He was buried in Sydney with full naval honours.

He is commemorated on the Roll of Honour to my left, along with some 40,000 others killed in the Second World War. There is no photograph in the Memorial's collection to display beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Ordinary Seaman Raymond Owen Venning and all those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (S6116) Ordinary Seaman Raymond Owen Venning, HMAS Kuttabul, Royal Australian Navy, Second World War (video)