The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (S/4505) Able Seaman Sydney Clarence Glossop, HMAS Perth, Second World War.

Place Oceans: Pacific Ocean, South China Sea, Java Sea
Accession Number AWM2016.2.251
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 7 September 2016
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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (S/4505) Able Seaman Sydney Clarence Glossop, HMAS Perth, Second World War.

Speech transcript

S/4505 Able Seaman Sydney Clarence Glossop, HMAS Perth
KIA 1 March 1942
Photograph: P07455.001

Story delivered 7 September 2016

Today we remember Able Seaman Sydney Clarence Glossop, killed while serving in the light cruiser HMAS Perth in the Second World War.

Syd Glossop was born on 23 October 1920 in Merrylands, a suburb in western Sydney. He was the youngest son in the large family born to Walter and Annie Glossop.

Following the outbreak of war the 19 year old enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy on 30 August 1940. He was briefly posted as an ordinary seaman to the newly commissioned HMAS Rushcutter, the navy’s depot at Rushcutter Bay, Edgecliff, before moving to HMAS Cerberus, the navy’s training establishment on Western Port Bay in Victoria. In mid-January 1941 Glossop was posted to the recently commissioned corvette HMAS Warrego (II).

For some of 1941 Warrego carried out sea trials and exercises in the Sydney area before sailing for Fremantle, where it was employed in local escort duties. In August Glossop was promoted to able seaman and the next month returned to Melbourne.

In mid-October 1941 he returned to Cerberus for several weeks before being posted to HMAS Perth in December. Armed with eight 6-inch guns, the cruiser had returned to Australian waters only a few months earlier, after its successful deployment in the Mediterranean.

In early 1942 Perth carried out various patrols and escort duties, including visits to New Zealand, New Caledonia and New Guinea. In February, with the Japanese rapidly advancing, Perth sailed for Java and participated in the disastrous naval battle of the Java Sea.

The next evening, 28 February, Perth and the American cruiser USS Houston fought a fierce action against a larger Japanese force in the Sunda Strait. Perth expended nearly all of its ammunition in the action before ultimately being hit by four torpedoes; the cruiser sank at 12.25 am on 1 March. The Houston sank soon afterwards.

Some 353 of Perth’s officers, ratings, and civilians – just over half the company – were killed or drowned in the action, including Glossop. Of Houston’s company, more than 650 men perished.

The survivors of both ships were rescued by the Japanese but spent the next three and a half years as prisoners of war. Another 106 men from Perth and 79 men from Houston died in captivity as prisoners of the Japanese.

Sydney Glossop was 21 years old when he died.

He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial in the United Kingdom. His name is also listed on the Roll of Honour to my left, along with those of some 40,000 other Australians who died fighting in the Second World War. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Able Seaman Sydney Clarence Glossop, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Karl James
Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (S/4505) Able Seaman Sydney Clarence Glossop, HMAS Perth, Second World War. (video)