The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (24609) Steward Archibald Douglas Krieg, HMAS Sydney (II), Second World War.

Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.53
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 22 February 2018
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 (24609) Steward Archibald Douglas Krieg, HMAS Sydney (II), Second World War.

Speech transcript

24609 Steward Archibald Douglas Krieg, HMAS Sydney (II)
KIA 20 November 1941

Story delivered 22 February 2018

Today we remember and pay tribute to Steward Archibald Douglas Krieg and the ship’s company of HMAS Sydney (II).

Archibald Krieg was born in Adelaide on 29 November 1922, the son of Paul and Amelia Krieg. Growing up in Adelaide, he attended the Sturt Street School, and later became a butcher working for Turner Ltd. He also served part-time in the Militia in a light horse regiment.

Following the outbreak of war, Krieg enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy on his 18th birthday, 29 November 1940. He was first posted as an assistant steward to the newly commissioned naval depot HMAS Torrens in Port Adelaide. After a month here, he joined HMAS Cerberus, the navy’s training establishment some 70 kilometres south of Melbourne, on Western Port Bay. Krieg remained at Cerberus for several months before he was posted to HMAS Sydney at the end of July 1941.

A modified Leander class light cruiser, Sydney was armed with eight 6-inch guns and was the pride of the Royal Australian Navy. Since its return from the Mediterranean, Sydney had been primarily engaged in escort duties, which took it to the Netherlands East Indies, Singapore, Noumea, Auckland, and Suva before returning to Western Australian waters.

On 19 November, Sydney was steaming back to Fremantle, having escorted a troopship part of the way to Singapore. At about 4 pm the cruiser spotted a suspicious merchant ship and decided to investigate. By 5.30 pm, Sydney had almost drawn alongside the vessel which suddenly revealed its true identity as a German raider.

Hoisting the German naval ensign, Kormoran opened fire with its guns and fired torpedoes. Its first salvo slammed into Sydney’s bridge. The Australian cruiser returned fire, but Kormoran’s second and third salvos again hit Sydney’s bridge and amidships. The cruiser’s three main turrets, “A”, “B” and “Y”, were soon out of action, but “X” turret kept up fast and accurate fire that hit the raider’s funnel and engine room. Sydney, in turn, was hit by a torpedo between “A” and “B” turrets. Mortally damaged and ablaze, Sydney turned away from the raider but continued to fight, using its secondary armament and torpedoes.

Kormoran was also burning. At 6.25 pm its captain gave the order to abandon ship. As the German sailors evacuated their stricken vessel, they watched the Australian cruiser, now only a distant glow on the dark horizon, disappear into the night.

By midnight, Sydney was gone, lost with all hands – 645 men in all – including Krieg. He was 18 years old.

Arch Krieg is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial in Britain. His name is also listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among almost 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Steward Archibald Douglas Krieg who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Karl James
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (24609) Steward Archibald Douglas Krieg, HMAS Sydney (II), Second World War. (video)