HMAS Sydney in the Mediterranean, 1940-1941 / Francis Charles Sheldon-Collins

Accession Number F04776
Collection type Film
Measurement 20 min
Object type Home movie
Physical description 8mm standard/b&w/silent
Maker Sheldon-Collins, Francis
Place made Egypt: Alexandria, Greece: Athens, Piraeus, Malta
Date made 1940-1941
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
Source credit to This item has been digitised with funding provided by Commonwealth Government.

On 8 October 1940 HMAS Sydney sailed with the fleet for operation M.B.6 covering a Malta convoy. Whilst the destroyers in rotation fueled in Malta, HMAS Sydney was detached which was unfortunate that she was not with HMS Orion and HMS Ajax when they encountered enemy destroyers. HMS Ajax had a sharp night action resultant with two enemy destroyers being sunk and Ajax suffered damaged with 10 of the crew killed and twenty wounded. HMS Gloucester and HMS Liverpool were engaging Artigliere which had hove to and was being abandoned, HMS York was left to finish her off. The film opening scene showing Italian destroyer Artigliere blowing up. Next morning the fleet was south of Crete covering the convoys. Sydney had changed places with HMS Liverpool and was 10 miles from the main body and more fortunate than HMS Liverpool which was torpedoed and had her bows completely blown off. She was taken in tow by Orion and made Alexandria a day later than the fleet. Several air attacks eventuated culminating in a heavy attack by torpedo bombers. Aircraft carrier HMS Eagle. Battleship HMS Warspite, Flagship of the Fleet. Bombs bursting amongst the battle fleet. Aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. More bombs on the battle fleet. HMS Illustrious. HMAS Sydney's "H" class destroyer escort. More bombs. Anti-aircraft barrage put up by the multiple pom-poms. In Alexandria Harbour, the French cruiser Duquesne. HMS Ladybird a "6" gun monitor with 3 foot draft which enables the ship to go in close to the shore for bombardment purposes. RAF Short Sunderland flying boat taking off down Alexandria Harbour. Part of damaged sustained during night action against enemy destroyers by HMS Ajax. Kite flying to prevent dive bomber attacks - the brainwave of someone in the top echelon - unfortunately they did not fly. RAF Short Sunderland flying boat takes off down harbour and crashes into an Egyptian felucca and loses a float. RAF flying boat returns with sail of the felucca hanging from port wing. Naval steam pinnace towing the float of the damaged flying boat. Street scene in the Rue de la Severs Alexandria. Scene looking out the Fleet Club window. King Farouk's Palace in Alexandria. Ramble through the palace gardens. Scene from the taxi. Scene in the native market place and a policemen in white. A scene in the poorer quarter but not the extreme poor. A scene looking along Sisiter Street, Alexandria. The butcher shop. British destroyer HMS Hyperion. The 4 inch anti aircraft guns of HMAS Sydney firing during one of the many air attacks at sea. HMS Liverpool on the port bow later torpedoed. HMS Orion flagship of the 7th cruiser squadron which Sydney and Neptune were part of and Neptune was replaced by Ajax. British destroyer coming alongside to receive ASDIC replacement rear. Note bag in centre of the screen. At sea. Entering Grand Harbour Malta December 1940 for repairs in the Naval Dockyard. Sydney was the first cruiser to enter for many months and the sorely needed convoy that came with her. The crew were given 48 hours Christmas leave. Fort St Angelo in the Grand Harbour. Views of Malta. Water aqueduct. Bombed roof tops taken from hotel room in Valetta. Scene of the Fleet Education Centre, Valletta. HMAS Sydney and HMAS Ajax embarking army stores guns ammunition at Port Said. Thirty two officers and 450 other ranks of various army units via the Kaso Strait at Suda Bay Crete on 6 November 1940. Suez Canal Co. Building. Statue of Ferdinand de Jesseps builder of the Suez Canal at Port Said. Coming into Piraeus, Greece. Scene of Piraeus waterfront. Unloading stores and army at Suda Bay. Coming into Piraeus for a second time. Greek Navy - some of the five destroyers given by Britain on the occasion of the wedding of the Duke of Kent to Princess Marina. Unloading of the army trucks and stores and 9 officers and 274 other ranks in Piraeus. Sydney made the 600 mile passage from Alexandria to Piraeus in 21 hours and average speed of 30 knots. Greek settlement at Piraeus after the Turko-Grecian War of 1923 when Greek nationals were told to go. Greek army and navy working party at unloading. British troops on the dock at Piraeus. Australian Blue Ensign flying from the masthead. At sea. Leading Cook Ken Weekes. The first division of the battle fleet HMS Warspite, HMS Valiant and HMS Illustrious with the third and 7th cruiser squadrons and the 2nd and 14th destroyer flotillas sailed during the night of the 28th September escorting HMS Liverpool and HMS Gloucester carrying 2000 troop reinforcements to Malta. Attached to the armada was HMAS Stuart under command of Captain H. Waller RAN en route to Malta for refit. However she burst a steam pipe which the scene shows and was sent back to Alexandria. On the way back she sank the Italian submarine Gondar. HMS Medway the submarine mothership in Alexandria Harbour. The balloon barrage replaces the unsuccessful kite flying. Flags flown on King Farouk's birthday. Coming home through the Suez Canal. Checking station of which there are several along the canal for speed etc. The permitted rate was 6 knots or 16 hours to pass through. Feluccas plying their trade along the canal. The Egyptian Canal workers were of the poorer classes. Those that dawdled received 5 piastres a day. Those that trotted received 7 piastres a day. One hundred piastres to the pound and the Egyptian pound was equal to 25/10 Australian. Bathing boxes on the Bitter Lakes at Ismalia. The canal passes through the lakes. Looking over into the Sinai. The road runs parallel to the canal on the Egyptian side. Another check point at the Great Bitter Lake. Carley floats two on quarter deck, note no small inside the larger. A scene taken during a dust storm on the canal at 12.00 noon. Catapulting off the Walrus aircraft. Convoy down the Red Sea. [adapted from scene list]

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