Commission of Inquiry into the Loss of HMAS Sydney II.] On Kormoran, an out of control fire was spreading, and Detmers realized that he would have to abandon ship, so at 6:25 he ordered the ship to be abandoned and scuttled. The ship and its entire company of 645 were lost. The body was buried with full military honors, as it was assumed that he was a RAN sailor. Department of Defence. Second, the location of the wreckage of Sydney (and Kormoran, which was also sunk) remained a mystery until decades after the war, in 2008. Size: 311 PAGES. With the controversy surrounding the loss of HMAS Sydney persisting for decades after the war, the RAN searched the island in 2001, but failed to find the grave of the unidentified man. Australian War Memorial, Canberra. During the abandoning of the ship, one of the life rafts sank, and all but three men on it drowned. An official portrait of the ship's company, date unknown. Places of Pride, the National Register of War Memorials, is a new initiative designed to record the locations and photographs of every publicly accessible memorial across Australia. The ensuring battle began at 1730 and ended at 1825. A second search in 2006 was successful, and the body was exhumed. The loss of HMAS Sydney II. The voyage was without incident and at noon on the 17 November, Zealandia was turned over to Durban and Sydney then proceeded back to Fremantle where she was expected to arrive on the afternoon of 20 November 1941. ISBN 0-340-58468-8. The loss of HMAS Sydney almost without trace in November 1941, following an encounter with the German raider Kormoran off the Western Australian coast, remains one of the most intriguing mysteries of Australia's wartime history. The German survivors were picked up by various Australian vessels on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of November, and spent the rest of the war in prisoner of war camps. The Australians responded in kind, but according to the German survivors, their first salvo missed. There has been no conclusive evidence to support this, though. In the ensuing action the Kormoran's disguise was sufficient to entice the Sydney into close range where she was able to overwhelm her with gunfire and torpedoes. All 645 Australian seamen were lost. We pay our respects to elders past and present. Admiral Crase’s diary records: Wednesday 26th November1941 “The first Naval Member will return to Melbourne tonight” (The Loss of HMAS SYDNEY II, Volume 2,. This was because of three main factors: firstly, HMAS Sydney was sunk with no survivors. All 645 Australian seamen were lost. Completed Inquiry: The loss of HMAS Sydney Report. HMAS Sydney, the sinking as told by the Kormoran Loss of HMAS Sydney There has been a lot of information released following the discovery of the wrecks of Sydney and Kormoran in March 2008, and their subsequent underwater exploration. Aesthetically elegant, she had created headlines with her exploits in the Mediterranean, especially the brilliant action off Cape Spada. Seller Inventory # 007176. It did nonetheless make headlines and fascinate historians and researchers for decades afterwards, because the events of the battle were shrouded in mystery and controversy. Parliamentary Inquiry reports on the loss of HMAS Sydney. Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JCFADT) (22 March 1999). Her achievements and proud fighting record are perpetuated in the warships named Sydney that have followed her and on memorials and cenotaphs throughout Australia. A large scale air and sea search for the any Australian survivors and the wreckage of Sydney was launched, but abandoned when nothing was found. David Kennedy explores the idea that the sinking of HMAS SYDNEY in November 1941 could be linked to Winston Churchill and his anti-Australian attitude. All rights reserved. It was not known whether an autopsy was performed, because the island was taken over and occupied by the Japanese, and most records were lost or destroyed. This one washed up on Christmas Island, and what made it especially interesting was that it had a body in it. OCLC 32234178. Company Imports Trove of M1 Carbines from Ethiopia to Sell in US, US Marine MIA for More Than 70 Years on Tarawa Atoll Returned to Home Town from Pacific Atoll, German Mass Grave Discovered in Stalingrad, Rocket Propelled Grenades – A One Man Wrecking Crew in Photos, The Highest-Scoring Female Fighter Ace Ever: The Short but Daring Life of Lydia Litvyak, Predators of the Seas: Life Inside a U-Boat – In 41 Images, Divers cleaning up the ocean net themselves an Enigma machine, “Big Lizzie” met 2 Russian Blackjacks Last Week off the Coast of Scotland, Footage of 60,000 German Prisoners Paraded Through Moscow, ‘Barn Finds’, Mosquito, P-51 & Others, The Aviation Equivalent of Aladdin’s Cave. On this day in 1941, HMAS Sydney (II) was lost with all hands following battle with the German Auxiliary Cruiser Kormoran over 100 nautical miles from Dirk Hartog Island, off the coast of Western Australia. In the wake of the battle, a number of conspiracy theories sprang up. Author: Rick Pelvin. This paper examines the mystery surrounding the sinking of HMAS Sydney in the Indian Ocean on November 19, 1941, by the German raider SV Kormoran. Come and see why. The location of the grave was also lost when the Japanese occupied the island. The ships' careers had been the antithesis of each other. The battle, once begun, was vicious and short, with the Germans opening hostilities with direct hit salvos from two of Kormorant‘s main guns. She sank after an engagement with HSK KORMORAN, a German armed raider that was disguised as the Dutch merchant vessel MV STRAAT MALAKKA. The souls of the men of the HMAS Sydney 11 were commemorated with a ceremony over their final resting place. With these recent discoveries, most of the mystery and controversy surrounding the sinking of HMAS Sydney has finally been laid to rest. An Inquiry into the loss of HMAS Sydney was carried out by the Joint Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JCFADT) during 1997 and 1998, and was tabled in March 1999. FitzGerald RN. The recent launch of The Search for HMAS Sydney: The Australian Story produced further reflection on the performance and the extent of responsibility attributable to Captain Burnett, the captain of Sydneywhen she was lost in action on November 19th, 1941. And finally, months after the battle a mysterious, unidentified body washed up on Christmas Island – a body many believed was that of the only survivor of the sinking of Sydney. W. Olson, Bitter Victory.. Rydalmere, NSW: Hodder & Stoughton. • The finding of HMAS Sydney II is an event of significance to the Air Force as well as the Navy, on account of the loss … Second, the location of the wreckage of Sydney (and Kormoran , which was also sunk) remained a mystery until decades after the war, in 2008. Sydney ended up splitting in two, with the bow tearing off, and after this it sank quickly. This was because of three main factors: firstly, HMAS Sydney was sunk with no survivors. The Kormoran was also sunk in the action. The speed at which it went under made it impossible for any life rafts to make it off the sinking ship, and all hands were lost – making it the largest loss of life for the Royal Australian Navy. Part of the award-wining Australia Documentary No Survivors the Mysterious Loss of HMAS Sydney. It was not her role to fight fleet actions but to operate alone against unescorted shipping for months at a time, avoiding publicity and supported by clandestine meetings with supply ships in remote locations. Kormoran is lying at a depth of 2,560 metres; Sydney, approximately 12 nautical miles away, is at 2,470 metres. It was determined that he had died from a fragment of shrapnel embedded in his skull. Australia`s greatest naval tragedy took place in November 1941 off the Western Australian coast when the Royal Australian Navy cruiser H.M.A.S. German survivors stated that they saw fire still lighting up the sky on the horizon until almost midnight. There were no survivors from HMAS Sydney's 645 officers and men. Following a violent surface battle with the German Commerce Raider Kormoran, off the West Coast of Australiain, on November 19, 1941, the Australian Light Cruiser HMAS Sydney sank with no survivors from her crew of 645 souls, yet 317 German Survivors from Kormoran were eventually resucued. [188] With the complete loss of the Australian cruiser's crew the only accounts of the action are from the Kormoran's survivors. The loss of HMAS Sydney, 19 November 1941. There were 318 survivors from Kormoran’s crew … When Detmers saw that Sydney was within lethal firing range, he abruptly dropped the Dutch flag and instead raised the German Navy (Kriegsmarine) ensign instead, and opened fire. On the other hand, the Kormoran's mission was to shun the limelight. The boiler suit the man was wearing was sun-bleached white, but had formerly been blue. At around 4:00 PM, Sydney spotted a ship on the horizon. Through a series of exchanges, Kormoran lured Sydney closer and closer, until the Australian ship was close enough that the advantages offered by her superior armor and weaponry would be negated. INCLUDES MANY EXCELLENT ILLUSTRATIONS. Our collection contains a wealth of material to help you research and find your connection with the wartime experiences of the brave men and women who served in Australia’s military forces. On 17 March 2008 the Australian Government announced that the wreckage of both HMAS Sydney and the German raider Kormoran had been found, approximately 112 nautical miles off Steep Point, Western Australia. 10 am to 5 pm daily (except Christmas Day), Get your ticket to visit:, Copyright The controversy. KORMORAN also sank, being scuttled by her commanding officer, CAPT Detmers. TRAN.031.0001 RCOMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO THE LOSS OF HMAS SYDNEY II Before The Han TRH Cole AO RFD QC Held at level 5, 55 Market Street, SydneyCounsel Assisting: CMDR JT Rush RFD QC RANR LCDR PW Kerr RANR On Monday, 16 March 2009 at 10am (Day 31).16/3/09 (31) 2181 Transcripl producea by Merrill Legal Solulions T. Frame, HMAS Sydney, Loss and Controversy, 1998, (paperback ed.). Sydney’s crew, in the hope that DNA samples may enable a final identification to be made from these ‘possibles’. Page 296 and Capt. Among the 13 names is Flying Officer Ray Barrey. Use this login for Shop items, and image, film, sound reproductions, Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade: Completed Inquiry: The loss of HMAS, Parliamentary Inquiry reports on the loss of HMAS. Canberra: The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. The Committee presented its Report on the loss of HMAS Sydney to the Senate on 22 March 1999 and to the House of Representatives on 29 March 1999. The Germans used nine ‘Hilfskreuzers’ (auxiliary cruisers) … HMAS SYDNEY II was lost on 19 November 1941. Sydney sailed from Fremantle on Armistice Day, 11 November, 1941 to escort the troopship Zealandia to Sunda Strait where she was to be relieved by the British cruiser HMS Durban for the last leg of the voyage to Singapore. There, they were interrogated extensively about the sinking of HMAS Sydney. HMAS Sydney 1934-1941 Sources J. Collins, HMAS Sydney, The Naval Historical Society of Australia, 1971. At 1600 she encountered the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran. Regrettably these circumstances led to the circulation of many rumours, accusations and conspiracy theories, which have no basis in fact and supporting evidence. The vessel had originally been a merchant ship and had been modified for war, but her armor and guns were inferior to those of Sydney. The ships battered each other for the next thirty minutes, and after the last shots were fired at around 6:00 PM, Kormoran was dead in the water and Sydney was moving south-east, apparently not under any control. Converted from a freighter she was well armed with guns, torpedoes and mines, but this armament was carefully disguised so that only the closest scrutiny would reveal that she was not a merchant ship. OCLC 42768622. No naval event in Australian history has been shrouded in more mystery than the sinking of HMAS Sydney during the Second World War, but the conspiracy theories have now been given a firm rebuff by the recent parliamentary inquiry. All 645 Australian seamen were lost. The Death of HMAS Sydney, 20 These included theories that the Germans had massacred the survivors of Sydney, that the Empire of Japan had secretly been involved in the battle before they officially declared war in December 1941, and that the Germans broke the laws of war in the encounter. The events that would lead to the sinking of HMAS Sydney began on 19 November 1941 off the west coast of Australia, around 122 miles from Dirk Hartog Island. Following a violent surface battle with the German Commerce Raider Kormoran, off the West Coast of Australiain, on November 19, 1941, the Australian Light Cruiser HMAS Sydney sank with no survivors from her crew of 645 souls, yet 317 German Survivors from Kormoran … The most grievous loss suffered by the Royal Australian Navy occurred on 19 November 1941, when the cruiser HMAS Sydney was lost in action with the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran off the Western Australian coast. Some of the conspiracy theories allege that the German ship was flying a surrender flag to lure Sydney close enough, and that Kormoran attacked without flying her battle ensign – either of which would have constituted a war crime. Parliamentary Inquiry, Report on the Loss of HMAS Sydney, 1999. HMAS SYDNEY was only six years old when she was lost — and had been commanded by only four men. The ship was disguised as the Dutch merchant vessel Straat Malakka – but was actually Kormoran, under the command of Commander Theodor Detmers. None of these have ever been proven, though. Your generous donation will be used to ensure the memory of our Defence Forces and what they have done for us, and what they continue to do for our freedom remains – today and into the future. Sydney II engaged a German armed raider Kormoran with the loss of both ships. R. Summerrell, The Sinking of HMAS Sydney.A Guide to Commonwealth Government Records, 1999. A DETAILED & READABLE STUDY OF THE LOSS OF HMAS SYDNEY. One of three modified Leander Class Light Cruisers, HMAS Sydney (II) was originally laid down as HMS Phaeton in July 1933 at Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson at Wallsend-on-Tyne … The two ships met off the Western Australian coast in the afternoon of 19 November 1941. Download PDF (2.65 MB) We recognise their continuing connection to land, sea and waters. The outer covering of the craft was damaged from either machine gun fire or shrapnel, which led to the germination of another conspiracy theory: that the Germans had massacred any Australian survivors. The tragic loss of HMAS Sydney II along with its entire crew of 645 was the first and most significant in a succession of Australian naval losses that directly threatened the security of Australia and the surrounding seas, having occurred only 17 days before the Japanese launched their attacks in Southeast Asia and the Northern Pacific. The circumstances of the Sydney-Kormoran action contain dramatic elements which have continued to attract public attention for over half a century. The circumstances […] The report is available on this website as well as all at state and university libraries (under the Commonwealth Library Deposit Scheme). Sydney demanded, via signal, that the “merchant” ship identify herself – which Kormoran did, flying the Dutch flag and pretending to be the Straat Malakka. The Australian War Memorial acknowledges the traditional custodians of country throughout Australia.

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