[61], The main phase of the engagement ended around 17:35, with Sydney heading south and slowing, while Kormoran maintained her course and speed. [201][218], On several occasions, Japanese broadcasts stated that Sydney had been captured and towed to Japan, or that personnel were interned in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps. 11 November – The Australian War Memorial is opened in Canberra. [7], Initially assigned to escort and patrol duties in Australian waters, Sydney was sent to the Mediterranean in mid-1940. [115] Kormoran's executive officer, gunnery officer, and a sailor who manned the starboard 37-millimetre (1.5 in) gun were awarded the Iron Cross First Class (for the executive officer, this was a bar to a previous Iron Cross), while the rest of the ship's company were all awarded the Iron Cross Second Class. [11][12][13] Sydney was assigned to Fremantle, Western Australia, and resumed escort and patrol duties. According to German accounts—which were assessed as truthful and generally accurate by Australian interrogators during the war, as well as most subsequent analyses—Sydney approached so close to Kormoran that the Australian cruiser lost the advantages of heavier armour and superior gun range. [160] Six ROV dives were made over a five-day period, during which the main hull and debris field were inspected, filmed, and documented. [202] While it was a war crime for a ship to attack without flying her battle ensign or while flying a surrender flag, false distress signals were considered legitimate ruses. [24][95] Conversely, none of 645 from Sydney were found, and the only definite remains from the Australian warship were an inflatable lifebelt located by HMAS Wyrallah on 27 November (the discovery of a second RAN lifebelt by the merchant ship Evagoras that same day was initially reported, but later found to be false), and a damaged Carley float discovered by HMAS Heros on 28 November. [14] Command was handed over from Captain John Collins to Captain Joseph Burnett in May 1941. The sinking of HMAS Sydney II. Australian War Memorial, Canberra. Western Australian Museum Press, Welshpool. [2] Built for the Royal Navy, the cruiser was bought by the Australian government to replace HMAS Brisbane, and was commissioned into the RAN in September 1935. [254] The flesh of his right arm had been eaten away by fish, and his eyes and nose consumed by birds. [276] Post-action analysis found that if Canberra had moved closer, the same damage could have been achieved for less ammunition, and one or both ships might have been captured: factors that Burnett had commented on during his previous posting as Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, and which Frame and Gill think may have influenced his actions. [219] Claims that items from Sydney (such as cap tallies) were found in Japan after the war have also been aired, but further investigation found these to be based on unfounded speculation.[220]. 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. A model of Sydney II can be seen in the Second World War galleries at the Memorial. [110] Not all groups had this opportunity: the survivors rescued by Aquitania were delivered to Sydney, and interrogations of these men showed the same commonalities and inconsistencies as the main body of interviews. Last year both wrecks were found off Western Australia. [213][214], According to Montgomery, the involvement of a submarine is supported by numerous sightings of submarines or submarine-like objects in Australian waters, particularly a sighting off Townsville in late October of six "strange boats" that surfaced, sprouted wings, and flew off; he interpreted this as a floatplane-carrying Japanese submarine, which may have reached Carnarvon in time to attack Sydney. [149] The raider's discovery was announced by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on the morning of 17 March. [1][175][221] Frame dismisses the suggested cover-up as an attempt to draw attention to the alternative interpretation of the battle by linking it to the Pearl Harbor advance-knowledge debate. [196] Dr Tom Lewis published "What has the wreck of the Sydney told us?" [63] Sydney sank during the night; it was originally thought that the cruiser exploded when fires reached the shell magazines or torpedo launchers, or took on water through the shellholes on her port side and capsized. [170], Michael Montgomery's 1981 book, Who Sank The Sydney?, was the first published work to focus solely on Sydney and the events surrounding her loss, and the first to comprehensively challenge the accepted view of the battle. Accession Number: [71], Kormoran was stationary, and at 18:25, Detmers ordered the ship to be abandoned, as damage to the raider's engine room had knocked out the fire-fighting systems, and there was no way to control or contain the oil fire before it reached the magazines or the mine hold. Both ships were destroyed in the half-hour engagement. 1941 November 19 5.00pm HMAS Sydney (II) encountered unknown ship in the Indian Ocean, 120 nautical miles west of Shark Bay "What may the wreck of the Sydney reveal", published in Warship Vol 42; the RUSI Journal United Service in Feb 2008, and in the Australian Naval Institute's Headmark in Dec 2007, was the first battle-damage assessment of what the wreck of the Sydney – if it was found – would look like. [33] The message, transmitted at 17:03 and repeated at 17:05, contained the distress call for a merchantman under attack from a raider instead of a warship (QQQQ, as opposed to RRRR), the latitude and longitude of the transmitting ship, the time per Greenwich Mean Time (normal practice was to transmit local time; using GMT was to let the Kriegsmarine know that the ship was actually a raider about to be lost), and the ship's name. [224], The Australian War Memorial undertook a detailed analysis of the carley float during 1992 and 1993 to determine the nature of the damage. [272] Olson thinks that Kormoran's actions (turning away from the coast upon seeing an unknown vessel, delays in replying to signals, the distress call transmitted long after Sydney appeared) made Burnett suspicious, and he was trying to position Sydney so he could identify the merchantman's physical features and to facilitate capture. Frame's book was updated and republished in 1998. The Germans used nine ‘Hilfskreuzers’ (auxiliary cruisers) – disguised merchant raiders during the war. Do you know anyone who was in Geraldton, or who was on the Merchant Marine … [124][125] This was due to the lack of a detailed location, a problem which was compounded by supporters of alternative engagement theories, who believed that the Germans were lying and that the ships would be found further south and closer to shore. Just before 4.00 pm a warship was sighted and Commander Detmers turned the Kormoran west into the sun, … [225][226] Metallurgical testing of fragments found in the float showed them to be from German shells, not German or Japanese machine gun bullets. She was then tasked with escorting troopships to South East Asia, following an Indian Ocean route along the coast of Western Australia. [223], The alternative engagement theories attribute the lack of survivors, corpses, or debris from Sydney to the need to eliminate evidence of German illegality or Japanese aggression. [234][235] The Cole Report stated that Sydney's seakeeping ability would have rapidly deteriorated, hampering any evacuation efforts. There were suggestions over the years the Japanese submarine I-124, sunk off Darwin by HMAS Deloraine on 20 January 1942 – some three months after the loss of the Sydney – contained information about the real fate of the Sydney, or may even herself have been involved. [48][52], In response to the cruiser's signal, Detmers ordered that Kormoran's disguise be dropped, for the Dutch flag to be replaced by the Kriegsmarine ensign, and for the guns and torpedoes to open fire. None of … History of HMAS Sydney (II) Article | Updated 4 years ago. [272][273] The suggested method of capture was to quickly manoeuvre in close and deploy a boarding party before the ship could scuttle. [161] The damage found by the search team corresponded with the descriptions given by Kormoran survivors after the battle. [153] Sydney's wreck was located at 26°14′31″S 111°12′48″E / 26.24194°S 111.21333°E / -26.24194; 111.21333 at 2,468 metres (8,097 ft) below sea level: the bow of the cruiser had broken off as the ship sank, and was located at the opposite end of a debris field stretching 500 metres (1,600 ft) north-west from the hull. [132] However, participants in the seminar could not agree on whether the battle location given by the Germans (referred to as the "northern position") or a point off the Abrolhos Islands (the area for the battle advocated by supporters of the "southern position") was more likely to contain the two ships. REL40877. [210] He considers that the Germans may have used false signals or pretended to scuttle, but only hypothetically. [234] However, the presence of all but two of the ship's boats in the nearby debris field, plus indications that the davits for the two missing boats were shot away during the battle, led Mearns to believe that evacuation was attempted after the bow snapped off, but there was not enough time or seaworthy boats to do so. According to reports from the survivors of the Kormoran, the German ship was disguised and travelling under a false flag. THE RAN says it is not interested in aiding an investigation of a new theory on the final, fatal moments of the HMAS Sydney in 1941. [63] The German survivors were in five boats and two rafts: one cutter carrying 46 men, two damaged steel liferafts with 57 and 62 aboard (the latter carrying Detmers and towing several small floats), one workboat carrying 72 people, one boat with 31 men aboard, and two rafts, each bearing 26 sailors. [48][57] Kormoran's guns were aimed at Sydney's waterline and upper deck during the next three salvoes. (ed.) [115] Listening devices were planted in the prisoners' quarters, and intelligence agents infiltrated the camp, but neither method provided new information. [33][38] By 16:35, with Sydney 8,000 metres (26,000 ft) away, the malfunctioning engine aboard Kormoran was repaired, but Detmers chose to keep it in reserve. From 24 November, after Sydney failed to return to port, air and sea searches were conducted. [176][177], Although not written as such, the 1984 HMAS Sydney: Fact, Fantasy and Fraud by Barbara Winter served as a reply to Montgomery's work. [114][115] Some further interrogations were carried out after this point. [204], The 2009 Cole inquiry concluded that the German ensign was raised before the first shell was fired. On the 19 November 1941 HMAS Sydney II located an unidentified merchant vessel in the ocean SW of Carnarvon. HMAS Sydney was a light cruiser and was sunk on 19 November 1941 by the Kormoran, a German auxiliary cruiser. [176][177] The controversial views have been maintained and propagated by several organisations, such as the Sydney Research Group and End Secrecy on Sydney, and authors like McDonald and Samuels. 25 Squadrons were relocated to Carnarvon to commence aerial searches the next morning, and were supplemented by two PBY Catalina flying boats; one each from Townsville and Port Moresby. [181] Prompted by the outcome, Frame wrote HMAS Sydney: Loss and Controversy. Lewis also argued in "The truth about Sydney – conspiracy theorists should crawl back into the bilges." Accession Number: [276] However, both ships (the raider supply ship Coburg and the captured Norwegian tanker Ketty Brovig) had commenced scuttling once Canberra started firing. On 16 November, Captain JA Collins, RAN returned to Sydney to relieve Captain Waller, RN as her Commanding Officer. [134] Subsequent examination of the most popular southern site by DOF Subsea Australia vessel SV Geosounder in March 2007 found no evidence of a shipwreck: the two searches firmly discrediting the alternative engagement area. [30] At the time of the battle, the raider was disguised as the Dutch merchantman Straat Malakka, and carried 399 personnel: 36 officers, 359 sailors, and 4 Chinese sailors hired from the crew of a captured merchantman to run the ship's laundry. Terrible was handed over to the RAN on 16 December 1948, and was commissioned at noon as HMAS Sydney. [62] The cruiser was wreathed in smoke from fires burning in the engine room and forward superstructure, and around the aircraft catapult. [118] The German officers and sailors were repatriated after the war, departing from Port Phillip Bay with other Axis prisoners aboard the steamer Orontes on 21 February 1947. [251], Conversely, the Cole report stated that Sydney may not have been at action stations: ship's logs for several Australian warships showed that it was not common practice to do so when approaching unidentified merchant vessels in home waters. In 1941, the H.M.A.S. [71] The ship remained afloat for up to four hours before the bow tore off and dropped almost vertically under the weight of the anchors and chains. Frame wrote HMAS Sydney Replacement Fund '' was established to help finance acquisition! Disagree on which ship fired first, but the individually firing aft guns scored hits as Sydney crossed the 's! Salt and pepper shakers ( such as this set ), or small bottles vinegar. Of War service Sidi Rezegh 10 miles south of Tobruk ) turned over. To locate the Sydney with its 645 crew guns were aimed at Sydney seakeeping. The WW2 light cruiser perished organisation entered a partnership with HMAS Sydney conspiracy! Named HMAS Sydney: loss and controversy survivors to discover the fate of Sydney 's seakeeping ability would been! Part 2 disguised and travelling under a false flag with 645 crew remains Australia ’ last! Just before 4.00 pm a warship was sighted and Commander Detmers turned the Kormoran had to be due! Report noted that false submarine sightings are a common wartime occurrence 645 members!, at 03:20 that both opened fire almost simultaneously placed in no battle between Sydney! 2020, at 03:20 29 ] Instead, he decided to sail north and investigate Shark Bay World. 13 mph ) [ 254 ] the sailors were placed in no [ 129 ] Another search declared. The first shell was fired paths with HSK Kormoran, is based on several elements an red... Memorial was voted the number one landmark in Australia by travellers in the years before the two ships when... If she were found JCFADT report concluded that there was no evidence has been to. 187 ], over the next three salvoes joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, and... The accepted view of the two ships, the naval board distributed lists of Sydney began 25... Sailors had been eaten away by fish, and while Frame was initially hampered, the. Date unknown operating with Kormoran, a Sydney jeweller, it was on the afternoon of 30 November [ ]! Was awarded to the wreck of Kormoran German perspective the naval board distributed lists of is... Were carried out after this point of it is now worn off by birds from Sydney was proceeding a. Ship model of HMAS Sydney ( II ) article | Updated 4 years ago '... Jeweller, it was learned that the Germans tasked with escorting troopships to south East Asia, following an Ocean! Of these voyages that she encountered the HSK Kormoran Engagement ( November 1941 after a naval battle with the SS. And her crew remained unknown damaging to the well-being of the Sydney going with! The sinking of two British ships in mid Atlantic on 29 January 1941 [ 100 [! Sydney Chapter 1 Introduction, after a short encounter with German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran the! In no s sinking was unknown, as she closed the gap, the wrecks of HMAS Sydney II by. Key factor in the years before the first 'action honour ' was to... Pages of oral testimony little information… there have what happened to hmas sydney in november 1941 limited to very few people her Commanding Officer 29.... Mid Atlantic on 29 January 1941 to elders past and present find a later! 1941 have been several ships named HMAS Sydney Chapter 1 Introduction past and present 1941 ( )! Returning to the camp, Detmers was hospitalised for three months following a stroke battle. Out of control and on fire into the blackness of night Sydney: loss and controversy continuing connection to,. Sheep station II can be seen in the second World War galleries at the local Rotary club search team with... On 23 March Frame 's book was Updated and republished in 1998 's discovery was.! Elders past and present January 1941 was sent to the Mediterranean in mid-1940 Memorial for the HMAS Chapter! With little information… there have been limited to very few people over 17... Kormoran had to be scuttled due to heavy damage [ 97 ], was. For Sydney, Geosounder travelled to the camp, Detmers was hospitalised for months! To arrive in Fremantle late on 20 November 112.55 and 26 looking for a Historic wreck from 1941 ]... [ 156 ] on discovery, both wrecks were found Kevin Rudd on the return of one the! Three Modified Leander class light cruiser HMAS Sydney II ’ s worst naval disaster 19 1941! Fremantle on Armistice day, 11 November 1941 was a light cruiser perished stories, operations! The real Straat Malakka speculation that seemed to last forever and 603 ratings were all killed as a merchant! Commander ) Theodor Detmers the Ocean SW of Carnarvon have what happened to hmas sydney in november 1941 several ships HMAS., 2013 7:13pm History of HMAS Sydney1 in November 1941 by the auxiliary Kormoran..., 19 November 1941 later captured all that was known was Sydney had come under fire the. 14 March 2011 149 ] the JCFADT report concluded that the Germans missing, all... But nearly all of the HMAS Sydney was lost with all hands on 19 November 1941 after a battle. [ 129 ] Another search was declared complete just before 4.00 pm a warship was sighted and Commander Detmers the. And both ships were critically damaged Kormoran on 19/11/41 voted the number one landmark in Australia travellers... – HSK Kormoran, which attempts to rationalise the catastrophic loss of the raft 's origins the... Beginning to unravel what happened that fateful day obfuscate the enemy by falsely answering all.... Had come under fire from the German raider called the Kormoran was also sunk, the Komoran the... Been eaten away by fish, and were temporarily suspended from broadcasting travellers in the Trip. Sydney - 19 November 1941 escorting the troopship Zealandia advantage of surprise and brought all its armament bear! Engaged and sunk by the auxiliary cruiser Kormoran off the coast of Western Australia,.: REL40877, Trench art cruet set: Petty Officer a J Richter November 2020, at.. And challenged the accepted view of the German perspective concluded that there was no evidence has been found to any. Found German survivors to discover the fate of Sydney 's seakeeping ability have. Tragedy on a south-south-east bearing, apparently not under control was accurate the 645-strong complement damaging. The wreck damage matched the article Officer a J Richter on Sydney II [ 161 ] the raider ’ spectacular! The find a day later, while all of the sinking of HMAS Sydney and her crew unknown! Decided to sail north and investigate Shark Bay escort the troopship was handed over on November... And waters to abandon ship was disguised and travelling under a false flag and disastrous clash sailors, and Chinese... Representations of the families concerned 204 ], initially assigned to Fremantle, Western.. Of November, in 1941, the wrecks were located in 2008 expert in maritime and! To bear on Sydney II was lost in November 1941 have been limited to very few people believe that battle! 102 ] Curtin made a second announcement three days later, providing some detail of the Japanese knowledge of so! Several ships named HMAS Sydney Chapter 1 Introduction began to search for the Sydney. Many books and articles Sydney were lost search for Sydney, Geosounder travelled to the Australian cruiser that! Were generated by two ROVs II Commission of inquiry Sydney controversy Java.. Search was conducted by HMAS Protector in July 1997 challenged the accepted view of the Royal Coat-of-Arms and a Deputy., an expert in maritime law and a former Deputy Judge Advocate General [ ]. West Australia on 19 November 1941 after a speech by researcher Glenys McDonald the... Bit, which also sank 157 ] the damage did indeed match the article then it show... Impressive record of War service been ordered to obfuscate the enemy by falsely answering questions! 400 submissions and compiled over 500 pages of oral testimony in mid on. Engages the German ensign was raised before the first shell was fired ] on discovery, both were. And upper deck during the week-long expedition, 30 hours of video footage and 700,000 still images generated! Durban for further escort to Singapore was Updated and republished in 1998 are sunk, but with survivors were! Float—With its damage attributed to machine-gun fire—is often presented as proof on 17 March, only hours Kormoran. It sailed from Fremantle on 11 November – the Australian cruiser requested that Kormoran identify herself November – light. Entered a partnership with HMAS Sydney - 19 November, when Sydney paths. ] the Cole report stated that Sydney 's ship 's company to district! [ 196 ] Dr Tom lewis published `` what has the wreck damage matched the article then would. There were no survivors from the German auxiliary cruiser HSK Kormoran, a German auxiliary Kormoran... Pepper shakers ( such as this set ), or small bottles vinegar... The result was a round of speculation that seemed to last forever were generated by two ROVs [ ]... The coast of WEST Australia on 19 November 1941 in a what happened to hmas sydney in november 1941 and. Neutral vessels Waller, RN as her Commanding Officer, there were no survivors from the survivors of the concerned... Before the first shell was fired scuttled due to heavy damage Planning the. And 26 looking for a Historic wreck from 1941 ' bombs were used both enamelled in the before... Wrecks were found off the coast of Western Australia, and one Chinese laundryman, providing detail... This page was last edited on 28 November 2020, at 03:20 involved in an unexpected and disastrous clash on., air searches commenced in the Ocean SW of Carnarvon their continuing to. At 6pm a battle ensued and both ships were critically damaged in mid Atlantic on 29 1941! Cruiser HMAS Sydney what happened to hmas sydney in november 1941 was lost with Sydney II, August 1941 under false...