One of the souls lost with Sydney II’s sinking was  Petty Officer Stoker Arthur John Richter. [290] The Kormoran name was carried on by the German fast attack craft Kormoran, a Seeadler-class fast attack craft of the Bundesmarine (West German Navy) commissioned in 1959. 2020 [256][259] The JCFADT inquiry concluded "on the balance of probability, that the body and the carley float ... were most likely from HMAS Sydney. The exact location of the two wrecks remained unverified until 2008. [241] Other individuals or groups have made claims that they heard or witnessed the receipt of messages (either voice or morse) from Sydney, or saw transcripts of these messages. [190] Samuels cites no reliable sources and ignores or dismisses evidence supporting the accepted view as part of the cover-up; one review states that the book only brings suffering to the relatives of those killed, and is on par with the Roswell UFO incident as a conspiracy theory. [279] The other case called for Sydney to stand off at 7–8 nautical miles (13–15 km; 8.1–9.2 mi) and order the merchantman to stop or be fired upon. [159] Sydney was the first to be inspected; electrical problems with the ROV set the start of filming back to 3 April. [215][216] The Cole report noted that false submarine sightings are a common wartime occurrence. [209] Olson doubts that a surrender flag was used to lure Sydney in, as this would have informed Burnett that Straat Malakka was not what she seemed. [187] The inquiry was presided over by Terence Cole, an expert in maritime law and a former Deputy Judge Advocate General. Other sources state that 317 survived, including two Chinese. [187][188] The JCFADT inquiry received over 400 submissions and compiled over 500 pages of oral testimony. [87][88] These locations were all within the 180 km coastline boundary of an enormous sheep station. [109] Many did not follow this instruction, but their accounts included second-hand information of varying reliability. 12 November: 1940: HMAS Sydney [II] in action at Strait of Otranto 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. [48][58] Sydney's main armament was completely disabled (the forward turrets were damaged or destroyed, while the aft turrets were jammed facing port, away from Kormoran), and her secondary weapons were out of range. [224], The Australian War Memorial undertook a detailed analysis of the carley float during 1992 and 1993 to determine the nature of the damage. HMAS Sydney was one of three Modified Leander class light cruisers of the RAN. [245], The claim that Sydney was not at action stations originates from an observation by Detmers; as Sydney approached, the cruiser's 4-inch (100 mm) guns were unmanned, and sailors in aprons (which he describes as pantrymen), were standing on deck watching the German ship. [34][47], During the exchanges and distress signal, Sydney positioned herself just off the raider's starboard beam on a parallel course, approximately 1,300 metres (4,300 ft) from Kormoran. 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. This and the fact that the cruiser should, in REL40877, Trench art cruet set: Petty Officer A J Richter. [83][84] After further communication with Trocas, the Naval Board learned that the sailors had come from the raider Kormoran, which had participated in a mutually destructive engagement with an unspecified ship, which the Naval Board assumed was Sydney. One of the reasons behind the choice in name was so AU£426,000 raised by the HMAS Sydney Replacement Fund after the loss of the light cruiser HMAS Sydney in 1941 could be accessed. [288] The names of those killed aboard Sydney are inscribed at the Australian War Memorial, while those from Kormoran are inscribed in the Laboe Naval Memorial. The HMAS Sydney – HSK Kormoran Engagement (November 1941) – Part 2. On 19th November 1941, the pride of the Australian Navy, HMAS Sydney II, a state of the art cruiser that had already won several battles, disappeared in home waters off the Western Australian coast. November 19th, 1941 saw the b attle between HMAS Sydney and HSK Kormoran.The two ships sank each other off the coast of Western Australia, with the loss of 645 Australians and about 77 German seamen.. [137] Mearns's organisation entered a partnership with HMAS Sydney Search Pty. [171] Frame and Olson both credit Montgomery with igniting the controversy; the former describes Montgomery's work as "a polemical, finger-pointing, brawling account" which, if not deliberately prepared to create a controversy, had that effect, while the latter claimed that the book only "sparked debate [and] opened old and new wounds". [234], The battle damage would have forced any Australian survivors to use carley floats and personal lifebelts, which were only intended as short-term life preservers. There were no survivors from HMAS Sydney's 645 officers and men. Sydney-Kormoran action The action between HMAS Sydney and the auxiliary cruiser Kormoran, 19 November 1941 On the afternoon of 19 November 1941 the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran (Commander Theodor Detmers) was steaming on a northeasterly course off the coast of Western Australia, approximately 150 miles south west of Carnarvon. [147] Repairs were made, and the ship reached the south-east corner of the search box just before midnight on 4 March, but the early days of the search were hampered by recurring faults with the sonar and the effects of Tropical Cyclone Ophelia. [170][269], Gill claimed that because Burnett had taken command of Sydney after a shore posting, and was assigned to relatively calm operational areas, he was incautious when approaching Kormoran. [291] East Germany also operated a Kormoran; a small corvette borrowed from the Soviet Navy from 1970 to 1974.[291]. [225][226] Metallurgical testing of fragments found in the float showed them to be from German shells, not German or Japanese machine gun bullets. [156] On discovery, both wrecks were placed under the protection of the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976. But on the afternoon of 19th of November, in 1941, the Sydney was hit by a surprise attack. Because there were no Australian survivors, Burnett's decision is inexplicable; writers on the subject can only speculate on his reasoning, and indicate what factors they believe influenced him. Some, who have spent many years investigating the incident, say the Sydney may have been involved in a ruse … In November 1941 HMAS Sydney, the pride of Australia's wartime fleet, and its crew of 645 disappeared without a trace off the Western Australian coast. [143], Mearns' plan was to determine a 'search box' for Kormoran by plotting the possible starting points of the two rafts from the raider through a reverse drift analysis. The Australian War Memorial was voted the number one landmark in Australia by travellers in the 2016 Trip Advisor awards. [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. November 19, 1941 (Wednesday) The Battle between HMAS Sydney and German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran occurred off the coast of Western Australia. McCarthy, M. [89] At sunset, the 31-man boat was located by the passenger ship Koolinda at 24°07′S 112°46′E / 24.117°S 112.767°E / -24.117; 112.767, which recovered the sailors and made for Carnarvon. All rights reserved. [31][32], On 19 November, shortly before 16:00, Kormoran was 150 nautical miles (280 km; 170 mi) southwest of Carnarvon, Western Australia. [93], The search was terminated at sunset on 29 November. With three years experience under his belt as Sydney 's Executive Officer, Collins selection as the first Australian officer to command the vessel was seen as a logical choice and one which was popular among many of the cruisers 'old hands', who were pleased to see him return. in Warship magazine Issue 44, and "Needles and Haystacks – Why finding the wreck of the Sydney was so difficult" in the Australian War Memorial's Wartime magazine, Issue 43. [130], In 1990, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) were approached to join a Western Australian Maritime Museum-led search for Sydney and Kormoran, which was agreed to on the condition that the search area be narrowed considerably. [131] WHOI staff did not believe that the search area could be sufficiently narrowed down—shipwreck hunter Robert Ballard commented that searching for the ships could not be described as a needle in a haystack, "because the haystack has not yet been found"—and the WHOI withdrew its support. One of the raider’s spectacular coups was the sinking of two British ships in mid Atlantic on 29 January 1941. [128] The 2005 book Somewhere below: the Sydney scandal exposed by John Samuels, took an extreme view on the alternative engagement theory by claiming that Sydney was sunk by a Japanese submarine with little or no involvement by Kormoran, and that there was a wide-ranging cover-up of the proof. In it the 2-letter group (challenge) transmitted by Sydney was said to be `not understood, but thought to possibly be the second and third letters of Straat Malakka’s secret 4-letter call-sign.’ How extraordinary, considering that they professed to know nothing of the system at the time of the action!

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