Almost 70 years ago, the light Cruiser HMAS Sydney
, was lost with all hands, some 645 men, off the coast of Western Australia. This is the largest loss of life in a single incident in the history of Australia at war. She was involved in a short range gun battle with a disguised german Raider The Kormoran
, flying the Dutch flag on 19 November 1941.
We know this as 345 survivors of Kormoran
lived to tell the tale. How could Sydney
be lured to within a mile and sunk without a trace?
Why no Australians survived is still a mystery. Some say they were machine gunned to death in the water before Kormoran
sank, others thay they were blown away by a German sub that surfaced after the brief but fierce gun battle. A carley float (life boat) was found riddled by shrapnel a week or so later and a few months after that, 2500 kilometres away on Christmas island, another was found with a body inside, although none could be positively identified as from Sydney.
It was all a mystery until a month or so ago when the wreck of Kormoran
was found in 8400 ft of water. A week or so later, Sydney
was found 22 kilometres away in 8100 foot of water. Kormoran
survived the battle then sank soon after, the survivors were rescued by the Australian Hospital Ship Centaur
Today the first photos of Sydney
have been released. No lifeboats were found aboard her.http://www.findingsydney.com/gallery.asp
More questions have been found than answers. How could such a great ship with so many men vanish with no survivors? we may find out soon. Irrefutable evidence may lead the remaining German survivors to tell the truth.
For now, the families of those 645 men and boys know the resting place of their loved ones after so long, it breaks my heart, but at least there will be some closure. Every year, since I was a boy, "In memorium" notices have been placed in the newspapers by wives, girlfriends, brothers and sisters of these men on November 19, so sad.. NEVER FORGOTTEN.
This is a remarkable effort, finding these two ships. The wonders of modern technology. Thankfully, the depth assures no robbing of this War Grave will take place.
This year, the current Sydney
will moor above on ANZAC day, April 25. Laden with the families of these lost souls, a service will be held above their final resting place.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMAS_Sydney_(1934
)They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.Psalms, 107:23-30, KJV