66 years later, Sydney inquiry starts.

Discussion in 'History' started by Como83, Sep 1, 2008.

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  1. An inquiry into Australia's worst naval disaster is to begin hearing evidence from former war veterans.
    Some 645 sailors died when HMAS Sydney was lost in a battle with a German cruiser off Western Australia in 1941.
    HMAS Sydney was regarded as the pride of the Australian navy and defence officials say the investigation is "important unfinished business".
    The inquiry will be run by Sir Terence Cole, who presided over a hearing into Australia's AWB oil-for-wheat scandal. He is trying to uncover the truth behind one of Australia's most enduring wartime mysteries.

    HMAS Sydney perished after being attacked by a German ship, the Kormoran, which was disguised as a Dutch merchant vessel. It too sank but the majority of its crew survived.
    But all on board the Sydney were lost and over the years various theories about their demise have emerged as the nation became fascinated with this naval tragedy.
    Historians have been unable to unlock the secrets of that day in November 1941.
    They have provided no explanation as to why such a superior vessel was sunk by a German boat sailing under a false flag.

    - Has there ever been such a time lag into a wartime disaster?
    - Seems a bit chancy that they’ll come up with anything new or useful.

    Anyhow, the Best of Luck to ‘em
  2. Well, given the lack of survivors from the SYDNEY and that the wreck has only recently been located, I think that any chance of holding any more than a cursory investigation at an earlier stage was always going to be difficult.
  3. When I worked for MoD in Historic Records, I tried to figure out what had happened - the story of a Japanese submarine doing the deed held no water, as they were all being deployed for the forthcoming opening of hostilities, and could not have reached the area of the action in the time frame given. IIRC, there had been a large scale turnover of command and crew when SYDNEY came home from the Med. and the ship may not have been at the same height of efficiency as she had previously been. There is a book entitled "Who sank the SYDNEY ?", written by the son of the RN Navigating Officer, which asks a lot of pertinent questions, but fails to provide the answers. IMHO, the Germans sucked her in, gave her a real hammering, and she subsequently succumbed to her wounds in an area where rescue would be imposible without an SOS call. RIP Diggers - brave men all.
  4. Concur with that one , the German Raiders weren't part timers.
    The Kormoran was a nearly new ship ,the Skipper Detmers had seen war service as a Destroyer Captain before commanding the raider. His crew had been together for almost a year at sea and were very well trained .
    Kormorans armament was equal if not better than Sydney.

    The account from German survivors was that the Sydney came too close during the initial interrogation of finding out and confirming the Kormorans identity . The Aussies half believed she was a Dutch ship--at that time the Dutch were still operating from the Dutch East Indies -the Japanese war hadn't begun.

    Detmers ordered the battle to commence after Sydney had closed the range to about 900yrds --in range of small arms and AA weapons and almost point blank for his main armament of 5.9" guns and torpedo's.

    Sydney apparently got four hits on Kormoran luckily in decisive places and set her on fire -although by then Sydney was severely disabled .

    Survivors stated the Sydney was last seen heading away disabled and on fire. Overnight the weather changed to heavy sea states .

    Enquiries and inquests 66 years on -- seems a bit late.

    :nemo: :nemo:
  5. Enquiries and inquests 66 years on -- seems a bit late.

    :nemo: :nemo:[/quote]

    Indeed. If they want to know why Sydney sank then the bloody great hole in the front where the bow fell off may be a clue.

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