Navy Net - Royal Navy Community

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

HMAS Sydney

hobbit

War Hero
Dabs said:
hobbit said:
Although not an RN ship
The Sydney WAS an RN ship, thats why she had HMAS on the fcuking cap tally. Her Majesties Ship is what it stood for, Australian or otherwise. Good fcuking grief. :roll:

BTW the RAN has never been the Australian squadron of the RN. The RAN was formed in 1911 and replaced the RN Australian squadron, along with the various colonial navies that had formed the Commonwealh Naval Forces.


Until 1942, the Royal Australian Navy was the Australian Squadron of the Royal Navy commanded by Rear Admiral John Gregory GRACE RN and Australia's navy was under the control of the Royal Navy in times of war

I grew up in Western Australia, a few hours south of where she disappeared without trace. Im now living in Canberra, and at the Australian War Memorial is the only piece of wreckage found, a dinged up, bullet holed Carley float.


My question is which of the two statements about the RAN is accurate,
RAN formed 1911 or until 1942 an RN Squadron? I believe the former to be correct.

Re the carley float, " a dinged up, bullet holed carley float", seems to provide some sort of explanation regarding the fate of HMAS Sydney's, crew, were they in fact machine gunned, dead men tell no tales. Maybe the recently exhumed body will provide further information, ie cause of death if a Sydney crew member. Maybe answers will be found, given the persistence of those interested, and indeed it would be a relief, in particular for any family left wondering, to know what actually took place

There has been a development in the HMAS Sydney story. In February 1942, three months after Sydneys loss, a carley float with one body aboard drifted ashore on Christmas Island. The body was unidentified and appeared to have been adrift for some time and was buried in the local cemetery but the exact location had been lost. This body has now been rediscovered and it is hoped that dental records etc may be able to confirm if he was one of Sydneys ships company.
 
Jack77

I didn't phrase my Post very well (isn't bottled Adnams Broadside wonderful and how apt!) and the implication that your conclusion was not thought through is regretted. I do realise that the captain of one of HM's (A, C, NZ or otherwise) Ships is totally responsible for its conduct and safety. By definition, an Admiralty Board of Inquiry was inquisitorial and innocence was not presumed. It's simply that we as private individuals can view such events dispassionately and don't have to lay ultimate blame. I mentioned earlier the case of AAIB and RAF BIs where pilot error is the accepted verdict, even if other factors were known but factual evidence cannot be provided. In many cases, a pilot may have contributed, say, 5% towards an accident but receives 100% of the blame.

Supposing we speculate into the circumstances on 19 NOV 41. Why would a well armed 6 Inch Cruiser close to within a mile of an, ostensibly, unarmed merchantman? To allow the possibility of visual identification or launching a boarding party to inspect the vessel? What were his options, without breaking radio silence. Had he not closed to that range, was he to assume the "Staat Malakka" was lying and give notice that she was to follow him or be sunk? If I remember rightly, the Dutch East Indies were friendly territories up until Japanese occupation and, allowing for Merchant Marine vagaries and possible language difficulties, that would have been a considerable risk. He also didn't have a lot of daylight left to play games with. Did the KORMORANT strike her false colours and raise her own after engaging? Even that could have been unintentional from a fouled hoist.

We know that whatever decisions were made turned to disaster. We do not know what the outcome would have been from any alternative decisions.

(Greenie: where did "Sydney came too close and still had her main armament not fully manned, totally off guard" come from?)
 
Hobbits post, back in May, gave the generally accepted version of events;
i.e Sydney intially, for some reason, closed dangerously near to Kormoran, so when action started she was overwhelmed. I don't think anyone is trying to lay blame on the brave crew of Sydney inc her Captain, although if he had survived, Burnett would have had to take the can, in the accepted tradition.
Also in retailing that 'Deathbed Confession' story, I didn't wish to impugn the crew of Kormoran; those skilful seamen of the Kreigsmarine.

Sydney's loss was one of the most inexplicable of a major Naval vessel during WW2. Surely, the mystery of what happened and how an entire crew were lost, is the reason for our fascination with it now.
The key questions remain; 1) What happened before engagement started.
2) What happened at the end, why did no one from Sydney survive.

Look at Hood, 3 survived: Barham, horror sinking, had survivors: Bismarck, shelled & burning, survivors: Cruisers sunk in the Battle of the Java Sea, all had good survival rates: Dorsetshire and Cornwall, survivors left in water for some time: Indianapolis, left in water for days, reasonable number survived:

The Jap sub attack, is just another story; doubtful although Japanese High Command had made decision to go to war.
Their I class boats were busy taking up stations, mainly in Pacific to attack USN units. Also it would involve a close cooperation that never existed between the two navies, even after December 7th.

Someone mentioned that it was unusual for a Raider to go close in to enemy coast. Providing there was minimal air activity, they sometimes closed to the 'shipping funnel' near a major port; usually a bit further out, on or close to a shipping lane. The Kreigsmarine knew what was going on, since they routinely deciphered our Naval & Merchant Comms, until much later in the War.

In June '43 I was serving on an old Steamer travelling from Colombo to Aden. We were not far out when a ship passed us one afternoon, on the shipping lane; at Dawn action stations next morning we picked up a "RRR' from close ahead. Panic, panic; she'd snaffled the other ship, were we lucky. And did we get off the lane, quick smart 90 deg turn etc.
In those days, there was only One Friendly Sea (And that wasn't, What you See in harbour) - it was the Red Sea.

Como
 

Jack77

War Hero
Loggie

Having had first hand experience, I totally agree with your definition of Naval Boards of Enquiry. I was made to feel guilty and I KNEW I was in the clear!

That is the great unknown. Why did Sydney close Kormoran? Capt. Detmers stated that in order to buy time he turned away, deliberately 'misunderstood' Sydneys signals and also transmitted a plain language distress call saying he was being attacked by an unknown warship. This break in radio silence may have prompted Sydney to speed things up. Sydney was also closing Kormoran from her quarter, making a visual ID difficult. As Sydney overtook Kormoran on her starboard side Kormoran opened fire.
 

hobbit

War Hero
An interesting development in the recently exhumed remains of a sailor from Christmas Island and believed to be one of HMAS Sydney crew. According to the national Oz newspsper, The Australian,

" Forensic pathologists have removed a bullet from the skull of a skeleton that researchers are confident was a sailor from the doomed HMAS Sydney".

"It is now almost certain that the remains are those of the so called ' unknown sailor', a HMAS SYDNEY crewman who was washed up in a carley float on Christmas Isalnd in February 1942, almost three months after the light cruiser was sunk off Carnarvon by the german raider Kormoran".


" In yet another twist in the enduring wartime mystery, Sydney University researchers this week discovered a bullet entry wound when they examined the skull.
They found a small calibre round embedded in the bone. the bullet is undergoing examination to establish its origins. it is believed to have been fired from a low velocity-weapon, most probably a hand gun".


Given the length of time between the sinking of the Sydney and the discovery of the Carley float it may be the poor soul ended his own life rather than a slow death by thirst and starvation. Not a bullet riddled body from an automatic weapon. Just a thought .
 
Latest Developement - Bullet in sailor reopens WWII war theory
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national...pens-wwii-war-theory/2006/10/21/1160851181905.

Quote from Article.
"THE shock discovery of a bullet in the skull of a sailor from HMAS Sydney has opened fresh claims a Japanese submarine sank the Australian battle cruiser weeks before the bombing of Pearl Harbour.
Forensic experts last week found the bullet while examining the sailor's remains. He was washed up on Christmas Island three months after the ship sank in 1941.
Captain Jim Parsons, leader of the naval team that discovered the remains in an unmarked grave on the island, said: "The round appears to be from a low-velocity weapon, possibly a handgun."
Ballistic experts are trying to confirm the type of gun it came from. It fits descriptions of eight-millimetre bullets used in the Type 14 Nambu, a pistol widely used in the wartime Japanese navy. They are smaller than the nine-millimetre bullets fired by the German Luger and 0.38-inch Australian-issue bullets.
If it was from a Japanese pistol, it would add weight to the theory that a Japanese submarine torpedoed HMAS Sydney during its battle with the German raider Kormoran on November 19, 1941, off the coast from Geraldton, Western Australia.
" End Quote. "

At present it seems very unlikely to have been from an RAN or RN issued weapon.
My take on this - Had Kormoran picked up supplies from a Japanese Harbour or Source?

We know that in 1940 (One year before Japan entered the War); at least one German Raider had been resupplied in a Japanese Harbour - a so called Neutral Harbour.

Gets interesting.
Como
 
Loggie the comment regarding the Sydney and her gun crews is mentioned in a book I possess ---its called the Secret Raiders and describes all of the ships that Germany sent to raid the commercial shipping routes disguised as merchant vessels.

Kormoran [Ship 41] survived without calling into any Japanese held territory she had various captured merchantmen with prize crews onboard that kept her in victuals and diesel fuel during her travels.However--she did a replenishment from a german ship the Kulmerland that had been at Kobe previously. The area she met was opposite Perth-W.Australia.That was the last the germans ever saw Kormoran aswell.

As for the raiders going into shipping lanes and near the coast --Kormoran did --to lay mines.

The gun crew thing as previously mentioned was noted by the germans .

Kormoran headed into the Sun that day at 18 knots -Sydney gave chase and then Kormoran allowed her to catch up .

Thats when Kormoran hoisted the German ensign
 
Como83 said:
Latest Developement - Bullet in sailor reopens WWII war theory
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national...pens-wwii-war-theory/2006/10/21/1160851181905.

Quote from Article.
"THE shock discovery of a bullet in the skull of a sailor from HMAS Sydney has opened fresh claims a Japanese submarine sank the Australian battle cruiser weeks before the bombing of Pearl Harbour.
Forensic experts last week found the bullet while examining the sailor's remains. He was washed up on Christmas Island three months after the ship sank in 1941.
Captain Jim Parsons, leader of the naval team that discovered the remains in an unmarked grave on the island, said: "The round appears to be from a low-velocity weapon, possibly a handgun."
Ballistic experts are trying to confirm the type of gun it came from. It fits descriptions of eight-millimetre bullets used in the Type 14 Nambu, a pistol widely used in the wartime Japanese navy. They are smaller than the nine-millimetre bullets fired by the German Luger and 0.38-inch Australian-issue bullets.
If it was from a Japanese pistol, it would add weight to the theory that a Japanese submarine torpedoed HMAS Sydney during its battle with the German raider Kormoran on November 19, 1941, off the coast from Geraldton, Western Australia.
" End Quote. "

At present it seems very unlikely to have been from an RAN or RN issued weapon.
My take on this - Had Kormoran picked up supplies from a Japanese Harbour or Source?

We know that in 1940 (One year before Japan entered the War); at least one German Raider had been resupplied in a Japanese Harbour - a so called Neutral Harbour.

Gets interesting.
Como

I think the ballistics boys will have problem with that bullet--after so many years . Also- the carley float and body were washed up on Christmas Island three months after the November Sydney incident.

Bad news is the Japanese were very active at sea and ashore from December 1941------------the ships sunk by Jap navy vessels and aircraft
around that area was considerable. So you could say that the unknown carley float occupant was from another vessel not neccessarily the Sydney.

Might be worth doing a Indian Ocean tidal flow chart and weather survey for that period -it would give a reasonable indication of how the carley float may have travelled.
 

Jack77

War Hero
Ya gotta love the sensationalism and innaccuracies in the SMH article. Sydney is now a battle cruiser and the unknown sailor is definitely a member of her ships company. :roll: As has been mentioned earlier, if the Sydney survivors were shot by either Kormoran or a mysterious Japanese submarine, then one would expect automatic weapons to have been employed, not a single pistol round to the head, and the if carley float survived it would have shown signs of this.

Maybe forensic examination can show the if the wound was self inflicted or not.
 

hobbit

War Hero
This is a very interesting thread and I hope there is an outcome for those involved with answering the questions of the incident.With the bullet in the head of the body of the said survivor of HMAS Sydney there could be many reasons for what happened. The Japanese of course are renowned for their brutality in war and quite capable of executing survivors in cold blood. The Germans too had quite a good track record in this area.So any that did manage to survive from the Sydney may well have gone this way. An act of this nature would not be anything to boast about from either the Nip or Hun hence a possible wall of silence. Without looking for any ridiclous cause I do feel that the " no survivor" question does deserve an answer as do those connected with the Sydney crew in any way.
 
After all our speculation on the latest development, Hobbit returns to the main thread, the reason why Sydney interests us, after so many years - the 'no survivor' question.
He refers to Japanese brutality; certainly there were 'Massacres' commited by some Jap subs on survivors of Merchant ships. The Germans generally observed the conventions and rules of war, but a Raider could be more flexible with these.

In Jack 77's words, "All we have to go on (re Sydney) is the statements by German survivors". This is the crux of the problem.

Como
 

lsadirty

War Hero
Just watched the National Geographic Channel on SKY tonight about the sinking of SYDNEY and the recent finding of both wrecks. Definitely identified SYDNEY and showed the damage close up, and gives their thoughts as to how and why there were no survivors. Very well made and moving programme. Haven't got the TV guide handy, but should be repeated tomorrow (Tuesday), Channel 526.
 

The_Jimmy

War Hero
It is time for the conspiracy theorists who have advanced ridiculous ideas about the sinking of the Sydney to do the decent thing, admit they were wrong, and stop their malicious and hateful stories.

The finding of the Sydney and the Kormoran has established the truth of the fight: that the light cruiser was effectively lured within a fatal range and then surprised with a shattering bombardment which halved the Australian ship's firepower, killed her command team, and was accompanied by a massive torpedo strike which started her sinking by the bows.

Idiotic stories of bodies buried on the WA coast; surprise strikes by the Kormoran's motorboat; revelatory documents within British archives, half-witted ac¬counts of Japanese aircraft carriers on the seabed, and wayward Japanese submarines with mad captains firing against the Sydney-all are made even more redundant by the revelation that the Germans told the truth. But already we hear of authors planning to 'reveal' more tales alleging mass graves and Japanese involvement. The curiously named 'End Secrecy on Sydney' group also has had something to say about submarines: curi¬ous in that everything possible has been released over the years, unless alleging lack of evidence is evidence. Doubtless soon the other purveyors of half-baked dark deeds will be putting out more of their trash.

The Germans' account has held together for 66 years. Most of them have gone to their graves stalwart in their story.

The Kormoran's people said the action took place in a certain location-intrepid shipwreck hunter David Mearns looked there-and he found the German auxiliary cruiser.

The Kormoran's crew said they wired their ship's mines to blow her up and hasten her scuttling. The undersea sonar pictures have shown she is in several pieces-a depiction consistent with such a detonation.

They said the Australian light cruiser-on fire from stem to stern-went off in a southeasterly direction. The wreck of the Sydney was located 12.2 nautical miles to the southeast of the Kormoran.

The survivors' accounts-I personally searched every one of them last year-said with only a few exceptions that the Sydney did not explode.

Her wreck is in one piece, with the bow blown off. This tallies with the story of the torpedo hitting the cruiser in the for¬ward part of the ship, and the fact that the rest of the ship is together shows there was no final explosion.

The bow damage suggests a good reason why there were no survivors. Sydney's ship's company-all naval servicemen trained in a disciplined fighting service¬would have been fighting fire and flood together, as well as manning their guns. When the action was bro¬ken off they still had these first two problems to cope with, and they would have battled hard until the end to save their ship. A sudden collapse of yet more water¬tight compartments would have meant a quick death plunge beneath the waves, and almost all of Sydney's people would have been trapped inside the ship.

For those on the weather deck, the smashed and useless lifeboats and floats, pounded into pieces by the relentless fire from at least 150 of the 450 six-inch shells fired by the Kormoran, would have meant they were left helpless in the water.

Wounded, cold, and without hope of salvation-Sydney was not overdue and the search did not start for some time-they had no chance of being found and would have soon joined their comrades in death.

Yet some people will not let the matter rest. Like the Roswell flying saucer theorists, they have discovered there is a dollar to be made by publishing foolish and ill-considered accounts of how the Australian ship met her end. But they are illogical, wrong, and easily dismissed. The 1999 federal Parliamentary Inquiry did an excellent job of considering all such theories, and found nothing in them. But in the meantime even more have emerged, alleging conspiracy actions that would involve hun¬dreds of servicemen and reams of paperwork. But no such people and no such records have been found.

But the conspiracy merchants are not dissuaded; some even persist in accompanying their 'new' evi¬dence with the old stories. Some have even fabricated 'evidence' in a desperate effort to strike at the 'authori¬ties'who, they say, have concealed matters for years. The faked 1981 logbook found on a beach was just the first of many falsehoods. But somewhere out there, say these persistent people, are scores, if not hundreds of people who did dirty deeds, and have remained quiet about them for decades.

Hardly convincing.

These theorists might consider what they are doing with their allegations. They are bringing harrowing images into the minds of the family and friends of those who went down with the Sydney. They are also alleging illegal, unethical, and even criminal behaviour by legions of faithful servicemen and women, WWII politicians and government workers, and the same cohorts of people from other countries too.

They should be ashamed, and they should be silent.
 

The_Jimmy

War Hero
There is also a doco called "The Hunt for HMAS Sydney" available on DVD and no doubt on some pay tv channels.
 

The_Jimmy

War Hero
Dabs said:
hobbit said:
Although not an RN ship
The Sydney WAS an RN ship, thats why she had HMAS on the fcuking cap tally. Her Majesties Ship is what it stood for, Australian or otherwise. Good fcuking grief. :roll:

Just in case you have forgotten HMAS stands for Her Majesties Australian Ship plus the fact she is also Queen of Australia :salute:
 

janner

MIA
Book Reviewer
The_Jimmy said:
Dabs said:
hobbit said:
Although not an RN ship
The Sydney WAS an RN ship, thats why she had HMAS on the fcuking cap tally. Her Majesties Ship is what it stood for, Australian or otherwise. Good fcuking grief. :roll:

Just in case you have forgotten HMAS stands for Her Majesties Australian Ship plus the fact she is also Queen of Australia :salute:

Who? Sydney?
 

The_Jimmy

War Hero
janner said:
The_Jimmy said:
Dabs said:
hobbit said:
Although not an RN ship
The Sydney WAS an RN ship, thats why she had HMAS on the fcuking cap tally. Her Majesties Ship is what it stood for, Australian or otherwise. Good fcuking grief. :roll:

Just in case you have forgotten HMAS stands for Her Majesties Australian Ship plus the fact she is also Queen of Australia :salute:

Who? Sydney?

If you read what dabs wrote he was saying that Sydney was an RN ship and we all know she was RAN, he then went further with the HMAS/HMS tallies, and my reply was about that. However, in the era we are discussing it was not HER Majesties Australian Ship it was of course HIS Majesties Australian Ship as at the time he was King of Australia.

Anyway, Janner YOU knew what we were discussing...perhaps it was too early in the cold damp grey english morning when you read this thread? :p

Cheers 8)
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Did Sydney carry an aircraft? I ask because she would also have therefore carried aviation fuel. In the later British 'Town' class this was stored for'd, and its ignition cost HMS Liverpool her bows after a torpedo hit which would not otherwise have achieved the same. This was one reason aircraft were withdrawn from cruisers.

It's not clear to me who, after the fight, would have organised any search and with what resources and how soon these could have been brought to bear - perhaps too late to be useful anyway.
 

Jack77

War Hero
Seaweed said:
Did Sydney carry an aircraft? I ask because she would also have therefore carried aviation fuel. In the later British 'Town' class this was stored for'd, and its ignition cost HMS Liverpool her bows after a torpedo hit which would not otherwise have achieved the same. This was one reason aircraft were withdrawn from cruisers.

It's not clear to me who, after the fight, would have organised any search and with what resources and how soon these could have been brought to bear - perhaps too late to be useful anyway.

Yes, Sydney carried a Walrus. She sank on 19 November (or the early hours of 20 November) and was reported overdue at Fremantle on the 21st. This caused no concern until the 24th, when a search was started by RAAF aircraft. At 1500 that day a signal was recieved from a merchant ship that she had picked up German sailors from a raft, giving a position, but this was not at first connected to Sydney, as someone in Naval HQ misinterpreted the signal to mean that the sailors were from a British ship.
By the time all this was sorted out, it would have been too late for any of the few, if any, men who made it off the sinking Sydney.



Good post Jimmy. These bloody conspiracy theorists are a pain in the arse.

Photos of the wreck can be found here:HMAS SYDNEY
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
The_Jimmy WW2 Sinking of HMAS SYDNEY (2) Final Report History 0
C Inquiry blames Captain for Loss of HMAS Sydney History 2
soleil HMAS Sydney: new book by Captain Peter Hore RN History 0
The_Jimmy HMAS SYDNEY 2 International 0
C HMAS Sydney History 20
C HMAS Sydney believed found off WA coast History 11
C HMAS Sydney's unknown sailor. History 12
IrishGuard HMAS Choules - A cruise ship without the pina coladas International 1
janner HMAS RANKIN Submariners 0
IrishGuard HMAS Newcastle International 7
soleil RN Merlin drops in on HMAS Toowoomba The Fleet Air Arm 1
rod-gearing HMAS Onslow Submariners 10
The_Jimmy HMAS Melbourne The Fleet Air Arm 1
IrishGuard HMAS Westralia International 3
B "Survivor of Voyager/ HMAS Melbourne Collision gains compo Current Affairs 0
MoD_RSS News story: Team UK unveiled for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Press release: Foreign Secretary arrives in Sydney for AUKMIN 2017 MoD News 0
soleil Sydney Morning Herald: "On Dock Of Pompey" The Gash Barge 0
T First Sea Lord's Speech in Sydney Current Affairs 12
J John McLeman drowned 1921 Sydney Nearest & Dearest 14
soleil Sydney Morning Herald: "Navy Seeking Recruits From The Old Country" International 13
soleil Sydney Morning Herald: "Ex RN Ship To Be Named After Last WWI Vet" RFA 12
soleil Sydney Morning Herald: "Sea Change - Mixed Bunks On Subs" Submariners 5
soleil Sydney Morning Herald: "Australian Interest In British Ships" The Fleet 2
moshe7158 campbeltown sydney austraila Blogs 0
C 66 years later, Sydney inquiry starts. History 4
SILVER_FOX Sydney urged to pack for attack Current Affairs 4

Latest Threads

New Posts

Top