Western Australian, H Sydney

Tags: HMAS Sydney, Maritime Museum, Western Australian, pp, Sydney, Australia, Department of Maritime Archaeology, Cape Leveque, Sydney Forum, Kimberley Echo, Ivan Smirnoff, Jack Palmer, Michael Montgomery, Jurien Bay, Japanese cruiser, Japanese cruisers, defence forces, World War 11, Foundation Trust
Content: PINQ.SUBS.017.0004 Western Australian
TELEPHONE: Directorare: (61-08)9431 8456 FACSIMILE: Marit~meMuseum. (61-08)94305120 Department Maribme Archaeology: (61-08)9335 5351 Materials Conservation: (61-08)93357224 Direct Fax: (61-08)93366332 E-Mad address: [email protected]\~.au Date: 15 July 1998 Our Ref: HMAS Sydney
Parliament house Canberra ACT
2600
Affairs, Defence and Trade
Dear Ms Towner
THE HMAS SYDNEY INQUIRY
As the Parliamentary Inquiry comes to a close, I take this opportunity to congratulate you and the Joint Standing Committeein providing a forum whereby people, consortia, and institutions with insights into the HMAS SydneylHSK Kormoran could have their say and then have it widely promulgated.
The need for such an exercise became apparent to staff of this Institutionsoon after it was charged with the potential responsibility of managing these two sites under the terms of the 1976 Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act. Papers were produced and a number of representations made to that effect (e.g. Appendix 1).
It is indeed pleasing to see the results that you and the Committee have produced in the form of the many volumes of submissions and evidence at the Inquiry hearings and it is hoped that the material gleaned and the opinions presented by your many correspondents will now be expertly analysed and assessed. As indicated in an earlier informal letter from my staff to you and the Committee (Appendix 2) it is also hoped that this analysis and the subsequent report will be undertaken in the context of an understandingof their antecedents and the circumstances which has led to a vacuum only now being filled by the Parliamentary Inquiry. Should the Inquiry seek it, I offer the assistance of this Museum, hopefully in association with other historians, scholars. institutions and authorities, in that regard.
It is also pertinent to advise you and the Parliamentary Committee of the imminent development of a new Maritime Museum and enhanced Maritime Precinct at Fremantte. The new Maritime Museum is designed to become a world-class attraction in its own right and will contain a substantial naval and wartime element, part of which will include the activities of the RAN and other navies, notably the US. Dutch and British submarine fleets, on this coast. In that respect links . have already been establishedbetween my staff. the RAN, submoriners and other stakeholders in order to obtain the necessary input 4059
With respect to the loss of HMASSydney, and its crew in waters off this coast, there is a desire and indeed a need for the new Maritime Museum to treat the demise of the vessel in the context of its entire career, of the RAN and of the 'war on our doorstep' in generol (See Appendix 3, for a precis of the broader Western Australian context in which we hope to present the HMAS Sydney story both here at Fremantleand at Geraldton on the Mid-Westcoast). Such a balance with respect to HMAS Sydney, its successes, its people. its times, its tragic loss. was arguably struck in the temporary exhibition presented here in Fremantleas part of Australia Remembers. This was achieved with the assistance of the RAN and with film ond other material from the Australian War Memorial. These aims do not preclude the strong support of this Museum for the initiativespresented by others to the Committee with respect to a specific-purpose 'real' or 'virtual' memorial specific to HMAS Sydney and its crew or for the establishment of archival databases and the like with a similar aim in mind. The various initiatives before you with respect to the archival search and the memorials hove our every support and we would be pleased to be closely associatedwith them and to assist in any way possible, as we have in the past. Given the developments planned and the numbers already visitingit from overseas and interstate, it is evident that the MaritimePrecinct at Fremantle (of which the new Maritime Museum will be an integral part) would be a logical choice for the housing of such an important offering. Allied to this and with respect to concomitant desires to locate the vessel, the Western Australian Maritime Museum has oft-stated the need to conduct a search of archives here and overseas before any search for HMAS Sydney commences. The Museum has (since the results of oceanographic research conducted as part of an HMAS Sydney Forum in November 1991) been of the opinion that the first step in any 'in-water' search for HMAS Sydney would be to examine an area at or near 26O32-34'S., 11 1°E., for evidence of HSK Kormoran at least. It is clear from the submissions received to date that most search groups and individuals, irrespective of their deductions as to the whereabouts of HMAS Sydney, would see this a useful preliminary step. given that it is one capable of providing positive or negative evidence of considerable significance. With respect to the future management of the site(s), if and when found, I again refer the Committee to past and present formal and informal agreements and understandings forged between this Institutionand the many and various stakeholders in the HMASSydneylHSK Kormoran tragedy. These include the RAN, other Museums (notably the War Memorial and the National Maritime Museum), the German Government, the HSK Kormoran Survivor's Association, Auslralian Statutory Authorities (suchas the Departmentof Veterans Affairs), the Geraldton-basedsearch and research groups. individual researchers and authors. family groups, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the HMAS Sydney Foundation Trust. GRAEME J. HENDERSON Director
PINQ.SUBS.017.0005 Appendices Appendix 1: A Maritime Museum position paper on the loss of HMAS Sydney Appendix 2: An explanatory letter outlining the author's perception of the genesis of the present conuoversy Appendix 3: A precis of wartime events in Western Australia
Appendix 1:A Marifime Museum position paper on the loss of HMAS Sydney
PINQ.SUBS.017.0006 HMAS SydneyJHSK Kormoran and the Western Australian Maritime hluseuml Dr Michael McCarthy Curator of Maritime Archaeology Maritime Archaeology Department WA MaritimeMuseum. July 1997
]This discussion document is an updated version of a Position Paper prornulgatcd by the Maritime Museum In March 1996 and a paper presented to a public forum on the loss of HMAS S~dney.held at Frernanrle in Fcbruar). 1997.
Background The HlIAS S)dney/HSK Korn~ornnengagement on 19 November 1941 resulted in the loss of 79 or SO German and one Chinese seamen and the entire Sydney crew of 635 men an2 boys, coning from virtually ever) major town and city in Australia. It was a major No\\ to the country as a whole in WVII and was an unexplained loss that many families have been unable to come to terms uith. even today, after the passing of 50 years. A number of books about the incident were published during or soon after the war, notably by former LCDR John Ross of M:estern .Australia, a former officer of HMAS Sydney and by T.A. Detmers, the Commander of the Kormoran. The official naval historim also dealt a.ith the matter, albeit briefly. In 1971, Vice-Admiral Collins, the former Captain of the HMAS Syd~teyalso produced a brief account of the ship. These various offerings served to deal uith the matrcr until the expiration of the 30 year secrecy period on I i T I1 documents. In 1956. under the terns of the newly-promulgated Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act, the Director of the Western Australian Museum, and ultimately the Department of Maritime Archaeology of the W A Maritime Museum. became responsible on behalf of the FeSeral Government for the wrecks of HM-AS Sydney and its adversary H S K Konnornn. The waters in which the engagement w2s believed to have taken place were considered too deep for search and analysis however. The possibility that HMAS S ~ d n e ywas attem9ting to make the coast before it disappeared and that the wreck could lie in shallow water was flagged by Michael Montgomery, son of the English Navigator on b o v d the Sydney in 1981. On a visit to the W.4 Maritime Museum he advised of this possibility and as a result oil exploration records of the Shark Bay area were searched. leading to the finding of a very promising magne!ic anomely off the Z~rydol-pcliffs north of Kalbarri. A combined WA Maritime M u s e u f l . 4 X team operating from XMAS Mol-esby analysed the anomaly in October 1981, ~ s u l t i n gin the location of a geological formation lying c. 200 metres below the seabed off Kalbarri. 4 report was published in the Bulletin of the Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology (see reading list below). The release of wartime documents also saw two books on the incident in the early 1980s. the first by Michael Montgomery. In his work entitled, Who Sank rhe Sydney? Montgomery forcefully expressed his inability to accept the 'official' version of the battle that led to the loss of his father. He claimed atrocities by the Germans, an involvement by the Japanese. and a cover up by the RAN, leaving many of those who had previously accepttd the 'official' account in a quandary. The other book from that period written by Barbara Winter, an Australian born, German speaking, scholar was entitled HMAS Sydney, Fact, Frnud and Fantasy. It too used newly-released wartime documents. Apart from addressing some of the more sensational claims, including those of Montgomery, it was a strenuous defence of the German sailors and the 'official' position. The two books and their polemic stances resulted in considerable press and served not to end the pain and the speculation. but to open up old wounds, especially for those who had lost relatives. As a result. debate raged throughout the 19801s,about the merits of each euthor and about the loss of the two ships. The Perth-based Sydney Research Group (SRG) was a prominent proponent of the 'Montgomery position' for example. The Department of Maritime Archaeology of the WA Maritime Museum established bridges with all major parties concerned (Montgomery-Winter-Ross-SRG-RAS) with a view to keeping abreast of the debate, to give informed and objective opinion and to be
PINQ.SUBS.017.0007 in a position to properly manage the kvrecks on behalf of the Commomvealth Go\ ernment if they were to be found. The location of SS Tirnilicand the German battleship B i s n ~ n ~ink very deep water in the mid 19SOs posed the obvious question, 'could Sydrlcy be also locatcd' and if so ~vhat was the search area? In Kovember 1991 the 34aritime Museum organised and convened a Forum on the loss of the Sydney ~ v i t hthe intention of answering that question and for the purposes of bringing together the proponents in the HMAS Syduey saga. By then a large number of people had become involved. The Forum \\.as opened by the Saval Officer Commanding Vv.estern Plustralia and man!; papers were prescnted (See readins list ). These and the discussions that followed were recorded and co!lated ~vithcopies made for housing in the major archives and institutions involved. With respect to bringing the proponents together for the purposes of examining the various stances and remaining abreast of issues, the exercise was a success. The notion that Sydrzey or even Konnol-an could be found was. on the other hand, dealt a severe blow when a group of oceanographers bought together by the Maritime Museum and coordinated by Associate Professor Kim Kirsner of the University of R'estern Australia, proved unable to reduce the search area down to anything like the proportions of the two successful deep-water searches. The area for Kor7noran was c. 7000 square kilometres in area. for example. The area for HMAS Sydney is potentially far laiger, given that the amount of wreckage found after the battle was limited. In comparison the area for the successful Bismarck and Titanic searches was around 500 square kilometres. On the other hand the oceanographers were able to confirm that the engagement position Detmers gave. that of c. 26"301S., 11IoE..was consistent with the wreckage spread. Links were also established with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, finders of the Tiia~zica d Bismarck and with Perth-based Remote Sensing firms sucn as Fugro Survey and Xerodata with respect to examining the feasibilit!. of a search of [he area defined at the m4.G Sydney Forum, or at least the conducting of a number of exploratory runs through r'ne region. L i n k were also established with Xestern Australian oil-field diving companies with divers and remote operated vehicles (ROVs) with a view to facilitate a non-disturbance inspection of the remains of Sydney andlor Konnol-fin. should either or both be found either by accident or design. These companies today are predominantly Fugro Survey, Aerodata (World Geosciences), local ROV operators and diving consortiums. Though a large-scale search for Sydney was ruled om as a result of the findings of the 1991 Forum (on the basis of the size of the search area and the equipment then available), the WA Maritime Museum has continued work in the water both independently and with the assistance of the RAN examining snags, magnetic anomalies, unusual echo sounder traces or other indications of a wreck. Some have been most promising, such as a 200 metre long by 10 metre high and 20 metre wide formation off Dirk Hanog Island which was investigated by both the RAN and the WA Maritime Museum in recent years. In February of 1996 at the request of the W A Maritime Museum and other interest groups, World Geosciences completed an analysis of two promising magnetic anomalies off Port Gregory that had appeared in its oil search data. These have since proved to be geological. This work is on-going as part of the WA Maritime Museum's brief under the terms of the 1976 Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act. with reports of this nature being resglarly received. Interest has also centred on the strength of the Montgomery claims and 1Vinter.s rebuttal of them. The question. who should account for the loss of the Sydney given the controversy, was aired at the 1991 Forum and it beczme clear. for thc first time that the RAX did not see itself as the either the responsible or capable body with respec[ to combing archives and compiling information re the loss of its men to the satisfaction of the bereaved. That position was enunciated by the representatives c?f the navy. notably then Lt. Tom Frame, RAY. 4065
The WA Maritime Museum has since continued its work with the intention of remaining abreast of the issues and given the demands on its time and the nature of its brief with respect to education, it has strongly encouraged scholars and other institutions in pursuing Svdrzey-related research. .4 considerable amount of material has been published or compiled as a result. One such work was the analysis of the HMAS Syhe?. carley float in the Australian War Memorial. others have been analyses by private researchers. These now represent a considerable addition to the body of knowledge (see bibliography following). In Kovember 1993, after he left the Navy, Dr Frame's long-awaited book on the loss of HMAS Sydney was published. Entitled HMAS S ~ d n e y-Loss and Coitrrosers;\, it was not the result of an exhaustive search of the archives, as the delegates of the Sydney Forum had hoped, however. Though it has proved most useful, the book has left many questions unanswered. Many controversies continue unabated. His treatment of the provenance of the Christmas Island carley float contrasts with that of \\:inter, for example. most recently, the late John Ross produced another book. Entitled LNcL? ROSS,it contained a comprehensive section on life on-board various RAN ships. including HMAS Sydney. Though the career of this important RAN ship is dealt with at some length and a brief analysis of the events surrounding its loss also appears. the book was nor aimed at attending to the issues in depth. The Sydney Trust was formed in 1995 with the intention of raising public consciousness re the Sydney and possibly locating its remains. The Trust announced its intention to begin a search for HMAS Sydney with a view to ending the speculation that has surrounded the loss of the ship. Though a most worthwhile endeavour. this was a problematic exercise, exacerbated by misconceptions generally held about the capabilities of remote sensing equipment and by generally-held misunderstandings about :he quality and purpose of the archival research conducted to date. T h e Future Archival search In essence the problem remains that, even after the publication of many books and numerous other articles, an objective and comprehensive examination (or compilation) of all existing material relevant to the HMAS SydneylHSK Komoran was not facilitated until recently. This was despite the fact that it has been conclusively s h o w over the years that material was still to be found, despite claims to the contrary at many levels. The reasons for this can be traced back to R.B.M. Long, the Director of Naval Intelligence, who in October 1945 responded to a request from navy staff in Western Australia to publish an account nhich had been prepared from their files in the hope that it 'should result in completely setting at rest any rumours or speculation concerning possible survivors from the Sydney'. His reply contained the following comment. '-....There has now been accumulated a mass of confirmatory information which leaves no doubt that there are no survivors from HM.4S Sydney.
PINQ.SUBS.017.0008 3. There are a number of reasons, howeyer, why the full analysis should not be published, the principle that such an analysis \vould still not be accepted by some people as being absolute confirmation of the loss of all the "SYDNEY'S" complement. It is intended not to publ~shanythinp further concernir.p this action. and its results. unless the Board 1s forced bq Ministerid pressure to \\rite a Ministerial Statement. It is clear that Long's letter can be read according to one's bias and possibly because of this. neither Winter, nor Frame dealt with his decision satisfactorily in their works. It was not until officials at HMAS Stirling sent their HMAS S j d n e ~file across to Australian Archives that these letters eventually became public knowledge. Though the documents referred to in the letters may not survive today, Long's statement indicated to even the casual observer that there is a clear need to search the archives and repositories further in case some of it survived unaccessioned or incorrectly filsd. Some of the material alluded to by the Western Australian naval staff were concerns. apparently based on contemporary radio broadcasts. that some Sydney men were PO\l"s in Japan. Soon after the war this possibilin. was investigated by Capt. Collins. the former commander of HMAS Sydney, producing negative results. Unfortunately. rather than admit that this avenue of inquiry was pursued, albeit with negative results, some authors like Frame have seen fit to deride those who point to the the fact that it did occur. Important new evidence relating to HMAS Sydney has been regularly found, promptiiig re-analysis and re-assessment by those involved. Much of it is contradictory. Graham McKenzie-Smith's account of the Coastwatchers in Western .4us:ralia is but one example. His research indicated that pan of a Japanese lifebelt and a bcx marked HM.AS Sydney were found near Jurien Bay in June 1942. According to another researcher. Jim Davies. Jurien Bay was used by our allies, the Japanese, in UWI and, as a result, it is espected that it would have betn utilised by our enemies, the Japanese, in \\%?I.To find Japanese materials there is not unexpected as a result and there is no evidence that the lifebelt and the Svdnev box were connected. Perhaps the box was picked up at sea by a Japanese reconnaissance craft and taken to their anchorage. Perhaps it drifted there. increasing the evidence that can be used to define theSydney search area. Equally it may be spurious, for an HMAS Sydney lifebelt was recovered on a New South Wales Beach in 1943 and another was found even later on a 'French Beach', possibly Mauritius. With respect to other evidence still requiring analysis and/or objective comment there appears in Barbara Winter's new book, entitled The Inn-igue Master, evidence of s i p a l s from the Sydney as it entered battle. This claim was based on the reminiscences of Mr Robert Mason a writer at HMAS Harman radio station in Canberra. Slason's material, indicates that signals were received from Sydney as it entered battle and that the loss of the ship was known to some officials at Harman days before the search took place. Though these memoirs were written in 1981 and a copy was lodged with the Mitchell Library in Canberra some years ago, the material only became public knowledge in December 1996, soon after Mason was interviewed by the Maritime Museum. Being penned forty years after the event, Mason's material requires close scrutiny, especially as it is not clear whether he is indicating that the incident was limited purely to Harman. The existence of this material was known by at least two prominent HMAS Sydrlex researchers for many years, but apparently they had been sworn to secrecy by 4Ir Mason. The fact that new material surfaces ulth alarming regularity is indisputable. \Vorld Geosciences recent aerial and in-laboratory analyses, for example, was a result of a reanalysis of oil search data in the light of new information gleaned by researchers YIs Glenys MacDonald of Geraldton and M r Ted King of Kalbam concerning the possibility that Sjdney could have been attempting to make the port of Geraldton when it sank. This was cross-referenced with earlier reports to the Maritime Museum from Mrs Adeline
Cos. now residing in Adelaide, who saw what she thought ~ 3 asbattle from her home in Geraldton on the night Sydney was lost. To further confuse the matter, Mrs Ivy Mallard, then of Shark Bay, has reported seeing evidence of a battle in that vicinity. Further, reports of an oil slick found a few miles south-esst of the reported battle position a few days after the event were recently re-analysed by researcher 31r Wes Olson of Hilton 2nd by one of the aircrew involved in the search, Group Captain, C.A.V. Bourne, RAAF (retd.). They disagree on the ramifications of the find. but given that the ship(s) mzg still be leaking oil in similar fashion to many of the better known UWT wrecks, the lfaritime hluseum requested \Vorld Geosciences to apply its airborne oil-search technology to the task. This request followed on from Professor Krsner's earlier suggestion that minute quantities of oil could be detected by airborne remote sensing methods. Given the nature of the evidence it was decided, however. that World Geosciences be requested to search in the area reported by Detmers on an opportunistic basis only. Mr Olson also h s a fine technical analysis of the Sydney and its engagement with K o m o r - a n in preparation. He has recently published 2n account of both the circumstances surrounding the loss of the Sydney men and the provenance of the Christmas Island Carley Float issue as part of that study. Another researcher, Mr Darren Cooper has found an analysis of the potential stability of HMAS Sydney following wardamage. This w2s located in the .4ustralian Archives, Canberra. Other researchers are also very active and as their work is completed the new material will add to the debate. All of it attests to the need for a thorough search of the archives. The recent re-fomation of the HMAS Sydney Trust as the HMAS Sydney Foundation Trust has sewed to raise public perception further and. in providing a vehicle for public and political expressions of interest, it may ultimately raise the funds required to enable a specific-purpose search for the Sydney to take place. Recently bipartisan expressions of support at the highest political levels have been received by the HMAS Sydney Foundation Trust. taking the search for the Sydney into a new phase. This development has the W A Mari.irne Museum's every support, as do the Foundation Trust's plans to begin a search as soon as practicable. A thorough and comprehensive archival search is normally an esseiltial pre-requisite to any in-water search. however. The archives needing analysis lie not just in Australia, but possibly in America, Britain, Holland (Australia's direct partners in the defence of the region) and Germany. As but one example of the need to undertake this work, if HMAS Sydney was transmitting radio messages as it interrogated and then entered battle with Kormoran, was its position known to the operators of radio detection finding equipment here and overseas? Regardless of dikrences in perceptions re the extent of the archival search required, the Foundation Trust represents the first real Australian-based opportunity for the wrecks of HMAS Sydney and (as a necessary preliminary) the HSK Kormoran to be found in a specific-purpose search. In anticipation of the possible location of the wreck(s), the S h x m has put in place a Memorandum Of Understanding with the M A S Sydney Foundation Trust in order to allow the Foundation Trust a clear path by which to pursue its stated goal, that of finding HMAS Sydney and further commemorating its lost men. Unforseen and undreamt of conflict can possibly occur with issues as complex as the finding, inspection and management HMAS Syd~leyMSKKonnoran. The controversies surrounding the finding and recovery of SS Titonic material are but one well-known example. Thus the Memorandum is also designed to ensure that the Museum remains independent in its dealings with the Trust and that the wrecks of both ships, if found, are dealt with on behalf of the Australian and German nations in accordance with the terms of the 1976 Hisioric Shipwreck's Act and in the spirit of existing agreements and understandings held by the various stakeholders. both informal and in writing. To name the most evident. these stakeholders are the Australian and German navies, the HSK Konnoran Survivor's Association, former crew of HMAS Sydney, the RSL, relatives of those lost, the National Governments of both countries and their functionaries, including the Australian War Memorial and other Museums, scholars and interested parties. 4066
PINQ.SUBS.017.0009 Thus. thoufh the Maritime Museum will assist the Foundation Trust in its stated endeavours and will encourage others to join with the Foundation Trust. it is n e c e s s q that the WA Slaritime Museum maintain its independence in order that it can deal with its statutory responsibilities under the .4ct The question of funding sources for the archival and in-water phases of the Sydney project is an interesting issue in itself. Should they be r ~ s e dby public subscription, or should they be found by the Government in whose senice the men and boys were lost? On a philosophical level it is essential for Government to shoulder the burden of responsibilit?. and to make an open and truly objective attempt to satisfactonly explain the circumstances by which those in its service are lost in battle. To fail to do so strikes at the very heart of the notion of senice to one's country and to the possibility of mahng the ultimate sacrifice in times of dire need. In the case of HMAS Sydney, Government in its various forms has not satisfactorily undertaken the task of explanation following Commander Long's decision in 1935 and the release of the archives in the mid to late 1970s. There are many good reasons for this, but the lack of concerted action has resulted in 2 form of rumour. innuendo and sometimes malicious supposition that has not abated even 50 years after the event. The issue in the Sydney instance is first and foremost one of telling the story to the satisfaction of the bereaved or those left in doubt. Thus though finding the wreck of M A S Sydney is a desired outcome and one to which many have been working to\vards for a number of years, if anything, its location will rdse as many questions as it will provide answers unless a full compilation of the archival material related to the loss of it and the men on-board is made and widely disseminated. The many articles, the claims and counter-claims appearing with great regularity in the National, State and regional press and on the radio attest to the on-going nature of the saga and the need for remedial action. The friends anl? relatives who constantly seek reassurance are at the core of this need. In that regard, hlr Richard Summerrell, Assistant Director at -4ustralia.n Archives has undertaken an exhaustive search and is to present an updated analysis of the material held at the Australian Archives, the Australian War Memorial and in other repositories to this Forum. This is a most important development indeed.
Reading list
Ahl. H., 1979. Report on the engagement bet\veen HMAS Sydney and the German
Auxiliary Cruiser Konnoran, Naval Historical Re\.iew, December 1979.
Anox 19S0, HMAS Sydney's last battle.. In The Railways Insrirrrre Maga:irze, April,
19SO: 28-30.
Ashron, J.. Challenor, C.. and Courtney, 1993, The scierlrific investigation of a Carley
Floor. Australian %:ar Memorial, Canberra.
Australian Archives, 1991. Sowce Arralyis for Hh1.J.S Sydney and HSK h'orn~orarl,
Australian Archives. Octoher 1991.
Australian War Memorial. HMAS Sydney: Synopsis of holdings of the Australian War
Memorial. In McCarthy. M., Sydney Forum, Frematrtle
& 21
-K2i3rs~nVero,vKe.~.n(Cboe1mr9,p9i1le. rsR) Pepaopretrs-frDoempatrhtemHenMt AoSf
Maritime Archaeology. KO.52.
Bourne. C.A.V., HMAS S~dneyIHMTAqrdaniai.n Cameraderie. pp 5-6.
Clark, B.. Sydney-Kormoran paper for WA Maritime Museum (Australia's For=ootten
Son) In McCarthy, M., & Kirsner, K., (Compilers) Papers from rhe HMAS
Sydney Forum, Fremmlrle 21-23 Arovember, 1991. Report - Department of
Maritime Archaeology, No. 52.
Collins, J.. 1965. .4s Luck Would Have It. Sydney: Angus & Robertson.
Collins. J.. 1971. HMAS Sydney Naval Historical Society of Australia. Garden Island.
NSW.
Cornonwealth Department of Veterans Affairs and the Royal Australian Navy, 1995.
Commemoration, HMAS Sydney -lost in Action off Western Australia, November
1941. Ausrralia Remembers, 1915-1995. Order of commemorative service.
Courtney. J., Repon on the meteorologjcal conditions near 26"s 111"E for 17-28
November 1941. In McCarthy, M., & Kirsner, K.. (Compilers) Papersfrom the HMAS Sydney Forum, Fremantle 21-23 :'iovenzber, 1991. Report - Department
of Maritime .4rchaeology, KO.51.
Davies, J., 1994. The lady was not a spy, Lamp Printers. Perth.
Demers, T., 1959, 1975, The Raider Kormoran. Kimber, London. Doohan, J., 1991, With friends like these.....a revisionists view of the official 'cover
up'. In McCarthy, M.: & Kirsner, K., (Compilers) Sydney Forum, Frenlantle 21-23 November, 1991.
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f-roDmepathretmHenMt AoSf
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Farncomb, H., 1946$The Loss of HMAS Sydney, Whire Ensign, December.
Fraine, T., 1991, HMAS Sydney, conducting an autopsy without a body. In McCarthy,
M., & Kirsner, K., (Compilers) Papers from the HMAS S y d n e y Forum,
Fremantle 21-23 Nove~nber1, 991. Repon - Department of Maritime Archaeology,
No. 52.
Frame, T., 1991, The loss of HMAS Sydney- The RAN'S view. In McCarthy, M., 8:
Kirsner, K., (Compilers) November, 1991. Report
P- aDpeeprsarfrtmomentthoef
HMAS Sydney Forum, Fremantle Maritime Archaeology, No. 52.
21-23
Frame, Tom, 1993, HMAS Sydney, Loss and controversy. Hodder and Stoughton,
Sydney.
Gee, L., 1991, HMAS Moresby and the HMAS Sjdne? Searches to date. In McCarthy,
M., & Kirsner, Freniantle 21-23
NKo.v,em(Cbeorm, p19il9e1rs. )RPepaopretr-s
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Gill. G.H.. 1957, 1968, The Royal Ausrralia~lNavy 1939-42. Vol.1 6 1 1 Ofjkial
Hisro~yof Australia in rlle War of 193945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
Gill. G.H.. 1957. 1985, Royal Artsrralian N a ~ y193942. Collins & Australian War
Memorial. Sydney.
Graham, E., et. al. 1991. The searcher's view. In McCarthy, M., & Kirsner, K.,
(Compilers) Papersfrom the HIMAS Sydney Forum, Freriranrle 21-23 Noventber, 1991. Report - Department of Maritime Archaeology, No. 52.
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Green, J.. McCarthy, M., and Penrose. J.. 1984. Site inspection by remote sensing-the
HMAS Sydney search- a case study. In The Brllletirl of the Ausrralian Institutefor
Maritime Arcltaeolog., Vol. S, No. 1: 22-32.
Green, J.. 1991, HMAS Sydney, prohlems of location. In McCarthy. M., & Kirsner,
K.. (Compilers) Papers from rhc H:\MS Sydney Forum, Frenza~rrle21-23 A'ottember, 1991. Report - Department of Maritime Archaeology. S o . 52.
Gregg. J.. Re: Jonathon Robotham. In hlcCarthy, M., Br Kirsner. K., (Compilers)
Papers from the HMAS Sydney form^, Frernarzrle 21 -23 n'ovember. 1991. Report - Department of Maritime .4rchaeology. No. 52.
Ha\vas, D., 1980, Ships of the Hai11brlr.gilrnerica, Adler a~zdBurr Lines, Patrick
Stephen, Cambridge: 169.
Hughes, S.. 1991, HMAS Sydney, A possible solution based on modern search and
rescue planning techniques. In hlccarthy, M.. 85 Kirsner, K., (Compilers) Papers
from the HMAS Sydney Forum, Frenlarztle 21-23 Novenzber, 1991. Report -
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Hutchinson, J.N.. 1988. Sa~sethar song: corquering the outback my wny, . Cha: History
and mystery (On Jonathon Rowho~hamD: etails not known ISBS 07316-1334-1):
97-99
Johnston, G. 1941, Grey Gladiator: HiMrlS Sydney with rhe Medirerranean Fleet.
Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
Jones, W.. Prisoner of rhe Kormoran: See Taylor.
Joyce, A.H., 1992, (nd), German commerce raiders of WWII. In Ships Monrlzly. April
1992, : 32-36.
Keble Chatterton, E., (nd). Commerce Raiders, Hurst and Blackett, London.
King, T., 1994, The quest for the Sydney. For us they gcve up :heir toinorrow,
Unpublished report, Kalbani.
Kirsner, K., (in press), The human factor in historical reconstruction: HMAS Sydney
versus HSK Kormoran, In Sweetman, J., (ed.) New blterpreiarions in Naval
Histo~yU. S. Naval Institute Press.
Kirsner, K., 1991, Converging operations in historical analysis. In SlcCarthy. M., &
Kirsner, K., (Comps.) Papers from the HMAS Sydney Forum, Fremantle 21-23 November, 1991. Report - Deparrment of Maritime Archaeology. No. 52.
Kirsner, K., 1992, HSK Kon7roran Versus HMAS Sydney, The 20th Century Mystery.
In Gardiner, R., (ed.,) Warship ,Conway Maritime Press. London: 160-170
Kirsner, K., 1992, The Search for HSK Kornzoran and HMAS Sydney: A Preliminary
Analysis Based on Modified Search and Rescue Procedures. Grear Circle, Journal
of the Australian Association for Maritime History, Vol 14 (2):88-104.
. Kirsner, K., 1993, The Human Factor in Historical Reconstruction: HMAS Sydney versus HSK K o r ~ n o r a n .The 1lth Naval history. sKirsner, K., and Hughes, S., 1993, HMAS Sydney and HSK Kormoran: Possible and probable search areas. Report - Department of Maritime Archaeology, Western
Australian Maritime Museum. No. 71. November 1993.
Laffer, G., 1991, HMAS Sydney 11, another vigy. In McCarthy, M..& Kirsner, K.,
(Compilers) Papers from the HMAS Sydney Forum, Fremantle 21-23 November, 1991. Report - Department of Maritime Archaeology, No. 52.
Lenton, H., 1975, Genna~rwarships of the Second World War, MacDonald and Janes,
London: 382.
Magazinovic, O., 1957, English Translation of section, Gelebir 11 planrenu. (The Velebit
HinMflAaSmeSsy)dRniejyekFa.orIn~mMzc.FCraemrthayn,tl3e42..18-523KNirsonveerm, bKe.r, ,(C19o9m1p. ilRerespioPrtap- eDrsefpraormtmtehnet
of Maritime Archaeology, No. 52.
McArthur, J., The SydneylKorrnor-an encounter: a challenging perspective. In
McCarthy, M..& Forum, Freniantle
K2 1ir-s2n3erh,'oKve..m(bCero,m1p9i9le1r.s)RPeappoerrts-frDoempatrhtme eHnMt oAfSMSayridtnimeye
Archaeology, No. 51.
McCaKrtohyrm. Mor.a, n19e9n0g,aTgheentCe~cr~Arra'orar.retng~Sbteart1io9n41L.ifRebeopaorrtre-liDc eopfatrhtme eHnMt .o4f5
Sydney.Maritime
Archaeology, Western Austrdian Maritime Museum, No. 38.
McCarthy. M., & Kirsner. K.. (Compilers), 1991, Papers from the H1bI.4S Sydney For~uit,Frernaitrle 21-27 .~or'entbel;1991. Report - Department of Slaritime
Archaeology, No. 52.
McCarthy. M., 1991, HMAS Sdney/ HSK Konnoran: an archaeologisr's view of rhe
sir~larion.In McCarthy. .\I..& Kirsner, K., (Compilers) Papersfiom the HMAS Sydney Forum, Fre~no~:r2le1-25 November, 1991. Report - Depanment of
kjaritime Archaeology. No. 52.
. . McCarthy. M., 1996, HMAS Sy'neyl HSK Kormoran. The posirion of the M'esrern ii~srralianMaritirne hl~rsetrm.Un~ublishedPosition P a ~ e,r .\'A Maritime Museum. Fremantle.
McDonald, E., Wind, weather and wonder. In McCarthy, M., & Kirsner, K.,
(1C9o9m1.pRileerpso)rtP-aDpeerpsafrrtomrnenrthoefHMMd.4tSi
Sydney Forum, m e .4rchaeology,
Frernantle No. 51.
21-23
n'oveinber,
McDonald, G., 1993, Seeking the S!drtey. A new perspective in the search for HMAS
Sydney. Unpublished report, Port Gregory.
McDonald, G., 1995, HMAS Sydney Purr Three. The unrold ston.. The children of rhe
Centaur. Unpublished report. Geraldton.
McDonald, G., 1996, (Comp.iPapers and Proceedingsfiom the 1996 HiMAS Sydney
Forum held at the Maririine Museum, Geraldron on 3 June 1996. Unpublished
report, Geraldton.
McKenzie-Smith, G.R.. 1994. A~lsrralia'sForgonen Anny. Vol 1. The ebb andflow of
the Ausrralian Ann? in il'esrent Australia 1941 to 1945. Grimwade Pub!ications,
Canberra.
McKie. R., 1953. Proud Echo, Angus and Robertson, Sydney. (Deals with H-MAS
Pe~rh)
Miller, V., Br West Austrz!ian Newspapers, l\!o Survivors, 50rk Aimiversaiy
Commemorarive Bookler produced by West Ausrralian Newspapers Limired, 19
November 1991. West Australian Newspapers.
Montgomery, M., 1981, 1983. Who Sank the Sydney?, Cassell, Melbourne &Penguin.
Montgomery, M., 1991, The Sydney-Kormoran 19.11.41. Contradictions between the
evidence and the officizl action. In McCarthy, M., & Kirsner, K., (Compilers)
PRaeppoerrts-frDoemparrthmeenHtMofAMS aSriytidmneeyArFchoareuomlo,gFy,reNmoa. n5r2l.e 21-23 November, 1991.
Muggenthaler, A., 1978 Gennan Raiders of World War Two. Hale, London.
Munyard, C., 1995, HMAS Sydney 11 & D r List's Cryptographs, Unpublished report
Perth.
Olsonl,oWss..JR.,ep1o9r9t 5-,DHeMpaArtSmeSnjdt rorfeMy (a1ri9t3im4e-1A9r1c1h)apeooslosigbyl,eNaon. d10p1r.obable cause of her
Olson, W.J., 1996, With all Itartds: a study ofrhe circumstances surrounding rhe loss of
the 645 officers and men aboard HMAS Sydney in November in Novernber 1931. Report - Department of Maritime Archaeology, No. 116.
Pattee, R.S., The Raider Konnoran, Sydney's Nemesis. United States Naval Instirure
Proceedings, December 1950, pp. 1299-1306.
Penrose, J. D., And Klaka K.P., 1991, Notes on the movement of wreck material in the
area of HMAS
SthyednbeayttlFe.oIrnumM,cFCraermthayn,tlMe .2, 1&-2K3 iNrsonveerm, Kbe.,r,(C19o9m1p.ilReresp)oPrtap-eDrsefpraormtmerhnet
of Maritime Archaeology, So. 52.
Pearce. A., 1991, Variability of ocean currents off Shark Bay.
In McCarthy, M., & Kirsner, K., (Compilers) Papers from the HMAS Sydney Foruin, Fremantle 21-23 A'overitber, 1991. Report - Department of Maritime
Archaeology, No. 52.
Peet, L., Thoughts on the disappearance of HMAS Sydney. In McCarthy, M., &
Kirsner, K., (Compilers) Pnpersfrom rlte HMAS Sydney Forum, Freinarlrle 21-23 November, 1991. Report - De~artmenot f Maritime Archaeologv. No. 52. Porten, Edward von der.. 1970. 711;German Navy in World War TGO:London.
PINQ.SUBS.017.0011 Reudavey, G., 1991, Airborne magnetic sezrch techniques. In McCarthy, hl., gi Kirsner, K.. (Compilers) Papersfro~nrhe HMAS Sydney F o r m , Frenlonrle 21-23 No~wnber1, 991. Report - Department of Maritime Archaeology, KO.52. Raven, A., and Roberts. J., 1980, British Cruisers of W'WII, Arms and Armour press, London. Robotham, I., (nd) Eagle in rhe Crow's N ~ s r(&IS copy held by State Ltbrary of Western Australia). Ross, W., 1943, Srormy Perrel: The l q ~srory of HM.45 Sydney, Paterson's Printiy Press. Western Australia. Ross, W., 1994, Luck? Ross. Hesperian. Perth. Schmalenbach. P.. 1979, German Raiders: A Hisro~yqf .4uxilicn Cruisers qf llle German Navy 1895-1945, Cambridge. Scott, G., 1962. HMAS Sydney. Horwitz, Sydney. Smith, E. Recollections of service in HMAS Sydney. McCarthy, M.,& Kirsner, K., (Compilers) Papers from the HMAS Sydney Forum, Fremanrle 21-23 .Vovember, 1991. Report - Department of Maritime Archaeology, No, 52. Southern, R., 1991, Climatology of weather conditions, W A Coast Sovember, 1941. In McCarthy, M., 8 Kirsner, K., (Compilers) Papers front ;he H1!4.4S Sydney Forum, Fremanrle 21-23 November, 1991. Report - Department of Maritime Archaeology, No. 52. Steedman, R., & McCormack. M., 1991., Backtracking the lifeboats and floats-a Metocean view. In -McCarthy, M.. & Kirsner. K.. (Compilers) Papersfrorn rhe HMAS Sydney Forum, Fremanrle 21-23 November, 1991. Report - Department of Maritime .Qchaeology, KO.51. Stem, R., 1981, Kriegsmarine, Arms and .4rmour Press. London. Taylor, J., 1944. Prisoner of the "Kormoran. WA Jones' Ama5ng Experiences on the Gennan Raider, "Konnoran" and as a prisoner of War in Genna~ty.Australasim Publishing Company, 1944. Templeton, A., 1995, Engagement between HMAS Sydney and the Konnoran. Special Articles r\'e\vs. Royal United Services Insrirure of VicroriaMagcine, March. von Gosseln, J., 1953. The Sinking of rhe Sydney, United States Kaval Institute Proceedings, March 1953251-55. Williams, K., 1996, HMAS Sydney, Report, Scientific communications, 102, Post Graduate Diploma in Maritime Archaeology, Curtin UniversityAVA Maritime Museum, 1995-6. Winter, B., 1990, The German Ultra, Naval Hisrorical Review, 1990. Winter, B., 1991, Loose Ends. In McCarthy, M.. & Kirsner, K., (Compilers) Papers from the HMAS Sydney Forum, Frernanrle 21-23 November, 1991. Repon - Department of Maritime Archaeology, No. 52. Winter, Barbara, 1984 and 1991, HMAS Sydney Fact, Fantasy and Fraud. Boolarong, Brisbane. Winter, B., 1991, Kormoran-Sch-i-ff 41- Raider G. War diary-Log Krieg- srag-ebuch. Unpublished Translation. - - Winter, B., Sources and resources for the writing of HMAS Sydney, In Frame, T.R., Goldrick. J.V.P.. and Jones. P.D.. (.Eds.1,,. Reflections on rhe RAN, Kangaroo Press, ~ i n t h u r s tN, SW: 148-157. Winter, B., 1995. The Inrrigue Masrer, Commander Long and naval intelligence in Australia, 1913-1945. Boolarong. Brisbane. Woodward, D., 1955, The Secret Raiders, Kimber, London. Zammit, A., 1992, HhlAS Sydney Memorial, in Naval Hisrorical Review: 1991: 11-13.
Appendix 2: An explanatory letter outlining the author's perception of the genesis of the presenf controversy
PINQ.SUBS.017.0012
Department of Maritime Archaeology Western Australian
FREAlANTLE W.4 6 16 TELEPHONE: Depanment: (61-09)431 8436 FACSIMILE: Mannme Museum: (61-09) 430 5120 Depanmem Mantime Archaeology: (61-09) 335 5351 (61-09) 335 7224 E-&la11address: [email protected] au
Our Ref: 630/8l Ms Joanne Towner Secretary Inquiry into the circumstancejof the sinking of HM4S Sydney Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Defence Sub-committee Re: Towards understanding the controversy surrounding the loss of HMAS Sydxey Dear Joanne, As indicated in the paper on HMAS SydneylHSKKormoran appearingin the WA Maritime Museum's 'Web' site, which you have read as background, and especially in a paper entitled IlMAS SydneyMSKKormoran an archeologist's view of the situn$on, which was presented at the HMAS Sydney Forum in 1991,I stressed the fact that rumour, innuendo sometimesmalicious supposition is the norm in cases where 'there is doubt or where interesting and 'mysterious' wrecks are concerned'. Further I was able to observe from my perspective as a maritime archaeologistand historian that mysterious shipwrecksthroughout time 'engender persistent speculation espeaally where it [the mystery] is not [satisfactorily]answered by the relevant authorities...' In what follows, I have provided a brief (selected) sequence of events which will help develop an understanding and appreaation how the HMAS SydneylHSK Konnoran matter has come to this head and why some of the issues that I expect are now before you were raised in the first instance. It will become evident that the decision of the relevant authorities not to publicly address the issues in 1945 and in 1975 with the opening of the relevant archivesin Britain and Australia is at the root of the present hiatus.
Issue 24/11/1941 Rear Admiral Crace writes in his personal diary that the Naval Board thought that there was a possibility that a Vichy submarine escorting a Vichy ship had torpedoed Sydney.
Notes Genesis of the submarine story traced to a high level.
PINQ.SUBS.017.0013
26/11/1941 .Advisory \Yar Council meeting Lrcluding the PM, Chiefs of Sttr'f, Blarney, Hughes, Memies debate whether to admit that ihe men are missing, noting that rumours are everywhere.
Publk disquiet mounting
29/11/1941. Captain J.S.Aizey, Master of Koolirtdn formally recorded a statement from a German sailor indicatin~h i t HhWS Svdneu tired first
See Hall below.
1/12/1941 S a i y ad\.ise the PM that the Naval Board
have 'continuously under revietv the possibiitv of two raiders'
and that they wish to delay announcing the loss in the hope that
the other rs2.I break a-r
for an announcement may serve to deny
'the opportwit). of locating her by direction.
Concerns were expressed that Svdnev's crew
'could have been taken off or picked by these vessels'.
Two raider issue continues DF was in operation The question of survivors from Sydney is raised.
Bernard Hallof the London Daily Express on
1/12/1941 made the daim that Sydn?~had
defeated Kmoran and was then sunk either
' -h
using torpedoes.
The surrender of Komornrz c o ~ i d e r e dT. he submarine stoly surfaces. Later he adx%ed that his source WEan press briefing.
4/12/1941 Geraldton personnel hear weak 'Men on b o u d... AS Sydney ..Sydney calling Darwin Distress Sig -Strats Lykard. They believed they were hearing a & p a l from HMAS Svr;'n-s~..
Genesis of the 'documented' signals from Sydney claims
RS. Close (also of the Melbourne Truth), in an article dated 1//13942 provided a reconstruction in which Kommnn sank zvdne!~with toruedoes after its Konnoran's) crew had atqndoned s h i a~nd were rowing towards the victorious Sydneu., but at the same timre wounded on Konnoran. c. 16/2/1942 Radio Tokvo claims the crew of HM4S Svdneu are ~risonerisn Tokyo. c. 17/2/1942 a Chinese Radio announcement of the 'internment of Sudnev's officers in Tokyo' Reference also made to submarine 2nd 'other shios which sank the Svdney'.
See Hall above. First claim of Japanese involvement Second such claim See Hall above
Cnprovenanced Australian press c. late 1941, early 1942, reads: 'Teil us the whole storv of the Sydney. Australians ha\.e reason for some wonderment at the fashion in i\.hich a more detailed description has been at last allowed to reach them. Now by way of New York, we learn another instalment of a story which was presumably obtained from survivors of the Konnorflnin Australia ... Australians are entitled to the full story oi this action which has been gradually revealed in a piecemeal fashion.'
Public d q u i e t voiced by press Concern at official handling
6
. K4AF unable to declare its 6 aircrew on Sydney dead until 9/6/1912.
They commented that:'The Naval Board has presumed the deaths
[ofRrLN personnel] on the basis of reports from-p
POW issue raised again
inter\*iewedbv International Red Cross and the negative results
of the air and sea search. The Rk4F were also not con\-inced that a plane
was not in the air when HMAS Sydney sank.
RAAF at odds with R4N
'The evidence negativing this possibility !\*asnot at all conclusive'.
1943.The noted maritime writer E. Keble Chatterton in an account of the 'Commerce Raiders' othenvise consistent with the norm states that Kornloran was flying a Y o n v e i a n flay
A contradictoq element from a well-respected author
22 September 1945. West Australian carxes a story on
loss of HhWS Sydney taken from an account of
August 1944based on a report from Dr Iiabben who was earlier
exchanged ex Komomn. The account reads:
'...the story confirms that told the Commonwealth authorities
by other survivors...on the mystery of the radio silence during the battle,
Dr Habben says only : "
N
F
the Wirekss durine the action. for obvious reasons."
Confirmation of accounts yet indirectly raising the signals issue in the press
1October 1945 Minute Paper prompted by the- r of the Japanese POW story reads: 'ln accordance with your instructions ...Commodore Collins...was directed to ascertain any information regarding the fate of HMAS Sydney from Ta~anesesources. German Naval Attache at Tokyo...does not h o w whether ship was torpedoed but stated that subsequent Wanese broadcast that s h i w~as towed to Ta~anwere definitelv in correct.. no survivors were ~ i c k e duo bv anv Axis vessel and - none were broueht to Tapan...C o l h s feels...no information is known anywhere in Japan which could support hopes that any personnel of HMAS Sydney are alive'.
October 1915. CMDR Long Director of Kaval Intelligence refuses to
publish data confirming the loss of all hands on
the basis that 'such an analysis would stiU not be accepted by s p m e absolute confirmation of the I O S ~
,o.itf1.as]l.]notfenthdeed" SnMothtFoY~'
S" ub
l
com~lemen i s hanvth
t.He then further c
stated on
that ca
Mtu-hi.s a.ction. and its results, unless the Board is forced bv
407'7
POW nunours persisting requiring official action The case is closed without satisfacto? public explanation
December 1945 and ianuary 1946 letters to and from politiciang inciudine Mr K.E. Beazley 6nr.l ex~ressineconcern about the loss of the s h i a~nd crew and urgino,further investieation.
Public disquiet continues
It is evident from this brief sequence, that unless there were strategic reasons for doing so, Commander Long's decision had an entirely negative public effect and it subsequently led to the deepening of the HMAS Sydney mystery at the end of the war. Tnis left those with 'insights' in the matter to continue to challenge the accepted course of events. These people had little effect outside their own circle for over thirty years, however. Tne matter came to a head when Michael Montgomery, son of HMAS Sydney's navigator, accessed the newly-opened archives in London after 1975and after interviewingnumerous individuals in Australia made a number of startling claims in a book published in 1981. Much of it is reflected in the sequence above. His work was followed in July 1981by the first postwar expression of concem from an Australian institution when the General Secretary of the Royal Australian Historical Society in Sydney wrote to the RAN and called for an inquirr if the accepted accounts were proved problematicby the location of the tcreck(s). The reply to Montgomery w2s, not from official sources or an instrument of the Australian Parliament, as it should have been, but from noted scholars Barbara Winter in 1984 and then Dr Tom Frame in 1993, both acting as private citizens. Perhaps affected by their sense oi injustice and outrage at the sensational claims, Cqeir analyses were adversarial and dismissive in style. In their dismissive manner, in disagreemg with each other on a number of key issues (notably the ChristmasIsland Carley Float) and in failing to address other matters satisfactorily e.g., the presence of outstanding archives and the 'Long decision', Winter and Frame have left 'unfinished business' for the Australian Governmentto attend to in the present inq*. It is hoped that the sequence presented above illustrates dearly the need to treat the issues now before you with an understanding of their antecedents. It is also hoped that the need for a clear, objective and unequivocal response to the issues, real or imagined, is now evident, given that is is the Australian Govenunent's poor handling of the matter that has led many otherwise well-meaning and genuinely concerned people to resurrect the (mainly spurious) nunour and innuendo of decades past.
Dr ha. ~ ! S a r t h ~ Curator of Maritime Archaeology
PINQ.SUBS.017.0014 Appendix 3: A precis of wartime events in WesternAt~stralia
PINQ.SUBS.017.0015
WESTERN AUSTBALIA AND WORLD WAR II EDITED BY JENNY GREGORY University of Western Australia Press I
WAR 1111-111-11- Mike McCarthy
Armed connict. or war.: iirst cme to the doorstep of those living in \Vestern Australia not in World \'i'uII, as most would imagine, but with &e corning of the Macassan trepangex to these shores in the seventee;* cenrury.2 The conflict between the Macassans and the Kimberley people was such that early nineteenth-century explorers were advised that a s:ate of 'perpetual warfare' existed in some parts of the country3 The process continued when colonizing Europeans
support of the 'mother country'. Oniy the return of a maimed or limbless combatant, or the arrival of a t e l e g r a informing the devastated reader of the death oi a close relative, brought h e enormity of war home to these shorts. In the first two years of World War 11 the prospect of armed conflict at hone was a distant notion for Western Australians, and for many it was to be called the 'phoney war'. IVar came to the doorstep of modem Western Australia on 25 and
26 November 1941. when 1\70 boatloads of German seamen landed at the 17 Miie \Veil and at Red Bluff on Quobba Station nor:h o i Carnarvon. The 'pride' o i Australia's naval fieet. the light ciuiser H M A S Sydney, was missing at the time and ships and planes had been despatched to fin! both it and its crew. Searching planes then found the two boats on ~uobj:. a d the station manager, two stockmen and an eleven year old boy went to the 17 Mile Well to investigate. Expecting
resorted to violence against Aboriginal
people. Termed 'skirmishes', 'inci-
dents' or 'punitive expedition's'. these
were nonetheless wars in the eyes of
those affected by them.' To the
-
Europeans they were insignificant clashes, but the deaths of twenty or a
dozen from groups with populations
numbering only in the hundreds were
catastrophic events indeed for small
regional societies. Ironicallp most
settlements in Western .iustralia were
also characterized by potential
invaders in World War 11 as insig-
nificant, sparsely populated, minor
impediments to their progress
Australia joined World War I1 as
an ally to Britain, and its men and
women left for distant shores in
PINQ.SUBS.017.0016
PINQ.SUBS.017.0017
defences when in foreign waters. This included th. merchant fleet, and as war clouds loomed all potential enemies were treated with suspicion by the host country. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), for example, was ordered to investigate a large fleet of Japanese whale ships noticed lingering off Bunbury in Ejovember 1940.22 On 20 January, one of the four mine-laying submarines. the I 124, was sunk at the entrance to Beagle Gulf, not far from the \Vestern Australian border. Here was the first accessible ocean-going Japanese submarine lost after the 7 December raid on Pearl Harbour, and it was thought to cany importan: naval codes. Divers were sent down to the wreck, but subsequent research has indicated that they dic! not enter it.:' This poses the question: when were the World Ll'a; I1 Japanese secret codes broken if they were no:, as claimed by some leading American and even Japanese naval historians, through the f124?2' It has also become appvent that American intelligence organizations were reading the mine-laying submarines' radio traffic and were most likely monitor. ing their progress into Australian waters.:s They apparently knew that the 1121 did not make a rendezvous with the other mine-layers and that it had been sunk.26 Despite this. they allowed the Allied warships to think otherwise and to thrash around for days, dropping depth charges on unfortunate whales and anything else :hat moved in the vicinity in order not !o compronise the fact that they were reading the radio traffic. This is understandabie, but it also illust-ates Australia's junior status and the virtual me-way traffic in intelligence from :his count:y in World War 11.:; There IS much to learn about war and :ts processes.
.+ustralians of all races and rel!?~ons were to suffer in the intensive and very destructive Japanese bornbings of Darwin and of the scattered a n d sparsely populated towns and missions on the Kimberley coast tha: soon followed. Danvin lost over 200 people, there w t s enormous damage and many ships were sunk. The attacks on Western Australia were on a much smaller scale. though to the inhabitants they were no less frightening. The State ship MV Koolorna was thrice attacked, and badly damaged, off the north Kimberley coas! in February 1942. for example, only to sink 2t the Wyndham jeF: during an d r raid i n the following month.:; On 1 March 1942. the war again came close to the hearts a d minds of the \Vestern Australian people when the 1:~htcruiser H.WS Pe.th, named after the Western Australia capital, and vsteran of many battles, was sunk by a ,!t?anese fleet in the S u d a St-ait betwesn Sumatra and Java. Half oEthe crew were killed or drowned and most of the survivors were captlved by the Japanese.29 It was anothe: terrible blow :a morale.
On 3 S k c h 1942 Broome was
attacked. Twenty-three Allied planes were destroyed. of which the majority were flying boats.30 Between seventy
and one hucdred people, including many civilian women and children, died. Ironica;!y the greatest number were some of the 8,000 refugees who had fled the Jqanese invasion of the Dutch colony LZIthe East Indies over a two week period in early 1942.11Many were killed as their transports were shot to pieces 5:: Japanese fighters. Six of the flying boat wrecks are visible today at low-water spring tides, their partly buried hulls still containing poignant reminders of those events.32
Fear of Japanese invasion was felt throughout the entire State. even in Pen! and Fremantle. In fact. according to an American submariner who arrived there following the evacuation
of the Philippi-2s. people expected an
attack on F r e ~ a n t l e'at any time' in
,
early 1942.3: Tiese fears heightened when the air wids spread to towns.
,i
missions and irs:allations as far south '
as Exmouth GuitJ; These included the Drysdale River Uission (Kalumburu), Wqndhan. Derby. Eroome. Carnot Bay,
, . I i
Port Hedland, Onslow and Esmouth Gulf.35 The raids lasted until September 1943 and there are many accounts dealing wi:h these events. They were seen to be a prelude to the invasion and subsequent occupation of Western Australia. The inhabitants were devas. tated as they counted their dead and
more on the training of Aboriginal soldiers at Liveringa Station In July 1942. Longmore wrote recommending that the 'natural ability' of the Aboriginal people be 'exploited and adapted for defence purposes'. In the west Kimberley ~t was noted, for example, that the acute hearing and
attempt to create a divers~on and spread panic into the southern sectlons of the State,bat on seeing the lights of aeroplanes above the airstrip, he withdrew to snack the then sbandoned port.44 News of the bombardment had to wait for the publication of a book by alapanese submariner at the end oithe
assessed the damage to their tiny
outposts.J6 To the Japanese attackers, however, they were an insignificant. There are also, as yet unnthstantiated, claims that Japanese
barely visible rabble; a poorly equipped, inferior force that was to be
submariners anchored off the coast on balmy summer evenings,
pushed aside at the slightest show of quietly enjoying music from the crowded dance halls near force. The wheel had turned for Euro-
pean \Vestem Australians.
Some in government even
suggested that only the area east of a line drawn between Brisbane and Melbourne could be defended and that all else be sacrificed to the Japanese. Despite this, a defence of north-west and western coasts and Central Australia was planned. In July 1942, for example, a Guerilla Warfare Group was formed after the Broome raids, in order to destroy the lugger fleet and deny the enemy easy access to the facilities of the town.]: .4 500 man North Australia Observer Unit was also formed in response to the bombings and the potential invasion. Established as a future behind-thelines guerilla force, called the 'Nackeroos' or 'Curtin's Cowboys', they patrolled from the Kimberley to the Gulf of Carpentaria.38 Major G.D. Mitchell's Kimberleybased 111 Australian Corps. Guerilla Warfsre Group, conducted long-range independent patrols of six to eight men using camels. donkeys and occasionally luggers in the Kimberley, from 1942 to 1943. His report is one of the classic pieces of North West
eyesight of the Aboriginal people allowed them to discern Japznese and Allied planes at a long distance.39 Mitchell, quite correctly. believed that Aboriginal people were the key to any future defence of the Kimberley.40 Direct Aboriginal involvement in World War I1 is estimated at 3.000 soldiers, sailors and airmen alone, not counting work in a support role in Australia." Japanese patrols and submarine attacks on shipping also continued along the ccjast, and valuable merchant ships were sunk east ofEsperance and off the north-west coast." The public knew little of these events. though interestingly it was the acknotvledged scarcity of ships that may have led to the demise of the Sydneyand its men. Orders to close in quickly and board suspicious vessels and prevent them being scuttled could have been the catalyst for the decision to place the Sydney in a suicidal position alongside the Korrnoron." There was even a hint of the
wx.43 There are also. as yet u n s u k a n -
tiated, claim that Japanese sub-
mariners anchored off tine coast on
balmy s m m : evenings, quietly enioy
ing music kom the crowded dance
halls near Co:esloe beach.
;
There lr.25 also the occasional
landing on these shores. Evidence for
this comes in the case of a reconnais-
sance landing by four Japanese
soldiers in York Sound, near the
mouth of the Moran River, in January
1944.46 M'hii appears to have been a
boat carrying Chinese qerchants and
lapanese spies was also captured by
defence forces at Cape Leveque, north
of Broome, in .4ugust 1944.47
The armed forces were con:inu-
ally on the alert for such landings. In
June 1942, for example. a portion of
a Japanese lifebelt and a box marked
HMAS Sydney were found at Green
Islets by the 44th Infantry Battalion.
which took over coast-watch duties
from the 1 0 5 Light Horse Regiment
Being just south of Jurien Bay. the
find is of some interest, for Jurien Bay
Australian literature, ~rovidingmany insights into attitudes, the people and the land. Mitchell's report also includes an analysis from a C. Long-
ridiculous when Po17 Gregory was shelled by the Japanese submarine 1 1 6 5 on 28 January 1943. Its captain had intended shelhng Geraldton in an
had been used as an anchorage by Japanese cruisers in \Vorld \Var 1 when they were allies in Australia's fight with Germany.49 Indeed it could
PINQ.SUBS.017.0018
equally have been a Japanese cruiser. and not HMAS Sydney I, that was despatched from a convoy to the Cocos Islands to destroy the German cruiser S M S Emden in 1914. It i s expected that the Japanese would have used the bay as a safe haven while acting as Australia's enemies during World War 11 and thus the finding of Japanese matedds at Jurien Bay should come as no sq:ise. Nor too should the location of HMAS Sydne-v material, for t i e ocean currents are fickle indeed; for example, some years a%er4. battle a lifebelt from that ship ws iound o n the east coast of Austidia.i2 War often appears st-mge i n hindsight: the allies of one ga--neration are the enemies of the next; the conquerors of one era are the vanquished i n the next: and so it goes on. T.A. Detmers, the capt& o i the Kormoran, remembered Frernantle well, having visited there ic a cuao vessel before the war. S o n e say h e even left a sweethevt i n t i e east o n one of his voyages there. Okm cousin fights against cousF. T h e [is: of the dead from the Sydney, for example. includes a remarkable number of German names like humann, Hartrnann, Kleinig. Richter, Schmidt and Voigt.sl The Japanese men from Cape Leveque were apparently quietly executed a s spies.52 Thei; remains could have been some of the 'Asiatic' skeletons found recently south of Fremantle on G a d e n I s I L I ~ ,at Careening Bay, a secret World War 11 base.33 There the famous '2' Special Unit also maintained its base and conducted tests and training runs on a number of experimental 'topsecret' mini-submarines and attack crafts4 One was the 'Sleeping Beauty', in effect a deadly form of subaersible canoe. One unfortunate cor?.zando
died when testing his underwater Merredin. Nungarin. Albany. Kalgoor-
chariot, apparently from the effects of lie and Esperance. Some of these
oxygen poisonins. Both he and h:s rernains are visible today. Strangely,
submersible are yet to be found.ss
some have only come to light in recent
Cnbeknown to :he ..\!lies. t t ? yeas. A Concrete gun emplacement at
notion of invading Australia lost i : ~ South Frernantle, for example. was
attraction to the Japanese hierarck! unearthed only recently, and tunnels
and they had abandoned the idea by used at the Leighton. Rottnes: Island
March 1942% .\s a result, tvidespreis and .\lbany gun emplacements are
destruction. murder and rape, the only now being reopened and
traditional bequest of every v i o l e x excavated for public use.
occupation since time immernoria:
One c i the most significant physi-
were not visited upon :he State cal and sociai maniiestations of the
especially the South West and ;kt war for \Vestern Australians appeared
population centres of Perth. Fremx.- in :he for= of the troop moverner.ts
tle. Bunbury and .Ahany
th:ough Frernantle and Albany, znZ in
Despite this there were plenty c i \Yorid LVar I1 the burgeoning sub-
maniies:a:ions of defence against such nar:ne bases at both those ports.
an even:. These appeved in the f o x Frernantle and Albany especially were
of coastal and island defences. g u z to prove the last glimpse of Austrzlian
emplacements. submarine booms. shores for many thousands of Aus-
airstrips, radar ins:al!ations, militan. traltan. New Zealand and American,
camps, 2nd munitions a d fuel dumps in places as far aiield as Derby, Gingin.
sewicemen in World M'ars 1and U. 1 Forced to withdraw from the
Fonestdale. 8yfo:d. \Voodrnan Poin:. Philippines at the end o i ~ e c e m b e i
1942. the American Asiallc Fleet sought a safe base.'- Elenlent> ol the fleet \vent first to Darwin. where w n e of its aircraft and destroyers assl.;tctl r \ u s t n l ~ a ncorvettes i n sinhnc Ihr I 124. Commg under threa: or alr attack. then they looked to E\~noulh Gulf but found 11 totall! unsudrle. The follo\ring e c e r p t fro111a tliirr! kept on board the quhniarinr I'SS Sculpcn h~ghlightsthe rernotenrqs of the area and the sparse populst~unsof Sorth \Vest .+ustral~ain those ds!s.
Exmouth Gulf was in one of the most unsettled Lclidest parts of Ihe conttnenl The bay was not charred and the nezred town, ONIDW, wLj! 400 people was fiifl rules ... away Across fhe entrance to Emolrbi was a dotted bs marked 'unexpJored:s"
In March the ,imerlcans rr:tlrd on Fremantie and Albany as their submarine basss. To reduce the impact c~f the estra distances travelled. the! established a refuelling bas? at Esmouth Gulf. The Royal .ics::alian Xavy (RhSl also established a rcfudling depot at Onslow. One hundrrd and sixty-seven war patrols were subsequently made by American British and Dutch submarines horn the Fremantle submarine base." it hecanie second only to Pearl Harbour in this region for its efficient!. ill taking the Indo-Pacific war back to its originators. the Japanese.*" At one stage there were over fifty Arnerii:an. British and Dutch subnlarines hasrd at Fremantle!,' The public support ior the , submariners was estraordlnart. for they were seen as the salvallon of the country.l.4 The rlsks the!. tc~ol.wr(d also widely acknowledged. and to slay sane while under attack \\us often a battle in itself.'" .\s a resul: the submariners worked hard at sea played hard ashore.
. ' . . . Many submar.:.n:s. I:le Ton) :\err ii: ;!ore :m?or!an: ta f i e xar S:~iderfront the LSS Hcrdrr stsyed .,.',,.' ' . '.-d I.--r.-...,--cl:...In a
on in \Yestern Au.;::alla. !:?\.aiided z:ane c:asii tvniie e\amir.izg :he from his ship acd subsequent!! zchospitalized, he m:rseci a pa:;ol rn i i ~ a n e s ru.Se2: s h . ~anC ?:: ol! August 1944 from a,:l!ch the Horder ...-,a1Ia:iai: b u ~ i :a: Onslon :r. i\or!o
never returned.hq D?vas;atec: by the \Yar !: to scpp!! !he .il!~ed sub-
loss of his shi?mates. Snider ::ar:nss ;nc ! u d q CSS Horcer
remained and was :a become one of
.i nxnue: oi remote pkces a!s9
the State's foremos: and brst Anoi1.n koastrc! s:rst;lps such as Lea:mir!h at
salvage divers. app!.ing :hat brand ol E\xo:~:h G1::i. Tr-sco:: on !he .+nlc
daring and inventiteness apparentl!. ??I:II?SU::I:~ :he nxthern Klz>b?rIq.
conimon to submariners n; Orlr of his anc C o r ~ n n a D o \ ~ n cnear llarblr
postwar feats was sn!t;lpe at the : I , i r P^~;h~c:t. ::lr ieh nor.-ccz:Sa:anl
wreck of the S S .\:.'ci>nri I Goulon. E;:rc?p?a::., ,i~ii:inr Aborlgnas p:esent
drrs. which had S U I I ~ . nvzr Poinl ;.>.~!cisee b,w:'~*:\ a:::: f~gh!c:\comr
D'Entrecas:eaus in 194;. c.a-::~ir.: s a:lc; Fa w . 2 ~::.:vcr r : refur:; Oni!
cargo o f m u n ~ t i o n santi The toast \vas s::-1\11
W.,I I:-
:;r~rd> r.~:l
~
Tn:sco:: s..,. q..!?:
..:::I, i . \ \ i t < II::.!\~vl:k !?cnld ,,\!-. ?..:~c~ry::te!:*~.C' 1 1 , ~
- nrourid \*.it11Lases r : Acrort.lir. :~t.::r: :,.-;,.r.)L8.::,:
S , . I , <;iLe ::y -.:,.:.im.
ant1 liquor. g i v i n ~.ocil\ A:: ur,c\.
w.+ ;I. ..' i s 11, 1~:a.t: m r : l , : : : e I!>
petted warrlrne t , o ! ~ ' iir.;.. t v \ a .
official interest. at .hv ::IIIC,,.\:!< 01,
the hales ol conrprtswc! riii>:w :I..II
\Yere drifting arounC I ~ oI .v.11. T!i~:v.
personnel and acting as a base for a
variety of World I'aiI1 aircraft ranging
from Beauforts. B15 Mltchells. Beau-
fighters. Mosquitos. L~ghtnings,Spit-
fires. 92.1 Liberators and Catalinas.70
Even its name is of significance,
reflecting the career of K.\%'.(Bluey)
Trusco:t. a twenty-six year old - 4 ~ s -
tralian. -4fter a notable career as an
acknowledged air ace during the Battle
of Britain and in the defence of Port
Moresby in August-September 1942,
he was sent home to Australia for
h o n e defence and escort duty.
Ironically, he died after plunging into
the sea off Exmouth in March 1943.
while escortin: an inbound Catalina.
There are n a n y similar stories, such as
the naming o i Leamonth after an
equaIly famous pilot who died while
on a training m~ssionoff Fremantle.::
There were other air bases. some
. -m. uch closer to population centres. The Wheztbelt town ofcunderdi.n.-..f-n-r example, housed first an elementary
flying training school in the period
and then a Liberator bomber base. and
Geraldton served as a training base for
twin-engined Ansons. Perth residents
had three separate Catalina operations
in the Crawley/Pelican Point area to
remind them of the war, and they often
went to see those ugly, bulging, yet
very effective amphibians come and
go. What they did not know was that
United States Air Force and RAAF
planes often went north ior refuelling
at flying boat tenders located at
Geraldton. Exmouth Gulf and in the
Dampier Archipelago in the North
',Vest a n d at Yampi Sound and Cygnet Bay in the Wmberley, before proceed-
ing further north on operations. Some
operated on the south coast, and
holiday-m&ers on quiet Nornalup
Inlet often saw flying boats land on
kaining ashore f
exercises or rest at
annedartbhyeiTr ianigrclerewwoo"edo
Some flying boats were
116
PINQ.SUBS.017.0019
information' tiat left no doubt that
there were 'no sun%'ors', 11was not to
be publtshea or made available.'g
Documents were then either
destroyed or sent to the archives and
the War Menorial in Canberra. to
await the expiry of a secrecy period in
accordance w h British tradition i n
the meantime, brief of5cial accounts.
john Ross's ~\.urime book Stormy
Petrel and \'ice-Admiral Collins's
account cf fce ship and its career
served :o c c d c z and satisfy some.
though man) sail bore feelings of
unhappiness 2nd unease throughout
the secrecy period.
One of t h e was !hchael Mont-
gomery, son of ;he Hlrl.4S Sydney
navigator. In .ke mid-19XJs. with the
ending of the resnicted period. Mont-
gomery began z search io: information
unarmed, part of a World \Car 11 Qantas Indian Ocean Catalina service from Crswley to Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Some say that the big brown jellyfish. favourite target of postwar 'bombies' for airboine kids flying off iet:ies, swimming baths and river bridges. came here as spawn on the Qantas seaplane floats. Others believe tha: the); were always here.:' The stories are legion and as they are slowly being told, surprisingly in ever increasiqg numbers even after all these years, many are casting new light on the war on our doorstep.'* In March 1942, for example. twelve Australian aircrew commenced sailing to the North West aker escaping capture in Java. They landed at a deserted lighthouse marked 'Fraser Island' and then set s2il for the dlstan: shore. before being ptcked up by a passing Catalina near the Robe River south of Barrow Island.'j T h e Fraser Island light. however, is only a few kllometres offshore from Xingaloo Stanon, and the discrepancy was solved only recently when It was found h a t names on some
of these remote features and hghthouses were s~vitchedduring the war to confuse the expected invader^.'^ Unfinished Business W i b respect to the aftermath of war and the need to right past wrongs. there is still much unfinished business to attend to from all the wars on our doorstep. For European Australians. this includes serious and sustained attention to the aftermath of our forebears' wars of colonization. M'ith respect to IVorld War I1 there is unfinished business in the Cape Leveque and HMAS Sydney cases at least." After the war some people still believed that there had been survivors from the Sydney who were possibly still alive in prison camps. In response to a request to publish a compilation or material on the loss of the Sydney that would serve to end such speculation.7" R.B.M. Long, the Director of Naval Intelligence, decided that although there was a 'mass of confirmatory
on the loss of b.s father. On the basis of what he focnd in the archives, and in a dubious contemporary analysis of a series of cq-ptograrns. Montgomery made some quite stzrtling claims, about the behacour of the Kobmoran men and *e involvemeni of a japanese submarine, in his book Who Sank the S+ney?80 He also claimed that the demisa oi W A S Sydney was the subject of n elaborate 'cover-up' on the part of the navy and the Australian intelligence service. Old wounds were opened up for those w h o read his work. Interest blossomed where there was none previously. More material was unearthed and Montgomerl;'~book was soon followed by a suiden! and detailed defence of the Germans and a debunking of the claims that there was a cover-up or that Japanese were involved, by Australian scbolar Barbara Winter.81 The debate that ensued only made matters worse. In November 1991, delegates at the HMAS Sydney Forum. held at the Western Australian Maritime Museum
PINQ.SUBS.017.0020
on the fiftieth anniversary of the loss. contain evidence that signals from the month goes by without some new and
made a request for a thorough search Sydney were read on the night of sometimes outrageous claim with
of the archives and an objective 19 November. These stated that it had respect t o the Sydney saga. Such
.
accounting, in order to help put the found a suspicious ship and that it was revelations, whether true or false, real
mystery to rest. The question whether going into battle. The person making or imagined, leave unfinished busi-
XMAS Sydney could ever be found the claim about these signals appar- ness that must be properly attended
was also addressed, with disappoint- ently missed being sworn to secrecy to. For a c o u n p to lose 645 men and
ing results.8' Lieutenant Tom Frame. on that night and apparently knew that boys in its senice, and then not to
KiN. a delegate to the forum, later h e Sydney had been sunk on that commission the broadest possible
joined the fray (as a private citizen) night. Despite this, the search did not search of archives a t the end of the
with a book entitled HU'LS Sydney, commence until 24 November. with secrecy period or when serious doubts
Loss a n d Controversy. Published in obvious consequences for those in the are shown to exis. is problematic. The
1994 after he had left the navy, it water.& Given Cia; similar claims had decision not to attempt the fullest
represents a strong defence of Captain been zade for over half a century, only possible explanation over fifty years
Joseph Burnett and an equally spirited to be dismissed as nonsense by the after the event is also clearly at odds
attack o n those of the Montgmxery ilk. authorities, to kave private citizens with the expecEtions of those who
Though a scholarly -.vork casting new like Montgomery. Winter. Frame and were sent i n defence of their country
light on the incident, it proved of little Ross to account for the loss of the and of their rela~ves.War is bell, and
&ace to those affected by the tragedy, Sydney in recent times, the results to leave such business unfinished only
for it was not the result of an have been predictable. Scarcely a prolongs that hell for those left behind.
exhaustive search of the archives. as
had been hoped. Frame's Look was
followed by former HMAS Sydney
officer John Ross's gentlemanly
account of life in the RAN from 1930 to 1950, including his service on the missing ship. Though Ross mentions the ongoing Sydney saga in brief, it is but one part of a much broader naval tapestry.8' Despite this. the pain of the ship's loss and his concern at the continuing conboversy were still evident, only to be erased by his death as this I chapter was being prepared.
THE LOSS O F THE SYDNEY
I i
H.M.A.S. Sydney, memory of you brings to yourland an
I
everlasting pride.
The nation mourns you and the valorous crew that in the
cause of freedom fought-and died.
You were a mighty symbol of our daim
'To nationhood; a guardian of our shores.
In the annals of our history your fame
Will live with those who cherish freedom's cause.
In 1995 Barbaa Winterpublished
You set a standard hard to follom, when
a book on Commander Long, a key figure in Australian intelligence and a key to the decision to suppress information on the loss of HMAS Sydney. Entitled The IntrigueMoster, thebook, which otherwise analyses Long and his activities in considerable detail.
You proudly sailed away to meet your fate. If we can emulate your courage, then- Wc will indeed bc great. You sleep in peace beneath the troubled wave, Your find resting place no man can tell. Only the deep. unfathomable oceau knows your grave-- She keeps her secret well.
contains no real mention or examina-
tion of Long's decision, but does
War on the Doorstep .1-11.1111- Mike McCarthy War. a contest between nations or partles carrial o n br force of arms, takes many forins and has man) causes r.g tr~di. differences, land or raw material acquisitrnn prosrams, elhn~c. religrous or racial differences. strateglr cons~dcral~ons. colonizat~on,defence, or support of an endangrrcd ally T h ~ s chapter on the war needs be read in con1um:tion wlth L I Peel', analysis of the air. land and sea war in Appendix I C C M a c h i p h t . Ibroge lo Alorege Mocasson Trqmngrrs :n Northern Auslrolro. Melbourne. 1067. T h e Macaasm treparigers came from Macassar IWakassar. now U p n g Pandanu). one of thr great emporiums of regional t r a d ~t.o dive fur trepan:: (bEche&. mer or sea slugl, a much sought after commod~lya n d one of thv obiects of the vovages of the Clacassans. B u g s and other peoples incorrectly called 'Malays' by most European observrrs at the !me. P P King. A Xarmtwe of n S u n w o j the Inferlroprcol a n d IVesrern Coasts oi.lusrrnlro Performed Between t h e Yeors l8lR o n d 1 8 2 . Australrari Facsimile Editions. no 3. Adelaide. 1069 ( 1 u 2 3 . rol. 1. p 138 For example. 'Fltln; Foam >lassacre'. La Grange 'Pu~ulivr Party' or the 'Ballle of Pmlarra'. See. for example. I S . Bau!r, Il'eslern Auslroiro A History From 11s Drscorery lo l h r lnougumlion of h e Commonrveollh. facs~mrlccdri Ncdlandn. 1978 119241, p. 133: 1.0. Gribble. Dark Deeds :n o Sunr~! Land o r Hocks a n d ll'hrles in .Varth-Wesf .4uslrolio. Pertb. 198: 119051: N Green. 'Aborrgincs and \Vhitc Settlers in Ihc nineteenth century'. in C T Stannage led.), A .Yew Hlsron of Il'eslern Auslrolro Nedlands. 1981. ch. 3 The German sa~lorscame ashore at the 17 Mile \\'ell and Rrd Bluff on Quobba Stat~on.Red Bluff is now a p o p u h r s u r t i ~ ~ g spot a n d tlie cavrs In w h ~ c hthe Germans look shelter at thc bluff are prized as the best $11the a\arlelrlr acconimod;~(ivir there 8. \Vrnter. H&USS!drrr!.1: Focl. Funlast' ~ r n dFraud. Brt.;b.~iiv. 1881. pp 150-17 h i d . p 179 There were a numht-r of Chinese sa~lorson hoard. h a v q bwn retalned from the crews of A l h d merchantmen captur~vlb! 1111. h h n , o r o n C r r v numbvr.; q i ~ o l c dfor tho Korrriomn rdr! .I:. .I wault. T l i ~dclav of fivv d . 1 ~ 5III comniencin:: ~ h svw r A wm t.ru~.~,il The horror 01 h u : n l r t d ~111hudirs Ilc~;it~n::nn I h . 5c.1 .~ltrr,) drlayrd scorch tr I~r.wqhthumr In the t n m y p u l r l i ~ d t ~ 1u11~1 hllir loss of the LISS 1.1~11~111~IrnpaWl~f.~d d 1Vdr 11, as; B Lm 11 A/! f h r Drowned Sorkrrs. Lt~~idtm1.982 hltt:rndtvrl\. Ihe:n, i v ~ .sI ~ I JS \ e l u ~ ~ d ~ s c l o srrc11t5l1111Iur the w c r v u ll1.11 l ~ c l1c1 1111. 1114.1\ T R, Fr~mr?1.IM:l.S 'it #/rltsi.L,?r*rrnrlG~nlrovr~rsS~v'dilt~\ ISV11. 11 i I Ross. Luckv Rm.. (:.~rli%la?.1'194. lrp W-11;:
PINQ.SUBS.017.0021
B W!ntf.r Thv 1nlr1:ur Ibr\lr.r (:~rmrrnclr-r Lon: m # l .Vmr~!
lnl,~l/ryncr.rrr .4uslrrlikr. 1'11 1-1 -145, Ullnl.lr~mI~~ l l l ' l ~ 1 1 1 ~ ~ 1 1 1 t ~ l IWS, pp IZR-l?!l. T O P.II~IV5u, h1ndr111W~~.irlilrv Ltlir.~r$ 4 i h n t a L l m l c ~C. dllf . Iott~!r10 \I h l ~ l ~ ~ nHl iJvune' I'I'III. 1 124 uch~:r. D~p.~rtmcnnl ! M.tr~llmt, h r ~ : l i . ~ c ~ ~ClVr:\ ~ ~Ayl.;~ritu~ir 4I; \luseum
W~nter.1'115, pp ILR-12')
47
R Wcholas. .\fr Rrlsp/~err?h. rmiwe>d.Pcnh. 1085
.%n account appears In B Loant,. The Koolarno Incrdcmt. P d i 48 1992
%. Pa!ne, FWAS Perrh The Story of thr r; Inch Crorsrt 19361942. Garden lslnnd (NSWI. 1978
Rf \V Pnme. Broarnes One Day War. Broome. 1992. WH. Tyler. Flight of Dromonds. Cariisle. 198i.
S Gadla. 'Air R a ~ don Broome'. Flypast. 1980. pp 44-43
The wrecks are now protected by Icgislat~on
C. hfendenhall. Subrnorrnc Dray. The Silenr Stolkrn~of lopon.
Chapel Hill [North Carolina). 1991. When he arrlved at Fremantle tn March 1942. Mendenhall noted 'The local people.
40
who expected to be suhlected lo Japanese attack at any time.
heaped praise on our Aslatic Fleet forces. consider~ngus
savwurs. They couldnt do enough for us' (pp. 51-521.
50
L.1 Peet. 'An O u t h e History of the Armed Forces in Western Australia during \V\V II'. information sheet prepared for 51 Australia Remembers' celcbratiuns. Perth. 1995. I am indebted
to hfr Peet for making thn and other informat~onfreely available
to me
- The anack on the mission saw six people killed including a 32 priest, a mottx and bnby. a d !hrs%ch11d:cn L.;. k e t .
' \ f o n b at tVar. Interpretations of the Kalumburu War D~ar!.. 53 1912-1945'. .Vea.Sorcro Studres. no. 3. July 1905. pp 39-53
'Stmberley Under Attack'. Kimberley Echo, 2 March 1992. 51 pp 13-15. The 3 Xlarch 1942 attack on a DC3 aircrah at Carnot
Ba! became noted for both the bravery of the Dutch pilot
Captam Ivan Smirnoff and the loss of S?0.000.000 worth of diamonds in an innocuous brown paper package Smirnoff had been given at Banduns In lard. \Vounded In both arms and 55 unaware of the contents. Smiriioff lost the package when the
arrcrait was dotvned rn Carnot Bay. A week later 'Diamond' Jack Palmer and a number of Aboriginal hands sailed into the buy In
a luger The? found the package and Palmer pocketed thp
diamonds. Manv have not been recovered. Prime; Tyler
I Pearn. Watermen of 1lbr.A Histon. of no 43 .+usfra!ron Water Pansport Operotin: Company lLandrng Croffi AlE of the Royal
.4ilstralran Engrneers. Br~sbane.1993
56
R S: H Walker. Curt~n'sCoivboys Auslrrrlrn's Secret Bush Cornn~nndos.Sydney. 1992
5:
1 .\nd+rson. Shrre of D~.rDwlt'esthrmherln D~rectorv.1995 58
P 31 C D, M~tchell.'Enst K~mhidrvhcc~ss~hil~tIny''.Rcpnrt nn thv
59
Operat~uiisof the 3rd iustrahan Corps Gucr~llaLVarlm Croup rrr the Kimberley Regloii. Westrrn Alistral~a.1942-19.13'. p. 29 60
ropr h d J III Army Irlus~.iiniol iVA. Frrmiantlt.
~btd.
61
T bh~buva.Subm.iriw Opcrotions Drccmbrr 1941-hprll 1942' 62
j ~ ~ j ~ t .~\lnoenosp~ph S t r 102. Cl~lit;irvHisttrr Sc(.tron. HQ 63
Ariii$ Forces F u Cast 1~11l.lnps.p 144-145
kt-npvdcncr unwrllied hv rcscarchw I\'l Olson cmph;a~zt:\
tli~sp ~ ~ 4 1 1 l i[itnv prqwr.tt~wtl
It! \ V d d \ h r I Purl G r y m l i d Iiwn a [ I I I I V I I I ~wtlct fut sd: .it~,I oihnr iii,~tcri.ti~but rn World W.ir I1 I I r w dtwrtcd 64 (: h ~l,it.do~i.~I7J'11.r* Lrttb. Hont 1brr/~011rt'i~storv01 Pon 6.5
(;rqon. ll1,111.S w d s o 1 D ~ L I vI\'l.w brt11 Itu\ .Vat (1 Spv h l h . 1'194. pp $1-14 XI H;~sh~ni,!lo.S.unk' rlw Srtm ,,/ thr ktponrw* S o l w ~ r r n r F l d , 1941--1;. Na-w Yd.. 19% K h F~pvr.Th18 llrddrri Clmplerc Carltnr !Vu lm~,iJ I W i r h 15. \Vlntr%r1. 1'15, p 230 R P1pL.r. Thv Mptc~ryof the Bandoen? .\ldru' R.4.4F . \ ~ n * b~~vwnb1e9r fli. pp 6-7. Pipcr. 1995. p 13 \ L r Diar!. 4 4 Inl Bn.juoe 1942- AlVhi 52 fJ.'3,81 Spr C.R McKenz~e.Sni~tli.Austrolros Forgotten .4rmy lblume I The Ehb und Flniv of the Australran Am]? rn llestern .+ustrolto Chapman k4CTI. 1994. Details in hlcKenz~e-Sm~ttho jefkn Public Recurds Office. Ro!al Australian Navy (PRO R.%X 28 September 1994 The lifebelt and box are not necessar~l~ related. given that the Japanese were possibl! using Jurien Ba\ in World War I1 as a haven for reconnaissance patrols and that one of these may have passed through HMAS Sydner flotsam See n 49' Davies. pp 46-55, Winter. 1991. p. 181 Iurl~nBar was used b! the Japanese crulser Ibuki in World War I and ~t is expected 12 have beconie a haven for Japanese vessels followmp. HhlAS Sydney. file 630181 Department of . \ l a r ~ t ~ m ~ Archaeology. WA Marltime hluseum. Interestingly the lbuk~was part of the convoy taking Auslral~an.; to the war. and though its commander wished to jo~nHlIAS Svdney I in pursuit of the Emden. he was restrained Frel. p 91 Winter. 1991. 11. 181 E. Simmonds B N Smith. Rodor Yarns. i o w e r (h'S\Y). 1991 iY9. !Oa-:l:. There appear to be a number of graves on the island Four hate been located to date. This was an A d m i n i s t r a ~ ~ r eHolding l n i t for Specia. Operations hustralia. given the local cater name ol lnteralliec Sertlcos Department IIASD, or ISD). C.B. Courtnec Srleaf Feet The Histnn of Z Spccro! Operottons 1942-1945 McCra- (Victorial. 1993. p. 2 The '.Aslat~c'sleletons found were uneanhed during expanstor. of the naval base to cater for the new Collins class of sunmarm named after the illustr~ouscommander uf U\f.%S Svcneip.The bones were prematurely d~sniissedas those of Lascars lor lnd~ar. seamen1shot while attempting to escape from the s a ~ l i nhr aqu* Rackrngham as its maddened captain trwd to take it to sea In c s i n h p state rn 1842 C.J. Henderson. l'crmrshrd 1bi.o:es vol I. Sedlands. 1980. pp. 113-118 Frc~p 1 i l . \VC iV~~islonT.. ~ FPleer the Gods Far$::. t h 1's :tsr;:ir Flee: In U?VI'll. Annapolis (Maryland] 1083 Me~idenhall.p 46 L Calms. F r ~ r i ~ n n tSlcec~ret Fleets Allrrv! Sdom'mn~. Based rr Il'e..lern Auslrnlrn durrng I+Tt 11 Freniantlv. 1995 D. Creed. Oprrotrons of the Fren~unllt~Sulmrcrrr-r Bosf t942-1945. Lirden Island fKS\\I 197'1 Gilrns. p Y hlcliJcnh~llp. ill For ~ \ m i p l e t,+w?n Amcriran subnr,~r~nuow . lust ,.n patrw out ut Frt~m,~notln~e Dutcli \ e d \r;1,b1 *~ttl..ddnll 0x2 B r ~ t ~ s h bo.~t was !,twrclv do~nagod.See Cd~rn,. C r w l hlt!:dt.nhal! rrwunts .BI I I I I I I ~01~ ~11ient.11I~rcaLdwrnratii$mhli T h ~ s~ n c ~ d s nISt dlso d~scusscdIn Cay Elvers's cl~;il~t1c1r1 t h ~ s vdumr Ab ~ i r icxdmple of h ~ s'style'. S n ~ d e r~ l a usc!arched incessantly for tlic wrcck of thc SS Perrcles Imt off G p e Leeuwm In 1010 Hr cvcntually found thr? wreck In 1957 bv hanpnl: suspendrd 20 metres below the surfan. on the anchur of his wooden launch. the Hurder. as ~t dr~ftedacross thr mountainous seas at the J U I I C ~ I Uo~f the l~idianand Southern oceans fi: The Commonwealth Comm~tteefor the Recovery of Flotsani Crude Rubber. see Nicholas A hale of rubber was sighted in the Esperance museum In 1993, pers. comm.. L.1 Peel. - 68 L.1 Peel. 'World War I1 Military Aviatlon S ~ t e sSurvey .Western Australla' (in preparation). 69 ibid app C. Aboriginal Involvement with Military Aviation III Western Australia. 1940-1945. Weekend Australian. 29-30 August 1992. p 58. 'Truscolt Revisited'. Lstenrng Post. summer 1992. pp. 49-50 70 ' A Tribute to Truscott Airbase'. Kim6erle.v Echo. 11 hfay 1992. 1. Beuv & C. Beasy. Truscolt. The Dray of Australro's Secret Kimberley Airbose. Loftus (NSIVI. 1995. 71 Learmonth air base at Exmoutb was named aher Wing Commander C.C. Learmonth, who also returned to Auslraha aher an illustrious career in combat. In January 1944 he calmly described the problem with his disintegrating tailplane assembly as he headed to a certain death in the waters between Rottnest and Fremantle while on a training flight. Chief of Air Staff Advisory Committee IR4AF Histor~call.AF/IIIS. I am indebted to PRO RAN Vic Jefbry for providing this mater~al. 72 F Sawday. pers. mmn. 73 pers. comm w ~ t hthe author. The white-spotted jellvf~sh Phvllorrzo pundolo. Though acknowledged as a possidilitv, marine biologist Shirley Slack-Smith of the WA Museum believes it is unlikely. due to the drying effect of the wind over the seaplane floats. Manifestat~onsof the type, which is also common in eastern Australia and at sea, can bc due to other effects. 74 B:owse Island, for example, was used by both the Allies and the lapanese. The Allies kept a Serv~cesReconnaissance Depot there. and the Iapitnese used it as a staging post for forays onto the mainland.
i l ~ IeUC of 1111: Smrpron. Dcp.irtni~w4 Wmt~lnvArrhaeologv, \\'A Marlt~nieRluseurn 4179 M Clespon. Depot h l a n a ~ w . hustraltrn hlar~nc Saft.iv Author~t).I:rcmantle. pers comm Though the execution of spies w.3~common practice amon5 natluns. the. ~dent~ficatioand repatrlstlon or proper treament of the rrmams accardmg to the trad~t~uonf the rountn of ongin are now required A smilar circumstance occurs with I I Z ~ lapanesr War Cemelcry at Corvra In hew South \gales, scene of a mass breakout by Japanese prisoners In \Vorld \Yar I1 IS one accepted repository Lieutenant Commander RycroR. Staff Off~cer.Inlell~geoce. Naval Staff Office. Fremanlle. to the D~rector. Saval Intell~gence.Naw Office. Melbourne. I? October 1945 R B.M. Long. D~reclorof Naval Intellrgence. Melbourne. to StaE Officer llntelligencel, Naval Office. Fremantle. 23 October 1 % ~ . M. Montgomery. Who Sank the Sydnev?. London. 1983 Beczuse the book in which the m a t e r d appeared was publ~sbedm 1994 IMcKenrie-Smith). Montgomery was not aware of the Jurieo 3av find He would most likely have used rt to augment his elm regarding a Japanese submarine and HMAS Sydner had be b e n aware of ii at the time. As rndrcated, there ma! be no connectlon at all between the lifebelt and fbe Svdnev box. Bv not conducting a full inquir) after the expi? bf tde semc!. per~od,involving a thorough search o f the archiws, the government will contlnue to he presented w t h nen evlcence of this nature, and baseless or 111-foundedrumour and sup?oslzm will result from it. Winter, i991 K. K~rsnerS; M hlccarthv lcompsl Papers Iron; the H K i S Svdnev Forum. Fremontle. 21-23 .Vovem6ec 1991. report Depmment of hlaritime hrchaeolil.': W.\ Xlarltinu X h s e ~ m . no. 52. Ross. According to Wnler. 1995. p. 117.orre officer at i.lor.zon, rhe w~relessstation in Canberra. had been m~ssedIn u e s . r e r a c to secrecy on the night of 19 November As a result. he Mor-.?d the incident. Rumour spread from the apparent attcnpt :L suppress the stor)., understandahl~beg~nningthe con:ove:r\ about the Sydney.
322 WAR ON THC LIOORSTEP

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