The sad saga of the fate of the HMAS Sydney can finally be put to rest. One of Australia’s greatest maritime mysteries has at last been solved and it is time for families, friends and the nation to properly mourn the 645 souls who lost their lives defending our coastline in 1941 .
The events unfolded like this…Late February, early March, 2008, wreck hunter David Mearns was commissioned by the Finding Sydney Foundation to locate the HMAS Sydney. After his vessel the S V Geosounder developed a few technically glitches, the search resumed in early March with the aim of locating the HSK Kormoran first.
On the 14th of March, 2008, the wreckage of the HSK Kormoran was discovered on the ocean bed at a depth of 2,560 m, approximately 112 nautical miles off Steep Point, Shark Bay. Hans Linke (the Kormoran’s wireless operator), made claims in 1996 to The Australian newspaper, that both ships were virtually stationary when the Kormoran fired an underwater torpedo at the Sydney, disabling her instantly. If this was the case, then the HMAS Sydney would, in theory, be nearby.
Two days later on 16th March, news broke that they had located the hull of a ship, believed to be that of the HMAS Sydney. The location was 11 nautical miles from the location of the wreck of the German raider, Kormoran. News groups were reluctant to announce the finding until they absolutely sure it was in fact the Sydney. The West Australian newspaper was still smarting from their blunder last year, when they announced the discovery, only to find out later it was the remains of an old barge.
So with the finding of the hull of the HMAS Sydney so too goes many of the rumours, speculation and conspiracy theories surrounding the fate of the ship. Though, I guess a few local pubs around Carnarvon and Geraldton will be abuzz with all the stories that have, over the years, turned into folklore. None more so than the one about the sailors being captured by a Japanese submarine and later murdered. But I am sure over the coming months, questions will be asked as to why so many of the crew of the Kormoran survived the battle whilst no one from the Sydney did. To find out more click here HMAS Sydney.
LEST WE FORGET