The Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner released the report on the Loss of HMAS Sydney II on August 12 in the presence of Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal, Angus Houston, Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Russell Crane and Acting Chief of Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Geoff Brown. The President of the Commission, the Honourable Terence Cole AO, RFD, QC, also discussed the contents of the report.
From the report, it is clear that ‘Element of Surprise’ by HSK Kormoran, was the key factor for the loss of HMAS Sydney II.
HMAS Sydney II
- HMAS Sydney II, a modified Leander Class Light Cruiser sank with 645 crew with no survivors on November 19, 1941 following an engagement with the German raider, HSK Kormoran, off the Western Australian coast.
- HMAS Sydney II was located on March 16, 2008 following the discovery of HSK Kormoran on March 12, 2008 approximately 112 nautical miles off Steep Point, Western Australia, at a depth of 2560 metres. Both wreckages were located by Survey vessel Geosounder.
Commission of Inquiry
- A Commission of Inquiry was appointed by the Chief of Defence Force to inquire into and report upon circumstances associated with the loss of HMAS Sydney II.
- President of the Commission, the Honourable Terence Cole says
- The Inquiry’s key findings confirm that accounts provided by the HSK Kormoran survivors of Sydney II’s last movements and of the damage she sustained during the engagement with the German raider are correct.
- The Commanding Officer of HMAS Sydney II was not expecting to encounter any merchant ship in the location where he encountered Kormoran.
- That knowledge together with his knowledge of the possible presence of a German raider should have caused the sighted vessel to be treated as suspicious.
- Another key finding is that there is now additional compelling evidence to support the conclusion that the body recovered from Christmas Island in 1941 is that of a member of HMAS Sydney II’s ship’s company.
- Each of the many frauds, theories and speculations reported to the Inquiry were thoroughly investigated. None were found to have any substance whatsoever.
The Report is in three volumes.
Volume 1: Evidence and Conclusions
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Chapter 2: HMAS SYDNEY
- Chapter 3: The raider KORMORAN
- Chapter 4: Knowledge of German raiders
- Chapter 5: Identification of merchant ships and raiders
- Chapter 6: Degrees of readiness
- Chapter 7: A chance encounter
- Chapter 8: Interrogations and contemporary assessments of the loss of HMAS SYDNEY
Volume 2: Evidence and Conclusions
- Chapter 9: An alternative approach to fact finding
- Chapter 10: The search for HMAS SYDNEY
- Chapter 11: The government response to the loss of HMAS SYDNEY
- Chapter 12: Empirical evidence: the wrecks of HMAS SYDNEY and HSK KORMORAN
- Chapter 13: Empirical evidence: the HEROS Carley float
- Chapter 14: Empirical evidence: KORMORAN’S QQQQ signals
- Chapter 15: Empirical evidence: Christmas Island’s unknown sailor
- Chapter 16: The sinking of HMAS SYDNEY
- Chapter 17: Does the empirical and expert evidence support the German account ?
- Chapter 18: Loss without survivors
- Chapter 19: Why did HMAS SYDNEY approach close and parallel to HSK KORMORAN ?
Volume 3: Frauds, Conspiracies and Speculations
- Chapter 20: A brief history of the controversy
- Chapter 21: Frauds
- Chapter 22: Conspiracy – cover-up theories
- Chapter 23: Empirical evidence – the wrecks of HMAS SYDNEY and HSK KORMORAN
- Chapter 24: Speculations and allegations: bodies in the water
- Chapter 25: Conspiracy – bodies buried on the beach
- Chapter 26: Cover-up: signals sent from SYDNEY, 19 November 1941
- Chapter 27: Theories – Japanese submarines
- Chapter 28: Speculation – the Capt Snook ‘autopsy’
- Chapter 29: Speculation and conspiracy – Mr James Eagles
- Chapter 30: Speculation – why SYDNEY came so close to KORMORAN ?
- Chapter 31: Speculation – SYDNEY survivors as prisoners in Japan
- Chapter 32: Speculation – HMAS SYDNEY tallies recovered in Japan
View HMAS Sydney II and HSK Kormoran sketches as pdf.
Read the full report from Dept of Defence, Australia.
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