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                                                                        14/131 Ross River Rd,
                     28.12.97                                              Mundingburra, 4812,

                                                    SUBMISSION No 42A          N. QLD

             ~ JO~               Towner,
            99' .
                    ~cretary,        Defence Sub-Committee,

                     Dear Ms Towner,
                                           I apologise for writing at this late date, but I
                    am hoping that the following may be incorporated in my sUbmission
                    already forwarded prior to the 5th December.            I think the following
                    is of importance and should be considered by the Committee as it
                    supports my submission and concerns the Navy and the Parliament as
                            On   page 42 of my submission I made a case for the Sydney-
                    Kormoran battle to be 300 miles west of Carnarvon.            Since then I
                    have finally located a copy of the Prime Ministers statement made
                    by John Curtin about the Sydney sinking, which to my surprise also
                    included the statement that the battle took place 300 miles west of
                            The Australian Archives Guide 3, on the Sydney material has
                    produced an oddity which I cannot explain, but which the Standing
                    Committee should be concerned about.            The Prime Minister made that
                    statement on either the 3rd or 4th of December 1941, but on the
                    4th of December he also signed a Cabinet Minute on the 4th of
                    December 1941 stating the position of the battle was in position



25 Deg South 111 Deg East, which is the position (pretty much)
as given by the German captain (about 160 - 180 miles SW of
       That leaves us with the situation of the Prime Minister having
signed a document giving one position and a public statement on the
same day giving a completely different one.           It seems to me there
                                                                              On , December Mr Curti...amplified his original announce-
are three options, he deceived the public and the world, he deceived         ment with the following statement.
                                                                               H.M.A.S. Sydney was on patrol 300 miles west ofCamarvon shortly
the Cabinet, or the Latitude and Longitude in the cabinet minute              before dusk on November 19th when she encountered the heavily-
                                                                              armed raider Ste;trmtJrk, known also as Raider No. 41 and the
supplied by the Navy (1) was considered by him to be the position              Kormoran, which was flyins the Norwegian flag. The initial
                                                                              advantage lay with the German, since she was disguised as a
300 miles west of Carnarvon.       Was he told by the Navy that that          merchant ship and her identity had to be esrablished before she could
                                                                              be attacked. The Sydney, on the other hand, was obviously a British
position was the same as the one he had announced publicly, not               cruiser and as such. an undoubted enemy to the In the absence
                                                                             of direct evidence it can only be assumed rhat some factor prevented
many people can look at a Lat and Long and know exactly where that           the SyJn~ making use of her ::tircraft for reconnaissance from a
                                                                             distance. With dusk falling, Sydney had to close in on the suspect to
                                                                             establish identity. She did this cleared hr aerion. As soon as the
spot is without considerable effort and the use of a chart.                   raider was convinced that her identity would become known, she
                                                                             opened fire simultaneously with the first salvo from the Sydney. The
       That leaves us with the Navy supplying misleading information          raider's first salvo struck the Sydney full on the bridge and put her at
                                                                             a temporary but vital disadvantage. In addition to doing grave
to the      Prime Minister.   While wartime circumstances may have made      damage to the central control the salvo started a fire which lasted
                                                                             throughout the aerion. Sydney closed the range immediately and
that necessary, taken together with all of the other circumstances           fought tiercely, probably with independent firing. She was soon on fire
                                                                             amidships as a result of another salvo from the raider. She had,
I   have looked at, it appears that the Navy has indeed, been party          howe...e.r. crippled the enemy by a direct hit in the engine-room and set
                                                                             her heaVIly on fire also. By this time it was dark ~nd the enemy ceased
to an ongoing plan of misleading everyone about this matter.                 fire and .lbandoned the raider, which presently blew up. From their
                                                                             boats tbe Germans watched the Sydney disappear over the horizon.
                                                                             She then appeared [to be] on fire amidships..Thar was the
       I   thought this, important enough to ask that this be included       last seen of her. The prisoners claim thar a number oftorpedoes were
                                                                             fired; it is not known whether any of them struck. It is possible that
in my submission, but of course,        I   understand that it may be too    the fire on the Sydney destroyed her boats and floats which were
                                                                             housed .lmidships; it has been assumed that they were destroyed.
late to do so.                                                               There IS nothing in the evidence to point to the Sydney having blown
                                                                             up; th... last evidence of her was her disappearance, still afloat, over
       Thank you for your time and consideration •••                         the honzon. The search for her has been long and wide. It has
                                                                             produ~~d nothing but two empty Jifebelts and a Carley float
                                Yours sincerely,                             damag-:-d by gunfire. Her actual fate, in the absence of other
                                                                             eviden~-e. must remain a mystery. All we know is that she fought
                                                                             gallantly and successfully achieved her aim - the destruerion of the

                                                                             enemr· •

                                 James Eagles.

Encl       Copy Prime Ministers statement 3rd (or 4th) December 1941
           Copy Cabinet Minutes dated 4th December, 1941.
           Copy extract from Prof. Kim Kirsner article.

                                                                                                                      /lIl1mlilln Arclutlts               TIu! Sinking of HMAS SydtKy - 3. TIu! rtcords of the W.r CJJbinel       /••""ry 1997
 AlUlr.lian Arch/tits          TIu! Sinking o{HMAS Sydnry - 3. TIu! ,.01rds o{IhL W.r ubiftll   /mUilry 1997

                                                                                                                                              boaring S.W. trcm the raider. made the tint 1I1ghtizlg at
                                                                                                                                              a range 01' 15 milell. Thll raider altered courlle trom
                                                                                                                                              000 0 to 2110 o and made no repl.1. At closer raIl8e the
                                                                                                                                              raider, whioh was tl.11nB the Dutoh tlag. made "Straad .
                                                                                                                                              Kalaldl:a" bl light.
                                                                                                               '.                                  "At l650H the &hips were on a parallel oOQrse. speed
                                                                                                                                              15 knots. "Sydney" wlioh wall abatt the raider's bellm,

                                o l'
                                                                                                                                              cUetant lell than tWo mUes. was at aotion stationll and
                                                                                                                                              made '~e lour ligcal lItters'. "Steirmark" 1mmed1at~
                                                                                                                                              opened tire w1th guns and torpedoes. her tirst 8ll1.vo
                                                                                                                                              hitting "Sldnel's" bridge and starting a t.1re torward.
                                                                                                                                              "Sldner" opened tire s1mUlt811eoully bQt her tirst lalVO
                                                                                                                                              'liaS OTer. J:arl.1 in the aotion the oruiser was hit by a
                        WAR CABlllET MUTmG
                               •••:mt!           40"                                                           ....
                                                                                                                                              torpedo undllr A turret, resulting in J. and B turrets
                                                                                                                                              being .1_ed. "Sldnel'SIt torpedo tQbes 'Were hit by a
                                                                                                                                               turther salvo. and a bad tire was started resulting in

                                                                                                                                              the destruotion ot her airoratt•
 PRESENT:        The Hon. John curtin, M.P•• prime Minister 8lld Yinister                                                                        "The action 'Was brokllll ott atter abollt halt an hour.
                      tor DlStence co-ordination.                                                              .                              and "Sydna:r". bllrn1ng tieroely and down by the bOWll.
                 The Hon. r.M. Forde, Y.P., Minister tor the ArtrJ;f.                                                                         proclleded at 5 knots. The raider. which had reoeived a
                 The Hon. J.B. Ohitley, M.P•• Treasurer.
                .The Hon. 8.V. Evatt, K.C., M.P., AttorneY-G811&ral and
                                                                                                               ...                            vital hit, wall now on tire amidships. with her engine
                                                                                                                                              rocm OQt or aotion. At about 1815:11 the raider's orlllf
                     Minister tor External Attairs.                                                                                           abandoned lhip, 8lld at midnight the vessel. whioh wal
                 Thll' Hon. J.A. Beasley, M.P•• Min1l!Jter tor Supply and                                                                     souttled. blllW up.
                 The Hon. N.J.O. Makin, I4.P •• Minister tor the Navy 8lld                                                                       "It is believed that "SydnllY" eank at 23OOl!/1g. It
                     !Unister. tor Munitions,'
                 The lIon. A.S. Draketord, 14.1'., l41nister tor Air.                                                                      In regard to the possibility 01' a second Ger=an ship
                                                                                                                                       blling present at the aotion, the Aoting Chiet 01' the Naval
                                                                                                                                       Statt stated .that , in the light 01' investigations which had
 (The Chiet 01' the General Statt, the Chiet 01' the Air statt and the                                                                 been u:ade. the Naval authorities did not aocept this view.

  Acting Chiei' 01' the Naval Statt were also p:;oesent at this meeting).
                                                                                                                                            The Acting Chiet 01' the Naval statt reterred to the
                                                                                                                                       em~rras8ing position in whioh ws have been plaoed as a
                                                                                                                                       result 01' the premature disolosure by the lJl1ited IC1ngdcm
                                                                                                                                       author1tilll 01' the name and delloription 01' the raider whioh
 H MA 8   "8ydney" - ~ction with German Raider. {previous                                                                              wal in aotion with !i.M.A.S. "sydney". A rigoroQs oensor-
 r~t~r~n~e - MInUte N'o. (1526)). The Acting Chiet 01' the                                                                             ship had been 1mpolled in Australia and advioe as to the
 Naval statt reported the results 01' further interrogation 01'                                                                        nature 01' the restriotionl was oOJllDlunioated to the united
 Geman prisoners ex the "Komoran". and read the tollowing                                                                              Kingdan authoritiell. Thelle restriotions. however. had not
                                                                                                                                       belll1 1mpoeed on the B.B.C. and lJl1ited K1ngdcm press and the
 reconstruoted account 01' the action :-                                                                                               broadcast 01' intoDnation by the B.B.C. on 2nd DIIoember and
                                                                                                                                       publioation in the United It1ngdOlll prellB toroed the premature
             "The engagement took place in positionl25                         9So.·                            -                      release to the Australian pross 01' other material whioh it
      OIil:~lf 19th November.         R.M.A.S. "sydney" on a                                                    ,                      was dell1rable tor the t1ma being to withhold.
                                                                                                                                          It was decided that reprellentatlons BhoQld be made to the
                                                                                                                                      United Kingdom Government in the matter and their attention
                                                                                                                                      iIl1'ited to previoQs instanoes 01' prematllre broadoast by the
                                                                                                                                      B.B.C. and to the assuranoell given that measures would be
                                                                                                                                      ~iven to prevent reourrences 01' oaslls 01' this nature.


                                                                                                                      the official notetaker, a copy of which appears earlier in this chapter. Australian Archit'es (ACT): A5954,
 Excerpts from War Cabinet minute 1528/1941. This minute, a record of the War Cabinet's 'decision' of                 807/1- War Cabinet Mimlles Volume IX
 4 December 1941, was prepared with the assistance of the handwritten notes of the meeting taken by

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 SUBMISSION No 80
                                      LOSS OF HMAS SYDNEY II                                                                                                   28 December 1997
                                                                                                                                                                                                               David E Jones
                                                                                                                                                                                                               8 Crowndale Street
                                                     (Briefing by John C Date, DeCl'mber /993)
                                                                                                                                                                                                               Wavell Heights
                 Follo"ing an intim3tion in the Septemher 1993 issue of our journal NAVAL HISTORICAL REVIEW by Mike                                                                                            Queensland 4012
          ~ !<:Canhy. (uralor     of Maritlllle I\rchaeolog} of the Western Australian Marilime Museum and co-ordinator of the search
          for SYDNEY II, we wcre advised of preparations in conducting the archival research programme.                                                                                                        Phone (07)33502654 (Home)
                 The Naval Historic.11 SocIety of i'lustralia Inc expects to be able to keep members. and othcr so interested. informed                       Ms J nne Towner                                        (07)34051158 (Work)
          !If progress from time to time in these pages of our journal REVIEW.
                 It is evidcnt thaI a herculean task is involved in piecing together what scallt}' evidence is available relnting to the                  retary, Defence Sub-Committee
          ole positioning of the Australian cruiser SYDNEY and the German raider KORMORAN. With an actual inl'estigallon                                     . oint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs
          \\ ithin the 'Ioss area' il \\ ill he a project spread over many years.                                                                            Defence and Trade                            '
                                                                                                                                                             Parliament House
                                                                                                                                                             CANBERRA           ACT        2600

                                HSK KORMORAN                                                           HMAS SYDNEY II
                                                                                                                                                             Dear Ms Towner
                                                                   (silhoUtntS not to scald
                                                                                                                                                                                      Re: HMAS SYDNEY INQillRY
              The size of the above operation becomes apparent in reading lhis brief summary of material contained in Report No.
          71 11'<0\'. 1993) headed.
                                                                                                                                                             I am .~ting concerning your Committee's inquiry into the circumstances surrounding
                                            HMAS SYDNEY AND HSK KORMORAN                                                                                     the smktng ofHMAS.SYDNEY off the West Australian coast on 19 November 1941.
                                          POSSIBLE AND PROBABLE SEARCH AREAS                                                                                 At the outset I a~logJse ~or the lateness of this submission as I only recently became
                                                                              bl'                                                                            aware of the detaIls and tImetable of the inquiry.

                                        Professor Kim I<trSller (Vni~er<ilY of Western Australia)
                                          Sam Hughes (Australian Maritime Safety Authority)                                                                 Over more ~an 30 years I have been intrigued by the loss ofHMAS SYDNEY and
                (Copies of Ille ahm'e report are QI'ailable from the Western Australian Maritime Museum priced at $15).                                     have read Widely on the subject and considered the material available at some length.
           This report was commissioned b} the \\ estern Australian               lhe position which he indicated was never even reached by
        r-Iaritime ~Iuseum and is based on material. analvsls and                 SAR aircraft. or was he deliberatley providing a false posi·              In my view any. cons~deration ofthe loss ofHMAS SYDNEY must recognise that the
        arguments supplied b} Alan Pearce ICSIROI. John 'Pemose                   tion for the benefit of his country's enemies? Ruge /19571.               story .of her action WIth the KORMORAN has come solely from German sources. As
        Il unin l'OIversilY of Technology I. IIladeleine Gauntlet!                who. it may be assumed. had direct contact with KORMO·                    s~ch tt. sho~ld be a.cknowledged that the story may have extensive omissions or
        I( unin L'nivcrsity of Technology I. Ray Steedman (Steed·                 RAN survivors. provided a similarly vague pos;tion. which                 distortions In relatIOn to the operational moves made by the KORMORAN which her
        llIan Engmeermgl. Gordon Lafler I( onsultantl and Ean                   . receives no sup~t from other sources.
        r-1cDonald {(onsu!tanrl.                                                   GW1I957) use the roslllon supplied by the KORl\-IO·                      pe~p~~ would have kept confidential or misrepresented so as not to compromise the
           The abole panel has SCI out. firstly. to Idcmifl the criti·            RAN survivors. and assumed that the location supplied by                  actlVttles of other Gennan raiders.
.-.-liill processes Ii.e., ~'ind, sea surface current. etc.) whIch un·            them was accurate 10 the minute. It should be noted howevcr
'~~"-";~llies any \ ariat;on: secondly. to co·ordinatc and describe               that he used the initial c6-<ir?iHilt~~ ~~i!.ltf~ fAct tlill1 this •
        a reVlel\ process II hich \\as Implemented to ideollfy cun·               rcpon did nat include any refercnce to nHnllles as d,StlnCI
                                                                                                                                                           Similarly it must ~Iso be recognised that the Germans would have been anxious to
        sensual estill1ate~ of the relelanl I Jluc tor each proce's. and:         110m degrees. t\mong more recenl accounts. Wlnler (19~~1                 ~resent the battle In the most favourable light to themselves. Thus the KORMORAN
        thirdly. to provide probable and p<,"ihlc CSlImate, of Ihe slIe           accepted the position proVided by the KOR1Il0RAN sur                     IS presented as the "underdog" in the battle when such was certainlv not the case and
        or sites of the wrecks.                                                   \Ivors. while Montgomery (1981. 19831 prOVided a nell                    as a result a certain shadow of incompetence has fallen over the actions of HMAS
            In the first Il1stancc. thel wn<rdered posiliollS prtwided            position jusl ,oulh of Cape (nscripllon.                                 SYDNEY's officers.
        hI officials and histonans smcc the encaecmenl. Acwrdmg                      <.onsidered as a SCI. the /Xlsllions prOVided oy lhe'e
        ti, Jflhn ( IIrIIII fflr example Ir-lonlgon;c(y. \1)811. the hallie       acwunts cover more thall four degrces of longilldr and
        took place "JUU miles \\'esl 01 l arnarvun" \\'a~ Illc thcn               ncarh t\\"o degrcss of lalllUle. ahoul 80.0{)Olan:. 1 he analy.."        Faili~g t? recognise these important biases in any consideration of the battle does less
        Prime ~III1;stcr of Australra JUSI hCIll!! ge(lgflahicallyla.~. for       described helo\\' is h"seL! Jlrlll1aril~ although nut excluSlvcl~ -      than JustIce to t~e honour and professionalism ofHMAS SYDNEY and her crew.
         /''1:.,2                                                                                                 :-'.\\AI IIISHlRI(AI   R~\   II \\
                                                                                                                                                           That they acted to the. best traditions o~the Royal Australian Navy is testified by the
                                                                                                                                                           fact that under condltlOns of extreme dIsadvantage the crew of HMAS SYDNEY
                                                                                                                                                           succeeded in sinking the KORMORAN.

                                                                                                                                                           I have provided some elaboration of these issues below.

                                                                                                                                                           OPERATIONAL MOVES: In accounts I have read of the battle the operational
                                                                                                                                                           moves made by the KORMORAN to deceive the SYDNEY were _
                                                                                                                                                           . her outward appearance as an innocent merchant vessel, ostensibly the Dutch


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