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PINQ.SUBS.014.0043 - SUBMISSION No lBA

VIEWS: 3 PAGES: 10

  • pg 1
									                                                                                                                                                                                 PINQ.SUBS.014.0043




                                                                                                                                         SUBMISSION No lBA
                                         Page 3
      Captain Burnett was a tyro in the art of naval warfare. He had never seen an                                                                         J N Anderson
angry shot fired. He lacked experience. He knew that he had never commandered
a ship in action, therefore he should have been cautious; perhaps during his                                                                               Liveringa Station
wartime appointment in Navy Office, he had not been taught to be cautious.
                                                                                                                                                           PO Box 1241
        At the time of sighting the Kormoran Captain Burnett held all the trumps. He
                                                                                                                                                           Derby W A 6728
 could have used his aircraft to examine the ship. He could have stood off while he
 sought advice and identification of the ship from Naval Authorities.                                                                                      b    ~ ~--   19'1'8
        For example according to G. Herman Gill, Page 457, Royal Australian Navy
 1939-1942: "Three days after the Sydney was lost, but before her loss became
known, HMS Devonshire met the raider Atlantis in the South Atlantic. Atlantis,
whose actions caused the deepest suspicions, claimed to be the Dutch
                                                                                        . {\\6
                                                                                          ~,
                                                                                                  Mrs J Towner ,
 Polyphemus and the possibility, said the report of the encounter, of suspicious            /    Secretariat,
movements and and incoherent signals being due to our language and procedure
had to be taken into account. From the little that was known of the movements of                 Defence sub-Committee,
Polyphemus it was not impossible for her to be in the area. In this doubt
                                                                                                 Parliament House ,
Devonshire kept her distance at high speed and wirelessed the Commander-in-
Chief, South Atlantic, asking if Polyphemus could be genuine. She had to wait for                Canberra, ACT , 2600 .
nearly an hour for a reply which came with dramatic suddenness:'No. Repition No'.
       "Devonshire at once opened fire at 15,000 yards, and Atlantis was destroyed
'helpless, outranged and outgunned so far as Devonshire was concerned."
       The Devonshire's captain was cautious and his ship and crew lived to fight                Dear Mrs Towner ,
another day.
                                                                                                 The accompanying supplementary submission to " The Loss of the HMAS Sydney
       But not the Sydney's.
       I suggest, that unless there is solid evidence to the contrary, the Committee             Inquiry" is a direct result of my attending the Perth hearing on April 16 and 17 .
ought to condemn Captain Burnett for his lack of skill and caution which led to the
loss of his ship and its entire crew.                                                            The aftermath has produced deep thought and this attempt to place the SUbject
       He would have considered it his duty to condemn and punish any sailor
                                                                                                 event into the historical context of the wartime environment in which it happened.
under his command for any dereliction of duty, however small. That was the custom
of the Navy.                                                                                     I see this as an aid to a better understanding of the complexity of issues of that time
       Why should it be different for him?
       I further suggest that Committee members read Pages 448 to 460 of Royal                   and to do so I rely on my own recollections as supported to some degree by
Australian Navy 1939-1942 by G. Hermon Gill.
       I thank you for reading this document. I do not envy the Committee's difficult            subsequent historical analyses.     I hope that this approach will be seen as both
task.                                                                                            relevant and helpful .
                                        Yours faithfully,
                                                            1      .   .J'
                                                          / 2-l~..ff ,{,~'~~
                                      Geoft Willson.     'f C
                                                                                                 In summary the format is presented under broad headings though these cannot
                                                                                                 realistically be always seperated - there are overlaps.       The listed headings
                                                                                                 are :-

                                                                                                                1... The domestic Australian background of late1941 and the
                                                                                                                    overshadowing International scene,




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                                                                                                                                                                          PINQ.SUBS.014.0044




            ·.. 2 ...
            2 ... The process by which the values and professionalism of naval

                    officers was inculcated as a career basis .                                      Supplementary Submission to .. The Circumstances of the
                                                                                                     Sinking of the HMAS Sydney .. InqUiry Sub-Committee .

            3 ... Naval communication system - particularly wireless.       Security

                    aspects and Recognition I Identification procedures.                     1... Background.


                                                                                             When hostitlities between Great Britain and its Empire and Nazi Germany began
            4 ... Aspects of the engagement - though not to do otherwise than
                                                                                             on September 3 • 1939 , Australia was a self-governing Dominion and an integral
                    highlight areas open to some doubt.
                                                                                             part of that Empire. The attitudes and loyalties of the majority of the Australian
                                                                                             population was determined largely by that attachment and the joint influences of
            5... The unusual search delay.                                                   the experiences of the Great War. 1914-1918. and the Great Depression of the
                                                                                               1930s.   The effects of the latter still very much in eVidence.   Internationally,
            6 ... Impact of the HMAS Sydney loss on an inexperienced                         events were unsettling.   too. For several years war had been generally
                    Government's ability to respond convincingly and likewise its            considered inevitable.     The impact of the outbreak of war was predictable - the
                    concerns. pressures and policies,                                          Royal Australian Navy. already well into the process of mobilisation , was for all
                                                                                             intents and purposes absorbed as an arm of the Royal Navy - albeit with an
            7... Implications for interpreting Australia's history; the vital archival         Australian identity but with a consequence probably not really appreciated or
                    role - authenticity and security of historical documents and             foreseen at the time.
                   material.
                                                                                             A communication network essential to the prosecution of the war and an integral
            8 ... Grounds for Governmental Accountability to the Australian                  part for the necessary planning involved in the process was based in London and,
                   People and Nation.                                                        in naval matters,determined and controlled by the British Admiralty.        Naturally the
                                                                                             connection incurred vital security considerations by no means apparent to Australia
            9 ." Commemorative action. Attachment - referring to the                         • an outpost of Empire half an world away - its government and a small navy which
                    " Mary Rose" could offer a precedent.                                    had both its policy and operational function greatly influenced by Royal Navy flag
                                                                                             officers primarily answerable to the London based Admiralty.         Basically
             10 ... Concluding remarks .                                                     Australia's own national security concerns in a regional Indian Ocean / Pacific
                                                                                             Ocean naval sense were subordinated to the United Kingdom and its Empire

Yours sincerely,                                                                             perceptions of needs and priorities.     A flawed reliance to be proven in 1941 .

In (6<-,~C'v--
~N Anderson
                                                                                             Australia and its People had in those early war years yet to learn the price of
                                                                                         r   admiralty is exacted in flesh and blood ,ship loss and heart break.        To some


                                                                                         rl~
                                                                                         "
                                                                                                                                                                            PINQ.SUBS.014.0045




             ... 2 ...                                                                                    ... 3 ...
degree the loss of the HMAS Sydney exemplifies that failure but more shamefully           inch gunned cruiser and its entire crew ; no survivors, negligible debris.            An
Australia's post war governments neglect to address adequately the resultant              enigma further compounded by having to rely largely upon the enemy version to
anguish to those war-time generations, their families, relatives and friends seared       construct the sequence of events and the immediate aftermath.              From the
by the remembrances of the event and related uncertainities.        While post WW11,      beginning there was destined to be doubt and controversy.
the Atomic Age and ensuing Cold War Era created new and other priorities for
government there was still room for a pro-active government to display more               2 ... Professional quallflcations:-
sensitivity by acknowledging that obvious disquiet.
                                                                                          Left with only the German and now official accounts of that fateful encounter ,
By the time of the HMAS Sydney I HSK Kormoran action, Nazi Germany was at the             Captain Burnett's act in placing HMAS Sydeny in the extremely vulnerable position
zenith of its power.     Most of Continental Europe was either directly under its         vis-a-vis HEt( Kormoran inevitably invites a questioning of his professional
control or hegemony -- from the Arctic to the North African littoral and from the         competency while neglecting possible reasons for so doing and the mandatory
Atlantic seaboard to the outskirts of Moscow and the banks of the Volga River.            identification procedures in force at the time.        Burnett was no fool, his suspicions
1941 was the year of seemly endless media announcements of " Strategic                    would have been present from the moment of first sighting" Kormoran " and further
Withdrawals" .       At sea , in the Atlantic Ocean the U-boat offensive had developed    heightened by its alleged reactions as recounted by its commanding officer,
an ominous threat to the seat of Empire along with an incipient raider activity in the    Korvettenkapitan Theodor Detmers .           This is the critically significant period during
Indian Ocean.      In the Far East - significantly Australia's Near North - an            which something could have happened to explain Burnett's subsequent
increasingly belligerent Japan was just cause for concern.        However regardless      behaviour.      Sadly - on present evidence - this will remain conjecture.         However
of those immediate regional threats a steady leakage of Australia's potential             it could be postulated either the prospect was of a high seas arrest of an enemy
defence capacity in human , equipment, materiel and financial resources                   vessel possibly mistaken as a raider supply ship and certainly not the raider itself
continued to augment overseas commitment in Europe and the Middle East in all             or if the latter, a proven enemy already in a damaged condition and even
three military services.                                                                  surrendered , as was suggested during the Perth hearings.              Either possibility is
                                                                                          creditable.     Ca~ain       Burnett made a wrong decision - a fatal decision BUT that
It was against that background that the HMAS Sydney I HSK Kormoran battle took            does not justify a questioning of his competence as a professional.           Wisdom
place almost in sight of the West Australian coastline and only 200 to 300 nautical       gained from hindsight but lacking full facts of the circumstances, is a flawed
miles from the WA capital, Perth and the major port of Fremantle and even closer          quality.      See Attachment 1 .
to the near Northern Ports of Geraldton and Carnarvon .         The encounter gave
good grounds for wide local and national concern and questioning.          It also        The opposing commanders obviously had differing agendas, Burnett's being
brought serious pressure upon a Commonwealth Government barely two months                 destruction~capture         and possibly rescue : Detmers , deception and destruction.
in office and depending on two independent members of parliament for support .            The latter knew his singular objective whereas Burnett had two options , capture or
The first Curtin government came to office lacking practical ministerial experience       destroy and in the latter option risk killing possible Allied and Australian prisoners
                                                                      op·u
as the ALP had only been in office once during the years immediate IQ World War           of war held on " Kormoran " , a distasteful prospect although one which in wartime
 One Le., 1929 - 1931 - the beginning of the Great Depression.         Indeed one would   was always a possibility.         Risk is an ever present element in any professional
 be hard pressed to imagine a more daunting scenario for any government than the          following - it cannot be eliminated.       The HMAS Sydney I Hft1( action was one of
 circumstances of that tragic naval loss - the complete disappearance of a light six      many played out on the chessboard of the war on the high seas.              Bit players in a




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                                                                                                                                                                                        PINQ.SUBS.014.0046




              ... 4 ...                                                                                                 ... 5 ...
war of global proportions but significantly operatives of their own individual                            Sydney's readiness" to engage the enemy" seems borne out by the few letters
command hierarchies and answerable to those hierarchies.                                                  contained in other submissions.        An interesting aside regarding HMAS Adelaide
                                                                                                          which spent an extended time on the West Australian station after the" Sydney"
The fickleness of Fate is exemplified in that action off the WA coast, had Burnett                        was widely termed the A I F ship Le.,
                                                                                                                                     U     U          U   Always in Fremantle   u.   Did HMAS
and HMAS Sydney succeeded the reputation of the redoubtable cruiser , its                                 Sydney prompt the term from before and again after her Mediterranean tour of
captain and ship's company would have been hailed nationally and victoriously in                          duty ?
the annals of Australia's naval history.            The latter was not to be so - but rather in
the opposite and present tragic sense.
                                                                                                         3 ... Communlcatlons;-
Captain Joseph Burnett was the product of a rigorous training and development
programme designed toward one end - a naval career - based on all the values,                            The global naval communication network established by the British Admiralty over
traditions and professional competency learned over centuries of British naval                           decades to service Imperial and Empire strategic demands was primarily
history.   It would have been ingrained in his every fibre.               A process beginning in         dependent upon powerfUl wireless stations located in the respective fleet
his early teen years as a naval cadet, staged through sea-going experience under                         command regions.           A constant concern in that communication field was the
various ships' commanders and types of ships, progressive technical courses -                            security and integrity of the cryptographic system vital to the effective transmission
Burnett's being gunnery - and eventual             prom~tion   to full captain's rank with that          of intelligence and command. All cryptography being considered as top priority to
distinguished first graduate group of Australian naval officers to attain such                           undetected enemy code I cypher breakers.
promation .    Captain Joseph Burnett did not lack professional standard or
acumen and neither would Korvettenkapitan Theodor Detmers who would have                                 From my recollection all British naval cryptography used during 1939 -1942 was
advanced to his command under much a similar career development.                                         four figure groups with encoding I encyphering tables which were in force for
                                                                                                         specific time I date intervals, set use and circumstance.       That system superseded
By all means question. speculate motives and tactics and theorise on any number                          the pre-war alphabetical structured administrative code only to be itself largely
of the perplexing issues of this specific incident but do not be jUdgmental.               War is        replaced from 1942 onward by the machine type Ultra systems - Typex and CCM
a bloody • brutal occupation - an exceptional and testing time for all involved but                      One further security factor complementing cryptographic worries related to the
none more so than action commanders.                                                                     policy of WIT silence whilst at sea - a precaution only to be broken in emergency
                                                                                                         circumstances such as would have realistically been expected to have happened
Rear Admiral ( retired) G J B Crabb , RAN - Volume 3 , pps 508-511 - raises                              in the HMAS Sydney case.          Wireless Direction-Finding operations and the
pertinent points about Captain Burnett's action.               I acknowledge Grabb's expertise           physical ability of experienced wireless operators to identify the" hand "of other
and opinion, however, with all due respect, I disagree that boredom was a                                wireless operators and trace the source or geographical position of the
contributing factor in the Sydney disaster.
                                 U            U            I suggest boredom was no more or              transmission/s were further communication impediments.            Therefore, bearing in
less present in the       U   Sydney   U   case than elsewhere where naval units operated                mind such considerations it is relevant to question the content and reliability of the
seemingly distant from where the action was taking place.                 Boredom was a fact of          intelligence available to Burnett on that fatefUl occasion.      Although it could be
service life - coursing adrenaline accompanying the prospect of action or any                            argued on reasonable grounds in addition to a " first sighting report" on sighting an
perceived potential threat qUickly wiped that.              My contention relating to HMAS          f\   unidentified suspicious vessel HMAS Sydney would have transmitted at least one



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                                                                                                    r
                                                                                                                                                                               PINQ.SUBS.014.0047




                   ... 6 ...                                                                                      ... 7 ...
further message probably in cypher during the SUbsequent chase - that message                    shells.   Detmers was too clever a tactician and experienced raider captain to allow
being addressed to ACNB and repeated to C-in-C China Station.                    Had H8~         that to occur.       His option was to enact a very clever deception - ruse de guerre •
Kormoran tried to jam any such Sydney transmissions , Burnett would have
                                       U           U
                                                                                                 the actual nature of which remains uncertain but of which we know the result.
had all suspicions confirmed of a hostile presence.             In the apparent absence of       Both ships were lost: HMAS Sydney without trace.           But I maintain that is no fair
any existing copies of those signals - signals which it is hard to believe weren't               ground to question professional competency if one considers all the other strands
sent - the assumption becomes purely hypothetical but with substantial grounds tor               to Australia's worst maritime disaster and ship disappearance mystery.          It is well
doubt.                                                                                           to bear in mind the adage All is fair in Love and War and 20th Century warfare is
                                                                                                                               U                            U



                                                                                                 cruel and full of deception in which Truth" is the first casuality regardless of the
                                                                                                                                         U



Another puzzling factor has been Captain Detmers' assertion of a            U   QQQ   U
                                                                                                 practitioners . The HMAS Sydney / HSK Kormoran encounter was only one of
transmission.           Should that not have been the authentic raider warning signal            numerous examples of those factors.         What made it more poignant was it
U   QQQQ   U   ?    If the former • was it then an indicator to German bases Kormoran •
                                                                                 U
                                                                                                 happened in Australian Waters apparently almost within sight of the West
was in trouble - a possibility mentioned at the Perth hearing - as well as alerting              Australian coastline.
Burnett,or was it a tactic to lure HMAS Sydney to the enemy's advantage?                    In
either case the Australian cruiser would have been at action stations and had the
pursuit continued and the unacceptable recognition I identification procedures                   4 ... Actlon:-
been persisted" Sydney" would have opened fire.                One cannot dismiss the
possibility Burnett weighed the prospects of arresting an enemy supply ship - the                The details of the actual engagement, the sequence of the stages from first
" Kulmerland " - resulting both in windfall" intelligence material together with the
                                           U
                                                                                                 sightings to the joint sinkings . others have postulated and I'm not prepared to add
release of British and Allied prisoners of war , which indeed there were in the                  further to the controversy.       Having experienced the sharp, tearing, ripping sound
persons of the four Chinese.                                                                     of a six inch projectile upon steel and wooden decking close above my head - a
                                                                                                 resemblance to a giant can opener scoring across metal , I can only imagine the
Detmers' version of the recognition tactics he employed have never been                          feelings, senses and thoughts of HMAS Sydney's ship's company when
convincing to anyone conversant with the procedures then applying.                   This        Hg~ Kormoran's storm of steel and high explosive hit her and the spirit of those

immediately casts doubt upon whatever else he had subsequently said or written.                  that" fought the ship" in those unexpected conditions.         A magnificant example of
It would have been naive to place reliance on an enemy's account in the                          fighting spirit and possibly even greater than that if one speCUlates that following
circumstances.            International Convention did not require Detmers to be                 the battle those members of the crew still alive and able 7while attending to the
forthcoming in any other matters than his own personal identification details and                carnage including makeshift damage-control, could also have been attempting to
certainly not at that particular time when the Nazi juggernaut seemed invincible - at            nurse the mortally wounded cruiser back nearer to land and even Geraldton when
least to them.                                                                                   the magazines exploded in a massive fireball .


While I do not wish to labour the point, I return to the existing recognition I                  A lasting impression of that battle is of an 18th Century naval action fought at close
identification procedure of the era.           The Detmers version,had it been a reality.,       quarters with mid 20th Century weaponry : a ferocious engagement with
would have inevitably invited shots across" Kormoran's " bow and as already                      devastating effects.
stated, if the evasive behaviour been continued. brought in salvoes of 6 inch
                                                                                                                                                                                PINQ.SUBS.014.0048




               ... 8 ...                                                                                         ... 9 ...
5 ... Search      ;-                                                                            lodged in overseas official or company archives.          Either way that material remains
                                                                                                a vital part of the HMAS Sydney saga and the explanation for the delayed search
There are as many factors about the delayed implementation of search operations                 for survivors.       This stated - the response of the Australian government. its
for possible " Sydney " survivors and the pattern of those searches once initiated ,            bureaucracy and armed services hierarchy left much to be desired and displayed
as there are questions about the battle itself.        The official version and that which is   little understanding of public disquiet and questioning.

perpetuated for all time in Hermon GHI's First Volume of the Royal Australian Navy
during the Second World War has never been without question particularly by ex-
service people from all the armed services as well as families ,relatives and friends           6 ... Government;-
of HMAS Sydney's crew members.               There are manifest gaps and inconsistencies
in the sequence of existing documentation which one would have expected to have                 John Curtin's Labor Government came to power in anything but auspicious times

been vital for organising search operations as well as reporting to Government and              and circumstances.           A government with a dearth of ministerial experience and

ultimately the Australian People.         Given the significance of the incident it tests       strengths and faced facing all the daunting prospects of imminent hostilities in

creditability that such documents would not - even allowing for the wartime                     South-East Asia and Pacific Regions.           While a steep learning curve was

requirements of security and censorship - been classified" Never to be                          necessary great dependence had to be placed on the advice forthcoming from its

Destroyed".       And yet this is what seems to have happened.          If so from what         own Public Service and Defence hierarchies.           Barely eight weeks into

authority was the destruction order issued?                                                     government came the HMAS Sydney disaster sending shock waves through the
                                                                                                Curtin Ministry and the Nation.        The difficulty posed to first assess and then

A major question in the search conundrum involved the fast troop transport                      determine the effect the announcement would have on public morale and spirit,

" Aquitania " , specifically its role in the rescue of 26 German naval personnel in the         particularly in the absence of factual information, other than minimal evidence

circumstances in which it did and allegedly continued on her voyage to Sydney                   produced from the sea and air search was further tested by the degree of reliance

before reporting the rescue to the War Watching Station on Wilson's Promitory ,                 placed on interrogation of the" Kormoran .. survivors.        A prime ministerial

Victoria, by visual means three days later.         That was an increditable act if it did in   dilemma!      What long term impact that dilemma had on policy formulation for the

fact happened.             " Aquitania's " reporting put the HMAS Sydney search operation       dealing with the HMAS Sydney I HSe: Kormoran over the ensuing half century is

under way according to the official record.         However, there is increasing                conjecture but it has not yet quietened persistent public unease of the veracity of

evidence that" Aquitania " did break        wrr silence but for reasons not known that          the official version at least from among those of that wartime generation and their

signal and the identities of the addressees have never been diVUlged nor                        parents still living .       Given the extenuating circumstances could any government

explanations offered, the immediate effect being that a chance to save any                      done better?        Probably not !     Post WW11 governments, however, could have

possible "Sydney" survivors was lost forever while - and of secondary                           been more responsive over the intervening years and initiated an over due

importance - the finding of wreckage and the site of the sinking located more                   Parliamentary Inquiry much as the present Inquiry long before death and the" Mists

precisely rendered more difficult and problematical .                                           of Time" reduced the readily available supply of relevant information and
                                                                                                expertise.       It is a changed world we live in in the 1990s producing its own variant

The explanations given for" Aquitania's " behaviour were and continue to justify                social , economic , industrial , technological and global challenges with

doubt.    The circumstances were too unusual • too important not to have an                     accompanying domestic and international demands upon all governments, that

exhaustive search for acceptable reasons supported by documentation probably                    should not have influenced any Australian government from being proactive in



                                                   :~338
                                                                                                                                                                              PINQ.SUBS.014.0049




                                                                                                           ... 11 ...
              ... 10 .,.
                                                                                             of the wrecks. location and identification of the Christmas Island remains should
an attempt to resolve some degree of the HMAS Sydney tragedy.               By not doing
                                                                                             this happen , I strongly support the essential and necessary requirement both
so those governments have reduced by that much this Nation's history and
                                                                                             wrecks be accorded War Grave Status and protection while the human remains be
heritage.
                                                                                             given all due reverence • dignity and protection throughout the necessary search
                                                                                             and exhumation procedures during the projected identification processes prior to
                                                                                             and after being given War Grave C~rtification .         Other than these qualifications I
7 ... History :-
                                                                                             leave the planning of the Commemorative function and structure to others though
                                                                                             suggest Attachment 2 as a possible precedent.
The official history of any country is the framework for only a part understanding of
that country or nation itself.      The essential indeed, inseparable component
                                                   I



providing « the fleshing out" must come from the broad social and cultural spectrum
                                                                                             Summary :-
of its people individually and collectively.      In short - comprehensive history is a
                                                                                             In presenting the Inquiry with this supplementary submission        I   I freely acknowledge
total" warts and all   «   composite.    How else can the future understand the past?
                                                                                             a liberal interpretation of the word   «   Circumstances" as it could be understood from
Researchers can only interpret the past from the material records before them .
                                                                                             the Sub-Committee's" Terms of Reference".
Speculation • interpretation , theory and postulation are core factors contributing to
the research process.         Archival policies and managing the administrative
                                                                                             From the outset I've tried to put the incident into a context of the prevailing wartime
functions of those policies are critical considerations.      If a young nation such as
                                                                                             scene as I recall it • While admitting other influences owed to hindsight, subsequent
Australia with a Non-Aboriginal history of little more than 200 years does not value
                                                                                             readings. opinions and several of the recent Submissions to the Inquiry .
its history, implement policies and procedures to ensure the completeness of vital
documentary material , records and related matter , the Nation diminishes its
                                                                                             The salient points of this supplementary are :-
identity and stature.       It erects insuperable barriers to a better appreciation by its
future generations of their Past.       Regrettably it would appear this will be the case
                                                                                                           . obviously I hold very strong opinions about the professional
relating to the loss of the HMAS Sydney.           Vital documentation has been lost or
                                                                                                            competency of higher ranked naval career officers and totally reject
destroyed for reasons unclear but with the end result of depriving Australians of a
                                                                                                            the questioning of Captain Burnett's qualifications in this respect.
knowledge rightfully and spiritually theirs - in this instance the need to know the
                                                                                                            The role of chance , circumstance and risk are ever part of the
circumstances of this country's greatest naval disaster.         The remaining
                                                                                                            decision making equation .
opportunity to redress that loss appears to rely largely on advanced technologies
associated with ocean resource search methodology in locating the " Sydney" and
                                                                                                           . having some background experience and understanding of the
" Kormoran "wrecks and forensic science with regard to the Christmas Island
                                                                                                            communications systems. cryptography and transmission methods
remains of the unknown sailor.          Regardless of the methods employed the gap in
                                                                                                            of that era. I'm not convinced that some ulterior and more sensitive
factual knowledge will only be narrowed to a probability range , whereas had those
                                                                                                             national and cryptographic considerations were absent from the
missing documents been available the degree of certainty would be enhanced and
                                                                                                             HMAS Sydney tragedy.            That period was undOUbtedly the darkest
the years of individual anguish and national doubt reduced accordingly.
                                                                                                            hour for the then British Empire and its Allies.         The battle was for
                                                                                                             national survival.         Great dependency was placed on the
As for an appropriate Commemoration Planning Policy in the event of the discovery




                                                 :~34 0
                                                                                                                                                             PINQ.SUBS.014.0050




     ... 12 ...                                                                                 ... 13 ...
                                                                                                  Care" toward the use and welfare of Australia's Defence Forces at
      lines of communication - crytographic security as a crucial part of that                    all times and in every circumstance concurrent with an obligatory
      could - though not necessarily - impact on operational matters.                             commitment of open accountability to the Australian People.
                                                                                                  These are fundamentals for all future governments to be aware of
     · while accepting there is little likelihood of evidence contrary to                         and pursue actively .
       Detmers' broad account - the interval between the sightings of both
      ships and the action itself remains very much conjecture.                                   Since the establishment of this Inquiry, my opinion regarding the
                                                                                                  search for HMAS Sydney and the location and identification of the
     · one will never be convinced that the search operation and the                              Christmas Island remains has changed.        I now give unqualified
      apparent discrepancies and gaps in the official version did not stem                       support to both objectives.    Likewise I support the formulation of a
      from initial disbelief followed in turn by panic and later cover-up                         Commemorative Policy in anticipation of confirmed results.      A
      coinciding with the nature of Japan's entry into the war.     Though an                     policy under the aegis of the Commonwealth War Graves criteria
       immediate search effort might have saved possible" Sydney"                                 with the WA Maritime Museum the custodian and with a design goal
      survivors, later events overtook the requirement for a more thorough                        to enshrine Australian values and a respect for the sacrifices of all
      inquiry over why the delay.                                                                lost on HMAS Sydney.       To this end Attachment 2 may offer some
                                                                                                 guidance.
     · Australia, as an island continent, has a rich maritime heritage and
       history of which HMAS Sydney 1 and 2 have honoured places in the
      annals of this Nation's short naval history.    A full appreciation of      S~bmitted with all respect for consideration by the InqUiry Sub-Committee.




                                                                                  ~
                                                                                  /(~~
       the second HMAS Sydney's tragic loss is denied future generations
       of Australians because of missing records.      That loss highlights the
       important role of having a comprehensive national archival                  N Anderson ,
       programme in place to ensure a dependable source of historical             Liveringa Sttion ,
       matter is available for future research.   The lack of important           Derby WA 6728
       material relating to the HMAS Sydney disappearance in 1941
       demonstrates this archival criticality .


     · the contribution made by the then wartime national government to
       what continues to cloud the" Sydney" loss - remains open to
       question as much as the inaction by subsequent post war
       governments to take reasonable steps to allay some of the public
       concerns persisting all these years .

,      Governments must have an unquestioned commitment to a .. Duty of


}~
                                                                                                                                                                 PINQ.SUBS.014.0051




                                                                                                            ... 2 ...
                                                                                                          S1rJWolt:f
                              Attachment No. 1                                               Captain Ross"lacked professional competence , he was one of the best.
                                                                                            il({'~wv
The following account is of an incident off the French West African coast during            (f   N Anderson .
September, 1940 and is as I remember it and without readily available references.
lit is, however, referred to in H Gill's first history volume of the RAN during the
Second World War but only in very general terms.         HMAS Australia's log for that
period and Captain Ross Stewart , Royal Navy's report - presumably to the
Admiralty.would be enlightening.        I present the following account to illustrate how
qUickly tactical situations can change dramatically to expose an unexpected
degree of vulnerability .


Prior to the failed Oakar operation in September , 1940 , three fast modern French
six inch gunned cruisers of the Montcalm class were dispatched by the French
Vichy Government naval command to reinforce the French forces at Oakar.            On
the 18th or 19th of September· I don't remember the actual date, HMAS Australia
relieved a Royal Navy cruiser of the same clss as " Australia" on a patrol to
intercept the French ships.       Shortly after the changeover masthead sightings
were made of the French group - the departing RN cruiser was recalled, Le.,
WfTsilence was broken and for the remainder of the day the French ships were
shadowed from ahead of the line of advamce .         The interception tactic changed
with nightfall.   HMAS Australia was not fitted with R.OIF ( radar) at that time· I'm
not sure of the RN cruiser.       For some time· hours perhaps - highspeed chase
maneouvres ensued for both groups in the pitch darkness of a tropical night - A
hairy experience!     That all ended abruptly when one of the opposing cruisers,
FNS Gloire , had engine breakdown,emitted funnel sparks and HMAS Australia
illuminated her close to starboard both ships broadside to.      It was a moment of
high tension.     Adverting to the Oetmers version of HMAS Sydney's movements
there are parallels , even though one incident was a night encounter while the
other allegedly late afternoon.     The point I make is the dramatic turn of events in
the space of minutes if not seconds.       Had the Frenchman been an alert committed
hostile and quick to open fire with all armaments including torpedoes at the
moment of illumination . even though" Australia " was closed up to Action Stations
she was in an extremely vulnerable position - unintended, Yes! but owed to a
quick chnilge of circumstances.       No authority could validly argued that
                                                                                                                                                                                                      PINQ.SUBS.014.0052



            o;u:. f'AI~('11 Nu. 1. .
           A U
                                                           DON'T quite know why I
                                                                                   A DECENT BURIAL                                                                                                                  •••
                                                                                                                                                                                                    will be In LaUn according to
                                                                             I
                                                             am so moved by It. but I
                                                         am: 439 years after they died,
                                                                                                                                                                                                    the medieval Sarum rile then
                                                                                                                                                                                                    In use In England. The music
                                                                                                                                                                                                    will be by a 16th·century
                                          TII! WWIiID AI the crew of the Mary Rose are                                                                                                              English composer. John
                                                         being given a decent burlal.                                                                                                               Taverner, who also died In
                                                         right what seems especially
         _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ And to me (though I am not a                                                                                                                 1545.
                                                         religious man) Is that people                                                                                                                 ·We are not doing thl. as a
                                                         have taken the trouble to give                                                                                                             piece of archaeulog)'," •• Id
                                                         the dead sailors of long ago                                                                                                               the Very Rev Uavld Stand,f·
                                                         the last rites they would have                                                                                                              fe, who wl1l conduct the ler·
                                                         expected.                                                                                                                                  Vlce, "bUl   becaus~    It Is (is
                                                                                                                                                                                                    close as pOS>lble to ",h~t they
                                                                               The Mary Rose was the                                                                                                would have h~d anll .huuhl
                                                                             English warship that sank                                                                                              have hull al lhe    tlm~"    AIH.!
                                                                             Just (lU Portsmouth In a battle                                                                                        after the Mass. the burial ser-
                                                                             with the French neet on July                                                                                           Vice Win use mudern      htur~y
                                                                             19, 1545. Of her crew of more                                                                                          and music, tn order     to COIII
                                                                             than 700 men, only 30 were                                                                                             plete the bridge aclOSS It.,·
                                                                             saved. The remainder died                                                                                              centuries.
                                                                             with her, and lay on the bot·
                                                                             tom of Portsmouth harbour
                                                                             until marine archaeologists
                                                                                                                                                                                                     People core
                                                                              found the ship and raised her                     Thi., the9"'r k,u~wfll contemporary «hawing of,h.  Mary Rose,         It I. reassuring that the
                                                                              two years ago.                                     applar.d In on lIIullr.lld li" 01 ,hipl in Honr, VIII', nov,.      people of today care enough
                                                                                                                                                                                                    to do thl£ last servtce rur th~:ac
                                                                               Her hull was almost totally     rushed to the side nearer the     treatment from fellow human                         anonymous       16th   c~ntury
                                                                             preserved by the salt and sill    French ships, causing her to • beings - even people living In                         sailors It Is only a ge.ture. "f
                                                                         I   of the seabed, whIch made her     list over far enough to bring     the unimaginably far future-                        course: Each day an old
                                                                             one of the great archaeplogl-
                                                                         l   cal finds of all time. She was
                                                                             the first of the blg·gun war-
                                                                             ships, carrying twO tiers of
                                                                                                               tile open gunports below the
                                                                                                               W'lterUne. Bhe went down
                                                                                                               ver)' cast, though she was near
                                                                                                                                                 than to be trellted merely as
                                                                                                                                                 Interesting archaeological
                                                                                                                                                 evidence.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     graveyard is ploughed under
                                                                                                                                                                                                     :somewhere In the world lo
                                                                                                                                                                                                     make way for a new apart
                                                                                                               enough to shore for King Hen·        They have not been bet-                          ment block, But we who are
                                                                             massive cannon low down           ry VIII to hear the screams of     raycd. Next Thursday, the                          alive now will soon enough be
                                                                             near the waterline.                the dr\lwnlng men.                439th anniversary of the day                       dead loO, alld the human en·
                                                                                                                  Resurrected from the mud,       they died, the crew of the                         terprlse wl1l sllll continue.
                                                                                                               she now rests In a specially       Mary Rose WIll be Interred In                        It has nothing In particular
                                                                               'Noblest ship'                  built museum In Portsmouth         the grounds of the Royal Na-                       to do with England or the 16th
                                                                                                                                                  val Hospital, Portsmouth.                          century, What Is bemg dOlle
                                                                                 In her first battle In 1512, dockyard, where she was bUIlt       overlooklljg the waters that                       for the men of the Mary Ho.e
                                                                                                                almost flve centuries ago.
                                                                               the Mary Rose shattered the Among the things the divers                                                               Is a mark of respect fur all the
                                                                                                                                                  covered them for so long.
                                                                               French flagship Orande                                                                                                blllions who have gone    lJetor~
                                                                               Loulse with the devastating found In hercoins. surgeon's
                                                                                                                tools, gold
                                                                                                                               were
                                                                                                                                       and the
                                                                                                                                                    The form of the Requiem
                                                                                                                                                  Mass In Portsmouth Cathed-                         us down the c~ntune5 MO:it vC
                                                                               broadsides that were to                                                                                               them dId the best they coulll,
                                                                                                                        last meal: Mutton
                                                                               dominate naval warfare (or crew'smushy peas. They stew
                                                                                                                with                        also
                                                                                                                                                  ral was a difficult deCision. for
                                                                                                                                                  their lives spanned the period                     according tu what they knew
                                                                               the next 350 years. Her first                                                                                         alld believed, and we o.. e
                                                                               commander wrote that she         found almost 200 complete         of the Protestant Reforma-
                                                                                                                skeletons.                        tlon In England. They would                        them all that we have.
                                                                             , was "the noblest ship of sail
                                                                               and as great a ship at this         The skeletons were among       have been baptised as Roman                          Most of us do the best we
                                                                               hour as I trow to be in Christ·   the m\lst valuable finds, tell-  Catholics. but by the time                         can tOO, and some lime. It Is
                                                                               endom."                           Ing the archaeloglsts much       they died they would have                          not bad at all. In Portsmouth
                                                                                                                 about health, diet and disease    been almost (but not qUite)                       this month, they are paying a
                                                                                 Nobody really knows why         In Tudor times. But they are      Cl1urch of England.                               Uny part of the debt we all
                                                                               Mary Rose sank In her last
        Spirit of Mary Rose at peace                                           battle In 1545. but It was not
                                                                               French gunnre. The likeliest
                                                                                                                 also the remains of reat people
                                                                                                                 who once had names and fam·
                                                                                                                 Illes and hopes. and who
                                                                                                                                                     /30 those parts of the Mass
                                                                                                                                                  which had already been trans-
                                                                                                                                                   tated by 1545 will be read In
                                                                                                                                                                                                     owe to our past. I do not really
                                                                                                                                                                                                     believe that the men of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Mary Rose will know about It,
   An oak coffin containing the remains of one of 700 sailors                  explanation Is that the hun-                                                                                          but It Is the right thing to do.
   lost 439 years ago on Henry VIII's warship, Mary Rose, is                   dreds of soldiers aboard          would have expected better        English, but the remainder
   bUried at Portsmouth Cathedral. The ceremony, held yes·
   terday, was conducted mainly in 16th century lalln. The                                     "        Iv";:~f ;It.)1~,tIJ"H       SWt'U~,)'1'1 ~ al-, 1'15l'7
       hull of the ship was recovered in 1982. - AP picture
                 l ullor II laid to Alt - WHklrrd POKI 8 '




            After 439. years, a sailor is laid to rest
         THE Mary IWse project Is bla-                                           11,   ,   ,       t

                                                                                                                                           They all maligned, disdained              reqUiem, with a mMS composed by
         zoned all over Portsmouth thIs                                                                                                   and envied each other. says a              John Taverner, who died In thr
         summer.                                                       By VERONICA HORWELL                                                                                           year Of the sinking,
                                                                                                                                          chronicle.
           There Is the unofficial pub, res-                                                                                               When. because of overloading,               He also had an English Oospel
         taurant and antique shop, the            Inlaid with Inoss and oak leaves.                      Rank: PossIbly senior seaman. she heeled and shipped water as               "Jesus sayde to her they brother
         new exhIbItion hall, and the ves-          The coffin was made at a                           The advanced warship was she started out to fight the                         shall ryse agalne": the sonorltlrs
         sel. her.elf. In damp dock. doused       cathedral workbench by an ex-                        manned by 100 of these. "the French, every man gave orders                    of the 17th-<:entury croft burial
         dally to delay drying out.               navy shipwright, Mlchael Spread-                     worst ... being abl~ to be a mas- but took none. and all "perished            sentences: "The Lord gave and
           And now a sadder part of the re-       boro'ugh. '                       •                  ter In the best ship within the In forwardness."                              the Lord hath taken away:" mod-
         covery Is visible In the navy aisle        Modern plastic glue binds It, but                  realm."                             ReligIon: This Is a malter which          ern rites, Catholic and Anglican.
         at Portsmouth OathedraL                  It Is caulked In black Stockholm                       TIme o( death: A hot Sunday af- has occasioned the Provost of               and by courtesy of the navy. a
           On Thursday - the 439th an-            pitch,                                               lernoon, July 19, 1545.            Portsmouth. the Very Reverend              guard, "Eternal Father" and the
         niversary of the ship's sinking -          A cauldron of the brew was dis-                      Cause of death: Drowning. Davld Btanclllfe, years of re-                    prayer for "the fleet In which "e
         tile city. the Rose Trust and the        covered In the wreck and found.                      Seven hundred sailors and sold- search.                                       serve."
         cathedral Interred there the             upon boiling. to be as pungent                       Ier., gunners and bowmen were       The Rose's casualties were bap-             He was given all this because he
         bones of one sample Tudor sailor.        and usable as If It had been new.                    caught at below-deck stations ot tised Catholic - devout, too, It can         represent. so mUCh. cathedral
           He now lies under a slab of            so a IItlle was spared,                              trapped under the anll-boardlng be deduced from the rosaries                  staff explaIned.
         Welsh slate. hard by the World             And what of the man Inside the                     party netting Which edged the sifted from the sill.                             He stands for all the skeletal
         War I plaque to the line of mari-        coffin?                                              decks.                              Their king, Henry VIII. had bro-          remaIns from the cralt that have
         time roses, "flower of all ships           Name: Unknown. For there                             Cause of accident: Attributed to ken with IWme, but that did nol            been stored and sclentlflcallv
         that ever sailed - Splthead. Ar-         were only three nominated souls                      Instability and Indlsclpllne.      make the victims Anglicans as we           studied since their finding. alld
         mada, Cadlz and Julland 1916,"           aboard, The Lord Admiral, Sir                          Admiral Carew complained even Inlght define them.                           which wUl now rest quietly on
           The coffin Is a small Tudor box.       Oeorge Care\\', Captain IWger                        as she listed "and was like to be    The unknown sailor would have            naval     property.    unlU    the
CA;      assembled from 2,5cm thick En-           Oreenvllle and John Reade. and                       cast away" that she was crewed by been used to the medieval Latin             archaeologists come up with lIew
CA;      glish oak. a lead plate, Iron hand-      chances are slim that he was one                     "a sort of knave whom he could Sarum rile - proper usage to                   techniques and questions
         les and rosehead nails. The base Is      of tlJeSe,                                           nOt rule."                         Salisbury - and he had It at his                    TM Sundall TImes
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