Sydney II Found

Jun 12, 2004
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I just saw this and thought it was interesting. Apparently, the Sydney II has been found--by means of the notes drawn up by the German commander of the vessel that had sunk it.

And, yes, David Mearns was, indeed, the one who found it!

Inger and Dave Gittins will find this particularly interesting, since they both live and dive off the Australian coast.

It's amazing that the Germans who were floating toward the Australian coast weren't blown out of the water right after attacking Australia's pride-and-joy.

In any case, a pretty intriguing read:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080404/ap_on_re_au_an/australia_wreck_mystery


Photos here:

http://news.search.yahoo.com/news/search?p=sydney+II&c=news_photos

I see that the news was already appended to and being discussed in the "Search for . . ." thread directly below. Oh well . . . My apologies.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I see that the news was already appended to and being discussed in the "Search for . . ." thread directly below. Oh well . . . My apologies.<<

No big deal. Join us in the other thread if you wish. We could always use a new victim participant!
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Another victim participant, eh? hehe. It sounds scary rather fun.

The story is just as fascinating as it is mysterious and intriguing. I wonder if they'll ever identify that decomposed body they found on Christmas Island. The fact that the captured Germans were turned into POWs instead of killed on the spot is also another curiosity to me. Yes, the information the Germans could provide was invaluable, but I'm sure emotions were running high at the time because of the fate of Sydney II. After all, anger is a very powerful emotion.

I look forward to other updates, should any more come regarding the story and the wreck.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>The fact that the captured Germans were turned into POWs instead of killed on the spot is also another curiosity to me.<<

Not so strange as you might think. At least in that war, the professional military people tended to extend their counterparts on the other side every courtesy that wartime realities would allow. This was not, admittedly, a hard and fast rule but overall, enemy combatants in situations like this tended to have much more to fear from the civilians then they did the enemy's military people.

I suspect that at least part of the reason for this was that it wasn't really all that personal, but strictly business and a respect for the fact that the other guy was simply doing his duty. Most soldiers, sailors, and airmen understood this much.

The civilians did not.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Aussies, remember the ABC documentary will be shown on Tuesday 15 April at 8-30pm. I know some minds might be elsewhere on this day.
 

Tony Newman

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Apr 7, 2008
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Am I the only one that is curious as to why the ship is in the same place as the battle, seems she didnt sail away into the night...
 

Michael Byrne

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Oct 11, 2006
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According to Mearns, Sydney lies some 12.2 nautical miles South East of the Kormoran wreck and 10.5NM from the presumed battle area - so it isn't really 'in the same place as the battle'.

If I recall correctly, according to German reports the last action occurred at a range of about 6NM so clearly Sydney was able to make her way away for perhaps 4-5NM before she sank. The Germans report her speed at 'around 5 knots' so that would give a 'sailing away' time of at least an hour or so after the close of action.

However, the Germans also report that the Sydney's 'glow' was visible for well after an hour after the battle, so we can speculate perhaps Sydney was forced to slow further in her last hours - perhaps through engine problems from the midships fires, or if the crew were able to perform a battle damage assessment of the structrual damage forwards. All speculation though.
 

Dave Gittins

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The Germans got a final measurement with a range-finder that put Sydney about 8.5 miles off after the battle. Their general impression was that she went considerably further away after that, but obviously she didn't. We are back to our old problem. How do you estimate distances off at night? Not very well!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From BYM:

Australia. Cairn dedicated to unknown HMAS Sydney 11 sailor on Christmas Island
quote:

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon. Warren Snowdon MP today attended a cairn dedication service on Christmas Island to mark the original grave of the unknown sailor believed to have served on HMAS Sydney II.
More at http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=50500
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Canberra Times:

Sydney had good reason to close in on ship: historian
quote:

ON THREE occasions before its fatal encounter with a German raider, HMAS Sydney challenged unidentifiable vessels which failed to carry out recognition procedures but did not engage them in battle and did not go to action stations, the HMAS Sydney inquiry heard yesterday.
Two page story begins at http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/national/national/general/sydney-had-good-reason-to-close-in-on-ship-historian/1468706.aspx
 
Dec 2, 2000
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hi there
For those of you interested, one of the gentlemen responsible for helping finding the wreck of the HMAS Sydney (II) has just published a book; "The Search for the Sydney" by David L. Mearns. I just got my copy of it on Friday and its excellent. Large format book, 264 pages, profuse with good quality photographs, diagrams. The text details a brief history of the Sydney, her tragic loss and the efforts in the recent past to start a hunt for the wreck. The author was involved in a lot of this, so some of the story is from a first person perspective. For those of you that don't know, the loss of the HMAS Sydney was a very controversial event in Australian history with dark suspicions being held for 60 years that the Germans had done something underhanded and/or even the Japanese were involved (the later theory has long been shown to be unlikely). There are plenty of photos of the ship as she was and as she is today sitting on the floor of the Indian Ocean. If you are interested in ship wrecks and you enjoyed any of the books by Dr Ballard, you will like this one. The text is great, detailing some of the meticulous research necessary to find a shipwreck.

Regards

Richard
 
Dec 8, 2000
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Thanks Richard, I'll be keeping an eye out for it, particularly as I've a lovely big book voucher just begging to be used on something significant.

As for finding a copy slightly ahead of the official release date, that's quite common with local books. Happens to me all the time - but I do go to a lot of launches, too.

Michael, the book's already listed for pre-order on a range of Oz bookshop sites (including some with very attractive discounts), so Amazon can't be far off. It's published by HarperCollins, which won't hurt either.