The events are to remember the 80th Anniversary of the loss of the Sydney II and its crew in an engagement with the German Raider Kormoran which occurred on 19 November 1941, off the West Australian coast. The battle was brief and ended with the destruction of both ships. 318 of the 399 men aboard the Kormoran survived, but Sydney sank with all hands. It was the largest loss of life in the Royal Australian Navy, the largest Allied warship lost with all hands during WW2, and a major blow to Australian wartime morale.
How a purpose-built warship like the Sydney, with its superior armour, speed and armament was lost to an armed merchant vessel has been the subject of much speculation over the years. Some of the questions were answered when the wrecks of the two ships were discovered in 2008 – but it is still a story of tragedy and loss, and deserves to be remembered.
Details of the two events are outlined below. Please note that you will need to book one or the other (or both) – links are provided for this purpose.
None of the men aboard Sydney II survived that short and brutal engagement, but we who are left should never forget. If you can, please take advantage of this unique opportunity to remember those who were lost.
GERALDTON MEMORIAL EVENT
The City of Greater Geraldton has planned a number of events in conjunction with the Naval Association and the RSL (WA).
Friday 19th November. 1000hrs. A service will be held at the grave of the “Unknown Sailor” at the Geraldton Cemetery. This will be followed by morning tea provided by the City of Greater Geraldton. (venue TBA.)
Friday 19th November. 1700 hrs. Commemorative service at the HMAS Sydney 2 Memorial. This will be followed with a Bar-B-Que for Invited guests, service personnel & veterans organized by the Naval Association and the Geraldton RSL, together with the City of Greater Geraldton.
Saturday 20th November. 1500 hrs. Orana theatre showing of the “Sydney II: Lost & Found” performance.
Bookings are essential. Please conact email@example.com for all enquiries and to make bookings.
Note that a number of Association WA members will be driving up to Geraldton on Thursday 18th November, and that Division will be laying a wreath at the Commemorative Service on behalf of all FAAAA members.
DENHAM MEMORIAL EVENT
This event has been organised by an RAN veteran and will take place in Denham, a small coastal township about a five hour drive north of Geraldton. It is likely to be attended by a number of senior RAN and RAAF representatives.
Friday 19th November. 1000hrs. Live streaming of the Geraldton Service at various venues around Denham.
Saturday 20th November. 1500hrs. Memorial Concert in Denham.
Sunday 21st November. TTBA. March though the township for all who wish to participate, followed by a Service by the Sea. This will look towards the area where the wreck of the Sydney was discovered in 2008.
Denham is in the Shire of Shark Bay and is an area of outstanding beauty, so you may wish to spend a little time after the memorial event to explore, including visits to Monkey Mia to feed the dolphins.
You can, of course, mix the two events: for example, attend the Commemorative Service in Geraldton and then drive to Denham for the Memorial Concert etc. It’s entirely up to you.
Bookings essential: contact firstname.lastname@example.org