© Copyright Elaine Teague all rights reserved.
Canon 7D (Tamron 10-24mm lens)
1xRAW processed in Photomatix and Topaz B&W effects.
Taken at the memorial site for the HMAS Sydney in Geraldton, Western Australia.
Sculpture by Joan Walsh-Smith and Charles Smith
“On November 19, 1941, the cruiser HMAS Sydney II (eight 6 inch guns and eight 21 inch torpedo tubes), was commanded by Captain Joseph Burnett, RAN, and approximately 150 miles south-west of Carnarvon, W.A., and steaming on a southerly course to Fremantle, W.A.
About 5.30 p.m (WA time). she sighted a merchant vessel about 12 miles range. As the range closed Sydney tried to ascertain the stranger’s identity. After confused signalling the other ship identified herself as the Dutch ship Straat Malakka. She was actually the disguised German raider Kormoran (six 5.9 inch guns and six 21 inch torpedo tubes).
When the HMAS Sydney II ordered her to make her secret call sign, the German Captain, Commander Theodor Detmers, realised he could not bluff his way clear and had no alternative but to fight.
At 6.30 p.m (WA time), Kormoran unmasked her guns and opened a devastating fire on the Australian cruiser, simultaneously hitting her with a torpedo.
The Sydney was soon ablaze with her forward turrets wrecked. However, her after guns returned a short but effective fire, hitting the Kormoran in the engine room and causing a fire that eventually was to prove fatal to the raider. Down by the bow, she turned as if to ram the German ship or to bring her starboard torpedo tubes to bear. She passed close astern of Kormoran and narrowly missed her with a salvo of torpedoes. All the time she was under fire from the raider’s guns.
She limped off into the evening well ablaze and her glare could be distinguished until 11 p.m (WA time). after which only occasional flickerings could be seen and these had vanished by midnight. Meanwhile, Kormoran’s crew had abandoned ship and the raider blew up at 1.30 a.m (WA time). Seventy-eight of Kormoran’s complement of 393 were lost. The survivors were picked up by other ships or reached the West Australian coast.
None of Sydney’s 645 men survived."
Information supplied by the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, A.C.T.
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