HMAS Sydney (II)

Maritime Series: The Sydney Kormoran Battle

Hear the story of the catastrophic battle at point blank range, and the spectacular end to a 67-year mystery.

A Fierce, Unprecedented Battle 

Hear the story of two ships that met 100 nautical miles off the West Australian coast in November 1941. One, HMAS Sydney (II) - the pride of the Australian Navy with an impeccable battle record. The other, HSK Kormoran, a German merchant raider with camouflaged guns that had recently sunk 11 allied merchant ships. They come within 1,000 yards of each other: point blank range for navy ships that typically engage each other at 8 to 10 miles. 

Catastrophic Loss of the Sydney 

Both ships were lost, Sydney sinking with all hands: no survivors from the 645 crew. Only 300 survivors from Kormoran lived to tell the tale. As the wreck locations were unknown, conspiracy theories and secrecy compounded this devastating loss to the RAN, 35% of all RAN crew losses in action in World War II.

A Mystery Solved 67 Years Later

For the families of Sydney's crew, the nightmare was ongoing.The dedication of many, and particularly the Finding Sydney Foundation over many years, lead to yet another search for the wrecks in 2008. After nearly 67 years, the mystery of what happened on that fateful night was revealed when both wrecks were found.

Meet the Speakers

Gillian Lewis  & Noel Phelan are both volunteers and speakers at the museum.