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August 06 , 2010

Who Sank the Sydney?


In February 1941, HMAS Sydney, a glamour ship of the Royal Australian Navy in World War II, returned from the Mediterranean to a tumultuous welcome in Australia. The Sydney had crowned her service in that theatre of operations with the Royal Navy by sinking the Italian ship Bartolomeo Colleoni, described as the fastest cruiser in the world. Nine months later the Sydney had disappeared off the coast of Western Australia following an action against the German raider Kormoran. Three hundred and eight men from the Kormoran were eventually requested, but the Sydney's entire complement of six hundred and forty-five men was lost, making her the largest ship in the whole course of the War to go down with all hands. Survivors from the Kormoran at first talked of rowing towards her in the hope of being picked up and then seeing her blow up, but when they were reunited with their officers their story began to change.... In Who Sank The Sydney Michael Montgomery has pieced together hundreds if items of evidence gathered in four years research to provide solutions to the hitherto unanswered questions surrounding what the American historian Hanson Baldwin has described as 'the most curious incident of the seas'. Why were there no survivors from the Sydney and how did all trace of the cruiser disappear so quickly? How was the raider able to destroy the much larger and much more heavily armed cruiser? Was a Japanese submarine involved? Why did the Navy disown a body found three months later in a Carley float from the Sydney? Since this book was first published in Australia in 1981 much more evidence has come to light to support Michael Montgomery's theories of a major cover-up in high places. In particular, he demonstrates that the Navy suspected the Japanese involvement almost immediately, and that on November 26ty Churchill sent Roosevelt a telegram which coursed him to break off negotiations with Japan. Pearl Harbour followed a fortnight later; was the Sydney thus the “Lusitania” of World War II?
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