Joint Geraldton and German services to commemorate HMAS Sydney II soldiers 82 years on from disaster

Anna CoxGeraldton Guardian
The HMAS Sydney II Memorial in Geraldton.
Camera IconThe HMAS Sydney II Memorial in Geraldton. Credit: Tamati Smith

For the first time joint official services will be held in Geraldton and Germany to mark 82 years since the battle of HMAS Sydney II and HSK Kormoran ended in Australia’s worst naval disaster.

On November 19, 1941 the HMAS Sydney II sunk after a battle with German raider HSK Kormoran off the WA coast, with all 645 lives on board lost. The Kormoran, too, sunk but 317 of its 397-strong crew were rescued.

It remained an enduring mystery, with the Sydney’s final resting place only discovered in 2008.

A commemorative service will take place on Friday, November 17 in the German city of Kiel, while Geraldton will pause to remember on Sunday, November 19 at a sunset service at the HMAS Sydney II Memorial at 5.45pm.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Jerry Clune said the joint services recognised the sacrifices made by sailors on both sides.

“I look forward to seeing our community come together and pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate price in the service of their country,” he said.

The service will be attended by Department of Veterans’ Affairs deputy commissioner Peter King, the Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany for WA Dr Gabriele Maluga and Deputy Defence Attache to Australia and New Zealand Major Dominic Vogel.

A free shuttle bus service will depart from the QEII Seniors and Community Centre carpark at 5pm before picking up passengers at the Geraldton City RSL and continuing on to the HMAS Sydney II Memorial before departing at 7pm.

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