Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LIFESTYLE -

HIL­TON au­thor Wes Ol­son’s lat­est work, HMAS Syd­ney (II): In Peace and War, was a chance to high­light the suc­cess of what was widely con­sid­ered the pride of the Aus­tralian Navy.

Many of the Syd­ney’s vic­to­ries have taken a back seat to the mys­tery sur­round­ing its sink­ing by Ger­man mer­chant raider Kor­moran off the coast of WA in 1941.

The two ves­sels were only found in 2008.

“A lot of the fo­cus had been on the rea­son be­hind the loss of the ship,” Ol­son said.

“Peo­ple for­got the ca­reer and suc­cess the ship had, par­tic­u­larly against the Ital­ian Navy in the Mediter­ranean.

“The un­cer­tainty about the ves­sel over­shad­owed its record prior to that.”

While ded­i­cat­ing a chap­ter to its demise, Ol­son’s lat­est work uses of­fi­cial doc­u­ments, di­aries, let­ters and mem­oirs from the ship’s crew to of­fer up a de­fin­i­tive record of its trav­els.

In­cluded in the 620-page hard­bound book are more than 250 pho­to­graphs, as well as maps and charts, many of which have never been pub­lished.

“This is the story of the ship that should be read,” Ol­son said. “The loss over­shad­owed the full story of the pride of the Royal Aus­tralian Navy.

“Hope­fully this is some­thing the fam­i­lies of the 645 lost crew mem­bers can cher­ish.”

WA Veter­ans Min­is­ter Joe Fran­cis, who helped launch the book at the Cock­burn RSL, said HMAS Syd­ney II holds a spe­cial place in the hearts and minds of West Aus­tralians.

“It is very much part of our state’s history,” he said.

“The dis­ap­pear­ance of the cruiser with all hands, and the mys­tery of its fate, left a na­tion puz­zled and con­fused.

“Publi­ca­tions like HMAS Syd­ney II: In Peace and War play a part in en­sur­ing Syd­ney’s legacy and mem­ory will be re­mem­bered and ap­pre­ci­ated by present and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

To or­der the book, phone 9337 4631 or email wes.dale @west­

Cock­burn RSL pres­i­dent Dig­ger Cleak, Veter­ans Min­is­ter Joe Fran­cis, Cock­burn RSL vice pres­i­dent Mal­colm “Tiny” Small, and au­thor Wes Ol­son.

The HMAS Syd­ney (II), a legacy re­mem­bered.

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