SPOTLIGHT SHINES ON PRIDE OF NAVY
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 @westnet.com.au.
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.