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HMAS SYDNEY rating's cap

Date: 1941
75 x 205 x 255 mm
Medium: Cloth, plastic
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Norma Wales
Object Name: Cap
Object No: 00040533

User Terms

    The loss of HMAS SYDNEY with all hands (645) on 19 November 1941 is the single most devastating loss of life in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) to this date. This rating's cap was given to a young friend of the donor when the ship returned to Sydney in February 1941 during celebrations after a long successful service in the Mediterranean.

    SignificanceThis cap is a scarce surviving item belonging to a crew member of HMAS SYDNEY. SYDNEY was a key vessel of the RAN and a significant World War II symbol to the Australian public. In light of the ship's loss this cap is an important article.
    History19 November marks the anniversary of the tragic loss of the light cruiser HMAS SYDNEY in battle against the German raider HSK KORMORAN.

    At the outbreak of World War II, HMAS SYDNEY undertook local patrol duties until April 1940 when it joined the 7th Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean Sea. Action soon followed with the bombardment of Bardia (Libya) and the Battles of Calabria (Italy) and Cape Spada (Crete). On 19 July, off Cape Spada in Crete, HMAS SYDNEY and five British Royal Navy destroyers fought against the Italian cruisers BARTOLOMEO COLLEONI and GIOVANNI DELLE BANDE NERE. The resulting sea battle saw Sydney's accurate gunfire cripple the COLLEONI and damage the BANDE NERE.

    Returning after long and hard service in the Mediterranean, HMAS SYDNEY was welcomed into Sydney Harbour on 10 February 1941 by thousands lining the foreshores. Vantage points along Farm Cove offered the perfect view of the cruiser with its geometric, dazzle painted scheme (later called camouflage). The grey colours were painted on immediately after the Cape Spada action of July 1940. The ship then underwent a refit and was posted to convoy duties in the Indian Ocean.

    There, on 19 November 1941, SYDNEY went into battle with the German raider KORMORAN. Unbelievably, SYDNEY was completely lost - the ship plus all 645 crew.

    The loss of HMAS SYDNEY was devastating for the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian public.

    The wreck of HMAS SYDNEY was located on 16 March 2008 near the coast of Steep Point Western Australia, 66 years after it sank. It was located 10 kilometres from the German ship KORMORAN.

    This rating's cap was given to a young friend of the donor when the ship was in Sydney in February 1941. The owner is unknown, as is whether he went on to serve in SYDNEY during its fateful voyage or was transferred to another ship.

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