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Photograph of Warrant Engineer Frederick William Reville

Date: 1940
Overall: 130 x 85 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Pauline Humphreys
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00045273

User Terms

    Studio portrait of Warrant Engineer Frederick William Reville of HMAS SYDNEY (II) taken in 1940 some two months after SYDNEY had been victorious in the Mediterranean against the Italian cruiser BARTOLOMEO COLLEONI. Reville was one of the 645 crew members of HMAS SYDNEY (II) who lost their lives in November 1941 during battle with the German auxiliary cruiser HSK KORMORAN off the coast of Western Australia. In March 2008 both ships were located - bringing to a close the story of the greatest loss of Australian naval life.
    SignificanceThis photograph is representative of the service of Warrant Engineer Frederick William Reville and the crew of HMAS SYDNEY, all lost at sea in November 1941. At the age of 31 Reville paid the ultimate price in defending his country.
    HistoryFrederick William Reville signed up for 12 years of service in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 1934 and progressed from ERA IV (Engine Room Artificer 4th Class) to Warrant Engineer in 1940. His training was at the RAN bases of HMAS CERBERUS and PENGUIN as well as at sea in HMAS AUSTRALIA. His final posting was to HMAS SYDNEY. His service record papers end with the words 'MISSING PRESUMED LOST 'SYDNEY' 20/11/41'.

    Until 2008, the loss of HMAS SYDNEY and all 645 crew members in battle against HSK KORMORAN has been a source of mystery and despair to many in the naval and historical community.

    Returning from convoy duties HMAS SYDNEY sighted what appeared to be the Dutch merchant ship STRAAT MALAKKA off the Western Australian coast. It was 19 November 1941.

    SYDNEY repeatedly signalled for identification. The merchant ship avoided replying, until suddenly it opened fire - revealing it to be the German armed auxiliary cruiser HSK KORMORAN. SYDNEY's bridge was destroyed in the first attack. Torpedoes hit near the forward gun turrets - putting them out of action. KORMORAN's engine room was hit and fire raged until it was abandoned, the mines on board detonated and the ship blew up and sank. German survivors reported seeing SYDNEY ablaze and steaming away.

    HSK KORMORAN was found on 12 March 2008 and HMAS SYDNEY on 16 March some 12 nautical miles apart by HMAS Sydney Search Pty Ltd. Both ships bear testament to the fierce gun battle. The damage to SYDNEY shows extremely accurate gunfire from the Germans and substantiates much of what the German survivors recounted. It also appears SYDNEY sank quickly after extensive damage to the forward section resulted in the bow falling away from the ship and flooding the remainder with water.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Photograph of Warrant Engineer Frederick William Reville

    (not entered): Photograph of Warrant Engineer Frederick William Reville

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