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HSK KORMORAN survivors under guard

Date: 1941
Overall: 89 x 139 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Bruce Robinson
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00047845
Related Place:Fremantle, Western Australia, Indian Ocean,

User Terms

    Having been rescued by Australian warships scouring the area for signs of HMAS SYDNEY, the survivors from HSK KORMORAN were treated for injuries, issued with dry and clean clothing as required and transported to Fremantle. This postcard shows them climbing up the hatchway and being directed as they leave the ship - for interrogation and prisoner-of-war camps.
    SignificanceThe HMAS SYDNEY / HSK KORMORAN engagement on 19 November 1941 resulted in the loss of both ships, the entire crew of HMAS Sydney and some 80 crew from HSK KORMORAN. It is the worst single incident for loss of life in the history of the Royal Australian Navy. It was a major blow to morale on the home front, coming so soon after HMAS SYDNEY's meritorious and feted actions in the Mediterranean earlier in 1941.
    HistoryPrior to the Japanese entry into World War II, the waters around Australia were relatively quiet with most of the heavy action taking place in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean. But the Australian Government was wary of commerce raiders and mine laying. HMAS SYDNEY (II) - a light cruiser- had returned from the Mediterranean victorious after battle against the Italian cruiser BARTOLOMEO COLLEONI. A tremendous welcome awaited the ship and its crew when it entered Sydney Harbour in February 1941. For the rest of the year, the ship was involved in convoy escort duties along the Western Australian coast and up to Singapore. Returning to Fremantle on 19 November 1941 it sighted a merchant ship some 150 miles south-west of Carnarvon. What happened next was open to conjecture and controversy. The end result however was the total loss of HMAS SYDNEY and its entire crew in battle against the German raider HSK KORMORAN (formerly the STEIERMARK and which had been disguised as the Dutch ship STRAAT MALAKKA).

    Both ships were severely damaged and sank - their exact location was finally found in March 2008 by David Mearns for the Finding Sydney Foundation. There were no survivors from the SYDNEY. More than 300 Germans survived the fierce sea battle. They were initially transported to detention facilities in Western Australia and thence to internment camps in Victoria. All were first taken to the Murchison prisoner of war camp in northern Victoria. The officers were later transferred to Dhurringile, a homestead property some 10 miles away. In 1943 some were transferred to a timber felling camp in Graytown and others went to the Tatura camp.

    In 1947 Kormoran survivors were repatriated to Europe aboard RMS ORONTES.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: HSK KORMORAN survivors under guard

    Assigned title: Photographic postcard showing KORMORAN survivors under RAN guard

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