Sydney World War Ii Attack Remembered

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31st May 2010, 12:39pm - Views: 749

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Minister for Veterans' Affairs

Minister for Defence Personnel

Monday, 31 May 2010 


Sydney World War II Attack Remembered

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel, Alan

Griffin, today remembered the 21 Australian and British sailors who sadly lost

their lives in a World War II attack on Sydney Harbour.

Mr Griffin said, “A memorial service was held at the HMAS Kuttabul Memorial

at Garden Island in Sydney to mark the 68th anniversary of when three

Japanese midget submarines launched an attack on Sydney Harbour on 31

May 1942”.

One of two remaining survivors of the attack on HMAS Kuttabul, Mr Neil

Roberts, attended the ceremony with his family.

“The ceremony honoured the memory of 19 Royal Australian Navy and two

Royal Navy personnel who died when the converted ferry HMAS Kuttabul was

sunk by a Japanese midget submarine just after midnight on 1 June 1942,” Mr

Griffin said.

“One of the Japanese midget submarines, M24, fired two torpedos at the

United States Heavy Cruiser USS Chicago, which was moored off Garden


“One torpedo ended up on the beach at Garden Island and the second

passed ahead of the USS Chicago, under the Dutch submarine K9, also

moored off Garden Island, before detonating against the sea wall where

HMAS Kuttabul was berthed.

“The bottom of HMAS Kuttabul, then used for sailors’ accommodation at

Garden Island, was ripped out, killing 21 of the men on board.

“The name HMAS Kuttabul was passed onto the Navy base at Potts Point

which administers Garden Island and every year the Royal Australian Navy

holds a service in memory of those who died,” Minister Griffin said.

Of the three midget submarines that attacked that night, two were destroyed.

The bodies of four Japanese submariners were recovered.  They were given

funerals with full military honours and their bodies cremated.

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The fate of M24 remained a mystery until 2006 when a group of recreational

divers located the submarine around 5km off Bungan Head, Sydney.

A section of one of the Japanese submarines is on display at the Royal

Australian Navy Heritage Centre at Garden Island, Sydney.

Imagery will be available later today at 

Media contact:

Sasha Nimmo (Alan Griffin):

0437 863 109

Danielle Kuhn, Defence Public Affairs NSW: 

0405 310 176

Defence Media Liaison:

02 6127 1999 or 0408 498


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