Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs: HMAS Sydney (II): The Cruiser and the Controversy in the Archives of the United Kingdom

Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs No. 9
Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs No. 9

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Peter Hore


This volume was commissioned to research records in British archives about the disappearance of HMAS Sydney in November 1941 and to investigate opinion of that period which might be relevant to knowledge of the disappearance of the cruiser. It was intended to address two specific questions raised by the Report on the Loss of HMAS Sydney, by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade of the Australian Parliament, released in March 1999:

  • Are there any records or indications of there having been a board of inquiry or similar investigation into the loss of HMAS Sydney? (Recommendation 2)
  • Are there any records relating to a coronial inquiry undertaken on Christmas Island on the unknown sailor? (Recommendation 4)

This volume contains the documents retrieved from the British archives, as far as possible, in narrative form from the perspective of London, and within their themes, in the chronological order that they were written or received by London. At the same time, an attempt was made to preserve their ‘flavour’, by retaining the original style and layout of each source.

Whilst it does not pretend to answer every question surrounding the loss of Sydney, the volume nonetheless answers the two questions posed at the outset by the Committee, at least from the British perspective.