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Australian Naval Tragedy

Kate Emery, Theory of Sydney’s loss backed by pictures, The West Australian, 3 May 2015

A piece of the puzzle surrounding Australia’s greatest naval tragedy, the 1941 loss of HMAS Sydney II, has clicked into place after researchers found evidence to support a long-held theory about how it was sunk.

What appeared to be merely a shadow in photographs taken when the wreck was found in 2008 has been revealed by new images as a 15cm shell hole through the Sydney’s bridge at the compass platform.

The pictures, released yesterday, appear to confirm the theory that Australia’s best-known warship was likely disabled by German raider HSK Kormoran within about 30 seconds of battle, hampering her ability to fight back.

The photographs were taken by Curtin University researchers aboard the vessel Skandi Protector as part of a $2.4 million expedition in conjunction with the WA Museum.

WA Museum chief executive Alec Coles said the photos were a “remarkable early discovery” and supported the theory Sydney’s bridge was destroyed and command structure lost quickly.

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