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The Submarine Attack on Sydney Harbour - Peter Sweeney

Sat 27 Apr 2019
Peter served for 35 years in the Australian Army Reserve as an infantry officer and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was awarded the Reserve Force Decoration for his service.

Peter is a military historian, battlefield guide and speaker on Australian military history.

He has just completed a Master’s Degree in Military History through the Australian Defence Force Academy Canberra campus of the University of New South Wales.

The Attack on Sydney Harbour – 31May/1Jun 1942

In the late afternoon of 31 May 1942 three Japanese midget submarines commenced an attack on shipping in Sydney Harbour with the USS Chicago the main target.

All three midget submarines made it into the harbour. One of the midget submarines was caught in an anti-submarine net, another was spotted by sailors on the deck of USS Chicago and disappeared.

The third submarine fired at the USS Chicago but missed, the torpedo striking the depot ferry Kuttabul instead. Nineteen Australian and two British sailors died.

The mother submarines departed the area after it became obvious that their midget submarines would not be returning. A week later, those submarines shelled Sydney and Newcastle as they sailed north .

The bodies of the four Japanese crewmen were buried with full naval honours in the hope that that showing respect for the dead men might help to improve the conditions of the many Australians in Japanese prisoner of war camps.
Katoomba Library, 30 Parke St, Katoomba
Peter Sweeney on
  0438 871 714

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