HMAS Sydney, named for the Australian city of Sydney, was one of three Modified Leander class light cruisers operated by the Royal Australian Navy. Ordered for the Royal Navy as HMS Phaeton, the cruiser was purchased by the Australian government and renamed prior to her 1934 launch.
During the early part of her operational history, Sydney helped enforce sanctions during the Abyssinian crisis, and at the start of World War II was assigned to convoy escort and patrol duties in Australian waters. In May 1940, Sydney joined the British Mediterranean Fleet for an eight-month deployment, during which she sank two Italian warships, participated in multiple shore bombardments, and provided support to the Malta Convoys, while receiving minimal damage and no casualties. On her return to Australia in February 1941, Sydney resumed convoy escort and patrol duties in home waters.
On 19 November 1941, Sydney was involved in a mutually destructive engagement with the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran, and was lost with all 645 aboard. The wrecks of both ships were lost until 2008; Sydney was found on 17 March, five days after her adversary. Sydney’s defeat is commonly attributed to the proximity of the two ships during the engagement, and Kormoran’s advantages of surprise and rapid, accurate fire. However, the cruiser’s loss with all hands compared to the survival of most of the German crew have resulted in a controversy, with some alleging that the German commander used illegal ruses to lure Sydney into range, that a Japanese submarine was involved, and that the true events of the battle are concealed behind a wide-ranging cover up.
Anzacs of Gallipoli, limited edition military memorabilia print. The 10 ANZAC Alliance Victoria Cross recipients.
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The 10 Anzac Victoria Cross Recipients
Lance-Corporal Leonard KEYSOR, 1st Australian Infantry Battalion: At Lone Pine Trenches, ANZAC, August 7-8, 1915.
CITATION: For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty at Lone Pine Trenches, in the Gallipoli Peninsula. On 7th August, 1915, he was in a trench which was being heavily bombed by the enemy. He picked up two live bombs and threw them back at the enemy at great risk to his own life, and continued throwing bombs, although himself wounded, thereby saving a portion of the trench which it was most important to hold.
On 8th August, at the same place, Private (Lance-Corporal) Keysor successfully bombed the enemy out of a position from which a temporary mastery over his own trench had been obtained, and was again wounded.
similar conditions, and continued personally to bomb the enemy at close range, under very heavy fire, until he was severely wounded, losing his right hand and left eye. This most gallant officer has since succumbed to his injuries. Additional Information: Born New Zealand. Died of wounds at sea August 11, 1915 aged 33.
Lance-Corporal Albert JACKA of 14th Infantry Battalion was the first Australian to receive a Victoria Cross in World War 1 for his bravery at Courtney’s Post, Gallipoli, on the night of May 19-20, 1915. Jacka became a legend in the AIF for his incredible exploits. At the end of the war he was a Captain with an MC and Bar added to his VC. b.1893 d.17.1.32
CITATION: For most conspicuous bravery on the night of the 19-20th May, 1915, at Courtney’s Post, Gallipoli Peninsula. Lance-Corporal Jacka, while holding a portion of our trench with four men, was heavily attacked. When all except himself were killed or
wounded, the trench was rushed and occupied by seven Turks. Lance-Corporal Jacka at once most gallantly attacked them single-handed and killed the whole party, five by rifle fire and two with the bayonet.
Lieutenant Frederick Harold TUBB, 7th Australian Infantry Battalion: At Lone Pine Trenches, ANZAC, August 9, 1915.
CITATION: For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty at Lone Pine trenches, Gallipoli Peninsula, on 9th August, 1915. In the early morning the enemy made a determined counter attack on the centre of the newly captured trench held by Lieutenant Tubb. They advanced up a sap and blew in a sandbag barricade, leaving only one foot of it standing, but Lieutenant Tubb led his men back, repulsed the enemy and rebuilt the barricade. Supported by strong bombing parties, the enemy succeeded in twice again blowing in the
barricade, but on each occasion Lieutenant Tubb, although wounded in the head and arm, held his ground
with the greatest coolness and rebuilt it, and finally succeeded in maintaining his position under very heavy bomb fire. Lieutenant Tubb later died of wounds on September 20, 1917 in Belgium, aged 36.
Captain Alfred John SHOUT, 1st Australian Infantry Battalion: At Lone Pine Trenches, ANZAC, August 9, 1915.
CITATION: For most conspicuous bravery at Lone Pine trenches, in the Gallipoli Peninsula. On the morning of the 9th August, 1915, with a small party, Captain Shout charged down trenches strongly occupied by the enemy, and personally threw four bombs among them, killing eight and routing the remainder. In the afternoon of the same day, from the position gained in the morning, he captured a further length of trench under similar conditions, and continued personally to bomb the enemy at close range, under very heavy fire, until he was severely wounded, losing his right hand and left eye. This most gallant officer has since succumbed to his injuries. Additional Information: Born New Zealand. Died of wounds at sea August 11, 1915 aged 33.
Second-Lieutenant Hugo Vivian Hope THROSSELL, 10th Light Horse Regiment: At Kaiajik Aghyl (Hill 60), Gallipoli Peninsula.
CITATION: For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during operations on the Kaiajik Aghyl (Hill 60) in the Gallipoli Peninsula on 29th and 30th August, 1915. Although severely wounded in several places during a counter-attack, he refused to leave his post or to obtain medical assistance till all danger was passed, when he had his wounds dressed and returned to the firing-line until ordered out of action by the Medical
Officer. By his personal courage and example he kept up the spirits of his party, and was largely instrumental in saving the situation at a critical period.
Corporal Alexander Stewart BURTON (Posthumous Award), Corporal William DUNSTAN, both 7th Australian Infantry Battalion: At Lone Pine Trenches, ANZAC, August 9, 1915.
CITATION: For most conspicuous bravery at Lone Pine trenches in the Gallipoli Peninsula on the 9th August, 1915. In the early morning the enemy made a determined counter-attack on the centre of the newly captured trench held by Lieutenant Tubb, Corporals Burton and Dunstan, and a few men. They advanced up a sap and blew in a sandbag barricade, leaving only one foot of it standing, but Lieutenant Tubb, with the two Corporals, repulsed the enemy and rebuilt the barricade. Supported by strong bombing parties, the enemy twice again succeeded in blowing in the barricade, but on each occasion they were repulsed and the barricade rebuilt, although Lieutenant Tubb was wounded in the head and arm, and Corporal Burton was killed by a bomb whilst most gallantly building up the parapet under a hail of bombs.
Lieutenant William John SYMONS, 7th Australian Infantry Battalion: At Lone Pine Trenches, ANZAC, August 8-9, 1915.
CITATION: For most conspicuous bravery on the night of 8th-9th August, 1915, at Lone Pine Trenches, in the Gallipoli Peninsula. He was in command of the right section of the newly captured trenches held by his battalion and repelled several counter-attacks with great coolness. At about 5 a.m. on 9th August, a series of determined attacks were made by the enemy on an isolated sap, and six officers were in succession killed or
severely wounded, a portion of the sap being lost. Lieutenant Symons then led a charge and retook the lost sap, shooting two Turks with his revolver. The sap was under hostile fire from three sides and Lieutenant Symons withdrew some 15 yards to a spot where some overhead cover could be obtained, and in the face of heavy fire, built up a sand barricade. The enemy succeeded in setting fire to the fascines and woodwork of the head-cover, but Lieutenant Symons extinguished the fire and rebuilt the barricade. His coolness and determination finally compelled the enemy to discontinue the attacks.
Private John HAMILTON, 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion: At Lone Pine Trenches, ANZAC, August 9, 1915.
CITATION: For most conspicuous bravery on 9th August, 1915, at Lone Pine Trenches, in the Gallipoli Peninsula. During a heavy bomb attack by the enemy on the newly captured position at Lone Pine, Private Hamilton, with utter disregard of personal safety, exposed himself under a heavy fire on the parados, in order to secure a better fire position against the enemy’s bomb-throwers. His coolness and daring example had an
immediate effect. The enemy was driven off with heavy loss.
Corporal Cyril Royston Guyton BASSETT, New Zealand Divisional Signal Company: At Chunuk Bair Ridge, Gallipoli Peninsula, August 7, 1915.
CITATION: For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on the Chunuk Bair Ridge, in the Gallipoli Peninsula, on 7th August, 1915. After the New Zealand Infantry Brigade had attacked and established itself on the ridge, Corporal Bassett, in full daylight and under a continuous and heavy fire, succeeded in laying a telephone line from the old position to the new one on Chunuk Bair. He has subsequently been brought to notice for
further excellent and most gallant work connected with the repair of telephone lines by day and night under heavy fire.
Call Ron on 03 52298007 or 1300 NUT 007 for more information.
*** MILITARY MEMORABILIA ***
CHARGE OF THE LIGHTHORSEMEN
THE BATTLE OF BEERSHEBA
The Australian Light Horse
Australian Light Horse were mounted troops with characteristics of both cavalry and mounted infantry. They served during the Second Boer War and World War I. The “Mounted Service Manual for Australian Light Horse and Mounted Infantry” was authorised for publication by Major General ETH Hutton in July 1902 in which it stated the Light Horse had the following responsibilities;
• Fight on foot in the offensive and defensive;
• Perform duties classified as information gathering and reconnaissance and screening;
• Afford “protection” from surprise for all bodies of troops both halted and on the march
Australian Light Horse were like mounted infantry in that they usually fought dismounted using horse holders to increase mobility. To engage with their enemy the light horsemen would dismount and hand their reins to a horse holder who would direct the horses away from the combat area. A highly skilled horse holder could handle as many as 5 extra horses. A famous exception to this rule though was the charge of the 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments at Beersheba on 31 October 1917.
The Capture of Beersheba
From the crest, Beersheba, with its Mosque in patent view, offered the most desirable treasure, the ancient wells of water. Between them lay the enemy defences. Beersheba was a southern outpost of Turkey’s Ottoman Empire, today it is a city in Israel. It was defended by Turks, who were Imperial Germany’s eastern allies. The mission was to secure the 17 water wells of Beersheba as water was vital for the welfare of the desert mounted corps and their horses, many of whom had been without
water for several days. Without this attack the whole Sinai and Palestine campaign would seize and the Gaza Beersheba line would remain unbroken. A conquest over the Turks would help avenge the defeat of Gallipoli. Behind a ridge overlooking Beersheba the 4th (Victorian) and 12th (New South Wales) regiments formed what was soon to be a thundering line of charging Light Horsemen who would be followed by a second and then third squadron.
The Last Successful Charge
On 31 October 1917 the Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade charged more than four miles at the Turkish trenches with
force and power not to be reckoned with. This battle is now said to be ‘The Last Successful Cavalry Charge In History’. Just on sunset the ‘crazed’ charge began. In an atmosphere of urgency every man knew that only a wild and frantic charge could grasp Beersheba before nightfall. They deployed at a trot in artillery formation leaving five yards between horsemen and five hundred yards between squadrons, they quickened into a gallop. As the trenches neared, 800 Aussie Horsemen swore, yelled and waived bayonets around their heads. The Turks opened fire with heavy artillery, machine gun and rifle fire; this however only intensified the speed of the charge. The bewildered enemy taken back by the sheer audacity and roar of 800 horses were soon firing aimlessly as they had failed to adjust the
sights on their rifles and the clouds of dust made selecting targets near impossible. The 4th took the trenches and the 12th rode straight through an opening into the town of Beersheba. The conflict at the trenches was to only last for a very short time, some Turks surrendered, some fled into the nearby Judean Hills and were pursued and others refused to give up until large numbers had been bayoneted or shot. In less than one hour it was over, with a total of 738 prisoners taken.
Charge of the 800
The heroics at Gallipoli is one of the ANZACS best known battles in military history, yet the Battle of Beersheba, is one of Australia’s greatest military triumphs. Armed with their greatest weapon of sheer bloody audacity 800 ANZACS defeated 4,000 Turks and against fearful odds losses were 31 dead, 36 wounded and 70 horses killed. This remarkable and decisive victory changed the history of the Middle East and helped create The Australian Light Horse Legend. The 4th Light Horse Brigade charged over the Turkish trenches and into immortality.
Lest we Forget
Limited Edition of 1917
Framed item $350 + $35 S&H.
Click on the Thumbnail below for a large version of the Battle of Beersheba print.
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This Limited Edition Print of ”The Spirit Of Anzac” was recently launched for 2008 Anzac Day memorials.
It is a framed print 69cm x 76cm, printed on high quality 250gsm glossy paper and is a limited edition of 1915 pieces, remembering the year this famous photo was taken.
If you need to know more please contact us on 03-52298007 and ask for Ron.
Framed piece is $595 plus $35 S&H.
Includes medallion containing actual sand from Gallipoli as well as embellished metallic Lest We Forget emblem.
Click on thumbnail image below to see larger image of the Anzac print.
The 11th Battalion at the Great Pyramid of Cheops, Egypt
In 1903 the Perth Rifle Volunteers were renamed the 11th Australian Infantry Regiment. At this stage the only permanent soldiers in Australia were Engineers, Coastal Defence Gunners and a handful of Staff Officers.
On the outbreak of WWI, Australia had a militia of about 100 000 people. The Defence Act 1903 stipulated that the Australian Militia Forces were only to be employed in the Defence of Australia. Hence the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) was raised for service overseas. This is commonly referred to as the 1st AIF. The term of enlistment was for “the duration of hostilities plus 6 months”.
The 11th Australian Infantry Battalion AIF was raised at Black Boy Hill Camp on 17 August 1914 and recruited from the militia units. The now famous picture of the 11th Bn AIF at the Cheops pyramid in Egypt in 1915 is shown throughout military history displays and books the world over. The picture was taken just before the landing at Anzac Cove. Not many of the soldiers in this picture survived the 8 month campaign.
After the Campaign on the Gallipoli Peninsula, the 11th Battalion AIF went on to serve with distinction in France and Belgium from 1916-18. They returned to Australia at the end of the war and disbanded on the 5 February 1919. The Battalion was awarded a Kings Colour for it’s service during the war which was held in the of custody the Militia 2/11th Battalion.
The 11th Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the AIF during the First World War. It was the first battalion recruited in Western Australia, and with the 9th, 10th and 12th Battalions it formed the 3rd Brigade.
The battalion was raised within weeks of the declaration of war in August 1914 and embarked for overseas after just two weeks of preliminary training. It arrived in Egypt to continue its training in early December. The 3rd Brigade was the covering force for the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915 and so was the first ashore at around 4:30 am. Ten days after the landing, a company from the 11th Battalion mounted the AIF’s first raid of the war against Turkish positions at Gaba Tepe. Subsequently, the battalion was heavily involved in defending the front line of the ANZAC beachhead. In August, it made preparatory attacks at the southern end of the ANZAC position before the battle of Lone Pine. The 11th Battalion continued to serve at ANZAC until the evacuation in December.
After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, the 11th Battalion returned to Egypt. It was split to help form the 51st Battalion, and then bought up to strength with reinforcements.
In March 1916, the battalion sailed for France and the Western Front. From then until 1918, the battalion took part in bloody trench warfare. Its first major action in France was at Pozières in the Somme valley in July. After Pozières, the battalion manned trenches near Ypres in Flanders before returning to the Somme valley for winter.
In 1917 the battalion took part in the brief advance that followed the German Army’s retreat to the Hindenburg Line. During a German counterattack at Louverval, France, in April 1917 Lieutenant Charles Pope was killed performing the deed for which he would be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. The battalion subsequently returned to Belgium to participate in the offensive that became known as the Third Battle of Ypres.
The battalion helped to stop the German spring offensive in March and April 1918, and later that year participated in the great Allied offensive launched east of Amiens on 8 August 1918. This advance by British and empire troops was the greatest success in a single day on the Western Front, one that German General Erich Ludendorff described as “the black day of the German Army in this war”
The 11th Battalion continued operations until late September 1918. At 11 am on 11 November 1918, the guns fell silent. This armistice was followed by a peace treaty, signed at Versailles on 28 June 1919.
In November 1918 members of the AIF began to return to Australia. In February 1919, the 11th and 12th Battalions were amalgamated due to steadily declining numbers in both battalions. They remained so linked until their last members returned home for demobilisation and discharge.