On 19th November 2008, the Finding Sydney Foundation (FSF) and the Naval Association of Australia (NAA) jointly announced the launching of an internet based perpetual tribute to the 645 men lost with HMAS Sydney II on 19th November 1941. Today, 23rd December 2009, the two organisations completed the legal and financial arrangements for the NAA to accept the lifetime development and maintenance of the Virtual Memorial. The memorial is now fully owned and managed by the NAA.
The Naval Association of Australia began its life in 1920 as the Ex-Navalmen's Association and is the premier organisation outside of the Navy looking to the interests of both serving and ex-naval members and their families. It is the most obvious host for the Virtual Memorial and its officers put their hands up to do so early in its development during 2008.
Les Dwyer, National President of the Naval Association said “It is a great honour for the Naval Association to provide the perpetual means for future generations to remember ‘Sydney’ and her brave crew, as well as share in the unique personal histories of the sailors who died in Australia’s greatest maritime tragedy.”
The Finding Sydney Foundation, a group of five committed Australian volunteers, managed the highly successful search for Sydney in March 2008, an historic event and one which has been of immense comfort to the relatives of the brave men lost with Sydney. The establishment of a permanent, web-based memorial to tell the stories of the men, their families and friends was the secondary objective of the Foundation.
Foundation Chairman Ted Graham AM said: “We are providing a unique experience accessible globally for those wanting to learn more about the human loss of HMAS Sydney II and honour the memory of the individual sailors through shared stories and images. We are very grateful to the Naval Association for accepting the task of carrying the ‘Sydney’ banner into the future. ”
The website located at www.sydneymemorial.com features an Honour Roll with individual pages of information for each of the 645 sailors lost and families have submitted stories, images and other related content to feature on their sailor’s pages. A description on how to submit content is included on the website.
The website will also house HMAS Sydney II historical information and an extensive set of archival photographs courtesy of the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian War Memorial.
Video footage can also be viewed. It includes previous commemorations; the search for the wreck; scenes of the ship and crew in Queensland (1936); Egypt (Jul 1940) after the successful engagement with the Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni; the triumphant welcome home to Sydney (Feb 1941); and scenes aboard the ship taken during the months before her loss.
http://www.sydneymemorial.com/press/vm.zip (jpg high resolution)
Naval Association of Australia
Les Dwyer, National President
Phone: +61 1300 780 054
Finding Sydney Foundation
Ted Graham AM, Foundation Chairman
Phone: +61 8 9261 7749