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Sinking of HMAS Sydney

19 November 1941



Hatband belonging to local Stoneville man - Charles Allen Ayres



Charles Ayres lived in Stoneville and was 22 when he served on the HMAS Sydney but was not on it when it sank. He later married Lilian Burwash in 1949.


The HMAS Sydney was the pride of the Australian fleet and regarded as invincible after defeating two Italian warships in the Mediterranean. It was on a routine voyage home to Fremantle after escorting a troop ship to Singapore when it came upon the German auxiliary cruiser HSK Kormoran, a merchant ship heavily armed with concealed guns and carrying a cargo of mines to be laid around the Australian coast.


The battle which destroyed both ships raged 120 nautical miles off Steep point on the evening of 19 November 1941.Sydney lost with all hands - a compliment of 645 young men. 318 of the Kormoran's of 390 survived and spent the rest of the war in Australian prisoner of war camps.


The final resting place of both ships was not known for some years but after a huge amount of interest from many sources, funding was founded. In 2005, the "Finding Sydney Foundation"(FSF)gained initial financial support from the Federal Government for a joint search for HMAS Sydney and HSK Kormoran.


After finding the wrecks of both ships on the seabed on the 29th March 2008 both were photographed by a Remote Operated Vehicle.


In November 2009 the FSF donated all imagery of both wrecks to the Australian War Memorial, including Copyright. This significant donation enabled the collection and copyright to always remain in Australian control.



Frederick Schoch Jnr with Padre Symes. He served on the HMAS Sydney


Fred Schoch was the son of the Principal of Parkerville Primary School and was only 23 when he went down with the ship. He had only married Mary Elizabeth Ross earlier that year.

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