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Kuttabul Commemoration 1942—2012


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#1 Boss Meri

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 12:04 PM

I received today a copy of a newsletter that I would like to share with you in case anyone is interested in attending the 70th Anniversary lunchtime Sydney Harbour Cruise to be held at 10:30am 31st May, 2012.  There are only 250 tickets on sale at $80.00 each so best be in quick if you are at all interested.

Organizers of the 70th Anniversary Commemoration are proud to announce the venue for the lunchtime harbour cruise as being the luxury cruise boat „Bella Vista‟. Operated by All Occasions Cruises, their hosts will engage patrons on a four hour cruise of Sydney Harbour, stopping at the location where Kuttabul was sunk. A full commemorative service will be held, culminating in a wreath laying upon the water.

Historian Steven L. Carruthers will narrate the history of the battle as the cruise unfolds. Also present will be Alan Simon & Phil Hendrie of „No Frills‟ diving who will provide a short talk and be available to answer questions, regarding their discovery of the third Japanese midget submarine which was finally located off Sydney‟s northern beaches in 2006. This wreck site is now protected and preserved as a war grave.

The cruise will commence at 10.30am on Thursday 31st May, 2012. Returning at 2.30pm. A buffet lunch - prepared and cooked fresh on board will be served after the commemorative ceremony. Unlimited drinks including beer, wine and soft drinks will be served throughout the four hour cruise.

Tickets for this very memorable event will go on sale as from the 1st of February at a cost of $80 per head. As there are only 250 positions available for this very memorable event, tickets are expected to sell quickly.


To secure your ticket, contact Gary Traynor on:

Telephone 0449692401

or

Email:  customerservice@medalsgonemissing.com

for further details. The Kuttabul Commemoration Project is a non profit organisation.

Image 1:

The depot ship KUTTABUL, in water where it sunk.  Often referred to incorrectly as H.M.A.S. Kuttabul, the vessel was not in fact commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy at the time of the Japanese midget submarine attack.  The current naval base, HMAS Kuttabul has of course, been named in honour of this depot ship.

Other images are of the Japanese Submarine:

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  • Sub_305088_150.jpg
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#2 Boss Meri

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 12:13 PM

Issue 2 - January 2012 Newsletter - KUTTABUL COMMEMORATION 1942—2012

MESSAGE FROM THE PROJECT MANAGER

It is with great sadness that I begin this newsletter informing you of the passing of Stoker Ray MAJOR. He was the last known survivor of Kuttabul; in terms of men who were aboard the vessel at the time of the sinking. Subsequently, we have dedicated this newsletter to our veterans who have passed on since the start of this project.

Other stories which were scheduled to appear in this edition have been carried over to the February issue. I apologize to those who have submitted items in anticipation that they will be included in this edition. With the news of Ray‟s passing comes the painful reality that our veterans and those who supported them on the home front, will not be with us forever.

Some of us can remember the passing of our First World War veterans. Sadly, my children will probably not remember those who answered the call during the 1939-1945 war.

On the 3rd of May, 1915, a Canadian poet named John McRae wrote a poem titled “In Flanders Fields”. He spoke of a "torch‟, thrown from failing hands onto the next generation, asking that they remember the sacrifice made by those who would die during the Great War.

“If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep - though poppies grow in Flanders fields”.

That metaphorical torch has been passed from his generation, to that of our fathers. It is now up to this current generation, to remember the sacrifice made by those who went before us. We must never lose sight of the fact that our “today” was hard fought and won by Australians of “yesterday”.

By commemorating their service and never forgetting the sacrifice of a generation; we can ensure that our fallen will continue to sleep ….. Whilst poppies grow in Flanders‟ fields.

Gary Traynor
Project Manager

Footnote:

Contact Gary Traynor on telephone 0449692401 or email customerservice@medalsgonemissing.com for further details.

The Kuttabul Commemoration Project is a non profit organisation.

Gary Traynor is Administrator of the Militaria based website MEDALSGONEMISSING. The aim of this "NOT FOR PROFIT" website is to reunite families, with lost War Medals and other items of militaria which may have been awarded or issued to their ancestors. What Gary refers to as their "lost heritage". He has been actively involved in the preservation of Militaria and the researching of Military History for well over 29 years. During his travels, he has conducted numerous study trips to Gallipoli, The Western Front, Kokoda and many other major battle sites around the world. He was a member of the Australian Army Reserve (UNSWR & 4/3 RNSWR) and served for 23 years with the New South Wales Police Force.

He was also priveleged to have served as a Volunteer Guide at the Australian War Memorial for a number of years. Gary now conducts tours of the Gallipoli Battlefields and the Kokoda Track in New Guinea. He leads the field in his knowledge of the beach head battlefields encompassing Buna, Gona & Sanananda. Medalsgonemissing is a website that will assist you in locating your family's lost war medals and other awards. If you have an ancestor who served in any of the British Commonwealth Armed Services at any time - and whose medals are lost/stolen or simply missing....then so long as the medals are out there - this site will help you to locate them. However the site also contains articles of interest in relation to Military History, War Memorials & Uniforms / kit. Please explore our website as there is sure to be something of interest to you.

Photograph: Gary Traynor - taken at Bede Tong's memorial

Attached Images

  • Gary_Traynor_Kokoda_Track__640x480_.jpg


#3 Boss Meri

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 12:19 PM

SYDNEY LEGACY OFFICIALLY GIVES AUTHORITY TO RAISE FUNDS

The Sydney branch of Legacy has officially given the Kuttabul Commemoration Project authority to operate the 70th Anniversary Harbour Cruise as a "third party fundraiser‟.

As such, organisers hope to raise financial support for Legacy through our event. Many people only think of this organisation during Legacy Week. However, Legacy assists its recipients, all year round. As only 250 tickets will go on sale for this event, those who fail to secure a spot are asked to kindly support Legacy by way of donation. This may be made payable directly to the Sydney branch of Legacy.

Save the date! 31st May, 2012

Sydney Harbour Commemorative Lunchtime Cruise

Tickets on sale as from 1st February

www.legacy.com.au/donate ph. 02 92489000 - Please specify : Kuttabul Commemoration Project

Attached Images

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#4 Boss Meri

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 12:23 PM

Ray Major - 12 Jan 1923 – 12 Jan 2012

Ray Major from Albany Creek, Queensland, was the last known survivor of HMAS Kuttabul, which was sunk in Sydney Harbour by a Japanese torpedo soon after midnight on 1 June 1942. Ray, who was a 19-year-old second-class stoker at the time, had slung his hammock above the stokers mess as usual that night.

“Next thing I knew I was flying through the air then I hit the back (of the ship),” he said.

“There was rubbish all around me and I was clearing that when I noticed a fellow just over from me and he was in trouble. So I took care of a beam that came off the top of the lockers and was across his legs and got him up on his feet and we crawled out,” said Ray.

Ray remembers his call for help went unheeded and he realised they would have to brave the cold water.

“So I grabbed hold of the sailor and said, „let‟s get the hell out of here‟ because the water was rising and rising,” he said.

“We went over the side and he grabbed hold of the rail and wouldn‟t let go. I told him, „Come on, we‟ve got to get to the boat ramp‟, and the next thing, fellers were shouting out... and picked us up.

The Kuttabul was a converted harbour ferry requisitioned by the Navy and used to billet naval personnel at its mooring alongside Garden Island. About 12.30 am a Japanese midget submarine fired two torpedoes at the heavy cruiser USS Chicago but missed.

The first torpedo ran up on the rocks near Gun Wharf on Garden Island and failed to explode; the other passed under the Dutch submarine K9 and Kuttabul and struck a concrete retaining wall. The explosion ripped the bottom out of the barracks vessel, which sank quickly with the loss of 21 Australian and British sailors. Ray was one of only three sailors to survive from the stokers mess.

As a result of the explosion Ray discharged medically unfit from the Navy in July 1943 on a full disability pension. Miffed that he was no longer deemed physically able to carry out his duties, he became a merchant seaman to prove to himself that he could do the job.

Born in Brisbane, Ray joined the Navy in 1941 as a Steward rating before transferring to the Engineering Branch.

During his service career he served on the auxiliary minesweeper HMAS Narani and the cable layer HMAS Bangalow, which laid the anti-submarine indicator loops at the entrance to Darwin Harbour.

After the war Ray worked as a cane cutter in Mackay before moving to the Sunshine Coast where he worked in the construction industry until his retirement.

Ray passed away peacefully on his 89th birthday.

Hail and farewell!
By Steven Carruthers

Attached Images

  • Last_Kuttabul_survivor_Ray_.jpg
  • Stoker_Ray_Major_last_Kutta.jpg


#5 Boss Meri

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 12:28 PM

ABLE SEAMAN NEIL FREDERICK ROBERTS

Neil Frederick ROBERTS was born on the 4th of September, 1923 at North Sydney in New South Wales. According to the World War Two Nominal Roll, he enlisted into the R.A.N on the 24th of November, 1941. Within six short months, Neil would become an unwitting part of Australian Military History.

Neil was just 18 years old on the night of the Japanese midget submarine attack and had only been serving in the navy for six months. Call it fate, an act of God or just pure luck; but Neil would be graced with 70 more years on this earth, before he was called up to a new life. A devout Christian, one can only wonder if this event which nearly took his life during 1942 would be the driving force behind his faith.

Able Seaman Neil ROBERTS passed away on the 24th of November, 2011 at the James Milson Nursing Home on Milson‟s Point, aged 88 years. And it was a sad day for Sydney. God Bless You, Neil ROBERTS, you will be remembered.

AWM photo P02534.001 of
Able Seaman Neil Frederick
ROBERTS,
Service Number S5973

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  • Neil_Roberts_June_2011.jpg


#6 Boss Meri

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 12:30 PM

Chief Stoker Charles William
“Jock”
LAWRANCE,
Service Number 20058

When I first began this project, I was surprised of the number of stories concerning men who narrowly avoided death by being “elsewhere” when they should have been aboard Kuttabul that fateful night. Chief Stoker Charles “Jock” LAWRANCE was one of those men.

Nearly killed aboard HMAS Perth by a German bomb during 1941, he was fortunate to be transferred from that vessel before the Sunda Straight battle when she was sunk on the 1st of March 1942. Fate stepped in for a third time when Jock should have been aboard Kuttabul but swapped some leave with a mate; believed to be David TRIST.

One of two Englishmen aboard, David was a survivor from HMS Repulse. Sadly, Jock‟s friend was killed that night when the Japanese torpedo struck.

Born in Rothernam, Yorkshire, Jock passed away peacefully in Sydney on the 2nd November, 2011 at the age of 98. A proud sailor, he marched in the Sydney Anzac Day parade of 2010 .....he was the oldest veteran to participate during the march.

Attached Images

  • Charles___Jock__Lawrance.jpg


#7 Boss Meri

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 12:31 PM

If you wish to learn more about Ray MAJOR, Neil ROBERTS or Charles ‘Jock’ LAWRANCE? Please visit the Medals Gone Missing website or visit their Facebook page.

http://medalsgonemissing.com


#8 Boss Meri

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 12:38 PM

Design and construction

Kuttabul originated as a steam-powered ferry, built in 1922 by the Newcastle State Dockyard in Newcastle, New South Wales. Kuttabul was rated at 448 gross and 201 net tonnes (1269 and 569 m³), was 183 feet (56 m) long, with a beam of 36 metres (118 ft), and capable of seating approximately 2,250 passengers. Kuttabul and near sister ship Koompartoo were the largest ferries ever operated on the inner harbour ferry routes, however Koompartoo had a slightly larger passenger capacity and was built with a steel hull and wooden superstructure, instead of the all-wood Kuttabul.

Operational history - Sydney Ferries

Kuttabul spent most of its life as a double-ended Sydney suburban ferry, carrying passengers across Sydney Harbour, linking the downtown ferry terminal at Circular Quay with various suburban ferry wharves, but especially the heavy route between the Quay and Milsons Point.

Made redundant by the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932, Kuttabul and Koompartoo were laid up, but were later made available for tourist cruises on the harbour.

RAN

After the outbreak of World War II, Kuttabul was requisitioned by the RAN, and moored at the Garden Island naval base to provide accommodation for Allied naval personnel whle they awaited transfer to their ships.

On the night of 31 May-1 June 1942, three Ko-hyoteki class midget submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy entered Sydney Harbour with the intention of attacking Allied warships. Only one of the submarines, designated M-24, was able to fire her torpedoes, but both missed their intended target: the heavy cruiser. The torpedoes, fired around 00:30, continued on to Garden Island: one ran aground harmlessly, but the other hit the breakwater against which Kuttabul and the Dutch submarine K-IX were moored. The explosion broke Kuttabul in two and sank her,

Source
Description above from the Wikipedia article HMAS Kuttabul

#9 Boss Meri

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 12:49 PM

http://www.ww2australia.gov.au/underattack/sydharbour.html




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