It was late in the afternoon on 31st May 1942, when three Japanese midget submarines were launched from their ‘mother submarines’ which had positioned themselves 13 kilometres outside of the entrance to Sydney Harbour.
Their mission was to attack war ships in Sydney Harbour and this encounter became known by some, as the Battle of Sydney.
You can see how treacherous their maneuver was in the map below.
Two torpedoes were fired from one of the enemy midget submarines, which missed the intended target, but hit a sea wall on Garden Island. It exploded on impact beneath the requisitioned Sydney Harbour Ferry, Kuttabul.
The third enemy midget submarine was detected in Taylors Bay in the early hours of 1 June 1942, where it was depth charged repeatedly by patrol boats Sea Mist, Steady Hour and Yarroma.
The bold attack by the Japanese midget submarine crews was a sharp awakening to Sydney folk who had, until then, considered the war beyond their horizon.
Our defence personnel fought to protect this precious harbour and we must always remember with reverence, such bravery and courage.
I was honoured to attend the 81st Anniversary of the Defence of Sydney at North Head, Manly.