- Book reviewer
- WWII operations, History - WW2, Book reviews, Naval Engagements, Operations and Capabilities
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- March 1991 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Lew Lind, Bellrope Press, 74 pages with illustrations and maps.
The Japanese midget submarine attack on ships in Sydney Harbour occurred almost fifty years ago and yet is still a very topical subject. It was the first attack on Sydney and its impact changed Australia from a quiet backwater of the Second World War to a vital springboard for the defeat of Japan.
The author was the founder of and President of The Naval Historical Society of Australia and Public Relations Officer of the Garden Island Naval Dockyard for more than twenty years. He was stationed at Garden Island in 1944 and a contemporary of those who participated in the attack.
The object of the book was to correct the various errors which appeared in the Official History and the number of books that have been written on the subject. This the book does, but in addition, it introduces new material which has not appeared in print.
Perhaps foremost in this regard is the official casualty list. For some 47 years it remained at 19 killed but the author’s research has shown it was 22. Two Royal Navy sailors, survivors from HMS REPULSE and HMS CORNWALL, and a United States Air Force squadron leader were the missing personnel. The latter was the first United Stated serviceman killed on active service in Australia.
This interesting book also corrects the grossly understated number of Allied men of war in Sydney Harbour on the night of the attack. Strange to relate, the Japanese made the same mistake.
The author has not only shown the anti-submarine net was effective but has unearthed the plans used by the Maritime Services Board of New South Wales and they are reproduced in the book.
The Japanese Midget Submarine Association closely cooperated with the author on the Japanese participation in the attack. This has helped to dispel the suicide myth which has highlighted most previous accounts.
Perhaps of more interest to many readers, is the well authenticated suggestion on the fate of the missing midget. This surmise is based on evidence which has been overlooked by researchers and, for this alone, the book is worthy of a place on the book shelf.
‘The Midget Submarine Attack on Sydney’ is the first book published by Bellrope Press, the publishing outlet of the Garden Island Naval Museum, and is a limited edition of 1000 copies. Highly recommended.