Ode to the HMAS Sydney
Alexander R. "Lex" Fullarton

"T'was Banjo who did wrote it,
and to to you I will quote it.

No foe shall gather our harvest,
nor sit on our stock yard rail.

Now this is a tale of the ocean blue,
of an Aussie vessel brave and true.

The HMAS Sydney, and the boys that didn't fail.

T'was race day in Carnarvon and the sun was going down,
When the boys from HMAS Sydney were sailing passed our town.

Another job was over, they'd made another run,
When they chanced upon this bastard, called raider 41.

The enemy had traveled far to bring destruction here,
But they'd reckoned not on Sydney, and this would cost them dear.

They swung towards the setting sun, they made for it a chance to run,
They thought that they would sneak away, did Raider 41.

The sharp eyed crew of Sydney saw the Raiders flight,
They closed the gap, they knew they had a fight.

They'd fought before had every mothers son,
They thought that they would capture her, this Raider 41.

But the Germans were so clever they had a nasty plan,
She held their destruction did the bowels of Kormoran.

The cloak of her mystery she soon would throw aside,
As she thought to hammer Sydney with shell from side to side.

They set to work with grim profession,
they knew their grisly task,
the Sydney, she would sail no more and home had seen them last.

They've torn our bloody guts out, we'll never make it home,
We'll never see our loved ones or the seas again to roam.

The layer of the turret gave out an anguished cry,
Then we'll take this bastard with us, cried the boys from turret Y.

They snatch another round, they mount to their six inch gun,
They target their tormentor, this Raider 41.

Their ears they are a bleeding, their muscles strain to lay,
Their shot must be a true one in the twilight of the day.

They aim her at his engine room, and there's a mighty crack,
And now these sons of Hitler will never journey back.

Now we'll leave them lying there, their souls have gone to rest,
There passing but a brief one and Carnarvon town was blessed.

Their lying out there somewhere, toward the setting sun,
the HMAS Sydney, her crew, and Raider 41.

Dedicated to the Ships Company of HMAS Sydney and her sister ship HMAS Perth.
The ships are gone but still they sail on.....
Alexander R. "Lex" Fullarton
© Alexander R. Fullarton all rights reserved

Oct. 23, 2010

The poem was written for the 60th Anniversary of the sinking of the Sydney off Carnarvon in 1941. In honour of the Crew of the Sydney which 'saved our bacon' and the local townspeople who took charge of the recovery of Kormoran's crew on shore and at sea. Survivors picked up by passing freighters were disembarked at Carnarvon - Kormoran's target. Had it not been for Sydney we would still be picking mines out of the bay. My family, and indeed the entire town, were connected to the port in some way and they would have been caught by the mines for sure.

Carnarvon was the third largest wool port in Australia at that time and a very worthwhile target for the raider. It was hunted out of Fremantle some days earlier by the security down there and decided that Carnarvon would be the next best thing. My Father was one of the Carnarvon townspeople that gathered up the Kormoran crew and held them until regular troops arrived some days later. Though old men and boys (there was a war on you know) they arrested and held over 120 sailors for about four days before the Army took over. Not a bad feat for less than half a dozen 19 and 60 year olds.

They noted that the Germans were in pretty good condition and in good order. They were armed when they arrived at Quobba and a stand-off occurred for a little while until the old fellow in charge welcomed them to Australia - in German. He had been in the previous war and knew some of the lingo. As the 'boys' were members of the local rifle club and had .303s they became the 'Home Guard'. Father joined the Army in the following March and wound up in 'Z' Force attached to the Americans in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). My Coastal Patrol experience exposed my to a number of 'Grey Funnel' line patrol boats and crews. I can speak 'Navy' and have maritime qualifications but I am very much an Infantry Sig.

Thank you,
A. R. (Lex) Fullarton
Carnarvon, WA

Lex Fullarton at his father's grave holding his father's .303 rifle, the same rifle used when the Kormoran survivors came ashore.
(Photo courtesy of Alexander R. "Lex" Fullarton)
© Alexander R. Fullarton all rights reserved

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Page published Sept. 26, 2010