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The Hunt For HMAS Sydney -

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This program is not subtitled THUNDER CRACKS In the deepest of graves, of the ocean 2.5km beneath the surface coast, of the remote Western Australian lies the answer to a maritime mystery the early days of World War II. that has haunted Australians since it's blown to bloody smithereens. Whatever this is EXPLOSION SOUNDS On 19 November 1941, on Australia's doorstep. the guns of war thundered After a fierce but brief battle, HMAS 'Sydney' the Royal Australian Navy's cruiser HSK 'Kormoran'. was sunk by the German raider there were no survivors. For the 'Sydney' only one was ever found. Of a 641 crew, One body, thought to be from 'Sydney' months later. washed-up in a life raft 'Sydney' took her story to the deep. worst single loss of life. It remains the Australia Navy's a wound on the heart of the nation. It's left a legacy, almost like the darling of the fleet, The pride of the fleet, was gone. the safe ship, the lucky ship, of an official conspiracy. But with the grief came suspicions Sailors machine gunned in the water. while hundreds of Germans survived? How could all 'Sydney's men be lost,

There has been a massive cover-up, of 19 November 1941. ever since the night

Police records were destroyed. There are 645 families out there of how their men died. still with very little idea Australia's most famous shipwreck Now at last, is ready to give up its secrets. (Excited chatting) Look at that! There she is. This is the best day! What's the water...? That is beautiful. 2468! And it's big too. Look at that. that's HMAS 'Sydney'. It is no mistake,

THEME MUSIC on the Western Australian coast. The Port of Geraldton arrives from Singapore The survey vessel 'Geo Sounder' end more than half a century to begin the search that will of mystery and fierce speculation. 'CALL TO ARMS' to the 'Sydney'. Geraldton has always been close High on a hill overlooking the port, a memorial honours the ship and crew a day's sail away. who perished less than 'Sydney' is that for many, The extraordinary thing about

to lessen the grief the passing decades have done little that began in 1941. when she lost her father Jessie Cunnington was only two Allan Cunnington on the 'Sydney'. The grief her mother Yvonne suffered for the rest of her life. remained with her

I'm so worried, dear. Dearest Allan, for a whole week I have not heard from you and still no letter. and today is Monday again all my heart to see you, my darling. My dearest one, I'm longing with Your loving wife. to hear from you. I'm expecting every day, every hour, (Sobs) when she wrote this. He was four days dead Jessie now lives in Canada, be near the father she never knew. but often returns to Geraldton to when 'Sydney' was lost. Pat Burnett was 12 years old six weeks before. His father wrote to him when at home about thinking things Don't forget what I said Good luck, old chap. and problems out for yourselves. and keep the bat oiled, keep fit. Make lots of runs Much love and hugs from daddy.

was 'Sydney's commanding officer. Pat's father, Captain Joseph Burnett,

husband Arthur In Fremantle, Victoria Flores married sailed on her final voyage. just hours before 'Sydney' it was a beautiful day. We got married at six o'clock, Yeah, it was on a Saturday. a policeman knocked on the door And about two o'clock in the morning to report back to the ship" and he says "Arthur, you've got and I never seen him again. Geraldton Docks, the vast array of equipment and the 'Geo Sounder' takes on needed for a high-tech search. Pride of place goes to these, affectionately known as 'Tow Fish'. the giant yellow sonars, the long lost ships, They are the key to finding be more than 4km deep. hidden in water that can for our transducer got bumped off, In shipping, somehow, the cover

any damage or not. so I don't know if there's

Gotta look into it. who made it all happen, Meanwhile, the people are briefing the locals. the Finding Sydney Foundation, that's because it is. If it looks folksy, the most difficult ever attempted. The search is reported as probably The Foundation sounds big, chairman Ted Graeme, but it's really just volunteer directors. and his four fellow of the 'Sydney' story, Moved by the tragedy they pushed for a search. For years, these everyday Aussies government and business, lobbied and bullied

till they raised the $5 million needed to go to sea. You measure your connection to 'Sydney' in not years, but decades. The people behind me are on their second or maybe even third decade, but I'm only halfway through my first decade. But the meeting also wants to hear from this man, David Mearns, an American who lives in Britain. A professional wreck hunter, hired by the Foundation to lead the search. It's a three-step system, though. In Europe, David Mearns is known as the man who found the iconic British warship, the 'Hood'. And then refound the German battleship, 'Bismarck'. Titanic's search box was 150 square nautical miles, that's a fraction of what we're looking at.

It took them 40 days to find Titanic. Right there. That's good. Take it over a bit more. There you go, guys. The foundation's director on the voyage is Glenys McDonald. John Perryman represents the Commonwealth Government, who came up with most of the money. It's been a fairly long lead time, and we're looking forward to getting some deck plates under our feet. I'd like the ship to be about three times its size. I just want to get out there, through the heads, and on our way. We're going to bring it back in. Louie!

Expeditions like this are enormously expensive. The foundation has only enough money to keep the geosounder at sea for little more than a month. Not long to solve a mystery that has taunted the country

since World War II. MARCHING MUSIC NEWSREEL: Australia hails the battle-scarred cruiser that so quietly glides to her mooring. Back in 1941, the 'Sydney' seized the public imagination. Just back from fighting in the Mediterranean, she was the glamour ship of the Australian Navy. And we went right up into Circular Quay, and berthed at the wharf there, right where the Opera House steps and that are now.

Right there. The seemingly indestructible Billy Hughes was one of the first aboard to offer official congratulations. As Hughes, the Minister for the Navy, boarded the 'Sydney', the crowd went wild.

They were yelling out for Billy, "Hey, Billy, let them get to shore and have a beer or something." All this business. (All cheer) The next day was the big parade through the city. We marched down past the Cenotaph into George Street, and right up to the Sydney Town Hall. And there was 250,000 there, watching, and the kids had a holiday. It's the end of the first full day at sea. Bring it in this way. Time to test the side-scan sonar, the underwater tow fish that scans the sea floor at the end

of nearly 10km of cable. Not yet, we've gotta get that cargo strapped. A job not made easier by the heavy swell. If the sea gets too rough, it will stop the search. That's 50,000 pounds, there. Phil! The sonar will be flown a few hundred metres above the sea bed. It emits a constant pulse of sound that bounces off the ocean floor. A soft, muddy bottom gives a different echo from rocks, or a shipwreck. The echoes are relayed to a control room,

where the team guides the fish as it's towed up and down, along the overlapping lines of the search area. OK, that looks good, guys. Below decks, expedition leader David Mearns is also settling in. The bottom detector's showing 380 metres, it's correct. You can see the way the lines... it's nice, it's firm. When you're searching for something you plan for the worst, and you hope for the best. Planning for the worst, I want the biggest box possible, that I know with a high level of confidence that the target must be in there.

I like when people say, "Do you know where it is?" Well, no, we don't know where it is. That's why it's called a search. The search area is divided into two giant boxes, north of Geraldton. orth of Beraldton. David is betting 'Sydney' lies somewhere in a box of about 500 square nautical miles. But before he can go there, he must find the right way in. And he'll do that by searching another, larger area, a vast box of 1,800 square nautical miles, looking for the ship that sank 'Sydney', the German raider, 'Kormoran'. German raiders were powerfully armed fighting ships, disguised as innocent cargo vessels until the last possible moment, when they revealed their true colours. 'Kormoran' was the largest and newest raider in the German fleet. Behind her innocent exterior, a potent mix of heavy guns, torpedo tubes, and in her hold, over 300 mines to be laid in Australian waters.

'Kormoran''s 38-year-old captain, Theodor Detmers, had formerly commanded a destroyer. Experienced mines officer Heinz Messerschmidt was his adjutant. We had training on the guns. Everything onboard were very old.

We had very old torpedoes, and we had very old guns.

But we had young boys onboard. We all were young. Life was very good, because we had swimming conditions,

we had cinema onboard. GERMAN MILITARY MUSIC We had comfort enough, but it was very strict. In May 1941, 'Kormoran' entered the Indian Ocean on a mission of destruction destined to end off the coast of Western Australia. Several days into the expedition, and the vital sonar equipment has problems. The image quality from the sea floor has deteriorated.

The search grinds to a halt. And that's not the only problem. One thing about this equipment, it gets sent all around the world.

In air shipments, and sea freight, and things like that. And it gets... it's trying to be protected but it's getting banged up a bit. And things do loosen up with time. They're working on the umbilical right now, we found a problem with one of the splices, so they're wrapping that with some extra insulation. That's an electrical connection there, which is open electrical wires, and we have to do everything to keep sea water out of it, at great pressure. We're operating at 3,000 metres deep, and it's trying to force the seawater in there.

That's why you need this thing to be really hard, and absolutely uniform, no air bubbles or anything like that.

A simple $10 compound mix can cost you several days at sea, at $75,000 a day. And it just shows you how every little detail is vitally important. But the search for 'Sydney' is really powered by detailed research, by David and others long before the voyage began. Over the years, David retraced many of the trails of previous researchers. He went to Hamburg, 'Kormoran''s home port, and met with former crew member Heinz Messerschmidt. Oh, there he is. Hi. Hello. Herr Messerschmidt, David Mearns.

Messerschmidt from 'Kormoran'. Yes. He also met with other surviving crew members, absorbing and cross-referencing everything they knew. And were you moving still at 14 knots at this time? No, no, it was slowly here. But the key to the document was this, an English-German dictionary kept by Captain Theodor Detmers, while he was a prisoner-of-war. Australian author Barbara Winter had inspected it as far back as 1990. But as a shipwreck hunter, David had to see it for himself. Hold it up to the light. Yes, I did. And at an angle, and you can actually see the pencil point perforating the page.

He actually recreated the war log diary of 'Kormoran', by spelling out the account, by putting small, very slight, pencil dots under the letters. Spelling out the entire account for the action with 'Sydney'. And that is the primary source account,

from, really, which all my research is based. It's just like detectives do, if they're looking at somebody, whether they committed a crime,

they interview them several times over, to see whether their story stays the same, whether it's consistent, does it change. And we compared Detmer's account, literally, character by character, word by word, the entire thing, through all these different versions over the years. And they stacked up. In London, he found other reports from German survivors, including indications of the 'Kormoran''s final position. David continually reassessed his material.

Just before the search departed, he again changed his search area, following new Australian information on ocean currents. Using the leeway drift to actually extend the box. This whole portion of the box

wasn't extended until two days before we started. Hi, Graeme. Hi, Glenys. How you going? Yeah, good thanks. Good. For Finding Sydney Foundation director Glenys McDonald,

the search comes after 16 years work as a researcher and author on the subject. I know that our pot of funds is small, compared to the task at hand. For me, I never thought I could leave 'Sydney' alone. But I think after this trip, I will be able to. But the expedition is about to come to a stop. A cyclone sweeps across the search area. We're out here searching for this shipwreck, HMAS 'Sydney'. And I understand you're doing the actual forecastings for this Cyclone Ophelia. Well, I want to trade something. I can trade some observations of our conditions out here, if you tell me where this thing is going. Now, your gale force in the southern hemisphere is the same as mine in the northern, I hope. Yeah, that's fine. And if we were going to run in any direction, away from this,

which direction would you recommend from our position now? We can either go to the coast, or... (Laughs) ..run for land or run for Africa, I guess. (Laughs) This afternoon it was here, and we're over here. Now it's heading right towards us.

And if we've got the tow fish in the water, running, we're not gonna outrun it. It's moving at nine knots, we're moving at two and a half knots. I'd just as soon leave the water, hunker down, let her go by. Here we go, once again. There's nothing to do but get out of it's way and wait for better weather. NEWSREEL: Leaping to their stations, the Australians open a battle of which this is a vivid film record, made aboard both cruisers during the fury of action. The Italian is heavily hit, sinking. In 1940 in the Mediterranean, under the command of Captain John Collins, 'Sydney' and its crew won fame in action against the Italian navy, sinking both a destroyer and a fast cruiser. 'Sydney' returned to Alexandria to a rousing reception.

A shell through the funnel, a near miss that became a photo opportunity. Ah, here I have a fragment of the shell. Er, just missed me. (Laughs) Now, the humorous thing about it that day, if we'd been the Royal Navy, they would have spliced the main brace, which was an issue of rum to all hands. But being the Australian Navy, the sailors were dry. At lunchtime, the Captain announced over the phone, "In view of our gallant victory today, "all hands will be issued an extra half ounce of butter." Some rude remarks went up towards the bridge. They called him a generous so-and-so. But a half ounce of butter's equal to what you get when you go out to dinner now. It's in a little plastic thing. (Laughs) Months later, a group of German raiders moved to Australian waters, sinking three cargo ships, almost within sight of land. In the Indian Ocean, three more cargo ships were sunk by raider gunfire. The war had arrived in Australia's backyard. 'Sydney' was recalled from the Mediterranean, and after a few months on the east coast, was moved to Western Australia. Her job was to escort the giant troop ships taking Australian and New Zealand forces to the war in Europe. She also had a new commander, Captain Joseph Burnett. I suppose it could have been seen, in a way, as a bit of an anti-climax after all the excitement of the actions in the Mediterranean. But I don't think Dad felt it that way. In its 10 months at sea, 'Kormoran' had sunk 10 merchant ships. But her total tonnage was relatively low. And in her holds, she still had over 300 mines. The pressure was on for the German captain to find more targets. Detmers headed his ship towards the Australian west coast -

towards the sea lanes used by troop ships. He drilled the crew in preparation for the day he might run into, as he called it, "a ship of the grey company". That day was not far off. On the 17th November, 1941, the 'Sydney' delivered the troop ship Zealandia safely to the Sunda Straits. She set course for home, and was due back in Fremantle three days later. But she never arrived. Extensive searches of the vast area from Geraldton to the north west Cape failed to find any trace of 'Sydney'. The ship and its entire crew had disappeared. On the 28th of November, boatloads of German sailors began appearing on remote beaches north of Carnavon. At Carnavon, they rushed around, the Country Women's Association were making sandwiches, they were actually going round to the farmhouses collecting mattresses. So that they could have somewhere comfortable for the seamen to be accommodated, and then, of course, they found out they weren't Australians, they were Germans, so that sort of put the cat among the pigeons, if you like. At first no-one believed that the men on the beach were Germans. But still, the reports flooded in.

The passenger boat Centaur arrived in Carnarvon, towing two boatloads of survivors, including Captain Detmers, and his adjutant, Heinz Messerschmidt. She gave some water, some tea, some cigarettes down to us, but the captain of the 'Centaur', he didn't dare to get us on board. So we asked him, "We have some casualties, "can we lift them up?" So he said OK. The Centaur wouldn't let them onboard, because the captain was frightened

that they were going to overtake his ship,

so he towed them behind. And when he got to Carnarvon, his worst nightmare probably was that he was told he had to take on about another 113 prisoners. The eventual arrival in the southern port of Fremantle

of the 'Kormoran' survivors was not good news. Their stories of a battle with a Perth class cruiser provided the first confirmation of what may have delayed 'Sydney's return to port. By the 30th of November, 'Sydney's disappearance was headlines in every newspaper in the country. And then they brought me the telegram. (Cries) It says that Thomas Woods, "missing in action". That was it.

The telegram just said. "missing in action". So there was the feeling that, well, maybe he'd been captured and taken prisoner. It wasn't until 1942 when mother got the letter to say he was presumed dead.

But the real letter, saying he was dead, didn't come till 1947. So it was all those years still hanging on, with the hope that he may come round the corner. What I mainly remember is that there was a big element of uncertainty,

and we didn't really know what had happened, for some time after, I suppose because of the secrecy that the government shrouded the events in. There was a war on. There could have been other German raiders at large in the Indian Ocean. And an admission that one of our cruisers was no longer there to counter that threat could have encouraged further raider activity. 10 days after the battle, the search was called off. It would be 66 years before the next official search. With the return of fair weather, the geosounder is back in the search area. Get it up on the winch and start moving. Did you zero it when it hit the water? OK, Bill, take it up. It's in the water, nothing's broken, and nobody's hurt. So any launch you walk away from is a good launch. The vessel's going to come up and then just run a number of survey lines,

throughout this polygon, going north and south. The search has settled into a regular rhythm of lines and turns. It takes nearly 24 hours to complete a single track run. Bridge, Dick. Turning to starboard. Going around 15 degrees. The real... Every tantalising sonar target is scrutinised. But so far all they have found is rock. And this one on top of it. Yeah. Nice work, guys, you nailed that. Yeah, kudos to you, Nigel. The expedition has been at sea for 10 days, but with all the difficulties, this is only their third day of searching. And that's the north-east. But as the team trawls line number nine, in the northeast quadrant of the search box, a faint echo appears on the screen. Alright, there you go.

Oh yes. Oh yes! Gee, look at that. Whatever this is, it's blown to bloody smithereens.

The German raider 'Kormoran' is about to give up her secrets. Oh, here it is. Here we go. Here's the rest. Yep. There it is. The shadow, that's it. That's it? That's it. That's it. It's done. Well done.

(Laughs) That's it. Johnny boy! I think we're looking at HSK ''Kormoran'.' I think we're looking at HSK 'Kormoran'. And I think it's been a long time since anyone has looked at it.

(Sighs) The side-scan image of the 'Kormoran'

presents a powerful picture of her demise. With the raider critically wounded in the battle with 'Sydney', Captain Detmers gave the order to abandon ship, and scuttle the 'Kormoran'. Heinz Messerschmidt laid the charges. Captain Detmers ordered to get the flack inside. So we went into the boats and after 15 minutes, there was a big explosion from top to hind. The scuttling charges would have detonated the ship's munitions, including over 300 mines. All the flames, all the mines, and the rest of oil, and the munition, exploded in the ship and the ship sank, so the last we saw was the burning 'Sydney' at the horizon. And so we were left there. Before abandoning 'Kormoran', Detmers noted 'Sydney's range increasing, on a south-easterly bearing.

Now the chance of finding 'Sydney' has just increased. That's what I've always said. Find 'Kormoran' and then we'll find 'Sydney', and now it's really increased. But not everybody shared David's confidence, especially in a German account of the facts. Over the years, the unanswered questions surrounding the sinking of HMAS 'Sydney' have fuelled speculation and controversy. Some allege the Germans broke the rules of war, to surprise 'Sydney', then machine gunned Australian survivors to cover it up. When the war ended, the need for answers grew in the hearts and minds of those effected by the loss. After 30 years, when the official archives were made public, the floodgates opened. In 1975, the son of the navigator, Michael Montgomery, came here, to start writing a book on the loss of his father. From then on, the number of books became a constant stream,

to the point today we've got well over 25 books on the subject, from all sorts of angles, all sorts of theories, some of them quite extraordinary. All coming at it with a great passion, sometimes arguing vociferously, but all the time, it goes back to a passion, a desire to have the story told, and an inability to accept that they've had the story told to them in the most open and truthful manner. It's been a fake for 56 years. It's been a fake since the night 'Sydney' got hit.

The incident happened just weeks before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour. John Doohan and his supporters

claim a Japanese submarine was responsible for killing the survivors, and that ASIO covered it up. It's certainly common knowledge to me. I believe that police records were destroyed, and secondly, there is evidence that some of the ASIO files

of around 1952 have either been suppressed or destroyed. There were some wild theories out there. Theories that defied science and gravity and...common sense. Some people hold extreme views, and are very fixed in their beliefs. They followed the lead up to this search with great interest, and I don't think that there's too many of them who don't want the search to go ahead. Albeit, there are a number of them who believe that we're probably searching in the wrong spot. Really just finding the wreck is my main objective,

for the Finding Sydney Foundation. And then it's up to the historians and the naval architects to look at the wreckage and say what actually happened. And deal with any of these conspiracy theories.

I haven't seen any evidence of it, in my research in the archives.

So I've never really spent much time thinking about them. After the excitement of finding 'Kormoran', the routine of the search has resumed. Everything all out there... Yeah, for sure. That's all geology up there as well. High res. If the Germans are right, then today's the day. What do you reckon that is? Bit of a depression.

Hey look, a target, Mike. I can smell it. That's actually when you can feel it. Same same. But yeah, you can...it is eerie, because there are times when you do...something alerts you, a little piece, but you know it's coming. You might want to look at hers. We passed some already, and then we got these, so... Oh! Certainly contact there, folks. That is beautiful. Dude, this is the best day, look at that! There she is! (Laughs) And it's big, too, look at that. Yeah. I mean, you look at the scale. What's the water depth? What's the water depth? We changed it. 2468! 2468 means 2,468 metres.

Hey, we're way early from our prediction. (Laughs) It's in range of the ship's underwater camera. David knows he'll be able to get pictures of the 'Sydney'.

Look at that debris coming down from the north, too. And there's the shadow, see the shadow right behind it, right here? We got it.

That's it. That's HMAS 'Sydney'. Oh, David! See that shadow comes off, and then builds up? Little bit of shadow, yeah. So it almost looks like it could be sitting right on her bottom.

I can't believe it. I...I can't believe it. While we're in our revelry, we should realise we're looking at the tomb of 600 of our fellow mariners here. That's right.

That will give people closure. David calls the Finding Sydney Foundation office in Fremantle. We just found 'Sydney'. We've got it. It's absolutely crystal clear, exactly where we want, she's sitting upright, in a small debris field. It's crystal clear. There's no doubt about it. And you can take it to the bank.

The Prime Minister or anybody else can announce it. We have found HMAS 'Sydney'. APPLAUSE On behalf of the Finding Sydney Foundation, you guys, thank you. (Cries) Thank you very much. The following day, the Prime Minister makes the announcement many thought would never be made. This is a historic day and it's a sad day for all Australians, as we confirm the discovery of HMAS 'Sydney'. 'THE LAST POST' PLAYS The first part of the mystery is solved. But the expedition is far from over. Many questions remain unanswered. How could the pride of the Australian navy have been defeated by a converted cargo ship? What cataclysmic event sent 'Sydney' to the bottom? Why were there no survivors? In the wreckage and the darkness, two and a half kilometres down, the answers have lain hidden since the night of the battle. Now the team will send down the ROV - the Remotely Operated Vehicle -

loaded with cameras and lights that will show 'Sydney' and then 'Kormoran' to the world. The sea doesn't give up her secrets easily, and the Indian Ocean is holding a pretty firm grasp onto both 'Sydney' and 'Kormoran'. 18 days after the wreck of 'Sydney' was found,

the ROV is finally launched. OK, what we're going to do is we want to come up here, and move this thing around 25 metres, come up here, see if we can look at the stern, OK? So... We'll have it for you in a bit. There's something. That's it. Shit. We're on it - there's a gun! It's it! That's the one. Oh, stop! Stop right there. That's it. Wow. Oh, look at that. OK, we're close... Actually... There is no doubt about that at all. For the first time since 1941, the silent remains of HMAS 'Sydney' speak of tragic loss, and reveal the terrible price of war. The twisted metal tells its own story of the last hours of the pride of the Australian navy. But it also confirms much of what we have been told before. The brutal damage seen here confirms much of the story related by the surviving German sailors, and the detailed record of the battle left by 'Kormoran' captain Theodor Detmers in his secretly marked dictionary. Detmers left a minute by minute account that began at 4:55 in the afternoon on 19 November, 1941. Lookout Jansen reports sailing ship in sight on port bow. Alarm sounded. Turned away to port, full speed ahead. Disguised as a Dutch merchant ship, the 'Kormoran' was heading north when she sighted 'Sydney'. Cruiser made out. Range over 14,000 metres. Engine room reports, number four engine out of order. Maximum speed, 14 knots. Cruiser turns towards us. Approaches slowly, making signals repeatedly on searchlight. The battle-hardened Detmers has the advantage. He knows the enemy he's facing.

But on the bridge of 'Sydney', Captain Burnett may not know the ship he's stalking. When the cruiser came nearer, we had Captain Detmers in our ears, he told us, "Maybe... he's not suspicious." Cruiser approaches slowly on starboard quarter, showing narrow silhouette. It stayed behind us. This was the best position. This is double towers with four guns directed on us. MORSE CODE BEEPS The wily Captain Detmers sends a wireless message that he's being pursued by a suspicious warship, a ploy to establish his identity as an innocent Dutch freighter. As each minute passes, the distance between the two ships is decreasing. With each metre, 'Sydney' is losing the advantage of her superior firepower. She's now well within the range of 'Kormoran''s hidden guns. Nobody knows what was going through Captain Burnett's mind as he approached 'Kormoran', nobody knows what gave him sufficient confidence to close as close as he did. Whatever the reasons were for 'Sydney's close approach to 'Kormoran',

my father would have had some reason which, as he saw it, was good and sufficient. Enemy signal, hoist your secret call. Received. Not knowing the call sign, Detmers knows it's time to act. Dutch flag struck. War flag flies clear off mainmast. Time taken, six seconds. 'Kormoran''s first ranging shot falls short, but they quickly adjust. Their first salvo smashes 'Sydney's bridge and gunnery control tower, probably killing Captain Burnett and his officers. Once you've taken out the bridge, the command and control structure

and the gunnery fire control systems, you've effectively taken the brain of that ship out. Almost instantly 'Sydney' replies with a full salvo, but misses. Had that hit, the outcome of this story would have been very different and Burnett would probably well have been hailed as a hero. Detmers turns his ship 10 degrees to starboard, bringing his torpedo tubes to bear. 'Kormoran' fires two torpedoes, their running time to target approximately 65 seconds. 'Sydney' scores devastating hits on 'Kormoran'.

The raiders big guns fire salvo after salvo with devastating accuracy, hitting 'Sydney' amidships, they destroy the Walrus aircraft, and pour lethal fire into the cruiser's forward gun turrets and torpedo tubes, crippling 'Sydney's ability to hit back.

The scene of horror that must have been there for those men in 'Sydney', when they raked the decks with these sorts of things, it's going to scythe people down, and not only that, it's going to cause a hell of a lot of damage to the ship as well. First torpedo fires, hits below waterline in front of A turret. This strike will eventually be 'Sydney's deathblow. Enemy's A and B turrets both out of action. Their C turret has caused hits on our funnel and engine rooms. And they've managed to get main armament shots away, and cripple 'Kormoran' to the point where she was ultimately doomed. 'Sydney' turns towards the stricken 'Kormoran', on what appears to be an attempt to ram the enemy. Enemy pass across our stern. Stern gun sustains fire on enemy. 'Sydney' seems all but finished, except for one last gesture of defiance with her starboard torpedoes. They miss. Torpedoes pass close on our stern. Cruiser continues south, slow speed. The German gunners pour withering fire on the crippled cruiser, as she limps towards the safety of the coast. The last we saw was the burning 'Sydney' at the horizon. It was always burning. Burning, burning.

But we didn't see her sinking. By the next morning, over 700 men and their two ships were gone. More than 300 German sailors took to lifeboats. The entire crew of 'Sydney' perished. As the sea gives up its secrets, there is no evidence of German crimes. Just pitiless proof of how brave men died in battle. Steel plate, ripped apart by shells. The breach of a foreign turret gun, loaded and ready to fire. Rear section turrets X and Y. The guns that dealt 'Kormoran' a knock-out blow. Torpedoes that were never fired. Guns that never came to bear. The proud crest of HMAS 'Sydney', still intact on a lifeboat that was never launched. It's these ship's boats that are a major revelation of the search. How is it that they didn't save a single member of 'Sydney's crew? We've got five of the nine boats. Every one that we've found has been largely intact. The one that's broken, I think, broke through...it's rotten away. It's broken in place on the seabed, it hasn't broken on the surface and tumbled there. So, why weren't those boats used? The answer lies, silent and alone, 500 metres from 'Sydney's main hull. The bow of this once proud ship, torn off and upside down. As she limped from the battle that night, with the wind increasing and the ocean swell building, the bow of the battered, burning 'Sydney', shattered by the torpedo strike, broke off, and in and instant, 'Sydney' was doomed. 'Sydney' was getting away, gravely damaged but intact, and possibly, under way. You know, not going fast, but possibly with power. And I don't think they knew - this makes me believe more so

that they didn't know she was going to sink that quickly. I think the last bit was rapid. And it explains why... why people didn't survive. They...they were still trying to save their ship. Still thought they had a chance.

You don't abandon ship until you give up all hope. The scene onboard 'Sydney' at the end would have been one of desperation and there were people onboard desperately trying to save, not only their ship, but their fellow crewmembers.

And I think that's a measure of the people who served in that vessel. Is that the crane house? That inner side looked like it had a shell hole in it, too, did you see that? See that? There, you're looking straight into it.

We're on the starboard... I tell you what, go up starboard side, up and then over. OK, we'd like to push in just under this near-side gun, to see if it's been hit there, at the base.

We've got about 25 hours of film footage of 'Sydney', and about 10 hours of film footage of 'Kormoran'. And all the armchair researchers can sit down and analyse that, as much as they like, because I think it will show them everything that they need to know. She's hit badly. Twice.

That's three out of four. Same place. Hold it right there, please. Perhaps most movingly of all, it is the small items that have the greatest impact. Shoes scattered on the seafloor. A gasmask.

Reminders of men who died trying to take their ship home. Their nemesis, 'Kormoran', shares their watery grave. Its hidden guns, seen for the first time since the night she was scuttled. Silent witnesses to a terrible battle. Finding the 'Sydney' was an absolute joy and triumph, but it didn't take me long to realise this was the resting place for a large number of people, and...it had shattered the happiness of 645 families. So it's just been a mixture of emotions. In the future, there will be a government inquiry into the wrecks. Further study and reflection.

But for those who lost loved ones, people like Victoria Flores, who lost her young husband of less than a day... ..or Jessie Cunnington, who never recovered from losing her father, there is now at least a place on the map.

Closed Captions by CSI *

CC Good evening. AFL as far

Barry Hall says his 7-week

suspension is fair. The Sydney

Swans player plead guilty at the AFL Tribunal to punching

West Coast player Brent Staker.

The blow was described as one

which would make Rocky Balboa blush. Opportunity to once

again apologise to Brent Staker

for the incident. It's

unacceptable and I'll try and

better my service so it doesn't

happen again. Hall told the

tribunal the incident was the

result of a mind snap. In News

just in there are fears at

least four trnling may have drown end New Zealand after

they were swept away in a

river. They were part of a

group from Auckland on a canyon

ing trip at the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre

near Turangi. Local media

reports that four of the

teenagers have been found and

three are still missing. The

Supreme Court in Melbourne has

heard that the 2005 AFL grand

final was the intended target

of a terror attack. A former religious student of the

group's alleged leader Abdul

Nacer Benbrika told the court

the plan was delayed because of

ASIO raids and a lack of funds.

Under cross-examination

Izzydeen Atik admitted he

suffered from schizophrenia. A

dry day tomorrow for most of

the country. Showers and 21 in

Sydney. more news on Lateline at 10.30. This program is not subtitled Hello, and welcome to Foreign Correspondent. I'm Mark Corcoran. Tonight - chasing a slice of heaven. Welcome to New Zealand. It's one Pacific solution that works. And getting into the swing of things our man in Beijing on the latest racket sweeping China. Beats me again. Australia is desperately short of labour. The National Farmers Federation estimates that an extra 100,000 workers are needed on our farms. So, what to do? Well, the solution may lie across the Tasman in New Zealand, where a new Pacific Islands guest-worker scheme is proving to be a huge success. FUNKY ISLANDER MUSIC PLAYS The 'Pacific Dawn' slides into Vanuatu's Port Vila harbour. On board are 2,000 mainly Australian passengers.

Local traders frantically prepare for the onslaught. The visitors will spend $400,000 in just 8 hours in port. But there's one hard economic reality, despite this weekly splash of cash by the cruise ships, Vanuatu cannot survive on tourism alone. A couple of years ago, an international survey declared Vanuatu to be the happiest place on Earth. While that may be so, when you move away from the cruise ships and all the tourist trinkets here, you find a very different country. By Western standards, Vanuatu and many other South Pacific island states are nations in poverty. Here, only 1 in 5 people have access to electricity.

If you want basic health care or any form of education you have to pay for it.