The lives of three Australian and one British sailor lost during the Second World War when HMAS Nestor was attacked have been honoured at a commemorative service at Garden Island, Sydney.
On 15 June 1942, Nestor was part of a covering force for a large convoy when she came under air attack about 100 miles north of the port of Tobruk, in Libya. Three heavy bombs straddled the ship, resulting in the No. 1 boiler room being flooded.
The destroyer was taken in tow by Royal Navy ship HMS Javelin, but under the threat of further attack a decision was made to scuttle the Australian ship a day later, after her surviving crew had been transferred to safety.
The four men killed in action that day were Australians: Petty Officer Stoker Jack Bulmer; Leading Stoker Campbell Hill; Stoker Leslie Blight; and British sailor, Leading Stoker Matthew Burns of the Royal Navy.
Executive Officer of Sydney base HMAS Kuttabul, Lieutenant Commander Barry Purkiss, was joined by two Nestor survivors, Captain John Stevenson and Lieutenant Commander Ken Brown, in remembering the bravery of those involved in the action.
“Nestor isn’t one of our most famous ships, but the 249 members of her ship’s company made a valuable contribution to the war,” Lieutenant Commander Purkiss said.
“We not only remember those who never came home, but also thank the survivors and the commitment of the men and women who have served their nations in times of conflict.
“We are recognising many 75th anniversaries this year, and it is a poignant time for the Australian Defence Force to reflect on why we commit ourselves to service. The ideals fought for in the Second World War are the same we continue to pursue today,” he said.
Nestor was awarded Battle Honours for Atlantic, Malta convoys and Indian Ocean. The N-Class Destroyer was also awarded a battle honour for being part of the force that hunted and sank the Bismarck and destroyed the German submarine U-127.