Navies gather to remember the Battle of Sydney

Published on LEUT Anthony Martin (author), CPOIS Cameron Martin (photographer)

Location(s): Garden Island, Sydney

Topic(s): Naval Heritage and History, HMAS Kuttabul (I), Commemoration

Royal Australian Navy officer CMDR Michael Nipperess, Executive Officer of HMAS Kuttabul (left); and Commanding Officer of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force icebreaker JS Shirase, CAPT Koji Miyazaki lay wreaths at the Japanese midget submarine memorial at the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre, Garden Island. (photo: CPOIS Cameron Martin)
Royal Australian Navy officer CMDR Michael Nipperess, Executive Officer of HMAS Kuttabul (left); and Commanding Officer of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force icebreaker JS Shirase, CAPT Koji Miyazaki lay wreaths at the Japanese midget submarine memorial at the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre, Garden Island.

A quiet and solemn ceremony was recently held at HMAS Kuttabul to commemorate and honour the lives lost in May 1942, when Japanese midget submarines launched an attack in Sydney Harbour.

L-R: Royal Australian Navy officer CMDR Michael Nipperess, Executive Officer of HMAS Kuttabul; Commanding Officer of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force icebreaker JS Shirase, CAPT Koji Miyazaki; and Naval Attaché to the Embassy of Japan, CAPT Shinsuke Amano stand beside the Japanese midget submarine memorial at the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre, Garden Island.

L-R: Royal Australian Navy officer CMDR Michael Nipperess, Executive Officer of HMAS Kuttabul; Commanding Officer of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force icebreaker JS Shirase, CAPT Koji Miyazaki; and Naval Attaché to the Embassy of Japan, CAPT Shinsuke Amano stand beside the Japanese midget submarine memorial at the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre, Garden Island.

The Commanding Officer of the visiting Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force icebreaker JS Shirase came together with the Japanese Naval Attaché to Australia and the Executive Officer of HMAS Kuttabul to remember the event and lay wreaths at the HMAS Kuttabul Memorial.

The three officers, Captain Koji Miyazaki, Captain Shinsuke Amano and Commander Michael Nipperess also laid wreaths at the remains of the Japanese Midget Submarine M22 at the Naval Heritage Centre on Garden Island.

Captain Miyazaki and Commander Nipperess each laid their wreaths for all the sailors and officers who lost their lives that fateful night.

For Captain Miyazaki, it was a suitable tribute to the Australian and Japanese servicemen.

“I am very appreciative of the Royal Australian Navy and the relationship it has with the Japanese Maritime Defence Force, and I am honoured by the dignity of this occasion,” Captain Miyazaki said.

The small contingent of JS Shirase’s ship’s company took the opportunity to learn more about the events of the ‘Battle of Sydney’ and explored the artefacts on display in the Naval Heritage Centre.

“The Naval Heritage Centre has significant historical displays and it’s an honour to escort our Japanese guests here today,” Commander Nipperess said.

Commander Nipperess said the commemorative activities were meaningful for everyone involved.

“This is a positive demonstration of the friendship between the Australian and Japanese navies and a fitting tribute to the servicemen of both nations who were lost during the battle,” Commander Nipperess said.

JS Shirase is conducting a port visit to Sydney on her way home to Japan.

Additional imagery is available on the Defence Image Gallery:
http://images.defence.gov.au/S20190604.