Sydney II sailor remembered along with 644 shipmates

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The Hon Matt Keogh MP

Minister for Defence Personnel

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Media contact

Stephanie Mathews on 0407 034 485

Senator The Hon Malarndirri McCarthy

Senator for the Northern Territory and Christmas and Cocos Keeling Islands

Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians

Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health

Ministerial contact

Jamal Ben Haddou - 0417 387 775

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19 November 2022

A commemorative ceremony was held today for Able Seaman Thomas Welsby Clark, the only member of the HMAS Sydney (II) crew to be found after it was sunk in 1941.

The ceremony honoured all 645 men who lost their lives after the Australian ship was sunk during World War II.

Months after the sinking of HMAS Sydney (II), the body of an unidentified sailor washed up on the shore of Christmas Island in a life raft.

For years, Able Seaman Clark’s unidentified body remained in an unmarked grave on the Island until it was exhumed in 2006 and DNA samples taken.

Previously referred to as the HMAS Sydney (II) unknown sailor, Able Seaman Clark was formally identified after extensive DNA research in 2021.

Commemorations were held this morning including Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond and Malarndirri McCarthy, Senator for the Northern Territory and Christmas and Cocos Keeling Islands.

Able Seaman Clark will forever represent his shipmates who lost their lives on that fateful night of November 19, 1941.

Lest We Forget.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, the Hon Matt Keogh MP:

“Able Seaman Clark and his fellow crew members made the ultimate sacrifice in service to Australia. We remember them and pay tribute to the families that were left behind when HMAS Sydney (II) was tragically sunk.”

“I would like to thank the Christmas Island community for affording Able Seaman Clark with the dignity he deserved and supporting the search for his resting place.”

Quotes attributable to Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond AM:

“For a ship the size of HMAS Sydney (II) that was so widely admired across the country to be lost with all hands was simply unfathomable.”

“I thank the Christmas Island community for the care and respect they provided to a very brave sailor on his journey home.”

Quotes attributable Senator for the Northern Territory and Christmas and Cocos Keeling Islands, the Hon Malarndirri McCarthy:

“As a Yanyuwa Garrwa woman, commemoration is very sacred and the death of a loved one in war is a huge price to pay for family, the community and the nation.”

“Through the story of Able Seaman Clark, we remember all of those who lost their lives making the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our Country.”



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