photo
Australia's War 1939 - 1945
title

Darwin, 19 February 1942,
Ray Honisett, 1984
[Oil on canvas 122x182.8cm.
AWM ART 28520]
The Roll of Honour lists the names of the 21 seamen (and officers) who died on board HMAS Kuttabul during the night of 31 May/1 June 1942.
[DVA]

Australia Under Attack 1940-1945
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HMAS Kuttabul, the RAN accommodation ship
sunk by a Japanese torpedo in Sydney Harbour
on 31 May/1 June 1942.
[AWM 012427]

The Japanese first attacked the Australian mainland on 19 February 1942 when they launched a devastating air raid on Darwin in the Northern Territory. Two weeks later, more aircraft attacked Broome in Western Australia killing about 70 people. By the end of September 1943, Japanese pilots had flown 97 air raids against towns and bases in northern Australia. On 31 May 1942, the war came to the east coast when three Japanese midget submarines entered Sydney Harbour. In June 1942 a submarine lightly shelled the eastern suburbs in Sydney and then Newcastle. Japanese submarines also attacked coastal shipping, causing the loss of some 60 lives and 29,000 tons of shipping during the two months after the midget submarine attack on Sydney Harbour.

 

 

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Image of handwritten
poem in Japanese by Mrs Matsuo.
[AWM 3DRL/7999]
'Journey's End for a mother'
Lieutenant Kieu Matsuo was the commander of the midget submarine from 'the mother sub', I-22. He and his crewman had shot themselves to avoid capture. Their bodies and those of two other submariners were recovered from the submarines and cremated with full naval honours and their ashes were returned to Japan. The Japanese Ambassador, Mr Tatsuo Kawai, and his staff, who had been trapped in Canberra since the outbreak of the war, were offered their return passage to Japan in an exchange of Allied and Japanese diplomats. Ambassador Kawai carried the submariners' ashes back to Japan. In 1968 Mrs Matsuo travelled to Australia to see where her son had died. During her visit she presented a number of gifts, including this handwritten poem, to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

I nurtured my son just as I grew precious flowers
So that he could dedicate himself to the Emperor.
Now that the storm has passed
And all the cherry blossoms have blown away,
The garden looks very deserted.

Lieutenant Matsuo's mother wrote this poem
to commemorate her son's death in the midget
submarine attack on Sydney Harbour on 31 May/ 1 June 1942.
[This translation was provided by the Australia-Japan Research
Project at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra]

 

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The grave of Stoker Jack Albert Gardner,
Royal Australian Naval Reserve.
[DVA]

Stoker Jack Albert Gardner, Royal Australian Naval Reserve, was 23 years old when he died. Jack was serving in HMAS Kuttabul on the night of 31 May/1 June 1942 when the ship was hit by a torpedo from the Japanese midget submarine from I-22. He was buried in the RAN section at Rookwood Cemetery together with other shipmates who died during the attack.

 

 

Australia at war 3 September 1939
Libya and the Siege of Tobruk 1941
Greece and Crete April-May 1941
Syria and Lebanon June 1941
Malaya December 1941 to Moresby May 1942
Australia under attack 1940-1945
Coral Sea, Kokoda, Milne Bay May-September 1942
El Alamein October-November 1942
The Home Front 1939-1945
The Coastwatchers 1941-1945
Australian prisoners of war 1940-1945
Little-known operations 1939-1945
Papua 1942-1943
The Japanese retreat March 1943-January 1944
War at sea 1939-1945
Air war Europe 1939-1945
Bougainville, Borneo, New Britain, New Guinea 1944-1945
8 May 1945/15 August 1945
Australia at war 3 September 1939
Libya and the Siege of Tobruk 1941
Greece and Crete April-May 1941
Syria and Lebanon June 1941
Malaya December 1941 to Moresby May 1942
Australia under attack 1940-1945
Coral Sea, Kokoda, Milne Bay May-September 1942
El Alamein October-November 1942
The Home Front 1939-1945
The Coastwatchers 1941-1945
Australian prisoners of war 1940-1945
Little-known operations 1939-1945
Papua 1942-1943
The Japanese retreat March 1943-January 1944
War at sea 1939-1945
Air war Europe 1939-1945
Bougainville, Borneo, New Britain, New Guinea 1944-1945
8 May 1945/15 August 1945
Darwin, 19 February 1942, Ray Honisett
[Oil on canvas 122x182.8cm. AWM ART 28520]
The Roll of Honour lists the names of the 21 seamen (and officers) who died on board HMAS Kuttabul during the night of 31 May/1 June 1942. [DVA]