The Attack on Sydney Harbour – 31May/1Jun 1942

In the late afternoon of 31 May 1942 three Japanese midget submarines commenced an attack on shipping in Sydney Harbour with the USS Chicago the main target.

All three midget submarines made it into the harbour.  One of the midget submarines was caught in an anti-submarine net, another was spotted by sailors on the deck of USS Chicago and disappeared.

The third submarine fired at the USS Chicago but missed, the torpedo striking the depot ferry Kuttabul instead.  Nineteen Australian and two British sailors died.

The mother submarines departed the area after it became obvious that their midget submarines would not be returning.  A week later, those submarines shelled Sydney and Newcastle as they sailed north .

The bodies of the four Japanese crewmen were buried with full naval honours in the hope that that showing respect for the dead men might help to improve the conditions of the many Australians in Japanese prisoner of war camps.