Intimate service honours Unknown Sailor

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Adam PoulsenGeraldton Guardian
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About 40 people attended a service for the Unknown Sailor at Geraldton War Cemetery on Monday afternoon.
Camera IconAbout 40 people attended a service for the Unknown Sailor at Geraldton War Cemetery on Monday afternoon. Credit: Adam Poulsen, The Geraldton Guardian

About 40 people attended an intimate service for the Unknown Sailor at Geraldton War Cemetery this afternoon, ahead of tomorrow’s 78th annual HMAS Sydney II Memorial service.

Speakers included City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn, Reverend Garry Hamersley and Geraldton City RSL sub-branch president Barry Stinson.

Bugler Craig Bassett played stirring renditions of The Last Post and Reveille.

The service also included a minute silence and the laying of wreaths.

Tomorrow marks 78 years to the day since the Sydney, a Leander-class light cruiser operated by the Royal Australian Navy, was sunk by the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran in a battle off the WA coast.

Geraldton City RSL sub-branch president Barry Stinson lays a wreath at the Unknown Soldier's grave.
Camera IconGeraldton City RSL sub-branch president Barry Stinson lays a wreath at the Unknown Soldier's grave. Credit: Adam Poulsen, The Geraldton Guardian

All 645 serviceman on board the Sydney died in what is still considered the worst naval disaster in Australian history.

The Unknown Soldier’s body – the only to be recovered from the battle – was found in a raft off Christmas Island on February 6, 1942.

He now lies buried at the Geraldton War Cemetery in Utakarra.

Tomorrow’s service will be held at the HMAS Sydney II Memorial on Gummer Avenue at 5.30pm.

Hundreds are expected to attend, according to the City of Greater Geraldton.

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