Sunday, January 01, 2006

Mini-sub mystery may be solved

By Paul Pottinger
November 20, 2005

A destroyed sub is hoisted out of Sydney Harbor in 1942.

ONE of the great mysteries of World War II - the fate of the missing Japanese midget submarine that attacked Sydney Harbour - could be revealed next week.

The State Government's Heritage Office will investigate the almost four years of research handed to them by the makers of M24: The Last Sunrise.

And in a live telecast on Fox 8 on November 28, cameras will explore what is believed to be the location of the missing two-man submarine.

M24 was part of a force of three midget subs that torpedoed one ship and killed 21 Allied sailors on the night of May 31, 1942.

"Over the past four years we've looked at all of the existing evidence and theories of where M24 might be," producer Damien Lay of Animax Films said.

Mr Lay said he was not "100 per cent" sure their new theory was right but viewers could make up their own minds.

The fate of M24 has vexed historians for 63 years.

Launched from two mother submarines off Sydney, the three midgets made their way into the harbour around dusk.

Targetting US and Australian warship, they instead torpedoed the ferry Kuttabul.

Subs M14 and M21 were depth-charged, with one crew killed and the other shooting themselves.

Though believed damaged, M24 was never recovered.

The midgets were to have rendezvoused with the mother subs south of Sydney. It seems possible, however, that M24 went north before being scuttled.

Given that the wreck site of the missing sub would be a classed as a war grave, Mr Lay said it could only be approached by Government-authorised divers.



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