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Subject:    German mines in Australian waters
Date:             Sat, 13 Jan 2001 21:27:58 -0800
From:           "Russell Holroyd" <HHH3798@bigpond.com>

Hi Peter,

Your page on German mines gives the impression that the Bass Strait minefields were not effective. In 1940, the German raider Pinguin accompanied by a tender ship sailed through Bass Strait and laid mines along the Victorian Coast, including the area off Apollo Bay. This field claimed two ships, the American freighter City of Rayville and a warship, possibly British, whose name I cannot remember. The Rayville was probably the first US merchant ship sunk in WW2.The above is from memory and needs to be checked (I will try to get hard copy asap).

I have been doing a lot of WW2 maritime research lately because of a story I heard some time ago. A guy I worked with years ago told me that he and his father saw a ship sunk off St Kilda. The beaches were covered in oil. This ship was supposedly a US oil tanker which had been torpedoed at Port Phillip Heads and limped up the bay before sinking off St Kilda (a bayside suburb). My witness was a 10 year old boy at the time and his father is now deceased. He claims that the sinking took place within six months of the Japanese raid on Sydney Harbour and was subject to a news blackout. The big problem is, that no ships sank in Victorian waters that year. The big question is, was Bill mistaken or did he see something that 'slipped through the cracks' with the passing of the years. Interesting huh?

Well that's about all from me for now. Keep up the good work!

Yours sincerely
Russell Holroyd


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This page first produced 14 January 2001

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