Commemorative service to honour local men who drowned during maritime military rescue

18/05/2017
 
A commemorative ceremony will be held this weekend to honour four Australian soldiers who lost their lives during a maritime military rescue mission at Bass Point.

Australia's Federation Guard will mount a Catafalque Party as part of the ceremony to be held 11am Sunday, 21 May at Bass Point Reserve.

The service will honour the four Australian soldiers who drowned during the rescue of 62 US men stranded on the ship Cities Service Boston when it ran aground in 1943.

Thirty-five soldiers from the 6 Machine Gun Battalion (AIF) successfully rescued everyone on board the ship which ran aground during a violent storm.

The battalion was stationed at Dapto when it was given the order to assist the rescue. One soldier swam out to the ship in dangerous seas to get a rope and buoy that was thrown overboard by the crew. The men stood on the rocks holding the rope taut while the crew slid along it to the shore.

However, in the final stage of the rescue effort, a large wave washed 10 of the rescuers off the rocks, four of whom drowned.

Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said the ceremony marked the heroic rescue efforts of Australian soldiers and residents who flocked to assist.

“It honours those who paid the ultimate price. These men showed courage in the face of adversity and performed a rescue in exceptionally difficult conditions," Cr Saliba said.

"It is now for the whole community to make sure that we honour their memories," she said.

The last surviving member of the battalion passed away in 2014.

For more information contact Council’s Media Officer on 4221 6038.