H.M.A.S.Nizam

On the night of 11th of February 1945, HMAS NIZAM, proceeding at 21 1/2 knots from Melbourne to Fremantle, before joining the British East India Fleet, came to grief 11 miles from Cape Leeuwin WA.
Four minutes after turning to the North, at 2215 hours, she was struck by a heavy squall, accompanied by what can only be described as a freak wave. A Tsunami! Struck heavily on the starboard quarter, the stern rose as she heeled over to port and veered to starboard. The quartermaster was thrown off balance at the wheel, unable to apply correcting rudder.

Nizam quickly rolled a full 90 degrees to port, while losing way. The Engineer Officer, Lt. Mussared, who happened to be in the engine room as the Nizam pitched over, cut both engines, possibly saving the vessel from capsizing.

The Signalman on watch on the bridge reported that, as the vessel heeled over, he simply walked up the bridge side wall adjacent to the port signalling platform. Standing momentarily, balanced on one foot, with one hand on the bridge combing, and looking aft, He was able to observe, in the dim light, the mast and funnel lying horizontal to the sea.

He observed a bellow of steam erupt from the funnel, as the boiler safety valve lifted. Hesitating briefly on her beam ends, she slowly recovered with a pronounced list to port.

The signalman probably owes his life to the Engineer as he was on the point of stepping off, in heavy gear, into the turmoil at his feet when the roll halted.

All the men on watch on B gundeck, the port signalling projector platform, the P1 Oerlikon gun platform and the upper deck, 10 in number, were washed into the sea, no doubt severely injured as they collided in the water with various gun shields and other upper deck equipment, which was damaged in the mishap.

Hindered briefly by electrical failure a search was made with searchlights blazing, as Nizam circled the area for some time. With winds at gale force, waves and spray severely reduced visibility.

The men lost were:

Western Australia
Tasmania
Queensland
New South Wales
New South Wales
South Australia
South Australia
South Australia
South Australia
Victoria
Leading Seaman
Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman
Able Seaman
Able Seaman
Able Seaman
Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman
Stoker
Able Seaman
Colin S. Ryder
Garnet H. Hill
John S.W. Barnett
Victor C.J. Keys
Alfred G. Kerr
Allen W. Millich
Keith J. Mills
Leslie A. Holloway
John Poulton
Vincent G. Richardson
W.1225
H.2725
B.5081
S.7606
S.8275
P.A.2184
P.A.4702
P.A.4696
P.A.4871
P.M.4069

In 1992 a cairn was erected on Cape Leewin, dedicated to the memory of these men.

On 11th February 2005, at 10 AM, a service of remembrance was held at the site of the Cairn at Cape Leeuwin to commemorate their loss, on the 60th anniversary of the accident.
Before the service there was quite a large gathering, with school children, interested people, interstate visitors, and representatives of the 'N' Class Destroyer Association, which had added a further memorial close by, for the five N Class destroyers, HMAS Napier, HMAS Norman, HMAS Nizam, HMAS Nestor, and HMAS Nepal, borrowed from Britain during WWII.
A wreath was laid at the foot of the Nizam accident memorial cairn during the service of commemoration.
A couple of retired residents of Augusta (nearest town to Cape Leeuwin) Andy and Sandra Rose, are writing a book about this accident and related matters with regard to the 'N' Class destroyers - 'boats' of a past era.

Anyone wishing to do so may contact the Roses by Email