The story of the South Coast’s most tragic war-time shipping accident at Bass Point is well known.
But new details have emerged about the tragic event – 74-years after four Australian soldiers drowned trying to rescue 62 US men stranded on the ship Cities Service Boston when it ran aground in 1943.
Historian and 6 Machine Gun Battalion Association president John Campbell told a commemorative service at Bass Point Reserve on Sunday, that the Cities Service Boston struck the rocks at Bass Point through a series of mistakes and extreme weather conditions.
‘’The captain decided to hug the coastline to avoid a submarine attack...the cyclonic winds and huge seas made this task almost impossible for the fairly dysfunctional crew,’’ he said.
The late Mick Wilinson was one of the 35 soldiers from the 6 Machine Gun Battalion (AIF) who successfully rescued everyone on board the ship which ran aground during a violent storm.
However, in the final stage of the rescue effort, a large wave washed 10 of the rescuers off the rocks, four of whom drowned.
Denise Thirwell said the horrors of the day hit her father Mick hard in later life.
‘’But he loved coming to this service to honour his mates,’’ she said.
Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said the service honoured those who paid the ultimate price.