Cities Service Boston Memorial

Shellharbour City Council and the 6 Machine Gun Battalion Association will hold a commemorative ceremony this weekend to honour the 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, 19 May at Bass Point Reserve.

On May 16, 1943 the US military ship ‘Cities Service Boston’ hit the reef at Bass Point. The ship was ran aground to prevent sinking leaving 62 men on board stranded.

Thirty-five soldiers from the 6 Machine Gun Battalion stationed in Dapto successfully rescued everyone on board.

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

Shellharbour City Mayor Chris Homer said the ceremony marked the heroic rescue efforts of Australian soldiers and residents who flocked to assist.

“Council has been running this service since 2001 to make sure that the memories of those who paid the ultimate price will continue to be honoured,” Mayor Homer said.

“These soldiers showed courage in the face of adversity and performed a rescue in exceptionally difficult conditions,” he said.

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