Blog Archives

When I Noticed Deceit Prevailed

Author Interview
Gregory Bathgate Author Interview

What was the idea, or spark, that first set off the need to write Masterly Misled A History of Deceit?

I was intrigued by the Eldridge story, which was conveyed to the Admiralty to explain the HMAS Sydney sinking in early 1942. In particular, that this story was told by only 3 people, including Detmers, the commander of the Kormoran (there were a total of 326 survivors). In other words, the ships were sailing along at 14 knots when a torpedo from one of the above-water tubes all of a sudden slammed into the Sydney – a highly unlikely story, this because Captain Burnett of the Sydney was acutely aware that the so called Straat Malakka was not plotted on his VAI (vessels in area) received twice daily. He would have challenged the SM well beforehand.

How much research did you undertake for this book, and how much time did it take to put it all together?

I have been following this same story for 25+ years, and it definitely doesn’t ring true. I’ve undertaken considerable research to the point of the latest inquiry released in 2009, when I noticed deceit prevailed (I reckon it was limited to those at the top of the RAN). My second book, Oversight, released in 2014, is really a sequel to Masterly Misled because it gave the parameters of the battle site. Thus, the latest MM tells the story in depth, but to confirm the bona fides, it has taken me since 2009 to complete the story.

Did you find anything in your research of this story that surprised you?

Nothing surprises you when it’s downright deceit (an everyday occurrence), especially from an inquiry which had been given carte blanche.

What is one thing that people point out after reading your book that surprises you?

I’ve had very few comments from people about the book, although I expect that Royal Navy involvement will be a shock that had unintended consequences.

In 1999, a Parliamentary (Senate) Inquiry in Australia had found that “a strong case can be made that the Kormoran’s underwater torpedo played a major role in the defeat of the Sydney”, whereas in 2009 the Commission of Inquiry had found that “the Sydney had been struck by a torpedo from the above-water tubes of the raider Kormoran while both vessels were sailing along at close quarters at a speed of some 14 knots”.

These diverse rulings mean one or both are not correct.

In fact, the latest inquiry has been eroded by more recent revelations from ordinary crewmen, but this inquiry took no notice of them.

Masterly Misled

Masterly Misled A History of Deceit by Gregory Bathgate is a thought-provoking and intriguing book that explores the conspiracy theories floating around the circumstances of the clash between the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney and the German auxiliary cruiser HSK Kormoran off the West Australian coast on November 19, 1941. In this book, the author has explored every bit of evidence present at the time of the clash, plus the committee’s rulings. Then, the author explores this case in great detail using these facts and some assumptions.

Author Bathgate provides a collection of data ranging from charts and images to interview snippets and records of the investigation, which I found to be interesting and almost like watching a documentary. However, I did feel that the author’s writing came off as a report conceived to state the facts in their basic form, making me feel like I was one of the investigating officers.

The data collected is arranged topic-wise and presents the arguments to the audience without much ornamentation. I would’ve liked a little more drama to the story and maybe have the investigation reports mixed with a particular form of storytelling or more narrative. However, many details and data are provided, allowing the reader to form their own opinion and try to solve the case alongside the author. This book comes off as a factual read, but I was captivated by all the data and evidence.

Masterly Misled A History of Deceit is a historical look at the mystery of what happened on that day, November 19, 1941. With detailed facts and evidence obtained by the author, readers will be able to come to their own conclusions as to what ruling is correct, if either. I recommend this book to those who enjoy watching detective shows where evidence is provided and the reader ventures alongside the investigator to solve the crime. For readers venturing into this book to search for an interesting conspiracy, this book is for you.

Pages: 351 | ASIN : B0BJ1SXSD3

Buy Now From Amazon
%d bloggers like this: