Historical information

In 1960 seventy-four commandos from 2 Commando Company left Point Lonsdale at 6pm on February 17 to cross The Rip in an exercise raid on the Portsea officer school. Shortly after departing, a strong tide caught the raiding party and pushed them out to sea through The Rip, where 10-metre waves capsized many of the kayaks and amphibious vehicles. Many of the men were picked up by larger rescue boats, only to be overturned once again in the heavy seas. Warrant Officer George Drakopolous and the driver of his amphibious DUKW, Private Eddie Meyer, both drowned as their vehicle sank. Eight of the commandos were rescued in Bass Strait after being picked up by an Italian ship, the Toscana. Commando Roger Wood helped others board the Toscana safely but was washed off a rope ladder by a monster wave and into the sea. His body was never found. It remains one of Australia's least-known peacetime military tragedies.


One of the later disasters around the Rip between Points Nepean and Lonsdale. The 'Queenscliffe' lifeboat turned out to search for survivors without success

Physical description

Paddles from a Mk3 foldaboat used in ill fated commando training exercise in 1960