Wednesday 22 October 2014

The German Light Cruiser SMS "Emden"

"The Times" newspaper publishes extracts from the paper one hundred years ago and today's extract bears the headline "The Emden Reappears".

It concerns the German Dresden Class Light Cruiser SMS "Emden" (see left), which had apparently been wrecking havoc among British shipping and costing Britain millions of pounds in lost shipping and trade. At that stage of the war, however, the crew of the Emden and other German ships behaved impeccably as true gentlemen and though ships were destroyed, their crews were saved.  As the writer of the report on October 22, 1914 stated:  'The accounts given by the crews of the destroyed steamers invariably bear testimony to the considerate restraint with which the Emden does her deadly work".

I was interested to note that, among the problems caused by the actions of "Emden" were:  "Burma isolated for a fortnight", the trade of Calcutta paralysed, insurance for shipping on the Eastern routes increased and the interruption of the Indian mail service.

However, the Australian Navy came to our rescue and on 30th October, HMAS "Sydney" (see right) an Australian Light Cruiser engaged "Emden" after her attack on Penang, Malaya.   "Emden" was badly damaged so her captain beached her on North Keeling Island in order to save the lives of his crew.