Honour - 'Emden' 1914

Date - 09-November
Type - Single Ship or Boat Service Actions
Conflict - World War 1; 1914-18

Description The action took place in the Cocos Islands, in the North East Indian Ocean.

On the outbreak of World War 1, the German light cruiser SMS Emden (3,500 tons, 10 x 4.1in guns) sailed from the colony of Tsingtao, China. She conducted a very successful raider cruise during which she sank or captured 28 allied merchant ships and 2 warships. In addition she had conducted a shore bombardment of oil installations at Madras, India.

On 09-November Emden attacked the important cable and wireless station at Direction island in the Cocos Group, landing a shore party and destroying the installation. However civilian staff had managed to send a brief SOS before going of the air.

HMAS Sydney  formed part of the escort of an ANZAC troop convoy which was only 50 miles away when the SOS was received, and was despatched to investigate. When Sydney arrived, Emden weighed anchor, leaving the shore party behind and despite being outclassed by the larger, faster and more heavily armed Sydney (5,400 tons 8 x 6" guns.) engaged her.

The battle lasted 4 hours and when Emden finally beached on North Keeling Island had lost 115 killed and 56 wounded.

Sydney lost 4 killed and 12 wounded.


HM Ships
Sydney (RAN)        
This page last edited - 09 August, 2012.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.