Wreck of the German gunship 'Emden' off the coast of the Cocos Islands, Indian Ocean image courtesy State Library of South Australia PRG 280/1/1/59
HMAS Sydney defeats the German cruiser Emden
The HMAS Sydney was one of the Australian ships escorting the first convey from Albany in November 1914. On 9 November, the Sydney was ordered to leave the convoy and investigate reports of an unknown ship near the Cocos Islands. It was discovered to be a German Cruiser, Emden, which had been attacking and destroying parts of the British Imperial communication system on the Island. HMAS Sydney, with superior speed, gun range and weight, defeated the Emden. Only 12 Australians were killed in the battle while Emden suffered over 100 casualties. News of the victory was greeted with much celebration by the Australian troops and public.
Emden: The SMS Emden, a Dresden-class light cruiser of the Imperial German Navy, attacked a communication post on Direction Island in the Cocos region between Australia and Sri Lanka, on November 9, 1914. Prior to this, Emden had sunk 25 other civilian ships and shelled Madras, India. It had completed the destruction of two Allied warships in the Straits of Malacca near Penang, Malaysia as well. The HMAS Sydney was among a group of Australian, British and Japanese ships sent to investigate the communication post, and the Sydney rendered Emden disabled for battle purposes in under two hours of sea battle. The Sydney crew returned the following day to assist any injured members of the German crew.
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