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THE EMDEN’S RAID, Issue 15640, 3 November 1914
THE EMDEN’S RAID
HOW THE DIPLOMAT AND KABINGA WERE SUNK.
In Thursday's issue we gave particulars of the sinking of the King Lud, Tymenc, and Ribera bv the daring Linden. Calcutta papers just to hand supply interesting details of farther raids in the Indian Ocean by tho German cruiser:— When the British steamer Diplomat was captured the weather was clear. At first theEmden was taken for a British cruiser. The Emden steamed slowly towards the Diplomat, and simultaneously hoisted her ensign and fired a shot to atop the British vessel. It was then realised that she was a German cruiser, and that there was no alternative but lor the Diplomat to comply. A boat manned by armed seamen in command of a boarding offioer_ who had been in the Hamburg-Araerika Line tame alongside. The officer examined the ship’e papers, and promptly decided that she was to be sunk. Tho captain of the Diplomat was ordered to lower her boats and take iff the crew and a passenger with personal effects to the Kabingu, which had already (>een captured by the Emden. —Tho Linden's Convoys.—
In obedience to this order the ship’s complement was transferred to the vessel named, which, with the Markomannia. a lerroaa collier running some 10 knots, and the Pontoporue, a Greek collier, were in the vicinity of the German cruiser. The Kmden had no flag hoisted. She was in a very dirty condition, and with some cause, is she was stated to have been several veeks at sea without touching port. The Markomannia is being kept in attendance >a the Emden. It is gathered (reports tho Calcutta ‘Statesman’) that the Emden nas been out ou duty as a commerce destroyer. The fact that the .Markomannia is always with tho Emden, and that the Emden is dependent on her for her coal, halves the pace at which the Gorman cruiser can travel while she is with her. There is, however, no reas m to suppose that the Emden would not promptly abandon the Markomannia were she to suppose herself in danger. The Pout" pares, Tough a neutral ship, has been detained by the 'Emden with the idea of making her servo the same purpose as the Markomannia, although thus far the Emden has lot made use of her coal. The vessels in question, when sighted by the Diplomat, ay about at odd angles with the Emden, *nd heightened the curious impression caused by the whole affair. Although one ship’s boat was _ nearly swamped, the transfer to the Katanga was accomplished without casualties. .-Vs has been elated, the passenger and the crew were allowed to take with them all their personal baggage, but the solitary oassenger lost all his heavy baggage which •vas in the bold. Tho Germans, to tell the truth, showed every reasonable consideration and courtesy under the circumstances. —Sinking the Other Steamers. —
The worst experience was to come. The crew were obliged to watch from the deck of the Kabinga the destruction of their own vessel, in which they had fully expected to reach their British port. Two hours after the transfer the gunners of the Kmden commenced to do over again what they had already accomplished in the case of the Indus, Lovat, and Killin. Their markmanship appealed to be indifferent. In the case of the Killin nine rounds were spent in sinking her. The Diplomat demanded five. The first was tired end on, and struck her forward close to the waterline. The other four were fired broadside on. She struggled gamely, settling down how foremost till she was almost in a vertical position. There ua.. no “ exploMon " —merely some escape of steam. The sight of this fine and comparatively new cargo steamer, with all the valuable con-
tents of her holds, going to the bottom created a feeling of indignation at the wanton wastefulness of the whole proceeding. That is tht worst grudge felt against the officers of the Eraden, who after ail were only carrying out orders. The sinking of the five vessels has been a sordid business throughout, utterly without effect on the issue of the war. .More than that, :v has been the act of a naval power unable for want of ports to capture and in■vm vessels according to the customs of civilised naval warfare. Calcutta must feel it, and feel it severely, but all the while remembering that, seen in its true [verspective, the affair is but an incident regarded from the point of view of the whole war. The inevitable day of reckon• vug must come, and the Diplomat, the Killin, the Indus, the Lovai, and the Trabboch will all be put in the bill. Before the Eraden’s guns sunk the Diplomat the German flag w;is removed. As the sinking vessel disappeared, the Italian vessel LoredanO; which was standing by after undergoing search by the Emden, dipped her flag as a last token of respect. —Making for Her Prey.— After the Diplomat had gone down her .■rew settled down as beet they could in the Kabinga. During that night the Emden md her convoys had their lights out. It was shortly after dark on Monday evening that they came up with the Trabboch. The vision of the Emden as she sighted her was another of the unforgettable things. Ai the time the Emden was collecting her convoys together for the transfer of the crews of the other sunken vessels from the Markomannia to the Kabinga. suddenly sighting the Trabboch, she veered round rapidly and made for her prey in a manner suggestive of a huge reptile. It was then dark, and all tire proceedings in revcard to the Trabboch have not been noted in detail. It suffices that she shared the Diplomat’s fate, and when her crew had been taken into the Kabinga she too was sent to the bottom.
It was at 8 p.m. on that day (Monday) that the Emden told the Kabioga, now crowded bv about 400 men of crews of the
five sunken vessels—her proper complement was 75 hands—that she might make the Hooghly Estuary. The Kahinga was informed by the Emden that the lightships wer not showing their lights, and that the Pilot Lady Fraser had gone to Saugor. The Emden seemed well posted in the movements of shipping and shipping arrangements in these waters. She professed to have derived her information from wireless messages tapped by her operator. The Kabinga took the pilot on board on Tuesday evening after the Lady Fraser had convinced herself that she was n British vessel. The Diplomat was captured on the 13th. The Emden people left the Diplomat with a mine in her and blew up the forward part. It took quite a number of shots 1o sink her, and she went down bow first. Ten shots were tired at the Indus, which look half an hour to sink. —Remarkable Stories by Wireless Operators.—
. Several stories were told to a ‘Statesman’ representative by the wireless operator* of the five ships sunk by the Germans. The amafihing of the wireless of the Kabinga was, as in the case of the other vessels, the first action of the Germans. It was very thoroughly done, although the destroyers laughed over their task, and any idea of receiving news, except what the linden herself caught and chose to give away, was at once given up. Wireless operators, even at a distance, however, are wily fellows, and from all the ‘Statesman’ representative could find out from the operators who were among those saved from the doomed ships the Germans are just about as clever in die use of “wireless” as anyone could very well be. The Emden, all through her daring exploit and the adventures which marked it, made no use of her “ wireless ’’ for transmission purposes, but was busy all the while receiving and intercepting messages. According to two wireless operators interview by the ‘ Statesman,’ last night mesaages were steadily intercepted, both from the Chinese coast stations and fiom Fort William. It may, indeed, be taken as certain that “ wireless ” played a considerable part in ensuring tfc * success of the Emden operations. Among messages in- ' toroepted were several giving the clearances of vessels from the docks, and the otneers of the Emden, according to all one could learn, knew not oidy the name but the exact position of each ship she sank some time before she rounded them up. One wireless operator informed the
‘Statesman’ representatives, indeed, that the names and positions of tluee other t&ioa which left the port of Calcutta while
the Kmden was busy were made known to the German ship by wireless, but that they were allowed to pass within sight tie a piece of “ bluff.” These three ships, the interviewer was led to understand, were a passenger ship from Rangoon to Madras, the Nauaric, a boat belonging to Messrs Andrew Weir and Co., and a Clan" line boat.
Another wireless story, and probably the most remarkable of all, was that of tho attempts of tho Kabinga to secure a pilot for tho river. The Kabinga’s apparatus was smashed to atoms before she was allowed to return to Calcutta with the rescued crews of the other ships, but tho moment the Emden steamed away out of sight to the south “wireless” men on beard got busy with the reconstruction of the plant. The first news of the sinking of the five ships was conveyed to the pilot brig by the City of Rangoon, after sho was turned back by the Italian ship, and by the time the Kabinga wirelessed for a pilot tho authorities all up and down the rivor were in an uncertain position. At all events tho ‘ Statesman ’ representative was informed last night, on excellent authority, that when the Kabinga wirelessed for a pilot she was put through an interrogation which made it clear that she was suspected of being the German cruiser Emden herself. Communication was cut off, after a long series of questions and answers, for several hours, and it was only after giving every detail of her outward passage and the name of the pilot who took her down river that the Kabinga was promised a pilot, and arrangements, were mads for her conduct up the Hooghly. ■ SHELLING MADRAS. The ‘Ceylon Times’ describes in detail tho unwelcome visit of the German cruiser Emden and her bombardment of Madras last month. The Emden was accompanied by the Hamburg-Amerika liner Markomannia, and pitched shells into the places as she steamed past at a rapid rate of speed. One of the vary first shots fell in tho bedroom of Mr Ellis, the manager of the Burma Oil Company's oil tanxs on tiie beach, who was m the room at the time. His wife and children were also in the house. Subsequent shots set the tanks on fire, and the oil immediately blazed up, rendering the sea-face of tho town as brilliant as day, aiding, probably, in the subsequent short, sharp cannonade that took place. The visit to Madras was paid early enough to find the shore lights all ablaze, the trams working, and all the business of the town usual at that time of night going on. After the petroleum tanks were set on fire the Emden seems to have directed her fire towards the town. One shell rkochetted off the new premises of the National Bank of India, causing big gap in the Porebunder stone work in the facade of the building. It was the fragments of this shell, probably, that were found strewn over the Second Line Beach, in tho verandah of the ‘Madras Mail’ office, and in front of the old Bank of Burma, the only occupants of which latter were Mr and Mrs 0. Wynne Cole, who had a very alarming experience when fragments slpattered up against the upper story of their premises, and even entered the drawing room. The fire probably was directed .at the lighthouse, for some slight damage was done to the High Court. A portion of the railing round the eastern compound wall was broken, and fragments of broken shell snapped a telephone wire in tho compound, and, besides leaving marks on the outer walla of the buildings, destroyed a big portion of the granite coping stone of the lighthouse dome. “An extraordinary circumstance in connection with the whole, affair,” says the ‘ Times,’ “ was the way in which the people of Madras, especially of George Town, treated the bombardment. One would have thought that the moment they heard the cannonading commence they would have taken shelter in their houses or wherever they could; but the reverse was the case. In a very short lime the residents, not only of George Town, but of the suburbs, were hurrying down to the beach, in every possible way that they could—in motor cars, carriages, motorcycles, bicycles, on foot, etc. —once they realised what bad taken place, and for a couple of hours afterwards crowds of excited people were busy hurrying to and fro, trying to glean information, and discussing the situation.” According to an Australian who has just returned from India, tho methods of the captain of tho Emden aro now well known to the seafaring men of the Bay oi Bengal and thereabouts, though it seems nobody has yet discovered his name. He is credited with being a sport who every time plays the game. His object is to destroy shipping, not human life. In one instance the Emden’s captain told the master of a captured steamer.that he was J glad to find his cargo included 160 cases of soap, as the Emden men were much in need of a cleaning up, having been without soap for several days, and on another occasion he is credited with having allowed a prize to proceed on ita way because the captain had his wife on board. The captain of the Emden also told the officers of one of the sunken ships that he would never allow his vessel to be captured but if cornered would blow her up and go down with her, adding that it was his hope that should he meet his fate it would be from a British and not a Japanese warship. [
THE EMDEN’S RAID, Issue 15640, 3 November 1914
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