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EMDEN-SYDNEY FIGHT, Issue 15688, 30 December 1914
The dramatic story of the Eradeii's cud is excellently told in the Sydney 'Sunday Times,* and, from it we make tho following extracts, which we axe sure -will bo read with Intense interest by New Zealanders, because they feel that they owe it big debt to the Australian Navy for tho protection it afforded to' the Dominion in the early days of tho war: On Sunday, November 1, at 5.30 a.m.. the convoy and tho escorting orui»ers, i , , and the Sydney left Albany for Colombo. During the first lour -days very heavy rolling was experienced. On the Tuesday the cruiser ——, the . and two transports wera sighted, and joined up with us-. About an hour and a-half later the developed an engine room defect, and had to be. ordered back to lo'tfmantle. 'Hie convoy now consisted of 30 transports and four cruisers as escort. On November 7 the crukcv in charge informed tie-r charges that she had received orders for another service, and that thereafter the convoy would be- in charge of the . Nothing of moment happened until we E cached Coyos or Keeling Islands, roughly lalfway between Albany and Colombo. As we" neared that croup orders were given to show no lights at all. as it was feared that if an attack were t;> be mudo at all it would be somewhere about, here. It was on Sunday night. November 8. thai «t- passed the islands nearly 60 miles away on our port beam. At 7.15 a.m. the -- - received'a. signal from the wireless operator at Cooes, ti. the effect that an enemy cruise;- wa-- King ai the entrance to the haibor. '1 !n "Sydn-y was given orders to immediit-!v rpv-e ..team for full speed, and proceed to ("'<•■' s. -l!v i-'i.uv.y Sighted. - This tl;e Sv.n.ev -id. All hands were; sent to bifdi.'a.-t -adv. ,-i.i.d tho ship idea red for aumii. At fJ.IS a.m. the lookout leporttd iiom tin- ibretop : " 'J hreeFuunelled rruh-.-r oil the starboard bow, sir." " Oeneral Quarters" was sounded off, i Bnd everything cleared away. At lirst it was hard* to tell who it was, and only twi» masts and the top of three funnels could be seen. Every man. Un board said : '' 1 | hope it is the Kmden. We'll give Iter 20 | knots; she'll have to steam faster than that to away from the Australian ocean flyer Sy<lney." On sighting her. our course was altered In Jsci* direction, and slu> soon came into Bight, as we were doing a good 25 knots. As scon as the. whole of the enemy's truiser could be seen, we all recognised her is the Einden. Cheer after cheer was given when the men were told that it was really the Kmden. "Now- for it!" they said. " For 109 years wo have heen waiting for this, and now we are going to show what we can do." As soon as the Emden saw us. (-he steamed towards us, working up to ftti! Ipred as she came. We then altered course lo starboard, so as to get more guns to bear. Tho Etmleii altered to port, and so we gradually closed in on each other. The Kmden fired the lirst. shot by opening fire with a tanging gun. Immediately •wo w.v th? tla-h our forecastle pun also had a ranging sho'. Then the battle hepan. The first broad.-ide wan fired at a, range of 7.500 yards. Both cruiseiri edited | in towards on..- another, lirinc broadsides | ail the time. T h Kmden did the b-ttorj firing for the first mx broadsides. On , board the Sydney the guniayer of on.- gun | was laid out and a signalman .-lightly j wounded. Seven out of nine of the third j trim, snrboard were wounded. I ho "tK-j cer and all three of his men in fhe after control were laid out. ono man being slm: J clean off the control I —Sydney's (lood ."-hooting.— I Evidently our captai.i tiuoiiiht that tb.o I linden had had her nan of the sport, and j it was our turn now. Tho Kmdeu's next i broadside fell short, and ours knocked h-r first funnel o-,er. Tho Kmden'.-- _ next broadside went over us. and ours hit her right along her battery. Oordness knows what damage it- did- We could .-,re the flames from the explosion, ai,d that was till. The next broadside from the Kmden brought u. bad luck. She tired tive guns. Four of her shot<- fell .-li >rt. bn*. one came over the bridge, carrying away the signalman's halyards, through tho range-tinder, knocking it over, blew off the range-finder man's leg, through the. hammocks lining the upper bridge, then the upper budge Screen and the ship's awning which was ta»hed round ii. cutting it like ;i knife, hit ihe deck of the lower bridge, and shot thvoitgh the hridg-cscreen. After that noihing hit ns tor several minutes. Then one bit lis amidships, -went through tw> bulkleads into th" tir-l lieutenant's cabin, hit the rick, and then -hot throuidi the .-hip's I iide. Then th" Sydney had some luck. The Kmden'? foremast suddenly disappeared. and at the .-.aiue time .-be cauirht tire by Mie mainmast. The tire- burned furiou.-ly for a time, and then eased. The Kmden's shots ft ill fell short and over. The captain or tlie Svduev was responsible for this. When he saw a broadside from the JCmdcii jus: f-o.t shiut of us. In- would alter eourso a.cd edge a. hit nearer to Iter. The. Kmd.'-n naturally raised her aunsights. an-d nor next bioad.-ide whistled overhead. When tho Kmden's shots went over, nc alteioi! out a bit. The Kmden lowered ic.-r trun-sinht.-. aii<l th>> :i--xt shot~ fell short. Tlie next thing to happen was the Kmden's ?ecoud fui'ti-l. It disappeared, and a den.-e cloud of steam arose, ami vnti could seo the ship. We all thought, 'the iEmden was done for, and started to man the boats for tho rescue work, when the Emdcn fired again. —Only One loin Left.— A rush was made back to the trims, and we fired another broadside, which pushed her third funnel over. As toon as the thud funnel disappeared the Emden's speed decreased. She was already heading landwards. Ar. soon as we had put a few more shots into her she headed straight for tho shore. One gun only on her starboard side was tiring, the remainder 1.-eing i out of action. About a. minute before the Emden bencln-d b.rselt sh.- cease,l tiring altogether. After she had beached we poured three broadsides, consisiug of 15 shots, into her. an-1 left her to cjo and chase the merchant collier, which had been lying off watching the battle, to see who was going to win. When she saw the Kmden hea.-h to save herself from sinking, the collier started to run away, but she didn't get. far. During the action we got- 29.3 knots out of the Sydney, and we kept thi- i,'"iug. The., captain gave the order to " < !o as fast as you can," and we opened right out. The Sydney was built only for 25 knots, hut you never know what vou can do till you're pushed. As we did not want to go too fur away, a shot was dropped across tho collier's bows, and she soon pulled up. On reaching hrr a boat -ivas inwerc-d t>y the Sydney and an armed party sent on board. The vessel turned out to be the s.s. Buresk, a collier tilled with Welsh coal, and chartered by tho Admiralty for Hongkong. The Emdcn captured her 260 miles west of Colombo. A Chinese crew who had previously been captured from another merchant ship were put on board her, and made to do the stoking and assist the Emden's prize crew in working tho ship. On getting on board we were informed by the Chinese that the vessel was sinking. They were all panic-stricken, and ■wanted to leave the ship and go on board the Australian man-ot-war. Wo sent these off in a. boat, and then made the German officers and men prisoners. —Burned their Flag. - The collier was flying a German navdl ensign. We ordered her to strike her colors. Immediately they had hauled down the German flag they burnt it in the galley-fire, so that we shouldn't get it. The foremost holds were filling fast with water, otherwise they were empty. The after-holds had almost 4,000 tons of coal iii them. Orders were receired from the Sydney to abandon ship, as the collier was sinking fast. This we did after taking books and papers. As soon as we got away clear in the boats four shots were put into her, and she caught lire and rapidly sank lower in the water. As soon as the prisoners and armed party v/cra back en board we turned round
we saw she still flew the German ensign at the mainmast head, so we made a signal by flags:'" Do you surrender?" d The Emden made' back by Morso tlagi y "What signal!' No signal books." Tho Sydney then made by Morse flag: c "Do you surrender?'' i- Xo reply was received from the Emden, e so we. then made: " Can you receive o signal?" u There was no reply, so we signalled again: "Will you surrender?" . Neither was there any reply to this, so we opened lire on her, ordering our gunt. layers to aim at the foot of the mainv - mast. As wo turned round to fire with ~ tlie other battery, a white flag wa-s waved (| ami a man went aloft to haul down the j German flag. As soon as it was down f they burned it, so that it should not be „ captured. " —Didn't Want tn bs Caught Napping.— ~ j As s'oit/i as the Knideu surrendered wo i put to sen and steamed about all night. s The reason we d:d not start rescue work v straight away w-as in case she had made . a signal for help during the action, and 0 at the time we did not know where the v Konigsberg was, so we decided not to be ~ c.iucht napping. () With the break of daylight we steamed s towards the wireless station, as we had j received information from one of the prisoners that an armed party had been 1 landed to destroy the wireless and cable . stations before they sighted us. An . armed party from the Sydney, consisting - of o5 men and two oliuers in charge, was , sent away in two boats. The leading x boat Hew the. white tlag a-s a flag of truce, j On nearing the pier a white handkerchief | was waved back to the boats, and they went towards the landing place. As they came alongside cheer after cheer rang out and immediately the party had landed > everybody wanted to shake hands with 1 them. As soon as we, could v make ourselves understood, we asked them where the Emden's party was, and they told us that they haa left during the nigh*. They . also informed us that the Kmden's party ; was 40 strong, with four maxim guns. » The Germans planned to let us almost ! land, then open tire on us from the end of the pier with the maxims, and so wipe )j us all out. They expected us to attack them i overnight, but evidently our captain knew i tho Germans' thoughts. That was why he waited for daylight. On returning to the Emden we lowered two cutters, and > pidled towards her, living the Red Cro.-s flag. The Kmden was Hying the interi national signal "Require immediate assist- ■ anco." The boats had a terrible job to get . alongside her, as the reef caused heavy rollers inshore. All day Tuesday. Nui vember 10, up till 5 p.m.,, we had our boats going backwards and forwards, getting the wounded first, and then the prisoners, i —How the Kmden Eared.— The fore* part of the ship from the I hicakwatcr to the bow was m ;i fairly I . good condition, the "worst damag ■ being! the hole in the bows caused through run- ! iting up on the, beach. The connhig tower still .stood, and all the fittings ins-ie were in good condition, except the floor, which j hafl been blown up by a shell that had exploded underneath. The upper bridge and charthouse bad been blow.i away, absolutely nothing remaining ot them. I (If the lower bridge all that could be i w-as the deck, and that was twisted about jin places. IJelow this again it w-as all a j twisted mass of steel and iron. On the j mess fleck forward everything appeared to he whole, but it v.ari up.-ido down. The j sick bay right forward was hardly damJ :igcd. As one walked along tlie port battery one «.-oald fee wht-re the had I oii-v been. Nothing remained of them j but ben', and. twisted mounting--. The whole length of the deck the bodies Jay as they had fallen, some whole, some half I burnt, others practically incinerated. I In the centre part of the. .ship, wheie the engine room casings should have been, was a mass of bent and torn angle iron and gratingci. Jl w;,s impo.-sible. to see into the engine room or the stokehold owing to the awfui wreckage-. Xor could one walk along the otai hoard battcry owing to the big, gaping holes iu the ! deck. The guns on this side wciv also missing. They had cither been ioui-pk't-ely blown out of the ship, or else they must have fallen through to the. bottom, as the eun mountings were nii.tsing ao well. —Xothing but a- Shell.— J he fotcmast was hanging over the side, and the furetopniast had been blown tight off. The thr.'e funnels were lying one across the other ove.- the port side, and one had. to bend down to get past them. From tho mainmast to right aft the ship j w,-•;-. dimply a idiell. Her in.-ide had been scoped out by the shells penetrating the sidct and bursting inside. The otriceiV quarters were conspicuous by their abrenoe. It was a straight diop from the i quarterdeck to th; bottom of the t-hip. When the tire, broke out it stripped her of everything aft. All the woodwork of her dcclcs had bee'i burnt oil". Lying under the joinings of her iron [dates were English sovereigns, half sovereigns, and florins, together with plenty of Cr-rman marl-: piece.-. There were also to be seen burnt bundle:- of bank hooks. Some of the KmdenV. cuivivors told us that a very larg-' amount of Knglish money h;;d been thrown over the side. - Bodies Horribly Burred.— The two niiaiterdeck gun- were buint I and blistered terribly. ihe real parts ! had been completely blown off. whilst the ,-iehts were beyond recognition. The borlie.-. of ihe guns' eiews were lying about ju-it as ihey had fallen down. They were all burnt to cinders. It was ;i pitiful ■dghl. One (lerrr-an officer pointed to what had once been an officer, with the words: "My friend theie—he orlicer." j The two protruding shin hones showed ' that tin- feet, had beep blown away. One I arm was altogether misoing, and the hand ! r,f the cither. He had evidently fallen j t tioi ■ ■ wounded and being unable to get away had bce.i slowly burnt to death. ' The captain of the Kmden. the Kai-er's ■> nephew, a signalman, and a seaman who were in tho conning tower ocaped fieathless. They were rendered unconscious for a time through, the fnnies of a. lyddite shidl. but otherwise suffered no ill. (Tidy th'on of thoi men who were- stationed on the upper deck came- out of the action aiive. and only one of those uninjured. Tho Kmden's total losses were 130 kilb-d and 50 wounded : 135 men were uninjured, and of ihe 10 officers who were .raved 4 were more or less seriously a, wounded. The Sydney's losses were two dead, rive reriously wounded, and eight with minor injuries. This' list includes the one wounded officer. Two of our seriously wrmnded died, and were buried at eea. Thf> panic fate fell to one German officer. Tb.o damage to the Sydney is slight. The after control is completely smashed iip. Imt thut is -the worst. 't'bo- upy*r bridge is sUghtly strained. There is. one shot hole in our starboard two in the port, and one big bole in the fore-Ciu-tle. The deck was chopped up a bit by bursting shrapnel, and our mainmast has srot a slice out of it. We also require a new rangeflnder and a new rangefhsder man. Th" Emden was off f'oco«s Island, not for the purpose of stopping the convoy 'she. did not know whore it was), but for the express purpose of capturing the Orientliner Osterley. The Emden's crew said th"y had heird that the Osterley had £5..000.000 on board, which the Germans wanted. —Steamed Through the Tines.— As the. Sydney and Empress of Russia. with the wounded on board, neared Colombo they passed a. large- number of merchant ships, all of whom made signals of congratulation. When 30 miles off Colombo the convoy war, caught up. and we were asked to steam through their lines with our crew on deck. Out captain consented to do this, providing there were no cheers, tlto reason tjiven being consideration for the wounded. He said: "Britishers do not kick when the enemy's down." 'Hie troops all otood to attention when wo passed, without cheering. As we entered T'olombo Harbor the new troops also <;Tood to attention, but one of the Au.-trah'cn transports broke the order and cheered us again and again. They also jydutpd jis with, ilia. ".Catt"**-i'
About four ships sent- their congratulations by signal. Our signalman eventually got tired of hoisting the reply, which was "Thank you." Tho Sydney and convoy arrived at Colombo on Sunday, November 15.
EMDEN-SYDNEY FIGHT, Issue 15688, 30 December 1914
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