Gazette No. 29025 - 29
The following despatch has been received from Captain John C. T.
Glossop, reporting the capture of the German Cruiser
''Emden'' by H. M. A. S. "Sydney."
A memorandum is also appended by the Director of the Air
Department, Admiralty, containing a report on the
aerial attack on the airship sheds and factory at
the Secretary of the Admiralty.
from Captain Glossop.
M. A. S. "Sydney" at Colombo, 15th November. 1914.
I have the honour to report that whilst on escort duty with the
Convoy under the charge of Captain Silver, H. M. A. S.
"Melbourne," at 6. 30 a. m., on Monday, 9th November,
a wireless message from Cocos was heard reporting that
a foreign warship was off the entrance. I was ordered
to raise steam for full speed at 7. 0 a. m. and
proceeded thither. I worked up to 20 knots, and at 9.
15 a. m. sighted land ahead and almost immediately the
smoke of a ship, which proved to be H. I. G. M. S.
"Emden" coming out towards me at a great rate. At 9.
40 a. m., fire was opened, she firing the first shot.
I kept my distance as much as possible to obtain the
advantage of my guns. Her fire was very accurate and
rapid to begin with, but seemed to slacken very
quickly, all casualties occurring in this ship almost
immediately. First the foremost funnel of her went,
secondly the foremast, and she was badly on fire aft,
then the second funnel went, and lastly the third
funnel, and I saw she was making for the beach on
North Keeling Island, where she grounded at 11. 20 a.
m. I gave her two more broadsides and left her to
pursue a merchant ship which had come up during the
2. Although I had guns on this merchant ship at odd times during
the action I had not fired, and as she was making off
fast I pursued and overtook her at 12. 10, firing a
gun across her bows, and hoisting International Code
Signal to stop, which she did. I sent an armed boat
and found her to be the S. S. "Buresk," a captured
British collier, with 18 Chinese crew, 1 English
Steward, 1 Norwegian Cook, and a German Prize Crew of
3 Officers, 1 Warrant Officer and 12 men. The ship
unfortunately was sinking, the Kingston knocked out
and damaged to prevent repairing, so I took all on
board, fired 4 shells into her and returned to
"Emden," passing men swimming in the water, for whom I
left 2 boats I was towing from "Buresk."
3. On arriving again off "Emden" she still had her colours up at
mainmast head. I enquired by signal, International
Code, "Will you surrender ?"and received a reply in
Morse "What signal? No signal books. " I then made in
Morse "Do you surrender?" and subsequently "Have you
received my signal?" to neither of which did I get an
answer. The German Officers on board gave me to
understand that the Captain would never surrender, and
therefore, though very reluctantly, I again fired at
her at 4. 30 p. m., ceasing at 4. 35, as she showed
white flags and hauled down her ensign by sending a
4. I then left "Emden" and returned and picked up the "Buresk's"
two boats, rescuing 2 sailors (5. 0 p. m.), who had
been in the water all day. I returned and sent in one
boat to "Emden," manned by her own prize crew from
"Buresk," and 1 Officer, and stating I would return to
their assistance next morning. This I had to do, as I
was desirous to find out the condition of cables and
Wireless Station at Direction Island. On the passage
over I was again delayed by rescuing another sailor
(6. 30 p. m.), and by the time I was again ready and
approaching Direction Island it was too late for the
5. I lay on and off all night and communicated with Direction
Island at 8. 0 a. m., 10th November, to find that the
"Emden's" party consisting of 3 officers and 40 men, 1
launch and 2 cutters had seized and provisioned a 70
tons schooner (the "Ayesha"), having 4 Maxims, with 2
belts to each. They left the previous night at six
o'clock. The Wireless Station was entirely destroyed,
1 cable cut, 1 damaged, and 1 intact. I borrowed a
Doctor and 2 Assistants, and proceeded as fast as
possible to "Emden's" assistance.
6. I sent an Officer on board to see the Captain, and in view of
the large number of prisoners and wounded and lack of
accommodation, &c., in this ship, and the absolute
impossibility of leaving them where they were, he
agreed that if I received his Officers and men and all
wounded, "then as for such time as they remained in
"Sydney'" they would cause no interference with ship
or fittings, and would be amenable to the ship's
discipline." I therefore set to work at once to
tranship them a most difficult operation, the ship
being on weather side of Island and the send alongside
very heavy. The conditions in the "Emden" were
indescribable. I received the last from her at 5. 0 p.
m., then had to go round to the lee side to pick up 20
more men who had managed to get ashore from the ship.
7. Darkness came on before this could be accomplished, and the
ship again stood off and on all night, resuming
operations at 5. 0 a. m. on 11th November, a cutter's
crew having to land with stretchers to bring wounded
round to embarking point. A German Officer, a Doctor,
died ashore the previous day. The ship in the meantime
ran over to Direction Island to return their Doctor
and Assistants, send cables, and was back again at 10.
0 a. m., embarked the remainder of wounded, and
proceeded for Colombo by 10. 35 a. m. Wednesday, 11th
8. Total casualties in "Sydney": Killed 3, severely wounded
(since dead) 1, severely wounded 4, wounded 4,
slightly wounded 4. In the "Emden" I can only
approximately state the killed at 7 Officers and 108
men from Captain's statement. I had on board 11
Officers, 9 Warrant Officers, and 191 men, of whom 3
Officers and 53 men were wounded, and of this number 1
Officer and 3 men have since died of wounds.
9. The damage to "Sydney's" hull and fittings was surprisingly
small; in all about 10 hits seem to have been made.
The engine and boiler rooms and funnels escaped
10. I have great pleasure in stating that the behaviour of the
ship's company was excellent in every way, and with
such a large proportion of young hands and people
under training it is all the more gratifying. The
engines worked magnificently, and higher results than
trials were obtained, and I cannot speak too highly of
the Medical Staff and arrangements on subsequent trip,
the ship being nothing but a hospital of a most
have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,
C. T. GLOSSOP, Captain.