The story of HMAS Sydney’s hunt for the German raider, Emden.
On the morning of October 4, 1913, Sydney Harbour was lined with thousands of Australians eager to catch their first glimpse of the Royal Australian Navy. As the battlecruiser HMAS Australia, cruisers Melbourne, Sydney and Encounter, and destroyers Warrego, Parramatta and Yarra sailed into the Harbour for the first time, it marked a key moment in Australian defence history. The Royal Australian Navy, long years in the making, had arrived to make its mark.
Less than a year later the First World War broke out, and thousands of men were sent away to fight for their country. The RAN was ready to defend Australia’s long coastline and overseas trade from a powerful German enemy. The Kaiser’s cruiser SMS Emden, a lone raider already at sea on the outbreak of war, was poised to strike. For four months she captured and sank Allied ships, crippling trade and earning a reputation as the most hunted ship on the seas.
On November 9, 1914, the cruiser HMAS Sydney came across the Emden in the Indian Ocean. In a short, bloody battle, she pounded the German ship to pieces. It was a triumphant first victory for the Australian Royal Navy, celebrated to this day.
Mike Carlton is one of Australia’s best-known broadcasters and journalists. In a 40-year career, he has been a radio and television news and current affairs reporter, foreign correspondent, radio host and newspaper columnist.
Mike has had a life-long passion for naval history.
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