Hello from an SMS Emden/HMAS Sydney researcher

wattlebloke
9th June 2014, 04:15
Hello forum members! I'm a curator who's been doing a lot of both online and on-the-ground photo research at various national institutions, trying to identify the origins of photos relating to the SMS Emden wreck in the 6 months following her beaching, November 1914, on North Keeling Island. Can anyone point me to records relating to the visit to the wreck by HMS Cadmus, the Empress of Japan, or the cable ship Patrol ? Does anyone have photos tucked away, maybe with writing on the back, that their grandpa had collected? Trying to get my facts straight before I put up an on-line exhibition...

Pompeyfan
9th June 2014, 08:39
On behalf of the 'SN Moderating Team', welcome aboard wattlebloke.

Hopefully, someone will be able to help with the information you are seeking. Good luck (Thumb)

billyboy
9th June 2014, 09:15
A warm welcome aboard from the Philippines. Please enjoy all this great site has to offer
__________________

R58484956
9th June 2014, 09:38
Greetings WB and welcome to SN. Bon voyage.

Leratty
9th June 2014, 10:12
Wattlebloke, interesting request.

We have been to Cocos Keeling Islands twice, the first time for a look at the Emden wreck. Sadly very very little to see now that was back in the late 70's.

Not sure where you are in Aus however the original owners Clunnes-Ross (sic) had the islands granted-given them by Queen Vic. He was originally a ships Capt. of dubious repute I recall? Then they were taken from them I believe by the Whitlam government for a token amount much to their, the owners descendants chagrin. Anyway it appears they lost a lot of money on some shipping venture were residing in Perth well at least W. A.

Quite a few years ago the original 'home' house was put on the market for sale & there was talk about it becoming a small hotel do not know if that ever eventuated or not? There was a diving operation there for a while, again do not know what happened with that guess not too many tourists even from W. A. would go there.

As to photos & who took them, well there are a lot at the Aus War Museum in Canberra including of the action so try there. From memory they were both German as well as Aus taken from the respective ships along with quite a few by people on site at the time as well as those who lived or visited there over the years.

There is also a wonderful book with photos, sorry do not recall the title by the officer of the Emden's shore crew (they destroyed the radio & its mast) who were left on the island during the action & later escaped by sailing a small boat to some Arab country then trekking overland. A terrific read.

Sure you would know the Sydney's mast with crows nest etc is on the banks for the harbour near Cremorne?

Not sure what goes on there now just the old Malay Chinese workers still living there I guess with a few Aus civil servants? Richard

gdynia
9th June 2014, 13:42
Welcome onboard to SN and enjoy the voyage

sidsal
10th June 2014, 21:14
Interesting!
I called at cocos keeling in 1985when sailing in a big yacht -NZ -Oz- Cocos-Chagos -Aden- Meddy.. John Clunies Ross was very helpful. The islands are very interesting . Darwin called there, P &O barrel mail, flying boat base etcetc. The book -The Last Corsair by Van der Vatt is fascinating -also book onthe Emden by. German whose name I forget. The Japs apparently took most of the wreck as scrap.
Best of luck

Oceanspan
11th June 2014, 14:00
My Great Uncle Alf Connell joined the Royal Navy in 1911 and served until 1924, thereupon entering the Royal Fleet Reserve and serving again from 1939-45. He was onboard HMS Cadmus from 1912 to 1916, first as Ordinary Seaman then as Able Seaman.

HMS Cadmus was in Singapore when the action between SMS Emden and HMAS Sydney took place. The vessel was despatched to the Cocos Islands with the grisly task of removing the bodies from the Emden and giving them a decent burial.

Whilst onboard the Emden, Alf found a rolled up painting in a locker on the messdeck and saved it as a souvenir. He had it framed and it is hanging over my mantelpiece. I have taken it out of the frame and attempted to photograph it, see below. Unfortunately the picture is stuck to the glass so the photo had to be through the glass and is less than perfect. It is really rather a good representation of the ship although the billowing seas are a tad exaggerated. There is nothing to identify who painted it. One wonders whether the artist survived the action.

The photo of the display case shows an ornamental engraved shell casing, a photo of HMS "Cadmus" purchased from the National Maritime Museum, Alf's Imperial Service Medal and a photo of him in WW2.

The photo of the shell casing from HMS Cadmus is engraved HMS "Cadmus" from The Straits Trading Co. Ltd, Singapore, FEB 15 1915.

The photo of Alf shows him as A.B. onboard the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS "Ausonia" in WW2.

Alf passed away many years ago so unfortunately is no longer around for me to ask all the questions I would love to ask him.

One particular story I remember him recounting is when he and his best friend were waiting in line at a shore barracks, probably HMS Pembroke in Chatham, to be assigned to their next ship on the commencement of war in 1939. They were hoping to sail together but fate conspired to prevent this. There were two desks, one signing on crew for HMS "Jervis Bay" and one for HMS "Ausonia." When they got to the front of the queue, his friend was sent to one desk and he was sent to the other. His friend subsequently died when HMS "Jervis Bay" was sunk by the German pocket battleship "Admiral Scheer" whilst Alf was posted to HMS "Ausonia" and survived the war.

wattlebloke
13th June 2014, 11:23
Hi Oceanspan, thanks for that anecdote, its the sort of thing that makes history come alive. Your Grandfather looks amazingly young in the photo, to be going off to his second war...I'm attaching here a photo that I believe must be the four men from Cadmus detailed to do the clean up job. Apparently it was pretty awful: bodies in the tropics a week or so after the action...I guess the shovels and hooks tell their own story there...By the way, would anyone know what the usual use for those hooks would be? Handling coal sacks maybe?

robingail
22nd October 2014, 21:36
They are cable hooks, for moving anchor cable which isn't kind to bare hands.
Kind Regards.
Robingail.

wattlebloke
22nd October 2014, 22:12
Hi Robingail, thanks for that reply. I'm learning something every day! I guess anchor cable was actually chain on most of the larger WW1 era vessels? HMS Cadmus was only a sloop, presumably still using rope? Now I'm confusing myself: we refer to wire/steel hawsers and ropes; what is the general term for the natural fibre or poly equivalent?

robingail
23rd October 2014, 00:20
even smaller ships anchor cables you don't bend down to work with, cable hooks are the go.
Kind Regards.
Robingail.

John Cassels
23rd October 2014, 10:07
Wattlebloke, interesting request.

We have been to Cocos Keeling Islands twice, the first time for a look at the Emden wreck. Sadly very very little to see now that was back in the late 70's.

Not sure where you are in Aus however the original owners Clunnes-Ross (sic) had the islands granted-given them by Queen Vic. He was originally a ships Capt. of dubious repute I recall? Then they were taken from them I believe by the Whitlam government for a token amount much to their, the owners descendants chagrin. Anyway it appears they lost a lot of money on some shipping venture were residing in Perth well at least W. A.

Quite a few years ago the original 'home' house was put on the market for sale & there was talk about it becoming a small hotel do not know if that ever eventuated or not? There was a diving operation there for a while, again do not know what happened with that guess not too many tourists even from W. A. would go there.

As to photos & who took them, well there are a lot at the Aus War Museum in Canberra including of the action so try there. From memory they were both German as well as Aus taken from the respective ships along with quite a few by people on site at the time as well as those who lived or visited there over the years.

There is also a wonderful book with photos, sorry do not recall the title by the officer of the Emden's shore crew (they destroyed the radio & its mast) who were left on the island during the action & later escaped by sailing a small boat to some Arab country then trekking overland. A terrific read.

Sure you would know the Sydney's mast with crows nest etc is on the banks for the harbour near Cremorne?

Not sure what goes on there now just the old Malay Chinese workers still living there I guess with a few Aus civil servants? Richard

The Emden and The Ayesha both by Hellmuth von Mucke.

keesuit
20th February 2016, 19:24
Hello forum members! I'm a curator who's been doing a lot of both online and on-the-ground photo research at various national institutions, trying to identify the origins of photos relating to the SMS Emden wreck in the 6 months following her beaching, November 1914, on North Keeling Island. Can anyone point me to records relating to the visit to the wreck by HMS Cadmus, the Empress of Japan, or the cable ship Patrol ? Does anyone have photos tucked away, maybe with writing on the back, that their grandpa had collected? Trying to get my facts straight before I put up an on-line exhibition...

Dear Wattlebloke and other members of shipsnostagia,
I am afraid I can be of little help finding pictures of the Emden, but maybe you can help me finding the whereabouts of the shell case in the attached picture.
Possibly the shell figured in a special exibition of the Australian War Memorial, but it isn't in their collection register.

Gulpers
20th February 2016, 20:08
keesuit,

On behalf of the SN Moderators, a warm welcome aboard from the Isle of Anglesey.
You will thoroughly enjoy the SN experience and hopefully someone will be able to help with your query in the meantime have a good look around. (Thumb)