Barb Drummond

Beyond Bristol History

Fine Ships & Gallant Sailors - The Sydney-Emden Battle, 9 November 1914

When shipwright Edward Bunkin sailed from Plymouth in 1913 he was helping to deliver HMAS Sydney, the Australian Navyís first light cruiser. But just over a year later they became involved in one of the most significant naval events of World War I.


Whilst escorting the first contingent of ANZAC troops to the Middle East the Sydney was called away to investigate a strange vessel at the Cocos (Keeling Islands). Their encounter with the German raider, SMS Emden, was the Australian Navyís only ship to ship battle of  World War I, with both sides being hailed as heroes.


This book is also about an obscure community in the middle of the Pacific, and how, for a few short days, they were drawn unwittingly into events which still loom large over their islands and in naval history.


The story of the Sydney-Emden battle has been told elsewhere, but this book makes extensive use of Bunkinís journal, interwoven with other sources to provide a very personal  account of the event and its aftermath.

Published February 2010

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