The men behind the guns

The destruction of the German cruiser SMS Emden during the battle of the Cocos-Keeling Islands on 9 November 1914 marked the Royal Australian Navy’s first victory at sea. 

Wes Olson’s article takes a unique look at the action through the eyes of those who manned the guns of both Sydney and Emden. The guns are located here at the Australian War Memorial, in the Gardens of the Hyde Park Memorial in Sydney, and at the RAN’s Heritage Centre at Garden Island. 

Below is an interview, made in 1964, with three survivors of Emden and the son of another veteran who had died before the film was made. The interview provides some unique veteran perspectives of being under fire from the start of the battle until surrendering to the Australians.

To read Wes Olsen’s article, purchase a copy of Wartime.