Souvenir teacup and saucer commemorating the sinking of SMS Emden by HMAS Sydney

Unit HMAS Sydney
Accession Number REL38949
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description China
Maker Samuel Radford Ltd
Place made United Kingdom: England
Date made c 1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Description

Souvenir teacup and saucer commemorating the sinking of SMS Emden by HMAS Sydney. The teacup bears the Australian coat of arms on one side, and on the other side is the federation star above a wreath and crossed Union Jack and Australian flag, and HMAS Sydney with the words 'H.M.A.S "SYDNEY' DESTROYED THE "EMDEN" AT KEELING COCOS ISLAND NOV.9. 1914'. The crossed flags and HMAS Sydney also feature on the saucer along with two scolls with the words 'ONE FLEET, ONE THRONE' and 'FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR'.

History / Summary

The first convoy carrying Australian troops left Albany, Western Australia on 1 November 1914. Protected by seven warships including the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney, the convoy's 38 transport ships carried more than 20,000 men and 7,000 horses bound for the war in Europe. The heavy escort allocated to the convoy was due in part to the activities in the area of the German raider SMS Emden.

Emden was a cruiser that, with the start of the First World War, stalked the shipping routes across the Indian Ocean and quickly became the scourge of the Allied navies. In November 1914, nine Allied vessels were involved in the hunt for her. Emden was in the process of destroying the British radio station on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands on 9 November, when she was surprised by HMAS Sydney. In the engagement that followed, Sydney was hit early by the long-ranging guns of Emden, resulting in four dead and twelve wounded. However, the superior firepower of the Australian cruiser's broadside soon told and Emden was left 'beached and done for' on North Keeling Island.

The sinking of Emden was a significant victory for the young Royal Australian Navy and morale boost for Australia and the Allies. Souvenirs such as this teacup and saucer were popular items commemorating this event.

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