HMAS Sydney Medallion : Leading Signalman J W Seabrook, HMAS Sydney
ID numberREL38552.001
Collection typeHeraldry
TitleHMAS Sydney Medallion : Leading Signalman J W Seabrook, HMAS Sydney
Object typeMedallion
MakerKerr, W
Place madeAustralia: New South Wales, Sydney
Date made1914
Physical descriptionSilver
DescriptionHMAS Sydney medallion made from a Mexican eight reales coin of 1895. It is surmounted by the King's crown which carries two banners with the upper banner reading 'NOV 9 1914' and the lower reading 'HMAS.SYDNEY.SMS.EMDEN'. The obverse of the coin shows an eagle surrounded by a wreath and the words 'REPUBLICA MEXICANA'. The reverse of the coin shows a liberty cap surrounded by stylised sun rays. Treasury details are located around the rim. The reverse of the fitting is marked with the maker's name, 'W.KERR SYDNEY.
SummaryUnofficial medal presented to Leading Signalman John William Seabrook, a British sailor who served with the Royal Australian Navy during the First World War aboard HMAS Sydney. 6429 silver Mexican dollars were recovered from the German cruiser SMS Emden after she was sunk by the Sydney off Cocos Island on 9 November 1914. In 1918 1000 coins were mounted by the Sydney jeweller W Kerr and presented by Captain John C.T. Glossop to the officers and men of the Sydney who were on board at the time of the engagement. Others were given to the staff on Cocos Island as well as the Admiralty, the Australian War Museum and other approved museums. The remainder were sold to the public. Of the remaining unmounted coins 653 were distributed by the Department of Navy, 343 were sold to the public and 4433 were melted down and the money used by the RAN Relief fund.