Biography

Birth date: 23 October 1871
Birth place: United Kingdom: England, Greater London, Twickenham
Death date: 23 December 1934
Death place: United Kingdom: England
Final rank: Vice Admiral
Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
Units:
  • Royal Australian Navy
  • HMAS Sydney

John Glossop was a naval officer who commanded HMAS Sydney for much of the First World War. He was born on 23 October 1871 at Twickenham in England. As a young man he served in the Royal Navy, and in 1888, at the age of 18, first visited Australia as a midshipman on HMS Orlando, flagship of the Australia squadron.

Glossop served in the Pacific and reached the rank of lieutenant in 1893. He returned to the Australian Station in 1896 as the Navigation Officer on HMS Royalist. In the early years of the 20th century, Glossop's career brought him back and forth from England to Australia and the Pacific several times. In June 1911 he was promoted to captain and in 1913 was given command of a new light cruiser, HMAS Sydney. Sydney was given an enthusiastic reception when she steamed into Sydney Harbour in October that year.

Just over a year later Glossop was in command of Sydney as she escorted the first AIF convoy to the Middle East. He had already served off New Guinea and participated in the capture of Rabaul, but Glossop's first significant action was against the German cruiser Emden off the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean. The Emden, outgunned and slower than Sydney, managed to hit the Australian ship with her opening salvo but thereafter came under sustained and accurate fire. Damaged beyond repair, she ran ashore. Sydney then sank her collier, Buresk, and returned to finish off Emden. Rejoining the convoy, Glossop received the congratulations of the Australian Naval Board, though he later recalled that firing on the enemy ship, particularly once she had run ashore but refused to surrender, made him feel "like a murderer."

For Glossop, the remainder of the war was relatively peaceful as he commanded Sydney on patrol in the Caribbean, the Atlantic, and the North Sea. He was relieved in February 1917 and returned to Australia to accept the position of Captain-in-Charge of Naval Establishments in Sydney. Glossop married Ethel McPhillamy in January 1918.

His had been a successful war: Glossop earned the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun and the French Legion d'Honneur, as well as having been Mentioned in Despatches and appointed Commander of the Bath after destroying the Emden. After the war, on 1 March 1919, he was promoted to commodore 2nd class; in June he presided over the court martial of mutineers from HMAS Australia, handing down severe sentences that led to his being attacked in parliament.

Glossop returned to the Royal Navy in 1920 and was promoted to rear admiral on 21 November 1921, and retired the next day. He remained in England, where he died on 23 December 1934.

Rolls and Awards

Honours and Awards : French Officer of the Legion of Honour, Fourth Class

  • Unit: Royal Australian Navy
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Order of the Bath

  • Unit: HMAS Sydney
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Japanese Order of the Rising Sun, Third Class

  • Unit: Royal Australian Navy
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Photograph

306839

Portsmouth, England. June 1913. Group portrait taken on board HMAS Australia on the occasion of the inspection of His Majesty King George V, prior to the ship's departure for Australia. Left to right, back row: Carpenter A. H. Martin; Gunner (Gnr) G. Prideaux; Gnr D. Ogilvie; Gnr A. C. Newton; Gnr...

306839

305433

1914. GROUP PORTRAIT OF THE OFFICERS OF THE LIGHT CRUISER HMAS SYDNEY (I) AT TIME OF EMDEN ACTION. THE COMMMANDING OFFICER, CAPTAIN J. GLOSSOP RN, IS AT THE CENTRE OF THE SECOND ROW. (NAVAL HISTORICAL COLLECTION).

305433

A03682

The famous German raider SMS Emden, which was driven ashore at North Keeling Island, on 9 November 1914, under heavy bombardment from HMAS Sydney and became a total loss. Commanded by Commodore J C T Glossop CB RN, the Sydney achieved victory in the first naval action in which an Australian...

A03682

A03683

The famous German raider SMS Emden, which was driven ashore at North Keeling Island, on 9 November 1914, under heavy bombardment from HMAS Sydney and became a total loss. Commanded by Commodore J C T Glossop CB RN, the Sydney achieved victory in the first naval action in which an Australian...

A03683

C02519

Portrait of Captain John Collings Taswell Glossop, Royal Navy, the Captain of HMAS Sydney during the First World War. On 9 November 1914 the Sydney, under Glossop's command, defeated and beached the German cruiser SMS Emden off Cocos Island.

C02519

EN0163

Group portrait of officers from the RAN light cruiser HMAS Sydney. The ship was on her way to the Atlantic after destroying the German raider Emden at Cocos Island on 9 November 1914. Identified left to right (back row): Assistant Paymaster Eric Kingsford-Smith; Engineer Lieutenant Cleon Dennis;...

EN0163

EN0191

Group portrait of the football team from HMAS Sydney. Third from the left in the middle row is probably Boatswain Alfred Moule Martin. On his left is Captain John Collings Taswell Glossop, RN. Along with HMAS Melbourne, the Sydney was engaged in patrols of the North Atlantic off Long Island and...

EN0191

EN0402

Prisoners of war coming aboard HMAS Sydney from a lifeboat belonging to SMS Emden's collier, SS Buresk. Standing on the left, closest to the camera and wearing a mortarboard, is the Sydney's chaplain, Rev. Vivian Agincourt Little.

EN0402

J00365

Portrait of Commander John Collings Taswell Glossop RN (1871 to 1934). Commanded RAN newly commissioned Chatham class light cruiser HMAS Sydney. Defeated and beached German raider SMS Emden off Cocus-Keeling Islands on 9 November 1914. Painting by James Quinn.

J00365

Art

HMAS Sydney in heavy weather

Starboard side view of HMAS Sydney at sea in rough weather. HMAS Sydney was commissioned in 1913. She was responsible for the bombardment and eventual loss of the German raider SMS Emden in November 1914 off the coast of North Keeling Island. Commanded by Commodore J C T Glossop CB RN, the Sydney...

ART50118

Rear Admiral John Glossop

Commodore (later Vice Admiral) John Collings Taswell Glossop, CB, RN was the Captain of the HMAS Sydney when it destroyed SMS Emden in the first naval action involving an Australian warship in 1914. In 1916 he became Superintendent of Naval Establishments in Sydney, rising to the rank of...

ART03352

Digitised Collection

Sketch map of HMAS Sydney and SMS Emden encounter, c.1914-1918

Sketch map relating to the First World War service of Captain John Collings Taswell Glossop, Royal Australian Navy. This copy is of a sketch map drawn by Captain John Glossop and Captain Karl von Müller depicting the battle route carried out by HMAS Sydney and SMS Emden on 9 November 1914.

RCDIG0000881

Signal log relating to John Collings Taswell Glossop, 1914

Signal relating to the service of Captain John Collings Taswell Glossop. This signal log contians the message, 'Emden beached and done for' sent by Captain Glossop aboard HMAS Sydney following the destruction of SMS Emden on North Keeling Island, 9 November 1914.

RCDIG0001093

Signal log of SMS Emden, 1914

Signal log relating to the First World War service of Vice Admiral John Collings Taswell Glossop. This is the original rough signal log taken from SMS Emden following her destruction on North Keeling Island on 9 November 1914. The signal log, written in German, documents the period from 16 October...

RCDIG0001067

Translation of signal log of SMS Emden, [date unknown]

Rough signal log relating to the First World War service of Vice Admiral John Collings Taswell Glossop. This is a typescript English translation of the original signal log taken from SMS Emden following her destruction on North Keeling Island on 9 November 1914. This translation, like the original,...

RCDIG0001068

HMAS SYDNEY wireless telegraph signal log, 28 August - 9 November 1914

Wireless telegraph signal log relating to the First World War service of HMAS Sydney. This signal log contains entries from 28 August 1914 to 9 November 1914. It includes entries relating to the ship's involvement with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) in German New...

RCDIG0001003

Miscellaneous items relating to Vivian Agincourt Spence Little, 1912-1997

Collection relating to the First World War service of Chaplain Vivian Agincourt Spence Little, Royal Australian Navy. This collection covers: Little’s appointment to HMAS Encounter; the newly commissioned HMAS Sydney and HMAS Australia in September 1913; the arrival of the Australian fleet to...

RCDIG0001056

Heraldry

Undress jacket : Rear Admiral J C T Glossop, Royal Navy

Officer's black lightweight wool twill undress or 'monkey' jacket. The double breasted jacket has turn back lapels, two rows of four gilded brass RN officer's buttons, made by Jennens & Co, London, an inset welt pocket on the left breast, two inset welt pockets over each hip, and short vents in...

REL/00111.001

Souvenir china jug commemorating the victory by HMAS Sydney over SMS Emden in 1914.

White china breakfast jug with gold rim. One side bears a coloured transfer of HMAS Sydney with the words 'THE SHIP WHICH DESTROYED THE "EMDEN"'. The other side bears a black and white transfer portrait of Captain Glossop with 'BRAVO AUSTRALIA' beneath it, together with the words 'CAPTAIN. JOHN....

REL29396

Full dress cocked hat : Rear Admiral J C T Glossop, Royal Navy

Flag officer's black beaver cocked hat bound all round with 50mm wide gold bullion lace. Each end bears a gold bullion tassel with dark blue and gold eyes. The right side has a black silk cockade superimposed with three loops of gold bullion. The centre loop is twisted and secured by a gilded brass...

RELAWM14955.001

Pair full dress epaulettes : Rear Admiral J C T Glossop, Royal Navy

Pair of flag officer's full dress epaulettes lined with black leather stamped in gold with the manufacturer's details, and with padded blue silk where the epaulette rests on the end of the wearer's shoulder. Each epaulette has a brass slide underneath the strap and a gilded brass Royal Navy flag...

RELAWM14955.002

Full dress sword belt : Captain J C T Glossop, Royal Navy

Captain's full dress sword belt. Black leather belt, 40 mm wide, has two slings 25 mm wide. All are covered with black silk webbing and are embroidered with three gold bullion thread stripes. The buckles and hooks are gilded brass, as is the circular clasp, which has embossed laurel leaf edges and...

RELAWM14955.003

Tin to hold full dress cocked hat, epaulettes and sword belt : Rear Admiral J C T Glossop, Royal Navy

Black and dull red painted japanned tin case, lined with crimson velveteen, to carry a naval officer's full dress cocked hat, epaulettes and sword belt. The rectangular case has a single carrying handle on the top of the lid and a hinged clasp fitting over a loop on the front side. The lid bears an...

RELAWM14955.004

Mexican dollar : Captain J C T Glossop, HMAS Sydney

Silver Mexican dollar. The obverse 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.

RELAWM00284.002

Private Record

(SMS Emden, Imperial German Navy)

Collection relating to the First World War service of Captain John Collings Taswell Glossop, HMAS Sydney. Collection consists of a copy of a sketch map drawn by Captain Glossop and Captain Von Muller depicting the battle route carried out by HMAS Sydney and SMS Emden on 9 November 1914. Maker: Glossop, John Collings Taswell

1DRL/0659 (With records)

Glossop, John Collings Taswell, CB (Vice Admiral, b.1871 - d.1934)

Collection relating to the First World War service of Captain (later Vice Admiral) John Collings Taswell Glossop CB. The collection consist of a signal log with the message, 'Emden beached and done for' sent by Captain Glossop aboard HMAS Sydney following the destruction of SMS Emden off the Cocos... Maker: Glossop, John Collings Taswell

1DRL/0660 (With records)

Glossop, John Collings Taswell, CB (Vice Admiral, b.1871 - d.1934)

Collection relating to the First World War service of Captain John Collings Taswell Glossop, HMAS Sydney. Collection consists of a six page typed 'letter of proceedings' dated 15 November 1914, forwarded to the Department of Navy, Melbourne, recording details of the naval battle off the Cocos... Maker: Glossop, John Collings Taswell

1DRL/0668

Glossop, John Collings Taswell, CB (Vice Admiral, b.1871 - d.1934)

Collection relating to the First World War service of Captain John Collings Taswell Glossop. Collection consists of a copy of a personal diary maintained by Glossop, from July to December 1914. Although general in nature mainly recording ship board duties, there is passing mention of the campaign... Maker: Glossop, John Collings Taswell

2DRL/0885

Glossop, John Collings Taswell, CB (Vice Admiral, b.1871 - d.1934)

Collection relating to the First World War service of Captain John Collings Taswell Glossop. Collection consists of an original signed letter written by Captain Glossop requesting the captain of SMS Emden to surrender his vessel and crew following the beaching of the German ship on North Keeling... Maker: Glossop, John Collings Taswell

3DRL/3479

Todd, Arthur Charles Robert (Surgeon-Lieutenant, b.1889 - d.1946?)

Collection relating to the First World War service of Surgeon-Lieutenant Arthur Charles Robert Todd, born in Sydney on 23 June 1889. He enlisted in 1914, was appointed Surgeon-on-Probation on 17 August 1914 and was transferred to HMAS Sydney on 25 October 1914. He remained with HMAS Sydney until... Maker: Glossop, John Collings Taswell

PR03174

Glossop, John Collings Taswell, CB (Vice Admiral, b.1871 - d.1934)

Collection relating to the battle between the German SMS Emden and Australian HMAS Sydney off the North Cocos Keeling Islands on 9 November 1914. Collection consists of an original 'Rough signal log', 16 October - 8 November 1914, taken from SMS Emden following her destruction; as well as an... Maker: Unknown

1DRL/0658 (With records)

Glossop, John Collings Taswell, CB (Vice Admiral, b.1871 - d.1934)

Collection relating to the First World War service of Captain John Collings Taswell Glossop, HMAS Sydney. Collection consists of 14 reports submitted to Captain Glossop by officers of HMAS Sydney on the action with SMS Emden off the Cocos Keeling Islands on 9 November 1914. The reports relate to... Maker: Various

2DRL/0900

Timeline

Date of birth 1871-10-23 Twickenham, England.
Other 1888 Visited Australia for the first time as a midshipman on HMS Orlando, flagship of the Australia squadron.
Date promoted 1893-06-30 Appointed lieutenant.
Other units 1896 Returned to Australia as the navigation officer on HMS Royalist.
Other units 1902-08-17 Appointed commanding officer HMS Lizard.
Date promoted 1904-06-30 Appointed commander.
Other units 1905-07-11 HMS Pembroke.
Other units 1908-01-03 Appointed commanding officer HMS Prometheus.
Other units 1910-09-01 HMS Hood.
Date promoted 1911-06-22 Appointed captain.
Other 1913-03-10 On loan to RAN from the Royal Navy.
Other 1913-03-10 - 1917-02-09 Appointed commanding officer of HMAS Sydney.
Other units 1913-06-27 Appointed captain of HMAS Sydney.
Other units 1917-05-15 Appointed captain in charge of Naval establishments, Sydney.
Date promoted 1919-03-01 Appointed commodore 2nd class.
Other 1919-06 Presided over the court martial of mutineers from HMAS Australia.
Other 1920-10-05 Returned to the Royal Navy.
Other units 1921-06-01 HMS Colleen - command of the coastguard personnel and coastguard captain of Queenstown area.
Date promoted 1921-11-21 Appointed rear admiral.
Date of discharge 1921-11-22 Transferred to the Retired list.
Date of death 1934-12-23 Died in England.