Biography

Birth date: 26 November 1886
Birth place: Australia: Queensland, North Queensland, Rockhampton
Death date: 22 October 1965
Death place: Australia: Queensland, North Queensland, Rockhampton
Final rank: Stoker 2nd Class
Service number: 1131 - British Navy Era, 1788-1911
7884 - First World War, 1914-1918
Units:
  • HMAS Sydney (1913-1928)
  • HMAS Sydney

Niels Peter Henry Nielsen was born at Rockhampton, Queensland, on 26 November 1886. He worked as a railway porter before enlisting for a five-year engagement with the Australian Naval Forces in 1908, where he served as a stoker. In 1913 Nielsen rejoined the ANF, now the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). After completing his nine-month engagement he again enlisted shortly after the outbreak of the First World War. In what was originally to be a six-month engagement, Nielsen served with the RAN for the next five years.

Nielsen was made a stoker on the light cruiser HMAS Sydney and was serving on the ship when she encountered the elusive German raider SMS Emden on 9 November 1914. The battle that ensued between the two ships later resulted in the fledgling RAN's first naval victory. When the Sydney reached port at Colombo Nielsen took time to send a letter home to his parents with details of the engagement, including the damage that the superior firepower of the Sydney had caused to its opponent.

Nielsen spent the next three years serving on the Sydney and was discharged in 1919. Several years later he wrote a more detailed account of the battle with the Emden. Niels Nielsen returned to Rockhampton after the war and later died there in 1965.

Rolls and Awards

Collection Items

Private Record

Nielsen, Niels Peter Henry

Collection relating to 7884 Stoker Niels Peter Henry "Chook" Nielsen. Collection comprises an original four page handwritten letter dated 16 November 1914 sent by Stoker Nielsen to his parents, whilst he was aboard the HMAS Sydney in Colombo in which he writes about the action that took place... Maker: Nielsen, Niels Peter Henry

PR05198 (With records)

Digitised Collection

Account of action between HMAS Sydney and SMS Emden by Niels Peter Henry Nielsen, 1925

Written account and transcript relating to the First World War service of 7884 Stoker Niels Peter Henry "Chook" Nielsen, Royal Australian Navy. In this account written in 1925, Nielsen details the days leading up to and the day of the action between HMAS Sydney and SMS Emden on 9 November 1914. He...

RCDIG0001011

Letter from Niels Peter Henry Nielsen to his family, 1914

Letter and transcript relating to the First World War service of 7884 Stoker Niels Peter Henry "Chook" Nielsen, Royal Australian Navy. In this letter to his mother and family, Nielsen details the action between the HMAS Sydney and SMS Emden on 9 November 1914 off the Cocos Islands. A transcript of...

RCDIG0001018

Timeline

Date of birth 1886-11-26
Date of enlistment 1908-11-25
Date of death 1965-10-22