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Personal site of Peter Manchester

November 11th

Nov 11 Wednesday

Distance run 240 Mls. Position at noon 5° 25' S. 90° 43' E

Latest Naval Message

H.M.A.S Sydney to H.M.A.T Orvieto

Casualties on Emden 150. Captain unhurt. Chased collier, took off crew and sunk her. Am bringing wounded and prisoners, be with you tomorrow.

This is the message received from the Sydney. So we have been eagerly looking out for her. Thought something was going to happen this morning.

We dropped out of line and let the others pass us. The old Ark .. the ‘Southern’ taking the lead. And she set6 the pace a cracker with every thing opened out she must have been doing quite 10 knots. After they had all passed us we found what was happening. The "SS Suffolk" had broken down and had dropped some distance astern, but had just got right when we reached her.

I thought we were dropping to 2 o’clock when the next spasm commences. There is a stir on the bridge, officers getting excited and looking out for something on starboard bow. Next thing we see the Jap leaping off towards object at full speed. Well they say it is the jap, but all we can see is a dense black cloud moving swiftly to cross our bows, Make object out to be a strange cruiser and a large one at that making straight towards us. She is a big three funnelled ship, meanwhile the Jap is making straight towards her.

Well within a couple of miles she slews round, and comes back to her proper position. And the stranger comes on. She turns out to be the "Empress of Asia" a large armed merchantman belonging to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company of 16,800 tons. And going at top speed too, she was out of sight in half an hour. And up to present have no idea what she was after down this way, but might hear later.

Official notice posted up to this effect: "Empress of Asia proceeding to Cocos". Message from Empress of Asia – "Good luck Australians". Reply from Gen’l Bridges “Thank You" and p.m. message from Melbourne says – astern to pick the "Sydney" up.

So away we went full speed ahead through the lines. I tell you it was quite nice to feel ones self moving. I wish they would keep it up until we get home. Can get no official news about fighting on land. Expect to get plenty at Colombo on Sunday as we shall get our letters from home there, we are only 2 months late.

Copyright © Steve McArragher

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