November 14th to 16th
Sat Nov 14th
Position at noon 3° 35’ N, 82° 16’ E
Run 235 Mls.
Nothing very exciting happens today.
Sun Nov. 15th
Position – Colombo
Run 240 Mls.
WE arrive at Colombo about 1.30 p.m. and give the signal to rest of convoy to drop anchor by firing our gun, our one and only. Then the business commences, tugs and Tenders, ships boats all bring officers aboard. My word you never saw such a crowd in your life.
The Japanese Commander pays us a visit, funny little chap with a sword as big as himself. The harbour is full of ships of every description. British, Australian, Japanese and Russian warships - one armed merchantman and tons of other ships.
The Russian battleship is a funny looking thing painted very light grey with 5 long funnels sticking straight up just like a packet of Woodbines. They christened her the Woodbine ship.
Monday Nov 16
This is the day of all days as is turns out later on. Fine weather pretty strong breeze blowing and we are all outside the harbour. Makes it very difficult for visiting officers to embark and disembark. Still after one or two get nearly drowned and the gangway nearly smashed up, they resort to the Jacobs ladder again.
About 8 p.m. there is a stir and everybody’s glasses are focussed on a battleship’s pinnace towing two boatloads of officers and men, which turn out to be some of the "Emden’s" officers and crew, prisoners of war. There is the Captain, three officers and 45 of the crew. After a struggle to get alongside in which they all get wet through, they come aboard. The officers are put in first class cabins while the crew are taken down aft where a portion of the deck is boarded off for them and a strong guard put on them with loaded rifles. The same with the officers. They have dinner at 6.15 so as to be finished by the time the officers dinner comes on.
Well after our officers have had their dinner, General Bridges sends for the Captain of the "Emden" and they all go into the music room. They want to put him on his parole, but he will not have it, so after half an hours confab he returns to his cabin and they station the guard once more. And that is the last we see of them that day. By all accounts they had a terrible time of it while they were in action, losing about 150 killed besides wounded. They say it was awful, they were blown to bits, and they were simply paralysed by the accuracy of the "Sydney’s" fire. And so ends Australia’s first naval engagement.
Copyright © Steve McArragher
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