The Great War Part 196, May 18th 1918

The British Cable Service in War 217 Soon after the Niirnberg had apparently completed her work the daring captain of the Emden made avery skilful attempt to cut the other ocean cable running to Australia. On September 22nd 1914 the Emden appeared off Madras and shelled the city from which the cable ran to Penang on the way to Northern Australia. The German gunners seemed to have a good knowledge of the Madras cable station but luckily their shooting was not good. No damage whatever was done to the office or to the shore end and communication over the Northern Indian Ocean remained undisturbed. One shell burst in the roadway sending a steel splinter across the table where the censor worked. As this official was not at the time in the room the sudden surprise attack was utterly vain in its main purpose although the native population was somewhat perturbed by the deadly exhibition of the long reach of the “mailed fist.” For some reason Captain von Muller of the Emden, did not proceed with his original plan for destroying cable stations. His remarkable successes as a commerce destroyer occupied him for two months. But Piracy fettered by after he had captured eighteen British electricity ships and prevented many others from leaving port he saw he could not continue his work while there was a well-handled British cable station at the hub of his circle of operations. British cable offices were not only centres of world-wide communication but valuable points of naval recon­naissance. At the Cocos-Keeling Islands in the Indian Ocean there was a cable connection direct with Australia, Java Madagascar Natal Zanzibar and Aden. In a quick relay India could be reached while Mauritius and other southern ports were on the same system. Moreover, there was a powerful wireless plant on Cocos Island, which kept inconstant touch with H.M.S. Minotaur, H.M.A.S. Australia H.M.A.S. Sydney and other warships in the area in which the Emden was working. The Emden was somewhat alike land force engaging in raids while leaving unattacked a strong hostile fortress in its rear. Captain von Muller began to feel the invisible pressure Raiders among of the British system of electrical the coral islands communications. A t last on the night of November 8th 1914 he made with all steam for the palm-grown atoll of Cocos and in the grey morning of the following day he anchored off the lagoon and sent out boats with a strong landing-party to take the station by surprise. He failed to effect a surprise. About 6 a.m. an operator at Singapore was chatting over the cable with the operator at Cocos. Instead of getting an ordinary answer he deciphered a message:“ Emden at Cocos landing an armed party.” After that Cocos was silent but Singapore was active. The head office in London soon received the message from Singapore: “Men getting ready togo to Cocos with stores and new instruments.” All day Cocos remained silent but in the evening the Singapore operator had the happy idea of seeing whether there was still a feeble current coming through the line. He rigged up one of the old mirror instruments devised by Lord Kelvin in early days and since displaced by more convenient but less refined devices. The Kelvin instrument magnified almost imperceptible movements of the needle by reflecting the action onto a screen with the aid of a H.M.A.S. SYDNEY AFTER SINKING THE EMDfiN WHICH HAD WRECKED THE COCOS CABLE STATION. The Australian cruiser Sydney photographed as she was lying off Cocos Island on the morning of November loth 1914 the day after her fight with the German raider Emden. aWhile party from the Emden had been cutting the cables and wrecking the cable station at Cocos Island the Sydney was seen rapidly approaching from the nor-nor-east. The Emden tried to getaway but after a running fight was sunk by the Sydney. FF
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