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20/10/2020 21:33pm

The Emden Medal

Conflict
 
World War I.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
History
 
Technically, the Emden Medal is a commemorative medal, which was presented, (amongst others) to officers and ratings who served aboard HMAS Sydney with the Royal Australian Navy during World War I and participated in the Battle of Cocos, 9 November 1914, in which the German cruiser SMS Emden was sunk.
 
Following the engagement, 6429 silver Mexican dollars were recovered from the cruiser. In 1915, a 1000 of these coins were mounted by the Sydney jeweller W. Kerr and presented by Captain John C.T. Glossop to the officers and men of HMAS Sydney who were on board at the time of the engagement.
 
Others were given to the staff on Cocos Island as well as the Admiralty, the Australian War Museum and other approved institutions.
 
The remainder were sold to the public. Of the remaining un-mounted coins 653 were distributed by the Department of Navy, 343 were sold to the public and 4433 were melted down and the money used by the Royal Australian Navy Relief fund.
 
Description
 
The medal is constructed from a silver Mexican dollar and surmounted by a King's crown and scroll. The obverse of this medal (in effect the obverse of a Mexican silver dollar), depicts an eagle surrounded by a wreath and the inscription; 'REPUBLICA MEXICANA'. The scrolls on the fitting above contains the inscription; 'NOV 1914' and; 'HMAS SYDNEY SMS EMDEN'.
 
The reverse of the medal (coin) depicts a liberty cap surrounded by stylised sun rays. Treasury details are located around the rim. The reverse of the actual fitting is marked with the maker's name; 'W Kerr Sydney' and engraved with the recipient’s details.
 
The ribbon suspender is by way of a small ring attached to the crown and scroll that surmounts the medal.
 
Ribbon
 
N/A.
 
Bars/Clasps
 
None were authorised for this medal.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
Dealer Retail Value *
 
Emden Medal
£1200.00
 
* It should be noted that the values quoted above reflect the average price that a medal dealer may expect to sell this medal for - please see the ‘things you should know’ web page for more details about valuing medals.
 
Further Historical Context
 
This section contains information on:-
 
- The Battle Of Cocos.
 
The Battle Of Cocos - The Battle of Cocos was a single-ship action that occurred on 9 November 1914, after the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney responded to an attack on a communications station at Direction Island by the German light cruiser SMS Emden.
 
After the retreat of the German East Asia Squadron from south-east Asia, Emden remained behind to function as a commerce raider. During a two-month period, the German cruiser captured or sank 25 civilian vessels, shelled Madras, and destroyed two Allied warships at Penang.
 
In early November, Emden's commanding officer, Karl von Müller, decided to attack the communications station at Direction Island, in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, to hamper Allied communications and frustrate the search for his ship. Around the same time, the first convoy of Australian and New Zealand soldiers bound for Europe sailed from Albany, Western Australia, with Sydney, under the command of John Glossop, and three other warships escorting.
 
During the night of 8-9 November, Emden reached the islands, and sent a shore party to disable the wireless and cable transmission station on Direction Island. The station was able to transmit a distress call before it was shut down; this was received by the nearby convoy, and Sydney was ordered to investigate.
 
Sydney spotted the island and Emden at 09:15, with both ships preparing for combat. The longer range of Emden's guns meant she was able to fire first, but the German ship was unable to inflict disabling damage to the Australian cruiser before Sydney closed into range and opened up with her more powerful main guns.
 
At 11:20, the heavily damaged Emden beached herself on North Keeling Island. The Australian warship broke to pursue Emden's supporting collier, which scuttled herself, then returned to North Keeling Island at 16:00. At this point, Emden's battle ensign was still flying: usually a sign that a ship intends to continue fighting.
 
After no response to instructions to lower the ensign, Glossop ordered two salvoes shot into the beached cruiser, after which the Germans lowered the flag and raised a white sheet. Sydney had orders to ascertain the status of the transmission station, but returned the next day to provide medical assistance to the Germans.
 
Of the Emden's crew, 134 were killed and 69 wounded, compared to only 4 killed and 16 wounded aboard Sydney. The German survivors were taken aboard the Australian cruiser, which caught up to the troop convoy in Colombo on 15 November, then transported the prisoners to Malta and handed them over to the British Army.
 
An additional 50 German personnel from the shore party, unable to be recovered before Sydney arrived, commandeered a schooner and escaped from Direction Island, eventually arriving in Constantinople.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.