The Emden is a German cruiser, commanded by Karl von Müller. It separated from Germany’s Pacific Squadron in September and has rampaged through the Indian Ocean, preying on allied shipping. Müller has also caused a sensation with bold attacks on the British ports of Madras and Penang.
Now the adventure comes to an end. Müller brings his ship to attack the British wireless station on the Cocos Islands, but the station is able to send off a distress call before he can disable it. An Australian warship is nearby and comes to investigate.
The Australian ship is more heavily armed than the Emden. After a battering that leaves almost half his men dead, Müller has to order his ship to run aground off one of the islands to prevent it sinking. The Emden surrenders and its crew are taken into captivity.
But not all its crew. Müller had sent a landing party under Hellmuth von Mücke to Direction Island, to destroy the wireless station there. They watch as their ship is destroyed by the Australians. But rather than wait to surrender, Mücke hatches a bolder plan. He seizes the Ayesha, a British schooner in the harbour, and as night falls his men slip away from the Cocos Islands, planning to somehow make their way back to Germany.
Karl von Müller image source (Wikipedia)
Emden cruise image source (Wikipedia)