|Penang Heritage | War Memorial Monument and Cenotaph - The Battle of Penang|
Even our grands might not recall this event (The Battle of Penang) vividly as it occurred too short, just in a day!
Malaya as it was called then was not affected much by the Great War but Penang as part of British Straits Settlement and a strategic harbor was occupied and heavily used by Allied naval and merchant vessels.
Early morning on 28 October 1914, Penang harbour was caught by a surprise German naval attack. SMS Emden led by Korvettenkapitän (Lt. Commander) Karl von Müller which was sent on a solitary raiding mission, pretended to be a British cruiser HMS Yarmouth by rigging a false smoke stack when entering Penang port.
Once they had entered the harbor and raised their German naval ensign, it was too late for any Allied warships to respond. First torpedo was fired at a Russian protected cruiser - Zhemchug. She sank after massive explosion and 89 crews were killed with 143 wounded. The second torpedo attacked a French destroyer Mousquet which happened to had just returned from patrol. Forty four (44) French soldiers including her commander Lt. Théroinne were killed and 36 survivors (3 crews later passed on due to injuries) were picked by Emden. Then, they were transferred to British steamer Newburn vessel and sent to Sabang Sumatra occupied by then neutral Dutch of East Indies.
The life of Emden did not last long. Ten days later, she was being sunk in The Battle of Cocos at Indian Ocean.
If you plan to visit the monument, it is just along the same sea side road from the entrance into Fort Cornwallis. On weekends, one may catch sights of children and adults playing kites.
When I was a kid, my grands used to bring me and cousins here. After tucking in at nearby stalls, we occasionally played hide and seek at this spot, perhaps that's the reason now the memorial stone's vicinity is fenced up to preserve its structure.
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