L’Honneur des marins Français …
French naval honour… The Mousquet chooses to be sunk rather than flee
Lithograph with hand colouring through stencils. Publisher: Tolmer & Co. October 1914.
Given by Sophie Gurney 1994
No. 23 from the series La Grande Guerre .
The series’ first depiction of a sea conflict, portraying the Battle of Panang, during which a German light cruiser, the SMS Emden, sank two Allied warships. The caption of the print does not give a full account about what occurred during the battle. The German light cruiser Emden commanded by Captain Karl von Muller was disrupting British commerce in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The Emden crept into the harbour at George Town disguised as a British shiP. Torpedoes and shells were fired at a Russian ship, the Zhemchug, which exploded. The Mousquet, a French destroyer that had just arrived in the harbour, then engaged the Emden in battle despite being outgunned. The destroyer was hit and over half the crew perished: survivors were picked up by the Emden and later transferred to a British merchant vessel.
The German Imperial Navy was a growing force in 1914 with state-of-the-art battleships. The Emden was one of the new light cruisers, capable of 24 knots and equipped with ten rapid-fire guns. While commerce raiding, as carried out by the Emden and other surface warships on both sides of the conflict, was generally conducted in accordance with international prize law, and the long-standing traditions of naval warfare, the unrestricted submarine attacks that Germany instigated against merchant and passenger ships in 1915 horrified worldwide opinion.
The French caption with English translation:
L’HONNEUR DES MARINS FRANÇAIS. LE TORPILLEUR FRANÇAIS “ LE MOUSQUET “ PRÉFÈRE SUCCOMBER QUE DE FUIR.
Cela se passe à PENANG, à l’entrée du détroit de Malacca. Le torpilleur français “LE MOUSQUET” se trouve face à face avec le croiseur allamend “EMDEN”, qui croise les mers depuis plusieurs mois, navigant sous des pavillons différents et capturant ainsi tous les navires qu’il trouve sur sa route. “LE MOUSQUET” peut fuir, c’est même là son seul avantage, il peut gagner très vite le refuge non loin de là, les marins français n’y pensent pas. Le petit destroyer fond sur son puissant ennemi et tente de le torpiller. Frappé au coeur, il se cabre et coule (Octobre 1914).
French Naval Honour : The Destroyer called ‘The Musket’ choses to be sunk rather than flee the Enemy.
This occurred at Penang, at the entrance of the Strait of Malacca. The French destroyer ‘Musket’ finds itself face to face with the German cruiser ‘Emden’, which has been cruising the seas for several months, sailing under different flags and thus capturing all the ships she finds on her route. ‘The Musket’ can flee; it is indeed her only advantage. She can quickly find refuge not far away, but the French sailors do not consider it. The small destroyer chases its powerful enemy and tries to torpedo it. Struck to the heart, she rears up and sinks. (October 1914).