Undersea cables are vital to global communications, and they were never more important than during wartime. So much so that these international connections became prime targets in the earliest days of World War I with many being violently attacked and even re-routed to enable eavesdropping. A lunchtime Ideas Cafe talk at the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno on Monday 17th November will mark the centenary of the cable wars, including the November 1914 attack on the Cocos Island cable station by the SMS Emden; known as the ‘Kaiser’s Pirate Ship.’
The island raid sparked the first Australian naval battle of WW1, but its primary objective was to disrupt critical telegraph communications. An axe used by the Emden crew to destroy the islands’ cables is on display in the Telegraph Museum’s exhibitions and forms part of Cornwall’s only designated museum collection. Speaker Colin May will discuss two of these wartime attacks as well as the experiences of telegraph operators and their families who built their lives in remote and often exotic corners of the world.
Colin spent his career working with communications in the armed forces before joining an international electronics company specialising in electronic warfare. His interest in WW1 has led him to deliver a number of related talks at the Telegraph Museum Porthcurno as part of the popular Ideas Cafe programme which covers topics across history, science, technology and art.
Special tickets priced at £12.50 will give visitors the chance to enjoy the museum’s new exhibitions as well as the Ideas Cafe talk, and includes a delicious lunch in the museum’s new cafe. Tickets can be bought on the door on the day, or via Eventbrite.