Penang felt the heat of the Great War (1914)


The first World War or the Great War as it was known then was confined mostly in Europe despite its globalized connotation. Even today, Malaysians may only recount stories of their families’ elder members experiencing the actual horrors of World War II. Penang was an exception, however, as it is the only known place in today’s Malaysia where theatres of both world wars actually occur. As this news article here recounted, the Allied ships that docked at George Town were deceived by a German naval ship, thinking it was one of their own. Upon realising it was actually an enemy vessel, it was too late for the them to attack. The result was fatal and the enemy ship quickly fled the scene and continued terrorising other parts of the region. Intent on revenge, the ship was hunted down by Allied forces. Today, the incident is known as the Battle of Penang and a memorial statue had been erected near the site where the event happened.

Article source: The New York Times, 30 October 1914

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