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Launch of The Battle of Penang – A Pictorial Report
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On 7 April, the Singapore Heritage Society and Trafalgar Publishing House hosted the Singapore launch of The Battle of Penang in the Possibility Room of the National Library of Singapore.

The Battle of Penang is authored by Dr John Robertson, a former Medical Officer in the Royal Navy, a retired scholar in the field of psychiatry, and a member of the Penang Heritage Trust. The book tells the tale of the SMS Emden, the notorious German cruiser, its exploits in the waters of Penang and Southeast Asia, and its regional and international impact.

The launch event opened with a talk by Dr Robertson, who presented an overview of the exploits of the SMS Emden, its impact particularly on the French and Russian navies in Penang waters, and its eventual demise at the hands of the HMAS Sydney.

The book was then officially launched by the French (H.E. Mr Olivier Caron) and Russian (H.E. Mr Leonid Moiseev) Ambassadors to Singapore, both of whom also went on to share their thoughts with the audience. Given the consequences of the Emden on the Russian Navy, the Russian Ambassador also suggested a Russian edition of The Battle of Penang will be well-received in his homeland.

This launch event also included a panel discussion with two well-known scholars of Singapore as well as Southeast Asian history: Dr. Kevin Tan, the Immediate Past President of the Singapore Heritage Society, and Dr. Ernest Chew, Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS). Both scholars considered the actions and consequences of the SMS Emden within the broader frameworks of imperial, military and diplomatic history, and agreed that the book makes a valuable contribution to scholarship in those fields. A short Q&A discussion followed, where the panel and Dr Robertson fielded questions from a thoroughly entertained audience.

The event ended with a reception, sponsored by the publisher – Trafalgar Publishing House.

The Battle of Penang is distributed in Singapore by Mary Martin Booksellers. For orders and information about the book, please contact

For more pictures of the event, please visit the Singapore Heritage Society’s Facebook page.

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