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Charles Cusden

Charles Cusden

Charles Cusden on the deck of the wrecked German cruiser Emden, filming for Alfred Rolfe, source unknown, reproduced in Pike & Cooper: 56

How We Beat The Emden (Alfred Rolfe, 1915) aka Fate of the Emden, Australasian Films, dp Charles Cusden

How We Fought The Emden (Alfred Rolfe, 1915) Australasian Films, dp Charles Cusden

News and Notes

westaustPhotographing the Emden. - A Sydney syndicate, originating at the Sydney Millions Club, some two months ago sent Mr. Charles Cusden with a cinematograph to take 1,000 feet of film showing all that was left of the German cruiser Emden. Mr. Cusden is returning by the R.M.S. Egypt, which called in at Fremantle yesterday. He was landed at Cocos by the s.s. Hanley, which was specially chartered to run a day out of her course to permit of the pictures being taken. Mr. Cusden said that he was greeted at Cocos by an armed guard, who were unable to understand the movements of the Hanley, and feared a second German invasion. On being satisfied that the mission was a friendly one, the guard on the jetty lowered their bayonets and from twenty to thirty armed islanders crept out from the bushes on the shore. The pictures which were taken show various views of the Emden and photos of the officer who sent out the distress call from the cable station, and other inhabitants of Cocos Island.

West Australian, 19 May 1915, page 6


SYDNEY. May 26

Mr. Charles Cusden returned to Sydney today after taking pictures of the German gunboat Emden. He says that salvage operations would be dangerous. Heavy seas break over the ship as she lies, a battered and twisted hulk and broken on the reef close in shore.  The Emden's sides were jagged, and everywhere ?? were jutting out.
Exploration of the lower decks of the Emden revealed a state of chaos. Clothes and papers were scattered everywhere. In a remote corner Mr. Cusden stumbled across the lower portion of the body of one of the Emden's crew. The trousers had gone, but the boots still were on the feet, and the limbs were [so] shrivelled and burned by the tropical heat that they resembled pieces of brown leather.

Daily Herald, Adelaide, 28 May 1915, page 4


In 1912, Cusden was a stills photographer with the Sphere publication. He took aerial photographs of the SS Oceana, a P&O liner which had sunk off Eastbourne.

This is a brief excerpt from a book about the pilot of the aircraft, Frank McClean, made available online by Google Books.

Philip Jarrett 2011, Frank McClean: The Godfather to British Naval Aviation, Seaforth, p. 90.



This is another account of the photographing of the submerged SS Oceana, from a magazine called Flight, published in the same month of 1912 in which the experimental flight took place.

Flight [magazine] 29 June 1912, p. 591.

Garry Gillard | New: 30 August, 2015 | Now: 18 November, 2019