India was not spared attack. On 22nd September the German light cruiser Emden entered Madras (Chennai) harbour and fired 125 rounds destroying a fuel tank storage area and sinking a merchant ship, causing casualties and creating widespread panic in the city. Thousands fled fearing invasion. It was the Australian HMAS Sydney that finally sank the Emden off the Cook Islands on 9th November 1914 after the German cruiser had sunk or captured over thirty allied merchant vessels and warships.
In the early months of the war the Germans made probing attacks along the border of British East Africa. The purpose of these attacks was to test the strength of European, Indian and African forces in defence of railway links with Uganda.
Captain Guy Oldfield , Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, attached to 4th Battalion Kings African Rifles was killed on 6th September 1914 along with members of the 29th Punjabis Infantry Regiment , Subadar (Lieutenant) Sher Baz Khan, Sepoys (Privates) Ghulum Hussain, Mirza Khan, Muhammad Din, Muhammad Zaman , Amrita and Dido. Together they had attempted a bayonet charge on German maxim gun units to west of Tsavo in an attempt to defend the Nairobi Railway. This attack meant the 29th Punjabis were the first unit of the Indian Army to fight in World War 1.