Marco Polo to Mark Twain, many a celebrity came calling to Madras – DTNEXT

Chennai News

Invaders are visitors too, though surely unwelcome. In the 18th century, the French would fight battles all over Madras, on the Polo ground near Kathipara, on Quibble Island (MRC Nagar), around Kapaleeshwara temple and eventually shell the fort from the sea and subdue it. They would rule the city for three years.

During World War I, the German light cruiser SMS Emden came visiting. Emden, a lone raider choosing its own targets, approached Madras one Navarathri night and hurled 130 shells on the unsuspecting city.

Shrapnel hit several parts of the city and Burmah Oil Company tanks, containing 3,50,000 gallons of oil, were aflame. Though only three died and 13 were injured, the city was scared out of its wits. People left the city in fear and in a great hurry.

During World War II, Japanese radio propaganda threatened to annihilate the city and Madras promptly emptied itself. And in a day of anticlimax, on a day of a cyclone, when there was no power to even blow the air raid sirens, a lone Japanese bomber dropped its load of bombs in the area north of the fort, injuring a shepherd and some cattle.