Item 05: General William Holmes reports of operations and instructions for officers, 1914-1915 - Page 98

You are here


[Page 98]


15th November;  To Minister Defence:
"Despatched "Messina" today with Nauru Prisoners.  Master wishes following cable sent Agents:- "Furness, Billeter St. London:  "Messina" said today Sydney - Anderson."

16th November;  To Minister Defence:
"Troops under my command took possession Nauru 6th inst. German flag lowered, British flag hoisted.  Military occupation proclaimed, garrison posted.  German Commissioner and 25 others taken prisoners, sent Sydney by "Messina".  Have repatriated 37 Britsh Employees Pacific Phosphates Coy. deported 2 months ago by Germans to Ocean Island. Telefunken Station undamaged.  Suggest early reinstatement.  Despatch following."

20th November;  From Secretary Defence:

"Mr. Workmur due to leave Brisbane today for Nauru per Steamer Southport, where he has been appointed Administrator at request Imperial Authorities."

21st November;  From Minister Defence:
"Eastern" with troops for occupation Islands Pelew, Caroline, Marshall and Ladrone, leaving Sydney 26th Novr. escorted by "Una" formerly "Komet".  Expedition in charge Pethebridge, Secty. Defence, who has been appointed Australian Commissioner, Pacific Islands with rank Colonel.  Will call Rabaul (capture) (?) 5th December and if necessary will disembark troops and embark such of your troops as you may required to deal with Bougainville trouble and then return Rabaul, embark Troops and proceed, when "Una" can continue escort."

23rd November;  From Secretary Defence:
"Three Destroyers due arrival Rabaul about 30th Novr.  They will assist you in occupying captured German territory South of Equator and seek for German Ships.  "Fantome" leaves Sydney 1st Decr. for same service. "Una" late "Komet" with "Eastern" due Rabaul about 5th Decr. with Commissioner and Troops to occupy Islands North of Equator.  One set wireless, 1½ kilowatts, is being sent in "Warrego" for erection Bougainville.

23rd November;  From Navy Office:
"Please report whether  W/T Station at Nauru had been damaged since Melbourne left and whether mast is still standing."

25th November;  From Secty. Defence:
"Colonel Pethebridge will administer as Commissioner the Pacific Islands lately German North of the Equator.  Formal/your jurisdiction extending to all newly acquired possessions South of the Equator.  What action do you propose as to further service of troops after the completion of 6 months term of enlistment.  Do you propose that a portion should be retained and remainder returned to Sydney.  Additional supplies for troops will be despatched Decr."

27th November;  Minister Defence:
"Only 10 per cent all ranks of my command prepared to remain here at present rates; if scale pay reduced none will re-engaged.  Suggest, therefore, relief force consisting of ½ Battalion infantry be organized to replace my present command.  I consider this number sufficient to garrison possessions South of Equator, providing seas are kept clear by our ships.

This page has its status set to Completed and is no longer transcribable.