Item 10: General William Holmes diary, 23 August 1914-22 February 1915 - Page 361

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[Page 361]


Government House,
26th September, 1914.

The Honorable,
The Minister of State for Defence,


I have just returned here from Kaiser Wilhelmshafen, and beg to confirm the wireless message dispatched by me to you from Friedrich Wilhelmshafen on 24th instant, which ran as follows:-

"Troops under my command occupied Kaiser Wilhelmshafen today without opposition. Flag hoisted, Proclamation issued; principal Official absent. Four Officials and thirteen other Germans surrendered. All subscribed oath neutrality. The Officials will be temporarily engaged assist administration; others are Planters, Missionaries, business men. Forty fighting men left Wilhelmshafen fortnight ago reinforce German Troops, New Britain, but arrived after capitulation - now prisoners at Rabaul. Found private stores well stocked. Health troops excellent. Retraining Rabaul - Holmes."

At Wilhelmshafen I left as Garrison 1½ Companies Infantry and ½ Company Naval Reserves, with 500 rounds ammunition per rifle and two months supplies. I secured the commodious stores of the New Guinea Company as barracks for the Troops, and also suitable premises for a Hospital. Everything was quiet and I do not anticipate that any trouble will arise there, but the Officer commanding the Garrison (Major Martin) has been instructed to construct defences against boat landings and take all possible precautions.

The whole of the European residents, who were Germans, surrendered immediately, and as stated in my telegraphic message the oath of neutrality was administered to each. The principal Official was not available; I was informed that he had two days previously proceeded into the country on a punitive expedition against some natives who had been giving trouble, but of this I am in doubt. However, Major Martin has instructions to send for him or secure him as soon as he comes in. Amongst the German residents was a medical man who has charge of both European and Native Hospitals, and I have instructed Captain Byrne - the Medical Officer whom I left there with the Garrison - to use his judgment as to whether it will be necessary to continue the services temporarily of the German Officer or to dispense with them.

-The ships-

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