Item 10: General William Holmes diary, 23 August 1914-22 February 1915 - Page 156

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[Page 156]


At 2-10 a.m. the following message was received:-
"Administrator: Olsen and Robertson, Island Traders, ask permission for Mr. Higgins of Sydney to proceed  New Britain for purpose of taking cinematograph pictures. Have you any objection? - Pethebridge."

The decision of the Courts Martial on No. 178 Pte.. T.J. Wilson and No. 125 H.H. Heath, were announced; Wilson was found guilty of robbery in China Town and was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment; Heath was found guilty of causing the explosion of a rocket, resulting in 4 men being injured, and was sentenced to 28 days field punishment with forfeiture of pay.

Sporting Outfits received from the President of the Red Cross Society were distributed amongst the Garrisons at Rabaul and Herbertshohe.

The "Messina" returned at 4-0 p.m. with the Administrator and Captain Travers. This vessel arrived at Ocean Island on the 3rd instant, and the Administrator landed, and after conferring with the Resident Commissioner (Mr. H.C. Eliot) and the Manager of the Pacific Phosphate Coy., it was decided to take back to Nauru the Company's Officials whom it was then learned had been deported by the Germans on the 6th September from Nauru to Ocean Island. The Administrator remained on shore, and during the afternoon, at the request of the Resident Commissioner, inspected the Native Police. Owing to shipping difficulties it was learned that the "Messina" would not be able to leave until the 5th instant. On the 4th idem stores were placed on board for the Company's employees who would be left at Nauru.

At 10 a.m. on the 5th instant the "Messina" left Ocean Island for Nauru. A guard of honor for the Administrator was arranged for by Resident Commissioner, consisting of 4 Officers, and 40 others made up of Ocean Island Volunteer Reserves, Japanese ex Soldiers, and Native Police.

Nauru was sighted early on the 6th idem and the vessel hove to until daylight, when the following message was signalled to the signalling station at Government House:-
"Can Governor come on board - Important."
A reply was received asking if peace had been declared.
The Administrator then signalled "Am landing boat on lee side; (about 5 miles from Government House).
Captain Travers put off under a flag of truce and brought the Governor (Herr Wostrack) and the Police Master on board. The terms of capitulation were explained to Herr Wostrack, who gave an assurance that no resistance would be offered. Troops under the command of Capt Norrie were then landed under cover of machine gun. The Government Offices and Wireless Station were immediately seized; the latter had not been damaged in any way. Thirty Germans were arrested, and after handing over all arms, ammunition, etc. were placed on parole for the night.

 At 9-0 a.m. on the 7th instant the Administrator held a levee of the Native Chiefs; he explained to them that the Island was now occupied by the British, and that Capt Norrie would remain in charge. At 3-0 p.m. Capt. Norrie, with due ceremony, officially joisted the British Flag, Twenty-six Germans (including Herr Wostrack) were placed on board the "Messina", which left for Rabaul at 4-0 p.m. on the 8th. Attached is a copy of instructions issued t

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