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[Page 143]

Troopship "Berrima",
Fairfax Harbour
Port Moresby,
6th September 1914.

From Officer Commanding Naval & Military Expedition.
To Rear-Admiral Commanding Australian Squadron.

Today I made an inspection of the whole of the Officers, Non-commissioned Officers, and Men of the Infantry Contingent now on board the Troopship "Kanowna", and regret to have to report that I consider the whole Unit absolutely unfitted for active service, and recommend that they be not taken further but returned at once to the State to which they belong.

My reasons for arriving at this conclusion are as follows:-

(1) The Officer in Command has had very little Military training or experience, and, in addition, lacks personality and self-reliance.

(2) There is no Regimental Staff; to repair this omission I have been obliged to detail an Officer from the "Berrima" to act as Adjutant.

(3) The Unit consists of four Companies, but only two of these are commanded by Captains who have 8 years and 6½ years Commissioned service respectively.  The other two Companies are commanded by (1) a 1st Lieutenant of only two years Commissioned service and (2) a 2nd Lieut. of a few months service.  In 'D' Coy. the three Officers are young 2nd. Lieuts. Of the 13 Officers 7 are 21 years of age and under, of but a few months service each.

(4) There is only one permanent staff N.C.O., who acts as Regimental Sergt. Major.

(5) Although the Contingent has been on service for three weeks, no Non-commissioned Officers have yet been appointed, but a few men are acting.

(6) The Unit consists of 1/3rd Trainees under the Commonwealth Universal Training System, and 2/3rds Rifle Club Members. Some of the former are immature lads under 18 years of age, although I understand the instructions provided for men of the Naval and Military Expedition being between the ages of 19 and 39 years.

(7) Many of these young men exhibit very poor physical development, and in my opinion could not do a day's march as Soldiers, particularly in the Tropics.

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