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[Page 190]


At 3-20 a.m. the following message was received from the Secretary Defence:-

"Administrator: Colonel Pethebridge will administer as Commissioner, the Pacific Islands lately German North of Equator, formal jurisdiction extending to all newly acquired possessions South of the Equator. What action do you propose as to further service of Troops after completion of the six months term of enlistment. do you propose that a portion should be retained and the remained return to Sydney? Additional supplies for the Troops will be dispatched Decr."

In connection with the above Lt. Col. Watson, O.C. Troops, was directed to ascertain whether the men in garrison at Rabaul and Herbertshohe were desirous of enlisting for a further term of service, either at present or reduced rate of pay.

The Administrator, also Lt. B. Holmes, A.D.C., were confined to their beds today suffering from an attack of Dengue Fever.

Lt. Col. Watson, accompanied by Major Maguire, motored to Herbertshohe to inspect the garrison there, and at the same time ascertain the dispositions of the men in garrison there in regard to enlisting for further term of service.

After the matter had been carefully enquired into, the following message to Secretary for Defence, in reply to above-mentioned telegram, was prepared for dispatch:-

"Only 10 per cent all ranks of my command prepared to remain here at present rates. If scale pay reduced none will reengage. Suggest, therefore, relief force consisting of half battalion Infantry be organised to replace my present command. I consider this number sufficient to garrison possessions South of Equator, providing seas are kept clear by our Ships - Holmes."

The following message to Minister of Defence was also submitted for dispatch:-

"As I have received no notification cancelation my appointment as Administrator, am doubtful of my position on arrival here of Colonel Pethebridge. Does he supersede me at once as Administrator of all late German Possessions now under my jurisdiction, or am I to continue until 6 months service has expired, then transfer to Pethebridge and return Australia for further service - Holmes."

Health of troops is satisfactory.


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