DIARY OF EVENTS - KIETA EXPEDITION:
Under command of Lieut. C. W. Russell Watson. V.D.
S.S. "Meklong' left Rabaul at 4-0 p.m. on Monday, 7th Decr., having on board 231 troops all told, including Col. Watson, Capt. Lane, Major Ralston, Capt. Harcus, Lieuts. Maughan, Holmes, Cooper, Bruce, Johnson and Westgarth.
When at sea it was decided to go straight to Kieta, and call at Soraken on the return journey.
9th Decr. Arrived at Rorowana at 10-0 a.m. where it was decided to call at Native village and ask for information from natives. The natives stated that there were only some half dozen Germans and a few Police Boys at Kieta. The ship then proceeded to Kieta, arriving at 12 o'clock, when I immediately put off in a boat under flag of truce. I landed and explained the situation to Herr Doellinger and asked him to come on board with me, which he did at 12-45 p.m. The "Meklong" then proceeded alongside wharf and Col. Watson landed with Doellinger. I went off at once and hoisted the Union Flag. Oath administered to 4 residents and at 6-00 p.m. having on board Doellinger and wife and child, Dr. Kroning and wife and child, Ewest and wife, Police Master Fritsch, Urban, an Austrian, and the Asst. Doctor. It was decided tonight by Col. Watson, owing to pressure of time and having so many people on board, and the difficulty of passage through the reef at Numa Numa, to go straight to Tinputz and land the cargo for both places there and then proceed to Soraken.
10th Decr: Arrived at Tinputz at 4-0 a.m. and anchored close to shore. At daylight discharging operations were commenced and all cargo for Numa Numa, Tinputz and the balance of Kieta cargo was put on shore. There happened to be a cutter here due to sail for Kieta, and she is going to take all stores back there. Discharging operations finished at 1-0 a.m. and "Meklong" sailed at 10-30 for Soraken. Arrived at Soraken after safely negotiating the Buka Straits at 3-30 p.m. Mr. Campbell, Manager of the Choisseul Plantation Ltd. came on board at once. He reported a case of a German trying shoot an Englishman and asked Col. Watson to deal with him. A Court Martial was at once convened with Major Ralston President, Captains Lane and Harcus Members, and Lieut. Holmes Prosecutor. The Prisoner (Meerkatz) was found guilty and remanded to Rabaul. All the cargo for Soraken was discharged at 4-30 p.m. and ship remained at anchor all night.
11th Decr: Ship remained at anchor till 10-30 awaiting a breeze so that the Captain would see the reefs in the water. We left Soraken at 10-30 and cleared the reefs at 12 noon, and headed straight for Rabaul. The prisoners' luggage was searched by me this afternoon, and Herr Doellinger disclosed Govt. money in his and the other prisoners' luggage to the amount of 11,000M. See attached statement by Herr Doellinger. Ascertain portion of this money was taken over as follows;-
Herr Doellinger M1,000 Cash
Herr Girnus 500 Cash
Herr Ewest 1,495 Notes
The 2,000M not accounted for are in a tin trunk at Kieta, belonging to Dr. Kroning, which was left behind at Kieta when "Meklong" left owing to it not being on wharf in time to be put on board.
12th Decr. Entered St. George's Channel at 6-30 am and arrived Rabaul at 3-15 p.m.
(Sgd. Basil Holmes Lieut. A.D.C.