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[Page 237]

RABAUL, 28th December 1914.

The Administrator:


S.S. "Meklong" left Rabaul at 4-30 pm on Sunday, 20th Dec. under the Command of Sub-Lieut. Sparling, R.N.R., having on board 28 soldiers all told, who are to relieve Lieut. Maughan at Kieta, under the command of Capt. Ogilvie, Lieut. Laycock, 2nd in command and Capt. Ford, Medical Officer. I was detailed to represent the Administrator and gave Lieut. Maughan his instructions, etc. at Kieta. Also had on board a German named Zoeller who took the oath of neutrality in Rabaul, and is being returned to the nearest place we call at to Soraken. Stopped at Herbertshohe to pick up 19 returned labor boys for H.S.A.G., three of these boys to be returned to Numa Numa and 16 to Kieta. Heavy rain all night.

21st Decr: Made a good passage across, sighting Buka at about 2-30 p.m. The Captain decided to go through the Buka Straits, so we entered the Straits at 4-30 p.m. and anchored for the night off the island of Pilato, where there is a store of Hernsheim & Coy. run by a Chinaman. The German Zoeller was put ashore here as we received word that a cutter from Soraken was expected next day recruiting boys.

22nd. Decr: Got under weigh from Pilato at 5-30 a.m. and safely negotiated the remainder of the Buka Straits. Just as we cleared the Straits, the Captain of the Ship (Sparling) was noticed to be under the influence of liquor, and kept the ship on a course N. by W., all the time talking wildly about reefs in the vicinity and saying that the chart was incorrect. The chart shows no reefs in the locality and Capt. Strassburg on my trip with him assured me there were no reefs here, and that the North Coast of Bougainville was free from reefs altogether, and Strassburg kept the ship within 20 yards of the shore all the way. The Captain came on the bridge at 9-35 a.m. still under the influence of liquor and talked to the 2nd Mate in Pidgin English about the reefs off the points on the North Coast of Bougainville. At 9-50 a.m. the Captain giving such rotten sailing directions and threatening to fight boys at wheel, I took charge of the ship and altered course to E. He was steering into Banio thinking he was going to Numa Numa.

10 a.m. interviewed Captain in his cabin and told him that I would remain in charge of ship till he stopped running on such erratic courses. 10-30 a.m. had another interview with Captain in his cabin and told him that I was in charge of ship, and until further orders he was to remain in his cabin, and that I would consider what I would do with him when he was sober. He asked me to give him a chance and not report him. I said I would talk to him when he was sober. 11-0 a.m. appointed A.B. Jackson Mate, to take charge of ship, and wrote down in ship's log all that had taken place till this time. 11-15 a.m. course altered to E.S.E. 11-45 a.m. Tinputz abeam. 11-55 a.m. Officially informed the Engineer that the Capt. was relieved of his command, and until further notice disregard any instructions he might received from Captain. Informed Engineer that Jackson was in charge of ship. At 12-50 p.m. interviewed Sparling again and he pleaded with me to give him back command of the ship and not to report him as it would break him. I told him that the matter had already been logged, and would be reported in Rabaul on our return, and that I had placed Jackson in charge of ship till further orders and told him he was to keep off bridge and he was a passenger till we got to Kieta, where I would consider the matter again. Numa Numa abeam at 3-30 p.m. It was found that we could not reach Kieta tonight, so it was decided to anchor off Cape Le Kras inside the reef; the passage through


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