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[Page 250]


The "Fantome" arrived in Simpsonhaven at daybreak, and brought despatches for the Administrator. She is placed at the disposal of the Administrator to assist him in capturing and occupying German Territory (Bougainville).

An enquiry into the fire on the "Samoa" on the night of 15th Decr., was opened, President - Major Heritage, , Member - Lieut. Holmes.

The "Una" and "Eastern" arrived at noon. Captain Travers was immediately sent on board the "Eastern" to bring Colonel Pethebridge ashore to interview the Administrator; a guard of honor, consisting of 50 of the R.A.N.R. was given Colonel Pethebridge on landing. The "Eastern" brought back troops despatched from here on 2nd Decr. under Lt. Commander Bracegirdle. The "Siar" and "Nusa" have been retained by Commander Comberlege (Commander Destroyers) in order to assist him to carry out the objects of the expedition, namely to search for German Merchant Cruiser renamed "Cormoran" (late Russian).

Captain Byrne, A.M.C., who was in charge at Frederick Wilhelmshafen, also returned to Rabaul by the "Eastern". He has been relieved temporarily by a Doctor from Colonel Pethebridge's force, as Capt. Byrne was completely run down and desired a rest. He will return to Frederick Wilhelmshafen at a later date.

The Administrator gave an Official Dinner to Colonel Pethebridge, Major Stragman and Lieut. Commander Jackson.

Major Martin, O.C. Garrison, Frederick Wilhelmshafen, has sent a small force to garrison Eitape, and it is understood that another garrison will shortly be posted up the Kaiserin Augusta River, about 40 miles from entrance.

The health of troops is satisfactory.

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