Item 10: General William Holmes diary, 23 August 1914-22 February 1915 - Page 264
WEDNESDAY - 6th JANUARY 1915:
The following message, addressed to Colonel Pethebridge, has been received:-
"Are you willing to accept appointment as Administrator of German New Guinea, so that Colonel Holmes may return Australia. 375 Officers and men for tropical service will leave in January, and with yours make 600. They will relieve the whole of Colonel Holmes force - Trumble 29th Decr."
Message quoted in yesterday's diary was also repeated, bearing date of 29th Decr.
The Administrator had an interview with Colonel Pethebridge at 10-30 a.m., and Colonel Pethebridge informed the Administrator he was prepared to accept the appointment. The administration of the Colony will be handed over to Colonel Pethebridge to-morrow, and on the following day the Administrator will go one board the "Eastern" and return to Australia by that vessel. The "Eastern" will not leave Rabaul until the arrival of the "Morinda."
At 11-30 a.m. the Administrator interviewed the Officers who have been in charge of the various Administrative Departments. He explained fully the situation, and he asked them to give every possible assistance to Colonel Pethebridge on his taking up as Administrator. Colonel Pethebridge will interview these Officers to-morrow regarding their respective Departments. The question of their remaining here, will of course, depend upon Colonel Pethebridge.
The "Matunga" left at 9-30 a.m. for Sydney via Samaraii.
No. 892 Corporal G. Thomas, 'H' Coy., had portion of his right hand blown off by dynamite explosion. He was conveyed to Namanula Hospital, where his right hand was amputated above the wrist. An enquiry into the cause of the accident has been ordered.
The following message has been prepared for despatch by Colonel Pethebridge, ald to Defence, Melbourne:-
"January 6th Your W. 8728 only just received. You will take over from Colonel Holmes on 8th Jany. Colonel Holmes and about 250 Officers and Men leaving by "Eastern" should arrive Sydney about 17th January. All men sent here should be subjected strict medical examination immediately before embarkation to make sure no organic disease.Propose retaining Hardy for present; will be most useful in connection with shipping matters. Well - Pethebridge."
Patients in hospital are progressing favourably.