9th November 1914.
I beg most respectfully to bring before your notice the Official Report of the Officer Commanding the Expedition to Kaewieng as published in the Government Gazette of the 1st Novr., 1914, and to which, as the then Senior Naval Officer and actually on duty on the date referred to therein, I take the most serious exception, observing that it reflects most seriously upon myself as the Senior Naval Officer, and upon the Service to which I have the honour to belong, inasmuch as following all precedents a Naval Officer should have been in command of the Naval side of the Expedition, as there were sufficient available for the purpose, not only of the same rank but senior to Major Heritage.
As this Gazette will be read by the Officers of the Navy, both Imperial and Australian, it will be considered by all that a distinct slight has been cast on the Senior Service.
It is clearly laid down by King's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions that no Military Officer shall take command of any of His Majesty's Ships, which the report states Major Heritage did.
Lieut. Strassburg, R.A.N.R., who was on board (and should have been in command) is referred to in the report as "Captain Strassburg, Master Mariner", distinctly ignoring his Naval rank and position.
I submit, however, that the success of the Expedition was entirely due to his presence on board, as referred to in the latter part of the report.
Further, I again respectfully submit that I have just cause to complain that my position as Senior Naval Officer has been absolutely ignored, as shown by the above mentioned action, and in order No. 9 of the 19th October, 1914, in which certain Naval appointments have been made without my knowledge or my advice being asked for; and again in the case of the capture of the "Samoa" by the "Madang" under the orders of Lieutenant- Commander Lambton, R.A.N.R., this last being in perfect order but I submit I should, as Senior Naval Officer, have been consulted first.
I respectfully submit that although I have searched through British Naval and Military History, I cannot find a precedent for similar treatment to a Naval Officer of my rank and position.
I ask, therefore, that in my own interests, and in the interests of the Service to which I belong, a full enquiry be given me in this matter.