Bita Paka 1914




Bita Paka







 The Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) was formed on 6 August 1914. Its sole purpose was to destroy German wireless stations, operating in the Caroline Islands at Nauru and New Britain, which were communicating with the German East Asian Cruiser squadron operating in Pacific waters. The ANMEF was raised separately from the Australian Imperial Force, and comprised 1,500 militia infantry and 500 naval reservists and ex-sailors. On 11 September 1914 shore parties landed unopposed at Rabaul and nearby Kabakaul, where a patrol of 25 Australian naval reservists pushed inland to the wireless station at Bita Paka. There they were engaged by a composite force of German reservists and Melanesian police. In this action Australia suffered six dead and five wounded, and took possession of the wireless station. It was the first Australian action of the First World War. Those Australians killed at Bita Paka were the first Australian troops to die of more than 60,000 killed in the four-year conflict








An artist's depiction Troops  landed at Kabakaul just after dawn on the 11th of September 1914  
Image copyright: © Australian War Memorial Creative Commons License This image is licensed under CC BY-NC

 


Bita Paka was a small radio station established shortly after the start of the war in Kaiser Wilhelm land, German New Guinea.  The German South Seas Wireless Company originally planned to construct a high-powered radio station at the site, but this changed with the onset of war and instead only a low-powered station was erected. The radio station became increasingly important to Admiral Spree and his fleet as they fled across the Pacific looking for coal which became increasingly scarce as the war progressed. The force protecting Bita Paka was also responsible for the protection of the nearby capital of Rabaul.
Rabaul was well stocked with the coal that was desperately needed by Germany’s ships fleeing the Pacific.  German New Guinea was different from her counterpart colonies in Africa in that it had no Schutztruppe (colonial defence force), but a Polizeitruppe used for putting down rebellions and intervening in tribal wars.  The Polizeitruppe had proven effective during the 1910 Sokehs rebellion, and learnt well from their earlier weakness in communication.  The German defence at Bita Paka comprised approximately 240 native police soldiers and 50 German officers.  



 

Image copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This image is licensed under CC BY-NC


ART03639
Title Wireless station, Bita Paka, Rabaul
st Bryant, Charles
Object type Painting
de Pacific Islands: Bismarck Archipelago, New Britain, Gazelle Peninsula, Rabaul Area, Bitapaka
e 1923
M oil on canvas on cardboard

framed: 49.2 x 39 cm; unframed: 40.4 x 30.2 cm (irreg.)
Co Art


Painting of the wireless station at Bita Paka in Rabaul. There is a large signals tower rising up over civilian buildings, the scene set against lush green hillside and cloudscape.

Permalink: http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/ART03639

===============================================================================================================

DOUBLE CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE 
 
The objective Bita Paka radio station
 
Bita-Paka, A section of the interior of the wireless station.
 
 
The building housing the wireless telegraph station for the area. 
 

The buildings housing the wireless telegraph station and associated support equipment for the area


 

colonel William Holmes, Commander of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) (in centre) and two unidentified officers at the wireless station at Bita-Paka after its capture. The first objective of the New Guinea expedition was this wireless station, a few miles inland from Blanche Bay, which at the outbreak of war was still in course of construction, but was hurriedly got ready for use. Colonel William Holmes, Commander of the AN&MEF is in the centre.




 

The wireless mast at Bita-Paka. The radio station at Bita-Paka was an important strategic goal to be taken when the AN&MEF Force took New Guinea from the German authorities. It also formed a key part of the Australian administration of Rabaul during the war.


DOUBLE CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE 

 


The firefight at the Bita Paka radio station outside Rabaul on 11 September 1914 was Australia’s first significant military engagement of the Great War. In terms of human losses it was a modest event with 6 Australians, 1 German and 30 German New Guineans killed and 4 Australians and 11 German New Guineans wounded. But the strategic consequences of the Australian victory were enormous. Knocking out a nodal point in the German military radio network in the Pacific was a vital primary objective. But above and beyond that, all of German New Guinea came under Australian control. At one stroke the Australian border was effectively pushed up to the equator, the German threat was removed from the region, and a million souls added to the British Empire.  It was a nasty little encounter. A small Australian naval party of 25 men, an officer and a military doctor landed in Blanche Bay and pushed inland about eight kilometres along the dusty road to Bita Paka, with almost impenetrable jungle hemming them in on either side. Able Seaman Billy Williams, a 29-year-old electricity works employee from Northcote in Melbourne became the first Australian serviceman killed in action in the Great War when he was hit in the stomach by a treetop sniper’s bullet. The doctor, 24-year-old Captain Brian Pockley AAMC from Wahroonga in Sydney, was killed by another bullet as he tried to assist the wounded, having selflessly given away his Red Cross brassard to his orderly. Eventually reinforcements arrived and, after a suicidal and initially unsuccessful rush by the Australians at a German trench that barred the road, the German officer in charge of its 20 New Guinean defenders conceded defeat. Two more defended trenches stood between the Australians and the radio station. Using the captured German officer as interlocutor, Lieutenant Thomas Bond RANR from Brisbane, now with some 30 men and a heavy machine gun section, parleyed surrender terms with the remaining Germans. There was one edgy moment when four German officers with holstered pistols appeared on the brink of offering resistance. Bond, however, rushed up and swiftly disarmed them, thus winning the first Australian decoration of the war, a DSO. So, in one day’s fighting, did all of German New Guinea fall into Australian hands.  This was the sharp end of the encounter; but strategically speaking much more was going on. The German heavy cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were thought to be in Rabaul. Hence the RAN sent a major naval force to oppose them, consisting of the battlecruiser Australia, cruiser Sydney, three destroyers, the armed troopship Berrima, and two submarines. Colonel William Holmes, a citizen soldier and Boer War veteran who was secretary of the Sydney Water Board in private life, had over 1000 men under his command in the grandly named Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force. Rear Admiral George Patey RN commanded the fleet and was the ranking officer. With all of this firepower at their disposal, and the two German cruisers nowhere to be seen, the Australian force far outnumbered and outgunned the German garrison and strategic success was assured. 

  There are, however, some curious elements to the affair. Why was a lightly-armed naval party deployed initially and the decisive firepower of the machine gunners held back? Meade does not say so, but it is likely that Patey persuaded Holmes to let the navy have first crack. This was a tactical mistake and may have cost lives. Or was it that the advance party exceeded its orders? Some other matters should be noted. However worthy his justification in terms of protecting his own men, Lieutenant Rowland Bowen RAN undoubtedly breached the Geneva convention when he forced a German POW to walk down the road ahead of the Australian party and towards the German trench, though Meade argues otherwise. Also, the Germans planted two big mines under the road that the Australians blithely walked over. Had not the German officer in charge been absent ill with malaria, the mines almost certainly would have been set off by the New Guineans who manned the plungers and many more Australians killed. And then there is the unexplained mystery of the disappearance off Rabaul with all hands of the Australian submarine AE1 three days after the fighting. A month later some renegade Germans on New Ireland flogged a British Methodist missionary as a spy and were later flogged themselves at Holmes’s orders. Finally, there is the strange case of the German Captain Hermann Detzner who eluded captivity in the Saruwaged Mountains of the Huon Peninsula on mainland New Guinea until after 11 November 1918, literally keeping the Kaiser’s flag flying in a string of remote villages. Queensland journalist Kevin Meade has written a spirited and very readable account of the exploits of these almost forgotten heroes recently memorialised with plaques at the Bita Paka cemetery and outside Northcote RSL club. For many years, as Meade readily acknowledges, a small ceremony has taken place each anniversary at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance. The last survivor of the Bita Paka firefight, Bill Gothard, died in 1992.  

CARL BRIDGE King’s College London 

 

Map of the Kaiser Wilhelm's Land, the German colony of New Guinea, 1884–1919


DOUBLE CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE 

 
 
 
 

 A map showing the course taken by HMAS Australia between 4 October and 8 November 1914. During this time the Admiralty ordered the transfer of headquarters from Rabaul to Suva, thinking that German battleships would attack Samoa, Fiji or New Zealand. Subsequently HMAS Australia cruised on trade routes in the region.





Kokopo,(Herbertshöhe)New Britain.The front of the building used as a hospital by the 3rd Battalion, the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary force





Kokopo,(Herbertshöhe)New Britian.1914.The town post office where the German Treaty of Surrender was signed on 21 September 1914 by Dr E. Haber (German) and Colonel William Holmes





German New Guinea local troops at drill, being trained by German Reservists, shortly before the arrival of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary


A platoon of German Reservists in German New Guinea, after the outbreak of war and shortly before the arrival of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force 





 


 

 




A German Reservists,


Troops  checking their target after receiving instruction in musketry from German
German Reservists in German New Guinea



German colonialists at Kokopo with armed constabulary 1914 with The Rabaul Gun. Krupp 6pd Field Gun this was the first piece of enemy ordnance captured in combat by Australian Forces in WWI . ( September 1914 )    

===============================================================

Embarkation of the 1st Battalion AN&MEF,the ferry steamer Kulgoa,loaded with troops,leaves Fort Macquarie,Sydney for Cockatoo Island

The 1st Battalion Left on the 18 August 1918 from
First troops leaving Townsville,1914 on the Kanowna, the New Guinea Expeditionary Forces  to Thursday Island, Port Moresby on to Rabaul


 

Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF) to leave Australia for Rabaul. They are seen marching to the wharf, one cheerful mother beside her. September 1914 



12 Parade of Queensland Expeditionary Force through the streets of Brisbane
14 September 1914



Going out on the Belila to see the troops off to New Guinea, Mackay, 1914 

Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF) for Rabaul leaving Townsville during World War I, August 1914 




Some of Australia's first enlisted men who are on to Rabaul with the AN&MEF

Group portrait of Australian Navy and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) Officers at German New Guinea. Back row (in background), left to right: Gunner Young RAN; unidentified native; unidentified native. Middle row (standing): Midshipman William, Royal Australian Naval Reserve (RANR); Midshipman Cocks, RANR; Signal Boatswain Hunter RAN; Sub-Lieutenant Webber RANR; Lieutenant Marsden CMF; Lt Goadby, CMF; Sub Lt Buller RANR; Midshipman Sage RANR; Lt Read RANR. Front row (sitting): Captain Flood, Australian Army Medical Corps; Lt Gillam RANR; Lieutenant Commander L. S. Bracegirdle DSO, RAN, Commanding Officer (HMAS Penguin tally band); Dr Runge; Paymaster Lieutenant Commander Livesay, Royal Navy.



5 Brigadier General G F Johnson (seated centre) in charge of the Australian Navy and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF), with his administration staff outside the front of their headquarters building.


Outdoor group portrait of officers of the Rabaul Garrison of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force. All except two went on to serve overseas with the AIF. Identified from left to right, back row: Lieutenant (Lt) Harold Woodford Johnson (later promoted Major and awarded Military Cross); Lt John Malbon Maughan (later promoted Major and awarded Distinguished Service Order); Lt Ivan Brunker Sherbon (later promoted Captain, awarded Military Cross, killed in action in France on 14 November 1916); Lt Victor Horatio Buller Sampson (later promoted Major and killed in action in France on 19 July 1916); Lt John Ellesmere Westgarth (later promoted Major in the Light Horse); Lt Patrick Kendall Barton Quinn (served as Lieutenant in 35th Battalion); Lt Alan Forbes Anderson (later promoted Major and Mentioned in Despatches); Lt John Ambrose McDowell (later promoted Major and Mentioned in Despatches); Lt Robert Partridge (appointment terminated 4 March 1915); Lt Rupert Markham Sadler (later promoted Lieutenant Colonel, awarded Military Cross, Distinguished Service Order, Mentioned in Despatches, also served in the Second World War); Lt Herbert Leslie Bruce (later promoted Major and awarded Military Cross); and Lt William Charles Meredith Penly (later Lieutenant in 55th Battalion). Front row: Lt Lionel Babington Ravencroft; Major Alexander Windeyer Ralston (later promoted Lieutenant Colonel, awarded Distinguished Service Order, Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George and Mentioned in Despatches on three occasions); Lieutenant Colonel John Paton (later Temporary Brigadier General and awarded Order of St Stanislas - 2nd Class (with swords) (Russia) and Mentioned in Despatches on two occasions); Captain (Capt.) Sydney Percival Goodsell (later promoted Major and awarded Croix de Guerre (France) and Mentioned in Despatches); and Capt. Charles Edye Manning ( later promoted Major, Mentioned in Despatches and killed in action in France on 7 August 1916). H150


Group portrait of the military band of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF), led by 1534 Acting Warrant Officer class 1 Sergeant Edmund Martin Hawnt, of Warrington, England

 
 troops landing at Kieta, German New Guinea, between 1914

Japanese Officers inspecting Australian troops in Rabaul 1914


 
AN&MEF troops unearthing landmine across road leading to Bita Paka



 Group of Native Police, 1319 Acting CSM Warrant Officer 2, Sergeant Louis Georges Gouday, of Bordeaux, France, partially seen raising the flag and 1503 QMS Marcel Luquet,
C. 1914. A KRUPP gun with a swagged barrel AN&MEF gun crew

Fort Raluana, New Britain. c. 1918. This 6 inch Australian Artillery Battery was constructed in 1918 near the entrance to Blanche Bay. It replaced a 4.7 inch battery which had been on Matupi Island


 

Raluana Head, Rabaul. 1918. Australian soldiers, with the help of local natives, hauling 6 inch gun barrels to the top of the head to establish an artillery battery which would overlook Blanche Bay

Matupi Island, New Britain. c. 1914. Houses built for members of the 4.7 inch RAN gun battery installed on the island. Because of the heat and humidity the houses were constructed to suit the climate. 

Matupi Island, Rabaul Area. 1915 A tram line which served the needs of the battery of 4.7 Naval guns installed on the island



Matupi Island, New Britain. 1914. The camouflaged fire control post built for the 4.7 inch RAN gun battery installed on the island. 

Matupi Island  1914. One of the 4.7 inch guns of the naval battery on the Island

Matupi Island, Rabaul Area. 1915. The ammunition magazine for the battery of 4.7 Naval guns installed on the island 


G Company in Rabaul, New Guinea - 1916  
Funeral procession for Sergeant Wilson in Rabaul, New Guinea - October 1916

 

SS Berrima  

 

Berrima left Sydney on 19 August 1914 carrying men of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, consisting of a battalion of 1,000 infantry and a small battalion of 500 Naval Reservists and time-expired Royal Navy seamen, for operations against the German New Guinea colonies. Troops were landed at Herbertshöhe and Rabaul on 11 and 12 September respectively and on the New Guinea mainland on 24 September. The ship was retroactively awarded the battle honour "Rabaul 1914" Berrima subsequently returned to Sydney and, despite plans to employ her as an armed merchant cruiser, was paid off on 20 October 1914 and converted to a troop transport

HMAS Encounter



.

 This group was sent to take control of German controlled  New Guinea for the British Empire at the start of World War 1.

Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, marching on Randwick Road for final embarkation on HMAS BERRIMA. The photograph was taken on 18 August 1914

 


HMAS Yarra 

HMAS Warrego

HMAS Parramatta


HMAS Grantala was a hospital ship operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) during World War I. She was launched in 1903 by Armstrong Whitworth Company for the Adelaide Steamship Company. The ship operated in Australian waters from 1903, and was requisitioned by the RAN on 7 August 1914. She was returned to her owners in 1915, then was sold and renamed Figuig. The ship was scrapped in 1934 Hospital-ship Grantala




At the outbreak of World War I, AE1 joined the naval forces assigned to the capture of the German Pacific colonies. With AE2, she took part in the operations leading to the occupation of German New Guinea, including the surrender of Rabaul on 13 September 1914.

The following day, at 7.00 am the destroyer HMAS Parramatta (I) left her night patrol ground off Raluana Point and proceeded at slow speed in the direction of Cape Gazelle to rendezvous with AE1 and conduct a patrol in St George’s Channel to the south and east of the Duke of York Islands. The two vessels met off Herbertshöhe at 8.00 am and exchanged signals before proceeding to Cape Gazelle where they arrived at approximately 9.00 am. A further exchange of signals followed during which Parramatta advised AE1 that her ‘orders were to search to the southward with submarine and anchor off Herbertshöhe at 5.30pm’. 




HMAS Australia 

 
 

HMAS Sydney

 Rossel Island, New Guinea. September 1914. A rendezvous of Australian ships preparing to sail for Rabaul, New Britain. The photograph was taken from HMAS Encounter with HMAS Australia straight ahead, then store ship Aorangi to the left in front of merchant ship Berrima and HMAS Sydney extreme left



HMAS Yarra  & HMAS Parramatta

in Simpson Harbour Ranaul

At the outbreak of World War I, AE1 joined the naval forces assigned to the capture of the German Pacific colonies. With AE2, she took part in the operations leading to the occupation of German New Guinea, including the surrender of Rabaul on 13 September 1914.

The following day, at 7.00 am the destroyer HMAS Parramatta (I) left her night patrol ground off Raluana Point and proceeded at slow speed in the direction of Cape Gazelle to rendezvous with AE1 and conduct a patrol in St George’s Channel to the south and east of the Duke of York Islands. The two vessels met off Herbertshöhe at 8.00 am and exchanged signals before proceeding to Cape Gazelle where they arrived at approximately 9.00 am. A further exchange of signals followed during which Parramatta advised AE1 that her ‘orders were to search to the southward with submarine and anchor off Herbertshöhe at 5.30pm’. 

=================================================================
On 9 November, Sydney was detailed to leave the convoy to investigate reports of an unknown vessel off the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. This vessel turned out to be the German cruiser SMS Emden. In the resulting engagement, Sydney was hit early by the long-ranging 10.5 cm guns of Emden, which resulted in four dead and twelve wounded. However, the superior firepower of the Australian cruiser’s broadside soon told and Emden was left “beached and done for” on North Keeling Island.  (HMAS Sydney 1913-1928)
 
 
SMS Emden Nickname –“the Swan of the East” Length – 387 feet Displacement – 3,400 tons Propulsion – Twin screw reciprocating steam engine. Range – 6,000 kms
Speed – 23 knots Crew – 360 Armament – 10 4 in. (105mm) guns and two torpedo tubes.
=====================================================================
 Brigadier-General G.J. Johnson ,CB, CMG, VD,(second from the left)
leaving the wharf with Lieut Colonel Mackenzie Deputy Judge Advocate,
 General Banks, and Captain Preston ( Military Secretary)
 
Inspecting Guard of Honour
DOUBLE CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE 

\

Taking the Salute


Leaving for Government House
 





The above images are the work of  Thomas James Rodoni  taken in and around Rabaul and Madang . Rodoni was a member of the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force 1914









BITA PAKA COMMEMORATIVE EVENT 

 

William George Vincent Williams

Service Number: 294

Rank: Able Seaman

Unit: Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force

Service: Royal Australian Navy

Conflict / Operation: First World War, 1914-1918

Conflict eligibility date:  First World War, 1914-1921

Date of death: 11 September 1914

Place of death: Rabaul, Gazelle Peninsula, New Pomerania, Bismarck Archipelago, German New Guinea

Cause of death: Died of wounds

Cemetery or memorial details: Bita Paka War Cemetery, Bita Paka, Rabaul, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea

Notes: Able Seaman Williams was originally commemorated on panel number 1, he is now listed on panel number 188.

Source: AWM144 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Royal Australian Navy


 

Robert David Moffatt

               
Service Number: 121

Rank: Able Seaman

Unit: Naval Brigade (Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force)

Service: Royal Australian Navy

Conflict / Operation: First World War, 1914-1918

Conflict eligibility date:  First World War, 1914-1921

Date of death: 12 September 1914

Place of death: Rabaul, New Britain, Pacific Islands

Cause of death: Died of wounds

Age at death: 20

Place of association: Kensington, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cemetery or memorial details: burial at sea of Signalman R.D. Moffatt from the main deck of HMAS Australia

Source: AWM144 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Royal Australian Navy

              John Edward Walker               

Also known as: John Courtney

Service Number: 45

Rank: Able Seaman

Unit: Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force

Service: Royal Australian Navy

Conflict / Operation: First World War, 1914-1918

Conflict eligibility date:  First World War, 1914-1921

Date of death: 11 September 1914

Place of death: Rabaul, Gazelle Peninsula, New Pomerania, Bismarck Archipelago, German New Guinea

Cause of death: Killed in action

Place of association: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cemetery or memorial details: Bita Paka War Cemetery, Bita Paka, Rabaul, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea

Source: AWM144 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Royal Australian Navy







 


Henry William Street

Service No: 419  

Rank: Able Seaman  

Unit: Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force

Service: Royal Australian Navy

Conflict / Operation: First World War, 1914-1918

Conflict eligibility date:  First World War, 1914-1921

Date of death: 11 September 1914

Date of Death: 11/09/1914

Place of death: Rabaul, Gazelle Peninsula, New Pomerania, Bismarck Archipelago, German New Guinea

Cause of death: Killed in action

 Grave Reference:   AA. A. 15.Cemetery:RABAUL (BITA PAKA) WAR CEMETERY

Notes: Able Seaman Street was originally commemorated on panel number 1, and is now listed on panel number 188.

Source: AWM144 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Royal Australian Navy 

Brian Colden Antill Pockley

              Also known as: Brien Colden Antill Pockley

Rank: Captain

Unit: Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force

Service: Australian Army

Conflict / Operation: First World War, 1914-1918

Conflict eligibility date:  First World War, 1914-1921

Date of death: 11 September 1914

Place of death: German New Guinea

Cause of death: Died of wounds

Age at death: 24

Place of association: Wahroonga, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cemetery or memorial details: Bita Paka War Cemetery, Bita Paka, Rabaul, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea

Notes: Captain Pockley was originally commemorated on panel number 183, and is now listed on panel number 188.

Source: AWM145 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Army 

Charles Bingham. Elwell  

Rank Lieutenant Commander

Unit: Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force

Service: Australian Army

Conflict / Operation: First World War, 1914-1918

Conflict eligibility date:  First World War, 1914-1921

Date of death: 11 September 1914

Place of death: German New Guinea

Cause of death: Died of wounds


 

 

Naval and Military personnel marching in reversed arms during the funeral procession for five members of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force


=======================================================






September 30, 1914, four German civilians were flogged in Rabaul, Col. William Holmes orders were to obtain a confessions  from the  four Germans  civilian in regards to Mr Cox, a Methodist minister whom they took hold of and threw him down began flogging  him with a stick each of the four in turn giving him blows while he lay on the ground,  where they left him there then went  off into the bush.In  Rabaul  the German men admitting they were intoxicated and roughed up a Methodist minister Reverend Cox  hey suspected of being a spy. Holmes ordered the Germans to be publicly flogged at Proclamation Square in Rabaul. Natives and women were not allowed to attend. Half a battalion of men was marched to the square to watch. Before the flogging, the Germans loudly protested their innocence, but it was to no avail. The first German, a medical officer, was placed across a trunk with his hands handcuffed to two tent pegs in the ground while his ankles were chained with leg irons to two pegs on the opposite side of the tree trunk. He was given 30 extremely violent strokes of the cane and carried away. The next man then was similarly lashed across the trunk and given 25 strokes, as was the next. Since the last victim was only a young boy, he received only 10 strokes.


CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE


 
 
 






XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX




AE1




 In 1884, Germany colonized the north eastern part of New Guinea including the island of New Britain. Shortly after the outbreak of war in 1914, the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force was formed and landed at Rabaul on 17 September 1914. The Germans quickly surrendered. The Australians suffered light losses although the Australian submarine HMAS AE1 disappeared with all hands off New Britain on 14 September. The loss of AE1 with her entire complement of 3 officers and 32 sailors was the RAN’s first major tragedy and it marred an otherwise successful operation to seize the German possession in New Guinea and the South Pacific. It is not known what caused AE1 to disappear without trace and since her loss in 1914 several searches have been conducted to establish her whereabouts. Regrettably none of these have been successful.


 


Australian submarine AE2 in Rabaul Harbour._1914


At the outbreak of World War I, AE1 joined the naval forces assigned to the capture of the German Pacific colonies. With AE2, she took part in the operations leading to the occupation of German New Guinea, including the surrender of Rabaul on 13 September 1914.The following day, at 7.00 am the destroyer HMAS Parramatta (I) left her night patrol ground off Raluana Point and proceeded at slow speed in the direction of Cape Gazelle to rendezvous with AE1 and conduct a patrol in St George’s Channel to the south and east of the Duke of York Islands. The two vessels met off Herbertshöhe at 8.00 am and exchanged signals before proceeding to Cape Gazelle where they arrived at approximately 9.00 am.  

 9 Sep 1914 with HMAS  Yarra & Australia in the background.
 
 AE1, taken from the bridge of HMAS Encounter 


=========================================================

Live stats by GoStats.


Comments