3. The Barrier Reef

It was fine going up to Thursday Is, winding in and out, through the reefs, day and night, it happened to be lovely moonlight nights and there is absolutely no better place to be at sea than in that part of the Pacific and all around the South Seas Is; there are some fine sights and it is always fine weather, well, when we arrived at Thursday Is. we got rid of all the gear that we didn’t absolutely need, all our boats except three, which are sea boats, my boat went ashore. “The Captain’s Galley” which is the “tiddely boat” of the ship, also we put ashore a lot of the officers’ furniture, doors off cabins, mirrors etc in fact we made the ship properly ready for war. All the time, barring a destroyer, we were a “lone ship” on our pat, as we would say, but we soon met the flagship, Encounter and three destroyers at a rendezvous, somewhere in Mid Ocean, miles from anywhere, there was just a nice swell on and all captains had to go aboard the Flagship for a conference. I was in the boat that took our skipper across and I can tell you it was a great sight to see the ships heaving with the swell and the different boats making for the Flagship, on our way over we saw a monster shark, well, we are supposed to be strictly silent in the boat with the skipper in, but one fellow couldn’t help but sing out, it was just by the blades of the oars, she would have capsized us if she had struck the boat in the swell, that was on a Sunday, (I forget all the dates) and after that we all got under weigh again, and they posted, together with the plan, the news that we were to make a night attack on German New Guinea. We expected to find part of the German Squadron in “Simpson Haven” the harbour to “Rabaul” the capital of G. N. Guinea, we (the Sydney”) with our three destroyers were to make the attack, the “Australia” covering us, well on the Tuesday at about 4 O’Clock, the destroyer with us left the Flagship at 20 knots, and all hands assembled and cheered, and the Flagship’s band played as each ship passed her, it was great, we certainly thought we were going to have a smack at something, we did a whole night of suspense, but any fight.Image 1 painted by Rudolf Hellgrewe via Traditionsverband
Image 2 painted by Rudolf Hellgrewe - Bismarckburg via Traditionsverband.
Image 3 of German New Guinea via Wikipedia
Image 4 Map of German New Guinea via Wikipedia

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