1914: Samoa occupation

Evening Post, 2 September 1914, p 6


The following official statement has been placed at the disposal of the Press Association by His Excellency the Governor:—

Telegram from Senior Naval Officer, New Zealand Division, to His Excellency the Governor of New Zealand, 1st September:-

“Beg to thank Your Excellency for kind message, which I have communicated to all concerned. — Marshall.”

Telegram from General Logan to His Excellency the Governor of New Zealand, 31st August 31:-

“I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the expedition under my command occupied the town of Apia, 31st August, with the assistance of the ships of the allied fleets. The Governor of Samoa has surrendered himself to me, and is being sent away with the prisoners to Fiji. I am glad to be able to inform Your Excellency that there was no opposition, that there have been no serious casualties since the expedition started, and that the health of the troops is excellent. — (Signed) Colonel Logan.”

Telegram from Senior Naval Officer, New Zealand Division to His Excellency the Governor:

Expedition arrived Apia 29th August (western time). In view of the overwhelming force, the Governor had no choice but to give in without opposition. Landing of the troops commenced about one o’clock p.m., and was carried out with great expedition, reflecting great credit on the population concerned. British flag was hoisted on shore 12.30 p.m. Colonel Logan took over the control from the German authorities at 2.30 p.m. At 8 a.m. on the 30th August the Union Jack brought from New Zealand was officially hoisted and a proclamation read in the presence of naval and military officers, native chiefs and local residents, etc. A salute of 21 guns was fired by H.M.S. Psyche. The German Governor was sent with the prisoners to Suva. The German wireless station is at present hors de combat, but it is expected to be in use shortly. The completion of installation taken from New Zealand is expected tomorrow. The new Administrator, Colonel Logan, visited H.M.S. Psyche and received a salute of thirteen guns. — (Signed) Marshall.”


Auckland, Wednesday.

An Aucklander with the Expeditionary Force writes from Noumea, on August 22:— “We have arrived here with the squadron. The Monowai, with troops aboard, went aground and had to be lightered again. This caused quite a delay. We leave as soon as she is floated for Fiji and Samoa; then for the fun. Crews slept at the guns all the way down, but came across nothing. The Germans cut the cable here some days ago. We are scouting for them now. The French here cheered us loudly and were greatly excited.

Poverty Bay Herald, 2 September 1914, p 2

Officers of the American mail steamer received a surprise when, going ashore at Pago Pago, American Samoa, on the last visit of the Ventura, to find posted in conspicuous places about the naval station a very complete resume of important events throughout the world, despatched from Honolulu with [sic] a few hours from the time of their occurrence.

The new wireless station at Apia is pronounced by steamship men to be one of the most powerful in the Pacific. The Ventura is said to have been unable to get into communication with its transmitters.

The radio station at Pago Pago, while of less strength, is said to have been in constant communication each night with Honolulu. The officers also state that they have on several occasions “talked” with Alaska.

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Taranaki Daily News, 3 September 1914, p 4


Those of the Samoa Islands which were by treaty ceded to Germany by Great Britain in 1899 have once more teen placed under British sovereignty. On Sunday morning last, the New Zealand Expeditionary Force took possession of Apia, which was surrendered without a blow being struck, and this practically means that what is known as German Samoa is now British territory. To New Zealand’s sons belongs the honor of capturing the first portion of German territory and annexing it to the Empire, and in all probability this coup will be followed by the capture of the whole of Germany’s possessions in the Pacific.

New Zealand is directly interested in Samoan trade, and there are a number of New Zealand traders and planters there. In addition to this, the islands are of considerable strategic importance to Australasia, and inland from Apia there is one of the most powerful wireless stations, so that as a link in the Imperial chain the possession of Samoa has become a practical necessity, and its capture all the more a source of gratification.

Although when the expedition left Wellington the greatest secrecy was observed as to its destination, yet it was rumored on very good grounds that its objective was Samoa. The press, however, very properly displayed a reticence that has been gracefully acknowledged by the authorities and now our boys will have the honor and duty of holding the prize for the Imperial Government.

Altogether, there are eight islands in the German group, the chief being Upolu (the seat of Government) and Savaii. Apia, where the contingent landed, is approached by a deep water channel through coral reefs, but the populated portion of the town is within the range of the guns of warships outside the reef, so that it will be necessary to keep a naval protective force in the vicinity, but this will not in any way weaken the North Sea fleet. The many congratulations which have been sent to the New Zealand Government on this important seizure of German possessions are very gratifying.

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Hawera & Normanby Star, 7 September 1914, p 7



The Moeraki, No. 1 of the transport of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, arrived back in Wellington harbor from Samoa at 6.30 this morning, in charge of Commanders Ward and Stewart, with 21 invalided territorials and 15 of H.M.S. Sealark’s company.

Sergeant Blackmore, in the course of a statement to a representative of the Press Association, stated that with the exception of two days, they had good weather during the whole of their trip. First of all they called at New Caledonia; then went on to Suva; and finally to Samoa.

At New Caledonia the troops were landed and a march inland extending over some six miles, made the French people wildly enthusiastic. They sang the “Marseillaise” and “God Save the King.” In the evening the French held a patriotic concert on the wharf, which was attended by a very large crowd. The greatest enthusiasm prevailed. Sergeant Blackmore declared that never had he seen anything like it in his life.

At the conclusion of the concert the boats were anchored in the stream, and they sailed for Suva next morning. They reached Suva on Sunday morning, and took aboard a number of Samoan residents, and the Sealark’s ship’s company.

The transports left at 8 o’clock on Tuesday morning for Samoa which they reached on the 29th of August. The Psyche went into Apia and the transports landed at 12 o’clock. The Sealark’s company worked all night landing baggage and equipment of the men from the Moeraki.

In the morning the Moeraki left for Wellington, convoyed by the Psyche, but was dropped at 6 o’clock next evening, and came on by herself, arriving at 6.30 this morning.

The Psyche, under the white flag entered Apia at 9 a.m. and demanded the surrender. Captain Marshall could not find the Governor, but the representative in power would not surrender. Eventually they found the Governor at a wireless station and landed the troops and formally annexed the town and Colonel Logan took command.

The Monowai took the German Governor to Suva the same night. Not a shot was fired. The natives seem decidedly favorable to the British.

The transports were convoyed by the Psyche, Philomel, Pyramtis, and at Noumea were met by the Australia, Melbourne, and the French ship Montcalm. The men landed all in good spirits and appeared to have suffered no particular hardship except a difficulty during the early days of getting proper meals.

See also:

Post and Telegraph Detachment in Samoa on nzhistory.net.nz