1914: The taking of Apia

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.