In reference to this post from a while back, I have seen this little-known story about the escape from Berlinhafen before. Hermann Hiery, in The Neglected War: The German South Pacific and the Influence of World War I, makes an unexplained mention of it on a map on p. 26. The above post is the only other mention I have encountered on this.Scarlett wrote:In Deutsch-Neuguinea there was no Schutztruppe, but only police-forces.
The acting German governor Eduard Haber tried to defend the area around the capital Herbertshöhe with a force of
around 50 Germans (some reservist-officers, the rest farmers) and 240 native police-men.
As the main police-force was accompanying an expedition on mainland New-Guinea,
surveying the German-Australian border, there were only 50 police-men available, who
had served more than 5 months, 70 were taken on during the last 4 months,
none of all of them having ever before fought an enemy carrying firearms.
120 new man conscripted were workers of the farms and never carried a gun before.
September 9, 1914 the radiotelegraph-station of the colony in Bitapaka was completed; on September 11
an Australian armada consisting of one battleship, two cruisers, three destroyers and two subs arrived
with one troop-transport and a hospital-ship. The Australians landed and tried to get to Bitapaka.
In a fierce fighting at Kabakaul-Bitapaka 30 native policemen, one German NCO (Unteroffizier Ritter)
and 6 Australians (two officers) were killed in action. The Australians took no native prisoners but killed
with bayonets all policemen they got.
After this fight the native police mutineered. "Is is not our cause, it is a war between the white men."
As there was no further resistance possible, the acting governor Haber started negotiations with the Australians and
having no authority to surrender the German possessions, gave an assurance that all military resistance should cease.
September 21, 1914 at 10.00 am "the armed German and Native Forces now in the field" were surrendered at Herbershöhe.
With a copy of the agreement with the acting governor the Australians occupied the villages and administrative points
on the mainland.
At Berlinhafen (Eitapé) on the arrival of the Australians on December 4, 1914 the chief of the police, Polizeimeister Weinstein, and his 36 native policemen
together with the head of the German administration, Stationsleiter Schmaus and the local medical assstant,
Heilgehilfe Schleidt, retreated into the bush and after a long march surrendered to the Dutch in Hollandia,
120 miles west of Berlinhafen
Is anyone aware of any detailed information that exists on this interesting episode. Naturally, it is not mentioned in the official Australian histories on the war nor Hauptmann Detzner for that matter. It does make mention of the Polizeimeister Tafel who fled briefly from the Australians at Angorum (along the Kaiserin Augusta or Sepik River) in December 1914. The official histories report shots being fired by the native German police at the Australian forces in pursuit--last shots of the New Guinea campaign fired by Germans forces?
Is anyone aware of where this citation came from (regarding the Berlinhafen/Eitape/Aitape incident and subsequent flight into Dutch New Guinea)? I would be interested in any information on this, articles or mentions in books, in either German or English. PM if you have an info on this.
Thanks! Very interesting discussions and comments from all on here! My e-mail, in case you want it is [email protected]