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VON LUCKNER'S CAPTURE., Observer, Volume XXXIX, Issue 46, 19 July 1919
YON LUCKNER'S CAPTURE.
And His Captor.
"Fiji" writes: That modest young fellow, Inspector H. C. Hills, of the Fiji Constabulary, is on leave in Auckland as I write, and few people seem to know that it was this young police officer who put up the bluff on Yon Luckner, and brought the piratical career of the Hun to a close. Young Hills, as far as I'can ascertain, has been badly treated by the authorities, for no recognition of any kind has been made of his excellent services in this historic affair, and if he is on the usual Fiji police wicket he is earning about a fiver a week. Hills has had a most adventurous career. As a sailor before the mast, he has made most ports in the world. He is a young Englishman who seems to be generally looking for lash of some kind. Joined Sir Edward Whymper, the man Avho climbed the Matter horn, and went with him to Canada, where they climbed every mountain worth climbing. Still pining for adventure, he went to Africa, and joined the Cape Monnted Police, and when he saw there was something doing in the adventure line, quit that, smart corps and joined the Natal Mounted Police, and fought through the Zulu rebellion, what time the notorious Dinizulu made such a fuss, and being brought low, was pensioned by the British Government, and died of fat. Next we find him at Niue in. the police, and being refused permission to join the Army, stuck to his police boys land carried on. By the way, before I tell yoxi the story of the Yon Luckner capture, might as well say thjat Kraft, formerly German Consul at Levuka, and one of the captives, died at Bourke, New Sonth Wales, and that Vollmer, of Hedelmann Avers and Co., Levuka, also a captive, died also in New South Wales.
The true story of the capture of six Germans, of whom one was Yon Luckner, is as follows: A halfcaste brought news into Levuka that at Wakaaya he had seen a party of Europeans who would not talk to the natives*- These strangers stole a cutter there. Hills, then a subinspector, took a small party of constables (native) in a cutter out of Levuka to search for the strangers. He was not allowed to arm the natives—a most extraordinary thing —and he himself had only his ordinary service revolver which he was told "he would use at his own risk." A hurricane was blowing, and it was impossible to go to sea, and the police officer and his police boys were bound to turn back. Next day the Amra (A.TJ.S.N. company), 360 tons, put in, and was requisitioned. She took the police party aboard, and the boat with the Germans was seen making for the passage. A boat 22ft. long was lowered from the Amra, with Inspector A. E. Howard (armed with a machine pistol), Sub-Inspector Hills (armed with a revolver), and the natives (unarmed).
The boat in which the Germans were was a twenty-foot power launch, armed with machine guns, rifles, and bombs. The police boat pulled straight for the German boat, and Hills, standing up in the boat, saw that the men were dressed in khaki uniform. He made no attempt to use his revolver, which remained in the holster, and said, "I call on you to surrender in the name of the King. You are covered by the guns of the steamer." The Germans hailed the boat, "Who are you—what do you belong to?" in good English. Hills, still relying on the bluff of the "guns on the steamer," replied, "I call on you to surrender; I do not wish to parley-" And the Germans, whose boat was loaded almost to the gunwale with arms, duly surrendered. The Germans made a kind offer to tow the police cutter to the Amra, but the young police officer was taking no chances. Yon Luckner handed his
automatic pistol to Hills; the other Germans were disarmed, and were ordered out of the German lannch into the police cutter, the police officers retaining one German to look after the engine. When the Huns were taken aboard the Amra, and saw that there were no arms of any kind aboard her, they were frightfully disgusted, and Yon Luckner said, "We didn't come all this way to surrender to an unarmed ship." These Germans were landed at Suva at night time, and when the natives and Hindoos saw them coming pandemonium reigned, and the cry of "baby killers!" was shouted here, there, and everywhere. It would be useful to know what became of the two pairs of excellent binoculars ta-
ken from the German officers. At present it is a mystery. In the German boat there was not only plenty of arms and munitions, but several hundred pounds, in gold, and champagne and cigars of good quality. At any rate, it seems clear that the police coup was regarded as a mere incident by the authorities, not worthy of any recognition. It was in its way as. fine a bit of cool courage as anything I know of, and the young Englishman from Romford in Esses has my admiration and sympathy. # & ® Priceless gem for an examination paper contained in a daily paper report of grogging in the King Country: " was eleven sixteenths Maori." The degrees of consanguinity are of great interest to the people who know that according to the Prayer Book a man may not marry his grandmother, that there are half castes, "breeds" quadroons, mulat-
tos, octoroons, and just plain niggers. The eleven sixteenth Maori is obviously quite a new specimen. What relation is he to his deceased aunt's second cousin by her third marriage? ® & ® "G.8.G." writes: I wonder how much a certain large private hotel in Auckland is to be praised, or blamed, for Auckland's gaiety? In this select establishment the inmates fox-trot, and one-step at all times through the day. After breakfast there is a general move to the ball room, and a specially large gramaphone is set going while the blase guests try to lessen their boredom by performing weird tricks on legs
that were meant for other purposes. After luncheon this programme is repeated with an interval for making complaints about the afternoon tea. The dinner is punctuated between the courses with more priceless exhibitions of modern terpsichorean amusement. Supper is a shoi-t interlude, and one doubts if the dancers really know what beds are for. &> #' - ® A telephonist whose face is as familiar to Auckland as the rays of the morning sun, has been back from the war quite a while, and one would think he was sufficiently calloused. But he isn't. The other Sunday he was set the task of putting a peaceful and painless end to the numbness of a little poodle dog that had lost the use of its legs, and at this the warrior jibbed. But he did it in the end, with the assistance of a chemist's prescription, which he administered, and then fled while
the lotion put in its work. It is a strange thing, isn't it, that these men, who have seen cruel things, and have not a hair, should be upset by the killing of a dog? ®> ; & ■'■•■'' 9>- ' ■ "G.8.G." writes: Someone said in my hearing the other day that Auckland was growing more like Paris every day. I did not kill him. Thinking it over, it appeared to me that, after all, Auckland might be coming out of its trance slightly. The ball at the Town Hall on Friday nigs& was not exactly an extract fix>ni llparnival time at Nice, but it was distinctly amusing from sevt-jal points of view. Auckland's test people were there, for instance, and behaved with a discreet abandon that included confetti and paper streamers. Of pourse, they did nothing that was not absolutely good form, but this was probably due to the uninspiring quality of the liquid supper. By the way, the ball was held to help the Society for the Protection of Women and Children and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and people really tried to be gayer than usual.
(Received 12.40 p.m.)
LONDON, July 9. Correspondents state that the Kaiser professes himself undisturbed regarding his future. Most of the Dutch favour handing him over if trade reprisals be threatened, otherwise the strong pro-German influence in high quarters will prevail. Wilhelm has sawed his six thousandth tree since his escape from GermanyHis ambition is to total ten thousand by the autumn, when he hopes he will be living in his own house. He's doffed his "shining armour," His " sharpened " sword " he's shed, His "mail-ed fist " is nakedHe takes the saw instead. He who had scared the nations When in flamboyant mood, Is now a forlorn fugitive, Engaged in " sawing wood." He sought to tumble empires And bring them to their knees— But now 'tis his ambition To fell ten thousand trees. P'raps Woodman Wilhelm ponders— As he pulsates his saw — On " Glory " now departed While sighing—" Nevermore." —Cas.
VON LUCKNER'S CAPTURE., Observer, Volume XXXIX, Issue 46, 19 July 1919
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