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Title: Ten Months in a German Raider - A prisoner of war aboard the Wolf
Author: Cameron, John Stanley
Language: English
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  A Prisoner of War Aboard the _WOLF_



  Master of the American Bark _Beluga_





  _Copyright, 1918,
  By George H. Doran Company_

_Printed in the United States of America_


Captain John Stanley Cameron, master of the American bark _Beluga_,
who tells the story of his great adventure on board the German raider
_Wolf_, and subsequently on the prize ship _Igotz Mendi_, in this
volume, is of Scotch parentage, thirty-four years old; a smooth-shaven,
canny graduate of the "before the mast" school, and prematurely gray.
His father is a well-known figure on the Pacific Coast, being the
oldest sailing master living in his part of the world.

Captain Cameron went to sea at the age of three. At thirteen he was
earning his living as an able-bodied seaman, and he has been a master
of sailing vessels since he was twenty-one. He figured in the news
some few years ago by taking a sailing yacht of seventy-four tons
from New York to San Francisco; the smallest vessel of her class to
beat through the Straits of Magellan. Since then, Captain Cameron has
retired from sea--until his last trip as master of the _Beluga_.

In setting down Captain Cameron's story much as it came from his
own lips, I have treated it as a simple record of human experience,
avoiding any chance of spoiling this bully sea yarn by attempting to
give it a literary finish.



  CAPTAIN CAMERON AND HIS DAUGHTER NITA               _Frontispiece_


  THE GERMAN AUXILIARY CRUISER _Wolf_                        22


  FINAL DIVE OF JAPANESE STEAMER _Hitachi Maru_              48

  SHOWING 4.7 "ORDINARY" PORTSIDE GUN                        68

  ON AMERICAN BARK _Beluga_                                 114

  LAST OF THE AMERICAN BARK _William Kirby_                 130

  AMERICAN SCHOONER _Winslow_                               148

  THE BLOWING UP OF AMERICAN SCHOONER _Winslow_             148

  _Igotz Mendi_ ASHORE ON THE DANISH COAST                  162

  STRANDED _Igotz Mendi_                                    162





Little did I dream when I sailed away from San Francisco in the little
bark _Beluga_ that I should finish my voyage, not in Australia after a
two months' trip, but in Denmark, on the other side of the world, after
a ten months' experience that has never before been equalled in the
annals of sea-going history.

My story could well be called "An Escape from the Jaws of Hell"--for
a prisoner's life in Germany under the present conditions is surely a
hell on earth. During my six weeks' stay in Denmark I have interviewed
neutral sailors who have been sent out of Germany, and old men who have
been passported out on account of extreme old age; also prisoners who
have escaped over the border into Denmark via the coal-train route, and
these men one and all paint a picture of a prisoner's life in Germany
as being a veritable hell on earth.

We sailed from San Francisco on the 15th day of May, 1917, with a cargo
of 15,000 cases of benzine, for Sydney, Australia. After letting go
the tug boat and getting sail on the ship, we all settled down for a
quiet and uneventful passage. Seldom have I gone to sea under more
favourable circumstances. A tight little vessel, a good deep water
crew of Scandinavian sailor men, plenty of good wholesome provisions
and a cook who knew his business. Both the first and second mates were
officers of the old school, with years of experience, so it seemed that
I was fortunate in getting so evenly balanced a crew, as owing to the
frenzied state of shipping along the Pacific Coast at that time the
master was indeed fortunate who found on getting to sea that half of
this crew could box the compass, much less hand, reef and steer.

Even under these favourable circumstances there was a "fly in the
ointment." On counting noses I made the discovery that the entire
ship's company amounted to thirteen (an unlucky number, as every "salt"
will testify). A ship's crew of eleven, counting myself, and two
passengers, my wife and little daughter. When I called this fact to
my wife's attention she laughed at me, saying that was "old sailor's
tommyrot" and that we were living in the twentieth century and should
have outgrown such silly superstitions. Nevertheless, owing to a strain
of Scotch blood in my veins, the superstition remained in my mind for
many days until, owing to the humdrum uneventfulness of our progress,
this thought died a natural death.

I crossed the equator well to the westward, passing the Fiji Islands
and hoping that when I ran out of the southeast trade winds I would get
a favourable wind and cut close by the southern ends of New Caledonia.
I had a hunch, and if I had been lucky and had two days' favourable
wind this story would never have happened. But unfortunately,
unfavourable winds were encountered, forcing me to the southward and
into the regular sailing vessel route.

My wife, an Australian girl by birth, had not been home to see her
family since she left them something over ten years ago, and naturally
was very anxious to get home and see her many brothers and sisters who
had grown up and married since she left. In fact, she had talked of
nothing else for the past several years. Each year I promised that we
would make the visit "next year," but something or other would show
up and spoil my plans. I had given up the sea about six years ago for
a "shore job," and was so well pleased with the change that I did not
care to go back to the sea again, fearing that I would not be able to
change from the sea to the shore life again, as there is something
about the sea that gets into the blood and makes it difficult to
stay away from it. It was only then an unusual chain of circumstances
that left me foot loose at this particular time to take charge of the
_Beluga_ on this trip. The fact is, it was what my wife called the
"Scotch Jew" in me that finally decided me to take this means of making
money out of visiting the mother-in-law.

Each day at noon when I placed the vessel's position on the chart, my
wife was a very interested spectator and used to measure the distances
that remained for us to go. Then she would figure out just how long it
would take, under various weather conditions, before she would be able
to see her beloved Australia again. Some days when we had a favourable
wind and had made a good day's run in the right direction, she would be
as happy as could be and singing all the time, but other days when we
had made but little progress she would be away down in the dumps, and
it would be extremely difficult to get a smile.

On July 9th I was having some work done aloft on one of the masts,
when about two o'clock in the afternoon Fritz, a Norwegian sailor
working aloft, shouted down, "Smoke, oh, on the port beam." I had a
look through my binoculars, and, sure enough, on the horizon to the
southwest I could make out the smoke of a steamer. The weather at
this time was fine and clear, with a light breeze from the south and
we were making only about four knots per hour. In a short time it
became evident that the steamer was coming in our direction, as she
was gradually getting larger and more plainly seen. I shouted down the
cabin skylight to my wife to come on deck and see the steamer, as she
was the only vessel of any description we had seen since leaving San
Francisco, almost two months before. She and Juanita, my six-year-old
daughter, scampered on deck and were very much interested in watching
her. It soon became evident that the steamer was going to pass close to
us, and thinking it just possible that she would speak us, my wife and
Nita went below to change their frocks.

The steamer was getting closer by this time and her hull was plainly
visible. The old superstition regarding the unlucky number "thirteen"
flashed through my mind but was instantly dismissed. To all appearances
she was the ordinary black-painted, dingy-looking ocean tramp. I
studied her intently through the glass, trying to discover some detail
that would show her nationality, and had just about concluded that she
must be a Jap when Mr. Buckert, my Chief Officer, came along to where I
was standing and asked if I could make her out. I told him she appeared
to be either a British or Jap tramp, and handed him the binoculars so
that he could have a look. After studying her for a while he said,
"By God, Captain, I don't know her nationality, but she carries the
largest crew I have ever seen." I snatched the glasses out of his hand
and had a look. Sure enough, by this time the rails both forward and
aft were black with men in the regulation man-of-war jumpers. Even at
this time I did not think she was a German, but possibly a British
armed merchantman, or a British converted auxiliary cruiser, sent from
Australia to some of the South Sea islands for patrol duties. However,
she soon showed her true colours.

Suddenly she changed her course, heading to pass directly under my
stern. At this moment she broke out the German Imperial Navy Ensign
at her jackstaff aft and at her signal yard amidships she showed the
letters G.T.E., which interpreted from the International Signal Code
means "Heave to and I will send a boat on board." After giving me time
to read this signal, possibly two minutes, the steamer dropped her
bulwarks forward, uncovering her guns, and fired a shot across the
_Beluga's_ bow. This dispelled any lingering doubt I had in my mind as
to what was wanted, and it didn't take us long to clew up our light
sails and throw the main yard about.

It was only then that I actually realised that my little vessel had
been stopped by a German raider in the South Pacific Ocean almost
fifteen thousand miles from the war zone. I stepped to the forward
end of the quarterdeck and looked down at the crew on the main deck
to see how they seemed to be taking it. These Scandinavian sailor men
were standing on the waist, smoking their pipes and discussing the
appearance of the steamer, just as if to be captured by an enemy's
raider were an every-day occurrence. For myself, I knew that this day
marked a crisis in the lives of any of us that were American or British
born, and as for my wife and child--God, the thought was like a stab
in the heart and seemed to leave me numb and cold. In a moment there
flashed through my mind all the accounts I had read in the papers
of the German atrocities towards women and children in Belgium and
barbarisms practised along the Russian front, and the thought of my
wife and child being at the mercy of these people nearly drove me crazy.

On walking aft I saw my wife leaning up against the wheelhouse, her
face absolutely bloodless and a look of horror in her eyes that fairly
chilled my blood. God! For months after I could see this expression in
her eyes every time I closed my eyes. Even now, when I think of it, it
makes me feel cold all over. When she saw me she came over and took my
hand in hers, looking all the time into my eyes and not saying a word.
We stood there for what seemed a century. Presently I called Juanita
to us and the three of us went down below to the cabin. We sat on the
settee, never saying a word, and poor little Nita started to sob,
feeling something sinister in the air, which she did not understand.
In a minute the mate came to the cabin skylight and sang out that the
launch would be alongside in a minute. I answered "All right." My wife
got up and walked over to the bed and took one of my revolvers (I had
two) from under the mattress and handed it to me.

Suddenly she threw both her arms around my neck and drew my head into
such a position that she could look into my eyes, and said, "Stanley, I
want you to promise me that they will never get Juanita." I threw both
my arms round her, hugging her tight to myself, and said, "Mamie, I
promise; but you must leave it to me." And with a sob I left her and
started on deck. When passing through the wheelhouse, I stopped for a
moment to pull myself together. On going on deck I saw a small motor
launch just arriving alongside, crowded with German bluejackets, armed
to the teeth. A moment more, and a young lieutenant sprang onto the
deck and came aft to the quarterdeck where I was standing. Coming to a
stand in front of me he saluted and asked in excellent English, with
an American accent, "Are you the captain of this vessel?" I answered,
"Yes." "Where are you from?" was his next question. I told him San
Francisco to Sydney, Australia, fifty-two days out. "Captain," he said,
"I take charge of your vessel in the name of the German Imperial Navy."
He gave an order in German and two German sailors sprang to the flag
halyards and hauled down the Stars and Stripes and ran up the German
Ensign. They carefully saved the American flag and the Company's
burgee and took them aboard the _Wolf_ afterwards as trophies. Our crew
meantime had been lined up and searched for weapons. Among the things
the boarding crew brought on board was a black case containing twenty
pairs of handcuffs and three large bombs to blow the vessel to pieces
with. They didn't need the handcuffs, however.

After the lieutenant had gone through the ship's papers and found out
all particulars regarding the _Beluga's_ cargo, he had his signal
men wigwag the information to the Commander of the _Wolf_, which was
standing by. The Commander, on finding out that I had a cargo of
benzine, decided not to sink the vessel immediately, but to take on
board some three hundred cases for use in their hydroplane, as their
supply was getting low.



In a short while we received instructions from the _Wolf_ to proceed
due east for sixty miles and wait there for them. The _Wolf_ then left
us, going off at right angles. I learned from some of the German
sailors that there was a large steamer approaching and that the _Wolf_
would probably run along parallel with her during the night and capture
her in the morning. About nine-thirty that night this steamer passed us
about a mile and a half off, heading to the southward and westward.

She was apparently a large steamer of about seven or eight thousand
tons, heavily loaded. She resembled in appearance the type of vessel
used on the Pacific Coast as an oil tanker, having the high forecastle
head, long bunk deck amidships, and her engines and stack away aft; she
was probably a freighter of this description belonging to New Zealand,
bound from San Francisco to Australia. When she came abreast of us she
signalled by Morse Code, asking what vessel we were; but the German
prize crew took good care that none of us could answer or make any
signals of any kind. I can use both Continental and Morse and had a
signal lamp on board, so that if I had had an opportunity I could have
warned this steamer that there was a raider about.

One of the first official acts by Lieutenant Zelasko after taking
charge of my vessel was to call the cook up on the quarterdeck where he
was standing and give him instructions to cook a good large meal for
his men, and not to forget to have plenty of white bread. To assist him
in preparing this meal for the unwelcome addition to our family, he
assigned one of his men as an assistant in the kitchen.

In the meantime the balance of his crew were searching the vessel and
making an itemized list of everything that they thought would be worth
transferring to the _Wolf_. I had a chance to look over this list later
on and was surprised to find how complete and businesslike it was. It
gave the name of the article, the amount, where located, and a remark
as to how best to remove it, whether in the original package, to be
repacked, or carried in bulk in large canvas sacks, furnished by the
_Wolf_ for that purpose. This is only one incident showing the method
and thoroughness with which even the minor details of their business
were carried out.

During the evening I had a chance to get acquainted with Lieutenant
Zelasko, the prize officer, and found him a very decent chap indeed.
He, and all the rest of the _Wolf's_ officers, excepting the Commander
and the Artillery Lieutenant, were members of the Imperial Marine, or
Naval Reserve, men that in peace time commanded and served as officers
in the merchant service, like myself. In fact, I found that Lieutenant
Zelasko had served part of his time as able-bodied seaman on the
American ship _Roanoke_, a vessel that I had been in some years before.
He had the second class Iron Cross which he had won at Antwerp.

Lieutenant Zelasko assured me on his word of honour that my family
would receive nothing but the best of care possible under the
circumstances on board the _Wolf_. In fact, after finding out that the
_Wolf_ was manned by ex-merchant marine officers and men, my fears
for the safety of my wife and little girl subsided greatly. My wife
herself cheered up a great deal after hearing this, thinking that
people from our own walk of life could not be as barbarous as we had
been led to believe.

Early in the morning of the tenth we arrived at the position where
we were to wait for the _Wolf_. Here we hove to, and the prize crew,
assisted by my sailors, who were forced to do all the work pertaining
to the handling of the ship, took off the hatches and took on deck
three hundred cases of benzine, ready to be transported to the _Wolf_
when she showed up. During all this time there were always five or six
guards or sentries posted at various positions around the ship, and
also the balance of the prize crew always wore their side arms, whether
they were working or not.

The navigating officer of Zelasko's prize crew and the bo'swain were
both American navigators, one having been, prior to the war, master of
a sailing vessel plying on the Atlantic Coast, and the other a Chief
Mate, also in sail, on the Atlantic. At the outbreak of the war both
resigned their positions and went home to lend Kaiser Bill a hand.
These fellows received eighteen marks per month and have a rating
of only "over matrosa," or just one step higher than that of common
sailor. Several months later, after we had got better acquainted, I
asked this ex-American skipper if he did not think it rather a scurvy
trick to sail as Master on American ships during peace times and as
soon as war was declared to leave America and help sink the very class
of ships that he had hitherto made his living on. He replied by saying
that at the time he resigned and went home to enlist America was not
in the war, but even had she been, he would have gone just the same.
From conversations I had with other ex-American seamen, I am led to
believe that at the outbreak of hostilities the German Consuls at the
port where their vessels hailed from ordered these men to resign and
go home to the Fatherland. I also believe that their fare and expenses
were paid. There are many, many cases similar to this, and I believe
it would be a good thing for the American shipowners to remember when
employing officers and captains to man their vessels after the war is

The German prize crew made a great fuss over Juanita, she being quite
a novelty to them, and I am sure that she had the time of her life.
Nobody on board the _Wolf_ had seen a woman or a child for nearly nine
months. My wife and little girl were the first woman and child they had
taken prisoner.

On July 11th, early in the morning, the _Wolf_ picked us up again. It
seems that the steamer we saw got away from them. The _Wolf_ put four
large life-boats on the water and took off some three hundred cases of
benzine and all the provisions and ship's stores we had on board the

When the vessel was taken charge of by the German prize officer, he
told me that I would be allowed to take only a few absolute necessities
aboard the _Wolf_ when I was transferred; but later, on the 11th,
when the _Wolf_ picked us up, Commander Nerger sent over word that
I was to be allowed to take everything I wanted. Unfortunately the
permission came almost too late, because by this time the German crew
had ransacked my quarters very thoroughly and many articles that I
would have taken with me for the comfort of my family were gone. Weeks
later some of these were recovered. For instance, I had a pair of
rubber-soled, leather-topped yachting shoes. Some weeks after joining
the _Wolf_ I noticed a man with these shoes on his feet. I called the
attention of one of the officers to it and told him that they were
formerly my property. The following morning those shoes were just
outside my stateroom door, nicely polished.

Among the things I took on the _Wolf_ was the wife's sewing machine,
which proved of great value later on, as she had to make under and over
garments for both herself and Nita. My nautical instruments, books and
charts were taken from me, but I was told that they would be returned
to me on my arrival in Germany.

At 1:20 we got into the boats and said a last farewell to the poor
little _Beluga_, and she did look little in comparison with this big
black brute of a raider. As we were being rowed over, the _Wolf's_
rails were lined with grinning faces, and not one of them that I could
see had the least trace of sympathy. Not that I wanted sympathy for
myself, but it seemed strange to me, at the time, that out of over
three hundred German sailors and officers there was not one whose face
showed any sympathy for the position a woman and little child were in.

We climbed on board by means of a Jacob's ladder, myself first with
Nita on my back, and my wife next. Many offered to lend her a hand,
but she managed to make it without any help. There was a certain
satisfaction in this, as afterwards I found out that the Germans
anticipated a lot of trouble in getting her aboard, as there was quite
a bit of sea running.

On arriving on deck we were met by the Chief Officer, Captain Schmell,
whose first words were, "Tell your wife and little girl that they have
nothing to fear, that we are not the Huns you probably think we are."
He took us aft under the poop and showed us an ex-storeroom which some
men were cleaning out for our use. This room was in the centre of the
prisoners' quarters and had absolutely no ventilation, and there were
Negroes, Indians and various other nationalities passing up and down
to the hell hole, before the door, in various stages of décolleté, to
say the least. The Chief told me that we three could have this room
together, or my wife and child could have a more comfortable room on
the berth deck amidships, but that I would have to remain down below
and that I would be allowed to visit my family two hours daily. My wife
would not hear of this latter arrangement, saying that we would live in
a pig-sty together rather than be separated. Just then Commander Nerger
came along and spoke to us, saying that he was very sorry to find that
the _Beluga_ had a woman and child on board, and had he known that
such was the case he would have passed right on; but that once he had
shown himself to be a raider, to protect himself he would have to keep
us prisoners until such time when he could land us at a place where
it would not jeopardise the safety of his vessel or crew; and that in
the meantime he would make us as comfortable as possible under the
circumstances. He then gave orders that we three should be given one of
the deck officers' staterooms on the berth deck and that we were to be
given the freedom on the side our room was on, and that as long as I
paid attention to my own business only and did not talk to any of the
sailors, I was to continue to enjoy this privilege; but just as soon as
I gave them cause to believe that I was trying to gather information,
I was to be sent down into the hell-hole aft--as the prisoners called
their well-named quarters. Needless to say, I gladly agreed to his
proposition, knowing myself to be lucky not to be separated from my
family. At 4:30 P.M. a man (who was afterwards my orderly) came to our
room with cotton batting to put in our ears, as they were going to
sink the _Beluga_ by gun fire. I was granted permission to go onto the
boat deck and watch. They fired nineteen shots at her with the six-inch
gun forward, and the nineteenth shell hit her amidships. The other
eighteen were clean misses--rotten shooting, as the target was only two
and a half miles off. _Beluga_ burst into flames and immediately when
she caught fire the benzine exploded, making one of the most wonderful
sights I have ever seen. The sea for miles around us was covered
with burning petrol, the weather was almost calm, and occasionally
a "cat's-paw" of wind would come along and cause this flaming field
of oil to run in various directions, opening a path of black water
through a sea of flames. As soon as this "cat's-paw" of wind was over
the flames would run together again. When the spars fell out of the
ship the splash was not of water but a veritable cataract of flames.
Even the Germans were impressed by the picture of three square miles
of burning sea, flames leaping thirty feet high and raging for hours.
God! It was a wonderful thing. In fact, the sight was so great that I
did not realise for some minutes that it was my own little home that
was going up in flames. My wife could not, of course, stand this sight,
and had remained in her room.

On account of there being no place ready for us to sleep, we were given
temporary quarters in the forward end of the deckhouse, immediately
over the pump room on the main deck. There was only one very narrow
bunk here, possibly eighteen inches wide, which my wife and Nita
occupied. For myself I picked out a nice soft iron plate on the floor
and slept on that. The only means of ventilation here was a square
hole in the roof or ceiling, probably eight inches square. There was,
I believe, some kind of ventilator attached to this opening outside.
There was an iron-bound rule enforced at all times on the _Wolf_,
that no light from any source should be visible on the deck. All
doors were fitted with a patent mechanism so that when the door was
opened the electric light current was broken and consequently the
light went out. Immediately on closing the door the light would come
on again. This made it necessary to sit in the dark if we wanted to
have either the port hole or door open for fresh air, and if the door
was closed, in a very short time the air became actually suffocating.
On several occasions the temperature, with the door and port hole
open, was 104° F. at night, so it can be imagined just how hot it was
when the door had been closed for ten or twenty minutes. The first
night none of us slept a wink, owing to the excitement of the day and
the incessant hammering and knocking of the air pumps and ice-making
machines immediately under our feet. This made the fourth night since
we had been captured that my wife did not get a wink of sleep. Fearing
complications from this loss of sleep, I called on the German doctor
and finally made him understand the situation. He gave me a powder for
her and asked if he should visit her. Thinking possibly that under the
circumstances the near approach of a German, even a doctor, would do
more harm than good, I told him I did not think it necessary.

Doctor Hausfelt, the senior surgeon of the _Wolf_, prior to the
outbreak of the war, was a specialist in women's nervous diseases
and was the head of a clinic at the Hanover University. The doctor
spoke French and Italian fluently but could not speak the English
language, although he read it very well. He insisted that we be moved
the following morning further down the deck, to a room similar to the
one we were in, but much quieter. In reality, although quieter, this
room was hotter than the one forward. The bunks, of which there were
two, one for the wife and one for Nita, were fastened to the iron
engine room bulkhead, and the mattresses that lay up against this wall
absorbed a great deal of this heat, making them very uncomfortable. I
slept on the floor, which was concrete laid over the iron deck, and
although very hard was really cooler, by a good deal, than the bunks.

Early in the morning after making this change I had to go down to the
Antiseptic Department and have my trunks very minutely searched and
my clothes disinfected. In fact, I had to appeal to the Second Doctor
to escape being run through the dis-lousing plant. Here anything that
proved of interest to the prisoner officer was taken away from me, with
the promise that it would be returned later. My books, letters and
paper clippings were religiously read and returned. I had a 3A Eastman
Kodak which they seized, and imagine my surprise some days later when
a roll of films--half of which had been exposed by me--was handed to
me by the officer in charge of the photographic department. They had
taken this roll of films out of my camera and developed them, just for
curiosity, I suppose.

From here I was taken to the Recording Lieutenant's office and put
through a rigid examination, being asked innumerable questions
regarding my movements in the past five years, also questions
regarding my parents' origin, occupation and present standing. All
this fuss because one of the prize crew had found in my quarters a
pamphlet giving information regarding the United States Naval Reserve
requirements. I thought I had got rid of all this junk, but evidently I
must have overlooked something.

My officers and sailors were taken to the regular prisoners' quarters
aft, and I was not allowed to see or speak to them.

Now comes what I consider the most awful period of my experience. My
wife, who is naturally of a highly strung and courageous disposition,
broke down under the preceding five days' strain and loss of sleep.
Luckily Doctor Hausfelt, the _Wolf's_ senior surgeon, had been in
private life a woman's specialist, and owing to his skill and untiring
services my wife pulled through. She lay in her berth, packed in ice,
for three weeks, absolutely delirious. Owing to the experience I had
undergone during the past few days my own nerves were all ragged
and upset; and the continual raving and shrieking of my wife, who
imagined herself undergoing the most awful torture, drove me nearly
crazy. Some days and nights seemed never to come to an end. During this
time, on July 17th, to be exact, _Wolf_ captured and set on fire the
American schooner _Encore_, Captain Oleson, bound from Columbia River
to Australia with a cargo of lumber, but owing to my state of mind I
remember it only as an incident; it seemed trivial to me at the time.

During all this time my wife had been gradually sinking until she had
come to the place where she either had to make a turn for the better or
pass into the Great Beyond.

Commander Nerger, at the doctor's request, during this crisis, gave
orders that all traffic on our side of the berth deck should stop, and
guards were placed at each end to see that his orders were carried
out. On the night of August 2nd Doctor Hausfelt told me that, barring
accident, my wife would recover. I have often wondered whether a
physician realises just what it means to an anxious husband when he
tells him, "The crisis is past and your wife will recover." I know they
were the most welcome words I had ever heard! During all this time I
never gave a thought as to where we were going or how we were going to
get there. I didn't give a damn what happened, only that my wife pulled

However, after my wife had passed the critical point and commenced
to get better, a load seemed to be lifted off my shoulders, and the
mere fact of being a prisoner on board a German raider seemed of no
consequence. I then commenced to take an interest in things around me.
My continual silence, with nobody to talk to, and the long periods of
darkness, from 7:10 P.M. to 6:30 A.M., it being winter in the South
Pacific, grew very irksome. On account of the extreme heat in the cabin
when the door was closed and the light on, I was unable to sit inside
and read, so the only thing left was to sit outside my door on the deck
and think, and God knows I didn't have many very agreeable things
to think about. At this time my wife was still too weak to talk, and
anyway I didn't want to get her asking questions, thinking it would
only make her worry, which I knew was not good for her. My days were
usually taken up in washing clothes and nursing the wife. I never knew
there were so many clothes in the world, and to think that they came
from one sick wife and a perfectly healthy six-year old kiddie! I, like
a darn fool, kept putting on clean white frocks and all the other white
fixings that go with it. When the Missis got on the job again, Miss
Juanita got a pair of overalls on week days and a dress on Sundays,
all this going to prove that as a nurse maid I was a fizzle. I came a
Steve Brodie on the wife's hair also, letting it get into such a mess
that I couldn't comb the rats' nests out of it and had to cut the whole
business off short. However, this didn't make much difference, as it
all came out itself anyway.

At all times on the _Wolf_ the fresh water situation was of great
importance, as we were on a strict allowance of drinking water, which
they condensed and purified themselves. We were also allowed a minute
quantity of semi-condensed water for washing purposes. I used to save
up for several days and get enough for a bath, all of us using the same
water. After bathing, this water was used to wash clothes in. On other
mornings we had to be content with a salt water bath, which is very
refreshing but has little cleansing quality. Every effort was made to
catch all the rain water possible, and then everybody had the big wash.
During a heavy rain it was customary for all hands to strip and stand
out in the rain and have a good rain water bath. It was quite odd to
see from one hundred and fifty to three hundred men taking their bath
in this manner. It makes one think of the Garden of Eden before Eve
showed on the job.

I used to look forward to the evening when the prize officer,
Lieutenant Zelasko, used to come to my quarters and talk for half an
hour. His talk usually was of the war, and it was interesting to get
the German view of it. Of course, from their viewpoint "poor Germany"
was the defendant, and they figure they are fighting to protect their
homes and not in a war of conquest.

Many of the crew of the _Wolf_ had seen service on the various fronts
and in Belgium and had some very interesting experiences to tell. These
stories were always from the German viewpoint. One chap in particular
had a unique and unenviable experience, having been wounded in six
places at six different times. He was shot once through the shoulder on
the Russian front. On two occasions, while on service in France, he was
shot, once through the arm and on another occasion through the leg. At
the storming of Antwerp he was wounded on the head by a flying piece of
shell, and later on, while trying to storm a bridge, he was bayoneted.
While serving as a member of the prize crew on the S.S. _Melunga_,
after her capture by the _Wolf_, he lost an eye, while knocking off
the head of a beer bottle, a piece of the glass striking him in the
eye. The bottle of beer was "Gambe Carlsburger," a Danish beer, and as
this accident happened on an Australian steamer in the Indian Ocean, I
don't know just exactly who should get the credit for this, although I
think that Denmark should be credited with an asset.

One of the officers, a lieutenant, was in the sailors' foot regiment
the first time the Germans entered Antwerp, and told of the civil
populace throwing large rocks, flat irons and cooking utensils down on
the soldiers' heads while they were marching into the town, and spoke
as if this was a grave breach of the Marquis of Queensbury's rules as
to how to conduct a war. After many of the brave Teuton soldiers had
been wounded in this undignified and unwarlike manner, they withdrew
and the artillery bombardment followed. From other sources I have heard
that this regiment marched up the street taking pot shots at anybody,
male or female, who happened to look out of a window or door. I judged
from this man's conversation that this sailor regiment shipped to stop
bullets and not flat irons and other nameless weapons.

One afternoon I asked Commander Nerger for permission to talk to some
of the men, saying it was not healthy for a man to sit around all day
and not say a word to anybody. This he granted, so after that I could
hold short conversations with a good many members of the crew, and in
a short time had practically the run of the ship. It was absolutely
forbidden, however, for me to talk to any of the other prisoners who
had been on board the _Wolf_ for a long time and knew of its various
mine-laying activities.

Our meals were served in our cabin, on dishes taken from the _Beluga_;
in fact, for the first month a good deal of our food was _Beluga's_
food. Little delicacies that I had bought for our own use, such as
potted meats, jellies, crackers and a case of wine, were reserved
for our own use by the purser of the _Wolf_ at Commander Nerger's
suggestion. One of the most valuable foods to us, taken from the
_Beluga_ and reserved for our use, was four cases of canned milk of
the liquid variety, which proved very beneficial to the wife during
her sickness, and also was greatly appreciated by Nita. The doctor,
thinking probably that the black bread would prove too strong for
Nita's stomach, endeavoured to have the ship's baker make a small
quantity of white bread for her, but unfortunately the baker could not
make a success of the wheat bread and the effort was given up. As far
as I could see, this black bread, while being far from palatable, was
very wholesome and nourishing.

I should like to state here that my family and myself were treated with
the utmost courtesy and consideration by the Commander himself and
his officers while we were prisoners. I am not speaking for the poor
devils down below aft, nor of our treatment while under the charge of
Lieutenant Rose on the Jap prize ship _Hitachi Maru_, or later on the
Spanish prize _Igotz Mendi_, which was decidedly different.

On the _Wolf_ our meals were regular and methodically worked out, so
that at the end of each day a person had received just so much rationed
nourishment. Myself and family received the same food as that served in
the Officers' mess. Our breakfast usually consisted of "near" coffee,
syrup or treacle and three slices of black bread. I have seen the
cook's department roasting this alleged "coffee," and believe it to be
nothing more nor less than wheat roasted until it is scorched or burnt,
the larger kernels being saved for this purpose. Some years ago I was
on a sailing vessel and the supply of coffee gave out. The cook used
to take burnt bread and make a substitute for coffee from it that was
identical in taste with this coffee on the _Wolf_.

Dinner at midday consisted of a soup, a meat-ball composed of canned
beef ground fine and mixed with bread crumbs, plenty of preserved peas
and carrots. Monday, Wednesday and Friday we had a dessert, usually
stewed prunes or a corn-starch mixture. For supper we had tea, bread,
and sardine paste, or pickled, cold corned beef. Quite often rice in
various disguises was given instead of the "bully beef" at noon. But
on Sunday--oh, joy!! A regular, honest-to-Grandma dinner, consisting
of asparagus soup, real fresh meat from the refrigerator, evaporated
potatoes, a vegetable, prunes and a sweet. This for a regular menu,
day in and day out, doesn't look very good, but considering that we
were prisoners I don't believe we had any cause to complain. The food
we received was the same as that which the Commander and deck officers
had, and superior to that of the warrant officers and seamen.





The German auxiliary cruiser and minelayer _Wolf_ was formerly
a freighter belonging to the Hansa Line, a subsidiary of the
Hamburg-American Line; of 6,728 gross tons; single screw, one funnel;
two well decks, two telescoping masts, equipped with wireless, double
bridge; two Sampson posts on poop and four sets of cargo booms. On
the poop rigged from the Sampson posts were two faked cargo booms whose
real purpose was to disguise a six-inch gun mounted there. On her boat
deck she showed three life-boats, working boats from each side. The
vessel was painted all black and had no particular distinguishing marks.

_Wolf_ carried two six-inch ordinary guns, one mounted forward
under the forecastle head and the other on top of the poop; four
4.7 ordinaries, two forward and two aft mounted on the well deck.
The bulwark or rails at these guns, as at the six-inch forward gun,
were fitted with hinges and spring catches, so that by one blow of a
hammer they dropped down, giving the guns ample room for action. Under
ordinary circumstances nothing of these guns could be seen above the
rail. She was further armed with four torpedo tubes, two forward and
two aft, on the well decks. The torpedoes forward were "Red Heads"
and especially effective for short distances, while those aft were
"Mannlichers" and used for long distance work. She also had four
machine guns mounted, two on each end of the boat deck in such a manner
that they could control the decks and the prisoners' quarters aft.

On leaving Kiel _Wolf_ had a crew of three hundred and seventy-five
men, including one Commander and Corvette Captain, one Lieutenant
Commander, three senior and six junior Lieutenants, two Surgeons and
twelve Warrant Officers, including gun mechanics, torpedo mechanics,
mine experts, navigating sub-lieutenants and boatswains. She had a
wireless crew of seven men, including one wireless expert. The signal
corps consisted of six signal men in charge of a code expert, who had
had several years of training at a school in deciphering various codes.
I am led to believe from what I saw that this man was able to decipher
naval and private codes used in the South Pacific, but was unable to
handle codes used in the North Atlantic.

On leaving Kiel _Wolf_ had on board five hundred mines, seventy-five
hundred tons of Westphalian coal, three thousand tons of water, and
twenty-five hundred tons of food and ammunition. This heavy cargo
over-loaded the _Wolf_. I understand she was drawing over two feet
more than her normal loaded draft when she left Kiel, and on getting
safely through the blockade she encountered a very heavy series of
gales in the North Atlantic, causing the vessel to labour heavily.
This labouring strained her hull and topside and she dropped a good
many rivets. As soon as she ran out of this bad weather repairs
were made and all her topsides double riveted. Something like nine
thousand rivets were driven, this work being done by her crew as the
_Wolf_ proceeded down the Atlantic. Among her mechanics she seemed
to have representatives from almost every trade, and apparently an
inexhaustible supply of materials for making repairs or new additions
to her equipment.

_Wolf_ was equipped with a triple expansion engine and three boilers
and one auxiliary donkey boiler. Her power plant was unique in that
she could steam seven knots per hour on a consumption of eighteen tons
of coal per diem, and eleven and a half knots per hour, her maximum,
on twenty-eight tons of coal per diem. I have heard it said that she
had one of the most efficient power plants out of Europe, having a
fuel consumption of 1.2 per I.H.P. _Wolf_ was further equipped with a
powerful searchlight, situated abaft the bridge, on a tower that could
be raised or lowered at will. When not in use this light could not be
seen above the top of the house. _Wolf_ sailed from Kiel on November
21, 1916.

The Commander of the _Wolf_, Corvette Captain Nerger, of the Imperial
German Navy, was a man of probably thirty-five years of age, of
moderate height and slim build. He was immaculate in all things
pertaining to his person, and was a strict disciplinarian. I was in
Commander Nerger's quarters one day. I had visited him to thank him for
the courtesy he had extended to my family and to myself, and found him
a very agreeable man to talk to; a thorough gentleman and apparently
anxious to do anything he could to make our lot bearable. In talking
with him I found nothing to denote the arrogant Prussianism which is
said to predominate in the higher branches of the German Navy.

And yet Commander Nerger was a man "all alone." He kept absolutely to
himself; took no man into his confidence. No man ever knew an hour
ahead what his plans or the vessel's plans were. He was the only one
who knew when we started for home. On the fifteen months' cruise of
the _Wolf_ Nerger was in full charge and ran his vessel as a "one man
ship." He lived in comfortable quarters on the boat deck, just under
the bridge, and had his meals served in his private dining room. In the
five months I was on the _Wolf_ I do not think I saw him on the berth
deck more than a dozen times, and then only on an inspection trip of
some kind. He always had the appearance of having just stepped out
of a bandbox, he was so immaculate in his dress. I was told by his
officers that Nerger never gets excited; always remains cool under
all circumstances. They tell a story of his being in command of a
light cruiser in the battle off the Dogger Banks, and throughout this
engagement he calmly passed back and forth on the bridge, with a cigar
in his mouth, giving his orders as calmly as if at some gun practice or
manoeuvres. His officers and men all respected him, which to my mind is
a good enough recommendation.

One of the peculiarities of the _Wolf's_ cruise was that nobody,
excepting the Commander, knew where she was going, when she was going,
and how long she was to be away. The majority of the officers, thinking
she would probably try to duplicate the raider _Moewe's_ operations,
took only enough clothes to last them about three months, and only
augmented their supply from the various vessels captured. From one of
the captured steamers they got several rolls or bolts of heavy dress
goods, but unfortunately for them, they didn't have enough cotton
thread to make them up into wearing apparel, although some of them,
in more need than the rest, sewed their new suits with ordinary sail
twine, similar to that which the grocer uses to tie up his parcels. The
cloth was all dark goods, and it looked odd to see the coarse white
string stitches against the dark background. Many of the suits were
very well cut and fitted in the regular naval style.

The _Wolf's_ method of getting away from Kiel was unique. Each day
about eleven o'clock in the forenoon, she would up anchor and steam
out of Kiel harbour, manoeuvring outside and having gun practice,
returning each night to anchor in the harbour. This procedure was kept
up for over three weeks, until finally one night the _Wolf_ failed to
return. During these three weeks nobody was allowed ashore or to hold
any communication with the shore. Even the German naval authorities did
not know the date she was to sail, until she had gone. All this goes to
prove that the German Naval Department had considerable respect for
the Allied Intelligence Department.

On leaving Kiel the _Wolf_ went through what is known as the "Big
Belt," a passage through Denmark into the Kattegat, from there along
the Danish coast across the Norwegian coast, and out to the Atlantic
between the Farrows and Iceland. On returning to Germany she merely
retraced her course, the only difference being that she passed through
the "Little Belt," a very narrow piece of water, one-half of which is
German territorial water and the other half Danish.

From where I used to sit on deck outside my quarters I could see the
other prisoners aft on the poop, at that time some two hundred of
them. Over half of them had no shoes, socks or overshirts, and fully
one-fifth of them wore no undershirt. I asked a couple of them why they
did not wear a shirt in that blazing tropical sun. They told me that
they had only one shirt apiece and that the sweat rotted them so fast,
that they were going without shirts at present and saving them till
the weather got cold. Three times a day each squad flunkey (a squad
consisted of fourteen prisoners) would troop up to the galley amidships
and get their rations for the meal--a kettle of alleged tea or coffee,
black bread, and at noon a kettle of goulash, resembling a soft stew.
I had been on board the _Wolf_ for some time before I finally got the
chance to sneak down below aft and see what the prisoners' quarters
were like and have a talk with some of the men.

The prisoners' quarters on the _Wolf_ were located aft in the cargo
hold, and had their only entrance under the poop, on the main deck. The
quarters themselves were reached by means of a narrow ladder only, and
this ladder was built in such a manner that not more than two persons
could pass up or down at the same time, or one person up and one down
simultaneously, thereby guarding against a concerted rush in event of
an escape being planned.

Over the entrance or hole in the deck leading to these stairs was
slung a heavy iron hatch or cover, in such a manner that it could be
dropped into place instantaneously by one of the guards. This hatch
would effectually close the only exit from the quarters where there
were over two hundred prisoners confined. Also the closing of this
hatch would cut off nearly one-half the air supply; during the times
when this hatch was closed, when the _Wolf_ was passing through some
danger, the suffering in the hold from lack of air was often intense.
Even under normal conditions the air supply was inadequate. It was
probably 8:30 P.M. when I was there, and I would judge the temperature
to have been between 118 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and the reek of
feet, breath and bodies was something awful. On this particular night,
I should judge from one-quarter to three-eighths of an inch of sweat
was on the floor, and when the vessel rolled there would be a thin
scum of liquid running from side to side. The walls and ceiling were
literally running water, which was caused by moisture drawn from
the bodies of the men by the hot iron sides of the ship and the deck
overhead. Combine stale tobacco smoke with this atmosphere, and it was
a wonder to me that a human being could exist in it.

At this time everybody was herded into the one compartment--captains,
mates, engineers, firemen, sailors, cooks and flunkies, all
together--white men, niggers, Turks, Greeks and Japanese. At night
everybody slept in hammocks and during the day these hammocks were
"made up" and piled away in one corner, thus leaving enough room for
several rough plank tables and benches to be set up. There were no
lockers or any compartments where a man could put his spare clothing
or shaving gear, therefore no man's gear was safe from theft. A man
who didn't have a shirt would steal one from a man who had two; this
made it impossible for a man to have any more clothes than just what he
stood in. Later on many of the men were given empty cases or boxes and
fixed them up to keep their spare gear in.

The sanitary arrangements at this time were very poor, there being
only three toilets for all hands. Certain squads of men would take
turns in keeping these quarters clean, the whole place being thoroughly
scrubbed out three times a week. I mean thoroughly in the full sense
of the word. Everything moveable, excepting the clothing boxes, was
taken on deck, then the room scrubbed with heavy brushes and sand. Next
the tables and benches were scoured with sand and canvas, the hammocks
scrubbed and the various tin dishes used for food were scoured bright.
After everything was dry it was put back in place and the prisoner
officer made an inspection. It was very seldom that he found anything
to complain of, as the men seemed to welcome this house-cleaning as it
gave them something to do to occupy their time. Reading material was
very scarce, so the time passed very slowly.

There was supposed to be a regular daily routine; but owing to the
many interruptions, such as gun practice, fire drill, boarding drill
and drills with small arms, this routine was not always carried out.
At 5:30 A.M. all the prisoners were waked up and by six o'clock all
the hammocks were made up and stowed away. Then the tables were set up
in place and the table laid for breakfast. At seven o'clock the squad
flunkies would get their gear ready, and promptly at 7:20 breakfast
would be ready. Immediately after breakfast the dishes were cleaned
and the quarters given their regular daily clean up. Usually during
the forenoon, after their work was done, the prisoners were allowed to
go up on deck and enjoy the fresh air. Dinner at 12:30 noon, coffee
at 3:30 P.M., and supper at 6:30. Very seldom was anybody allowed on
deck after coffee. At 8:00 P.M. all lights were extinguished excepting
three, one over the steps at the exit and two at the back of the

The distribution of the fresh water was also very poor. Each prisoner
was allowed half a gallon per day for washing, drinking and bathing
purposes. This amount, properly conserved, will answer the purpose,
but unfortunately the method of distribution was so poor that not all
got their regular allowance; and the loss of this water caused the
unfortunate ones great inconvenience, especially during the time that
the _Wolf_ was in the tropics. Many of the men used tea to brush their
teeth in; and I have heard of cases where tea had been used for shaving
purposes, but imagine these cases to be rare.

While there, a Captain of a big British oil tank steamer that had been
captured and sunk told me the following piece of history. I afterwards
verified this and can vouch for its truth. While the _Wolf_ was lying
at Sunday Island undergoing repairs to her boilers, the prisoners were
furnished with fish hooks and line and a couple of jolly boats and
allowed to row into the rocks and catch fish. Each boat, of course, was
in charge of an armed sentry. After fishing they would return to the
_Wolf_ each night. On the night before the _Wolf_ was to sail two men,
the chief mate and first assistant engineer of the S.S. _Turitella_,
dropped overboard and swam for the shore. Before leaving the vessel
these men had secreted on their persons a supply of fish hooks and
lines, a small hunter's hatchet, two large sheath knives each, matches
and a good supply of tobacco. The matches and tobacco were securely
wrapped in waterproof oilcloth. Just at dusk, as the prisoners were
being ordered below, these two men slipped over the side, sliding down
a rope into the water. They then swam under the stern and climbed up on
the rudder and sat there in such a manner that they could not be seen
from on deck. A confederate in the meantime had taken care of the line
hanging over the side. About nine o'clock, when it was good and dark,
they again slipped into the water and swam for the shore some half a
mile distant. There is a strong current setting parallel with the shore
in this particular locality and, as the water is infested with sharks,
the betting among the men was two to one that neither of them would
make it.

Later on, from some of the officers that had been on shore at Sunday
Island, I found out there had formerly been a family living there,
but at this particular time they were away on a visit, probably to
New Zealand, as they had left their house fully furnished and with
quite a supply of provisions on hand. Everything indicated that they
intended returning at a later date. A calendar hanging on the wall
indicated that this family had left there between April 17th and 23d.
When the loss of the prisoners was finally discovered there was a
great rumpus, and as a punishment all the prisoners were kept below
for twenty-eight days, being allowed on deck for only one hour each
day, weather permitting, for exercise. The British captain said that
those were the most awful days he ever experienced in his life and that
each day he and the rest were getting perceptibly thinner. Just about
this time I got the sign from the sentry that the prisoner officer
was coming and I had to beat a retreat. Afterwards I found out that it
was not the prisoner officer but the mine officer, Lieutenant Dedrick,
who proved to be a humane officer and a champion of the prisoners.
Dedrick came down below into the hell hole and got one good lungful
of the rotten atmosphere and went immediately to the Commander and
reported conditions. Commander Nerger at once called both doctors and
accompanied them aft on a tour of inspection. The next day everybody
was chased on deck and the "Hell Hole" below was cleaned out and better
ventilation arranged for; it was also painted; also the captured
captains and ships' officers were given quarters to themselves, while
the whites and blacks were separated. On the whole the conditions
for these two hundred men were improved one hundred per cent. The
prisoner officer was confined to his room for five days for allowing
such conditions to exist. Nerger had inspected these quarters before,
but only when the men were on deck and the place freshly cleaned out.
Personally I do not think he knew how bad conditions were.

Along in the first part of January I learned by wireless that of
the two men who swam for shore at Sunday Island the first assistant
engineer was drowned, while the other reached shore in an exhausted
condition. He and his companion while swimming ashore became separated
in the dark and the mate did not know for a certainty whether his chum
was taken by a shark or drowned from exhaustion. He stayed on the
island for somewhat over two months, living on the provisions that were
left in the house and on fruit, of which there was a great abundance.
He was finally taken off by a Japanese cruiser whose attention was
attracted by his signal fire, which he kept burning day and night. The
cruiser finally landed him in New Zealand.

All this time we were steaming in a northerly and westerly direction.
When we arrived at the southernmost end of New Guinea we stopped and
lay to for a couple of days. I soon learned that we were waiting
for a steamer and expected her any minute. During these days the
_Wolf's_ hydroplane would go up to reconnoitre three times a day. It
would travel fifty or sixty miles on clear days, and from a height of
three thousand metres it had a vision of ninety miles, so the Germans
claimed. One of the German sailors told me that in another day or so
we should have plenty of beer--that they had picked up a wireless
message stating that the Australian steamer _Matunga_ would soon arrive
in Rabul with five hundred tons of coal and three hundred tons of
foodstuffs, so many hundred cases of beer, etc., for the Government.
Sure enough, on the morning of August 4th I was awakened by my
orderly with the usual supply of cotton batting for our ears. Shortly
thereafter there was a bang from one of the cannons and the _Matunga_
stopped. Lieut. Rose and the prize crew went on board and took charge.
In about an hour the launch came back with the _Matunga's_ captain,
Donaldson, and his officers and crew, also sixteen Australian soldiers
who were en route to the Islands. Both steamers then proceeded north,
arriving on August 10th at a place in northern New Guinea that we named
Pirate Cove.




On the way to Pirate Cove Commander Nerger practised all kinds of naval
manoeuvres with the _Wolf_ and the _Matunga_. At one time he would
engage her in battle and finally after a fierce encounter, by superior
manoeuvring he would destroy her. The next time the _Matunga_ would
be an enemy's merchant vessel and the _Wolf_ would sneak up to her,
suddenly dropping her ports, and make the capture. This manoeuvre was
carried out quite realistically, the boarding crew supposedly meeting
resistance and finally taking charge of her after a fight on deck, in
which the boarding crew's bayonet drill would come in handy. At another
time the _Matunga_ would be a German cruiser and Nerger would direct
her attack against the enemy. At this time he was probably anticipating
being made an Admiral on his return to Germany and was getting what
practice he could.

At Pirate Cove naked New Guineans, men, women and children, came out to
the _Wolf_ in thirty feet long canoes for tobacco, which was the only
understandable word they could say. They offered to swap parrots, pigs,
cocoanuts, sugar cane, bits of coral, woven mats of garish colours and
queer pattern, showing whales, birds and primitive human figures. The
_Wolf's_ officers got first whack at the bargains and went in strong
for the fancy mattings, but when they got them aboard found them full
of native vermin. These souvenirs for their wives and sweethearts were
promptly turned over to the antiseptic department and cleaned, for the
_Wolf_ had on board a complete dis-lousing plant through which all new
prisoners were put, whether they needed it or not. The German sailors
had second choice after their officers and went in strong for parrots
and cocoanuts. The prisoners, who could buy tobacco at the _Wolf's_
canteen, if they had any money, had last choice of the New Guinea
merchandise. I had no money on the _Beluga_, having sent mine by draft
to Sydney, but I had stacks of clothes, and to get a little ready
"canteen" money I sold some of them, the _Wolf's_ officers paying me
$25.00 for second-hand suits and $3.00 for second-hand shoes.

The natives were cleaned out by the _Wolf_. Among the purchases was an
alleged New Guinea pig, which had the legs and body of a deer and the
head of a porker--and it had fur, too. God! I never saw anything like
it. It didn't have an orthodox corkscrew tail but a compromise between
a pig's and a deer's tail. The pig mascot was given the freedom of the
_Wolf_ and dashed if it didn't lick every dog on the ship. We had seven
dogs on board, taken from sunken ships--dachshunds, fox terriers, all
sorts--and the pugnacious deer-pig cleaned them all up. But the Germans
were too much for it. After two months in German company the pig
couldn't stand it any longer and, after the slaughter of the _Hitachi
Maru_, of which it was an eyewitness, it committed suicide by leaping
down an open hatch to its death fifty feet below. The Germans buried
the pig at sea with military honours.

While we were lying in Pirate Cove the cargo and coal of the _Matunga_
were transferred to the _Wolf_; also nine of the _Matunga's_ passengers
and the balance of her crew. Quarters were provided for these prisoners
on the same deck where I was. There was a Colonel and a Major with
his wife, belonging to the Australian medical corps; three Australian
military captains; three civilian planters, who were en route for the
plantations on the Island, and the stewardess of the _Matunga_. This
addition of prisoners to the top side was a welcome change to myself
and family, as it gave us somebody else to talk to, and I was also
able to get news of the war from another source than the German. I was
anxious to learn what steps America had taken or contemplated taking.
To hear those Australian chaps talk you would have thought that the war
was a high lark, and that just as soon as Great Britain got around to
it she, ably assisted by the Australian forces, would chase Fritzy off
the map.

The addition of these passengers to the top deck squad made it
necessary for Commander Nerger to make certain rules and regulations
to be observed regarding the distance we could go from our rooms. We
were allowed a seventy-foot run-way. Also when anything was going on,
such as gun practice, boarding drill, fire and boat drill, we were
chased into our rooms. This caused a lot of grumbling but no doubt it
was justified. I may add that there was nearly always something doing
on the _Wolf_. They drilled and practised almost continually--practised
sinking imaginary ships, indulged in "battle practice," and even
practised abandoning the _Wolf_ in boats and sinking their own ship.

While lying at Pirate Cove we had an exciting experience. It seems
that some of the Germans had a suspicion that some of the prisoners
were going to try to escape by swimming ashore. They doubled the
guards both below and on deck and in addition had twenty-four Marines
sleep on the afterdeck with their muskets alongside of them. On this
particular night the German sailors had stolen a couple of cases of
whiskey from the cargo of the _Matunga_ and many of them were pretty
badly intoxicated. At 11:30 P.M. one of the guards down below aft
imagined that he saw someone making a sneak for the stairs leading
on deck. Next moment he shouted "Help! Help!" and blazed away with
his revolver in the general direction of the stairway. Naturally the
prisoners sleeping on the far side of the stairs made a rush to get out
of the line of fire. The guard saw this crowd rushing his way and ran
on deck immediately. A general alarm was sounded and men and officers
poured on deck from all directions. Just then a shoal of fish some
little distance away in the water made a disturbance and the German
crew, thinking that somebody was attempting to swim ashore, opened fire
on the fish with two machine guns. Also everybody who had a rifle or
a revolver opened fire at something. One officer, who stood in front
of my room, emptied his revolver into the air, just shooting because
everybody else was doing it. Meanwhile, Chief Officer Schmell and three
sailors had jumped into the launch and also mistaking the shoal of
fish for prisoners trying to swim ashore, made for the spot--and were
enthusiastically fired upon by the German machine guns in the dark.
It sure was bum team work and a miracle that Schmell and his men were
not killed. The launch was punctured in several places. As soon as
the big searchlight was put into commission, it became apparent that
there was nobody in the water. All the prisoners were then mustered
out and counted, and as there were none missing, the Germans decided
that it must have been a false alarm and everybody blamed everybody
else. When Schmell got back on the _Wolf_ he was raving mad at having
been fired at by the machine guns. He wasn't red, but green with anger,
and he talked so fast that I couldn't make out what he said, but I
heard afterwards that he wanted to court-martial everybody, including
the cook. It always will remain a miracle to me that some of our own
fellows weren't shot as the frenzied guard emptied his gun before
running on deck.

On account of the high hills surrounding our anchorage the _Wolf's_
wireless was not of much account, so the members of the wireless squad
erected a station on the top of one of the highest hills. Here they
would pick up any news that was flying around and transfer it to the
_Wolf_ by means of an ordinary flash light. This was easily readable
with a pair of glasses, but unfortunately there was nothing of interest
excepting the "press"; however, it gave me an insight of just how much
reliance to put into the press reports that the Germans would let us
see from time to time. This, of course, was all British press and
reports were given as to advances and repulses on the various fronts
and also the weekly sinkings. Should the Allied forces advance or the
Germans lose a position, their press did not note it, but on the other
hand, if the Germans had a victory or there were any political reports
in their favour, the news was given us in full detail.

From one of the officers who had been ashore I learned that the native
settlement, which at one time evidently had been quite large, must have
been visited by some dreadful plague, as the houses in the village were
deserted, not a single native living on that side of the bay. He also
said that in many of the houses the skeletons of the dead still lay,
some inside and some outside of the huts, leading a person to believe
that this sickness struck them down suddenly and that they died nearly
instantly, as on the porch of one of these huts there was a skeleton
with some kind of a dish alongside of it, making it appear that death
had come suddenly.

Here at Pirate Cove the doctors were greatly worried on account of
fever and malaria and dosed us vigorously with quinine. Lord! I ate
enough quinine to last me the rest of my life. There were no capsules
on board and we had to eat the raw article, and there was no way of
dodging it. Each morning and evening all hands, officers, crew and
prisoners, were marched past the hospital steward's office and each
was handed his little bit on a spoon, with a glass of water to wash it
down. The only satisfaction I had was that it tasted just as rotten to
the Germans as it did to me. Strangely my little girl did not dislike
it a great deal and I was greatly pleased as I anticipated a riot when
she got a taste of the first dose. My wife's share, she being still
confined to her room, I used to throw overboard, giving her only an
occasional small dose. The quinine used to cause a drumming in my ear
and make me halfway deaf.

Undoubtedly it had the same effect on the German sailors yet they
were forced to work transferring coal from one vessel to the other.
They usually worked three shifts in the twenty-four hours. They would
go down in the hold with nothing but a breech cloth on and when they
came up they would resemble negroes and their bare bodies would be
just running in sweat. At these times I used to feel sorry for them;
then they would sink one of our vessels and I would wish them doomed to
eternal labour of this kind.

Among the _Matunga's_ heterogeneous cargo were two large horses and
one small pony. These were taken care of by the butcher department and
I suppose I ate my share. I afterwards told my wife about her eating
horse flesh and nearly lost a handful of hair for my information.

On August 26th both _Wolf_ and _Matunga_ proceeded to sea and at 1:20
P.M. the _Matunga_ was sunk by three bombs. From the time of the first
explosion until she disappeared beneath the waves was just six and a
half minutes. She sank stern first, and as she made the final dive the
rush of air below decks blew out the forecastle bulkhead, making it
appear as if there had been a fourth bomb concealed there.

Here I am convinced was the only time during the eight months that
I was a prisoner on the _Wolf_ that there was ever any serious
thought on Nerger's part regarding landing the women, children and
medical officers. Before taking the _Matunga_ to sea to sink her,
they transferred one of her large life-boats to the _Wolf_, also a
small gasoline launch. These were hoisted on deck and placed in such a
manner that they could be put overboard again easily, also they were
in such a position that it interfered with the movements of the gun
crew, thus proving that they were there only temporarily. One of the
officers asked me if I had ever had any experience with gas engines
and was familiar with this particular make. I told him I was, having
owned at one time an engine of this make. After giving the officer this
information he was overheard by one of the womenfolk repeating it to
the Chief Officer. We top side prisoners were some worked up, believe
me. We had it all "doped out" that after sinking the _Matunga_ we
should proceed off some island that was inhabited but had no wireless
or cable connections, there the women, children and medicos would
be put in the life-boat and I would tow them with the launch to some
nearby harbour.

This would have been the logical thing to do if Commander Nerger wanted
to conform to the articles of the Geneva Convention, which specifically
states that medical officers in event of capture shall be set free at
the first available opportunity. Nerger also told me and my wife that
he would land us in some safe place at the first opportunity, provided
he could do so without jeopardising his own safety. He also told the
medical officers and the rest of the women the same thing. I maintain
that at this time Nerger could have landed us with perfect safety to
himself and his ship--as the _Wolf_ was about to leave the Pacific
Ocean, having finished her activities in that locality. At that time
nobody had information regarding the _Wolf's_ previous movements nor
any knowledge of her mine-laying operations. However, at the last
minute he must have concluded that this was too "humane" a procedure
and ordered the boats over the side; they were fastened to the
_Matunga_ and went down with her. I claim this to have been the acme of
inhumanity. He might just as well have condemned the women and children
to death right there, because at that time there were ninety-nine and
a half chances to a hundred that they would be either killed in action
or drowned. I don't believe that there were five men in all the crew
of the _Wolf_, officers included, who ever expected the _Wolf_ to win
safely into Germany. There is another point to consider: why did Nerger
and his officers continually assure us that the womenfolk should be
landed shortly? If he had told the truth like an officer and a man
and said he had no intention to land us, then we would have had more
respect for him and would not have suffered the bitter disappointment
that we did.




From New Guinea the _Wolf_ steamed southwest through the Malay
archipelago, then between Borneo and Java and Sumatra, thence through
the Java sea; and on the night of September 6th the _Wolf_ laid over
one hundred mines across the Northwest approach to the entrance of the
Singapore harbour.

Going up the Java sea, we were continually sighting vessels, and it was
only the barefaced gall of the _Wolf_ that saved her from destruction.
Less than a month previous to this the Australian Government had
sent wireless messages broadcast stating that there was a raider
somewhere in the South Pacific or Indian Oceans, and giving a complete
description of the _Wolf_. Yet here we were, steaming calmly along as
if bound for Singapore, meeting many merchantmen, and at one time one
of the officers said he could see the smoke from five torpedo boats
steaming along in squadron section. When the _Wolf_ would pass another
vessel close to, she would usually have only a couple of men about the
decks doing odd jobs of painting and repairing. I believe that it was
the innocent appearance of the _Wolf_ which led to her safety. She
ignored all signals (which is characteristic of the merchantman).

The night before the _Wolf_ mined Singapore harbour we had a narrow
escape from being discovered. At 11:30 P.M., just as I was dozing off
to sleep on my bed on the floor, I heard the call to stations and
sprang up to see what it was all about. I looked out-of-doors and saw
the two ship's surgeons passing aft, both with their first aid kits
strapped to their waists. Slipping to the rail I saw that all four
cannon were swung into position, clear for battle, and I could also see
that both of the _Wolf's_ torpedo tubes were protruding over the side.
Just on the port bow was a small cruiser or battleship. From where I
stood I could see her funnels and two masts, also the outline of her
hull. She was travelling without lights, the same as we were.

I slipped back into my room, closed the door and switched on the light.
I dressed my little girl while my wife got into her clothes. This did
not take long as we always slept with our clothes in such a position
that we could get into our "emergency outfit" in short order. Every
moment while dressing I expected to hear and feel the crash of the
_Wolf's_ guns, but fortunately the other fellow didn't see us, and in a
few minutes the signal was given to swing the guns in. The danger was
past, but there was a mighty nervous crew of men on board the _Wolf_
that night. On the other hand, it was perhaps just as well for the
Japanese cruiser that he did not spot us, because the minute he had
made any signal and given us any indication that he had seen us, the
_Wolf_ would have launched both torpedos and given him a broadside, and
at that short range they could not have missed very well. Personally I
was satisfied the way things turned out, as I did not like my chances
of getting the family into a boat under the circumstances, neither
did I have any wish to be present when the actual firing began. While
counting my chances of getting the family safely into the boats, should
an engagement ensue, I thought of just how much chance the poor devils
down in the hell hole had of being saved. They would have been battened
down and probably would have gone down with the vessel, should she
have been sunk, without a fighting chance for their lives. Even if
the German crew had released them at the last moment, what chance did
they have of being saved? Under the most favourable circumstances the
_Wolf's_ equipment of life-boats and rafts was probably sufficient for
only three hundred and fifty at the outside, and there was a total
of about seven hundred on board. It would be only natural for the
German crew to have the life-saving equipment themselves and our poor
chaps would have been left to drown, there being no articles of an
inflammable or floating description around her decks.

On the wall of my room was a typewritten notice over Commander Nerger's
signature, stating that in event of the _Wolf's_ engaging an enemy
a boat would be lowered and the women, children and medicos would
be placed in same, under my charge. This provided that there was
sufficient time and the weather conditions favourable. I could imagine
just about how many chances we had that there would be sufficient time
to execute this manoeuvre. However, this sign served the very good
purpose of alleviating the women's anxieties to a certain extent. It
is quite possible that this was the only reason this notice was given
us. However, I am grateful for the part it played. The preceding was
the tensest crisis in the _Wolf's_ fifteen months' history. Commander
Nerger sent down word to me afterwards that it was a Japanese
man-of-war, and to keep the news from my wife if possible.

The next night, September 6th, the _Wolf_, which was primarily a
minelayer and not a raider, laid ninety-eight mines at a distance of
from seven and a half to ten miles off shore. The lights of Singapore
were plainly visible from the port-hole. On this occasion I was locked
in the room for about two hours, but it was not difficult to count the
"eggs" as they were being laid, for the mines came up out of No. 3
hatch on an elevator and were conveyed aft to the "chute" on a small
rail car which had a flat wheel, and I could hear it going along the
deck "humpety-hump, humpety-hump." I estimated that it took about one
hour and forty minutes to lay these ninety-eight mines.

From off Singapore we practically retraced our steps back through the
Java sea and entered the Indian Ocean on October 9th, passing between
the islands of Java and Canor. We then proceeded to the northward and
westward until we arrived on the trade route running from Colombo
to Delagoa Bay. Here _Wolf_ cruised around slowly for a day or so,
crossing and recrossing the route at regular intervals. While lying
here waiting for the prey, the wireless man told me he could hear
several cruisers working their wireless and that there was one British
cruiser patrolling the Straits of Malacca, one at Bombay, two lying in
the harbour of Colombo--the _Venus_ and the _Vulcan_, I believe--and
another at a naval station in the Mauritius Islands. All this time the
bird, _i.e._, the _Wolf's_ hydroplane, had been down below in the hole
undergoing general repairs from an accident she had had, which nearly
ended her activities and drowned both of the operators.

Some two weeks previous, while she was rising from the water and at a
height of about sixty metres, something suddenly went wrong with the
balancing mechanism and the plane made a dive for the sea, which she
hit at a terrific speed; the back wings and the pontoons or boats were
completely demolished. The mechanic and the observing lieutenant were
catapulted into the sea and had much difficulty in swimming back to
the wreck, which had the appearance of a gigantic bird sitting on its
nose with its tail standing up in the air. It reminded me of an ostrich
with its head buried in the sand. The bonnet around the engine and
mechanic's seat, in all seaplanes of this description, is watertight,
so that in case of an accident of this kind the weight of the engine
will not cause it to sink. However, in this case, one of the struts
supporting the pontoons had caused this watertight bonnet to leak
and, although both operators baled for dear life, the water gained on
them steadily. When the rescuing launch finally arrived alongside the
machine it was just on the verge of sinking. The crew of the launch
tied the machine to the launch with ropes in such a manner that it
could not sink and the whole outfit was hoisted on board the _Wolf_.
All six cylinders of the engine were cracked and the "bird" appeared a
total wreck. However, the "aeroplane" squad set to work and repaired
the planes and put spare cylinders on the engine; and in a few days
she was ready for duty again. The crew of the plane apparently were
none the worse for their mishap.

One day one of the officers told me that probably in a few days they
would pick up a nice fat steamer with plenty of food on board. On
the morning of October 26th, immediately after breakfast, I noticed
that they were getting the "bird" on deck and assembling it. I asked
one of the officers whether there was "something doing" and he
said: "If we have any luck after lunch we shall have fresh meat for
supper." About 11 A.M. the "bird" was finished and the engine warmed
up. Suddenly somebody shouted, and everybody got his binoculars and
looked astern of us, and, sure enough, a faint outline of smoke could
be seen on the horizon. The hydroplane went up and in half an hour
came back and reported a large steamer approaching. Commander Nerger
shaped his course so as to meet this steamer but still give him the
impression that we were en route from the Cape to Colombo. At 3:05
P.M. the steamer was right abreast, She was a fine big Class A Japanese
passenger steamer, deeply loaded, and I could see passengers on her
saloon deck. At 3:07 P.M. the _Wolf_ broke out the Imperial Navy flag
and signalled for the _Hitachi Maru_ to stop and not use her wireless,
also dropped a shot across the _Hitachi's_ bow. When the _Hitachi_
failed to stop, the _Wolf_ fired another shot closer to her bow.

The Jap concluded to run for it and started in to work his wireless,
also swung his ship into such a position as to bring his gun for
submarine defence, 4.7 quick firer, into action. Meantime the _Wolf_
had opened fire on her in deadly earnest. One six-inch shell from the
after gun struck the _Hitachi_ and exploded just under her gun where
the gun crew was working, killing six Japs and blowing the balance
into the water. I saw one Jap in particular hoisted high into the air
above the smoke of the explosion, and he was spinning around like
a pin-wheel. Another shot from the after gun put the gun on the
_Hitachi_ out of commission altogether, and killed another man. In the
meantime from forward the _Wolf_ had succeeded in putting a 4.5 shell
through the wireless room, where the operator was working. This shell
came through one side of the room, passed between the operator and his
"set," cutting one of his aerial leads in two, and passed out through
the opposite side of the room, decapitating a man standing outside.
This shell eventually hit a ventilator shaft, ripped it to pieces and
knocked a man down in the engine room so hard that he afterwards died
of internal injuries. There were several more hits, one on the water
line in No. 4 hatch, two more in the stern, and one in the wheelhouse
on the bridge. About this time the flying machine came along and tried
to drop a bomb on deck forward but missed, the bomb exploding when it
hit the water just ahead.

The cannonading, while it lasted, was very severe, there being
something over forty shots fired in as short a time as possible. Of
these shots only nine were direct hits. I must add that the first
possible twenty of these shots were directed in such a manner as to
hit (if they did) the vessel in such a position as not to sink or
permanently disable her; but towards the last, when it became evident
that the Jap was trying to make her getaway, the shooting was in deadly
earnest. Several broadsides were fired, which I think did more damage
to the _Wolf_ than to the _Hitachi Maru_, as the air concussion stove
in the doors and glass ports on all the staterooms on the berth deck.
In several of the rooms the wash basins and plumbing were broken. I
was standing in my open doorway with one foot on the threshold in
such a manner that half of my foot protruded outside the line of the
wall. When the first broadside was fired the concussion or rush of
air passing my doorway, hit the part of my foot outside the door,
feeling just exactly as if somebody had kicked it away or hit it with
a baseball bat. Something went wrong with the six-inch gun mounted on
the stern of the _Wolf_ and a shell exploded a few yards away from the
muzzle, putting the gun crew and gun out of commission for the balance
of the voyage.

The prisoners who were confined directly below this gun said that the
shock and concussion down below was dreadful during the firing, and
that when the shell exploded they thought the _Wolf_ had been hit. At
this time they did not know but that the _Wolf_ had met a cruiser and
many thought they were about to be drowned, especially when suddenly
all firing ceased; they thought that the _Wolf_ had been vitally hit
and that the Germans had scuttled her and were abandoning her. Many of
these men will remember this experience for the balance of their lives.

By this time the Japanese captain had decided that he did not have a
chance, and stopped his vessel, while the _Wolf_ sent the prize crew
on board. In the meantime the passengers and crew had managed to get
clear in the life-boats, which were picked up. The people were taken
on board the _Wolf_. There were some 70 odd passengers, 1st and 2nd
class, among them 6 women and one little black girl. They were a sorry
looking sight as they climbed on board the _Wolf_; many of them were
only half dressed, being just awakened from their afternoon nap by the
cannonading. Over a hundred of the Japanese crew came along with the
passengers. The _Wolf_ could not accommodate such a large addition of
prisoners without making new quarters for them, so they had to live and
sleep on deck for the first three days, when they were transferred back
to the _Hitachi_. The _Hitachi_ had altogether 16 killed or mortally
wounded. The _Wolf_ incidentally lost its fresh meat for supper,
because one shell had wrecked the refrigerator plant and spoiled all
the fowl and fresh meat.

One of the passengers on the _Hitachi Maru_, an American chap hailing
from Chicago, told me his experience.

When the _Wolf_ was first sighted he was in bed reading; someone told
him that they were going to pass a steamer, and he got up and dressed
and went on deck to watch her. There was speculation regarding her
nationality among those watching although none of them imagined her
anything but what she seemed--an ordinary tramp. When she dropped
her ports and fired across their bow, everybody for a moment was

He ran into the cabin giving the alarm to those sleeping and secured
some valuable papers he had in his cabin. The Jap crew were in a panic
after seeing their gun crew killed, and many of them rushed the boats.
The first boat to be lowered was filled with members of the Japanese
crew, only one second class passenger being among them. On landing in
the water this boat was capsized; but the occupants were shortly picked
up by a boat, also manned by Japs.

The first boat to be launched with passengers in it was handled
entirely by the white passengers. In this boat were four women and
twenty-eight men; on being lowered the davit fall on one end fouled;
and it looked very much as if everybody were going to slide out, as
the boat was nearly perpendicular. Fortunately for all concerned,
the fouled davit fall broke, and the boat dropped into the water. A
lot of water was shipped but the boat floated right side up. The men
immediately pulled away from the vicinity of the vessel. It was the
firm belief of the occupants of this boat that they were to be shelled
later on by the Raider.

One of the lady passengers during the excitement lost a lot of jewels.
Some days later a German sailor clearing out one of the life-boats
found these jewels. He came down the deck to where there were several
of the passengers standing and asked: "Does anybody belong to these
things?" He held out for their inspection a handful of diamonds,
rubies, pearls and other valuable articles. Needless to say, he had no
difficulty in finding an owner. This sailor earned 18 marks per month
and the value of the find was in the neighbourhood of ten thousand
dollars. I wonder how many men, under the circumstances, would have
returned these jewels.

The _Wolf_ and the _Hitachi_ now steamed to the southernmost group of
the Maldive Islands, arriving there on September 27th. The vessels tied
up alongside of each other and coal and cargo were transferred from the
_Hitachi_ to the _Wolf_. The cargo of the _Hitachi Maru_ was valued at
over a million and a half pounds sterling, chiefly copper, tin, rubber,
thousands of tons of silk, tea and hides. It always seemed uncanny to
me that these "deep-sea vultures" seemed to be able to capture a vessel
loaded with any particular kind of cargo they wanted. About a month
before this capture, I heard the officers talking among themselves and
one of them remarked, "Now the next ship we get should be loaded with
copper and rubber and tin." Sure enough the _Hitachi_ had what they

It seemed a pity to me to see the thousands of bales of silk goods,
ladies' blouses and silk kimonos being dumped from one hold to another
and trampled on. When the _Hitachi_ was finally sunk there were a
couple of thousand tons of expensive Japanese lingerie and other
ladies' wear and miscellaneous department store merchandise sunk with
her. The mermaids must have had "some" bargain sale.

It was the intention of Nerger to pick up, if possible, a vessel
that could furnish him with enough coal to take both the _Hitachi_
and _Wolf_ back to Germany. At this time there was a lot of talk
about landing us on one of the islands where there were missionaries.
However, none of us took any stock in this "landing talk," as it was
too apparent what their intentions were.

It was here that the married folks with their wives along, sent a
written petition to the Commander of the _Wolf_, begging to be given
one of the _Hitachi_ life-boats and a supply of provisions, so that
on the eve of the _Wolf's_ departure for parts unknown, we could make
our way to one of these islands and there await the arrival of some
trading schooner to take us to civilisation again. Nerger sent word
back that he could not do that, and repeated the same old "bull" about
landing us in some safe place, some time. Lord, he must have thought we
were a bunch of "gillies" to believe that guff.

On October 1st we were transferred from the _Wolf_ to the _Hitachi_
along with all the rest of the "top side" prisoners. Our quarters on
the _Hitachi_ were splendid. We fell heir to the bridal suite. It
seemed mighty good to sit down at a regular table with a white cloth
and napkins again. I shall never forget my feelings as we sat there
for the first meal, waiting for the whitecoated Jap waiter to bring
on the food. I could feel myself getting up from the table with that
satisfied, contented feeling amidships. Soon the waiter came and set
before us each a plate containing two ordinary soda crackers or ships'
biscuits, with a poor lonely god-forsaken sardine stranded on the
top. This, and a cup of the regulation "near" coffee comprised our
first evening meal on the _Hitachi Maru_. For the following morning's
breakfast we had porridge with kerosene spilt on it. Absolutely
uneatable. For dinner, rotten meat with good potatoes, water--or soda
water, if you had money to buy it with--and in the evening canned crab
and crackers. In the meantime our commander, Lieutenant Rose, was
having a banquet in his room with his brother officers on the _Wolf_.

On the _Hitachi_ it was noticed that Rose very seldom made his
appearance in the dining room at mealtimes. Quite frequently at
meals one of the Australian passengers who belonged to Lieut. Rose's
bridge-playing clique, would send a card up to his room asking if it
were not possible to have an extra slice of bread or a cracker. The
answer would come back: "Sure, boys, just ask the steward." But on
asking the Jap steward he would only smile and say: "Velly sorry, but
Captain write his name each day on paper that speaks how much you
eat." This was the fact, as I have seen the paper.

The German chief engineer and chief mate used to eat at the same table
as we did, and used to complain of the food as being inadequate; and
one night the chief engineer took the matter up with Rose and told
him a few truths. Rose said that it was "too bad," that he did not
know anything about it before but now he would straighten it up. The
engineer told Rose that if he cut out a lot of his private champagne
suppers and looked into what the rest of us were getting it would not
be necessary to make these complaints.

This is a condition that could not exist on the _Wolf_ because there
we were under the charge of a gentleman and an officer and we got
square treatment, but on the _Hitachi_ and later on the _Igotz Mendi_
we were under a sub-lieutenant, a snob and a man who did not know the
meaning of the word gentleman. In my opinion it is this class of "under
officer" that gives the Germans the unenviable reputation that they

My wife at this time was convalescing rapidly and regaining her
strength; and it was of the utmost importance that she be provided
with sufficient food. Luckily I was able to purchase from one of the
stewards a couple of large cans of biscuits, some preserved ginger and
an occasional piece of cheese. This helped out a whole lot, although
even at that she was under-nourished. Little Juanita did not fare so
badly as she was given as much as her elders, and being only a child
did not require so much as they.

At this time it was possible to purchase stout on the _Hitachi_, which
was a Godsend to us. A few days after coming on board, when ordering
stout, I was told that it had all gone. On making inquiries afterwards
I found out that Lieut. Rose had stopped its sale and was reserving it
along with all the beer and wine for his own use, and for the use of
his particular friends, who were all able-bodied persons. There were
three women, in addition to my wife, who actually needed something of
this description.

The Jap stewards on board were being paid their regular wages by the
German Government, but as their Captain was a prisoner on board the
_Wolf_, and they were away from his authority, they paid absolutely no
heed to any of the prisoners' needs, merely contenting themselves with
keeping the Lieutenant well supplied with booze and anything else he
wanted. Afterwards Rose told me that the service of the Japs on the
_Hitachi_ was splendid. I told him that it was rotten and told him
why; Rose merely pulled that Prussian smile of his and said: "What do
you expect? You're not first class passengers, you know." To this I
agreed and told him all I wanted was an even break with the rest of
the prisoners, or "ex-passengers," as he used to call us. There were
some sixty of us occupying the first class cabins, among whom were
many of the original passengers of the _Hitachi_. We were, with one
or two exceptions, all young people, and despite the short rations
we had and the rough experience we'd undergone, we managed to have
some very enjoyable times, playing deck billiards, quoits, cricket
and various card games. In the dining saloon was a piano. Some of the
Australian chaps were great mimics and had good voices, so we had some
very enjoyable evenings. The last night we were on the _Hitachi_, in
particular, the Japs came to life and were almost human. One of them
unlocked a large closet that was filled with masks, costumes, false
beards, hair, etc., which were used for amateur theatricals. We all
dressed up as various characters, and we had a regular variety show.
Among the offerings were clog dancing, sword dancing, highland fling,
the good old cake walk, and the Texas Tommy. The last number was what
we called the "Hitachi Rag" and was danced by everybody. It consisted
of the regulation "rag" varied by every conceivable step, including
high and lofty tumbling. All during the performance the German sailors
on the _Hitachi_ were peering in through the portholes and lining the
alley ways and steps, enjoying the show almost as much as the rest
of us. But this "Hitachi Rag" was more than the disciplined Teutons
could stand. First two of them tried it, and in a few minutes all the
Germans were dancing. The news spread to the _Wolf_ and there was a
general stampede of Teuton guards and sailors, in our direction. For
a few minutes we had full charge of the ship, as the Teutons wouldn't
stop when their petty officers called them. Shortly afterwards the
Chief Officer appeared and made us all stop, saying that it was
the Commander's orders, and that we were "stopping the work of the
ship"--to say nothing of undermining German discipline.

On the _Hitachi_, many of us lost things out of our rooms, such as
razors, a camera, combs and various toilet articles and articles of
clothing. One day, one of the British chaps caught a Jap steward in his
room using his safety razor. As this particular Jap had pimples and
sores all over his face, the British ally and owner of the razor was
very hostile. I asked him what he was going to do about it. "I shall
report the bally rotter to the management," the Briton replied. Not
being used to such violent outbursts of emotion I beat it.

All the time that we were lying here among the Maldive Islands, 12 days
in all, transferring cargo, the flying machine made regular observation
trips twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. On
three different occasions it reported seeing steamers passing not more
than 50 or 60 miles off, and once it reported seeing a fast cruiser,
probably British, travelling along at full speed. This island where we
were lying was only 50 or 60 miles off the regular trade route and I
had hopes that some patrolling vessel would blunder on to us, but no
such luck; although one night our hopes were raised to a great height.

Just shortly after sunset, my wife imagined that she saw something on
the Western horizon. I got my glasses and concealing myself so that
I could not be discovered I had a look. I, too, could see something,
but at that time could not make it out; although in another ten
minutes I had another look and sure enough it was bigger and plainer.
Shortly after, it was discovered by the Germans, and an alarm sounded.
Everybody was thrown into great excitement, and the lines tying the
_Wolf_ and the _Hitachi_ together were let go. All of us prisoners ran
to our rooms and got our "emergency kits" ready.

Just across the hall from our "Bridal suite" there was tremendous
confusion. A corpulent British technical mining expert was rushing
about his room in a perfect frenzy, looking for a heavy blue sweater he
had carefully hung on a peg against just such an emergency as this;--of
course, manlike, he blamed his wife for having mislaid it (my wife
contributes this slam gratis.) However, after a few minutes' search,
one of them discovered that the sweater was just where it belonged--on
the man's back. I met "Father" Cross,--a veritable giant of a man and
the greatest authority on Chinese dialects in the country,--shouting in
a great, roaring voice: "Bar steward! Bar steward! bring me a bottle of
whiskey, quick!" I could hear him mumbling: "You don't get _me_ into a
life-boat without a bottle of something to keep me warm." This same man
lost his trousers while climbing out of the life-boat onto the _Wolf_
when the _Hitachi_ was first captured. Somebody sent him a package a
few days afterwards containing an old pair of suspenders, and I think
that "Father" would have murdered the sender if he could have found
out who it was. I have often regretted that the sender did not enclose
Lieut. Rose's calling card.

Just about the time I reached the deck there was an order given from
the bridge of the _Wolf_ in a very disgusted voice, which was shortly
followed by a very choice assortment of cuss words, some of which were
in English. I looked to the Westward and saw that our rescuing cruiser
was only a cloud, and at that time was about five degrees up from the
horizon. Later on I kidded some of the German Officers about it, and
they each passed the blame on to somebody else; but just as this cloud
had fooled me it had fooled them as well. "Father" Cross, however,
averred that he knew what it was all the time, and that it was only a
"sandy" on his part to get an extra bottle of whiskey.

On October 7th both ships sailed from the Maldive Islands, the _Wolf_
going in search of a vessel loaded with coal, so that both _Wolf_ and
_Hitachi_ could fill their bunkers with coal which would enable them
to get "home" to Germany. We on the _Hitachi_ loafed along at a slow
speed in a southwesterly direction, meeting the _Wolf_ again on the
19th, when we both steamed to the Chagos Archipelago, arriving there on
October 20th, when we both tied up together and dropped anchor. During
this time the _Wolf_ had not been able to pick up a vessel, but the
"bird" came back one day from an observation trip and reported a large
steamer some 180 miles distant; later in the day she again went up and
reported this steamer to be a big B.B. Liner of about 16,000 tons, and
that she was equipped with 4 or 5 big guns. Needless to say, the _Wolf_
wasn't looking for anything that could bite back, so the Commander
decided to pass her up, and, returning to the Chagos group, take the
balance of the _Hitachi's_ coal and provisions on board the _Wolf_ and
sink the _Hitachi_, relying on getting another steamer in the Atlantic
to furnish him with enough coal to complete his voyage.

It was during this cruise that Mr. Johnson, Second Officer on my
vessel, died on board the _Wolf_ from heart trouble (so they reported
to me). The Germans gave him a burial at sea with full naval honours,
Capt. Oleson, of the American schooner _Encore_, reading the burial
service, the Commander and his officers standing by in full dress
uniforms. The corpse was covered with an American flag and launched
overboard from under the muzzle of one of the cannon.



Before shifting all the prisoners from the _Hitachi_ to the _Wolf_,
some arrangement for accommodation had to be made. The Germans cleaned
out and fitted up No. 3 hold between decks for the ex-passengers of the
_Hitachi_ and also for the Japanese crew, a total of 170 odd persons.
Iron berths were taken from the _Hitachi_ along with washstands and
other furnishings; and one corner of this "Glory Hole" was set aside
for the whites and the fittings installed there. The Japs had wooden
bunks built in the opposite corner for them, and rough wooden tables
were knocked together for all hands to eat from and to play cards on.
Also one of the pianos from the _Hitachi_ was installed there--to the
best of my knowledge this piano was never played, and my chief mate,
Mr. Buckard, who was quartered there, used the top of the piano to keep
his clothes in, while the cover of the keyboard was used as a kind of
mantelpiece or shelf by all hands.

The whole place below was lighted by three clusters of electric light,
at night, and three fans were installed and the whole given a coating
of white paint. The ventilation down below was very poor, and it was
tough on the white men being forced to breathe this air as it was full
of all kinds of oriental odours, and no doubt also oriental germs. A
couple of armed sentinels were on guard below, continually, and also
four on deck in the immediate vicinity of the hatch, at such times
when the German crew were not at their almost continual gun drill
and practice; at which times all hands were chased below, as also on
the appearance of any vessel. The greatest hardship these men had to
contend with was the lack of drinking water, as there seemed to be an
unequal division of it between the Japs and the whites, with the latter
getting the worst of it.

Immense quantities of iron piping and pipe fittings were taken from the
_Hitachi_ to be used later in fitting the prisoners' quarters under the
poop and in No. 3 hatch, with heaters against the cold weather that
was to be encountered before they finally reached Germany.

Auction bridge, poker and a German game called "Mussel" were the
favourite card games and the stakes were very small; one pfennig ante
and five pf. limit. Considering that it takes 100 pfennigs to make 25
cents, nobody won or lost a fortune, although on several occasions
diplomatic relations were temporarily severed between some of the
players. It was laughable, for instance, to hear an Australian chap
named McEnally, who is very well off, owning plantations and big
manufacturing concerns, squabbling over who would shy a penny in the
pot. Taking it all in all, these men, amongst whom were some splendid
fellows, adapted themselves to conditions as only the Britisher and the
American can.




On November 7th, the transfer of cargo being complete, and everything
movable or floatable on the _Hitachi_ being secured so that it would
not float off when she sunk and leave any trace to make a passing
steamer suspicious, we steamed out well clear of the Chagos Islands and
at 1:30 P.M. the _Hitachi Maru_ was bombed. She sank in 29 minutes.

We on the _Wolf_ were quite close to the _Hitachi Maru_ and could see
everything very clearly. First the "bombing squad" were very busy
placing their bombs: two amidships and one each in No. 1 hatch forward
and No. 2 hatch, aft. The fuses from these bombs were all led on to
the deck and brought to one centre. After everything was in readiness
and all of the men, excepting the Mine Lieutenant, were in the launch,
the Lieutenant lighted the fuse and ran for the boat. Usually the
fuses are set for 12 minutes, which gives the launch ample time to get
away. We all stood there gazing intently at the steamer, expecting
every minute to see the explosion. The twelve minutes' wait in a case
of this kind seems nearer half an hour. Suddenly there was a dull boom
sound, and the water was convulsed, and smoke from the burnt powder
appeared. And that was all, as the explosions all take place below the
water line. The vessel sinks very rapidly at first, and in the case of
the _Hitachi Maru_, the vessel settled evenly; that is, she went by
neither head nor stern. Soon the water was nearly even with the rail,
and the _Hitachi's_ bow sank a little faster by the head. Pretty soon
the waves were breaking on deck, and every moment might be the last;
but still she hung on as if fighting for her very life. Suddenly a
shudder seemed to pass over her, caused by the bursting of a bulkhead;
her head disappeared below the wave, she hung there an instant and then
her stern rose high out of the water; she made her final dive ... and
the _Hitachi Maru_, 1st class Japanese passenger steamer, ceased to be.

There were a great many satisfied Ah, Ahs from the German crew as she
disappeared, and a general feeling of satisfaction among them. For
myself, I am afraid there was a tear in my eye, and all that I can wish
these destroyers of good honest ships is that may they sometime think
of how they smiled as they sank these ships, when they are standing
around with empty bellies waiting for a chance to earn a living as
sailors. I can understand a landsman sinking a ship and thinking it a
joke, but a sailor, to my mind, should feel sad at seeing the end of an
honest vessel, may she belong to friend or enemy.

I know one German officer who told me that, when the _Wolf_ returned to
Germany, he would never go in a raider again; that he made his living
going to sea and could not stand seeing ships sunk.

From the Chagos Islands we steamed toward the Cape of Good Hope, and
on November 10th, at 6:30 A.M., _Wolf_ captured the Spanish steamer
_Igotz Mendi_ with a cargo of coal from Delagoa Bay to Colombo for
the British Government. This was a very tame capture, the captain
stopping as soon as he was signalled, thinking possibly that he was
immune because he was neutral. No such luck. Lieutenant Rose and his
prize crew went on board and took command, all the Spaniards staying on
board. The first official act of Rose was to order Captain Uralda to
vacate his room so that he, Rose, could use it. Captain Uralda answered
temperamentally by throwing an inkstand at Rose. Unfortunately Capt.
Uralda is no Christie Mathewson and the first one was a ball. However,
the Spanish Captain gave up his room. Both vessels now returned to the
Chagos group and tied up together.

There was weeping and wailing on the _Wolf_ that they did not hang on
to the _Hitachi Maru_ for a few more days. If they had, and the _Wolf_
had captured _Igotz Mendi_, all three of us would have gone to Germany
and the Imperial Government would very probably have been richer by
many thousands of marks worth of valuable cargo that was sunk with the

The Germans transferred some two thousand tons of coal from the _Igotz
Mendi_ to the _Wolf_ at this time. On November 12th, the two Australian
medical officers and the major's wife, a British Professor from Siam
and his wife, "Father" Cross--an eminent British barrister from
Singapore--and his wife, the technical mining man and his wife, one
Chinese woman and husband, one Mauritian woman and a little black girl,
and two male invalids were suddenly ordered on board the _Igotz_ just
as they stood. There was lots of excitement, as the _Wolf_ had picked
up a wireless message from a cruiser which was within 30 miles of us,
but which unfortunately kept right on going. A couple of German sailors
dumped everything in our room on the _Wolf_ into a couple of bed sheets
and dumped them down on the deck of the _Igotz Mendi_ for us.

Our quarters here on the _Igotz Mendi_ were fairly good, especially
in warm weather, but later on in the cold regions they were far
from livable. "Father" Cross, the Colonel and the two sick men were
quartered aft under the poop in a room that had formerly been a
boatswain locker; the rest of us were housed amidships in what was
before the Spanish officers' quarters. The Spanish deck officers
doubled up with the Engine room squad, thereby leaving their rooms
vacant for us to occupy.

I wish to add here that at the time of the transfer of the prisoners
from the S.S. _Metunga_ to the _Wolf_, Mrs. X, steward of the
_Metunga_, was quartered on the top deck with the rest of the
womenfolks. Mrs. X was an Australian woman of middle age and the widow
of a Chief Engineer in the same company that owned the _Metunga_. After
her transfer to the _Wolf_, she was ordered by the German officers
to take care of the ladies' quarters. On account of the overbearing
and insolent manners of some of her fellow shipmates, she refused
duty, stating that she was a British subject and a prisoner of war and
entitled to the same treatment as the rest of the women prisoners. In
this she was perfectly justified and I am certain it was through Lieut.
Rose's influence that this demand of her services was made, as Rose was
very partial to one of these ex-passengers. Later on when transferred
to the _Hitachi Maru_ Mrs. X was quartered aft in the second class,
she being the only white woman there; and things were made generally
disagreeable for her. This no doubt was because she was brave enough to
show her independence and stand up for her right.

When we were transferred from the _Wolf_ to the _Igotz Mendi_ she asked
to be kept on the _Wolf_, rather than go on the _Igotz Mendi_ under the
charge of Rose, stating that she would rather take the chances with the
rest of them on the _Wolf_ than be treated as she felt she would be on
the _Igotz Mendi_.

This permission was granted her; but, a few days later on, she was
transferred to the _Igotz Mendi_ against her will, and quartered in the
same room as the coloured people, among whom was one male.

Many of us were highly incensed because of this treatment of a white
woman, but were powerless to do anything with Rose in the matter
although we tried to make her lot as bearable as possible. Later on
this woman took sick owing to the dampness of her quarters and my wife
nursed her for three weeks until she finally recovered.

The _Igotz Mendi_ was a product of war-times, being built in 1916,
and built in the cheapest possible manner, both in hull, equipment
and accommodations. In her saloon, ten of us could sit down fairly
comfortably in good weather, but when the vessel was rolling as nearly
always was the case, only eight could sit down at the table, as the
chairs at the ends were not stationary. We were waited upon by a
steward named "Manuel." Manuel was quite a character and had his own
ideas about how much a man should have a day for two pesetas. One day
we were talking together, and he said that he shipped to take care
of three men only and now he had twenty-two, among whom were four
women, any one of whom (the women) were more trouble than the original
three men he had shipped to serve. I think Manuel had the largest
thumb I have ever seen. When he brought in my plate of alleged soup
the plate would be brimming full; on setting it down and withdrawing
his thumb the plate would be only half full. This thumb would have
been a valuable asset to some Yankee boarding house mistress in the
States. Later on Manuel took a violent dislike to some of our party and
used to spill the "coffee" or soup on them. This he did with malice
aforethought and I don't know that I blamed him much, as some of our
party imagined they were first class passengers on a modern liner with
servants to supply their every whim.

On November 15th both steamers left the Chagos Islands, the _Igotz
Mendi_ going at slow speed to a point 300 miles south of the Cape of
Good Hope, and the _Wolf_ followed the regular sailing vessel route,
where on November 18th she captured and sank the American bark _William
Kirby_ of New York, Captain Blum commanding. The _Kirby_ was en route
from New York to Port Elizabeth with a general cargo, the major part of
which was automobiles destined for the African Christmas market. After
transferring the crew, provisions, and what food stuffs were handily
got at, the bomb gang got in their work and at 5:30 P.M. on November
18th the _Kirby_ made her final bow.



On December 6th we met the _Wolf_ again for a short time, exchanged
signals, and received a further supply of canned crab, the _Wolf_
having an inexhaustible supply which she had got from the _Hitachi_.
We had so much crab that the very sight of a can of it was nauseating.
I feel sure that should a waiter in a restaurant ever suggest crab to
any of the ex-prisoners on the _Wolf_, he would have a very unpleasant
time of it. During the night of the 6th, the _Wolf_ left us, taking
a more northerly route than we. At this time, Lieutenant Rose had
told the Spanish ex-Captain that we were en route to Trinidad Island,
Brazil, where _Wolf_ would get what additional coal she required,
and then we, the _Igotz Mendi_, should, after waiting 10 days at the
island, proceed to Spain. This, of course, made us feel very happy and
I know that the Cameron family were overjoyed with the prospects of
getting safely landed after such a long time. Many of us took up the
study of the Spanish language, and some very queer conversations were
carried on. When I tried to talk Spanish, I would usually get stuck for
a Spanish word and put in a German one; then if I couldn't think of the
German word, would use English, the result was that neither a Spaniard
nor a German could understand me. Sometimes I couldn't figure it out

We enjoyed fine weather and managed to keep alive on the food, which
was some task. When we got up from the table hungry, we would think of
Spain and freedom in a few short weeks, and forget all about how empty
we were. On December 18th the _Wolf_ again picked us up; it seemed that
she could appear at will like some gigantic evil spirit. The _Wolf_
wig-wagged the information that on December 14th she met and sank the
French bark _Marechal Davoust_, bound from Australia to France with a
cargo of grain. This bark was equipped with wireless and had two guns
mounted on her, but offered no resistance to the _Wolf_. _Wolf_ took
the crew, provisions, ships stores, the wireless, and also his two
cannon, off the Frenchman, later in the day sinking her by bombs.

Both the _Wolf_ and _Igotz Mendi_ now proceeded together toward the
Island of Trinidad and expected to get there early on the morning
of December 20th. I had made arrangements with Lieutenant Rose so
that I could have a jolly boat in the morning and the wife and I go
fishing off the rocks on the lee side of the island, as this island
is celebrated for its good sea bass fishing. At 9:30 P.M. on the
19th, while pacing the deck with the wife before retiring, I noticed
that the _Wolf_ suddenly changed her course to the Northward and
signalled us with her flash light. We immediately changed also, and
put on all available speed to the northward after the _Wolf_. Soon
the explanation came: there were two cruisers of the Brazilian Navy
anchored at Trinidad and the _Wolf_ had picked up a wireless message
from one of them to the Brazilian authorities. Needless to say, it
didn't take Commander Nerger long to decide that he had business
elsewhere. If these confounded gossipy cruisers had not used their
wireless, in another few hours we should have run right into their
arms. On the other hand, if they had been lying in the harbour of some
big sea port as seems to be the custom with battle ships, and not
off Trinidad Island, we should probably have carried out the regular
schedule of freedom via Spain. Of the two, I should much have preferred
the Brazilian navy to rescue us, as then I should have been sure of
freedom, while on the other hand, I had only Rose's word that we would
proceed to Spain. There was a bitter gloom on our ship for a good while
after this; in fact the spirits of the prisoners never regained their
previous buoyancy. The great question now was "What next?" We could
see only Germany ahead of us, and that was not very encouraging. For
myself, I felt quite confident that we should never get through the
blockade and the mine fields. Captain Rose had often told us that in
the event of our meeting a cruiser, we would go into the boats and the
ship would be bombed and sunk. This was a very alluring proposition
for a family man to look forward to but was better than the conditions
on the _Wolf_, as there now were nearly 800 crew and prisoners on
the _Wolf_, while its life-boats and rafts under the most favourable
conditions could hold only 400, so it can easily be figured out just
how much chance our poor chaps had of getting into the boats, in the
event of the _Wolf's_ meeting a superior enemy. Probably they would
be battened down below in the hold, and would be sent down to "Davey
Jones' Locker" with the _Wolf_. In our case on the _Igotz Mendi_ we
were about thirty souls to a boat, and if the weather conditions were
favourable and we had a little luck, we should have been all right. The
women naturally lived in a continual dread of having to go into the

We had all been looking forward to eating our Christmas dinner at the
island of Trinidad and were going to have a royal feed, as our German
"hosts" were going to kill a pig and a cow that were on board the
_Igotz Mendi_ when captured. However, the Brazilian navy changed our
plans as to where our dinner was to be eaten; though we had "Sir Pig"
just the same. Owing to the sudden change of our plans (gaining freedom
via Spain) we all felt very blue on Christmas day, which was not the
enjoyable affair it would have been if everything had worked out as
expected. I know I had the blues all Christmas as I got thinking about
other Christmases spent under more enjoyable circumstances, which
thoughts naturally didn't make me feel any more cheerful. Lieutenant
Rose was around bright and early, wishing us all a merry Christmas
and "many happy returns" of the day. I intend next Christmas, if Rose
is still interned in Denmark, to write him a letter returning the
compliment, and then he can possibly appreciate the subtleties of a
joke of this nature. My wife wanted to stick a hat pin into him when he
came around with his "many happy returns of the day." The German crew,
too, appeared to be blue on Christmas.

New Year's eve we all sat up to see the New Year in, and one or two
of us worked up enthusiasm enough to make a little noise, but the
situation was so depressing that we soon subsided. Not so our German
crew, however. They held high festival in the Engineer's mess, having a
bowl full of punch, whose chief recommendation was that its foundation
was "Aguadenti" and it had an awful kick. The Spanish Engineer, who
had a splendid voice, sang several songs, and the German sailors sang
patriotic songs. At about two o'clock on New Year's morning, some one
woke me up by shoving a bottle of wine through the port-hole for me,
and later on around three A.M. another bottle made its appearance. Some
of the German sailor boys had imagined we were not happy because we
had no wine. The gifts were received in the spirit in which they were
sent. This was by no means the only act of kindness shown my family
and myself by the members of the crew. In fact, throughout the trip,
officers and crew, with the single exception of Lieutenant Rose, were
very friendly toward us. The American contingent was decidedly popular,
though they had no use for the rest. As an illustration, on my birthday
on January 25th several members of the crew came and presented me with
presents in the form of bottles of wine, and even Rose came across
with a box of cigars. Several of the German crew had lived in America
for many years; two had even taken out their first papers. And all of
these talked enthusiastically of going back to America as soon as the
war was over.

I was very much interested in trying to find out just what the German
opinion was of America coming into the war. Lieut. Rose used to stick
his chest up in the air and say that the United States' coming in
wouldn't make any difference in the ultimate outcome of the war, and
that the only difference it would make was that the States would lose
a lot of men and money. Just the same, I am of the opinion that Rose
knew that America's coming in spelled the finish of Germania, though
of course he wouldn't admit it. One day at the table he said that the
"Star Spangled Banana," as he loved to call our flag, was only a joke
and that it looked like a gridiron to him. I made the remark that
possibly the stars and stripes would not prove the joke he imagined.
My retorts to sallies of this kind were very moderate, as I considered
I was in no position to argue the point with him, and didn't want to
lose any of my liberties. I was always afraid to start an argument
with him, as I am very hot-headed and knew that in the event of a row I
was sure to get the worst of it eventually. Rose used to laugh at the
American soldier, saying we were crazy to imagine that we could take
a man and make a soldier out of him in a year, that at best these men
would only be cannon fodder, that Germany had proved it takes three
years to make a soldier, also that our submarines were mere toys, and
that as for submarine defense, just as soon as we figured out some
Yankee patent to protect our ships, they (Germany) would invent some
other way to destroy them. Rose believed that the submarine would
eventually decide the war. It was pretty hard to sit at the same table
and hear an enemy slam the American government and not to be able to
"hit back" or even "argue" the point.

On January 20th, in latitude 33 degrees north and longitude 40 degrees
west, we again met the _Wolf_, and, the weather being exceptionally
fine and the sea very smooth, the _Wolf_ came alongside and we
transferred some 800 tons of coal to her. Each vessel's side was well
supplied with large fenders or bumpers made of large coils of rope,
so that when the vessels would bump together they would do as little
damage as possible. Even under these favourable circumstances, however,
the vessels rolled and tossed around a great deal, and occasionally
some very severe crashes were experienced; but Commander Nerger,
realizing how great was his need for coal, and knowing it might be
months before he would get as smooth sea again, held on and worked
every man available despite the heavy bumping that was damaging both
vessels. The gang of men on the _Wolf_ trimming the coal in the bunkers
could not handle the coal as fast as the other gang brought it to them,
so, rather than delay the coaling, to save every minute, they dumped
the coal on deck; and when the vessels were forced to part owing to
the increasing swells, both guns and both torpedo tubes on the after
deck were covered with coal. If a cruiser had happened along at that
particular moment, the _Wolf's_ after battery would have been out of
commission. However, these conditions did not continue long, as all
hands worked feverishly at the job until all the coal was under decks.
After the two vessels had parted, we took stock of damages and found
that several frames or ribs in the side of _Igotz Mendi_ were broken,
that some plates on her side were badly stove in. These flattened or
stove-in places varied in size from six feet to forty feet in length.
Luckily all our damage was above water line, and the vessel leaked only
when rolling heavily, or when a big sea was running. The _Wolf_ was
also damaged, having several frames broken and four plates cracked. She
was leaking eleven tons of water per hour, while we averaged about one
and one-half tons per hour.

From this point the two vessels separated after arranging another and
final rendezvous at latitude 61 degrees north and longitude 33 degrees
west, a point some little distance southwest of Iceland. The weather
from now commenced to get colder and we with our impoverished blood and
scanty clothing commenced to feel the cold keenly.

Then came another heartbreaking disappointment. Be it remembered that
our daily prayer and hope was that we would meet a cruiser before
we got into the extremely cold weather, where the suffering in the
life-boats would be intense.

On January 24th the weather was very overcast, and drizzly, and
inclined to be squally--regular Channel weather. I was lying in my bunk
reading a four months' old newspaper printed in Africa, when at about
five bells (2.30 P.M.) my wife came to my door and said: "Stan, there
is a cruiser with four funnels just ahead of us." I thought she was
kidding, and said: "All right, Mamie, tell them to reserve an outside
room for me." I then looked at her and saw she was white as a sheet. I
jumped up, knowing immediately there was "something doing." Just as I
hit the floor, the Professor stuck his head in at the door and said:
"My God, Captain, a cruiser at last." I ran out on deck and there just
on the edge of a rain squall was what appeared to be a four-funnelled
cruiser. Just about this time the Spanish second mate, who was on the
bridge, discovered her, and a sailor ran into Lieutenant Rose's room
calling him to come to the deck. As soon as I looked at the cruiser
through my glasses, I saw that instead of being one four-funnelled
cruiser, it was two American army transports, both of them heavily
armed with what appeared to be big guns. There was great confusion
amongst the Germans, and in a few seconds two of them (armed) chased
us into our cabins in no uncertain manner. We altered our course in
such a manner as to pass under the stern of the two transports, and
they were less than a mile from us when they crossed our bow. They paid
absolutely no attention to us, and in a few minutes were swallowed up
in the fog and lost to sight. My God, you can't imagine how I felt
after hoping and praying and building on running across a cruiser, not
for days but for months, and when we at last did meet two of them,
they passed calmly on, not even signalling, nor asking who we were. It
was certainly disappointing. And then to have to sit at the same table
and see Rose sitting with that "Chessy" cat smile of smug complacency
on his ugly Prussian mug. Previous to this episode, he frequently made
remarks about the Stars and Stripes, and after this incident, he never
lost an opportunity to refer to it. Just the same the Germans were a
badly frightened bunch. The first thing they did on seeing the supposed
cruisers was to run to their quarters and put on their good clothes,
fully expecting to be the guests of the American government. The next
thing they thought of was their bombs, and the bomb man going to get
them, found that they were gone. Somebody had stolen them. Holy Poker,
wasn't there hell to pay! If words, looks or wishes could have killed
we would all have been crucified where we stood.

This bomb episode, at this time, was as much a mystery to us prisoners
as it was to Lieutenant Rose. For some reason or other my fellow
prisoners must have thought that I was the guilty party, because every
time I would meet one of them on deck and start talking, he would
excuse himself, having pressing business elsewhere. They seemed to
be afraid that if they were seen talking to me that they would be
"accessories after the act" and liable to punishment. I was greatly
flattered to think that these people thought I was "hero" enough for a
job of this description, but nevertheless I could not help thinking of
how much assistance or co-operation I could have got from this crowd in
case I had undertaken something along these lines.

The following day Lieutenant Rose held an investigation to find out
"who stole the bombs." We were all chased out of the dining room on to
the cold iron deck in a drizzling rain while this investigation was
being held behind closed doors. However, I had not been on board the
_Igotz Mendi_ for this length of time without knowing my way about
and managed to get an "ear full." When the Spanish Chief Officer
was called, Rose asked him if he knew anything about the bombs. He
answered: "Yes, I threw them overboard. I'll tell why. It was not for
me, Captain Rose, but for the women and little children. I am not
afraid of you. You can shoot me if you want to, but you can't drown
the little children." Rose confined him to his room and the next time
we met the _Wolf_ Commander Nerger sentenced him to three years'
imprisonment in a German military prison. I consider this a very brave
act of the Spaniard's and wish that I were in a position to show some
substantial appreciation of his humane heroism. After this incident
our guards were doubled and we were chased off the deck if anything
appeared on the horizon.

One day the Spanish Chief Officer, Mr. ----, told me the details of
this episode. At the time of the cruiser alarm he was asleep in his
bunk and was wakened by the unusual amount of noise. As soon as he saw
the supposed cruisers he ran to the wireless room, under the bridge,
where the bombs were kept. This room had two doors, one on each side.
Luckily the side he entered on was the side towards which the wireless
operator, who was intently "listening in" for signals from the other
vessels, had his back turned to. ---- reached under the table, secured
the bombs and went outside again, where he threw them into the sea. The
wireless operator never turned around, thinking that it was the "bomb
man" who had come after his bombs. ---- reached the deck and back to
his room without being observed by any of the Germans. He said he owned
up to the stealing of the bombs so that nobody else would get into

A peculiarity of this case was that some time previous to this,
shortly after the _Igotz Mendi_ was taken charge of by the Germans,
I had approached ---- on the subject of trying, should a favourable
opportunity occur, to take charge of the vessel. I did not receive any
encouragement along these lines and was afraid to go into the matter
any further with him. I put it down as a case of cold feet.

Mr. ----, an ex-second officer of a captured British steamer, who
was an invalid who had just come through three months' siege in
the hospital on the _Wolf_, and I, had gone into the details of an
enterprise of this kind, but unfortunately while this Britisher had
the heart of a lion, he was physically unfit for anything as strenuous
as this undertaking, and the matter was dropped, against his will,
although he would admit that he might keel over any time. If the
British army has many chaps like this in it, Kaiser Bill is surely
going to catch hell. It is my belief that at this particular time,
owing to certain conditions that existed, four good two handed men
could have taken charge of the _Igotz Mendi_ and probably would not
have met with much resistance, except possibly from Lieutenant Rose,
and I am sure it would have been a pleasure to tap him on the head.

The co-operation of the Spanish crew could not be depended on at
this time, as they believed that in a couple of weeks they were to be
free again, after coaling the _Wolf_ at Trinidad Island.





After the Trinidad Island disappointment, conditions were such that the
taking of the ship by any of us, even with the unreliable co-operation
of the Spanish crew, was not feasible.

The weather now was intensely cold and we all suffered intensely,
as there was no heat of any kind in the cabins. Our bedding was
continually wet and garments taken off on going to bed would be sopping
wet in the morning from the "sweat" that gathered on the walls and
ceilings. Personally I beat this part of the game by taking my clothes
to bed with me. The food question, too, was getting serious, as owing
to the cold weather we required more food to keep our bodies warm.
The statement has been repeatedly made in the papers in Europe that
on the _Igotz Mendi_ the prisoners had the same food as the German
Commander and crew. Let me show you how it was in reality. Eleven of
us sat down at the first table with Rose at the head. The one platter
started with him. He helped the party (a friend of his) on his right
first, himself next, and passed the plate to the party on his left.
This man was a glutton, and was without shame. These three people got
very nearly and sometimes fully half of the contents of the platter;
what was left was divided amongst the remaining eight, including five
males, two women, and a little six year old child. If we asked for
more, we were reminded that we were short of provisions and had to
make them last. If the platter of food had been equally divided, and
we had all shared alike, it would not have been so bad, but under
this heads-I-win-tails-you-lose division I have got up from the table
actually hungry. It is an awful sensation suddenly to realise that you
actually covet the food another person is eating.

We continued in a northerly direction until February 5th, when we again
met the _Wolf_, and owing to the bomb incident, sixteen additional
Germans were sent on board with their side arms and clothing--but no
additional food was sent with them. We now had eighty-two souls on
board the _Igotz Mendi_ all told. Lieutenant Wolf, division lieutenant
of the _Wolf_, was also sent on board to assist Rose. Lieutenant Wolf
took over the control of the food and the cook's department, and made
an honest effort to better things, which did improve somewhat, at least
to the extent that on bean meals we frequently got all we wanted; but
he was also the inventor of a weird concoction known as "Billposter's
paste" and for this last crime I will never forgive him. Otherwise he
was a decent and fair-minded officer. After his arrival, favouritism
was abolished and we all got a square deal.

On February 6th the _Wolf_ left us and was never seen again by any of
us. We then started to go around the northern end of Iceland, but met
ice and were forced back. We ran south for a couple of days and waited
around to see if the _Wolf_ made it or not, and as she did not return,
we concluded she had either got through or passed to the southward
of Iceland, chancing the blockade. The cold here was very intense and
caused a lot of suffering amongst us. Helped by some of the German
sailors, I fixed a place in an empty bunker, where my wife, Nita and
myself practically lived, only going in the cabin for meals and to
sleep. Lieutenant Rose had canvas put up here for us and lights put in
so that I could lie there and read, and the wife could sit and sew.
Nita of course enjoyed the comparative warmth. The only drawback was
that the air was full of fine coal dust and gas from the fire room, and
we used to get frightfully dirty.

On February 12th we again tried to get to the northward of Iceland, but
again met ice and had to return. Rose was forced to go to the southward
of Iceland, as he could not waste any more time, since the supply of
drinking water was getting very low.

Now that we were about to actually enter the blockade zone, our hopes
commenced to rise. I heard nothing from my fellow prisoners for the
past six months but: "Just wait until they try to run the British
blockade." I heard this so often that I got to believe it and used to
figure the only chance the Germans had to get through was if it was
foggy weather, and then if he was lucky he might slip through.

We ran the blockade between the Faroes and Iceland in fine clear
weather, and did not even see any smoke. So I commenced to think that
it was quite possible, it being winter, that the British weren't
paying much attention to this particular spot and were keeping cases
on the Norwegian Coast, especially in that district around the Naze
at the southern extremity of Norway. On the night of February 18th we
received a wireless from Berlin that the _Wolf_ had arrived safely and
on February 19th we picked up the Norwegian Coast, some sixty miles
north of Bergen. From here we proceeded down the coast, bucking a heavy
head wind and sea, at about five knots per hour, passing inside the
light on the island outside Stavanger, and thence down the coast and
around the Naze. During this time it was fine and clear weather, and
a cruiser could have seen us at twenty miles distance easily; but the
only vessels we saw were a Stavanger pilot boat and a Danish passenger
vessel bound northward. We were a disgusted bunch and no mistake. For
myself, I was sore; I was afraid to speak to anybody. Here I had been
kidding myself and letting others kid me that when I got this far,
somebody would surely pick me up. And then to come down this coast in
beautiful clear weather and not even see anything resembling a patrol
boat was very disappointing to say the least.

From here on all I could see ahead of me was the Gates of Germany and
the certainty of spending from one to five years a hungry prisoner in
a Teuton detention camp. I would have sold out cheap at this time,
believe me. By this time I had given up all hopes of getting free and
had reconciled myself to going to Germany.... If it had not been for
the family I would have jumped overboard and had a swim for neutral
land at some place when we passed fairly close.

The following day while crossing from Norway to the northern end of
Denmark, Jutland, it set in foggy and Lieutenant Rose was strutting
around with a smile on his mug, saying: "Just the weather I want;
made to order; I am all right now." I didn't argue the point with
him, as I thought he was right. About 3.30 in the afternoon we picked
up a fog whistle ahead, of the character we call a "blatter" on the
Pacific Coast. I was standing on deck just under the bridge, talking
to Rose. I nodded my head toward the signal and asked him what it was,
and he said: "Oh, that is the lightship." I thought at the time it
was a peculiar character for a lightship, but dismissed the thought,
thinking, "different ships, different fashions."

Rose had told the British Colonel that this signal was a German torpedo
boat with which he had arranged a meeting, and that the Colonel had
gone inside to tell the rest of the prisoner passengers, which would
give them all a scare. He also suggested that I should go inside and
tell them it was a U-boat, and that I recognised the sound of her
signal. I laughed, and told him I had made so many remarks regarding
the blockade that I was afraid to speak to them. Shortly after this I
went into my cabin and was standing looking out of the port-hole and
talking to my wife, when I noticed that we had altered our course, by
the bearing of the fog signal, and knew that Rose wanted to pass the
lightship close aboard. Suddenly I felt the vessel smell the bottom. I
looked at the wife and said: "Holy Poker! I thought I felt her smell
the bottom." No sooner had I said this than the _Igotz Mendi_ ran slap
bang on the beach, about 350 yards off shore and less than half mile
away from the lighthouse.

Rose's mistaking the lighthouse signal for the lightship's signal was a
lucky piece of business for us because I knew for an absolute certainty
when I felt the _Igotz Mendi_ had taken the beach that it would require
the assistance of a powerful tug to get her off again. I guess we
all realised just how much this stranding meant to us, and the very
nearness of freedom kept everybody quiet and busy with his own thoughts
and plans. I know that for one I had decided to get over the side and
swim for it, provided the vessel should give any indications of getting
off the beach.

Right after the stranding, the weather being foggy, we were allowed on
deck. One of the neutral sailors, a Dane named Jensen, identified the
spot where we were ashore and gave me the good news that the little
town of Skagen was only about two miles distant, and that one of the
best life-saving crews in Europe was stationed there. Sure enough, in
about an hour a life-boat drew up alongside. We were all chased inside
again. Rose invited the Captain of the life-boat on board, and took him
into the chart room just above the saloon for a drink and talk. Our
lady prisoners immediately commenced playing a game of "button, button,
who's got the button?" laughing and talking at the top of their voices,
so that this man on top of the saloon would know that there were women
on board. Also little Nita did a crying act that could be heard, I am
sure. Shortly Rose came down with a blank scowl on his face and said:
"You people can cut out the noise now, as the stranger has gone ashore."

Somebody asked Rose why he didn't introduce us to his friend, and
Rose answered: "What do you think I am--a fool?" Nobody went on
record with an opinion, so the matter was dropped. In the meantime,
Lieutenant Wolf had gone ashore and had 'phoned from the lighthouse
at Scow Point, where we were ashore, to a salvage company in Skagen,
saying that we were a German merchant ship bound from Bergen, Norway,
to Kiel, and that we had run ashore in the fog; and that if a tug was
sent immediately we could be pulled off easily, but if we were allowed
to lie any length of time, the ship would bed herself in the sand and
it would mean a long delay in getting off. I understand he offered
25,000 kroner for the job; at any rate, the manager of the salvage
company ordered his largest tug, the _Viking_, around, but instructed
his captain not to put a line on board until the manager had gone down
overland and investigated a little. Lieutenant Wolf in the meantime
returned on board and reported to Rose, who was immensely tickled and
told us that about midnight a tug would arrive from "a nearby town" and
pull us into deep water, and that by four o'clock in the morning at the
latest we would be on our way to Germany once more.

This news led to great consternation among us, and some great
arguments regarding neutrality laws were carried on. On all the trip
the Colonel had been quoting the Geneva convention, until we had all
concluded that this particular convention was held for the express
benefit of the medical officers of the army. I asked the Colonel if he
remembered anything in the Geneva convention regarding the grounding
of a belligerent's prize on neutral ground. He answered by saying that
clause so and so, paragraph so and so, expressly stated that all
medical officers should be exempt from ... at this point I butted in
and told him to "go to hell"; that there were women and children and
other prisoners on board as well as medical officers. All throughout
the trip this man had behaved like a dog in a manger, being the
quintessence of egotistical selfishness, and despised by us, one and
all. The conclusion of all our argument was that might was right in
this war, and that the Germans would do just what they liked, provided
they could hoodwink the Danish officials.

The manager of the Danish salvaging company, on arriving at the
lighthouse and talking with the various people there, concluded that
perhaps things were not just right with the _Igotz Mendi_ and that he
had better get in touch with the Danish naval authorities before doing
anything. He called up the Commander of the Danish cruiser _Diana_
and stated the case, saying that things didn't appear to be just
right. The Commander, a Lieutenant Lagoni, getting in touch with the
authorities, 'phoned the manager of the salvage company that he would
come right down to investigate. At about midnight the _Diana_ arrived
and Lieutenant Lagoni, being a gentleman and also a shrewd, wide-awake
officer, took his chief officer on board the _Igotz Mendi_, telling
him that he, the commander, would keep the captain of the _Igotz
Mendi_ busy answering questions in the saloon while the chief officer
should have a good look around and gather what information he could.
As soon as the Danish commander arrived on board we were all pushed
and shoved into our rooms and the doors closed. When Rose started to
take Lieutenant Lagoni into the chart room above the Lieutenant said:
"Oh, no, Captain, let's go into the saloon; it is not customary to
entertain the commander of a cruiser in the chart room." So they came
into the saloon. Just as he came through the door he saw some of us
being hustled out of sight--but said nothing. Shortly one of the ladies
would shout down the alleyway: "Oh, Mrs. So and So, won't you come to
my room for a minute? Don't be frightened." All this for the benefit
of the Danish officer in the saloon. In the meantime the Danish chief
officer was wandering around the _Igotz Mendi_, taking notice of all he
saw. While strolling through the bunkers, where our "temporary" warm
place was, he noticed Nita's "kewpie" doll lying where she had dropped
it. There were men standing around all through these quarters. Suddenly
the officer turned on a man standing there and said: "You're not a
German." The man answered saying: "No, sir; I am a Dane." "Well, what
are you doing here?" was the next question. The Dane, Jensen, told him
he was from the _Wolf_ and was working here on the _Igotz Mendi_, and
that there were American and British prisoners on board, including some
women and children. After completing his rounds, the Danish officer
went on deck and told Lieutenant Lagoni that he was ready, and calling
him aside, told him what he had found out. Lieutenant Lagoni then gave
orders to disable the wireless plant and told Rose that the tug could
not assist him off the beach, and that at the end of twenty-four
hours the vessel would be interned providing she was still under German
flag, and advised him to land any prisoners he had.


FEBRUARY 26TH, 1918.]



Of course during all this talk we prisoners knew nothing at all of what
was going on, and when we saw the Danish officers leaving we came to
the conclusion that our case was lost, and as there was an armed sentry
pacing back and forth in front of the two doors leading from the cabin
to the deck, it looked black indeed, and I for one felt very, very
disappointed. The strain was beginning to tell on my wife again; so we
both lay down on the bunk with our clothes on and listened to Rose on
the bridge, ringing the telegraph and working his engines in a vain
attempt to get his vessel off the beach. As I lay there thinking, I
could not but pity Rose, realising how he must have felt.

Just imagine what his feelings must have been on realising that after
spending fifteen months on a raiding and mine laying cruise, and
always evading his enemies, he had run his vessel aground almost at the
gates of Germany, and in place of receiving the Iron Cross first class,
there was the possibility of his facing court martial on his arrival
home, provided of course he was lucky enough to escape internment.
Thinking this I fell asleep and at 6:30 A.M. of February 25th (shall I
ever forget the date?) I was awakened by one of the German seamen named
"Hans" knocking at my door and saying: "Kapitaine, Kapitaine, wake up
and get ready to go ashore in the boats." I'll bet we broke all speed
records getting on deck. Rose asked me to get into the life-saving boat
first, as the Danish crew could not speak English, and then I could
help the balance as they came down the ladder. I got Juanita firmly on
my back and climbed down into the boat. There was a large sea running
and as the _Igotz Mendi_ was stationary on the bottom and the life-boat
was riding on the seas, one moment it would be even with my feet and
in another would be fifteen feet below. The idea was to jump at that
instant the boat was even with me. This was easy enough with myself and
wife, who understood such things and had had previous experience, but
to the balance of the passengers it was hard to make them let go at the
right time; they all having a tendency to hang on until the boat had
started to go down again. Then, if they should let go, the drop was so
great that the men in the life-boat could not hold them when they tried
to catch them.

In some cases it was necessary absolutely to tear the passengers off
the ladder by main force. However, we finally got all the women,
children and men into the boat and we started for the beach. When we
got into the breakers and the seas washed clean over us, many thought
it would be a case of swim or drown, not reckoning on the kind of
life-boat we were in or on the class of men that manned it.

I have seen various life-crews at drill and I spent a season on the
beach at Cape Nome, where everything is surf work, but these old Danes,
averaging fifty years of age and the living caricatures of that great
soap advertisement, "Life Buoy Soap," familiar to all the reading
public, were in a class by themselves. On entering the breakers, they
dropped a kedge anchor with a long line on it, and literally slacked
the boat through. A gigantic comber, one of those curling ones, just
commencing to break, would rush upon us; up would go the stern of the
boat and just at the instant that I would expect her to go end for end,
the old "Sinbad" tending the anchor line would check her and in another
instant we would rush for the beach, just as the Kanakas ride the surf
on a board at Honolulu. When we finally grounded the men from the beach
ran out and seized the women, the balance then ran the boat higher
up the beach. The natives must have thought that we were a bunch of
raving maniacs, the way we carried on, getting our feet on good "terra
firma" again. We danced, we shouted, and cheered, and made damn fools
of ourselves generally; but to my mind the situation warranted it.
What a fitting climax to an adventure of this kind ... eight months a
prisoner on a Teuton raider, and set free at the very gates of Germany,
at the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute. It is hard to realise
just what this meant to us all--possibly the very lives of my wife and
kiddie, as I feel sure that they could not have stood much more, and
at the best, there was from one to a possible five years' being buried
alive in a German internment camp, and living under the conditions that
I know to exist in that country.

We were taken to the nearby lighthouse, where the keepers and their
families did everything possible for us, drying our clothes and giving
us hot coffee to warm ourselves. About midday we went into Skagen, two
miles distant, and separated, going to various hotels. My family and
I put up at the Sailors' Home and were excellently taken care of by
our host, Mr. Borg Hansen. I wish to go on record here as saying that
at no place that I have ever been in have I met a more whole-souled,
more hospitable or more likable class of people in my life than
these Danish people of the little town of Skagen. I met people there
who were the quintessence of courtesy and hospitality; in fact,
they were "regular Danish ladies and gentlemen." Here at Skagen our
various Consuls took us in charge and sent us to Copenhagen, where we
separated, going our several ways.



During her fifteen months' cruise the _Wolf_ laid approximately five
hundred mines and captured fourteen vessels, as follows:

1. _British tank s/s._ "TURITELLA," 7300 gross tons, Captain S.G.
MEADOWS, captured on February 27, 1917, in the Indian Ocean, bound
from Rangoon to Europe with a cargo of oil. The captain and officers
were taken off this vessel and transferred to the _Wolf_. A crew of
German officers and mine-men were put on board of her, under charge of
Lieutenant-Commander BRANDES, ex-chief officer of the WOLF, and she
was sent away as a mine layer, laying mines at BOMBAY and at CALCUTTA,
and was afterwards captured at ADEN, while laying mines, by a British
gun-boat; and her crew of Chinamen were sent back to China, while her
German officers were taken prisoners.

2. _British s/s._ "JUMMA," 6050 gross tons, Captain SHAW WICKERMAN,
bound from Torreirja, Spain, to Calcutta with a cargo of salt. Captured
in the Indian Ocean, March 1st. After what coal and stores she had on
board had been removed, she was bombed on the morning of March 3rd in
latitude 8 degrees 9 minutes north and longitude 62 degrees 1 minute

3. _British s/s._ "WADSWORTH," of London, 3509 gross tons, built in
1915, Captain JOHN SHIELDS, captured on March 11th, in latitude 54
degrees 30 minutes north and longitude 67 degrees east. After taking
off about fifteen tons of rice and ship's stores the vessel was bombed
on the 18th. _Wadsworth_ was bound from Bassinia, India, to London with
a cargo of rice, and was six days out from Colombo.

4. _Mauritius bark_ "DEE," 1200 tons, Captain RUUG, bound from
Mauritius to Bundbury, Australia, in ballast, thirty-nine days out.
Captured May 21st, 300 miles off the west coast of Australia. Crew of
blacks and stores taken on board the _Wolf_ and the vessel immediately

5. _New Zealand s/s._ "WAIRUNA," of the Union S/S. Co. Line, of New
Zealand, Captain JOHN SAUNDERS, with general cargo from Auckland to San
Francisco. Captured May 21st off Sunday Island by seaplane. The _Wolf_
was lying behind Sunday Island cleaning and repairing boilers at the
time of capture. The flying machine flew over the _Wairuna_ and dropped
a message attached to a sandbag, saying to steer towards the _Wolf_ or
the flying machine would drop bombs on her. Thus she was taken by the
raider. After taking off some forty live sheep and ship's stores and
about 900 tons of coal, she was sunk by one bomb and fifteen shells.
While towing the _Wairuna_ to sea, _Wolf_ discovered the schooner

6. _American schooner_ "WINSLOW," 566 gross tons, Captain TRUDGETT,
bound from Sydney to Samoa, with general cargo. Captured off Sunday
Island on June 7th by the seaplane while _Wolf_ was sinking the
_Wairuna_. After removing ship's stores and some 450 tons of coal the
_Winslow_ was sunk on June 21st by four bombs and thirty-nine shells,
the old wooden box simply refusing to sink.

7. _American bark_ "BELUGA," of San Francisco, 590 gross tons, Captain
CAMERON, bound from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia, with a cargo
of benzine. Captured latitude south 26 degrees, on July 9th. After
removing 300 cases of oil, the stores and boatswain's supplies, the
_Beluga_ was set on fire on July 11th by gun fire, by the nineteenth

8. _American schooner_ "ENCORE," 651 gross tons, Captain OLESON, bound
from Columbia River to Sydney, Australia, with a load of lumber.
Captured July 16th in latitude south 21 degrees and longitude east 169
degrees. After removing stores she was set on fire and left.

9. _Australian s/s._ "MATUNGA," of the Burns & Phillips Line, Captain
DONALDSON, en route from Sydney to Rabul, New Guinea. Captured August
4th, about 122 miles southwest of Rabul. Both vessels proceeded from
this point to Pirate's Cove, at the northernmost end of New Guinea,
arriving there on August 10th. Transferred cargo to the _Wolf_,
amounting to some 850 tons of coal and 350 tons of supplies; also
prisoners (passengers), including two army medical corps officers and
three military captains. On August 26th _Wolf_ proceeded to sea and
sunk the _Matunga_ by three bombs, vessel sinking in six and one-half
minutes. Full particulars of the _Matunga's_ cargo was picked up by the
_Wolf_ in a wireless message to her consignees, giving a copy of her
outward manifest, also all sailing dates from time to time by Burns &
Phillips themselves.

10. _Japanese s/s._ "HITACHI MARU," of the N.Y.K. Co., 6558 gross tons,
Captain KOKMOA, en route from Colombo to England, via African ports.
Captured on September 26th off the Maldive Islands and proceeded to
southernmost group of the Maldives, where 800 tons of bunker coal were
transferred to the _Wolf_, also 250 tons of copper and tin, silk, tea,
approximately 400 tons of rubber, further cocoanuts and hides. On
October 7th both vessels proceeded in different directions, the _Wolf_
seeking for another vessel with coal while the _Hitachi_ loafed along
in a general southeasterly direction. _Wolf_ picked up _Hitachi_ again
on October 19th, forty-two miles west of the Chagos group. On October
20th both vessels arrived at the Chagos Islands and tied up together.
Additional rubber and silk and remaining coal were transferred to the
_Wolf_. On the morning of November 7th both vessels left Chagos and the
_Hitachi_ was bombed.

11. _Spanish steamer_ "IGOTZ MENDI," of Bilboa, 4648 tons. Captured in
the Indian Ocean November 10th, en route from Delagoa Bay to Colombo
with a cargo of coal. This vessel was sent to Germany, but grounded off

12. _American bark_ "WILLIAM KIRBY," 1200 tons, of New York, Captain
BLUM, from New York to Port Elizabeth, Africa, with a general cargo;
captured on November 15th. Crew, provisions and stores were taken off
and the vessel bombed on November 16th. She was captured 320 miles
southeast of Port Elizabeth.

13. _French bark_ "MARECHAL DAVOUST," 1100 tons, from Delagoa Bay
to France with a cargo of wheat. Captured on December 14th. This
vessel was armed and equipped with wireless. Guns and provisions were
transferred to the _Wolf_ and the vessel sunk on the 15th by bombs.
Captured 130 miles southeast of the Cape of Good Hope.

14. _Norwegian bark_ "STOREBROR," 2000 tons, Captain MOLLER, bound for
Europe from Montevideo in ballast. Captured on January 5th in latitude
18 degrees south and 27 degrees west. Crew, provisions and stores
transferred to the _Wolf_ and vessel bombed.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ten Months in a German Raider - A prisoner of war aboard the Wolf" ***

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