Sunday, 5 May 2013

Diary of a Royal Marine aboard HMS Mohawk Solomon Island & Santa Cruz 1898

Island Cruise

H.M.S. Mohawk

Australia Station
Solomon Islands
Santa Cruz Group
South West Pacific Ocean


Diaries of William Cocks - Royal Marines

About HMS Mohawk

Source National Archives (Greenwich) Mohawk Logs
Type: Cruiser 1886 3rd class
Built: Clyde (J. & J. Thomson)
Dimensions: 225' 0"
Beam: 36' 0"
Tonnage: 1,770 tons
Armour: 6-6" : 8-3pdrs : 1 tube (Originally8)?
Complement: 172 men
Speed: 17 knts Horsepower 2,200 N.D, 3500F.d.

1890 Sheerness
1893 N.A. and W.I   Captain E.H.Bagly
1901 chatham
Sold 4.4.1905 Garnham

From newspaper clipping inside cover Daily Mail Special  (unknown date).



 News by the Australia Mail tells of the arrival
at Sydney of H.M.S. Mohawk, after a wholesale
annexation cruise among the Islands of
Melanesia. so successful was the trip that any
decrease of the empire owing to the ocean's
onslaughts on the Kentish cliffs in the past years
will be simply recouped by our recent aquisitions
in the pacific.

In April last the Mohawk left Sydney under
orders t hoist the flag of England on the Santa
Cruz, the Swallow, the Reef, and other islands.
These group of islands lie 400 or 500 miles east
of the Solomons, the home of savage cannibals.

Altogether in Santa Cruz and the other islands
the Union Jack was run up on fourteen islands,
namely:-On Santa Cruz,Utupua,Tinakula, in
the Santa Cruz group; Matema, Fenuloa, Lom
Lom, Nifiloli, Bangauena, Bamga, Natapa, Pelian.
Nukapu, Nalogo, Nupani,Tocupia, in the Reef
and Swallow Group.

One of the officers of the Mohawk,
in recounting his experiences said, "During
the cruise we burnt a couple of villages
at Vella La Vella to avenge the outrage on Mr
Prat, a British subject. Commander Freeman
went ashore had a "palaver" with the chiefs.
One notable character, Belungi, was charged
with being out head-hunting, and from the evi
dence it appeared that after


some time in search of a white head (they prefer
the European) he came up with a canoe laden
with eight young native women, who were out 
for pleasure. He shot six and took with
him. The charge being proved, Belungi was
given until the rising of the court for the pro-
duction of the two missing girls. These he re-
fused to hand over, so was taken prisoner to
new Guinea.

"One of the most interesting features in 
connection with our cruise was the visit to
Tocupia. This island is without a history. Its
people certainly are not kanakas, woolly-haired,
or stunted in stature. The whole island, which seems
to give colour to the Darwinian idea of a sub-
merged continent in so far that the formation is
mountainous with valleys, and has about 800 people
 on it. they are gigantic in stature; one we
measured was 6ft 10in., and the women are
proportionate. The men have long,straight
hair, which they dye a flaxen colour, and
which in thick folds hangs over their copper
tinted shoulders. The women,on the contrary,
have their hair cut short. Strange to say these
natives have no weapons of defence at all  A 
remarkable law among them is that they marry
only once, the superstition being that if a married
manor woman dies, no mater how many children
there may be, the deceased's spirit has gone 
ahead and is waiting for the other half.
"During the cruise we annexed a volcano, on
which at night, though not very active, one could
hear a rumbling noise and see a flame or glare
above it. This was in the Santa Cruz Group.

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