Saturday, 1 June 2013

Wednesday June 22nd 1898 HMS Mohawk they wanted the Head of Pratt the trader to stick on a New War Canoe

7.30am we stopped off the island of Wanono at
this place lived a trader named Pratt who had sent news down
to Sydney that he had been murderously attacked by the Natives of Vella
La Vella this man is a Frenchman and whilst trading with the na-
tives, of a village in Juno bay he and his crew was murderously
attacked whilst on board this schooner, Pratt received a terrible
cut across the left side of his head which very nearly cost him his
life the natives who struck him was instantly killed but one of the
schooner crew named Jack a black man who very nearly severed
the native in half by a blow from an axe another native was
shot in the head by Pratt before he had received the blow, the
schooner crew managed to beat the natives off who when they
found that they had lost two men retreated in their canoes
they wanted the Head of Pratt the trader to stick on a New
War Canoe which they was about to launch this had taken
place seven months back November 1897 and we had come
here with the commissioner on purpose to punish the Natives
and to try and stop them from head Hunting, our
boats went on shore and brought off Mr Pratt and 2 natives
we had them to act as guides. to show us, the place of hiding
of the Chiefs, we then proceeded on to Vella la Vella
arriving there at noon, we landed 70 Blue Jackets

and all the marines, the Commissioner & Mr Pratt on getting
ashore we found the Village was deserted the Natives hav-
ing retreated in to the bush, where it would be sim-
ply madness to try and follow them,they made a sig-
nal to the ship and they fired some 6 inch shrapnel
& Common shells into the surrounding hills but would
find no traces of them, they had some very fine huts
& war canoes these we broke up and burnt destroying everything
we came across, whilst the huts were burning , I amused my-
self shooting at some pigs that was running about in half
wild state, I was attending on the 1st Lieut , my Governor, he
managed to shoot two bad enough to stop there run-
ning, but a Lee Matford Bullet would pass clean through
them and they would hardly take as much notice of
it, that if I had only stuck a pin in them after
all the huts was well a light, we started to return
back to the ship, but just as we started to shove off
from the shore a native showed himself in the
Bush we fired a volley at him from the boats,
thinking that there would be a lot more in the bush
by him, he was only a little over 100 yds away and
I never in all my life see a chap jump so high
in the air, he must have been like a top of a
pepper box riddled with bullets, Our Captain did
not think it wise enough to turn back as the sun

Continued in Exercise Book

Continued from red book

Wednesday June 22nd. was beginning to set and it would be ex-
tremely dangerous to be on shore, as no sooner than the sun is
down it is dark, so we returned on board and left the place
going at slow speed, during the time I was on shore we came
across a native oven of smooth stone a human skull
and a few loose bones, scattered about, I expect they had
made a bake for that chap we collected the Bone, and
buried them I managed to stow the skull away, but
could not find the lower jaw to go with it.

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