Letters from George Edwin Patey to his family, 1914

Accession Number RCDIG0000951
Collection number 2DRL/0795
Collection type Digitised Collection
Record type File
Item count 3
Object type Letters
Physical description 13 Image/s captured
Maker Patey, George Edwin
Place made At sea, New Guinea, Pacific Islands: Bismarck Archipelago, New Britain, Gazelle Peninsula, Rabaul Area, Rabaul, Pacific Islands: Fiji, Suva, Pacific Islands: Samoa
Date made 1914
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Letters relating to the First World War service of Admiral Sir George Edwin Patey, Royal Australian Navy. In a series of letters home to his family Patey describes the offensive campaign against German assets in Southeast Asia in August and September 1914. He details the initial raid with HMAS Australia on Rabaul in German New Guinea, having correctly predicted that the German East Asia Squadron (consisting of the heavy armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, as well as several light cruisers and colliers) had already retreated across the Pacific to the east. Regardless, Patey details that it would be important to capture the wireless station in the area and to ensure the protection of local trade supply routes. He also outlines the difficulties involved in keeping his squadron supplied with oil and coal over such vast distances. Patey describes the capture of Samoa on 29 August and the New Zealand force left to occupy and administer Samoa. With the Australian cruisers Sydney and Melbourne and the French cruiser Montcalm, the Australia would then escort the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) to German New Guinea. With Australian ground troops, Patey and the AN&MEF were able to capture Rabaul and the wireless station by 12 September. Patey's last writings are of the cruisers Australia, Melbourne and Sydney escorting the AN&MEF as far as Aden and then returning to Australia.
This file contains:
Letter from George Edwin Patey to Charles and Helen, off the coast of New Guinea, 10 August [1914];
Letter from George Edwin Patey to Helen, at sea and Suva, 29 August [1914] to 2 September [1914];
Letter from George Edwin Patey to Helen, at sea and Rabaul, 5 September [1914] to 13 September [1914].