Salt spoon : KGS Komet

Accession Number REL/00683.006
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Silver-plated brass
Maker M H Wilkens & Sohne
Place made Germany: Bremen
Date made c 1911-1913
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Salt spoon engraved on the end of the handle 'K.G.S. KOMET'. Stamped on the reverse with the maker's mark 'WILKENS BREMEN'.

History / Summary

The 977 ton German Government steam yacht KGS Komet was built in Bremerhaven in 1911, and dispatched to German New Guinea as an administrative vessel for the protectorate. She was based at Rabaul on the island of New Britain, and fitted out in a luxurious manner for the use of senior German staff.

When war was declared in August 1914, she was at Morobe, New Guinean, having transported the German acting Governor, Dr Eduard Haber, there on a visit of inspection. Having narrowly avoided interception en route by the Australian squadron, she was able to return to New Britain, landing Haber at Herbertshohe, near Rabaul.

The Komet was then placed by Haber at the disposal of Admiral von Spee's German fleet, and used as a supply vessel to the auxiliary cruiser Prinz Eitel Freidrich until late September. As Rabaul had been captured by Australian forces, and British ships were known to be in the area, she then sought refuge at a remote location on the north coast of New Britain which became unofficially known as 'Komethafen' (Komet Harbour).

Her presence here was reported to the Australian administrator in Rabaul, and at dawn on October 11, HMAS Nusa, an armed yacht which had itself been captured from the Germans some weeks earlier, surprised and captured the Komet. Her crew of 5 Germans and 52 native sailors were removed, and the vessel sent to Sydney for refitting.

Following this refit, she served with the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS Una. As the Una, she served in the islands until 1924, when she was privately sold and renamed the Akuna. The Akuna again served with the RAN during the Second World War, until late 1943, when she was returned to her owner. The Akuna was broken up in 1959.