ARRIVAL OF THE MORAYSHIRE.
LANDING AT WOOLLOOMOOLOO BAY.
Notwithstanding an overcast sky which now and again shed light drizzling showers, and a raw mist that hung over the harbour like a pall, a considerable number of people, amongst whom were a great many women and children, assembled early yester- day morning on the wharf at Woolloomooloo Bay for the purpose of welcoming home the second batch of the Citizens' Bush- men Contingent returning from South Africa. Their comrades who arrived in the first batch a few weeks ago mustered in force near the Art Gallery, in the Domain, and marched to Woolloomooloo Bay with the object of according a welcome to their mates. Even whilst a heavy mist hung over the bay at 9 a.m., a number of these men boarded the steamer Greyhound and proceeded down the harbour to meet the incoming Morayshire. She came up slowly through the mist, and as the Greyhound got alongside of the troopship opposite Clark Island, hearty cheers were given by those on board the Grey- hound to their comrades, who swarmed all over the Morayshire. The cheers were returned with great heartiness, and amidst a running conversation and numerous inquiries as to how each had got on, either ashore or at sea, the Morayshire reached her berth
in Woolloomooloo Bay.
On the wharf there was a guard from the R.A.A. with the Headquarters band, to receive the return- ing soldiers. Colonel Taunton was in charge of the guard, and with him were associated Colonel Bayly, Major Boam, and Lieutenant Lane Mullins of the Army Medical Corps. There were also as- sembled a good number of the Citizens' Bushmen who had returned some time ago. A body of police- men kept back the crowd of people—fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends, and others—anxious to meet their relatives among the returning soldiers.
In a very short time the tramp of thousands of feet turned the macadamised ap- proaches to the wharf into a quagmire, and though the discomfort of the spectators was added to by a drizzling shower of rain now and again, the people stuck resolutely to their posts. The usual hubbub and confusion followed when the work of getting the baggage ashore was commenced, but in an hour's time it was all got on the waggons of the Army Service Corps.
The soldiers on board the Morayshire then landed and, forming fours, started off for the Victoria Bar- racks, preceded by the headquarters' band and the guard of the R.A.A. Passing through the crowds assembled near the wharf the soldiers were warmly cheered, and the hearty reception was repeated as the men passed along the streets to the Victoria Barracks. They looked in splendid health, and appeared as hard as nails. One could see that they were glad to be back again, and that those who had relatives in the crowd were anxious to meet them on reaching the barracks, where the men would be given their liberty for a brief time for that purpose. On reaching the barracks only the relatives and friends were allowed to enter, and when the returned soldiers were allowed to break ranks for a little while it was not long before fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, and sweethearts were chat- ting gaily with each other.
The soldiers who returned by the Morayshire con- sisted of 11 officers and 277 men for Sydney, 10 officers and 164 men of the third Queensland Mounted Infantry, also some details for New Zealand. The New South Wales men were under the command of Major Thomas and Lieutenants Mullins, Zouch, and Moore. With regard to the unpleasant incident which occurred on board the Morayshire on the voyage from Cape- town to this port, the story told by the men was similar to what has already appeared in the columns of the " Herald." There were, however, some slight variations, which serve to show that the incident looked rather serious at one time. The men stated that when they went aboard the Morayshire at Capetown they were under the impression that from the time of embarkation they would be free from discipline, consequently when half a dozen of them were ordered by Major Tunbridge, of Queensland, the senior officer aboard, to holystone the decks they refused to do so. Major Tunbridge considered this insubordina- tion, so he produced a copy of the Mutiny Act and read it. On finishing his reading of the Act, he again ordered the men to holystone the decks, and they again refused. He then ordered them to be im- prisoned in the cells. The men were accordingly marched to the cells and locked up. This action was resented by 20 men, who marched quietly to the cells, broke open the doors, and brought the six prisoners out. The latter at once reported themselves to Major Tunbridge, who mustered the troops on deck and again read out the Mutiny Act, with its pains and penalties for refusing to obey commands. It is stated that he then told the six men they were prisoners at large. The above is the account of the incident given by several men.
It is only fair, on the other hand, to give the officers' version of the affair. It differs from that given by the men, but only in minor details. It should be stated that the higher officers declined to make any statement about the matter, and said they preferred, if any explanation was given, that it should emanate from Major Tun- bridge. The latter also did not care to speak. He is precluded by the King's regulations from doing so. Moreover, he was engaged nearly the whole day in discussing various matters with the Military Com- mandant of Queensland, who had come to Sydney to meet ths returning Queensland soldiers.
However, some of the more subordinate officers did not hesitate to relate what took place. They stated that when the six men refused to obey the order to holystone the decks a court-martial was held, and they were sentenced to 42 days' imprisonment.
When the cell doors were broken in and the men liberated an officer—not Major Tunbridge—read the Mutiny Act. The troops were afterwards paraded on the different decks, and Major Tun- bridge addressed the different squadrons, telling them the men had done wrong, that they might be strong enough at the moment to resist punishment, but when they reached shore they would have to submit. The six men then went back to
their cells and remained there a week, when they were liberated in consequence of an outbreak of measles near the cells. The men were, however, prisoners at large. On reaching Melbourne the Governor-General communicated with the military commandants of New South Wales and Queensland, and, as a result of the correspondence that took place, Lord Hopetoun pardoned the men on account of their good conduct in South Africa. Taken altogether, the officers are of opinion that the affair had been greatly
As senior officer of the Bushmen who returned yesterday, Major Thomas, was in a position to give some interesting particulars of their doings since their sojourn in South Africa. Soon after the squadron reached the front it was split up into four sections, and went in different directions. After concentrating at Marandellas, in Rhodesia, they again separated. A Company, about 100 strong, made a forced march to Bulawayo, in the hope of being in time to assist in the relief of Mafeking, but the fates were against them, as they arrived two days late. Subsequently the other sections of the Bushmen turned up, but were too late for the festivities which followed the relief. Again separated, the various sections did not meet until the township of Worcester was reached. A part of the squadron was then attached to Colonel Plumer's forces when he occupied Zeerust, the first town that was captured in the Transvaal. The Bushmen put in a lot of hard work patrolling the district. The country is rough, and the men had a lot of hard and dangerous work in clearing out the enemy. Major Thomas states that the Bushmen were exceedingly well adapted for the work, and earned the unstinted praise of the English officers. The Bushmen acquitted themselves with great credit at the Elands River affair when the British and Aus- tralian troops were besieged from August 4 to August 20. Speaking of the Canadians, Major Thomas says they are good bushman, excellent riders, brave men, but very rough. Major Thomas spoke with great pride of the courage, energy, and willing spirit shown by the Bushman throughout the campaign, and says it was a great honour to be associated with men of
The men were entertained at dinner in the gun- room at the Victoria Barracks at 2 o'clock. The place was nicely decorated, and the seats, which were arranged for between 400 and 500, were well filled. Major-General French presided, and was supported on his right by Mr. See (the Premier) and Mr. Waddell (Colonial Treasurer). Amongst the other gentlemen who were at the head of the table were Colonel Roberts, C.M.G., Colonel Mackenzie, Major Thomas, Mr. G. E. Fairfax, Major Carey, Colonel Finn, Mr. J. M. Atkinson, and a number of officers representing the Queensland force.
Major-General French, addressing the men, after a hearty meal had been partaken of, said that the proceedings would only be of an informal character. It was not intended to submit any toasts, but on the part of the staff and himself he heartily welcomed the men back to New South Wales. He witnessed the departure of each lot of volunteers, and had also met each detachment when it arrived home again, and Mr. See had done the same. Some unfortunately went away who were not able to return. They mourned their loss, but they must accept that as being the fortune of war. He was glad to think that all those before him had come back safely. He was pleased to know that the citizen soldiers did their duty the same as did the other troops, whether they went away from this colony or from any other part of Australia. Several other gentlemen would be asked to address them, amongst whom would be the Premier and also Major Carey, who had so much to do with the inauguration of the movement. (Cheers.)
Mr. See said that, on behalf of the Lieutenant- Governer, he had to express regret that his Excellency was not there that day to welcome them home, as he was suffering from rather severe indisposition. On the part of the people of New South Wales he desired to join most heartily with the general in the words in which he expressed thankfulness at the return of the troop to New South Wales. To him- self it only looked like a few days ago since he had the pleasure of saying a few words to the Bushmen's Contingent on their departure for South Africa. Then he ventured to express the opinion that wherever they went, and whatever befel them, they would act as worthy citizens of New South Wales. Since they had been away they had gone through much hard- ship, some of their comrades fell in battle, many
were wounded and others suffered from sickness.
Still, he had not heard that any of them made com- plaint. Doubtless, before they went out they all recognised the great hardship that lay before them, and they did their duty most satisfactorily. This had been acknowledged by all, wherever they went, and they had received the highest encomiums from the King, from their commanding officer, and from all with whom they had come in contact. The soldiers from Australia had made a name for them- selves which would long live in history, and to a large extent the war in South Africa had been deter- mined by the splendid conduct and great ability of the Australian troops. It had been proved beyond all doubt—and this applied not only to the citizen soldiers from New South Wales, but also to those from the other States—that our volunteers had ren- dered splendid service, and they had shown they had more experience of that kind of life which was of use to a volunteer in South Africa than any other soldiers of the Empire. Their knowledge of the bush, saga- city, and reliance upon themselves were also of great help to them. No doubt the people of New South Wales owed a deep debt of gratitude to the Bush- men's Contingent and to the other volunteers who went to the front, and although many of them had run great risks and had been subjected to much hard- ship he hoped, now that they had returned, they would have good fortune in whatever line of business they took up. (Cheers.) As Major-General French had said, he (Mr. See) had witnessed the departure of nearly all the contingents, and he had made it a point to be present at the arrival home of as many of them as he could. Some men, of course, had not returned. Their names would become me- morable in history ; monuments had been, and still would be, erected to their memory, and we all gloried in the bravery they had displayed. (Cheers.) If they were not all called upon to take part in actual battles he knew that they had all been ready to do so, and there was not one instance on record where an Australian retreated from the enemy—(cheers)— and that fact spoke more loudly than anything which he could say. (Hear, hear.) He also congratulated their Queensland colleagues, who were now on the way to their homes, and he might mention that this was the largest gathering of returned soldiers which we had yet had—and together they constituted a por- tion of the federal troops of Australia. (Cheers.) They had probably learned that since they went away federation had become an actual fact, and all the troops were now under one command. In the future, no doubt, in the defence of this country, volunteers would be more relied upon than members of the per-
manent forces. This action would be taken mainly because of the satisfactory results achieved by the citizen soldiers in Africa. (Cheers.) Mr. See added that he had just sent a telegram to the Queensland Premier stating that the men from that colony would, whilst they remained in New South Wales, be the guests of the Government of this State. (Cheers.) And once more he congratulated all before him on their safe return and generally smart ap- pearance. (Cheers.)
Major Carey said that as the originator of the Citizens' Bushmen Contingent Fund he deemed it his duty on behalf of himself, as well as on behalf of the committee which conducted that fund, to welcome back the second batch of the Citizens' Bushmen Contin- gent. By means of that fund New South Wales had sent 500 men to South Africa, and though they went forth an undisciplined and untrained force, they had proved to the world at large that Australians were worthy of all honour where pluck, energy, determi- nation, and intelligence were required to assist the British Empire (Applause.) He was happy to see that they had come back soldiers who, if ever required, would be ready and willing to assist the Empire and the Commonwealth. There was one thing he would like to see, and that was the name of the Bushmen preserved as a corps in the various States of the Commonwealth. By the creation of such corps in the country districts of the different States they would create a force of men who would be extremely valuable for defensive purposes should ever the occa- sion arise. (Applause.) He would be pleased if the State Premier would induce the federal Minister of Defence to provide for the creation of such corps in all the States. He believed that every man present would join the New South Wales section of the corps in order to maintain the good reputation it had already gained. (Applause.)
Major Thomas, senior officer of the Citizens' Bush- men Contingent returning that day, in response to loud calls, rose and said he thanked the com- pany for the hearty welcome given to the soldiers who had just returned. Some disap- pointment had been expressed that so little had been heard about the Bushmen in South Africa. That was due to the corps being split up into differ- ent sections, and scattered about in various parts of South Africa. The squadron that was with Lord Methuen got great praise from him for the work it performed (Applause). Allowing for the defects that were sure to arise from the irregular actions of an irregular body of men, he hoped the Citizens' Committee was satisfied the Bushmen had tried to do their best at any rate. (Applause.) Notwithstand- ing all their faults, they were brave men. (Applause.) They would never meet braver men. (Applause.) They had done deeds he could not trust himself to speak about. They were not only brave, but they were honourable men. (Cheers).
He thanked Major-General French and the other soldiers and citizens present for the hearty manner in which they had welcomed back the Bushmen. It was a double pleasure to come back to a federated nation and to receive such generous treatment.
The chairman called upon Captain Echlin, (of Queensland, in the unavoidable absence of Major Tunbridge, to speak on behalf of the northern State.
Captain Echlin, who was received with extreme cordiality, said that on behalf of the third contingent of the Queensland Mounted Infantry he returned his sincere thanks for the cordial welcome extended to the returned soldiers, and especially thanked the Premier for his graceful reference to the troops from Queensland. His (Captain Echlin's) im-
pression of the whole affair in South Africa was that Australia had proved to the world that Great Britain had got a military reserve of forces unequalled in the
Lieutenant Cope, of the Bushmen's Contingent, who was received with three hearty cheers, said that on the following evening a smoke concert would be given in the Victoria Markets, when it was hoped that every member of the Bushmen's Contingent, as well as the Queensland soldiers who had reached Sydney that day, would be present. He also hoped that they would have the honour of the company of Major-General French and the Headquarters' Staff.
This concluded the proceedings, and the company
A meeting of persons interested in the reception of returning soldiers from the front was held at the Hotel Arcadia under the presidency of Lieutenant Cope on Saturday night, when a working committee, consisting of Corporal Buckleton, Corporal M. Lane, Sergeant Wentworth, Corporal Alston, Corporal Ahearn, and Troopers Sloey and Mathews, was ap-
pointed to manage the affair.