TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD
Sir- In Engineer-Commander P. W. Sims' contribution to the above subject there are some chronological errors for which there may be some excuse, considering that the Funafuti coral boring expeditions took place nearly 40 years ago. Yet when we consider that Professor David's work at Funafuti is that classic, amongst his many contributions to science, for which he was awarded that coveted Fellowship of the Royal Society, one need not apologise for drawing attention to any inaccuracies in a narrative referring to Funafuti.
The information here supplied is taken from the Royal Society Monograph: "The Atoll of Funafuti: Borings into a Coral Reef." published in 1904, There were three expeditions to Funafuti. The first in 1896 was under the leadership of Professor Solles. This expedition was transported to Funafuti and back by H.M.S. Penguin, Captain Fíeld. The second, in 1897, was under the leadership of Professor David. During this expedition. no man-of-war rendered any service. The third and concluding expedition, in 1898, I had the honour and the pleasure of leading. There were no other scientists
in the party.
During the time, nearly six months, which this expedition spent at Funafuti, a separate expedition under the leadership of Mr. C. H. Halligan arrived in H.M.S. Porpoise, Captain (later Admiral) Sturdee. This expedition,
during the fortnight's stay of the Porpoise, carried out, from the Porpoise, the borings in the lagoon. The honour and glory of that work belong to Mr. Halligan (Professor David was not at Funafuti in 1898).
Engineer-Commander P. W. Sims' statement that, while serving on H.M.S. Porpoise, he spent some time at Funafuti in 1898 with Sir Edgeworth David is not quite correct. This recalls to my mind that characteristic of our beloved professor of always giving honour where honour was due. Indeed, he mostly erred on the other side. For instance, when
he received information of having been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, he wrote to me
one of those characteristic letters of his, in which he thanked me, a mere pawn in the game, for having been instumental in obtaining
that great honour for him.
I am, etc.,
ALFRED E. FINCKH. 227 Macquarie-street, Sept. 10.