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ON NAURU Atrocity In 1943


CANBERRA, Wednesday.-The Aus- tralian Administrator of Nauru Island and four other officials were executed by the Japanese at Nauru Island on March 26, 1943.

Those executed were:-

The Administrator, Lieutenant-Colonel F. R. Chalmers, of Tasmania.

The Government medical officer, Dr. B. H. Quin, of Melbourne.

The medical assistant of the Nauru Administration, Mr. W. H. Shugg.

The engineer of the British Phosphate Commis- sioner's staff, Mr. F. Harmer.

The overseer of the British Phosphate Commis- sioner's staff, Mr. W. H. Doyle.

Revealing this atrocity to- night, the Minister for External Territories, Mr. Ward, said the executions were carried out the night after the first bombing raid on the island by the Ameri-


It is understood that conflicting re- ports on how the officials met their deaths are now being checked by the


One report is that they were be- headed in Samurai fashion.

Mr. Ward said he had been advised   of the executions by the Acting Ad- ministrator, who had accompanied the reoccupation forces to Nauru.

This official had advised that infor- mation he had received from reliable Chinese and Nauruan sources, later confirmed by the Japanese left no doubt that these gallant gentlemen were executed by the Japanese on the night following the first bombing of the island by the Americans on March

26, 1943.

Two Roman Catholic missionaries Father Kayser and Father Clivaz, who had also remained on the island, were subsequently transferred by the Japa- nese, in 1943, to the Caroline Islands, together with 1,200 Nauruans, includ- ing the head chief and the majority of Nauruan women. The general health of the natives and the Chinese was found to be better than expected, and few were actually sick.


The Acting Administrator added that the supply of rations and medi- cal attention to the natives was now on a satisfactory basis.

Mr. Ward said that Nauru, a former German possession, had been a British mandate since 1920, and by agreement between the Governments or the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, had been administered by


The mandate provided for the pro- motion to the utmost, of the material and moral well-being, and the social progress of the inhabitants of the territory. In furtherance of this pro- vision, and with the highest motives, the Administrator and the other gentlemen mentioned had volun- teered to remain at Nauru when the evacuation of the non-native popula- tion of the island was organised early

in 1942.

Mr. Ward said it was with the deep- est regret that he had to announce   the executions. He desired to extend his deepest sympathy to the relatives of these gentlemen who had so gal- lantly sacrificed their lives in the cause of duty.

Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Roy- den Chalmers. C.M.G., D.S.O., had been Administrator of Nauru since   October, 1938. He had not been heard from since communication with Nauru ceased in August, 1942.


Colonel Chalmers was the eldest son of the late Mr. and Mrs. R. B. Chalmers, Bagdad, Tasmania. He served in the Boer War and Great


Later, he was welfare officer for the Electrolytic Zinc Co. at Rosebery and was interested in mining at St. Helens.

In 1917, he married Miss L. A. French, of London. There are four daughters living in Hobart. Mrs Chalmers died a little more than two years ago without knowing her hus- band's fate.

Dr. Bernard Haselden Quin. M.B., B.S., of Melbourne, was Government Medical Officer on Nauru Island from March, 1940. He was born in 1894,   and had been employed in 1920-21 by the British Phosphate Commission as assistant medical officer for Ocean and Nauru Islands. He practised pri- vately at Echuca, Victoria, and then became second Government Medical Officer on Nauru in May, 1935. He held a reserve commission as a captain in the Australian Army Medical Corps.

Mrs. Quin and their five children are in Melbourne.

Mr. Shugg had been on Nauru for many years as a medical assistant and dispenser. His widow is in Melbourne.

Mr. R. W. Robson, editor of "Paci- fic Islands Monthly," who was pro- bably the last person from the main- land to see Lieutenant-Colonel Chalmers, Dr. Quin, and Mr. Shugg alive, said last night that on the final stage of a special mission to the Gilbert Islands for Naval Intelligence in 1941, he stayed with Colonel Chalmers for a couple of days.

He told me then," Mr. Robson said, "that he had sent his wife and daughter away because of the threat of a Japanese advance southward, but that he felt his job was to remain and care for the native population.

He was a fine type of veteran soldier who took his job of Adminis- trator seriously and made an out- standing success of it. An experienced farmer, he applied his knowledge and skill effectively in promoting the wel- fare of the Nauruans.

A story typical of the man con- cerns his reaction when a German raider bombarded the phosphate plant at Nauru, in December, 1940.

The natives took shelter in the coral pinnacles from the hail of shells. The colonel, enraged at the island's

inability to return the fire, even with

a shotgun, showed his defiance and contempt by taking his walking-stick and strolling calmly to and fro along the margin of the lagoon, a conspicious

figure in white duck, in full view of the raider offshore."

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