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Father Neptune's Initiation Ceremony's program

Date: 1915
Overall: 325 × 200 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from David Matheson
Object Name: Program
Object No: 00054387

User Terms

    'Father Neptune's Initiation Ceremony'. A 'program' of a crossing of the line ceremony listing characters, participants and those to be initiated - mainly soldiers.

    This forms part of a collection of memorabilia from George Armstong, 2nd Engineer A45 transport vessel during the Gallipoli Campaign including a diary with an annotated sketch of the Gallipoli foreshore. A45 landed artillery, troops and mules on 25 April and was stationed as a store ship out of artillery range for 3 weeks.
    SignificanceThis program forms part of a collection of material from George Armstrong, including a diary that is a rare and important account of the Anzac landing and subsequent events taken by an Australian merchant navy officer watching proceedings from his vessel which was moored just out of Turkish shell range for several weeks.
    HistoryGeorge Armstrong was born in Scotland. His maritime career began on CLAN MACPHERSON on 25 November 1903 to 24 August 1904 as 5th Engineer. He moved up to 4th Enginer by 1905. In July 1905 he was 4th Engineer on CLAN GRAHAM and CLAN CAMERON in 1906. He was elevated to 3rd Engineer on CLAN CHATTAN (sp?) in 1908 and CLAN MCKINNON in 1909.

    Armstrong was based in Australia at the start of WWI and as a merchant mariner served on merchant vessels during the war.

    The HESSEN was one of 25 German vessels captured in Australia at the start of WWI;

    'The last German vessel to come to hand was the North German Lloyd steamer Hessen, which entered Port Phillip Heads on 3 September, nearly a month after the outbreak of war. Captain Reiners was astounded, stated there was no sign of trouble when the ship left Antwerp on the 19 July. This was a fine vessel of 5108 tons register, loaded with a valuable general cargo, she had averaged nearly twelve knots on the outward voyage round the Cape direct.' (see footnote below)

    Armstrong took a position on the HESSEN. He is mentioned in the memoirs of Gus Guthrie 'The Captured German Ships in Egypt and the Dardanelles'. Guthrie joined the HESSEN which was renamed A45, Captain Ronald Arthur Thomas Wilson. Guthrie recalls Armstrong, the Second Engineer, as 'a burly Tynesider'.

    A45 was scheduled to transport the 2nd Reinforcements of the Field Artillery, and arrangements were under way for the accommodation of 410 horses and 150 artillerymen'.

    It left Melbourne on 17 January 1915, trailing the convoy badly with either poor Australian coal or former German crew sabotage of the engines according to Guthrie, and arrived in Alexandria in March.

    After unloading its troops, artillery and mules on 25 April 1915, the A45 (later renamed BULLA) moved out of artillery range and remained at Gallipoli for another three weeks as a store ship. Armstrong recorded daily the events he could see happening on the shores of the Gallipoli peninsular.

    A45 later returned to Australia and then served in the North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Indian and Pacific Oceans.

    Guthrie diary;
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