The Search for von Luckner
On the evening of 13 December 1917, eleven German prisoners of war under the leadership of Commander von Luckner, lately in command of the raider SEEADLER, made their escape from MOTUIHE ISLAND in a motor launch named PEARL attached to the island. From the launch they transferred to the sailing scow MOA which they seized in the BAY OF PLENTY, and in which they left the New Zealand coast, with the New Zealand crew as their prisoners.
What follows is a copy of a diary of events kept by the late Mr HL Dixon of Browns Bay, then a young Territorial Gunner in the NZ Garrison Artillery. It covers the period from 15 December 1917 to 25 December 1917, and describes the preparation for action of the cable ship HMCS IRIS, the pursuit and capture of Count von Luckner and his fellow escapees.
The detachment ordered aboard the IRIS was a mixed one, comprising members of the NZ Garrison Artillery (Territorial) and the Royal NZ Artillery (Regular). The latter manned the two Nordenfelt 6-pounder guns taken aboard at the EL (Electric Light) Yard, North Head.
The keeping of diaries by troops during hostilities having been forbidden, Mr Dixon, in typical Digger fashion, concealed his work in the butt-trap of his rifle in the space normally reserved for the oil bottle. The latter he kept in his pocket.
There is also a brief account by Carl Singer of the MOA of life aboard that ship after the Germans captured it.
Names of Germans involved: