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Instructions To Boarding Officers

(See page 263)

(Relative to the seizure of German steamers in Shanghai harbour after the breach of diplomatic relations between China and Germany in March 1917)

You are detailed to board the ' -- ' and take charge of her in the name of the Chinese Government. For this purpose you are provided with a launch and men and with boarding ladders.

You must expect to find the ships' ladders hoisted up.

You will be accompanied by Lieutenants and Engineer.

The officers will be armed with revolvers only. The men will be armed with rifles and bayonets and with 100 rounds of ammunition.

On arriving alongside, the boarding ladders must be promptly placed, and immediately you and the officers will board by them, followed by the guard.

On gaining the deck you will ask for the Captain to come on deck, and as soon as you know who he is you will hand to him the attached note, at the same time saying:—

' I have to ask you to fall in your officers and crew on deck immediately.'

In the meantime the Engineer Officer will have proceeded at once to the engine-room to see that the Kingston valve, etc., is not tampered with, and your guard will have fallen in.

Rifles so far are not to be loaded.

On the supposition that there is no resistance, your duty will now be straightforward. You have to get the crew out of the ship with their personal effects in such a manner that they do not get the chance to combine against you or to, say, blow up the ship with explosives.

To that end you must insist on all hands falling in on deck. Then a number of the German sailors, not exceeding ten, should be told to go to their quarters and get their effects. These should be accompanied by an officer and a guard. When these come on deck they should be put on the launch. The remaining men will then be treated similarly.

Lastly, the ship's officers, each accompanied by a Chinese Officer and a guard, should be asked to pack up their personal effects or to lock them up, and then should be put on the launch.

The Captain should be allowed to remain behind if he wishes to make an inventory of the ship, but if so he is to be kept under constant guard.

The officers and crew and their effects should then be taken to the Cruiser ` — ' and from there allowed to proceed on shore by sampan.

If obedience to your instructions is given the greatest courtesy is to be shown to the officers and crew. Otherwise you must do whatever is necessary to enforce your orders.

If resistance is made, or threatened, or if your orders are not obeyed, you will order your men to load their rifles. You will previously have given them strict orders that on no account are they to fire without orders unless personally attacked while acting as a guard. In any case it is very desirable that if shooting does occur that the Germans start it.

On the other hand, disobedience to orders must be enforced at once by physical restraint.

If you are attacked, however, you must act vigorously and take possession of the ship at all costs. In this case the German officers and crew must be held prisoners and disarmed, and taken to the '—'.

In the absence of resistance you will, subsequently to taking charge, hand to the German Captain a receipt in the form supplied.

Having taken charge of the ship, you will immediately provide that all cabins, staterooms, etc., and any place where movable property exists be sealed up. It is needless to say that anything in the way of looting by your men would be very disgraceful,and it may be desirable to warn them against it.

After the cabins, etc., have been sealed, the officer in charge is to await instructions as to a search, and he is not to undertake it without instructions.


I have been instructed to take charge of your vessel on the discontinuance of diplomatic relations between China and Germany.

I do not take possession of your vessel but merely police charge.

Your officers and crew are required to proceed on shore with their effects immediately.

I will give you a receipt for the ship and, if you elect to remain behind to prepare with me an inventory of fittings and stores, I will give you a receipt for them also.

Except in the matter of leaving your ship in my charge you are under no restraint whatever.