AMRA but bluffed von Luckner into believing that they did in fact carry a gun?

April 17, 2012

Dear Mackenzie

I am a journalist researching a news feature for News Ltd here in Australia.

I read with great interest your research on von Luckner. Thank you for sharing this with the WWW

I have only read the Lowell Thomas book and accept that it is interspersed with fictional embellishment.

I have visited Levuka three times now and am about to go again.

One story told to me by a local relates to the Wakaya arrest.

He claims that AMRA was equipped with a dummy deck gun fashioned from a coconut trunk which he used to bluff von Luckner into surrendering.

I've not been able to verify this account, but your site indicates there was some degree of subterfuge and bluff with the Wakaya arrest.

Any light you can shed on this episode is welcome.

Thank you and kind regards

Roderick (Rod) Eime


Thank you for your kind words about von Luckner on AHOY.

I do not think that AMRA was fitted with a gun, but bluffed von Luckner into believing that they did in fact carry a gun.

Here is an extract from AHOY: see "Seeadler"

Sub Inspector Hills with a party of Fijian policemen manned a cutter and set out to investigate this strange group that had suddenly arrived at Levuka. Bad weather forced them back to harbour, but the German group would have had little trouble in coping with Hills and his party.

Now by chance, the inter-island steamer Amra arrived at Levuka, it was requisitioned by Hills, and sailed for Wakaya arriving close to daylight on the morning of the 21st of September.

Hills called on von Luckner and his men to surrender, bluffing that the gun on board Amra would blow them out of the water, not wishing to cause any bloodshed, the German Captain decided that for his men and himself the war was over. It was only later that he learned that Hills had tricked him into this surrender, Amra did not mount any guns at all, for this sailor who had lived by his wits and bluff for so long it must have been a sad and bitter moment.

Best regards.

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