Research Document #12, page 3.
The Bones Chronology, Cont.
21. October 26, 1940: Handwritten note in file 4439-40 from Sir Harry to Vaskess. MIN11.

Sec draft tele appd -

2. yr #2: better I think await the arrival of the remains etc. Thinnest rumours which may in the end prove unfounded are liable to be spread.

HL 26/X/40

22. December 27, 1940: Letter from Gallagher to Vaskess. GBG09 and WPHC05.

Nikumaroro (Gardner) Island,
Phoenix Islands District,
27th December, 1940.


I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your confidential telegram No. 2 of the 26th. October, 1940, and to state that two packages are being handed to the Master, R.C.S. "Nimanoa", for eventual delivery to the High Commission Office in Suva. The larger of these packages is the coffin containing the remains of the unidentified individual found on the South Eastern shore of Gardner Island; the second package is the sextant box found in the immediate locality and contains all the other pieces of evidence which were found in the proximity of the body.

2. The fact that the skull has been buried in damp ground for nearly a year, whilst all the other bones have been lying above ground during the same period, was probably not apparent from previous correspondence, but may be helpful in determining the age of the bones. In spite of an intensive search, none of the smaller bones have been discovered and, in view of the presence of crabs and rats in this area, I consider that it is now unlikely that any further remains will be traced. A similar search for rings, coins, keys or other articles not so easily destroyed has also been unsuccessful, but it is possible that something may come to hand during the course of the next few months when the area in question will be again thoroughly examined during the course of planting operations, which will involve a certain amount of digging in the vicinity. If this should prove to be the case, I will inform you of the fact by telegraph.

3. Should any relatives be traced, it may prove of sentimental interest for them to know that the coffin in which the remains are contained is made from a local wood known as "kanawa" and the tree was, until a year ago, growing on the edge of the lagoon, not very far from the spot where the deceased was found.

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,

(Sgd) Gerald B. Gallagher.

Phoenix Islands Settlement Scheme

23. February 6, 1941: Lindsey Isaac to Gallagher. GBG10.

I understand from the Master R.C.S. Nimanoa, that he has certain human remains on board consigend to Suva. As I am in charge of Medical and forensic investigation of such objects throughout the whole colony and have no knowledge of the matter, I preasume [sic] that the package was intended to be consigned to myself?


24.  February 7, 1941: Resident Commissioner to Gallagher. GBG11.

Senior Medical Officer repeated to me his telegram to you regarding human remains addressed to Suva on "Nimanoa". I am informing him of position and there is no need for you to take further action.


25.  February 11, 1941: Resident Commissioner to Sir Harry Luke. WPHC06.


Acting Senior Medical Officer has taken objection to presence on Government vessel of human remains consigned to Suva.

Circumstances indicate that these are those referred to in your correspondence ending with your telegram No. 500, 1940, Confidential.

Acting Senior Medical Officer appears to be acting in unorthodox fashion and is detaining all ships calling at Tarawa (at present four) on health grounds on account of this incident. I am enquiring as to authority under which he presumes to do so but in the meantime should be grateful for definite instructions from Your Excellency to pass on to him.


26. February 11, 1941: Telegram from Isaac to Gallagher. GBG12.


For your information remains taken from "Nimanoa" part skeleton elderly male of Polynesian race and that indications are that bones have been in sheltered position for upwards of 20 years and possibly much longer.

Issac.  [sic]

27. February 11, 1941: Telegram from Gallagher to Isaac. GBG13.


Your confidential telegram 11th February. Many thanks — rather an anticlimax! Personal should be delighted if you keep box but matter has been mentioned in private letter to High Commissioner who is interested in timber used and may ask to see it. It would be fun to make you one for yourself or perhaps a little tea table — we have a little seasoned timber left. Please let me know whether you prefer box or table and if former give any particular inside measurements.


Note: Apparently only the portion ending in the word “anticlimax” was actually sent to Isaac. The rest is struck out.

28. February 12, 1941: Handwritten note to file 4439-40. MIN12.

B.U.      21.11.41

Telegram from R. Cm., G.&E.I.C., Conf., No. 75 of 11.2.41



29. February 13, 1941: Typed note to file 4439-40 (13), Vaskess to Sir Harry. MIN13.

His Excellency

Submitted with 6 [RC's complaint about Isaac], with a draft telegram to the resident Commissioner of the Gilbert and Ellice Colony for Your Excellency's consideration.

30. February 14, 1941: Handwritten note to file 4439-40 (14) from Sir Harry to Vaskess. MIN14.

I have added a sentence.

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