Deserters from Great White Fleet in Melbourne September 1908
When on September 5th. 1908, 15 Battleships composing the US Great White Fleet sailed out of Melbourne, they left onshore 154 sailors from throughout the fleet, who had decided not to go back to their ships, but to stay with the girls they had met in Melbourne.
One battleship, USS Kansas stayed behind to collect both Fleet Mail, and any Fleet Males who decided to return.
The US Consul sent off a list of these 154 deserters, or stragglers, as he described them, to the Chief Commissioner of Police.
Some on the list had 10 Pounds bounty placed on their heads, payable if you turned in the sailor to his ship, others more valuable to the US navy brought you 20 Pounds, the last category produced no money at all, these were older sailors at the fag end of their navy stint, and the authorities were not going to worry too much about their return.
The only problem was that the majority of the battleships had sailed, making it impossible to turn in a deserter to his own ship, the Police soon became sick of finding US sailors on shore, and did little to seek them out.
How fascinating if one could but find some of the descendants from those who stayed behind in Melbourne in September 1908.