Admiral Sir William Henry May – As Flag-Captain in the H.M.S. Impérieuse.
We then went to Singapore. En route I had secret orders to take possession of Christmas Island; this is an island situated in latitude 10 degrees 31′ S. and longitude 1050 35′ E., and is not far from the Sunda Straits. I took possession in the name of H.M. Queen Victoria. I landed a guard of honour, hoisted the Union Jack, fired a royal salute and left a record, in a tin case, marking the spot with a cairn. The record reads as follows:
“This Island, known as Christmas Island, was taken possession of, in the name of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria of Great Britain, Ireland, and Empress of India, by Captain William Henry May, commanding Her Britannic Majesty’s ship Impérieuse, on the 6th day of June, 1888.”
The record was left inside the cairn. The island is covered with guano and phosphate deposits and is now being worked by a company, so I suppose it is of some value.