Carey the Informer
Hurry up Jo Jo!
"There was often dock yard partys sent over to Williamstown to the Depot. The men for this work would be drawn from the different ships, it depended how big the job was. As a rule they left the dock yard to return to the ships about 3.45 so that the men that was watch ashore could have plenty of time to clean and get ready to land at 4.30 when liberty men left the ships. Most of the men were married and always wanted to be in time for the liberty boat. One day when I was one of the dock yard party, we were all in the boat at the dock head ready to return to the ship. The officer in charge of us was talking to someone and didn’t seem to be in a hurry to go back on board, but those in the boat were, as the minutes went by and he was still there talking all in the boat were getting impatient with the delay. Most in the boat were liberty men and wanted to get back on board and get cleaned up for shore. More time passed and still the officer showed no sign of coming to the boat, one of the men called out, Hurry up, Jo Jo! That was the nickname the officer was known by on board the ship, and he wasn’t very popular. He at once turned, hurried to the boat jumped in and gave the order to shove off, and away we went. We had a good mile to pull and bent our backs to it and was soon back on board. As soon as we were on board we were all fell in on the quarter deck and asked who was it that called out, hurry up Jo Jo! No one seemed to know, all heard it of course but none could say who it really was, that is they would not say. No doubt some knew who it was. I was there but couldn't say who called out, although I heard it plain enough, but no one would give the offender away. Our leave was stopped for the time being, then each man in turn had to go before the Commander to be questioned again, and one gave the show away by telling who it was that called out to the officer. So that was that! The offender was detained and the rest of us was dismissed, some were late that evening getting ashore, they had missed the liberty boat. It wasn't my watch ashore so I wasn't worried. The outcome of this little affair was, the offender was punished although he still denied it was he who called out. The man who informed was nicknamed, Carey the informer. He was Court Martialed on the lower deck and the sentence was that no one was to speak to him, only in the case of duty for six months, and he was to have his meals sitting on the deck away from his messmates, and this was carried out for the full six months.
He knew it was no use to complain about the treatment. It would only make it worse for himself if he did, so he took his gruel for the six months. Even after that, he wasn't forgiven and few had any use for him. He was well hated. A lower deck Court Martial is no joke believe me. Some time later the offender took his discharge and shipped on a sailing ship going to England. As the ship passed us being towed out the man (our former shipmate) was working on the fok'sl again yelled out good Bye Jo! Jo! I often wondered what that officers thoughts were. The man came back some time later and I hear was in Melbourne but I never met him."
My Life in the Victorian Navy, by James Bryance Condor