This book is dedicated to the peoples of Hawaii along with the Kingdom that it once was and the "Hawaii Guard" in which my ancestors participated.
The book is a story of fiction based on historical fact and the under taking would not be possible if not for the diligent research and contributions of many with a keen interest in Hawaii’s background and to all of you that have kept this history alive a very hearty thank you.
My great grandfather was Wilhelm Otto Ludwig von Thoene who as a young man while still in high school on a cold winter afternoon in Germany, and along with a few of his friends spotted a military recruitment poster on which was depicted a south seas whimsical illustration that they all agreed was “paradise” and upon graduation they enlisted in the military and after basic training were posted on a ship on which they played in a band that stopped in Honolulu where they deserted with their weapons and immediately became persona non-grata in their native land and none of them ever returned, or looked back for that matter.
Once in Honolulu they entered the “Hawaii Guard” in which my great grandfather was appointed sergeant.
My great grandmother arrived in Honolulu from Germany on a merchant ship along with other German women and that is where my great grandfather met his bride for the first time.
Together they made a home in Honolulu’s German Nuuanu community with their children attending German school including his son (my grandfather) William Arthur Lewis Thoene, Sr.
I never knew my great grandfather as he passed away some fifteen years before I was born, but my great grandmother survived through the 1950’s and passed away in a geographic area known as Lanikai on the windward side of Oahu and I have fond memories of her up to her passing when I was about twelve years of age.
One of the ex-Queen’s ladies in waiting was related to my grandmother “Alma Thoene” and wife of William Thoene, Sr.
My grandmother, Alma Thoene was part Hawaiian and worked as an educator in Hawaii until she retired as Principal of Pahoa elementary school in Honolulu. She published a non fiction book titled “Hawaii” in 1968 copyright through Franklin Watts, Inc. in New York. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 68-10188. The book was used in the Hawaii public school system for several years. Nowhere in the book is made mention the family of her husband of more than sixty years or the part that they played in the Kingdom of Hawaii.
My great grandfather was a subject never broached in the presence of my grandmother who would use the same Hawaiian word twice whenever his name was mentioned and that was Kuli-Kuli. A loose translation being, hush up and never speak his name in front of me.
As a child, growing up in the islands, I increasingly suspected him of being a murderous killer of native Hawaiians and very likely was responsible for over- throwing the Kingdom of Hawaii monarchy single handedly.
My grandfather, on occasion, would take me to his man cave room on the second floor of their Manoa Valley home and quietly close the door and share photographs with me that he had secreted between books in his bookcase of his father and fellow guardsmen in their uniforms, and he would relate their stories to me, and as my grandmother was responsible for our family photo albums, these pictures never made the cut.
The fact is that my great grandfather through the Hawaii Guard was involved in the mandatory transport of leper patients to the island of Molokai. He was also involved in the over-throw of the monarchy and he was a guard at Iolani palace when ex-Queen Liliuokalani was imprisoned.
As an aside to a part of the story as told to me by my grandfather is that my great grandfather’s overcoat with its sergeant stripes was placed on a young Hawaii Guard recruit to assuage his chills while tracking down royalist rebels post monarchy over-throw in 1895, and it is this recruit that took a bullet that was meant for him. The perpetrator was indeed hunted by the Hawaii Guard and summarily dispatched.
In my adult life, I knew that there had to be more to the story of the Hawaii Guard and the German community than what I gleaned by way of my grandparents. So, I decided to research the subject mostly by way of newspaper articles, and contemporary writings by historical figures, and documentation provided by others with an interest in Hawaiian history, along with a great deal of logical deduction, and perhaps most importantly by following the money trail.
For example, when my great grandfather jumped ship he was penniless.
How did he and his friends survive and earn a living?
Who financed my great grandmother’s trip from Germany?
How could they afford a home in the Nuuanu German community?
The German money trail wound its way through the German community and the Kingdom of Hawaii by way of Mr. Heinrich Hackfeld and Mr. Claus Spreckles two very successful German immigrants of the mid 19th century.
In the story, I took the liberty of using the Austrian naval vessel “SMS Donau” as my principal character’s vehicle, but in reality the arrival of the Donau happened prior to my great grandfather’s arrival in the islands.
Also, Heinrich Berger of the Royal Hawaiian band arrived under the reign of King Kalakaua in 1872 and not as my story places him on the SMS Donau in 1868. However, the Donau did transport a conductor for the Royal Hawaiian Band pro-tem who they picked up in New Zealand.
The Kingdom of Hawaii monarchs admired European ship designs going back to Kamehameha the Great. The ships that they acquired were mostly three-masted whalers converted to bark transport vessels.
The Kingdom of Hawaii naval ship "HHMS Kaimiloa" did not appear until the reign of King Kalakaua, although I used the ship earlier in the story to honor it as well as to simplify the story’s transition and also to develop the colorful character of Captain George Jackson.
Admiral Eugene Coffin and his wife Marjorie were my godparents and I felt a need to give them an honorable mention by including their names as characters in the story.
My father, William Arthur Lewis Thoene, Jr. served in the Hawaii Territorial Guard during World War II.
The principal characters in this book are not intended to represent anyone past or present and any and all interactions with actual historic individuals are a part of the story and not based on historic fact.
On November 23, 1993 an “Apology Resolution” (U.S. Public Law 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510) was passed by joint resolution of the U. S. Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton acknowledging wrong doing by U. S. military forces in the illegal over-throw of Queen heir to the throne Liliuokalani in 1893.