Between 1939 and 1945, plans were afoot in the Union of South Africa for the establishment of meteorological stations on Gough Island in the South Atlantic, and on one of the Prince Edward Islands in the southern Indian Ocean. Shortage of shipping and staff caused these plans to be shelved in 1945. In 1947, Field-Marshal Smuts, who was then Prime Minister of the Union, decided to annex the Prince Edward Islands without delay. These islands, which consist of Marion Island and the smaller Prince Edward Island, are situated in approximately lat. 47° S., long. 38° E., half-way between South Africa and Antarctica, and have always been regarded as British, although no records of any sort of annexation ceremony can be traced.
In December 1947, therefore, the frigate H.M.S.A.S. Transvaal recalled her crew from Christmas leave and sailed south. Bad weather delayed a landing for several days, but eventually, on 29 December 1947, the commanding officer of the Transvaal landed on a rocky beach on the eastern side of Marion Island and hoisted the South African flag.
(Received September 29 1949)