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´╗┐Title: The Boy Allies with the Victorious Fleets - The Fall of the German Navy
Author: Drake, Robert L.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Boy Allies with the Victorious Fleets - The Fall of the German Navy" ***

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The Boy Allies
With the Victorious Fleets

OR
The Fall of the German Navy

By ENSIGN ROBERT L. DRAKE

AUTHOR OF

"The Boy Allies With the Navy Series"

[Illustration: A.L. BURT COMPANY NEW YORK]

The Boy Allies

(Registered in the United States Patent Office)

With the Navy Series

       *       *       *       *       *

By Ensign ROBERT L. DRAKE

       *       *       *       *       *

    The Boy Allies on the North Sea Patrol

    The Boy Allies Under Two Flags

    The Boy Allies with the Flying Squadron

    The Boy Allies with the Terror of the Seas

    The Boy Allies in the Baltic

    The Boy Allies at Jutland

    The Boys Allies Under the Sea

    The Boy Allies with Uncle Sam's Cruisers

    The Boy Allies with the Submarine D-32

    The Boy Allies with the Victorious Fleet

Copyright, 1919

By A.L. BURT COMPANY

       *       *       *       *       *



THE BOY ALLIES WITH THE VICTORIOUS FLEET



CHAPTER I

ABOARD U.S.S. PLYMOUTH


"Sail at 4 a.m.," said Captain Jack Templeton of the U.S.S. Plymouth,
laying down the long manila envelope marked "Secret." "Acknowledge by
signal," he directed the ship's messenger, and then looked inquiringly
about the wardroom table.

"Aye, aye, sir," said the first officer, Lieutenant Frank Chadwick.

"Ready at four, sir," said the engineer officer, Thomas; and left his
dinner for a short trip to the engine room to push some belated repairs.

"Send a patrol ashore to round up the liberty party," continued Captain
Templeton, this time addressing the junior watch officer. "Tell them to
be aboard at midnight instead of eight in the morning."

"Aye, aye, sir," said the junior watch officer, and departed in haste.

There was none of the bustle and confusion aboard the U.S.S. Plymouth, at
that moment lying idle in a British port, that the landsman would commonly
associate with sailing orders to a great destroyer. Blowers began to hum
in the fire rooms. The torpedo gunner's mates slipped detonators in the
warheads and looked to the rack load of depth charges. The steward made a
last trip across to the depot ship. Otherwise, things ran on very much as
before.

At midnight the junior watch officer called the captain, who had turned in
several hours earlier, and reported:

"Liberty party all on board, sir."

Then he turned in for a few hours' rest himself.

The junior watch was astir again at three o'clock. He routed out a sleepy
crew to hoist boats and secure for sea. Seven bells struck on the
Plymouth.

Captain Templeton appeared on the bridge. Lieutenant Chadwick was at his
side, as were Lieutenants Shinnick and Craib, second and third officers
respectively. Captain Templeton gave a command. The cable was slipped from
the mooring buoy. Ports were darkened and the Plymouth slipped out. A bit
inside the protection of the submarine nets, but just outside the
channel, she lay to, breasting the flood tide. There she lay for almost an
hour.

"Coffee for the men," said Captain Templeton.

The morning coffee was served on deck in the darkness.

Lights appeared in the distance, and presently another destroyer joined
the Plymouth. Running lights of two more appeared as the clock struck 4
a.m.

Captain Templeton signalled the engine room for two-thirds speed ahead.
Running lights were blanketed on the four destroyers, and the ships fell
into column.

Lieutenant Chadwick felt a drop on his face. He held out a hand.

"Rain," he said briefly.

Jack--Captain Templeton--nodded.

"So much the better, Frank," he replied.

The four destroyers cleared the channel light and spread out like a fan
into line formation.

"Full speed ahead!" came Jack's next command.

The Plymouth leaped ahead, as did her sister ships on either side.

"We're off," said Frank.

Away they sped in the darkness, a division of four Yankee destroyers,
tearing through the Irish sea on a rainy morning; Frank knew there were
four ships in line, but all he could see was his guide, a black smudge in
the darkness, a few ship lengths away on his port bow. Directly she was
blotted from sight by a rain squall.

"Running lights!" shouted Frank.

The lights flashed. Frank kept an eye forward. Directly he got a return
flash from the ship ahead, and then picked up her shape again.

Morning dawned and still the fleet sped on. Toward noon the weather
cleared. Officer and men kept their watches by regular turn during the
day. At sundown the four destroyers slowed down and circled around in a
slow column. The eyes of every officer watched the clock. They were
watching for something. Directly it came--a line of other ships,
transports filled with wounded soldiers returning to America. These must
be safely convoyed to a certain point beyond the submarine zone by the
Plymouth and her sister ships.

On came the transports camouflaged like zebras. The Plymouth and the other
destroyers fell into line on either side of the transports.

"Full speed ahead," was Captain Templeton's signal to the engine room.

"Take a look below, Frank," said Jack to his first officer.

"Aye, aye, sir."

Frank descended a manhole in the deck. He closed the cover and secured it
behind him. At the foot of the ladder was a locked door. As it opened,
came a pressure on Frank's ear drums like the air-lock of a caisson.
Frank threaded his way amid pumps and feed water heaters and descended
still further to the furnace level.

Twenty-five knots--twenty-eight land miles an hour--was the speed of the
Plymouth at that moment. It was good going.

Below, instead of dust, heat, the clatter of shovels, grimy, sweating
fireman, such as the thought of the furnace room of a ship of war calls to
the mind of the landsman, a watertender stood calmly watching the glow of
oil jets feeding the furnace fire. Now and then he cast an eye to the
gauge glasses. The vibration of the hull and the hum of the blower were
the only sounds below.

For the motive power of the Plymouth was not furnished by coal. Rather, it
was oil--crude petroleum--that drove the vessel along. And though oil has
its advantage over coal, it has its disadvantages as well. It was Frank's
first experience aboard an oil-burner, and he had not become used to it
yet. He smelled oil in the smoke from the funnels, he breathed it from the
oil range in the galley. His clothes gathered it from stanchions and
rails.

The water tanks were flavored with the seepage from neighboring
compartments. Frank drank petroleum in the water and tasted it in the
soup. The butter, he thought, tasted like some queer vaseline. But Frank
knew that eventually he would get used to it.

"How's she heading?" Frank asked of the chief engineer.

"All right, sir," was the reply. "Everything perfectly trim. I can get
more speed if necessary."

Frank smiled.

"Let's hope it won't be necessary, chief," he replied.

He inspected the room closely for some moments, then returned to the
bridge and reported to Captain Templeton.

The sea was rough, but nevertheless the speed of the flotilla was not
slackened. It was the desire of Captain Petlow, in charge of the destroyer
fleet, to convoy the transports beyond the danger point at the earliest
possible moment.

The Plymouth lurched up on top of a crest, then dived head-first into the
trough. On the bridge the heave and pitch of the vessel was felt
subconsciously, but the eyes and minds of the officers were busied with
other things. At every touch of the helm the vessel vibrated heavily.

Eight bells struck.

"Twelve o'clock," said Frank. "Time to eat."

The bridge was turned over to the second officer, and Frank and Jack went
below.

"Eat is right, Frank," said Jack as they sat down. "We can't dine in this
weather."

It was true. The rolling boards, well enough for easy weather, proved a
mockery in a sea like the one that raged now. Butter balls, meat and
vegetables shot from plates and went sailing about. It was necessary to
drink soup from teacups and such solid foods as Jack and Frank put into
their stomachs was only what they succeeded in grabbing as they leaped
about on the table.

The two returned on deck.

The day passed quietly. No submarines were sighted, and at last the
flotilla reached the point where the destroyers were to leave the homeward
bound transports to pursue their voyage alone. The transports soon grew
indistinguishable, almost, in the semi-darkness. The senior naval officer
aboard the Plymouth hoisted signal flags.

"Bon Voyage," they read.

Through a glass Jack read the reply.

"Thank you for your good work. Best of luck."

From the S.N.O. (senior naval officer) came another message. Frank picked
it up.

"Set course 188 degrees. Keep lookout for inbound transports to be
convoyed. Ten ships."

Again the destroyer swung into line. It was almost seven o'clock--after
dark--when the lookout aboard the Plymouth reported:

"Smoke ahead!"

Instantly all was activity aboard the destroyers. Directly, through his
glass, Jack sighted nine rusty, English tramp steamers, of perhaps eight
thousand tons, and a big liner auxiliary flying the Royal Navy ensign.

Under the protection of the destroyers, the ships made for an English
port. The night passed quietly. With the coming of morning, the flotilla
was divided. The Plymouth stood by to protect the big liner, while the
other three destroyers and the tramp steamers moved away toward the east.

"This destroyer game is no better than driving a taxi," Frank protested to
Jack on the bridge that afternoon. You never see anything. I'd like to get
ashore for a change. I've steamed sixty thousand miles since last May and
what have I seen? Three ports, besides six days' leave in London."

"You had plenty of time ashore before that," replied Jack.

"Maybe I did. But I'd like to have some more. Besides, this isn't very
exciting business."

Night fell again, and still nothing had happened to break the quiet
monotony of the trip. Lights of trawlers flashed up ahead. Interest on the
bridge picked up.

"Object off the port bow," called the lookout.

"Looks like a periscope," reported the quartermaster.

Frank snapped his binoculars on a bobbing black spar.

"Buoy and fishnet," he decided after a quick scrutiny.

Frank kept the late watch that night. At 4 a.m. he turned in. At five he
climbed hastily from his bunk at the jingle of general alarm, and reached
the bridge on the run in time to see the exchange of recognition signals
with a British man-o'-war, which vessel had run into a submarine while the
latter was on the surface in a fog. The warship had just rammed the
U-boat.

"Can we help you?" Frank called across the water.

"Thanks. Drop a few depth charges," was the reply.

This was done, but nothing came of it Frank returned to his bunk.

"Pretty slow life, this, if you ask me," he told himself.

He went back to sleep.



CHAPTER II

THE BOY CAPTAIN AND HIS LIEUTENANT


The U.S.S. Plymouth was Jack Templeton's first command. He had been
elevated to the rank of captain only a few weeks before. Naturally he was
not a little proud of his vessel. When Jack was given his ship, it was
only natural, too, that Frank Chadwick, who had been his associate and
chum through all the days of the great war, should become Jack's first
officer.

In spite of the fact that Jack's rating as captain was in the British
navy, he was at this moment in command of an American vessel. This came
about through a queer combination of circumstances.

The American commander of the Plymouth had been taken suddenly ill. At
almost the same time the Plymouth had been ordered to proceed from Dover
to Liverpool to join other American vessels. Almost on the eve of
departure, the first officer also was taken ill. It was to him the command
naturally would have fallen in the captain's absence. The second officer
was on leave of absence. Thus, without a skipper, the Plymouth could not
have sailed.

Jack and Frank had recently returned with a British convoy from America.
They were in Dover at the time. From his sick bed in a hospital, the
captain of the Plymouth had appealed to the British naval authorities. In
spite of the fact that he was in no condition to leave when he received
his orders, he did not wish to deny his crew the privilege of seeing
active service, which the call to Liverpool, he knew, meant.

The captain's appeal had been turned over to Lord Hastings, now connected
prominently with the British admiralty. Lord Hastings, in the early days
of the war, had been the commander under whom Jack and Frank had served.
In fact, the lads were visiting the temporary quarters of Lord Hastings in
Dover when the appeal was received from the commander of the Plymouth.

"How would you like to tackle this job, Jack?" Lord Hastings asked.

"I'd like it," the lad replied, "if you think I can do it, sir."

"Of course you can do it," was Lord Hastings' prompt reply. "I haven't
sailed with you almost four years for nothing."

"You mean, sir," replied Jack with a smile, "that I haven't sailed with
you that long for nothing."

"That's more like it, Jack," put in Frank laughingly. "I've learned a few
things from Lord Hastings myself."

"It is hardly probable," continued Lord Hastings, "that your promotion has
been unearned, Jack. No, I believe you can fill the bill."

"In that case, I shall be glad to take command of the Plymouth
temporarily, sir."

"And how about me?" Frank wanted to know. "Where do I come in, sir?"

"Why," said Lord Hastings, "I have no doubt it can be arranged so you can
go along as first officer. I understand the first officer of the Plymouth
is also under the weather."

"But isn't all this a bit irregular, sir?" Jack asked.

"Very much so," was Lord Hastings' reply. "At the same time, many
precedents are being broken every day, and I can see no reason why two
British officers cannot lend their services to an ally if they are asked
to do so."

"It is a little different with me, sir," said Frank. I'm an American."

"All the same," said Lord Hastings, "you're a British naval officer, no
matter what your nativity."

"That's true, too, sir," Frank agreed. "I haven't thought of it in just
that way."

"Well," said Lord Hastings, "I shall report then that Captain Templeton
and First Lieutenant Chadwick will go aboard the Plymouth this evening."

"Very well, sir," said Jack.

This is the reason then that Jack and Frank found themselves aboard an
American destroyer in the Irish sea.

Frank Chadwick, as we have seen, was an American. He had been in Italy
with his father when the great war began. He had been shanghaied in Naples
soon after Germany's declaration of war on France. When he came to his
senses he found that his captors were a band of mutinous sailors. Aboard
the vessel he found a second prisoner, who turned out to be a member of
the British secret service.

Frank met Jack Templeton, a British youth, aboard the schooner. Jack came
aboard in a peculiar way.

The schooner, in control of the mutineers, had put into a north African
port for provisions. Now it chanced that the store where the mutineers
sought to buy provisions was conducted by Jack. The lad was absent when
the supplies were purchased and returned a few moments later to find that
the mutineers had departed without making payment.

Jack's anger bubbled over. He put off for the schooner in a small boat.
Aboard, the chief of the mutineers refused the demand for payment. A fight
ensued. Jack, facing heavy odds, sought refuge in the hold of the vessel,
where he was made a prisoner.

During the night Jack was able to force his way from the hold into the
cabin where Frank and the British secret service agent were held captives.
He released them, and joining forces, the three were able to overcome the
mutineers and make themselves masters of the ship.

Now Jack Templeton was an experienced seaman and knew more than the
rudiments of navigation. Under his direction the schooner returned to the
little African port that he called home. There the three erstwhile
prisoners left the ship to the mutineers.

Later, through the good offices of the British secret service, Frank and
Jack made the acquaintance of Lord Hastings, also in the diplomatic
service. They were able to render some service to the latter and later
accompanied him to his home in London. There, at their request, Lord
Hastings, who in the meantime had been given command of a ship of war, had
them attached to his ship with the rank of midshipmen.

Both Jack and Frank had risen swiftly in the British service. They had
seen active service in all quarters of the globe and had fought under many
flags.

Under Lord Hastings' command they had been with the British fleet in the
North Sea when it struck the first decisive blow against the Germans just
off Helgoland. Later they were found under the Tricolor of France and with
the Italians in the Adriatic. With the British fleet again when it sallied
forth to clear the seven seas of enemy vessels, they had traversed the
Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian oceans. It had been their fortune,
too, to see considerable land fighting. They had been with the
Anglo-Japanese forces in the east and had conducted raiding parties in
some of the German colonial possessions.

Several times they had successfully run the blockade in the Kiel canal,
passing through the narrow straits in submarines just out of reach of the
foe. In Russia, they had, early in the war, lent invaluable assistance to
the Czar; and more lately, they had been in the eastern monarchy when Czar
Nicholas had been forced to renounce his throne.

Once since the war began they had been to America. This was shortly after
the United States entered the war. They were ordered to the North Atlantic
in order to help the American authorities snare a German commerce raider
which, in some unaccountable manner, had run the British blockade in the
North sea, and was wreaking havoc with allied shipping. Later they went to
New York, and then returned to Europe with a combined British-American
convoy for the first expeditionary force to cross the seas.

In temperament and disposition Jack and Frank were as unlike as one could
conceive. Jack, big for his age, broad-shouldered and strong, was always
cool and collected. Frank, on the other hand, was of a more fiery nature,
easily angered and often rash and reckless. Jack's steadying influence had
often kept the two out of trouble, or brought them through safely when
they were in difficulties.

Both lads spoke French and German fluently and each had a smattering of
Italian. Also, as the result of several trips to Russia, they had a few
words of the Russian tongue at their command.

In physical strength, Jack excelled Frank by far, although the latter was
by no means a weakling. On the other hand again, Frank was a crack shot
with either rifle or revolver; in fact, he was such an excellent marksman
as to cause his chum no little degree of envy. Then, too, both lads were
proficient in the art of self defense and both had learned to hold their
own with the sword.

Up to the time this story opens the combined allied fleets had succeeded
in keeping the Germans bottled up in the strong fortress of Helgoland.
True, the enemy several times had sallied forth in few numbers, apparently
seeking to run the blockade in an effort to prey upon allied merchant
ships. But every time they had offered battle they had received the worst
of it. They had been staggered with a terrible defeat at Jutland almost a
year before this story opens, and since that time had not ventured forth.

But even now, in the security of their hiding places, the Germans were
meditating a bold stroke. Submarines were being coaled and victualed in
preparation for a dash across the Atlantic. Already, one enemy
submarine--a merchantman--had passed the allied ships blocking the English
channel and had crossed to America and returned. Some months later, a
U-Boat of the war type had followed suit. A cordon of ally ships had been
thrown around American ports to snare this venturesome submarine on its
return, but it had eluded them and returned safely to its home port.

But soon--very soon, indeed--German undersea craft were to strike a more
severe blow at allied shipping, carrying, for the moment, the war in all
its horrors to the very door of America. While the United States was
arming and equipping its millions to send across the sea to destroy the
kaiser and German militarism, these enemy undersea craft were crossing the
Atlantic determined to reap a rich harvest upon American, allied and
neutral shipping off the American coast.

And the blow was to be delivered without warning--almost.

When the U.S.S. Plymouth, under Jack's command, returned to Liverpool, the
captain of the vessel, having somewhat recovered, came aboard and relieved
Jack of command.

"I'm obliged for your services, Captain," he said, "but I'll take charge
of the old scow again myself, with your leave."

Jack and Frank went ashore, where, at their hotel, they received a brief
telegram from Lord Hastings. It read as follows:

    "Return to Dover at once. Important."

"Now I wonder what is up," said Frank after reading the message.

"The simplest way to find out," replied Jack, "is to go and see."



CHAPTER III

OFF FOR AMERICA


"Then everything went first rate your first trip, Captain?" questioned
Lord Hastings.

"First rate, sir," Jack replied.

The lads were back in Dover where, the first thing after their arrival,
they sought an audience with their former commander.

"Yes, sir," Frank agreed, "Jack makes an A-1 captain."

"I'm glad to hear it," was Lord Hastings' comment. "I've other work in
hand and I wouldn't want to trust it to a man who is nervous under fire."

"But we were not under fire this time, sir," said Jack.

"You mustn't always take me literally, Jack," smiled Lord Hastings. "It
was your first venture in your present rank and you acquitted yourself
creditably. That is what I meant."

"And what is the other venture, sir?" Frank asked eagerly.

"There you go again, Frank," said Lord Hastings. "How many times have I
told you that you must restrain your impatience."

Frank was abashed.

"Your warnings don't seem to do much good, I'll admit, sir. Nevertheless,
I'll try to do better."

"See that you do," returned Lord Hastings gravely. "Nothing was ever
gained by too great impatience. Remember that."

"I'll try, sir."

"Very well. Then I shall acquaint you with the nature of the work in
hand."

The boys listened intently to Lord Hastings' next words.

"As you know," His Lordship began, "the seas have virtually been cleared
of all enemy ships. All German merchant vessels have been captured or
sunk. What few raiders that preyed on our commerce for a time have been
put out of business."

"Yes, sir," said Jack. "Our merchant vessels no longer have anything to
fear from the foe."

"They shouldn't, that's true enough," replied Lord Hastings.

"You mean they have, sir?" asked Jack, incredulously.

Lord Hastings nodded.

"I do," he admitted gravely. "Particularly shipping on the other side of
the Atlantic."

"America, sir?"

"Exactly."

"But surely," Frank put in, "surely our blockade is tight enough to
prevent the enemy from breaking through."

"We have not yet found means," replied Lord Hastings, "of effectually
blockading the submarine."

"Oh, I see," said Frank. "You mean that the Germans plan to open a
submarine campaign upon allied shipping in American waters."

"Such is my information," declared Lord Hastings.

"And," said Jack, "you wish us to cross the Atlantic and take a hand in
the game of taming the U-Boats, sir."

"Such is my idea," Lord Hastings admitted. "Let me explain. My information
is not authentic, but nevertheless, knowing the Germans as I do, I am
tempted to credit it."

"Then why not warn the United States, sir?" asked Frank. "There are enough
American ships of war off the coast to deal effectually with all the
submarines the Germans can get across."

"So I would," was Lord Hastings' reply, "but for the fact that some
officials of the admiralty are opposed to it."

"Opposed?" exclaimed Jack. "And why, sir?"

"Because they labor under the delusion that such a warning would throw the
people of the United States into a panic and would prevent the sending of
additional troops to France."

"What a fool idea! By George!" exclaimed Frank, "what do they think the
American people are made of?"

"You'll have to ask them," was Lord Hastings' answer to this question.
"For my own part, I feel that it is hardly fair to keep this information
from the American authorities."

"I should say it isn't fair," declared Frank.

"I agree with you," said Jack. "But just where do Frank and I come in,
sir?"

"I'll make that plain to you very quickly," replied Lord Hastings.

He drew a paper from his pocket and passed it to Jack.

"Here," he said, "is your commission as captain of H.M.S. Brigadier." He
passed a second paper to Frank. "This," he continued, "is your commission
as first officer of the same vessel. Now, through channels known only to
myself, I have induced the admiralty to send you to America with certain
papers for Secretary Daniels of the navy department. At the same time, I
have other personal papers which I shall have you deliver to the secretary
of the navy for me. These will acquaint him with the facts I have just
laid before you."

"I see, sir," said Jack. "But, if you will pardon my asking, what will
happen to you sir should it be found out you have acted contrary to the
wishes of the admiralty majority?"

Lord Hastings shrugged his shoulders disdainfully.

"What's the difference?" he wanted to know. "Our allies must be warned."

"I agree with you, sir," declared Jack.

"And I, sir," said Frank.

"It is possible," said Lord Hastings, "that should I take the matter up
with the King or with the war ministry I might get action; but that would
take time, and I want this message delivered at the earliest possible
moment. Should I entrust it to the cables, under the circumstances, there
is nothing certain of its arrival."

"I see, sir," said Jack. "Then you may be sure that I shall deliver the
message personally to Secretary Daniels."

"It is well," said Lord Hastings. "I knew I could depend upon you boys."

"Always, sir," replied Jack simply.

"Then be off with you," said Lord Hastings, rising. "You can go aboard
your ship to-night. Here is the message I wish delivered to the American
secretary of the navy," and he passed a second paper to Jack. "The
admiralty message you are to take will probably reach you some time in the
morning, together with your sailing orders."

Lord Hastings extended his hand.

"Good-bye and good luck," he said.

Jack and Frank shook hands with him and took their departure.

"I'll be glad to get back to America if only for a short time," said
Frank, as they walked toward the water front.

"I won't mind another look at the United States myself," Jack declared.
"It looks like a pretty good country to me, from what I saw of it last
trip. Almost as good as England, I guess."

"Almost?" repeated Frank. "Say, let me tell you something. The United
States is the greatest country under the sun and don't you forget it. You
Johnny Bulls seem to think that England is the only spot on the map."

"Well," returned Jack with a smile, "it strikes me that you boast
considerably about your own land."

Frank's face reddened a trifle.

"Maybe I do," he admitted, "but it's worth it."

"So is England," said Jack quietly.

"By George! So it is, Jack," said Frank. "Maybe it is a fact that I talk
too much sometimes."

"No 'maybes' about it," declared Jack. "It's just a plain fact."

"Look here," said Frank, somewhat nettled, "you may be my boss aboard
ship, but right now, with no witnesses present to hear what I say, I'll
say what I like."

"Come, come, now," said Jack with a smile, "don't get all out of humor
just because I joke you a little bit."

Frank grinned.

"Well, then don't always thinks I'm angry just because I make a hot
reply," he said.

Jack let it go at that.

"Well, here we are at the water front," he said a few moments later, "and
if I'm not mistaken that's the Brigadier about a hundred yards off shore
there."

"That's the Brigadier, all right," said Frank, "I can see her name
forward even at this distance. By George! but the camouflage artists have
certainly done a good job on her."

"So they have," Jack agreed. "But we may as well go aboard."

They commandeered a small boat and rowed rapidly to the Brigadier. Jack
swung himself up on deck and Frank climbed up behind him.

A young lieutenant greeted Jack respectfully after a quick glance at the
latter's bars.

"What can I do for you, sir?" he asked.

"You may go below and tell the engineer to get steam up immediately,"
replied Jack. "We may not sail before morning, but I may desire to leave
before."

"Very well, sir," replied the young officer, "but may I ask who you are,
sir?"

"Certainly," replied Jack, "I'm the commander of this ship, Captain
Templeton. This is Mr. Chadwick, my first officer. What is your name,
sir?"

"Hetherton, sir, second officer of the Brigadier."

"Very good, Lieutenant. You shall stay on here as second officer until
further notice. Now below with you."

Lieutenant Hetherton disappeared.

"I guess he won't ask many more questions," said Frank grimly.

"Perhaps not," said Jack. "Now, Mr. Chadwick, will you be so kind as to
take the deck while I go to my cabin."

Frank seemed about to remark upon Jack's sudden change in manner. Then he
thought better of it and walked off, grumbling to himself.

"Wonder what he's in such an all-fired rush about? He's not wasting any
time, that's sure."

He took the deck. Ten minutes later Lieutenant Hetherton reported to him,
saluting at the same time.

"Engineer says he'll have steam up in two hours, sir."

"Very well," replied Frank, returning the salute. "Will you kindly take
the deck, Lieutenant Hetherton? I'm going below."

Lieutenant Hetherton took the deck, and thus relieved, Frank went below
and sought out Jack's cabin.

"Now," he said, "I'll find out what all this rush is about."

Without the formality of a knock, he went in.



CHAPTER IV

THE START


Inside Jack's cabin, Frank found his commander and chum engaged in
conversation with the engineer officer, who had sought his new commander
immediately after giving instructions below. He saluted Frank as the lad
entered.

"My first officer, Lieutenant Chadwick, Mr. Winslow," Jack introduced
them. "I am sure you will get along together."

"So am I, sir," agreed the engineer. "And when shall we be moving, sir?"

"I can't say, exactly," replied Jack. "Probably not before morning, but I
wish to be ready to leave on a moment's notice."

"Very well, sir," said the engineer, "As I said before, I'll have steam up
in two hours."

"Do so, sir."

The engineer saluted and left Jack's cabin.

Jack turned to Frank.

"Now," he said, "what are you doing here? I thought I left you to take the
deck?"

"I turned the deck over to Hetherton," replied Frank with a grin. "I
wanted to find out what all this rush is about?"

"Don't you know it's bad form to ask questions of your commander?" Jack
said severely.

"Maybe it is," Frank agreed, "but I just wanted to find out."

"Well, I wouldn't do it in front of any of the other officers or the men,"
said Jack. "It's bad for the ship's discipline. However, I'll tell you, I
just wanted to have things ready, that's all. Come, we'll go on deck."

They ascended to the bridge. Jack addressed Lieutenant Hetherton.

"Pipe all hands on deck for inspection, Lieutenant," he ordered.

Lieutenant Hetherton passed the word. A moment later men came tumbling up
the companion way and fell into line aft. Jack and Frank walked forward to
look them over. Jack addressed a few words to the men.

"I've just taken over command of the Brigadier," he said. "To-morrow
morning, or sooner, we shall sail, our destination temporarily to be known
only to myself. I believe that I may safely promise you some action before
many days have passed."

A hearty British cheer swept the ship.

"Hurrah!" cried the men.

A few moments later Jack dismissed them. Then the officers returned to the
bridge, where Jack told off the watches.

"Now," he said, "I'll have to look over the ship."

Frank accompanied him on his tour of inspection. They found everything
absolutely clean and ship-shape. The muzzles of the big guns were shining
brightly beneath their coat of polish. After the inspection, Jack and
Frank went below for a look at the ship's papers.

The Brigadier was a small destroyer, not more than 200 feet long. It had a
complement of 250 men, officers and crew; carried two batteries of 9-inch
guns in turrets forward and aft and was equipped with three 2-inch torpedo
tubes. It was not one of the latest of British destroyers, but still it
was modern in many respects.

"A good ship," said Jack, after a careful examination of the papers. "As
to speed, we should get twenty-three knots on a pinch. Her fighting
equipment is excellent, everything is spick and span, and I was impressed
with the officers and crew. Yes, she is a good ship."

"And you're the boss of the whole ranch, Jack," said Frank. "Think of it.
Less than four years ago you knew nothing at all of naval tactics, and now
you're in command of a British destroyer. By George! I wouldn't mind
having your job myself."

Jack smiled.

"Never mind," he said. "You'll get yours some day. I've just been more
fortunate, that's all. Besides, I knew something of navigation before you
did, and while you have mastered it now, I had a long start."

"That's true enough," Frank admitted, "but at the same time you are
considerably more fit for the job than I am. Another thing. I don't know
that I would trade my berth here for a command of a ship."

Jack looked his surprise.

"Why?" he asked.

"Because it would separate us," was Frank's reply. "We've been together
now since the war began, almost. I hope that we may see it through
together."

"Here, too," declared the commander of the Brigadier, "but at the same
time you should not let a matter of friendship stand between you and what
may be your big opportunity."

"Oh, I'd probably take the job if it were offered me," said Frank. "I'm
just hoping the offer will not be made; that's all."

The lads conversed for some moments longer. Then Frank looked at his
watch.

"My watch," he said quietly. "I'll be going on deck."

"Right," said Jack. "Call me if anything happens."

"Yes, sir," said Frank, saluting his commander gravely.

Jack grinned.

"By Jove! It seems funny to have you talk like that to me," he said. "At
the same time I suppose it must be done for the sake of discipline.
However, it is not necessary in private."

"Nevertheless," said Frank, "I had better stick to it or I'm liable to
forget in public some time."

"Well, maybe you're right," said Jack.

Frank turned on his heel and went on deck, where he relieved Lieutenant
Hetherton, who had been on watch.

"Nothing to report, sir," said Lieutenant Hetherton, saluting.

"Very well, sir," was Frank's reply, as he, too, saluted.

It was after midnight, and Frank's watch was nearing its end when the
lookout on the port side called:

"Boat off the port bow, sir."

Frank advanced to the rail. A moment later there was a hail from the
water.

"What ship is that?'

"His Majesty's Ship Brigadier," Frank called back.

"I'm coming aboard you," said the voice from the darkness. "Lower a
ladder."

Frank gave the necessary command. A few moments later a man attired in the
uniform of a British captain came over the side. He approached Frank, who
was barely visible in the darkness.

"Captain Templeton?" he asked.

"No, sir. I'm Lieutenant Chadwick. A moment, sir, and I'll call the
captain."

"If you please," said the visitor.

Frank passed the word for the quartermaster, who arrived within a few
moments.

"Call Captain Templeton," Frank directed.

Jack arrived on deck a few moments later and exchanged greetings with his
visitor. The latter produced a packet of papers.

"From the admiralty," he said. "You will know what to do with them."

Jack took the papers and stowed them in his pocket.

"Yes, sir," he said.

"That is all, then," said the visitor. "I shall be going."

He stepped to the side of the vessel and disappeared.

"This means," said Jack, after the other had gone, "that we can sail any
time now."

"Then why not at once?" asked Frank.

"You anticipated me," replied Jack. "Will you kindly pipe all hands on
deck, Mr. Chadwick?"

Frank passed the word.

Sleepy men came tumbling from their bunks below. All became bustle and
hurry aboard the Brigadier. Jack himself took the bridge. Frank stood
beside him. Other officers took their places.

"Man the guns!" came Jack's order.

It was the lad's intention to overlook nothing that would protect the ship
should it encounter an enemy submarine en route, and, as the lad knew, it
was just as possible they would encounter one in the English Channel as
elsewhere.

For, despite all precautions taken by British naval authorities, enemy
submarines more than once had crept through the channel, once penetrating
Dover harbor itself, where they had wreaked considerable damage before
being driven away by British destroyers and submarine chasers.

A few moments later Jack signaled the engine room.

"Half speed ahead."

Slowly the Brigadier slipped from her anchorage and moved through the
still waters of the harbor. Directly she pushed her nose into the channel,
then headed east.

"Full speed ahead!" Jack signaled the engine room.

The Brigadier leaped forward.

"Better turn in, Jack," said Frank. "It's Thompson's watch."

"No, I'll stick until we reach the Atlantic," returned Jack.

"Then I'll stick along," said Frank.

This they did.

It was hours later when the Brigadier ran clear of the channel and
breasted the heavy swell of the Atlantic. Jack spoke to Thompson, the
third officer.

"I'm going to turn in," he said. "If anything happens, call me at once."

"Very well, sir," was the third officer's reply.

He saluted briefly. Jack and Frank went below.

"Come in a moment before you turn in, if you wish," Jack said to Frank.

"May as well," replied the latter. "I don't feel like turning in for an
hour yet."

"Well, you can't keep me out of bed that long," declared Jack. "I've got
to be stirring before you go on watch again. But I thought we might talk a
few moments."

Nevertheless, it was an hour later that Frank went to his own cabin. He
turned in at once and was soon fast asleep.

On the other hand, sleep did not come to Jack so soon. For an hour or more
he lay in his bunk, reviewing the events of the past and his
responsibilities of the present.

"It's a big job I have now," he told himself. "I hope I can carry it
through successfully."

But he didn't have the slightest doubt that he could. Jack's one best
characteristic was absolute confidence in himself.



CHAPTER V

A RESCUE


H.M.S. Brigadier was steaming steadily along at a speed of twenty knots.
Jack himself held the bridge. Frank and Lieutenant Hetherton, who stood
nearby, were discussing the sinking several days before of a large allied
transport by a German submarine in the Irish sea.

"She was sunk without warning, the same as usual," said Hetherton.

"The Germans never give warning any more," replied Frank, "Of course, the
reason is obvious enough. To give warning it would be necessary for the
submarine to come to the surface, in which case the merchant ship might be
able to place a shell aboard the U-Boat before she could submerge again.
So to take time to give warning would be a disadvantage to the submarine."

"At the same time," said Hetherton, "it's an act of barbarism to sink a
big ship without giving passengers and crew a word of warning."

"Oh, I'm not defending the German system," declared Frank. "I am just
giving you what I believe is the German viewpoint."

"Nevertheless," said Hetherton, "it's about time such activities were
stopped."

"It certainly is. But it seems that the U-Boats are growing bolder each
day."

"It wouldn't surprise me," declared Lieutenant Hetherton, "to hear almost
any day that U-Boats had crossed the Atlantic to prey on shipping in
American waters."

Frank looked at the second officer sharply. He was sure that Jack had not
divulged the real reason for their present voyage, and he had said nothing
about the matter himself.

"Just a chance remark, I guess," Frank told himself. Aloud he said: "I
hardly think it will come to that."

"I hope not," replied Hetherton, "but you never can tell, you know."

"That's true enough, too," Frank agreed, "but at the same--"

He broke off suddenly as he caught the sharp hail of the forward lookout.

"Ship in distress off the port bow, sir," came the cry.

Jack was at once called to the deck.

Instantly Frank and Lieutenant Hetherton sprang to Jack's side. At almost
the same moment the radio operator emerged from below on the run.

"Message, sir," he exclaimed, and thrust a piece of paper in Jack's hand.
Jack read it quickly. It ran like this:

"Merchant steamer Hazelton, eight thousand tons, New York to Liverpool
with munitions and supplies, torpedoed by submarine. Sinking. Help."

"Did you get her position?" demanded Jack of the wireless operator.

"No, sir. The wireless failed before he could give it."

"Don't you think it may be the vessel ahead, sir?" asked Lieutenant
Hetherton.

"Can't tell," was Jack's reply. "It may be, in which case there are
probably more submarines about. Clear ship for action, Mr. Chadwick."

No sooner said than done.

Frank and others of the ship's officers darted hither and yon, making sure
that everything was in readiness. At the guns, the gunners grinned
cheerfully. Frank approached the battery in the forward turret.

"All right?" he asked.

"O.K., sir," replied the officer in command of the gun crew. "Show us a
submarine, that's all we ask."

"There are probably a dozen or so about here some place," returned Frank.
"Keep your eyes peeled and don't wait an order to fire if you see anything
that looks like one."

"Right, sir."

The officer turned to his men with a sharp command.

Frank continued his inspection of the ship as the Brigadier dashed toward
the vessel in distress, probably ten miles ahead.

Every man aboard the Brigadier was on the alert as the destroyer plowed
swiftly through the water. It was possible, of course, that the submarines
had made off after attacking the vessel, but there was always the
possibility that some were still lurking in the neighborhood.

"Can't be too careful," Jack told himself.

Fifteen minutes later, the lookout was able to make out more clearly the
ship ahead of them.

"Steamer Hazelton," he called to the quartermaster, who reported to Jack.

"Same vessel that sent the wireless, Frank," was Jack's comment. "We will
have to look sharp. It's more than an even bet that some of those undersea
sharks are watching for a ship to come to the rescue so they can have a
shot at her also."

"We're ready for 'em," said Frank significantly.

"All right," said Jack. "In the meantime we'll stand by the Hazelton and
see if we can lend a hand."

As the Brigadier drew closer those on deck could see signs of confusion
aboard the Hazelton. Then there arose a large cloud of smoke that for a
moment hid the Hazelton from view. This was followed by a loud explosion.

When the smoke cleared away, the water nearby was filled with struggling
figures.

"Lower the boats," shouted Jack.

Instantly men sprang to obey the command, while others of the British tars
still stood quietly behind their guns, their eyes scanning the sea.

Aboard the Hazelton, the crew, or what remained of the crew, were
attempting to lower lifeboats. Directly one was lowered safely, and loaded
to the guards with human freight. A second and a third were lowered
safely, and put off toward the Brigadier.

In the meantime, lifeboats from the destroyer had darted in among the
struggling figures and willing hands were lifting the victims to safety.
Then these, in turn, started back to the destroyer.

"I guess they're all off," said Frank to Jack.

"I hope so," was Jack's reply. "If I am not mistaken, there are women
among the survivors."

"By George! I thought I saw some myself," was Frank's answer.

Suddenly there was a crash as the forward turret guns aboard the Brigadier
burst into action. Looking ahead, Jack gave a startled cry, and no wonder.

For, from beneath the water, appeared a periscope and then the long low
outline of a German submarine came into view.

Again the Brigadier's guns crashed, but the shells did not strike home.

Before the destroyer could fire again, a gun appeared as if by magic on
the submarine's deck, and a hail of bullets was poured into the first of
the nearby lifeboats. At the same time the U-Boat launched a torpedo at
the Brigadier.

Jack gave a cry of horror at the predicament of those in the small boats.
But he did not lose his head, and at the same time maneuvered his ship out
of the path of the torpedo.

Came a hail from the lookout aft.

"Submarine off the stern, sir!"

At the same moment the battery in the Brigadier's turret aft burst into
action.

"Forward with you, Mr. Chadwick," cried Jack, "and see if you can't get
better results there. The men seem to have lost their nerve."

Frank sprang forward. Jack's words were true. It appeared that the crew in
the forward turret were so anxious to sink the first submarine that they
had not taken time to find the range.

"Cease firing!" shouted Frank as he sprang into the turret.

The order was obeyed, but there came a grumble from the men at what they
deemed such a strange command under the circumstances.

"I thought you fellows were gunners," said Frank angrily. "Smith, get the
range."

Smith did so, and announced it a moment later.

"Now," said Frank, "get your aim, men."

No longer was there confusion in the forward turret. The guns were trained
carefully.

"Ready," cried Frank. "Fire!"

"Crash!"

A moment and there was a loud cheer from the crew. The German submarine
seemed to leap high from the water, and then fell back in a dozen pieces.

Frank wasted no further time on the first submarine. Leaving the forward
turret, he dashed aft to where other guns were firing on the second
submarine. Meantime Jack, perfectly cool on the bridge, had maneuvered his
vessel out of the way of several torpedoes from the second U-Boat. But,
as he very well knew, this combat must be brought to a quick end or one
of the torpedoes was likely to find its mark.

From the deck of the second submarine, a hail of fire from a machine gun
was still being poured into the helpless lifeboats. What execution had
been done Jack had no means of telling at the moment, but he knew there
must have been some casualties.

"The brutes!" he muttered.

The duel between the submarine and the destroyer still raged. It appeared
that the commander of the submarine was a capable officer, for he had
succeeded in keeping his vessel from being struck by a shell from the
Brigadier.

In the aft turret of the Brigadier the British tars were sweating and
muttering imprecations at their inability to put a shell aboard the enemy.

"Here," said Frank, "let me get at that gun."

The crew stepped aside and the lad sighted the weapon himself. Then he
fired.

Again a cheer arose aboard the Brigadier. Frank's shot had been
successful. The shell struck the submersible squarely amidships, and
carried away the periscope.

"Fire!" cried Frank, and the other guns broke into action.

Again there was a wild cheer.

The submarine began to settle a few moments later. Men emerged from below
and sprang into the sea.

"Lower a boat!" cried Jack. "I want a few of those fellows."

A boat was lowered instantly and strong hands pulled it toward the Germans
floundering in the water.

By this time the lifeboats that had escaped the German fire came alongside
the Brigadier and the occupants climbed aboard the destroyer. These were
quickly fitted out with dry clothing. It developed that there had been
three women passengers aboard the Hazelton and all of these had been
saved. A dozen members of the crew, however, had been killed by the enemy
in the lifeboats.

Jack assigned quarters to the victims as quickly as he was able, and then
calling his officers about him, awaited the return of the boat which had
gone after the Germans who had leaped into the sea.

"If the act I have just seen is a sample of the German heart," Jack said,
"I never want another German within sight of me so long as I live."



CHAPTER VI

CHANGED ORDERS


As the Germans came aboard--ten of them--they were herded before Jack.
They stood there sullenly, their eyes on the deck. One of them wore a
heavily braided and imposing uniform. Jack addressed him.

"You are the commander of that submarine?" he questioned.

"I was," answered the German.

"You were, what?" asked Jack sharply.

"I was the commander."

"You don't seem to catch my meaning," said Jack, taking a step forward.
"When you speak to me say 'sir.'"

"Then you shall say 'sir' to me," said the German.

"Oh, no I won't," Jack declared. "I never say sir to a murderer."

The German's eyes lighted angrily.

"It would be well to be more careful of your words," he said.

"Nevertheless," said Jack, "I repeat them. You, are a murderer, and as
such should be hanged at once. I'm not sure it is in my province to string
you up, but I'm strongly tempted to do so and take the consequences."

"But I guess you won't," sneered the German.

"Then don't try me too far," said Jack quietly. "To my mind, men like you
and your cowardly followers should be put out of the way the same as a mad
dog; and certainly there is no law against killing a dog."

"I warn you," said the German, taking a step nearer the lad, "to be more
choice in your words."

"Silence!" Jack thundered, "and don't you dare step toward me unless I
tell you to do so." He turned to Frank. "Take those men below and put them
in irons," he ordered.

Frank stepped forward to obey, and again the German commander protested.

"You can't do that," he said. "My men are prisoners of war and as such are
entitled to all the usual courtesies."

"They are, eh?" asked Jack. "Then I'll modify that order a bit,
temporarily, Mr. Chadwick, will you kindly bring irons for this man here,"
and he indicated the German officer. "I want his men and all our
passengers to see how he looks in shackles, which he should have been made
to wear long ago."

Frank hurried away. The German commander, after taking one step back at
Jack's words, stepped quickly forward again. His hand went to his side and
he produced a long knife. Then he sprang.

Jack smiled slightly, stepped quickly to one side and with his left hand
caught the German's knife arm. He twisted sharply, and the knife dropped
to the deck.

Jack released his hold and the German staggered back. Deliberately Jack
cuffed the man across the face with his right hand, then with his left.
Twice more he did this, following the German as he retreated across the
deck.

"Let that teach you," he said, "that attempting to stab a British naval
officer is very bad business. But here comes something that will teach
you more," and he pointed to Frank, who reappeared at that moment followed
by two sailors bearing heavy chains. "These irons," Jack continued, "will
show you just what is in store for you when you are landed in England.
Hold out your hands."

The German did so. Quickly handcuffs were snapped on.

"Shackle his legs," said Jack.

The sailors needed no urging. Quickly the German's legs were shackled with
the heavy iron. Jack took a couple of steps back and surveyed his
prisoner.

"If you had been dressed up in those several years ago," he said, "I've no
doubt lots of innocent women and children now at the bottom of the sea
would be alive still."

The German commander scowled, but he said nothing.

"Now, Frank," said Jack, "you will take the other prisoners below and put
them in irons. I guess our friend here will no longer object."

The German sailors were led below, where they were soon safely chained and
Frank returned to the bridge.

"Kindly pass the word for all the passengers and the crew to come on deck,
Mr. Hetherton," ordered Jack.

The second officer obeyed and soon the deck was crowded. The German
commander became the center of an angry group.

"I've just called you all here," said Jack, "that you may cast your eyes
upon one of the kaiser's paid murderers. It is men like this who have made
an outcast of Germany. Not satisfied with killing in battle, they fire on
helpless lifeboats, sending women and children as well as unarmed
noncombatants to the bottom of the sea. In fact, it is men like this, or a
man like this, who so recently took a heavy toll in lives from the crew of
the Hazelton, after the vessel had been put out of commission."

There was an angry murmur among the crowd on deck.

"Hang him," said a voice.

The German officer's face turned a chalky white.

"I'd be pleased to do so," said Jack, "were it not for the fact that I
must retain him as a prisoner of war and turn him over to the proper
authorities. However, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if he were tried for
murder and hanged, and I'm not sure that even such a fate isn't too good
for him."

"Hang him!" came a voice from the crowd again.

"No," said Jack quietly, "it can't be done. Take him away."

These last words were addressed to Lieutenant Hetherton, who stepped
forward and took the German commander by the arm.

"Come on," he said somewhat roughly.

The German commander was led below, where he was made secure.

The passengers and crew rescued from the Hazelton dispersed and Jack held
a consultation with his officers.

"If we were not so far from land," he said, "I would land those we have
rescued. As it stands, I am under rush orders, so I am afraid I shall have
to take them to America."

"That cannot be helped, sir," said Lieutenant Hetherton. "I am sure they
will understand that, sir."

"I think so, too," agreed Frank.

"At all events," said Jack, "there seems nothing else to do under the
circumstances. Ring for full speed ahead, Mr. Chadwick."

Frank did so.

At that moment the radio operator again emerged from below and hurried to
Jack.

"Admiralty orders, sir," he said, passing a slip of paper to the commander
of the Brigadier.

Jack read the paper quickly, then turned to Frank with a sharp command.

"Slow to half speed," he said. "Then come about and head for Dover."

Frank asked no questions. He knew that Jack would explain the reason for
the change soon enough. Besides, the matter was none of his business. He
gave the necessary orders. Jack turned to the second officer.

"Will you take the bridge, Mr. Hetherton? Mr. Chadwick, please come to my
cabin."

The lads went below together.

"Now," said Frank, after he had taken a seat, "what's it all about?"

"Well," was Jack's reply, "the admiralty wants the Brigadier back in
Dover. That's all I know about it. I'm instructed to report to Lord
Hastings immediately on my return."

"No other explanation?"

"No."

"Funny," commented Frank. "Must be something up, though."

"So it would seem. However, I guess we'll learn soon enough. Hope they are
not going to deprive me of my command."

"No fear, I guess," declared Frank.

The return trip was made in record time and without incident. Jack saw the
victims of the Hazelton landed safely and then, turning the ship over to
Lieutenant Hetherton, went ashore with Frank to report to Lord Hastings.

The latter greeted them with a wry smile.

"It seems that my warning to America is not to be delivered after all," he
said.

"And why, sir?" asked Jack. "Are you not still convinced that the warning
is necessary?"

"I am," declared Lord Hastings, "but, as I told you, I was sending the
warning without knowledge of the Admiralty. Naturally, then, when it was
announced that the Brigadier was to be recalled to take part in other
operations, I could not announce that you carried secret dispatches from
me."

"I see," said Jack. "And what is the nature of the other operation?"

"It is a desperate undertaking," said Lord Hastings slowly, "and one that,
at first, I was tempted to advise against. And still, if successful it
will do much toward insuring an allied victory."

"Since when have you become so cautious, sir?" asked Frank with a smile.

"It's not a matter of caution, Frank," replied Lord Hastings. "It's simply
a matter of prudence. In a word, the Admiralty is determined to block the
harbors of Ostend and Zeebrugge."

Frank was on his feet and clapping his hands.

"Fine!" he exclaimed. "I don't see why it hasn't been done sooner. I
remember what Hobson did to the Spanish fleet at Santiago in the
Spanish-American war."

"It's an exploit of the same nature," Lord Hastings admitted, "though it
will be attended with even greater danger. If successful, as I say, it
will do inestimable good. The admiralty has been training specially for
this move for months, but the matter has now come to a head."

"And how does it happen that we shall be fortunate enough to lend a hand?"
asked Jack.

"My fault, I suppose," returned Lord Hastings. "Admiral Keyes, the day
after your departure, was bemoaning the fact that one ship had been taken
away from him at the last moment. I said that if Captain Templeton and the
Brigadier were here, you could easily replace the other vessel. The
admiral was of the opinion that you had not had the necessary training. I
said you didn't need it. Apparently he was convinced, for the next I heard
you had been recalled to Dover. Thus, through talking too much, I balked
my own plans."

"Perhaps," said Frank, "it won't be too late for the other when the
harbors of Ostend and Zeebrugge have been sealed."

"But perhaps you won't come back," said Lord Hastings.

"Oh, we'll be back, never fear," grinned Jack. "But what are we to do
now?"

"You will report to Admiral Keyes aboard the Warwick at once. If you
return safely, report to me. Good-bye and good luck."

The lads shook hands with Lord Hastings and left him.

"Here," said Frank, "is what I call a piece of luck."



CHAPTER VII

A BIT OF EXPLANATION


It is probable that the sealing of the harbors of Ostend and Zeebrugge,
two of the most important German submarine bases, was one of the greatest
feats of the whole European war. The attempt was extremely hazardous and
could never have been successful except for the gallantry and heroism of
the British crews.

Not the least of the bravest among them were Jack and Frank and the other
officers and crew of the destroyer Brigadier. It is true that the
operation has been planned primarily with the idea of having the destroyer
Daffodil in line, but it was the withdrawal of this vessel that permitted
Jack and Frank to have a hand in the operation.

In order that all parts of the naval service might share in the
expedition, representative bodies of men had been drawn from the Grand
Fleet, the three home depots, the Royal marine artillery and light
infantry. The ships and torpedo craft were furnished by the Dover patrol,
which was reinforced by vessels from the Harwich force and the French and
American navies. The Royal Australian navy and the admiralty experimental
station at Stratford and Dover were also represented.

A force thus composed and armed, obviously needed collective training and
special preparation to adapt both the men and their weapons to their
purpose. With these objects, the blocking ships and the storming forces
were assembled toward the end of February, and from the fourth of April on
in the West Swim Anchorage--where training especially adapted to the plan
of operation was given--and the organization of the expedition was carried
on.

The material as it was prepared was used to make the training practical
and was itself tested thereby. Moreover, valuable practice was afforded by
endeavors to carry out the project on two previous occasions, on which the
conditions of wind and weather compelled its postponement, and much was
learned from these temporary failures.

The Hindustan, at first at Chatham and later at the Swim, was the parent
ship and training depot. After the second attempt, when it became apparent
that there would be a long delay, the Dominion joined the Hindustan and
the pressure upon the available accommodation was relieved by the transfer
of about 350 seamen and marines to her.

Two special craft, Liverpool ferry steamers, Iris and Gloucester, were
selected after a long search by Captain Herbert Grant. They were selected
because of their shallow draft, with a view in the first place to their
pushing the Vindictive, which was to bear the brunt of the work, alongside
Zeebrugge Mole; to the possibility, should the Vindictive be sunk, of
their bringing away all her crew and the landing parties; and to their
ability to maneuver in shallow water or clear of mine fields or torpedoes.
The blocking ships and the Vindictive were especially prepared for their
work long before the start.

Vice-Admiral Sir Roger Keyes devoted personal attention and time to
working out the plan of operations and the preparation of the personnel
and material. Rear Admiral Cecil F. Dampier, second in command of the
Dover flotilla, and Commodore Algernon Boyle, chief of staff, gave
considerable assistance.

When, as vice-admiral of the Dover patrol, Admiral Keyes first began to
prepare for the operation, it became apparent that without an effective
system of smoke screening such an attack could hardly hope to succeed. The
system of making smoke previously employed in the Dover patrol was
unsuitable for a night operation, as this production generated a fierce
flame, and no other means of making an effective smoke screen was
available. Nevertheless Wing Commander Brock, at last devised the way.

The commander-in-chief of the Grand Fleet, Admiral Beatty, sent to Admiral
Keyes a picked body of officers and men. Support also was received from
the neighboring commands at Portsmouth and the Nore, the adjutant general,
Royal Marines, and the depot at Chatham. The rear-admiral commanding the
Harwich force sent a flotilla leader and six destroyers, besides
protecting the northern flank of the area in which operations were to be
conducted.

To afford protection at a certain point in the route and to maintain the
aids to navigation during the approach and retirement of the expedition, a
force consisting of the flotilla leaders Scott and the destroyers
Ulleswater, Teazer and Stork, and the light cruiser Attentive, flying the
pennant of Commodore Boyle, was organized. This force, as it developed,
was instrumental in patroling and directing the movements of detached
craft in both directions, and relieved Admiral Keyes of all anxiety on
that score.

At the moment of departing the forces were disposed as follows:

In the Swim--For the attack on the Zeebrugge Mole: Vindictive, Iris,
Gloucester. To block the Bruges canal: Thetis, Interprid and Iphigenia. To
block the entrance to Ostend: Sirius and Brilliant.

At Dover--Warwick, flagship of Vice-Admiral Keyes; Phoebe, North Star,
Brigadier, Trident, Mansfield, Whirlwind, Myngs, Velox, Morris, Moorsom,
Melpomene, Tempest and Tetrarch.

To damage Zeebrugge--Submarines C-1 and C-3.

A special picket boat to rescue crews of C-1 and C-3.

Minesweeper Lingfield to take off surplus steaming parties of block
ships, which had 100 miles to steam.

Eighteen coastal motorboats.

Thirty-three motor launches.

To bombard vicinity of Zeebrugge--Monitors Erebus and Terror.

To attend monitors--Termagant, Truculent, and Manly.

Outer patrol off Zeebrugge--Attentive, Scot, Ulleswater, Teazer and Stork.

At Dunkirk--Monitors for bombarding Ostend: Marshal Soult, Lord Clive,
Prince Eugene, General Sraufurd, M-24 and M-26.

For operating off Ostend--Swift, Faulknor, Matchless, Mastiff and Afridi.

The British destroyers Mentor, Lightfoot, Zubian and French torpedo boats
Lestin, Capitaine Mehl, Francis Garnier, Roux and Boucier to accompany the
monitors.

There were in addition to these, three American destroyers--the Taylor,
the Alert and the Cyprus.

Eighteen British motor launches for smoke screening duty inshore and
rescue work, and six for attending big monitors.

Four French motor launches attending M-24 and M-26 and five coastal motor
boats.

Navigational aids having been established on the routes, the forces from
the Swim and Dover were directed to join Admiral Keyes off the Goodwin
Sands and to proceed in company to a rendezvous, and thereafter as
requisite to their respective stations.

Those from Dunkirk were given their orders by the commodore.

An operation time table was issued to govern the movements of all the
forces. Wireless signals were prohibited, visual signals of every sort
were reduced to a minimum and maneuvering prearranged as far as foresight
could provide.

With few and slight delays the program for the passage was carried out as
laid down, the special aids to navigation being found of great assistance.

The Harwich force, under Rear-Admiral Tyrwhitt, was posted to cover the
operations and prevent interference from the north.

Jack and Frank, having reported to Admiral Keyes upon leaving Lord
Hastings, had received necessary instructions as to their part in the
raid. They had passed the word to the other officers of the Brigadier, who
in turn had informed members of the crew what was about to happen.

There was wild cheering among the British tars on the Brigadier when they
learned they were to have a hand in one of the greatest and most dangerous
enterprises attempted in the whole war. Needless to say, Jack and Frank
also were immensely pleased.

"Tell you what, Jack," said Frank, after they had returned aboard the
Brigadier, "it seems to me as though your work had come to the ears of the
Admiralty with a vengeance."

"Oh, I guess that isn't it," Jack laughed. "They just happened to need
another ship and picked on me. That's all."

"Perhaps," Frank admitted. "But just the same it seems that we are always
in the midst of things. I wouldn't call it all luck, if I were you."

"Well, it's not good judgment, that much is certain," said Jack. "For good
judgment would tell me to keep in a safe place as long as possible."

"If you want to know what I think about it," said Frank, "this raid is
going to be one of the greatest blows struck at the enemy."

"It certainly will do the enemy a lot of harm if it's successful," Jack
confessed.

"It'll be successful all right. I can feel that."

"A hunch, eh?" laughed Jack.

"Call it what you like. Nevertheless, I am absolutely certain Admiral
Keyes will not fail. And what are the Germans going to do for submarine
bases if Ostend and Zeebrugge are bottled up?"

"Maybe we'll catch most of them in there," said Jack hopefully.

"They won't be able to get out again if we do," declared Frank.

"Right," Jack agreed, "and the ones that are outside won't be able to get
back in again."

"So you see," Frank continued, "we have them coming and going, as we say
in America."

"I see," said Jack.

"And what time are we to start?" asked Frank. "You must remember you were
in private conference with Admiral Keyes. You're a captain now, and the
big fellows talk to you. I'm still only a lieutenant."

"The passage will most likely be made by daylight," said Jack. "That has
been decided in order that we may do our work there under the cover of
darkness so far as possible. Of course, this may be changed, but that's
the way the plan lies now."

"Strikes me we are taking a pretty big force along, from what you say."

"Necessary, I guess," said Jack. "It seems that the admiral has overlooked
nothing that will go toward making the attack a success."

"Well, we can't start any too soon to suit me," declared Frank. "When do
you expect to get orders to move?"

"I'm not certain, but I wouldn't be surprised to receive them early in the
morning."

As it developed Jack was a good prophet.

Bright and early next morning, a small boat approached the Brigadier. A
few moments later an officer came aboard and presented Jack with a
document. Then he departed.

Jack read the paper, then leaped to the bridge.

"To your post, Mr. Chadwick," he called to Frank, who had been standing
near by. "Pipe all men to quarters and signal for half speed ahead."

The passage was about to begin.



CHAPTER VIII

THE ATTACK BEGINS


The main force was divided into three columns. The center column was led
by the Vindictive, with the Brigadier second and the Iris in tow, followed
by the five blocking ships and the paddle mine-sweeper Lingfield,
escorting five motor launches for taking off the surplus steaming parties
of the blocking ships. The starboard column was led by the Warwick, flying
the flag of Admiral Keyes, followed by the Phoebe and North Star, which
three ships were to cover the Vindictive from torpedo attack while the
storming operations were in progress.

The submarines were towed by the Trident and Mansfield. The Tempest
escorted the two Ostend block ships.

The port column was led by the Whirlwind, followed by Myngs and Moorsom,
which ships were to patrol to the northward of Zeebrugge; and the
Tetrarch, also to escort the Ostend block ships. Every craft was towing
one or more coastal motor boats, and between the columns were motor
launches.

The greater part of the passage, as Jack had explained, had to be carried
out in broad daylight, with the consequent likelihood of discovery by
enemy aircraft or submarines. This risk was largely countered by the
escort of all the scouting escort under Admiral Keyes' command.

On arrival at a certain position, it being then apparent that the
conditions were favorable and that there was every prospect of carrying
through the enterprise on schedule, a short prearranged wireless signal
was made to the detached forces that the program would be adhered to.

On arrival at a position a mile and a half short of where Commodore
Boyle's force was stationed, the whole force stopped for fifteen minutes
to enable the surplus steaming parties of the block ships to be
disembarked and the coastal motor boats slipped. These and the motor
launches then proceeded in execution of previous orders. On resuming the
course, the Warwick and Whirlwind, followed by the destroyers, drew ahead
on either bow to clear the passage of enemy outpost vessels.

When the Vindictive arrived at a position where it was necessary to alter
her course for the Mole, the Warwick, Phoebe and North Star swung to
starboard and cruised in the vicinity of the Mole until after the final
withdrawal of all the attacking forces. During the movement and through
the subsequent operations, the Warwick was maneuvered to place smoke
screens wherever they seemed to be most required, and when the wind
shifted from northeast to southwest, her services in this respect were
particularly valuable.

The monitors Erebus and Terror, with the destroyers Termagant, Truculent
and Manly, were stationed at a position suitable for the long range
bombardment of Zeebrugge in co-operation with the attack.

Similarly, the monitors Marshal Soult, General Sraufurd, Prince Eugene and
Lord Clive, and the small monitors M-21, M-24 and M-26 were stationed in
suitable positions to bombard specified batteries. These craft were
attended by the British destroyers Mentor, Lightfoot and Zubian, and the
French Capitaine Mehl, Francis Garnier, Roux and Bouclier. The bombardment
that ensued was undoubtedly useful in keeping down the fire of the shore
batteries.

The attack on the Mole was primarily intended to distract the enemy's
attention from the ships engaged in blocking the Bruges canal. Its
immediate objectives were, first, the capture of the four 1-inch batteries
at the sea end of the Mole, which were a serious menace to the passage of
the block ships, and, second, the doing of as much damage to the material
on the Mole as time would permit, for it was not the intention of Admiral
Keyes to remain on the Mole after the primary object of the expedition
had been accomplished.

The attack was to consist of two parts: The landing of storming and
demolition parties and the destruction of the iron viaduct between the
shore and the stone Mole.

The units detailed for the attack were:

H.M.S. Vindictive, Captain Alfred F.B. Carpenter; the Brigadier, Captain
Jack Templeton; special steamers Iris, Commander Valentine Gibbs;
Gloucester, Lieutenant H.G. Campbell, the latter detailed to push the
Vindictive alongside the Mole and keep her there as long as might be
necessary.

Submarines C-3 and C-1, commanded by Lieutenants Richard Sanford and
Aubrey Newbold, respectively, attended by picket boat under Lieutenant
Commander Francis H. Sanford.

Besides these, a flotilla of twenty-four motor launches and eight coastal
motorboats were told off for rescue work and to make smoke screens or lay
smoke floats, and nine more coastal motorboats to attack the Mole and
enemy vessels inside it.

At 11.40 p.m. on April 22, 1918, the coastal motorboats detailed to lay
the first smoke screen ran in to very close range and proceeded to lay
smoke floats and by other methods make the necessary "fog." These craft
immediately were under fire, and only their small size and great speed
saved them from destruction.

At this moment the Blankenberghe light buoy was abeam of the Vindictive
and the enemy had presumably seen or heard the approaching forces. Star
shells lighted the heavens. But still no enemy patrol craft were sighted.
At this time the wind had been from the northeast, and therefore favorable
to the success of the smoke screens. It now died away and began to blow
from a southerly direction.

Many of the smoke floats laid just off the Mole extension were sunk by the
fire of the enemy, which now began to grow in volume. This, in conjunction
with the wind, lessened the effectiveness of the smoke screen.

At 11.56 the Vindictive, the Brigadier close behind, having just passed
through a smoke screen, sighted the Mole in the semi-darkness about three
hundred yards off on the port bow. Speed was increased to full and the
course of both vessels altered so that, allowing for cross tide, the
Vindictive would make good a closing course of forty-five degrees to the
Mole. The Vindictive purposely withheld her fire to avoid being
discovered, but almost at the moment of her emerging from the smoke the
enemy opened fire.

So promptly, under the orders of the commander, was this replied to by the
port 6-inch battery, the upper deck pompoms and the gun in the foretop
that the firing on both sides appeared to be almost simultaneous.

The Brigadier, under Jack's command, opened fire at almost the same
moment. Heavy shells flew screaming into the enemy lines. German
projectiles began to kick up the water close to the Vindictive and the
Brigadier. But in the first few volleys, none of the enemy shells found
their marks. Jack was conning the ship from the port forward, the
flame-thrower hut. Frank, with directions as to handling of the ship
should Jack be disabled, was in the conning tower, from which the
Brigadier was being steered.

At one minute after midnight on April 23, the program time for attack
being midnight, the Vindictive was put alongside the Mole and the
starboard anchor was let go.

At this time the noise of cannonading was terrific. During the previous
few minutes, the ship had been hit by a large number of shells, which had
resulted in heavy casualties.

As there was some doubt as to the starboard anchor having gone clear, the
port anchor was dropped close to the foot of the Mole and the cable
bowsed-to, with less than a shackle out. A three-knot tide was running
past the Mole, and the scene alongside, created by the slight swell,
caused the ship to roll. There was an interval of three or four minutes
before the Brigadier or the Gloucester could arrive and commence to push
the Vindictive bodily alongside.

During the interval the Vindictive could not be got close enough for the
special Mole anchors to hook and it was a very trying period. Many of the
brows had been broken by shell fire and the heavy roll had broken the
foremost Mole anchor as it was being placed. The two foremost brows,
however, reached the wall and enabled storming parties, led by
Lieutenant-Commander Bryan F. Adams, to land and run out alongside them,
closely followed by the Royal marines.

It was at this juncture that a slight change was made in the original
program. It developed, as the first storming party moved out, that
Commander Adams' men were not in sufficient strength for the work ahead.
Captain Carpenter of the Vindictive called for support from the Brigadier.
Jack acted promptly.

"Lieutenant Chadwick!" he called.

Frank stepped forward and saluted.

"You will take one hundred men and join the storming party," said Jack.

At this moment the Brigadier was rubbing close to the Vindictive. This was
fortunate at the moment, for there was then no other means by which a
party from the Brigadier could reach the Mole.

Hurriedly Frank gathered the men, and then leaped from his own vessel to
the deck of the Vindictive. A moment later they joined Commander Adams and
his party.

Owing to the rolling of the ship, a most disconcerting motion was
imparted to the brows, the outer ends of which were "sawing" considerably
on the Mole parapet. Officers and men were equipped with Lewis guns,
bombs, ammunition, etc., and were under heavy machine-gun fire at close
range; add to this a drop of thirty feet between the ship and the Mole,
and some idea of the conditions which had to be faced may be realized.

Yet the storming of the Mole was carried out without the slightest delay
and without any apparent consideration of self preservation. Some of the
first men on the Mole dropped in their tracks under the German fire, but
the others pushed on, with the object of hauling one of the large Mole
anchors across the parapet.

The Brigadier arrived alongside the Mole three minutes after Frank and his
men had leaped to the deck of the other ship, followed by the little Iris.
Both suffered less in their approach, the Vindictive occupying all the
enemy's attention. The Gloucester also came up now to push the Vindictive
bodily on to the Mole to enable her to be secured, after doing which the
Gloucester landed her parties over that ship. Her men disembarked from her
bows on to the Vindictive, as it was found essential to continue to push
the Vindictive on to the Mole throughout the entire action.

This duty was magnificently carried out. Without the assistance of the
Gloucester very few of the storming parties from the Vindictive could
have landed, or could have re-embarked.

The landing from the Iris was made under even more trying circumstances.
She rolled heavily in the sea, which rendered the use of the scaling
ladders very difficult. But at this time, according to calculations,
enough men had been landed to complete the work.

The fighting on the Mole became hand-to-hand.



CHAPTER IX

THE BATTLE CONTINUES


A shell suddenly exploded among the Vindictive's foremost 7.5-inch
howitzer's marine crew. Many were killed or wounded. A naval crew from a
6-inch gun took their places and were almost annihilated.

At this time the Vindictive was being hit every few seconds, chiefly in
the upper works, from which the splinters caused many casualties. It was
difficult for the British to locate the guns which were doing the most
damage, but Jack, from the Brigadier, with men posted in the fortop of the
vessel, kept up a continuous fire with pompoms and Lewis machine-guns,
changing rapidly from one target to another in an attempt to destroy the
guns that were raking the Vindictive fore and aft.

Two heavy shells struck the foretop of the Brigadier almost
simultaneously. Half a dozen men were killed. A score of others were
wounded.

To return for a moment to Frank and his men.

The attack on the Mole had been designed to be carried out by a storming
force to prepare the way for, and afterward to cover and protect, the
operations of a second force, which was to carry out the actual work of
destruction. The storming force, which had embarked in the Vindictive, was
now reinforced by a hundred British tars from the Brigadier, headed by
Frank, and additional sailors from the Iris and Gloucester.

For the first time it was now ascertained that the Vindictive, in
anchoring off the Mole, had over-run her station and was berthed some four
hundred yards farther to the westward than had been intended.

It had been realized beforehand that the Vindictive might not exactly
reach the exact position mapped out, but the fact that the landing was
carried out in an unexpected place, combined with the heavy losses already
sustained by the vessel, seriously disorganized the attacking force. The
intention had been to land the storming parties right on top of the 4
1-inch guns in position on the seaward end of the Mole, the silencing of
which was of the first importance, as they menaced the approach of the
block ships.

The leading block ship had been timed to pass the lighthouse twenty-five
minutes after the Vindictive came alongside. This period of time proved
insufficient to organize and carry through an attack against the enemy on
the seaward end of the Mole, the enemy, it developed, being able to bring
heavy machine-gun fire to bear on the attacking forces. As a result the
block ships, when they approached, came under an unexpected fire from the
light guns on the Mole extension, though the 4.1-inch batteries on the
Mole had remained silent.

Commander Adams, followed by Frank and his men, were the first to land. At
that moment no enemy was seen on the Mole. They found themselves on a
pathway on the Mole parapet about eight feet wide, with a wall four feet
high on the seaward side, and an iron railing on the Mole side. From this
pathway, there was a drop of fifteen feet on the Mole proper.

Followed by his men and Frank and the latter's command, Commander Adams
went alongside the parapet to the left, where he found a lookout station
or control, with a range finder behind and above it.

"Blow it up!" he shouted to Frank, who was close to him at that moment.

Frank gave a command to one of his men. A moment later there was an
explosion and the station disappeared as though by magic.

Near the lookout station aft iron ladder led down to the Mole and three of
Frank's men descended it. Frank went with them. Below they encountered
half a dozen of the enemy.

It was no time to hesitate and Frank knew it.

"Bombs, men," he said simply.

Three hands drew back, then were brought forward. Three hand grenades
dropped among the foes. There were three short blasts, and when the smoke
cleared away, there were no Germans to be seen at that point. Then Frank
and his men rejoined the others.

The situation now was that Commander Adams, Frank, their few men and a few
Lewis guns, were beyond the lookout station protected from machine-gun
fire from the direction of the Mole head, but exposed to fire from their
own destroyers, alongside the Mole.

Commander Adams called Frank to him.

"We're in a ticklish position here, lieutenant," he said. "We're in danger
of being shot down by our own guns. At the same time, if we move from
behind this station, we are not in sufficient strength to drive the enemy
away."

"Why not risk our own, fire, sir," said Frank, "and ask for
reinforcements."

"That's a request that will have to be made in person," said Commander
Adams, "and it will be rather risky."

"I'll be glad to try it sir," said Frank.

Commander Adams shrugged.

"It'd about as broad as it is long," he said. "If you're shot on the way I
guess it will be no worse than dying here. Go ahead, if you wish."

Now to gain the needed reinforcements, Frank knew that it would be
necessary to return to the side of the Vindictive. To reach that vessel it
would be necessary to pass through places exposed to enemy machine-gun
fire. However, at the moment, the German guns covering those particular
spots were silent, so Frank decided to take the risk.

He set out at a run. At first his appearance was apparently unnoticed, but
soon a rain of bullets poured after him. Two or three times the lad threw
himself to the ground just in time. He was on his feet again a moment
later, however, and at last reached his destination safely.

As the lad reached the side of the Vindictive he saw a second storming
party coming over the side, equipped with Lewis machine-guns and rifles
and hand bombs. Frank approached the commander of the party,
Lieutenant-Commander Hastings, and outlined the plight of those he had
left behind.

"Come with us," said Commander Hastings, "we'll soon clear those fellows
out back there."

Machine-guns were wheeled into position and the British raked the German
line wherever heads appeared. In this method they relieved the
hard-pressed party under Commander Adams.

The first objective of the storming party ashore was a fortified zone
situated about a hundred and fifty yards from the seaward end of the Mole
proper. Its capture was of the first importance, as an enemy holding it
could bring a heavy fire to bear on the parties still to land from the
Vindictive.

Commander Adams ordered an advance.

Frank was placed in command of the left wing of the little army, Commander
Hastings of the right wing. Commander Adams led the center himself. The
British spread out.

"Charge!" cried Commander Adams.

"Charge!" repeated Frank and Commander Hastings a moment later.

The British seamen went forward on the double, bayonets fixed.

From out of their fortified positions the Germans sprang forth to meet
them, machine-guns from behind covering their advance. At the same moment
Frank ordered his own machine-guns wheeled into position, and swept the
advancing enemy with a hail of bullets.

But neither side paid much attention to this rain of lead, and directly
the fighting became too close for either side to utilize its machine-guns.
Steel clashed on steel. Revolvers in the hands of the officers cracked.
Men fell to the right and to the left.

For a moment it appeared that the attacking force must be hurled back by
the very weight of the numbers against them. But they rallied after one
brief moment in which it seemed that they must yield, and hurled
themselves forward again. This time there was no stopping them.

Directly the thin German line wavered. Then it broke, and the enemy dashed
for the protection of their fortified position at top speed. But the
British sailors kept close on their heels, and they reached the coveted
spot at almost the same time. There the fighting was resumed, but after a
short resistance the enemy again retreated, leaving the position in the
hands of the British.

Immediately Commander Adams ordered the machine-guns which had been
abandoned by the foe in his flight turned on them and the Germans were
mowed down in great numbers.

Having gained his objective, Commander Adams ordered his men to proceed
down the Mole and hold a position there so as to cover the operations of
the party of destruction, which was now hard at work. To expel these
British, German troops were now advancing from the landward end of the
Mole.

The destruction of the viaduct by the submarine C-3 had been designed to
aid the efforts of the landing party by preventing reinforcements reaching
the Mole from the shore. Owing to the Vindictive coming alongside to
landward of this zone, Commander Adams' men were now faced with a double
duty of preventing an enemy attack from the shore and of themselves
attacking a second fortified zone ahead of them. The casualties already
sustained were so great that the Iris could not remain alongside the
Vindictive to land her company of Royal Marines. This left insufficient
men in the early stages of the landing to carry out both operations.

The situation was a difficult one, for to attack the fortified zone first
might enable the enemy to advance up the Mole and seize positions abreast
of the Vindictive, with the most serious consequences to the whole landing
force, whereas, by not attacking the fortified positions, the guns at the
Mole head could not be prevented from firing at the block ships.

Therefore, Commander Adams instructed Frank to secure the landward side,
at the same time instructing Commander Hastings to attack the fortified
zone. Commander Adams knew that he was taking a long chance by thus
dividing his forces, but in no other manner, it seemed to him, could the
success of the expedition be assured.

Frank led his men forward promptly. Apparently the Germans had not
realized the full strength of the British attack on the Mole, for no
effort had been made to get reinforcements to the men there from shore.
Consequently, Frank's work was not so hard as that set for Commander
Hastings.

The few Germans who were guarding the landward side of the Mole fired one
volley at Frank's party, then turned and took to their heels.

"By George! Pretty soft!" said Frank.

He led his men to the positions recently vacated by the enemy, and then
sat down to await further instructions from Commander Adams.

Commander Hastings, on the other hand, had hard work in taking the
fortified positions from the foe. Nevertheless he succeeded, due to the
heroic efforts of his men. Commander Adams surveyed the field carefully.

"Well," he told himself, "I guess we've done the best we can. We'll stick
here till we get the signal to withdraw."



CHAPTER X

THE RAID SUCCESSFUL


The platoon which was commanded by Commander Adams was officially
designated as No. 1; that commanded by Frank as No. 2 and that commanded
by Commander Hastings as No. 3.

Units were now landing rapidly and No. 7 platoon succeeded in placing
heavy scaling ladders in positions, and then formed up to support Nos. 9
and 10 platoons. Numbers 11 and 12 platoons were dispatched along the
parapet, and reached the lookout station, where they were checked.
Commander Adams and his men, who had again united with the parties
commanded by Frank and Commander Hastings, were some forty to fifty yards
ahead of them, and both parties could make no headway along the exposed
parapet. Meanwhile No. 5 platoon, which had been recalled from its
advanced position, with Nos. 7 and 8 platoons were forming up on the Mole
for an assault on the fortified zone and the 4.1-inch battery at the Mole
head. This attack was launched, but before it could be developed the
general recall was sounded.

There was a cheer from the men. They knew by the sounding of the recall at
this moment meant that the expedition had been a success. Otherwise the
fighting on the Mole would have continued.

The units fell back in good order, taking their wounded with them. The
passing of the men from the Mole on to the parapet by means of the scaling
ladders was rendered hazardous by the enemy opening fire at that portion
of the Mole. Several ladders were destroyed.

The men were sent across in small batches from the comparative shelter
afforded by long distance fire from the battleships. Such rushes were made
as far as possible in the intervals between the bursts of German fire.

The landing parties re-embarked in the manner which they had left their
ships--climbing to the deck of the Vindictive and then proceeding to their
deck of the Vindictive and then proceeding to their various ships by small
boats.

This undertaking was hazardous, too, for enemy shells were falling all
about. Nevertheless, the most of the men reached their ship in safety, and
from the flagship came the signal to retreat.

Upon returning to the Brigadier, Frank surveyed his own men. There had
been few casualties among them. Less than a dozen men had been killed and
left behind. Of wounded Frank counted fifteen. Immediately he ascended to
the bridge to report to Jack.

Jack greeted his chum with a smile. Although the Brigadier had been in the
midst of the battle, and many German shells had found their marks aboard
her, Jack was as cool and unruffled as before the battle started.

"What luck, Frank?" he asked.

"Good," Frank replied. "We held the Mole until ordered back. And you?"

"The best of luck. I've stuck tight to the Vindictive through the heat of
the battle, and I believe our guns have done some damage."

"And the block ships?" asked Frank.

"They have been sunk at the mouths of both harbors, I am informed. The
raid has been a complete success."

At that moment came the recall signal from the flagship.

"See," said Jack, "there's proof of it. If we had not been successful, the
recall would not have been sounded yet. There is still plenty of time if
we needed it, and our damage has not been great enough to leave the job
unfinished."

Jack was right. The harbors of Ostend and Zeebrugge had been effectually
sealed. No longer would enemy U-Boats make nightly raids into the North
Sea, only to scurry back to their bases when it grew light. As a submarine
base, Zeebrugge was extinct. So, for that matter, was Ostend.

That the success of the British expedition had been a severe blow to the
Germans goes without saying. No other single feat since the beginning of
the war had done so much to dishearten them; and there is little doubt
that the sealing of their submarine bases did much toward hastening the
end of the war.

British losses in the raid had been severe. The Vindictive, which had led
the attack, had literally been shot to pieces and it was a miracle how she
remained afloat. The Brigadier, also, had suffered severely, but her
condition was not so bad that a few months in drydock would not be
sufficient to make her whole again.

A dozen or more of the little motorboats and coastal patrol vessels had
been sunk, and the loss of life had been heavy. Several others of the
destroyers had been badly damaged, but there was not one of the larger
vessels sunk or crippled so badly that she could not return to her home
port.

It still lacked an hour of daylight when the allied fleet drew off, its
work accomplished; and behind in the ports now sealed, the anger of the
Germans flared forth anew.

The damaged British ships were immediately put into drydock in British
ports, and Jack and Frank at once returned to Dover to report to Lord
Hastings. The latter greeted the lads with outstretched hands.

"It was a gallant exploit," he exclaimed, "and I am sure both you boys had
important roles to play."

"I guess we did, sir," Frank admitted. "At the same time, I'm glad to be
safely back here again."

"I suppose, sir," said Jack, "now that the enemy submarines caught outside
are without bases, there is little fear of their attempting the
trans-Atlantic trip?"

"On the contrary," said Lord Hastings, "they are more likely than ever to
do so."

"But they must have a base, sir," protested Frank.

"Not necessarily," smiled Lord Hastings.

"Then how will they replenish their supplies of food and fuel?"

"Well," said Lord Hastings, "if they can snare a victim every three or
four days it should be enough. From a merchant ship they can get all the
food and fuel they need before sinking her."

"That's so, by George!" Frank exclaimed.

"It stands to reason," said Lord Hastings, "that those submarines which
were not bottled up in the harbors have been warned not to return. Now,
it wouldn't surprise me a bit if they headed directly for America."

Jack grew thoughtful.

"It's too bad," he said at last, "that the Brigadier was so crippled that
we cannot resume our interrupted voyage."

Lord Hastings smiled.

"I understand she is in pretty bad shape," he said. "So you don't think
you can go now, eh?"

"I'm afraid not, sir. A fellow can't cross the ocean except in a ship."

"True enough. But why are you in Dover now?"

"Why, sir?" Jack exclaimed. "Because we were instructed to report to you."

"Exactly," said Lord Hastings; "and in your pocket, I presume, you have
the same packet of papers the admiralty wishes turned over to Secretary
Daniels of the American navy department?"

Jack clapped a hand to his coat pocket.

"By George! I had forgotten all about them," he said.

"So I imagined. But it is my guess that the navy department still wishes
those papers delivered."

"You're right, sir. Here, I'll turn them over to you, sir."

Lord Hastings waved the packet away.

"Keep them," he said quietly.

"But--" Jack began.

"Great Scott," Frank put in at this juncture, "you must be getting denser
every day, Jack."

Jack wheeled on his chum.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"Why, can't you see that you are still expected to deliver the papers?"

Jack sank suddenly into a chair.

"Now why didn't I think of that?" he muttered.

"And I suppose, sir," said Frank to Lord Hastings, "that another ship is
to be put at Jack's disposal?"

Lord Hastings nodded.

"Exactly," he replied.

Jack was on his feet again immediately.

"What ship, sir?" he asked eagerly.

"The Essex, a sister ship of the Brigadier."

"By George! That's fine, isn't it?" exclaimed Jack.

"And do I go along, sir?" Frank wanted to know.

Again Lord Hastings nodded.

"You do," he replied, "together with the officers and crew of the
Brigadier who survived the recent engagement. Your compliment will be
filled from other vessels damaged in the raid."

"And where is the Essex now, sir?" asked Jack.

"Here," replied Lord Hastings, "in Dover. You are to go aboard this
evening."

"I can't get there too quickly to suit me," declared Jack.

"Same here," Frank agreed.

"Now, remember," enjoined Lord Hastings, "that I still am desirous of your
delivering to Secretary Daniels the document I gave you."

"Is the Admiralty still unconvinced of the likelihood of submarines
reaching American waters, sir?" asked Frank.

"It is, but you know my opinion has not changed."

"I begin to agree with you, sir," said Jack. "At first I'll admit I was
skeptical, but the way you explain the matter it sounds reasonable."

"Well," said Frank, "I hope we get there in time to spoil their plans."

"Amen to that, my boy," said Lord Hastings. "But, I'll detain you no
longer. You both probably are anxious to get a look at your new vessel."

"But we have no sailing orders, sir," said Jack.

"You will have before morning," was Lord Hastings reply. "I don't like to
hurry you off, but the truth is I'm busy and will have to get down to
work."

"Sorry we have detained you so long," said Jack. "Goodbye, sir."

They shook hands all around, and the lads wended their way to the harbor,
where they soon were put on board their new ship.

"And now," said Frank, "while we had a good time and all that, I hope
this voyage won't be interrupted."

"My sentiments exactly," Jack agreed. "I want to have another look at
America."



CHAPTER XI

THE WARNING GIVEN


"Land Ho!"

The cry came from the forward lookout, posted aloft.

Jack clapped his binoculars to his eyes and gazed earnestly ahead.

"Where do you make our position, sir?" asked Lieutenant Hetherton.

"Off the Virginia Capes," was Jack's reply. "We should pick up Fort Monroe
before noon."

Jack was a good prophet. It still lacked half an hour of midday when the
outlines of the historic fortress at Old Point became distinguishable in
the distance.

The Essex slipped quietly through the smooth waters of Hampton Roads and
dropped anchor some distance off shore. At Jack's command the launch was
made ready, and leaving Lieutenant Hetherton in command, Jack motioned
Frank to follow him into the launch.

A moment later they were gliding shoreward through the water.

"We'll have to pay our respects to the commandant," said Jack. "It would
be a breach of etiquette if we didn't. Also, I want to ascertain the best
place to anchor for the next week or so."

"Surely you're not figuring on staying here," protested Frank.

"Not at all, but you know these papers I have been entrusted with must be
delivered, and I can't deliver them here. I'll have to go to Washington."

"Right," Frank agreed. "I had forgotten. And are you going to take me
along?"

Jack smiled.

"Well, I might, if you are real good," he said.

"I'll be good," Frank promised.

"Hello," said Jack at this point, "if I'm not mistaken, here comes a guard
of honor to escort us to the commandant."

Toward the point where the launch now moved, half a dozen American
officers approached. They extended helping hands as Jack and Frank
scrambled ashore. Jack addressed the senior officer, a major.

"I am Captain Templeton of H.M.S. Essex," he said. "Will you please escort
me into the presence of the commandant?"

"With pleasure, sir," replied the major. "Come with me."

He led the way, Frank and the other American officers following. Jack was
received immediately by the commandant. Their conference was brief, and
soon Jack returned to the place where he had left Frank.

"Well, what did he say?" demanded Frank, as they made their way back
toward the launch.

"Said it would be well to continue to Newport News," said Jack. "Docking
facilities are better there right now. We can tie up alongside one of the
piers there, or anchor off shore, as we choose. Said he would send word of
our coming."

"Good," said Frank. "Then I suppose we shall continue without delay?"

"Yes."

"But if memory serves," said Frank, "Newport News is on the James River,
and not Hampton Roads."

"Correct," replied Jack.

"Well, I didn't know the river was navigable by a vessel of our draught."

"It is, nevertheless," replied Jack.

They stepped into the launch, and were soon back aboard the Essex. Jack
immediately gave the necessary commands and the vessel moved forward.

Two hours later the Essex anchored in the James River half a mile off
shore. Frank took in the scene about him, and expressed his wonder.

Shipping of all the allied and many of the neutral nations was to be seen
on every hand. Almost over night, it seemed, Newport News had grown from
a port of little importance to one of the greatest shipping centers in the
United States. There, half a mile away, Frank saw one of the great German
merchantmen, which had been interned soon after the outbreak of the war,
but which was later to be converted into a United States auxiliary
cruiser.

"Well," said Jack, "there is no use delaying here. The commandant at the
fort informed me that about the quickest way to get to Washington now is
to take a boat up the Potomac."

"And where do we get the boat?" asked Frank.

"Norfolk. But what's the matter with you, Frank? Where's your geography?
Seems to me that if I were born and lived most of my life in the United
States I would know something about it."

"I do know something about it," declared Frank; "but how do you expect me
to know all these details? This is the first time I've ever been in
Newport News, and I've never been to Norfolk. How do we get there from
here?"

"Either in the Essex's launch, or by ferry."

"Which way do you choose?"

"Ferry, I guess. It will save trouble all around."

"Any way suits me," said Frank.

"You talk like you were dead certain of going along," remarked Jack with a
grin.

"Of course I do. I know you could not be hard-hearted enough to leave me
behind."

"Nevertheless," Jack declared, "I'm not sure I shouldn't leave you in
command here."

"By George! That's no way to talk," declared Frank. "Hetherton can stick
on the job here."

"Well, I guess it will be all right," said Jack. "We may as well pack what
belongings we shall need. We shouldn't be gone more than a day or two."

"I hope so, and I feel sure we shall. There has been no sign yet of enemy
activities in this water."

"And there won't be any sign in advance. When the Germans strike it will
be suddenly."

The lads threw what belongings they believed they would need into their
handbags and were rowed ashore. They proceeded at once to the pier of the
Chesapeake and Ohio ferry and soon were moving along toward Norfolk.

It was a short ride to Norfolk. Arrived in the city an hour later, they
inquired the way to the offices of the Washington and Norfolk Steamboat
company, where they were fortunate enough to be able to secure a stateroom
that night.

It was still early, so the lads spent the afternoon looking about the
city, called by the natives the "New York of the South." They went aboard
the steamer Northland at 5.30 o'clock, and at 6 the boat left its pier.
Jack and Frank remained on deck until after the Northland had put in at
Old Point and taken on additional passengers. Then they went below to
dinner.

"You know this isn't a bad boat," Frank declared after a walk around,
following their dinner.

"Indeed it isn't," Jack agreed. "It has all the comforts of home. It's
rather small, but outside of that I can't see anything wrong with it."

"I guess it's big enough for us to-night," grinned Frank.

There were a score or more of American army and navy officers aboard and
with some of these the lads struck up an acquaintance. In fact, so
interested were some of the Americans in the lads' experiences that they
sat up late regaling their newly found friends with accounts of warfare in
European waters.

Nevertheless, Jack and Frank were up early the following morning and had a
substantial breakfast before the boat docked at the foot of Seventh street
in the nation's capital. There they took a taxi and were driven to the
Raleigh hotel.

"Now," said Jack, "the first thing to do is to get in touch with the
British ambassador and have him arrange an audience with the secretary of
the navy at the earliest possible moment."

Jack got the embassy on the telephone, told who he was and announced that
he would be on hand to see the ambassador within the hour. Then the lads
were driven to the embassy. Here Jack presented his credentials and
expressed his desire to see the secretary of the navy at once.

"You return to your hotel," said the ambassador. "I'll arrange the
audience and call for you in my automobile."

The lads followed these instructions.

At 2 o'clock in the afternoon the ambassador called for them. They were
driven at once to the War and Navy department building on Pennsylvania
avenue and were ushered almost immediately to the offices of Secretary
Daniels. After a wait of perhaps five minutes, Mr. Daniels' private
secretary announced.

"Mr. Daniels will see you now."

The three passed into the secretary's private office, where the British
ambassador introduced the lads. Secretary Daniels expressed his pleasure
at the meeting, then said:

"And now what can I do for you, gentlemen?"

For answer Jack passed over the papers entrusted him by the Admiralty.
Secretary Daniels scanned them briefly.

"These matters shall be attended to, gentlemen," he said. "Now, is there
anything else?"

"There is, sir," said Jack, "and a matter probably of much greater
importance."

He drew from his pocket the documents given him by Lord Hastings, and
these he also passed to Secretary Daniels. The latter read them
carefully, his face drawn into a scowl.

"Hm-m-m," he said at last. "Hm-m-m."

He grew silent, apparently lost in thought. At last he spoke.

"I have had some such fears myself," he said at last, "but it seems they
are not shared by other officials of the department. I dislike to take
matters altogether into my hands, and yet I suppose I can do it. First,
however, I shall make an effort to convince my associates through these
documents."

"I am instructed to say, sir," said Jack, "that it would be well if you
gave the matter prompt attention."

"Oh," said Secretary Daniels, "I anticipate no immediate trouble; and
still this is a matter that should not be overlooked. I thank you,
gentlemen, for bringing the matter to my attention."

He rose from his chair, signifying that the interview was ended.

Jack and Frank left the Navy department, and the ambassador dropped them
at their hotel.

"I don't know what to think of the Secretary of the Navy," said Jack when
they were alone. "He didn't seem greatly interested."

"He is the man, you know," said Frank, "who wanted to change the technical
terms of port and starboard to right and left."

"That's so," said Jack, "but I'll venture to say he can rise to an
emergency."

"There is no doubt about that," Frank agreed, and added quietly:
"Americans always have."



CHAPTER XII

THE U-BOATS APPEAR


Three weeks passed and Jack and Frank were still in Washington.
Immediately after delivering his messages to Secretary Daniels, Jack got
in touch with the British Admiralty wireless and asked for instructions.
When the reply came it was signed Lord Hastings and said merely:

"Stay where you are pending further orders."

And after three weeks no word had come.

Several times during the three weeks Jack and Frank, or one of the lads at
a time, had returned to Newport News to look to the needs of the Essex,
which still lay quietly in the James river. Steam was kept up in the
destroyer every moment of the day, and she was ready to put to sea on an
instant's notice.

"Chances are when we need her it will be in a hurry," said Jack.

Therefore nothing was overlooked that would enable the destroyer to go
into action on a moment's notice. Provisions were added to the stores from
time to time, and the crew were put through their drills daily.

Meanwhile, from what Jack and Frank learned from the British ambassador,
no steps had been taken to prepare for a possible German attack on
shipping in American waters. True, the coast defenses had been
strengthened, but that was merely a matter of routine for a country at
war.

Off the coast, warships were on patrol. But there were comparatively few
of these, for the bulk of the American fleet had been sent abroad to
reinforce the British grand fleet patroling the North Sea.

Jack and Frank discussed these matters frequently.

"It would be a great time for the Germans to strike," said Jack one
evening, as the lads sat in their rooms at the hotel. "The American people
don't seem to realize the possibilities of the submarine."

"That's true," said Frank, "but at the same time such an attack might
prove a boomerang to the Germans."

"What do you mean?"

"Why," said Frank, "you haven't forgotten, have you, that it took a number
of air raids on England to fully arouse the British people to the fact
that the Germans must be licked?"

"That's true enough," agreed Jack. "The Germans, of course, figured that
they would frighten England and scare her out of the war."

"Exactly, and the result was altogether different from what they had
anticipated. That's why I say submarine activities off the American coast
will prove a boomerang to the foe."

"I see," commented Jack. "You mean it would arouse the American people to
the necessity of prompt action."

"Exactly."

"Well," said Jack, "it begins to look as though Lord Hastings were wrong.
We've been here three weeks now and nothing has transpired to indicate
that the Germans are meditating a submarine raid in American waters."

"You don't expect them to tip the Washington government off in advance, do
you?" asked Frank with a laugh.

"Hardly; but it would seem that if such a campaign had been planned it
would have been started before this."

"It wouldn't surprise me," said Frank, "to get a flash any day that a ship
had been submarined off the American coast."

Came a rap at the door.

"Come in," Frank called.

A bell boy entered. He held a tray in his hand and on the tray was a
cablegram.

"From Lord Hastings, I suppose," said Frank, taking the message and
passing it to Jack.

Jack broke the seal, spread out the paper. The message, in code, was this:

    "Authentic information flotilla submarines headed for America.
    Warn Navy Department at once."

Jack sprang to the telephone and got the British embassy on the wire.

"The ambassador, quick!" he said to the voice that answered his call.

There was a short pause, and then Jack recognized the ambassador's voice.

"I've just had a wireless from Lord Hastings relative to the matter which
we discussed with Secretary Daniels several weeks ago," he explained. "Can
you arrange another interview immediately?"

"I'll see," said the ambassador and rang off.

The telephone in the lads' room jangled sharply ten minutes later. Jack
sprang to the wire.

"Yes," he said in response to a query. "Ten o'clock? You'll call for us?
Very well."

He replaced the receiver and turned to Frank.

"We will see Secretary Daniels in his office at ten," he said. He looked
at his watch. "Hurry and dress. It's after nine now. The ambassador should
be here in fifteen minutes."

The lads jumped into their clothes, then went downstairs, where they
awaited the arrival of the ambassador. The latter arrived ten minutes
before ten o'clock, and the three were driven to the War and Navy
building. Secretary Daniels received them at once.

"I understand that you come on a very important matter," he said. "Pray,
what is it, gentlemen?"

For answer Jack laid before the American naval secretary the decoded
message from Lord Hastings. The secretary read it, then looked up.

"Well?" he asked.

"Why, sir," said Jack, "Lord Hastings simply wishes you to take all
precautions to prevent sinking of vessels by submarines in American
waters."

Secretary Daniels smiled.

"I don't know what we can do that has not already been done," he replied.
"The off-coast waters are mined, and American warships are patroling the
regular channels of navigation."

"All that may be true, sir," said Jack, "but these submarines are slippery
customers, as I have reason to know. It would be well to take even further
precautions."

"And what would you suggest?" asked Secretary Daniels.

"Why, sir," said Jack, "I'd suggest cancelling sailing orders of all
transports temporarily, at least until such time as I felt sure they could
go in safety. Then I'd flash a warning broadcast to all vessels within
reach of the wireless to be on the lookout for enemy submarines. I'd rush
every available submarine chaser in the Atlantic ports beyond the mine
fields and I would order a destroyer as protection for every vessel known
to be inward bound."

Secretary Daniels smiled.

"You wouldn't overlook anything, would you, Captain?"

"I certainly would not," said Jack firmly.

"Very well, then," said Secretary Daniels. "I'll set your mind at rest.
Your suggestions shall be followed out. I'll give the necessary directions
the first thing in the morning."

"In the morning, sir?" repeated Jack. "The morning may be too late."

"Oh, I guess not," Secretary Daniels smiled. "It has been three weeks or
more since your first warning and nothing has happened. I guess we can
safely depend upon being let alone a few hours after the second warning."

Jack was about to protest, thought better of it and said simply:

"Very well, sir."

A moment later the lads took their departure with the ambassador. In the
seclusion of the latter's automobile, Jack said:

"I can't see how the secretary dares let time slip by like that."

"Never mind," said the ambassador, "you'll find in a day or two that
Secretary Daniels knows what he's doing. Don't make any mistake about him.
He's a capable man."

"I have no doubt of that, sir," replied Jack. "But if he had seen three
years of war, as we have, he would never delay. Besides, he doesn't know
these German submarines as well as I do. Neither do any of the Americans."

"Oh, yes they do," declared Frank.

"They do, eh?" exclaimed Jack. "Well, I'd like to know the name of one of
them."

"His name," said Frank, "is Lieutenant Chadwick, and I think he knows just
about as much about the U-Boats as you do; and he agrees with your ideas
perfectly."

Jack smiled.

"That's right," he said. "I had forgotten you were a native of this land.
Well, here's hoping nothing happens before Secretary Daniels takes all
necessary precautions."

The British ambassador left the lads at their hotel, and they returned at
once to their rooms, where for several hours they discussed the situation.

"There is no use talking about it," said Frank at last. "Let's go to bed."

They undressed.

Just before extinguishing the light, as was his custom, Frank raised the
window. As he looked out he saw below a crowd of excited men and women
moving about the street.

"Hey, Jack!" he called. "Come here."

Jack joined him at the window.

"Now what's up, do you suppose?" asked Frank.

"Too deep for me," declared Jack, "but something surely. Let's go down and
find out."

Hurriedly they slipped back into their clothes, and went down stairs. They
stepped out of the hotel and mingled with the people on the streets, quite
a crowd for Washington at that hour of the night.

The stream of people led toward Eleventh and Pennsylvania avenue, where a
larger crowd was gathered in front of a bulletin board in the window of a
newspaper office.

"Big news of some kind," said Jack as they hurried along.

"And not good news, either," Frank declared. "There'd be some cheering if
it were."

"You're right," said Jack.

By main force they wormed their way through the crowd, until they were
close enough to read the bulletin board. Then Jack uttered an exclamation
of alarm.

"I knew it!" he cried.

For what he read was this:

"Navy Department announces sinking of two freight vessels off New Jersey
coast by German submarines."

"I knew it!" Jack said again.



CHAPTER XIII

THE SUBMARINES GROW BOLDER


The boys returned to their rooms.

"Now what?" asked Frank.

"I don't know," was Jack's reply. "I hate to sit here quietly when the
whole American navy, or what part of it is still here, is in chase of the
Germans, but what are we going to do about it?"

"Search me," replied Frank.

"Our instructions," Jack continued, "are to stay here pending further
orders."

"Maybe we'll get them soon," said Frank.

"Yes; and maybe we won't."

"Then we'll just have to sit tight."

"That's what worries me."

There was a knock at the door.

"Come in," Frank called.

A bell boy entered with a second cablegram.

Jack tore it open hastily.

"Hurray!" he cried.

"What's up?" demanded Frank.

He arose and peered over his chum's shoulder. What he read was this:

"Offer your services and the services of the Essex to the U.S. Navy
Department at once."

"Fine!" cried Frank. "Let's get busy."

It was the work of half an hour, however, to get Secretary Daniels on the
telephone. He had been aroused at the first news of the sinkings off the
coast and had been kept on the jump ever since. But he took time to talk
to Jack.

"I am authorized by the British Admiralty, sir," said Jack over the
'phone, "to offer the services of my ship to the American government."

"Accepted with thanks," snapped Secretary Daniels. "You will proceed
immediately to your vessel in Newport News, after which you will join the
American vessels on patrol duty off the coast of Virginia. I shall inform
Admiral Sellings that you will report to him for instructions."

Without awaiting a reply, Secretary Daniels hung up.

"By George!" said Jack. "He's a man of action when he gets to moving."

"What did he say?" demanded Frank.

"Hurry and pack your things," was Jack's reply. "I'll explain as we work."

It was the work of only a few minutes for the lads to gather their
belongings and dump them in their handbags. Then they hurried downstairs,
where they paid their bill and learned that they could catch a train to
Richmond within the hour.

"Going after the submarines?" asked the night clerk.

"Yes," replied Jack shortly.

"Good! I hope you get 'em. Here's your taxi."

The lads jumped into the taxi and were driven to the station, where they
caught their train with time to spare.

It lacked two hours of daylight when they arrived in Richmond. They took a
taxi across town to the Chesapeake and Ohio station, where they caught a
train for Newport News an hour later. At eight o'clock they were in
Newport News, and fifteen minutes later stepped aboard the Essex.

"Glad to see you back, sir," said Lieutenant Hetherton, who held the deck.
"I suppose you've heard----"

"Pipe all hands to quarters, Mr. Hetherton," Jack interrupted sharply,
"and clear ship for action. We sail within the hour."

Lieutenant Hetherton hurried away.

"Frank," said Jack, "go below and have a look at the engine room. Then
find the quartermaster and see about provisions and fuel."

Frank also hurried away.

Sailing preparations aboard the Essex were made hurriedly and within less
than an hour all was ready for departure. Meanwhile, crowds had collected
ashore, upon learning that the Essex was about to set out in pursuit of
the German undersea raiders.

Loud cheers split the air. Men and women waved their handkerchiefs. From a
group of soldiers on the shore came expressions of good luck. In response
to Jack's request, a pilot had been hurried aboard and now took the wheel.

"Half speed ahead," Jack ordered.

The water churned up ahead of the Essex, and she moved majestically toward
the center of the stream.

Gradually the cheering died away in the distance, and the city of Newport
News was lost to sight. In Hampton Roads again, the pilot was dropped in a
small boat and rowed shoreward.

Frank took his place behind the helmsman and Jack rang for full speed
ahead. At last the Essex was off in pursuit of the German submarines.

Meanwhile, an account of the activity of the enemy off the coats is in
order. Besides the sinking of the first two freight vessels, which had
been reported to the Navy Department by survivors who had reached shore in
small boats, other vessels had been sent to the bottom. Most of these were
freighters or small trading ships, including two sailing vessels. Some had
been sunk off the New Jersey coast, others off the coasts of Delaware and
Virginia.

In some cases the vessels attacked had attempted to flee, but they were
quickly overhauled by the submarines, which, besides firing torpedoes into
their hulls, shelled them with rapid fire guns and later attacked the
small boats in which the crews sought to make the shore.

Casualties had been heavy aboard the ships sunk by the raiders. One or two
of the enemy submarines had been fired on by armed ships, but to no avail;
and as a result of those efforts, the death lists aboard such vessels had
been increased, for the Germans, angered, had swept the survivors in small
boats with rapid fire guns.

How many submarines were operating in American waters, the Navy department
did not know. From the fact that ships were attacked in at least three
places, within a short space of time, however, it was believed that there
were at least three or four of the raiders.

From all ports along the coast, destroyers, submarine chasers, motor boats
armed with single guns, had put to sea in an effort to run down the
raiders. But off the New Jersey coast, almost in the midst of these
vessels, a sailing ship was sunk by a submarine. Before any of the
patroling vessels could reach the scene, however, the U-Boat had submerged
and fled.

Depth bombs were dropped by ships of war wherever it was thought a
submarine might be lurking beneath the water. But these efforts met with
no success. Reports of sinkings in other parts of the water reached the
Navy department.

The first sinking was reported on May 10. In the week that followed,
eighteen other vessels were sent to the bottom by German submarines off
the American coast. At the end of that time, however, the waters were
being so well patrolled that it would have been suicide for a submarine to
have showed itself.

Reports of sinkings ceased. But, from time to time, word was received that
submarines had been sighted farther south, first off the coast of the
Carolinas and then off Florida. No attacks were made in these waters,
however, and the next that was heard of the submarines they were off the
coast of South America.

During the activities of the enemy raiders, one submarine was sunk, and
one was captured, both through the efforts of Jack and the crew and
officers of the Essex.

After leaving Hampton Roads, the Essex steamed out beyond the Virginia
Capes. Immediately Jack sought to get into communication with Admiral
Sellings by wireless. And at last he raised the admiral's flagship, the
Dakota.

"What do you want?" came the query from the Dakota, after Jack's flash had
been picked up.

"British destroyer Essex, Captain Templeton, reporting to Admiral Sellings
for orders at the request of Secretary Daniels," was the message Jack sent
back.

"One moment," was the reply.

Jack waited in the radio room aboard the Essex.

"Essex! Essex!" came the call five minutes later.

"Answer," Jack directed the operator.

"Essex replying," the operator flashed.

"Admiral Sellings orders Essex to proceed north and stand out to sea to
protect inbound vessels. Understand one submarine sighted five miles out
five hours ago. Repeat."

The operator repeated the message to show that he had caught in correctly.

Jack went on deck and gave instructions necessary to putting the Essex out
at sea. Then, "Full speed ahead!" he signalled.

The British destroyer Essex stood out to sea magnificently. Aboard, her
crew stood to their posts, ready for action. Jack, surrounded by his
officers, held the bridge.

"We've got to keep a sharp eye out," said Jack.

"Right," Frank agreed. "We're likely to come upon one of the enemy any
moment, and we can't afford to let him see us first."

"Very true, sir," Lieutenant Hetherton agreed. "Fortunately all our
lookouts have sharp eyes. I'll venture to say a submarine won't come to
the surface very close to us without being seen."

"That's the way to talk, Mr. Hetherton," said Jack. "It shows the proper
spirit."

"And the men are imbued with the same spirit," declared Frank, "and yet
see how cool they are."

It was perfectly true. There was no confusion aboard the Essex in spite of
the fact that each member of the crew knew he was bent on a dangerous
mission. One shot from the submarine, they knew, if truly aimed and Jack
was unable to maneuver the vessel out of harm's way, would be the end.
However, like all British tars, they had absolute confidence in their
commander; for, according to their line of reasoning, if he were not a
capable officer and to be depended upon he would not be in command of the
ship.

Suddenly the radio operator appeared on deck and hurried toward the
bridge. Jack stepped forward to meet him. The lad took the message the
operator passed him and read:

    "S.O.S. Pursued by submarine eighteen miles off Cape May light.
    Am running south by west, but foe is gaining. Capt. Griswold,
    Ventura."

"This," said Jack quietly, "means that there is still another U-Boat to be
reckoned with, but I had no idea they were operating so far out. We'll
have to get busy."

Jack looked at his officers with a slight smile on his face, then ordered:
"Shape your course due east, Frank. Full speed ahead."



CHAPTER XIV

THE U-87


As the Essex sped forward the radio operator from time to time picked up
other messages from the Ventura.

"She's headed directly toward us," Jack explained to Frank. "We should
sight her within the hour."

The Ventura was sighted in less, but under peculiar conditions.

"Ship on the starboard bow, sir," sang the lookout forward.

A moment later the officers on the bridge sighted the vessel through their
glasses.

"By George! She seems to be standing still," said Frank.

"So she does," Lieutenant Hetherton agreed, "Wonder what's the matter?"

"We'll find out fast enough," returned Jack quietly.

"Take the bridge, Mr. Chadwick," said Jack. "I'm going below to the radio
room."

"See if you can raise the Ventura," he instructed the radio operator, a
few moments later.

"Ventura! Ventura!" went the call through the air.

There was no response.

"Try it again," said Jack.

The operator obeyed. Still there was no reply from the Ventura.

"Something wrong," Jack muttered under his breath, "and still I saw no
sign of a submarine. Try 'em again, Wilkins."

Again the radio operator sent the call flashing through the air:

"Ventura! Ventura! Ventura!"

The instrument at Wilkins' side began to click.

"Ventura replying, sir," Wilkins reported.

"I hear him," said Jack briefly. "Let me get at that key, Wilkins."

The operator sprang up and Jack took his place and strapped the receiver
over his head.

"What's the trouble, Ventura?" he clicked.

"Held up by submarine," was the reply. "U-Boat due east of us. You can't
see her. We sighted you just after we were boarded."

"Then how does it come you are at the key?" Jack clicked.

"Broke away from captors on deck. They are pounding at the door now."

"Have they sighted us?"

"They hadn't. There goes the door, Good-bye."

The flashes from the Ventura ceased. Jack sprang up and turned the
receiver over to the operator.

"Keep calling," he said. "If you pick the Ventura up again, let me know.
I'll send a man so you can report to me through him."

Jack hurried on deck.

In the distance the Ventura was plainly visible now. Jack changed the
course of the ship slightly, and after the vessel had gone half a mile he
made out the form of a submarine lying close astern of the Ventura.

"By George! They must see us," he muttered. "If the lookout on the U-Boat
hasn't espied us, surely some of the Germans on the deck of the Ventura
must have done so. Wonder why the submarine captain doesn't sink the
steamer and submerge. Surely he is not going to risk an encounter with
me."

Nevertheless, it seemed that such must be the submarine commander's
intention, for the submarine showed no sign of submerging as the Essex
bore down on her.

Through his binoculars Frank was now able to ascertain the fact that a
struggle was in progress on the deck of the Ventura. A dozen or more
figures, closely interlocked, were scuffling to and fro across the bridge.
Frank gave an exclamation.

"I know what's wrong," he ejaculated.

"Well, what?" demanded Jack, turning to him.

"Why, the crew, or some of the crew, has jumped the commander of the
submarine and his escort. That's why the officer left on the U-Boat
doesn't dare sink the vessel. And the crew of the steamer is keeping the
German and his friends so busy aboard that they haven't had a chance to
jump overboard."

"By George! I guess you're right," declared Jack. "Now if they can hold
them fifteen minutes longer we'll get in the game ourselves."

Again Jack altered the course of the Essex and approached the submarine at
an angle from the Ventura.

"Forward turret guns there!" he roared.

It was the signal the men had been eagerly awaiting. Quickly the signal
"ready" was flashed in the forward turret. The men were already at their
posts.

"Range finders!" ordered Jack.

"Aye, aye, sir," came the reply of the officer in charge of this work, and
he calculated the range swiftly and passed the word to the captain of the
gun crew in the forward turret.

"Fire!"

A heavy shell flew screaming across the water.

But the range had not been correct and the shell flew past the submarine.
Again the range was calculated, taking into consideration the first error.
Again the command to fire was given.

This time the range had been gauged perfectly and the shell must have gone
home had it not been for one thing.

A moment before the command to fire was given, a torpedo was launched by
the submarine. Jack saw the torpedo come dashing through the water, and he
was forced to order the helm over promptly to escape the deadly messenger.
This maneuver was made at the precise moment that the Essex fired for the
second time, and consequently the shell again went wide.

Almost at the same instant Frank, who had kept his eyes glued to the deck
of the Ventura where the struggle on the bridge had continued fiercely,
uttered an exclamation of alarm.

"They've broken away," he cried.

It was true, The submarine commander and his followers had succeeded in
eluding the crew of the Ventura and dashed to the rail. There they poised
themselves a brief moment, and then flung themselves headlong into the
sea. Directly, dripping, they appeared on the deck of the submarine and
dashed for the conning tower.

"Quick!" roared Jack. "Forward turret guns again there!"

Once more the range was calculated and an explosion shook the Essex. But
as before the range had not been true. The shell barely skimmed the top of
the U-Boat and went screaming half a mile past, where it struck the water
with a hiss.

Slowly the submarine began to submerge.

"Again!" cried Jack.

But the next shot had no better success.

The submarine disappeared from sight.

Jack stamped his foot.

"What's the matter with those fellows forward?" he demanded. "Can't they
shoot? Didn't they ever see a gun before?"

There was no reply from the other officers and gradually Jack cooled down.

"Pretty tough," said Frank then. "We should have had that fellow."

Jack nodded gloomily.

"So we should," he cried, "but we didn't get him. Well, better luck next
time. All the same, I'm inclined to believe that Ensign Carruthers needs a
talking to. He didn't take the time to calculate the range correctly."

"I'll speak to him," said Frank.

"Do," said Jack. "In the meantime we'll run close to the Ventura and I'll
go aboard for a word with her captain."

The Ventura's wireless was working again now, and Jack himself took the
key.

"Lay to," he ordered. "I'm coming aboard you."

"Very well," was the reply.

The two vessels drew close together. Jack had the destroyer's launch
lowered, climbed in and crossed to the Ventura, where a ladder was lowered
for him. On deck he was greeted by a grizzled old sailor, who introduced
himself as Captain Griswold.

"Come to my cabin, sir," he said to Jack. "We can talk there without being
interrupted."

Jack followed the captain of the Ventura below, and took a seat the latter
motioned him to. The captain set out liquor and cigars, but Jack waved
them away.

"I neither smoke nor drink, thanks," he said.

Captain Griswold shrugged his shoulders and put a match to a cigar.

"Well, what can I do for you, Captain?" he asked.

"First," said Jack, "did you get the number of the submarine?"

"I did. The U-87, Commander Frederich, the captain styled himself; and if
there ever was a murderer unhung, he's the man."

"Why?" asked Jack curiously.

"Because he proposed setting my passengers and crew adrift in small boats,
without water or provisions, before sinking my ship. And when I told him
that I had him figured correctly--that he intended to shell the
lifeboats--the cold-blooded scoundrel admitted it! That's why we had the
nerve to jump him on deck. I figured we might as well die on the Ventura
as in the lifeboats--and we had a chance of taking him to Davy Jones'
locker along with us."

"I see," said Jack. "Not a bad idea."

"It was offered by the wireless operator," continued Captain Griswold,
"although he offered it unconsciously."

"Explain," Jack requested.

"Well, Harrington thought he heard his instrument clicking. He figured it
was you, whom we had just sighted. He broke through the Germans on deck
and dashed below. He locked himself in his room and began talking to you.
Three of the enemy went after him and broke in the door, but I guess he
had told you enough by that time."

"I'd like a word with this Harrington," said Jack. "He is a brave man.
Where is he?"

"Dead," said Captain Griswold quietly.

Jack jumped to his feet

"Dead?" he repeated.

"Yes. After the Germans broke in the door, they overpowered him, tied him
and then brought back on deck. Said the German commander: 'I'll show you
how we treat men who defy us.' He stepped back several paces, drew his
revolver and fired. Then three of the enemy threw the body into the sea.
That's when we jumped them, for it was more than we could stand."

"Then who answered the wireless when I called a moment ago?"

"I did."

"I guess that is enough, Captain," said Jack. He returned to the Essex.



CHAPTER XV

JACK GIVES CHASE


"Any sight of the submarine, Frank?" asked Jack, when he stepped on deck
again.

"None," was the reply. "In accordance with instructions you gave before
you went overside we dropped depth bombs in the spot where the U-Boat
disappeared, but without result."

"I guess he's gone, then," said Jack. "But I'd like to get my hands on
that fellow," and he related to Frank the manner in which the German
commander had shot down the wireless operator aboard the Ventura.

"By Jove! What a murderous scoundrel!" muttered Frank.

Jack nodded.

"No worse than the rest of them, I'll wager," he said. "But, hello! The
Ventura's moving again."

As soon as Jack had left the deck of the steamer, Captain Griswold had
ordered the engines started and prepared for a quick dash to shore.

"There are likely to be more of those pesky submarines about here," he
muttered, "and the sooner I reach port the better."

Accordingly he ordered full speed ahead.

"Do you know," said Frank, "I've a hunch that the U-87 is not through with
the Ventura. You know how the German is. He doesn't like to admit he's
been licked, so I figure the submarine commander is likely to have gone
ahead and will be awaiting the approach of the Ventura."

"Now by George! I wouldn't be a bit surprised," Jack agreed. "Well, we'll
be ready for him."

"What are you going to do, Jack?"

"I'll show you. Come."

Jack dashed to the radio room, Frank at his heels.

"Get the Ventura for me," Jack instructed the operator.

It was perhaps five minutes later that the Ventura answered the call. Jack
took the key.

"Captain Griswold?" he asked.

"Yes. Who are you?"

"Captain Templeton, destroyer Essex."

"Well, what do you want this time?"

"Slow down. I'm coming aboard again."

"What for?"

"I'll explain when I get there."

"All right, but I'll tell you I don't like this business."

The instrument became silent.

"Now tell me what you're going to do, Jack," said Frank, as he followed
his chum and commander on deck.

"It's very simple," said Jack. "As you have said, I believe that the
submarine commander will intercept the Ventura again farther along toward
the shore. Now, I'm going to turn the Essex over to you temporarily and
go aboard the Ventura. You know the Germans as well as I do. This man will
no more think of sinking the Ventura without doing a bit of bragging to
the captain, who fooled him once, than he will of flying."

"That's true enough," Frank admitted.

"All right. Now I'll be aboard when he gets there. If he comes aboard,
I'll grab him there. If he doesn't I'll jump to the deck of the submarine
after him and tumble him overboard. I'll trust to you to keep the
submarine occupied and to get a boat to me."

"It's a desperate venture, Jack," Frank protested.

"So it is," was Jack's reply, "but I've a longing to capture this fellow.
If we just sink the submarine, I can't do it of course. Another thing, it
may be that I am not doing just right in leaving my ship, but it will only
be for a couple of hours and I know you can handle it as well as I can."

"Oh, I won't sink her," grinned Frank. "But why not let me be the one to
go?"

"Because I'm not sure you can handle the German commander."

"But you're sure you can, eh?"

"He'll have to be something new in the line of a German if I can't."

"All right," said Frank. "Have it your own way. You're boss here, you
know."

Meantime the Essex and the Ventura had been drawing closer together.
Directly a boat put off from the destroyer and ran alongside of the
steamer. Jack clambered over the side and the launch returned to the
destroyer.

Captain Griswold was waiting for Jack.

"Now what's up?" he wanted to know.

"Come to your cabin and I'll explain," said Jack.

In the seclusion of the cabin he outlined the situation. When he had
concluded a sketch of his plans, Captain Griswold demurred.

"But I don't like to risk my passengers," he said.

"You won't be risking them any more with me aboard than you will without
me," Jack explained. "Besides, you will have the additional protection of
the destroyer. In fact, it may be that the presence of the Essex will
scare the submarine off, but I doubt it. The German commander, as all of
his ilk, is angry at having been balked of his prey. He'll probably have
one more try, destroyer or no destroyer."

"Well," said Captain Griswold, "you're a British naval officer and should
know something, whether you do or not. But I'll tell you right now I hope
the submarine doesn't show up again."

Nevertheless, Captain Griswold was doomed to disappointment, for the U-87
did reappear.

It was almost 6 o'clock in the evening when all on board were startled by
a cry from the lookout.

"Submarine on the port bow, sir."

Instantly all became confusion on the big merchant ship. Passengers, of
whom there were perhaps fifty, became greatly excited. Every man on board
strapped on a life preserver, and waited for he knew not what.

The fact that, directly astern, the Essex, British destroyer, was in plain
sight and trailing them, did not allay their fears. Came a shot from a gun
mounted forward on the submarine, a signal to heave to.

"Obey it," said Jack, to Captain Griswold, on the bridge.

Captain Griswold ordered his engines stopped.

"I'll keep out of sight for a moment," said Jack. "The commander may come
on board."

He stooped down in the shelter of the pilot house.

The submarine drew close to the Ventura, and a voice hailed Captain
Griswold:

"Thought you'd get away did you, you Yankee pig."

It was the voice of the German commander.

"Oh, we may get away yet," said Captain Griswold.

"Don't depend on the destroyer this time," shouted the commander of the
submarine. "I see her approaching, but she won't be soon enough. I'll sink
you and submerge before she can fire a shot."

"Well, you big cut throat," shouted Captain Griswold, losing his temper,
"why don't you do it?"

"You dare to talk to a German officer like that?" thundered the submarine
commander. "You shall be sunk immediately. But first I wanted a word with
you. I just wanted to tell you what fate I hold in store for you."

"It's my opinion," said Captain Griswold, "that you're a big bluff, like
all the rest of your stripe."

Meantime, realizing that the German commander did not intend to board the
Ventura a second time, Jack crept from the shelter of the pilot house
unobserved and stole across the deck until he was beside the rail just
above the U-Boat, whose sides almost scraped the Ventura, so close were
the two vessels together.

Jack removed his coat and his cap, which he dropped on deck. Then he stood
up in full view of the German submarine commander. The latter gazed at him
carelessly, for without his cap and coat Jack showed no sign of being a
British naval officer.

Jack took in the scene about him with a careful eye. The German commander
stood close to the conning tower. There were perhaps half a dozen men
beside him, presumably his officers. The commander was directly below the
spot where Jack stood.

One of the Germans, Jack noticed, kept a close eye on the approaching
Essex and from time to time spoke to the commander in a low tone.

"Oh, these English can't shoot," Jack heard the commander say at last.
"However, I guess we have delayed long enough. Inside with you,
gentlemen."

Two of the Germans descended through the conning tower. This left four on
the deck of the submarine besides the commander. These, too, moved toward
the conning tower.

"Guess it's time to get busy," Jack muttered.

With a single movement he leaped to the rail of the Ventura, and with a
second hurled himself to the deck of the submarine, landing in the midst
of the startled Germans.

At the same moment, Captain Griswold, on the Ventura, signalled his engine
room for full speed ahead in accordance with Jack's instructions.

The reason for this was obvious. First, it would take the steamer out of
the way of the torpedoes already trained on her, which would not be
launched without a command from one of the enemy officers, and, second, it
would draw the Ventura away so as to present the submarine as a clear
target for the guns of the approaching Essex.

Jack, on the deck of the submarine, recovered himself before the German
officers could get over their surprise. He sprang to his feet and waded
into them, striking out right and left.

Two men went staggering across the narrow deck and toppled into the sea.
The others reached for their revolvers. Before they could fire, however,
Jack sprang forward quickly and floored one of the enemy with a smashing
blow. This left the commander and one other officer on deck.

The commander fired at Jack, but in his haste the bullet went wild. Jack
hurled himself forward, and the men gave ground. One, retreating, lost his
balance and went staggering across the deck and fell overboard.

Only the commander of the submarine now faced Jack, and he covered the lad
with a revolver.

"Hands up!" he said.

For answer Jack smiled slightly, and took a quick step forward.

"Crack!" the German's revolver spoke sharply, and Jack felt a hot pain in
his left arm. But the German had no time to fire again, for Jack was upon
him, pinning his revolver arm to his side.

"Now," said the lad, "I've got you!"

The two wrestled across the deck.



CHAPTER XVI

THE FIGHT ON THE U-87


In the meantime, members of the crew hearing the commotion on deck, rushed
up to see what was going on. Seeing their commander struggling with an
enemy, they hurried across the deck.

Jack saw them coming out of the tail of his eye. It was not time to
hesitate and the lad knew it.

With his arms still wrapped about the German commander, Jack struggled to
the rail and leaped into the sea. Down and down he went, never for a
moment relaxing his hold on the German. Then they came to the surface.

With a sudden jerk the German freed himself and aimed a heavy blow at
Jack. This Jack dodged and sought to regain his hold on his foe. But the
German wriggled away and struck out for the submarine.

In the meantime, Captain Griswold of the Ventura had been watching the
struggle as his vessel sped away from the scene. There was a strange light
in his eyes and he muttered to himself. At last he muttered an
imprecation.

"He's a brave boy," he said. "I can't run away and leave him like that."

He brought the head of the vessel around in spite of the protests of some
of the passengers, and headed back for the submarine.

"Man the forward gun there!" he cried.

For the Ventura, like other allied ships plying in the seas in those days,
carried small guns for defensive purposes. The gun crew sprang to obey
this order and the gun was trained on the submarine.

"Fire!" shouted Captain Griswold.

"Crash!"

The gun spoke and a geyser of water was kicked up just beyond the
submarine.

At this point the officer left in command of the submarine seemed to
realize his own danger. He sprang to the conning tower, unmindful of the
fact that his commander was struggling in the water.

"Down, men!" he cried.

But it appeared that the German sailors were made of sterner stuff than
was the officer. They refused to go below until their commander had been
brought safely aboard. In vain the officer pointed out their danger.

Jack struck out after the German commander as the latter swam for the
submarine. The lad was a powerful swimmer and he felt confident he could
overtake the man before help could reach him.

The destroyer Essex had now drawn close. Frank had been afraid to order a
shot at the submarine for fear the shell might hit Jack in the water.

"Take the bridge, Mr. Hetherton!" he cried. "Lower a boat, men!"

The boat was lowered in a trice and Frank and a score of sailors sprang
in. The launch darted toward Jack at full speed, Frank standing erect and
with the quartermaster at the rudder.

They were close enough to see the struggle between Jack and the German
commander in the water. Frank saw the man break loose from Jack and strike
out for the submarine. He saw Jack make after him, and he saw something
more.

Half a dozen German sailors leaped into the water and made for Jack, who
apparently did not realize his own danger, so interested was he in the
pursuit of the German commander.

"Faster!" cried Frank, and drew his revolver.

Now, for the first time, Jack realized his danger. But it was too late to
draw back, and it is doubtful if he would have done so anyway.

"I'm going to get that fellow," he gritted between his teeth, referring to
the German commander.

One of the German sailors struck at the lad with a knife. Jack caught the
man's arm with his left hand and twisted sharply. There was a snap, and
the knife dropped into the water. The sailor uttered a cry of pain and
turning, struck out for the submarine with his good arm.

Two sailors now beset Jack on either side, and the German commander turned
to renew the struggle.

"Kill him!" he cried angrily.

One of the sailors raised himself high in the water, and a knife flashed
above him.

"Crack!"

A revolver spoke sharply and the knife dropped from limp fingers.

Frank, standing erect in the Essex's launch, had fired. Now, as has been
said, Frank was a crack shot, and in spite of the pitching of the small
boat, his aim had been true. The bullet had struck the German sailor's arm
just below the elbow, shattering the nerve.

Perceiving the approach of reinforcements, at an order from their
commander, the Germans turned and swam rapidly toward the submarine. The
sailors reached the vessel and climbed aboard. Their commander did
likewise.

Unmindful of the cries of his friends behind him, Jack also laid hold of
the edge of the submarine and drew himself, dripping, aboard the vessel. A
sailor near the conning tower raised his revolver in deliberate aim.

"Crack! Crack!"

Two revolvers spoke almost as one, the first Frank's, the second that of
the sailor who aimed at Jack. But Frank's bullet went home, thus
deflecting the aim of the man who covered Jack, and the German's bullet
went wild.

The commander of the submarine, at this juncture, losing his temper at
being pursued to the very door of safety, turned and sprang for Jack with
a wild cry. He was a big and powerful man, and as he wrapped his arms
about Jack, the lad staggered back.

But he recovered his balance in a moment and struck out with his right
fist. Struck in the stomach, the German grunted and stepped back.

Now the remainder of the German crew came pouring on deck. At the same
time Frank's launch grated alongside and his men poured a volley of rifle
bullets into the enemy. The latter turned and scampered for safety below
decks.

Jack, still struggling with the German commander, paused and looked around
long enough to cry:

"After them, Frank! Don't let them shut you out."

Frank understood and led his men toward the conning tower at a run. Most
of the enemy were already inside and descending, but Frank arrived in time
to prevent the closing of the conning tower, which would have permitted
the submarine to submerge, leaving the struggling figures in the water.
With the conning tower open, it was, of course, impossible for the U-Boat
to submerge, for she would have been flooded immediately.

Frank's men made prisoners of the half a dozen Germans who had not time to
get below, and then the lad ran over to help Jack.

"Keep away, Frank," said Jack. "I've got this fellow, and I hope he
doesn't give up too easily. We've heavy accounts to settle with him."

The big German showed no symptoms of giving up. He lashed out with both
arms and Jack was kept busy warding off the blows. But the German
commander was a novice at this sort of fighting, while Jack, only a year
or so before, had won the heavyweight boxing championship of the British
navy. So there was no doubt in Frank's mind as to the outcome. He and his
men formed a circle around the struggling figures, at the same time
guarding the conning tower to prevent the enemy from closing it.

"Shoot the first head you see down there," Frank enjoined the men he left
on guard, and he knew they would be only too glad to obey this order.

Jack, with a smile still on his face, permitted the German commander to
waste his energy in ineffective blows. Then Jack stepped forward and
delivered a heavy blow to the man's mouth. The German staggered back. Jack
doubled him up with a left-handed punch to the pit of the stomach, then
straightened him with a second hard right to the point of the chin.

The German commander reeled backward. Jack followed up his advantage, and
for the space of a minute played a tattoo on the man's face with both
fists. Then he stepped back, and as the German came toward him, the lad
muttered:

"I guess this has gone far enough. Now for the finish."

He started a blow almost from the deck, and putting his full force behind
it, struck.

"Crack!"

The blow could be heard even aboard the Ventura, which had approached
close by this time.

The German commander seemed to stagger back all of ten paces, the British
sailors scurrying back to keep out of his way. Then the man fell, his head
striking the deck with a sickening thud.

"There," said Jack, "I guess that will settle you. Tie him up, men."

A wild cheer had burst from the sailors as Jack delivered the finishing
touch. None of these men had ever seen Jack in action before, and it was
only natural that they should be greatly impressed at this exhibition of
their commander's prowess.

"By glory! What a blow!" one of them exclaimed. "Did you see it, Tom?"

"Did I?" exclaimed the man addressed as Tom; "did I? I'll say I did, and I
thought I was pretty handy with my fists. But not against Captain Jack,
not for me."

As bidden by Jack, the sailors rolled the German commander over and bound
him. Then they carried him to the Essex's launch and threw him in, none
too gently, either, for there was no man there who had not a disgust for
Germans, German tactics and everything German.

"Now," said Frank to Jack, "I guess we may as well stand clear and let the
Essex pour a few shells into the vessel, eh?"

Jack shook his head.

"No," he said, "we shall take possession of the vessel. Call down below
and see if the Germans will surrender."

Frank approached the conning tower and called down.

"Hello!" he shouted.

There was no response.

"Hello below!" he shouted again in German.

"What do you want?" came a sullen voice from below.

"We're in possession of this vessel now," said Frank. "Come up here and
surrender."

"We'll stay where we are," came the reply after a brief pause.

"But you can't man," exclaimed Frank. "Don't you know when you have been
captured."

"We'll stay here awhile," said the spokesman of the sailors.

"But you can't stay there forever, and you can't submerge," said Frank.
"Come up and surrender."

To this the lad received no response. Frank reported to Jack.

"So they won't surrender, eh?" said Jack. "Then we'll go down and get
them."

"Rather risky, Jack," Frank warned.

"So it is," Jack agreed. "So's the whole war. But wait. We'll see."



CHAPTER XVII

CAPTURE OF THE SUBMARINE


Captain Griwsold aboard the Ventura had watched the struggle on the
submarine with eager eyes. His fingers clenched and unclenched.

"I'd like to get into that," he muttered. "I guess I'm not too old."

Abruptly he turned to the first officer.

"Lower a boat," he said. "I'm going aboard the submarine."

The first officer protested.

"But the passengers--" he began.

"The passengers be hanged," said the captain of the Ventura. "Besides,
we're safer here under the nose of this destroyer than we would be
prowling off by ourselves."

The first officer protested no longer. A boat was lowered and Captain
Griswold and half a dozen sailors climbed in and put off for the
submarine, where they arrived just in time to overhear Jack say that if
the Germans in the submarine didn't surrender they would go after them.
Captain Griswold laid a hand on Jack's shoulder.

"You're some scrapper, youngster," he said.

Jack was thus made aware for the first time that the Ventura had not
rushed for her home port.

"I thought you'd gone, Captain," he said.

"I was on my way," said the captain of the Ventura, "until I saw you
fighting these murderers single-handed. I came back to see if I could
help."

"Thanks," Jack laughed, "but I guess there are enough of us to attend to
them without you, Captain."

"I'm not sure about that," declared Captain Griswold. "I just heard you
say you were going below after those fellows?"

"Well?" questioned Jack.

"Pretty risky," responded Captain Griswold, shaking his head. "How do you
figure to get 'em?"

"Rush 'em," said Jack briefly.

Again the captain of the Ventura shook his head doubtfully.

"Too risky altogether," he declared. "The first one of you that shows his
head down there will be potted, sure as fate."

"But we've got to do it, Captain," said Jack. "How else is it to be done?"

"Well," said Captain Griswold, removing his cap and scratching his head,
"I guess I can suggest a way."

"I'm open to conviction, Captain," said Jack.

"Aboard my ship," went on Captain Griswold, "I have a supply of a certain
sort of gas which, if used properly, will do in minutes what it may take
you hours to accomplish."

"By George!" said Frank. "Kill 'em all at once, eh?"

"Well, no, it won't do that," replied Captain Griswold, "but it'll put 'em
to sleep long enough for you fellows to go down and tie 'em up."

"Bring on the gas, Captain," said Jack quietly.

Captain Griswold hustled back to his boat with the agility of a small
school boy.

"Back to the ship," he roared to the sailors who rowed him.

He mounted the ladder swiftly and summoned his first officer.

"Helgoson," he said, "those Britishers have gone and almost captured that
submarine. It's up to us to help 'em complete the job."

"How, sir?" asked the first officer.

"Do you know where that gas tank is below?"

"Yes, sir."

"Fetch it here. It's small enough so you can carry it. Also get the hose
and the pump."

"Yes, sir."

The first officer hurried away. He was back in a few moments with the
necessary articles, which Captain Griswold took charge of himself.

"Helgoson," said Captain Griswold, "if you were a younger man I would
invite you to take a hand in this party yourself. As it is, you'll have to
stick behind with the passengers."

"But I'm younger than you by almost twenty years, sir," protested the
first officer.

"Oh, no you're not," laughed the commander of the Ventura, "you just think
you are. I've grown twenty years younger this day."

He summoned a pair of sailors, whom he loaded down with the gas, hose and
pump with instructions to place them carefully in the small boat.

"And now for the submarine," he confided to his first officer.

On deck, half a dozen passengers approached the captain with inquiries as
to what was going on.

"Why," he said with a grin, "we're just going to capture a submarine,
that's all. Stick close to the side of the ship and you'll see how it's
done. A lesson like this may come in handy some day."

The passengers protested.

"But the danger--" one began.

"Danger be hanged," said the captain. "There is no danger. While there was
danger we were scuttling for the safety of land and now we come back when
it's all over. You should all be glad of this opportunity to render your
country a service. What sort of citizens are you, anyhow?"

Without further words he climbed down to the launch and was hustled back
to the submarine, where Jack and the others were awaiting him eagerly.

"Well," said Captain Griswold, motioning to the articles that the sailors
laid on the deck, "here's the stuff. Get busy."

"How do you work it, Captain?" asked Jack.

"Don't you know?" demanded Captain Griswold. "Well, I'll tell you what.
You just put me in command here for fifteen minutes and I'll do the job
for you."

"All right, sir," said Jack. "Your commands shall be obeyed."

Captain Griswold turned to the nearest sailor.

"Take that hose and attach it to the nozzle on the tank," he directed.
The sailor did so.

"Now the pump," said the captain, "you will find a place for it on the
other side of the tank."

This was adjusted to the captain's satisfaction.

"Now," said the captain, "all you have to do is to stick this nozzle down
the conning tower, turn it so as to give the gas full play and pump. Of
course the gas would carry without the pump, but you save time this way."

"One moment, Captain," said Jack. "How about ourselves? Won't the gas
affect us as well as the Germans?"

Captain Griswold clapped a hand to his side.

"Now what do you think of that?" he demanded. "I must be getting old
before my time. Here, Lands," he called one of his own men, who
approached. "Go and tell Helgoson I want two dozen of those gas masks in
the store room; and hustle."

The sailor hurried away. He was back within fifteen minutes, and Captain
Griswold distributed the gas masks. Then he took the nozzle of the hose,
poked it down the conning tower and looked around.

"Everybody ready?" he asked.

Jack also glanced around. Every man on the deck of the submarine wore a
gas mask.

"All right, sir," said Jack.

"Then you turn that screw there when I give the word. All right? Then
shoot!"

There was a hissing sound as Jack turned on the gas.

For perhaps ten minutes Captain Griswold moved the hose to and fro. Then
he pulled it forth and motioned Jack to turn the screw again. This the lad
did. Captain Griswold then motioned the others to follow him, and led the
way below.

At the foot of the conning tower they stumbled across several figures,
overcome by the fumes. These were quickly bound and passed up on deck to
the men who remained behind.

The search of the submarine took perhaps half an hour. Every nook and
cranny was explored. The gas had done its work well. Apparently it had
poured in so rapidly that the crew had had no time to open the portholes,
for they were all closed. Captain Griswold opened them now.

Then he led the way on deck, and closing the conning tower, removed his
gas mask. The others followed his example.

"Simple, wasn't it?" said the captain of the Ventura to Jack, grinning
like a boy. "Lucky I happened to come back."

"It is indeed," said Jack. "But won't this gas affect us, Captain?"

"Not out here," was the reply. "It's not strong enough. You can barely
smell it now. Now what are you going to do with the submarine?"

Jack considered a moment.

"I'll tell you Captain," he said, "it strikes me that this submarine is
really the prize of the Ventura. At all events, I cannot be bothered with
it, for there is still patrol work to do in these waters. Can't you tow
her into port?"

"Can't I?" shouted Captain Griswold. "You bet I can. You give the word and
I'll tie her on behind right now."

"All right, Captain," said Jack. "She's yours."

Captain Griswold almost danced a jig there on the deck of the German
submarine.

"Won't New York sit up and take notice when old Captain Griswold comes
into port towing a submarine?" he chortled. "Well, I guess. Here, Lands,
go back to the ship and throw me a line. Then come back and help make it
fast."

This was accomplished with astonishing rapidity and amid the cheering of
the crew and passengers of the Ventura and the wild hurrahs of the British
tars of the Essex.

"Well, she's all fixed," said Captain Griswold, "and to tell you the truth
I'm rather sorry. Of course I'm old and all that, but just the same I'd
like to go with you fellows."

"You're doing your share, Captain," said Jack seriously. "All of us can't
do the fighting, you know. But there's work just as important, and you are
doing your part. But we must be moving now. We've wasted time enough."

"So we have," declared Captain Griswold. "Shall you leave us here, sir?"

"No," said Jack, "we'll follow and see you safely in harbor."

"Very well. Then I shall return to the Ventura."

"And I to the Essex, Captain. Good-bye and good luck to you."

Captain Griswold shook hands heartily with Jack, and then insisted on
shaking hands as well with Frank, and every officer and member of the
British crew aboard the submarine. Then he put off for his ship.

Jack and the others returned to the Essex. When the lad reached the
bridge, the Ventura was already moving, the submarine trailing behind.

"A fine man, Captain Griswold," said Frank.

"Right," Jack agreed. "And the U-87 is his so far as I'm concerned. He
might hang it on his parlor wall for a souvenir."

"Or wear it as a watch charm," added Frank with a grin.



CHAPTER XVIII

ASHORE


For two days the Essex had been cruising up and down the coast on patrol
duty, looking for submarines. Several times the destroyer had been
ordered farther out to sea to form an escort for an incoming steamer, but
after her encounter with the U-87 she had sighted no more of the enemy.

Following the report of two vessels sunk off the coast on May 10, the day
on which the presence of German raiders off the coast was first reported,
the number of sinkings increased the following day, and the next. After
that they fell off, however, and upon the fifth day only one ship--a small
schooner--was sent to the bottom off the coast of Delaware.

The prisoners taken from the U-87 were stowed safely away below-decks on
the Essex, after which Jack got in touch with Admiral Sellings, on the
Dakota, by wireless. He reported the capture of the submarine and the fact
that it was being towed into port by the Ventura. Admiral Sellings ordered
Jack to continue his patrol of the coast until further notice.

Nevertheless, the Essex escorted the Ventura almost to port, before
putting about and resuming her patrol duty.

All the remainder of that day and the two days that followed Jack kept his
ship moving up and down the coast, but he caught no sight of an enemy
vessel, nor were any of the sinkings reported in that time close enough to
be considered within his territory.

On the fourth day came a message from Admiral Sellings.

"German submarine reported twenty miles north of Cape Charles," read the
message. "Investigate."

Jack acknowledged receipt of the order and addressed Frank, who stood
beside him on the bridge.

"Something definite to act on at last," he said, and read the admiral's
message aloud, adding: "Shape your course accordingly, Mr. Chadwick."

Frank gave the necessary directions. The big ship came about and headed
south again.

It was well along in the afternoon when the Essex reached the approximate
point designated by Admiral Sellings. Jack ran the destroyer as close
in-shore as he dared, and for several hours cruised about in the
neighborhood. But he saw nothing to indicate the presence of a submarine.

"If there's a U-Boat here, it's keeping pretty well under cover," said
Frank.

"So it is," replied Jack. "I don't know where the admiral got his
information, but I've got my doubts of its authenticity."

Frank's eyes were caught at that moment by the sight of a small row boat
putting off from the shore. He watched it idly for a moment, and then
noted that it was headed directly for the Essex.

"Hello," he said, "here comes some one to visit us."

Directly the little boat scraped alongside the now stationary destroyer
and the figure in the boat indicated that he wanted to come aboard.

"Don't know what he wants," muttered Jack, "but it'll be just as well to
have him up and find out."

A few moments later the occupant stood before Jack and his officers on the
bridge.

"My name," he said, "is Charles Cutlip, and I live back there." He waved a
hand shoreward. "I suppose you are hunting for submarines, Captain?"

Jack nodded.

"That's what we're here for," he affirmed.

"I thought so," said young Cutlip--he was a little more than a boy. "Well,
Captain, maybe I can help you."

Jack gave an exclamation of astonishment.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"I don't know exactly," replied the boy. "Yesterday afternoon, while I was
in the house alone, three strange men appeared at the door. They wore the
costume of an ordinary seafaring man, but when they asked me for food they
had a strange manner of speech. They weren't Americans, I'm sure of that."

"And you think they were from a submarine, eh?" asked Jack.

"I'm sure of it, Captain. There were no other ships near, and they could
not have come overland, for it is a long ways to the nearest village and
they had neither horses nor automobile."

"And what did you say to them?" asked Frank.

"I gave them what food there was in the house, but they said it wasn't
enough. About this time my father came in unexpectedly. The strangers drew
revolvers and covered him. They told him they would be back to-night and
that they required him to have a certain amount of food on hand. They
threatened to kill him if he gave the alarm--and they threatened to kill
me too."

"By George!" exclaimed Frank. "It looks as though we had come to the right
spot, Jack."

"It certainly does," agreed Jack. "Now tell us the rest of your tale,
son."

"That's about all," said the boy. "They devoured what food I gave them and
then disappeared."

"And your father sent you for help, I suppose," added Frank.

"No," said the boy. "I came of my own accord. My father is badly
frightened. He has gone to find the food for the strangers. I slipped away
and ran toward the sea. Then I saw your ship, sir, and I hurried to tell
you."

"You have done well," said Jack, laying a hand on the lad's shoulder. "And
now you will be willing to help us further, will you not?"

"Of course I shall, sir."

"Very good. Now you look around the ship to your heart's content, while I
hold a conference with my officers."

"Very well, sir."

The boy walked away. Jack held a consultation with his officers on the
bridge.

"If the boy is telling the truth," he said, "and I have no doubt of it, we
are in luck. It may be that we can capture this German crew ashore and
then take possession of the submarine."

"But, sir," protested Lieutenant Hetherton, "if the submarine were to come
to the surface now and catch sight of the Essex it would never come back
again."

"I had thought of that," replied Jack, "and I have a plan that will offset
it. You see that projecting reef there?" and Jack pointed to the north.
The others signified that they did. "Well," Jack continued, "back of that
is as cosy a little harbor as you would care to see. I noticed it as we
came by. We'll take the Essex there, and she will be hidden well enough."

"Unless the submarine should chance to come to the surface there," was
Frank's objection.

"We'll have to leave something to chance," declared Jack.

"In which event your plan is as good as any I can conceive," said Frank.
"But after we get the Essex there, then what?"

"Why," said Jack, "I'll take a party of half a hundred men or so and
surround the house of this Cutlip boy. When the Germans arrive we'll nab
'em. After that we can find the submarine."

"Hasn't it struck you, sir," Frank asked of Jack, "that maybe the men who
accosted this boy and his father were merely bluffing? That they may not
return to-night?"

"It has," Jack replied, "but at the same time there is a chance that they
will. Therefore, in lieu of any other clue as to the whereabouts of the
submarine, I deem it well to act on what information, we have."

"It won't hurt anything, that's sure, sir," was Lieutenant Hetherton's
comment.

In this the other officers agreed.

"Very well then," said Jack. "It shall be as I suggested. Mr. Chadwick,
will you shape your course for the point I have mentioned."

"But the boy, sir?" said Frank. "Shall we not put him over the side
first?"

"No; we'll take him with us," Jack decided.

As the destroyer began to forge ahead, the Cutlip boy grew alarmed and
hurried to Jack's side.

"You are not taking me away, are you, sir?" he asked fearfully.

"No," replied Jack, and outlined the situation as fully as he deemed wise.

Young Cutlip was plainly eager to help in the capture of the German
submarine crew.

"And you feel sure they will come back to-night?" Jack questioned.

"Yes, sir. They must be very hungry. If you could have seen those three
men devour what little food I gave them! They seemed to be half starved."

"Strange, too," Jack muttered, "considering the number of ships they have
sunk in these waters recently. They should have replenished their stores."

"It may be that this was one of the less fortunate submarines," said
Frank. "The sinkings may have been done by other U-Boats."

"That's true, too," said Jack. "I hadn't thought of that. I guess that
must be the answer."

Less than an hour later, the Essex passed behind the shelter of the reef
Jack had mentioned. There Jack ordered her stopped, and anchor dropped.

"We should be out of sight here," he said, "unless, as you suggested,
Frank, the enemy should come to the surface at this point. And we'll have
to trust to luck that they don't."

"And now what, sir?" asked Frank.

"I'll let you select a hundred men of the crew for shore duty," said Jack.

This task did not take long, and Frank had picked and armed his men within
half an hour.

"Now," said Jack, "I'm going to put you in command of the party, Frank.
Lieutenant Hetherton shall go along as your immediate subordinate. Two
officers are enough. The rest of us will wait here. But if you have not
returned soon after daylight, we'll start a search for you."

"I can see no reason why we should be longer," said Frank. "We'll do the
best we can."

"Then I would suggest that you go ashore at once," said Jack. "You must
reach the Cutlip home while it is yet daylight in order to lay your
plans."

"Right, sir," said Frank, saluting. "We shall go ashore at once."

They put off over the side in small boats and rowed toward the shore,
where they landed less than an hour after the Essex dropped anchor. Jack
waved a hand to his chum from the bridge.

"Good luck!" he called.

Frank waved back at him, then addressed his men.

"By fours! Forward march!" he commanded.

The party, with young Cutlip in their midst, moved inland.



CHAPTER XIX

IN THE NIGHT


It was not a long march to the Cutlip home, and the Essex party reached
there some time before nightfall. Young Cutlip now whispered a word of
caution to Frank.

"My father will not like this," he said. "He is naturally a cautious man.
If he thinks I have given the alarm--am responsible for your being
here--it will go hard with me."

"Then he must not know it," said Frank decidedly. "Do you think he will be
home now?"

"Yes, sir; most likely."

Frank considered.

"Then I'll call a halt here," he said. "You can return home and we will
come later. In that way he will not know that you gave the alarm. But by
the way, when he sees us is he not likely to try and warn the enemy?"

"He might, sir. He is terribly afraid of submarines and men who control
them. He appears to think they are something supernatural. He believes the
crews of the submarines can whip anyone, sir. That is why he is likely to
tarry and give an alarm."

"In that case," said Frank, "we'll have to tie him up until the game is
over."

"He's my father, sir, and I don't want you to hurt him," said young
Cutlip, "but that would be the best way, sir."

"Very well," said Frank. "You run ahead, now; we'll wait here for an
hour."

He called a halt. Young Cutlip ran on ahead. Frank explained the reason
for the halt to Lieutenant Hetherton, who agreed that the lad had acted
wisely.

"No use getting the boy in trouble if we can help, it, sir," he said.

An hour later Frank ordered the march resumed. Young Cutlip had given
necessary directions and the party from the Essex reached the Cutlip home
without trouble. As they drew near, a man came to the door of the little
cabin that nestled in among a group of trees. Beside him, Frank made out
the figure of the boy who had given notice of the visit of some of the
submarine crew.

Frank motioned his men to halt some distance away, called Lieutenant
Hetherton to follow him, and approached the cabin.

"How do you do, sir?" he asked civilly of the big man in the doorway.

"What do you want here?" was the growling response.

"We're from a British destroyer out there," said Frank, waving a hand in
the general direction of the Atlantic, "and we are hunting for submarines
that have sunk a dozen or more ships off the coast."

"You don't expect to find them here on land, do you?" demanded Cutlip.

"Not exactly," said Frank. "But I have reason to believe that the crew of
one of the vessels has come ashore. Have you seen anything of them, sir?"

"I have not," replied Cutlip firmly.

"No one resembling a German, even?" persisted Frank.

"No."

"You are quite sure?"

"Quite sure."

"Think again, my man," said Frank.

"Look here," said Cutlip, "do you mean to insinuate that I'm lying?"

"I don't insinuate anything. I know you are lying. Hold up there!"

For Cutlip had taken a threatening step forward.

"A party of three German sailors from a submarine nearby were seen to come
this way," Frank went on. "You must have seen them. Now, if you are not
trying to shield them, tell me where they are."

"I don't know. I haven't seen them."

"Call a couple of men, Lieutenant," said Frank to Hetherton.

Hetherton raised a hand, and two sailors came forward.

"Once more," said Frank to Cutlip, "will you tell me what you know of
those men?"

"I tell you I don't know anything," answered Cutlip doggedly.

"Tie him up, men," said Frank briefly.

The sailors sprang forward and laid rough hands on Cutlip. The latter
protested vigorously with his mouth, but he offered only feeble
resistance.

"Now," said Frank to Hetherton, "we can't leave him around here for if the
Germans saw him they might take alarm. We'll have to have him sent back to
the ship. I guess those two men are big enough to get him there."

"Plenty big enough, sir," said one of them with a grin.

"Good. Take him back, then, and come back when you have turned him over
to Captain Templeton. Tell the captain to hold him until we return."

The man touched his cap.

"Aye, aye, sir," he said. Then to Cutlip in a rough voice: "March, now."

The three disappeared, Cutlip grumbling to himself and the sailors
grinning.

Frank turned to young Cutlip, who had watched these proceedings with some
disfavor.

"Now, my boy," he said, "we can get ready for business."

"They won't hurt him, will they?" asked the boy, pointing after his
father.

"They will not," said Frank. "Only keep him safe until the trouble is
over."

"All right. Then, I'll help you the best I can, sir."

"That's the way to talk, my boy. Now let me look around a bit."

Lieutenant Hetherton and young Cutlip accompanied Frank on his tour of
inspection. The lad found that the cabin was cuddled securely in a
miniature forest, or rather at one end of it. On both sides and in the
rear were a profusion of dense trees. Only the approach from the front was
in the clear.

"It's all right," Frank said. I'll throw my men around the house from
three sides, and when the Germans have gone in we can surround it
completely. If they come after dark, there is little doubt they will
approach from the front."

"And what shall I do, sir?" asked young Cutlip.

Frank turned the matter over in his mind.

"I am afraid I shall have to ask you to play rather a dangerous part," he
said at last. "You must be inside to receive them. If there were no one
there they might take alarm and run. Now, we'll go inside and see if your
father has complied with the enemy's demand."

The three entered the cabin. Inside, Frank made out several big sacks
scattered about the floor. "Potatoes," he said, and looked further. There
he also found an extraordinary amount of salt meats and a bountiful supply
of vegetables.

"Looks like your good father had been very busy," he said to young Cutlip
with a smile. "That's what the Germans will have the whole world doing for
them if we don't lick 'em."

"You're right there, sir," agreed Lieutenant Hetherton.

"Well," said Frank, "we'll leave these things as they are. It will help
divert suspicion from young Cutlip here when the Germans find his father
is not on hand. But I guess there is nothing more we can do now. Come,
we'll go outside."

Frank now saw to the disposition of his men. These, as he had decided, he
stationed on three sides of the cabin. He himself took command of the men
on the left, Lieutenant Hetherton commanding the right wing and a sailor
named Hennessy the left. A short time later the sailors who had conducted
Cutlip the elder to the Essex returned and took their places.

"Did he go along peaceably?" asked Frank of one of the newcomers.

"Well, he kicked once or twice," replied the man, "but he went along all
the same, sir."

Frank grinned.

"Just so long as you got him there," he said.

"Oh, he's there, all right," grinned the sailor, "but when I left he was
threatening to have the whole American navy down on us and hoping that
these German submarines shoot us to little pieces."

"I think we'll do most of the shooting, if there is any to be done," said
Frank dryly.

There was silence in the ranks after this, for it was now growing dark and
it was possible that the Germans might appear at any moment. Every man
strained his eyes as he peered through the trees.

Inside the cabin a faint light glowed. Young Cutlip was in there, playing
a braver part than could his father, doing his best for his country as
enemies threatened her existence. Frank smiled to himself.

"A nervy kid," he muttered; "yet, I wish I didn't have to use him. I shall
take especial care that no harm comes to him."

He grew silent.

In the distance came the sound of tramping feet--many of them. Gradually
they drew nearer and directly Frank could hear voices. Heavy, guttural
voices they were and the tongue they spoke was German.

Up to that moment Frank had not been at all sure in his own mind that the
Germans would return to the cabin, as they had told the Cutlips.
Nevertheless, here they were, and the lad's heart leaped high.

"They must be pretty close to starvation to take such chances," the lad
muttered to himself. "Wonder why they don't try a raid on one of the
nearby towns? Guess they don't want to stir up any more trouble than
possible, though. Well, we'll get 'em."

Frank peered from his hiding place. The Germans were in sight now, and
approaching the house four abreast.

"Four, eight, twelve, sixteen, twenty-four," Frank counted.

"That's not so many. We can grab them easy enough."

But a moment later additional footsteps were heard. Again Frank counted
moving figures to himself.

"Twenty more," he muttered. "Where on earth did they all come from? By
George! They certainly are taking a long chance marching around like this.
Well, the more we can get the better."

At the door of the cabin the Germans halted. Three of their number stepped
forward and went inside. This was not at all in line with Frank's plans,
and he realized now that the situation of young Cutlip, inside, was
dangerous in the extreme. Something must be done to protect him.

As the Germans went inside the house, the others, meanwhile, standing
guard, Frank gave the signal agreed upon, a soft whistle, like the call of
a bird of the night. The British began to move from their hiding places
and to draw closer to the Germans, standing there in the open.

"Well," Frank muttered to himself at last, "I guess the sooner we get busy
the better."

He sprang to his feet and leaped forward.



CHAPTER XX

THE BATTLE


Meanwhile, inside the cabin young Cutlip was facing the Germans cooly
enough. He rose to his feet as the door opened and the first German stuck
his head inside. The latter surveyed the interior rapidly, and seeing a
single figure there, advanced quickly, gun in hand.

"Oho! It's the boy," he said in clumsy English. "And where is your
father?"

"I don't know," answered the boy. "He went away."

"But did he get the food?"

Cutlip motioned to the sacks of provisions on the floor.

"Good!" said the German, rubbing his hands.

He returned his revolver to his belt and motioned his two companions to
enter. They closed the door behind them.

"You have told no one of our presence here?" asked the first German, as he
stooped over to examine the sacks.

"No."

"How about your father?"

"He has told no one, either."

"It is well. For if you had, we would kill you now."

Young Cutlip said nothing, but he knew by the hard look in the man's eyes
that he told the truth. In spite of the fact that the boy knew he was in
grave peril, he was perfectly cool.

He sat down again as the Germans passed from sack to sack, examining the
contents. At last the first man stood up and faced the boy.

"Your father, by chance, didn't say anything about pay for this food, did
he?" he asked.

"No," returned Cutlip.

The German grinned.

"Guess he knew it wouldn't do much good," he said. "Well, men, let's roll
this stuff outside."

Again the men bent over the sacks.

At that moment there came a shot from without, followed by a volley. On
the instant young Cutlip leaped to his feet, rushed to the door, threw it
open and dashed outside.

There he was right in the midst of the Germans. But the latter were too
busy and too surprised to pay any attention to him at that moment. They
had wheeled at the first volley from the woods, and had turned their own
weapons against the trees on three sides of the cabin.

Two or three of their number had gone down at the first fire, and they
were almost demoralized, so sudden and unexpected was the attack.
Consequently, young Cutlip had time almost to get clear of the enemy. In
fact, by quick dodging, he did get beyond them.

Out the door now rushed the three Germans in the cabin, apparently in
command of the men without. One issued harsh orders, and the Germans
dropped to the ground, thus making much smaller targets.

Frank, as he sprang forward from among the trees, saw young Cutlip throw
open the door and dash out. Frank ran toward him despite the fact that he
was charging the enemy almost single-handed. But he knew that the boy was
in danger through no fault of the lad's own, and that he must be
protected.

"Here, Cutlip!" he called.

The boy ran toward him.

Frank, a revolver in each hand, stopped and awaited the lad's approach.

Two Germans raised their rifles to shoot Cutlip down. Frank's eye caught
the glint of the steel in the darkness. His revolvers spoke sharply twice,
and Cutlip came on unharmed.

A bullet sang past Frank's right ear, another grazed his left. More
bullets began to sing by him. Cutlip stumbled forward, and sheathing one
revolver, Frank caught him by the hand.

"Run!" he cried.

Cutlip needed no further urging. Together he and Frank sped for the
shelter of the woods, which they reached safely and threw themselves on
the ground as a rain of bullets passed overhead.

"Close shave, son," said Frank.

Young Cutlip was trembling, but he was not afraid.

"Give me a gun," he cried. "I can pick off a few of 'em."

But Frank shook his head.

"You've done your part," he said. "Now you get away from here until we
clean these fellows up."

Frank circled among the trees until he came into the midst of his own men
again. These were still peppering away at the enemy from among the trees
and the Germans, lying on the ground, were returning the fire.

"We're wasting too much time here," Frank told himself.

He looked across to where Lieutenant Hetherton and his men were also
blazing away at the foe.

"Forward men!" cried Frank suddenly. "Charge!"

The British tars under Frank's command went forward with a wild yell.
Seeing their companions dashing across the open, the forces commanded by
Lieutenant Hetherton and the sailor Hennessy also broke from the trees and
charged.

The Germans poured several sharp volleys into the attackers, then threw
down their arms.

"Kamerad! Kamerad!" came the cry.

"Cease firing!" Frank shouted.

Silence reigned after the noise of the battle.

"Take charge of those men, Mr. Hetherton," said Frank quietly, "but be
careful how you approach. I don't trust 'em. I'll keep 'em covered."

Lieutenant Hetherton ordered his men to make prisoners of the Germans.

There came a sudden interruption.

The three Germans who had been in the cabin, as though by a prearranged
plan, suddenly dashed back into the little building and flung to the door
before they could be stopped.

"Never mind," said Frank, "remove the others, Mr. Hetherton. We'll attend
to the men inside later."

From the window of the cabin there came a sharp crack. A bullet zipped by
Frank's ear, but the lad did not flinch. He moved his position and saw the
German prisoners marched to the rear.

"Now," he said, "we'll have to get those fellows inside. First, however,
we'll give them a chance."

He raised his voice in a shout.

"What do you want?" came the response from the cabin.

"You are outnumbered ten to one," said Frank. "Come out and surrender. We
don't want to kill you."

"Come and take us," was the sneering response.

"Don't be fools," called Frank. "We're sure to get you."

"Well, I'll get you first," came a sharp cry.

Frank stepped back and none too quickly, for a bullet passed through the
space where his head had been a moment before.

"If you must have it, all right," the lad muttered. He turned to his men.
"I want ten volunteers to go with me," he said quietly.

Every man stepped forward.

Frank smiled.

"Sorry I can't use you all, men," he said. "But ten will be enough.
Gregory, step forward."

A sailor a short distance away did so.

"Now, Gregory," said Frank, "you pick nine more men and bring them here."

This was the work of only a moment, and the men surrounded Frank. For a
moment the lad surveyed the cabin. They were now out of the line of fire
from the window on that side and consequently safe. It would be possible,
Frank knew, to tire the Germans out, but he had no mind for such slow
methods. He addressed his men.

"Two of you," he said, "break in the door with your rifle butts. We'll
cover you from either side."

Two men stepped forward and the others stationed themselves on either side
of the stout door. Frank called to Lieutenant Hetherton.

"Guard all the windows," he shouted. "Don't let them get away."

The door began to tremble under the blows of the two sailors. Directly
there was a crash as it fell inward.

Now, although this had been no part of Frank's plans, the minute the door
crashed in, the two sailors reversed their rifles and sprang over the
threshold.

"Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack!"

The rifles of the three Germans within and the two British sailors spoke
almost as one. One of the tars crumpled up in the doorway, while one of
the Germans also threw up his hands and slid to the floor.

With wild shouts of anger, the other sailors surged forward and poured
through the door in spite of German bullets, which now flew so fast that
accurate aim was impossible.

Frank dashed forward with the others. Down went the second German, leaving
but one alive. Frank found himself face to face with the latter.

"Stand back, men," he called.

The sailors obeyed.

In one hand the German gripped a revolver, but Frank held this arm with
his left hand and straightened it high above the German's head. Thus the
German was unable to bring his revolver to bear on the lad.

Nevertheless, his left arm was still free, and he struck Frank a heavy
blow in the stomach with his fist. The pain was severe and Frank loosened
his hold on the man's revolver arm. With a cry of triumph, the German
deliberately lowered his revolver.

Frank, having dropped one of his revolvers, was in a bad way. True, a
second was in his belt, but it did not appear that he had time to draw and
fire before the German's finger pressed the trigger.

But now came an action on the lad's part that proved his right to be
called an expert with the revolver--an action that often had bewildered
Jack and aroused his envy.

So quickly that the eye could not follow the movement, Frank dropped his
hand to his belt, whipped out his revolver, and without taking aim, fired.

A fraction of a second later there was a second report, as the German,
with Frank's bullet already in his shoulder, pressed the trigger, almost
involuntarily. But ere he fired, Frank had dropped to the floor and the
bullet passed harmlessly overhead.

Frank rose quietly.

"Bind him men," he said simply. "He's not badly hurt. He'll probably live
to face the gallows. Where is young Cutlip? Has anyone seen the boy?"

"Here he is, sir," answered the boy himself, and came forward. "And will
you release my father now, sir?"

"As soon as we return to the ship," replied Frank. "Come, men."



CHAPTER XXI

THE END OF THE SUBMARINE


Frank now took account of his casualties. Five men had been killed and
twenty more or less seriously wounded. As many more nursed slight
injuries.

The enemy's casualties, proportionately, had been more severe. Half of the
original number were stretched on the ground. Hardly a man of the others
but had been wounded.

Frank had his dead made ready for transportation back to the Essex, and
litters were improvised for the wounded who were unable to walk. The
grounded Germans also were carried--that is, those of them who were so
severely hurt they could not walk. Those who could walk were surrounded by
the British and marched on ahead.

The return trip was made without incident. The wounded were hurried aboard
the ship where their injuries could be attended to. The unwounded
prisoners were promptly locked up below with the other captives. Then
Frank and Jack, accompanied by young Cutlip, went to Jack's cabin. The
third officer held the bridge.

Frank gave an account of the events of the night as briefly as possible.
When he had concluded, Cutlip again asked:

"Will you release my father now, sir?"

"Certainly," said Jack. "You have borne yourself right bravely, and we
have much to thank you for, as has your country. It is too bad that your
father is not of a different stripe."

The boy's face flushed.

"He's a good father in many ways, sir," he said, "but he seems to be
scared to death of the Germans, especially of their submarine boats."

"We'll have him up here before we let him go," said Jack. "Mr. Hetherton,
pass the word to have; Cutlip brought to my cabin."

Lieutenant Hetherton left the cabin. He returned a few moments later
accompanied by two sailors, who walked on either side of the older Cutlip.
The man was still bound.

"Remove his bonds," Jack instructed.

Cutlip's hands were released, and he rubbed them together as he eyed the
group in the cabin. His eyes rested on his son.

"So!" he exclaimed, "I had an idea you were at the bottom of this."

"But, father--" began the boy.

"I'll attend to you later," said the father, "not that I'll have need to,
probably, for the Germans will attend to both of us. What ails you,
anyhow? Don't you know that the Germans eventually will be masters of the
world? If we stand in with them, it may help."

"The Germans will never be masters of the world," said Jack. "You are
laboring under a delusion, Cutlip. Your son is a brave boy. Not only did
he warn us of the presence of a German submarine off the coast, but he
rendered such other assistance that the entire crew has been either killed
or captured."

Cutlip showed his surprise.

"You can't mean it!" he exclaimed. "Why, how could you overcome them. They
are supermen. Ever since the war started I have been reading about them.
They are wonderful fighters--marvelous."

"Your trouble, Cutlip," said Frank, "is that you have read too much about
them. I know that the country has been flooded with German propaganda, but
I'd no idea it had affected anyone like that."

"But--" Cutlip began.

Jack silenced him with a gesture.

"You'll have to change all your ideas now, Cutlip," he said. "You see that
the German is not a superman. We have beaten them. Besides, your country
is at war with Germany. Only a traitor, or a coward, would refuse to help
his country."

Cutlip seemed a bit startled.

"I guess that's true," he said at last. "Yes, I guess you're right."

"You and your son had better remain aboard until morning," Jack continued.
"We'll put you both ashore then."

"Jack," said Frank at this point, "don't you think we should make an
effort to destroy the submarine before we go?"

"By George! We certainly should," declared Jack. "That had slipped my mind
for the moment. We'll have one of the captured officers up and see if he
will reveal its hiding place."

One of the Germans--a petty officer--entered the cabin a moment later in
response to Jack's summons. Jack explained briefly what he wanted.

"Tell you? Of course I won't tell you," said the young officer. "Why
should I? Do you think I am a traitor to my country, or a coward?"

Jack shrugged.

"I was just offering the opportunity," he said.

The officer was removed and one of the men brought in. Jack quizzed him
with no better results. One after another the unwounded men were
questioned, but none would reveal the location of the submarine.

"Looks like we would have to find it ourselves," said Jack at length.
"There is no use questioning any of the others. They won't tell."

Assistance came from an unexpected source.

"Maybe I can help out a bit," said the elder Cutlip quietly.

Jack, Frank and Lieutenant Hetherton looked at him in surprise.

"You mean that you know and will tell?" asked Frank.

"I do. You have made my duty plain to me. No longer am I afraid of the
Germans."

"How do you come to know this hiding place?" asked Jack.

"I discovered it to-day by accident. I was standing some distance back on
shore when I saw the vessel lying on the water."

"How far from here?"

"Just the other side of the reef."

Jack whistled.

"By Jove! We came awfully close," he said.

"You did indeed," said Cutlip. "But for the reef you must have been
discovered. Fortunately, it is very high."

"I suppose the U-Boat is on the surface at this moment," Frank
interjected.

"Most likely," Hetherton agreed. "A small crew has probably been left on
board, and they more than likely are awaiting the return of their
comrades."

"Strange they didn't hear the firing," said Frank.

"Not at all," said Jack. "I heard none of it here."

"The wind was blowing the wrong way," Hetherton explained.

"That must be the answer," Frank admitted. "Well, Jack, what do you say?
Shall we make an effort to get the boat to-night?" Jack hesitated.

"We may as well," he said at last. "Of course it will have to be taken
from the land, for we can't work the destroyer around the reef in the
darkness. Even if we got around safely, we should be discovered."

"Right," said Frank. "Then let's be moving. I take it, however, we will
need boats to reach the submarine."

"Our prisoners probably have left all the boats we need," Jack returned.

"That's so," said Frank. "Funny I didn't think of that. Will you be our
guide, Cutlip?"

"Glad to be," was the reply. "I want to redeem myself in some way."

"Let's be moving, then," said Frank, starting for the door.

"Hold on," said Jack "We've got to take a force with us, you know. Mr.
Hetherton, I'm going to leave you in command of the ship this time. I
shall command the shore party."

Lieutenant Hetherton's face fell, but all he said was:

"Very well, sir."

"In the meantime," said Jack, "pick fifty men and set them ashore. We'll
be there directly."

Lieutenant Hetherton saluted and left the cabin.

Half an hour later Jack led his men around the reef. There, a scant
hundred yards from shore, lay the submarine. The little party moved
silently to the edge of the water, and as silently embarked in the half a
dozen small boats they found there.

"Push off!" Jack commanded in a whisper.

Now young Cutlip had been left behind, but the father had elected to go
with the men in the boats. So earnest was his plea that Jack did not have
the heart to refuse him.

A dim light showed on the bow of the submarine as the little flotilla
approached; and then so suddenly that the night appeared to be lighted up
by magic, a flare of white made the boats approaching the submarine as
plain as day.

The submarine's searchlight had been turned on them.

"Down men," cried Jack.

The men, or those of them who were not needed at the oars, dropped to the
bottom of the boats. But the distance was so close that those on board
were able to make out the fact that the boats approaching were not filled
with their own men.

"Americans!" was the cry that carried across the water. "Man the forward
gun there!"

"Fire, men!" cried Jack in a loud voice. "Sweep the deck with your rifles.
Don't let 'em bring that gun to bear."

There was a crash of rifles as Jack's command was obeyed. Nevertheless the
Germans succeeded in training their rapid-firer, and it crashed out a
moment later. A veritable hail of bullets flew over Jack's men.

At a quick command from the lads, the boats drew farther apart, thus
making the task of the enemy more difficult. Then they closed in on the
submarine from both sides.

Harsh German cries and imprecations were wafted to the ears of the British
as the boats drew closer.

"Submerge!" shouted a voice.

"Quick, or we shall be too late," Jack roared.

The men at the oars exerted themselves to further efforts. Then Jack
caught another cry from the submarine.

"We can't submerge. The tanks are still broken."

"Good!" said Jack to himself. "Now I see what the trouble is. Faster," he
cried to his men.

"Quick," came a voice from the submarine, "we cannot let the ship fall
into the hands of the accursed Yankees. The fuse, man."

Jack understood this well enough. He raised his voice in a shout:

"Cease rowing!"

Frank's voice repeated the command and the little flotilla advanced no
more.

"Put about and make for shore," shouted Jack. "Quick."

The order was obeyed without question, and it was well that it was. Hardly
had the boats reached the shore when there was a terrific explosion, and
the water kicked up an angry geyser.

"And that," said Jack calmly, "is the end of the submarine. They've blown
her up--and themselves with her!"



CHAPTER XXII

WASHINGTON AGAIN


Early the following morning the Essex slipped from her little harbor and
put to sea. Cutlip and his son, who had been put ashore shortly before the
departure, stood at the edge of the water and waved farewell. Following
the father's conversion, he and his son seemed to be closer than before,
and they went away happily together.

Jack descended to the radio room.

"Get the Dakota for me," he instructed the operator.

"Dakota! Dakota!" flashed the wireless.

Ten minutes later the answer came.

"Destroyer Essex," flashed the operator again, following Jack's direction.
"Submarine reported to me yesterday destroyed. Crew either killed or
captured."

"Fine work, Templeton," was the reply flashed back a few moments later.

"I'm awaiting instructions," Jack flashed.

"Proceed to Newport News," came the answer, "and report in person to
Secretary of the Navy."

"O.K." flashed the operator.

Jack went to the bridge, where Frank was on watch.

"Well, old fellow," said Jack, "I guess our present cruise is ended."

"How's that?" asked Frank.

"We're ordered back to Newport News, and I must report to Secretary
Daniels."

"And after that, England again, I suppose?"

"I suppose so."

"Too bad," said Frank, "I would like to have had time to go to New York
and Boston to see my father. He could have met me at either place."

"You'll see him when the war's over, I guess," said Jack, "and to my mind
that will be before long now."

"Think so?" asked Frank. "Why?"

"Well, take for example the submarine raid off the American coast. It
looks to me like the dying gasp of a conquered foe. They must be nearing
the end of their rope to tackle such a problem."

"And still they have had some success," said Frank.

"True. But not much after all. What is the total tonnage destroyed in
comparison with the tonnage still sailing the seas unharmed?"

"There's something in that," Frank agreed. "But I can't say that I'm of
your opinion."

"Personally," declared Jack, "I believe that the war will be over before
Christmas."

"I hope so. But I can't be as optimistic as you are."

The run to Newport News was made without incident and the Essex dropped
anchor close to the spot where she had been stationed before.

She was greeted with wild cheers, for news of her success had preceded her
to the little Virginia city. Jack and his officers and men were hailed
with acclaim when they went ashore.

"Want to go to Washington with me, Frank?" asked Jack.

"That's a foolish question," was Frank's reply. "Of course I want to go."

"All right. Then we'll catch the ten o'clock train this morning. That will
put us in the capital some time before five."

"Suits me," declared Frank.

This program was carried out. Arrived again in the capital of the nation,
the lads went straight to the Raleigh hotel, where they got in touch with
the British ambassador.

"I've been hearing good reports about you, Captain," said the ambassador's
voice over the telephone.

"We were a bit lucky, sir, that is all," replied Jack deprecatingly.

"Nevertheless," said the ambassador, "Secretary Daniels wishes to thank
you in person, as does the President. I shall call for you within the
hour."

"Very well, sir."

Jack hung up the 'phone.

The ambassador was as good as his word. He arrived less than an hour later
and the lads accompanied him to the Navy Department, where they were
ushered into the presence of the Secretary of the Navy at once.

Secretary Daniels shook hands with both of the lads.

"You deserve the thanks of the whole nation for your gallant work," he
said. "I am instructed to take you to the President."

Jack and Frank flushed with pleasure, but there was nothing either could
say. From the Navy Department, the lads were escorted to the White House
immediately across the street, where President Wilson was found in his
office. The President was reached with little ceremony, and Secretary
Daniels himself made the introduction.

"So," said the President, "these are the young officers who commanded the
British destroyer Essex, which accounted for two of the enemy's
submarines? They look rather young for such important posts." He gazed
closely at Frank. "Surely," he said finally, "surely you are an American."

"Yes, sir," said Frank. "Born in Massachusetts, sir."

"Chadwick," mused the President. "Not, by any chance, related to Dr.
Chadwick, of Woburn."

"He is my father, sir."

The President seemed surprised.

"But I didn't know my old friend Chadwick had a son of your age," he said.

"Well, he has, sir," replied Frank with a smile.

"But how do you happen to be in the British service?"

Frank explained briefly.

"You have certainly seen excitement," said the President. "I am glad to
have seen you. Give my regards to your father when you see him. I am glad
to have met you, too, Captain," and the President shook hands with Jack.
"I hope to have the pleasure of meeting you both again some day."

The lads understood by this that the interview was ended. They followed
Secretary Daniels and the British ambassador back to the former's office,
where the latter handed Jack a paper.

"Cable from the British Admiral, I judge," he said.

Jack read the message.

"You are right, sir," he said. "We are ordered to home waters whenever you
are through with us, sir."

"I judged as much," said the Secretary, "which is the reason I had Admiral
Sellings order you to report to me. You are at liberty to return whenever
you please, sir. But first let me thank you for your services in the name
of the American people."

"Thank you, sir," said Jack, and saluted stiffly.

The lads now took their leave. The ambassador insisted on their going home
with him to dinner.

"But we should get back to our ship at once, sir," Jack demurred.

"Never mind," said the ambassador, "I'll take the responsibility of
holding you over an extra day."

So Jack and Frank dined with the ambassador, and took a late train to
Richmond, where they changed early in the morning for Newport News. When
they boarded the Essex later in the day they found in Jack's cabin the
commandant of Fortress Monroe, who, having learned that the Essex would
soon depart for home, had come to pay his respects while he yet had time.

"I want to tell you," he said to Jack, "that the Essex has made quite a
name for herself among my men."

"I'm glad to hear that, sir," declared Jack.

"The men are only sorry, and naturally," continued the commandant, "that
she was not manned by an American crew."

"Naturally, as you say, sir," Jack agreed. "Yet my first officer is an
American."

The Commandant glanced at Frank.

"Can that be true?" he asked.

Frank smiled.

"It's true enough, sir," he said. "Yes, I'm a native of the Bay state and
am in the British service merely as the result of an accident."

He explained.

"Well," said the Commandant, 'I'm glad of it. I'll have something to tell
my officers and men that will make them proud. I hope that the next time
either of you find yourselves in these parts you will look me up."

"Thank you, sir. We certainly shall," said Jack.

The Commandant took his departure.

"And now," said Jack, "for England."

First, Jack made a personal tour of inspection of the destroyer. Finding
everything ship-shape, the crew was piped to quarters and Jack rang for
half speed ahead.

A crowd had gathered at the water's edge and the Essex was speeded on her
way by cheering and waving thousands. It was a touching scene, and Jack
was very proud.

"A great country," he confided to Frank, as the vessel moved slowly out
into the Roads. "A great country. I am glad to have seen it again, and I
hope to come back some day."

"Oh, you'll come back," said Frank. "You'll come back when the war's over,
to visit me."

"I certainly will," Jack declared.

The fortifications of Fortress Monroe now loomed ahead.

"I suppose the Commandant is somewhere about to wish us God-speed," Frank
remarked.

The lad was right. And he did it in imposing manner.

The boom of a great gun was heard. This was followed by the roar of many
more; and the rumble continued as the Essex drew near, was louder as she
breasted the fort and continued as the ship passed on. Jack ordered a
reply to the salute from the forward guns, and for the space of several
minutes, the very sea seemed to tremble.

Then the Essex gathered speed and plowed ahead.

"Quite an ovation," said Frank, as he and Jack descended to the latter's
cabin, leaving Lieutenant Hetherton on the bridge.

"It was, indeed. Yes, as I said before, it's a great country. You should
be proud to be a native of it."

"I am," said Frank simply.



CHAPTER XXIII

BACK IN ENGLAND


Following the return of the Essex to English waters, Jack reported at once
to Lord Hastings in Dover.

"I hear great things of you boys," said Lord Hastings. "Great things
indeed."

"We were a bit fortunate, sir," Jack admitted.

"It was more than good fortune," declared Lord Hastings. "But it's nothing
more than I expected of you both."

They conversed about various matters for some minutes. Then Jack asked:

"And what is in store for us now, sir?"

"You will report to Admiral Beatty," said Lord Hastings. "The Essex will
be assigned to duty with the Grand Fleet in the North Sea. Patrol work,
mostly. There is little likelihood that the Germans will make another
effort, but the sea must be patrolled, nevertheless."

"When do we report, sir?"

"At once. You will weigh anchor in the morning. Admiral Beatty's flagship
is somewhere off the coast of Belgium."

"Very well, sir," said Jack, and departed.

The next day the Essex left Dover. Fifty miles out, Jack picked up the
flagship by wireless and received his instructions.

Days lengthened into weeks now and weeks into months and the Essex was
still patrolling the North Sea with others of the Grand Fleet--composed
besides British vessels of an American squadron in command of Vice-Admiral
Sims. August passed and September came and still the Germans failed to
venture from their fortress of Helgoland and offer battle to the allies.

The work became monotonous. Occasionally, the Essex put back to port for
several days to replenish her bunkers and to take on provisions. At such
times Jack and Frank usually went ashore for short periods, and the crew,
portions at a time, were granted shore leave.

It was upon the last day of September that great news reached the
fleet--news that indicated that the war was nearing its end and that now,
if ever, the German fleet might venture from its hiding place and risk an
engagement.

Bulgaria had broken with Germany and sued for a separate peace.

Several days later came the news that an armistice had been signed and
that Bulgaria had ordered all German and Austrian troops to leave her
boundaries. King Ferdinand abdicated in favor of his eldest son, Boris,
who immediately ordered the demobilization of the Bulgarian armies.

"Turkey will come next, mark my words," declared Frank as he and Jack
stood on the bridge, looking off across the broad expanse of the North
Sea.

"Most likely," Jack agreed; "and after Turkey, Austria. That will leave
Germany to fight the world by herself."

"She'll never attempt that," Frank declared. "The minute she sees her last
chance gone, she'll squeal for help, the same as a hog. It's not in a
German to take a licking, you know. He begins to show, yellow when the
game goes against him."

"Perfectly true," said Jack, with a nod. "Now, it strikes me that Germany,
facing the problem of fighting it out alone--for she must see that
Bulgaria's action will soon be followed by her other allies--may send out
her fleet for a grand blow."

Frank shook his head.

"Not a chance," he said.

"But," said Jack, "it has been the opinion of war critics and experts
right along that Germany was saving her fleet for the final effort when
all other means had failed."

"I don't care what the experts think," declared Frank, "I don't think the
Germans will dare risk an engagement. In the first place, it would be
suicidal--she would have everything to lose and nothing to gain. Don't
fret. The German naval authorities know just as well as we do what would
happen to the German fleet should it issue from Helgoland."

"Maybe you're right," said Jack, "but in the enemy's place, I wouldn't
give up without a final effort."

"That's just it," Frank explained. "You wouldn't, and neither would I.
Neither, for that matter, would any British or American officer, nor
French. But the German is of different caliber. He doesn't fight half as
well when he knows the odds are against him. No, I believe that the German
fleet will be virtually intact when the war ends."

"Then we'll take it away from them," declared Jack.

"I'm sure I hope so. It would be dangerous to the future peace of the
world to allow the Germans to keep their vessels."

"Well," said Jack, "you can talk all you please, but you can't convince me
our work is over--not until peace has been declared--or an armistice
signed, or something."

"I agree with you there. There will be plenty of work for us right up to
the last minute."

As it developed the lads were right.

"It was shortly after midnight when Jack was aroused by the third officer.

"Message from Admiral Beatty, sir," said the third officer, and passed
Jack a slip of paper.

Jack read the message, which had been hastily scribbled off by the radio
operator.

"German squadron of six vessels reported to have left Helgoland and to be
headed for the coast of Scotland," the message read. "Proceed to intercept
them at full speed. Other vessels being notified."

Jack sprang into his clothes, meanwhile having Frank summoned from his
cabin. Frank dashed into Jack's cabin, clothes in hand.

"What's up?" he demanded.

"Germans headed for the Scottish coast," replied Jack briefly, and dashed
out of the door.

Frank followed him a few moments later. Jack was standing on the bridge
giving orders hastily.

"Have a look at the engine room, Frank," said Jack, "and tell the engineer
to crowd on all possible steam. We'll have need of speed this trip, or I
miss my guess."

Frank obeyed.

The Essex, which had been proceeding east by south at a leisurely pace,
had come about now and was dashing due north at top speed. Jack himself
shaped the course and gave the necessary instructions to the helmsman.

Below in the radio room, the wireless began to clatter. The operator, from
time to time, was getting into touch with other vessels of the Grand Fleet
ordered north to intercept the German raiders.

First he received a flash from the Lion; then the Brewster replied, and
after her, the Tiger, Southampton, Falcon, White Hawk and Peerless.
Counting the Essex this made eight ships speeding northward to intercept
the enemy.

"I take it," said Jack, "that this is about the last blow the enemy will
attempt to deliver. The Germans, knowing they are beaten, are intent now
only upon doing what damage they can while there is yet time. This raid, I
suppose, they figure will throw a scare into the coast cities, as similar
raids did earlier in the war. However, they'll have a surprise this time,
for all the coast ports are fortified now. There will be guns there to
stand them off until we get there."

"Let's hope we get there in time," muttered Frank. "I'd like one more
crack at the enemy. I'm afraid they are going to get off too easily when
peace comes."

"We've got to get there in time," declared Jack.

From time to time the radio operator sent reports to Jack giving the
positions of other vessels rushing to the defense of the coast ports.

"We'll get there first, at this rate," said Jack. "We're closer than the
others."

"But we're no match for the enemy single-handed," declared Frank. "Chances
are that the German squadron is composed mostly of battleships."

"True enough," Jack admitted, "but we'll do what damage we can. The
Tiger, Lion, White Hawk, Falcon and Peerless are warships, you know.
They'll be more than enough for the foe."

"Yes; but we may be at the bottom of the sea by that time."

"Don't worry. We'll hold our own until assistance arrives."

Jack made a rapid calculation.

"If we had any idea of the approximate position of the enemy at this time,
we would know better how to go about our work," he said.

"You might call the enemy and find out?" said Frank with a grin.

"Don't be funny, Frank," said Jack severely. "This is no time for levity."

Came a cry from the lookout.

"Battle squadron off the port bow, sir!"

Jack clapped his glass to his eye.

The ships were too far distant and the night was too dark, however, to
permit him to ascertain the identity of the approaching vessels.

"May be the enemy, Jack," said Frank.

"Right," Jack agreed.

A shrill whistle rang out on the Essex.

This was the answer to Jack's order to pipe the crew to quarters.

"Clear ship for action!" was Jack's next command.

"If it is the enemy," he confided to Frank, "we'll try and keep him
engaged until reinforcements arrive."

"It may not be so hard, after all," Frank said "They may turn and beat a
retreat when they find they are discovered."

"Not if there is only one of us," said Jack. "Pass the word to the forward
lookout to sing out as soon as he can identify the enemy. I'll flash my
light on them. He may be able to make them out."

The huge searchlight of the Essex flashed forth across the water, and
played upon the approaching ships.

"Germans!" came the cry from the lookout.

"I thought so," said Jack. "Frank, go to the radio room and find out how
close our nearest support is."

Frank was back in a few minutes.

"Lion says to engage," he reported. "Says she'll be with us in less than
an hour. Tiger says she will arrive not more than fifteen minutes later.
Falcon and Hawk report they are less than an hour and a half away."

"Right," said Jack. "Trouble is those fellows are likely to out-range us,
in which event we'll have to retire slowly, trying to draw them after us.
In that way reinforcements may arrive sooner. Hello! There she goes!"

The roar of a great gun came across the water.



CHAPTER XXIV

THE ENGAGEMENT


"If we retire," said Jack, "we will leave the way open to the coast. At
this minute we are in their way."

"But if we try to stick it out here we'll be sunk," said Frank. "And if we
retire toward the coast, we'll be moving away from our supports."

"True enough," Jack agreed. "There's only one thing to do. That is to
retire as slowly as possible and try to entice all six ships after us. But
I'd much rather wade right in."

"Same here. But discretion is the better part of valor, you know."

"Boom!"

Again a gun spoke aboard one of the enemy.

"We're still out of range," said Jack. "Let 'em come a little closer."

As Jack could now see, all six ships had altered their course slightly and
were heading directly for the Essex.

"You may come about, Mr. Chadwick," said Jack.

Slowly the Essex swung about.

"Train your left guns on the enemy," Jack ordered.

This was done.

"Range finders!"

"Still out of range, sir," was the report.

"All right But let me know the minute we can strike."

"Aye, aye, sir."

"Half speed ahead, Mr. Chadwick."

"Aye, aye, sir."

Frank signalled the engine room.

"Boom! Boom! Boom!"

Guns spoke simultaneously aboard three of the enemy ships.

"Still beyond range."

It was Lieutenant Hetherton who spoke.

"Trouble is," said Frank, "that they will be within range before we are."

"We'll risk it," said Jack. "It's up to us to keep them busy until the
warships arrive."

The next fire from the enemy resulted in a screaming shell to port.

"They've got the range, sir," said Frank.

"Make it two-thirds speed ahead."

The speed of the Essex increased.

But the German vessels were bearing down on her swiftly, and eventually
Jack was forced to call for full speed ahead.

But still the German warships gained.

"They've the heels of us, too," muttered Jack. "Well, we'll slow down a
bit and trust to luck. We can't do any damage unless we get within
range."

The Essex slowed suddenly to half speed.

The German fleet dashed ahead, now in single formation. This was fortunate
for the Essex, for it meant that the guns of only one ship could be
brought to bear on the British destroyer at one time.

"Range, sir!" cried the range finder at this point.

"Then fire!" shouted Jack to the aft turret battery captain.

The battery spoke sharply, and the men gave a cheer of delight.

The first shell went home. It cleared the bow of the first German vessel
apparently by the fraction of an inch and smashed squarely into the
bridge. The crash of the shell striking home was followed almost instantly
by an explosion. Timber and steel, intermingled with human bodies, flew
high in the air. This much those aboard the Essex could see by the flare
of the searchlight.

"A good shot, men!" cried Jack. "An excellent shot!"

An excellent shot it was indeed.

Something appeared to have gone wrong with the steering apparatus of the
first German ship. She veered slightly to port.

The target thus presented was an excellent one.

"Fire!" cried Jack again.

The aft battery crashed out and once more the British cheered.

Two shells plowed into the crippled German just on the water line.

"A death wound," muttered Frank.

The lad was right.

The German vessel staggered under the force of the impact and seemed to
reel backward. Men leaped to the rails and hurled themselves into the sea.

Suddenly there was a loud explosion and the ship seemed to split in two, a
blaze of red fire stretching high into the heavens from the middle of the
vessel as it did so. Then blackness enveloped it again and the two parts
of the ship fell back into the water with a hiss like that of a thousand
serpents. The first German ship was gone.

It was first blood to the Essex and the crew cheered again.

But the other five German vessels came on apace. The gun on the forward
ship spoke, but the shell went wild.

"If they'll keep that formation, we might get away with the whole bunch of
them," said Frank.

"Yes, but they won't," replied Jack.

He was a good prophet.

Even now, the German vessels began to spread out, and within ten minutes
had formed a semi-circle. It was possible now for the forward guns on each
ship to rake the Essex without interfering with each other's fire.

"Train your guns on the ship farthest to port," Jack instructed.

The order was obeyed. Again came the order for range finders, and the
report that the range was O.K.

"Fire!" cried Jack.

Once more fortune was with the crew of the Essex. The range had been
absolutely accurate, and the heavy shell from the Essex carried away the
superstructure of the German. At the same moment came a cry from the
lookout aft:

"Warship coming up astern, sir!"

Quickly Jack looked around.

"The first of our reinforcements," he said quietly.

He gave his attention again to the enemy, who was drawing uncomfortably
close.

"Crash!"

Jack whirled sharply.

A shell had struck the Essex just above the water line on the port side.

"Go below and report, Mr. Chadwick!" Jack ordered.

Frank hurried away in response to this command. He sought the engine room.

"What's the damage, chief?" he asked.

"Slight," was the reply. "Shell passed clear through us, but cleared the
boilers. Better round up the carpenter, though, sir."

Frank hurried back to the bridge and reported the extent of the damage.
Then he sent a midshipman for the ship's carpenter.

"Crash! Bang!"

Another shell had struck the Essex, this time in the aft gun turret.

"Report, Mr. Chadwick," said Jack briefly.

Frank hurried to the turret.

"What's the damage, Captain?" he asked of the chief of the gun crew.

"One gun smashed, sir," was the reply. "Three of the crew killed and five
injured."

"Other guns still working?"

"Can't you hear 'em, sir?"

Frank smiled in spite of himself and cast a quick glance around.

In spite of the death that had overtaken their comrades, the surviving gun
crews in the turret were working like Trojans. The big guns continued to
spit defiance at the enemy.

Now and then a cheer rose on the Essex as a shot went home.

Frank again returned to the bridge to report.

"Boom!"

It was a deeper voice that spoke this time.

The radio operator himself rushed to the bridge.

"Lion firing, sir," he said. "Says she has sighted us and for us to
retire. No need of sacrificing ourselves Captain Jacobs says. The enemy
can't get away."

At the same moment the lookout aft sang out again.

"Warship coming up astern, sir!"

"The second of our reinforcements," said Jack quietly. "I'll bet these
fellows wish they had stayed home."

"I'm betting the same way," declared Frank.

"Well, it's getting too hot here," said Jack. "We'll get back and let the
big fellows get in the game."

"Good idea, sir," said Lieutenant Hetherton.

"Full speed ahead!" Jack ordered.

At the sound of the great gun on the British warship Lion, the German
admiral in command of the flotilla ordered his ships to slow down. Until
that moment he had not been appraised of the fact that the German raid was
known to the British fleet. He supposed, upon seeing the Essex, that he
had encountered a single vessel which just happened to be in that part of
the sea, but when the Lion came into the fight he began to have his
doubts.

As yet, however, there was no other vessel in sight, and as the Germans
heavily outnumbered the British, the admiral decided to continue the
engagement.

"I suppose this fellow happened to hear the firing and came to
investigate," muttered the German admiral. "Our raid can hardly have been
discovered yet."

Accordingly he gave the word to advance again.

And a moment later he was sorry that he had done so.

Far astern of the Lion, and yet not so far that the German admiral could
not have seen her but for the darkness, came two other long gray shapes;
and from farther east, and closer, appeared a third.

The German admiral gritted his teeth.

"Confound these English!" he exclaimed. "Can nobody beat them?"

For a moment he debated with himself. He had half a mind to continue the
struggle, for the odds were still, with the Germans. Then he changed his
mind.

The wireless aboard the German flagship flashed a signal to retire.

But the German admiral had delayed too long for a successful retreat.
Other British ships hove into view--seven of them. There was nothing for
the German fleet to do but fight it out. The admiral gave the order:

"Advance!"



CHAPTER XXV

THE LAST SEA BATTLE


The cannonading became terrific.

Now that assistance arrived, Jack ordered the Essex, which still was the
nearest British vessel to the enemy, back into the fray.

"The big fellows will look out for us," he confided to Frank.

The revolving turrets of the Essex were kept on the move and guns crashed
as fast as they could be brought to bear. Shells struck on all sides of
the destroyer and occasionally one came aboard. But thanks to Jack's
maneuvering of the vessel, so far she had not been struck in a vital part.

The main British fleet bore down on the enemy from two sides, and to
protect themselves against these new foes, the Germans were forced to turn
their attention elsewhere than the Essex. Already big shells from the
British warships were striking aboard the enemy. The range had been found
almost with the first fire from the approaching war vessels and the
Germans were replying as fast as they were able.

The fighting was at such close range now that Jack was able to distinguish
the names of the German battleships. In the center, flying the flag of
Admiral Krauss, was the Bismarck. On the right of the flagship were the
Hamburg and the Potsdam, while on the left the flagship was flanked by the
Baden and the Wilhelm II.

The fire of all five German vessels, at order of the admiral, was now
directed upon the Lion, which bore down swiftly and was perhaps a quarter
of a mile closer to the enemy than any other British craft except the
destroyer Essex, commanded by Jack.

The forward guns of the Lion roared angrily and spat fire in the darkness
as she bore down on the Germans at full speed. As yet no enemy shell had
struck the Lion, but she had put several shells aboard the nearest German
battleship--the Baden.

Now that the German fire had been momentarily lifted from the Essex, Jack
ordered his ship in closer; and a veritable hail of shells were dropped on
the Potsdam. For a moment or so the Germans paid no attention to the
destroyer, but the fire from Jack's men became so accurate that the
captain of the German ship found it necessary to disregard the admiral's
orders and turn his attention to the Essex in self-defense.

The first shell from the Potsdam flew screaming over the bridge of the
destroyer, but did no damage. The second was aimed better. It struck the
bow of the destroyer on the port side and plowed through. The destroyer
quivered through her entire length.

"Go below and report, Mr. Chadwick," Jack commanded.

Upon investigation, Frank learned that the shell had plowed through the
forward bulkheads and that the outside compartments were awash. But the
inner compartments had not been penetrated. He rounded up the ship's
carpenter, who announced that the damage could be repaired in half an
hour. There had been no casualties.

Jack accepted Frank's report with a brief nod; then gave his attention
again to fighting his ship.

Forward and to the right of the Essex there sounded a terrific explosion,
followed by a blinding glare. The Baden, one of the largest of the German
warships, sprang into a mighty sheet of flame. A shell from the Lion had
penetrated the engine room and exploded her boilers. Came wild cries from
aboard the vessel and escaping steam and boiling water poured on the crew
and scalded them.

With the searchlights of the British ships playing on her, the Baden
reared high out of the water, and as men jumped into the sea for safety,
she settled by the head, and sank.

This left only four of the enemy to continue the struggle and opposed to
these the British offered eight unwounded vessels. Admiral Krauss gazed in
every direction, seeking a possible avenue of escape. And at last he
believed he saw it.

To the east--back in the direction from which he had come--the space
between the British battleships Peerless and Falcon seemed to offer a
chance. The German admiral calculated rapidly. To the eye it appeared that
the German ships could pass through that opening before the British could
close in.

The wireless aboard the German flagship sputtered excitedly. Instantly the
four remaining German ships turned and dashed after the flagship, which
was showing the way.

Instantly the commander of every British ship realized the purpose of the
enemy. Even the distant Falcon and Peerless seemed to know what was
expected of them. Their speed increased and they dashed forward in an
effort to intercept the enemy.

It was nip and tuck. The Lion was the first to dash in pursuit, followed
by the Tiger and the White Hawk. The Brewster and Southampton, closely
followed by the more or less crippled Essex, brought up the rear, each
doing its utmost to pass the other in order to get another chance at the
enemy.

Slowly the Lion, the Tiger and the White Hawk gained on the enemy; and it
became apparent now that the Germans would be unable to get through the
space between the Peerless and Falcon without a fight.

Aboard the Bismarck, the German admiral gritted his teeth.

"It will have to be fight now," he muttered, "and the odds are all against
me."

The Falcon and the Peerless, from either side and forward of the Germans,
now opened with their big guns almost simultaneously. Every available gun
aboard the German vessels replied. From astern, the guns of the Lion were
pounding the sterns of the fleeing enemy battleships. The Brewster and the
Southampton, together with the Tiger and the White Hawk, also were hurling
shells after the Germans, although with little effect, for they were
trailing too far behind.

Jack urged the Essex forward in the wake of the others. He was far behind
and was rapidly being outdistanced by the larger ships, but he determined
to see the thing through if possible.

The last German ship in line, struck by a shell from the pursuing Lion,
staggered and fell to one side. The Lion darted on, pouring a broadside
into the crippled enemy as she passed, then dashed after the vessels
ahead.

The Tiger, White Hawk, Brewster and Southampton, also poured broadsides
into the Wilhelm II as they passed, but they did not even slacken their
pace.

But the Wilhelm II apparently had not received her death blow. Her crew
continued to fight the ship heroically, and as the Essex approached she
was greeted with a heavy fire from the German.

"The big fellows don't seem to have made a very good job of this," said
Jack to Frank. "We'll finish it for them."

The Essex slowed down and turned sharply toward the Wilhelm II. Her guns
still in condition to fight burst forth anew. The British showed
excellent marksmanship. Shell after shell was poured into the crippled
foe. Jack ordered "cease firing."

Taking a megaphone that lay nearby, he put it to his mouth and called:

"Surrender!"

His answer was a shell that came crashing aboard aft from one of the
Wilhelm II's big guns. Jack turned quietly to Frank.

"Sink her!" he said.

Frank dashed across the deck to where the crew of the forward gun turret
was anxiously awaiting some command. He addressed the captain of the crew.

"See if you can put a shell into her engine room," he said. "Take your
time."

The latter did so; and it was several seconds before the big gun spoke,
but when it did Frank uttered an exclamation of satisfaction.

The shell had gone true. Watching eyes aboard the Essex saw it plow its
way through the side of the Wilhelm II. Then came the explosion and the
Wilhelm II seemed to part in the middle. She sank in less than five
minutes.

Meanwhile, the Peerless and Falcon had headed off the other three German
ships, which, forced to fight, now stood at bay, with every gun pounding.
The Lion, Tiger and the other vessels bore down on them rapidly from
astern.

For the space of half an hour the view of those aboard the Essex was
obscured by the smoke from the big guns, which could not be penetrated
even by the bright lights of the searchlights. They could hear the boom of
the big guns, the crash of the shells as they struck home and occasional
sharp explosions that told of irrepairable damage aboard the enemy
vessels, but they could see nothing.

"This will be the last of the enemy," was Frank's comment.

Jack nodded.

"I should think so," he agreed. "If they let one of those fellows get away
now they should be court-martialed."

"Don't fret," said Frank, "they won't get away."

They didn't get away.

Firing ceased just as the first streak of light appeared in the eastern
sky, and when the smoke of battle cleared away, Jack and Frank saw that
the British victory had been complete.

Only two German ships were still above water. These were the Bismarck,
flagship of Admiral Krauss, and the Hamburg. The others had all been sunk.

The Hamburg, the lads could see, was slowly sinking by the head. She was
being abandoned by her crew, who, in small boats, some even swimming, were
hurrying to the side of the Bismarck, where they were lifted aboard.

"Why didn't they sink her, too?" demanded Frank pointing to the German
flagship.

"Why?" repeated Jack. "Why should they? Can't you see that white flag
flying at the masthead?"

"By George! I hadn't noticed that."

"And there," said Jack, pointing, "goes a prize crew from the Lion to take
over the vessel."

A launch loaded with British tars had put off from the Lion and was making
toward the German flagship.

Admiral Krauss and his officers and men were soon transferred to the Lion
and a British crew was in possession of the Bismarck.

Thus ended the last sea battle of the great war. In all the times that
Germany had tested the naval power of Great Britain and her allies, she
had found it great--too much for German naval tactics to overcome. And now
that the great war was drawing to an end, she did not test it again.



CHAPTER XXVI

THE END APPROACHES


With the coming of November, it became apparent to every officer and man
in the Grand Fleet--as well as the rest of the world--that the beginning
of the end was at hand--that the German war machine was disintegrating and
was about to break.

This was strengthened by the announcement on November 2 that the preceding
day England, France and Italy had concluded an armistice with Turkey, thus
depriving Germany of her second ally. This left only Germany and Austria
to continue the struggle, and upon the same day that the armistice with
Turkey was announced came word that Austria also had made overtures for
peace.

"You can take it from me," said Jack, as the destroyer Essex continued her
patrol of the North Sea, "that this war is about to end. I'm willing to
bet that Germany will sue for peace within a couple of weeks."

Frank expressed his doubts.

"She's likely to continue the struggle for some time yet," he said.

"But that would be foolish," declared Jack. "She can hope to gain nothing
thereby."

"Perhaps not. But if Germany sues for peace now there is likely to be such
an internal upheaval in the Empire that the French revolution will look
like a house party."

"Maybe you're right, but I stick to my opinion nevertheless."

Events proved that Jack was right.

On the morning of November 5, word reached the Grand Fleet that an
armistice had been concluded with Austria the day before.

"As I expected," said Jack. "What did I tell you, Frank?"

"Well, I anticipated that myself," said Frank. "But Germany hasn't asked
for peace yet, you know."

"True, but I can tell you something you don't know. I just got word this
morning."

"What's that?"

"Why Germany, through Chancellor Ebert, already is in negotiations with
President Wilson."

"What?"

"Exactly. President Wilson has replied that he will stick to his original
principles of peace, announced some time ago. Germany is requested to
announce whether she will accept such terms."

"But it seems to me," said Frank, "that if Germany wants peace she should
be made to ask it on the field of battle."

And that is exactly what happened, for when the armistice negotiations
were finally begun it was at a conference between Marshal Foch,
commander-in-chief of all the allied forces, and a commission of German
officers.

It was on November 8, that news of the armistice conference was flashed to
the Grand Fleet.

"Armistice commission will meet November 10 at Hirson, France," read the
message, flashed to every vessel in the fleet.

All that day and the next, every man in the fleet waited anxiously for
further word of the approaching armistice conference. None came. Neither
had any word been received on the evening of November 10.

"Must have been a hitch some place," said Frank, as they sat in the
latter's cabin that night.

"Not necessarily," replied Jack, "You know these things take time. A
matter like this can't be fixed up in an hour, or a day."

"Well," said Frank, "I'd like to know what terms Marshal Foch will impose
on the foe."

"They'll be stringent enough, don't you worry," said Jack. "He'll impose
terms harsh enough to make sure that Germany doesn't renew the struggle
while final peace negotiations are in progress."

"I hope so. But I'll tell you one thing I hope he does."

"What's that?" Jack wanted to know.

"I hope he insists on the surrender of the whole German fleet."

"Whew!" exclaimed Jack. "You don't want much, do you?"

"Well, he should insist on it," declared Frank.

"But he probably won't," returned Jack. "I figure, however that he will
insist that a large share of the ships be turned over to the allies,
including their most powerful submarines and battleships and cruisers. But
you can't expect them to give up the whole business, particularly when the
entire High Seas Fleet is practically intact."

"Maybe not; but I'm for taking all we can get."

"So am I," Jack agreed, "all that we can get without danger of causing a
hitch in the armistice proceedings."

"Seems to me," said Frank, "that by this time we should have had some word
of the proceedings at Hirson to-day."

"It would seem so, that's a fact. However, I guess we will get the
information all in good time."

"That's all right. But I'm anxious to know what's going on."

"Well, we won't know to-night; so I am in favor of turning in."

"Guess we may as well."

But early the next morning, an account of the first day's proceedings of
the armistice delegates was flashed to the fleet. This, however, did not
bring much jubilation, for the announcement simply said that the German
delegates had refused the terms offered by Marshal Foch and had returned
to their own lines for further instructions.

"Told you so!" exclaimed Frank. "This war is not over yet."

"Don't you believe it," declared Jack. "These Germans may do a little
bluffing--I'd probably try the same thing under similar conditions--but
you mark my words, they'll accept the terms, all right."

"The conference is to be resumed some time this afternoon," said Frank.
"That means that we will hear nothing before morning."

"It depends," said Jack. "If the armistice is signed to-day, we'll
probably get the word immediately; but if it stretches out for a day or
two, we probably won't"

"I guess that's about the size of it," Frank admitted.

All during the day excitement aboard the Essex, and all other vessels
patrolling the North Sea, for that matter, was at fever heat. While every
man knew that there was little likelihood of receiving news until long
after dark, each one nevertheless lived in hopes.

Nevertheless, patrol work was still being done carefully. It had become an
axiom of a British sailor that a German was not to be trusted--that when
he appeared the least dangerous, it was time to watch him more carefully.
Consequently, in spite of the impending armistice, the vigilance of the
British fleet was not relaxed.

Six o'clock came, and seven; and still there had been no word from the
scene of the armistice conference. At eight o'clock Frank said:

"I don't know what we are sitting up for. Something must have gone wrong
again. If the armistice had been signed we would know something of it by
this time."

"Hold your horses," said Jack. "I'm just as anxious as you are, but there
is no use getting excited about it."

"Well," said Frank, "if we haven't heard something by nine o'clock, I'm
going to turn in."

But at nine o'clock no word had been received.

"I know we shall hear nothing to-night," said Frank, rising, "so I'm going
to tumble into my bunk."

"Help yourself," said Jack, looking up from a book he was reading. "I'll
wait a little longer."

Frank retired to his own cabin and was soon asleep. At ten o'clock, no
word having been received, Jack put down his book and rose.

"Frank may be right," he told himself. "At all events, I may as well turn
in. My remaining up won't alter the facts, whatever they are."

He undressed, extinguished the light in his cabin and climbed into bed.

Aboard practically every ship in the fleet, almost the same scenes were
enacted that night. Officers and men alike remained up for hours, awaiting
possible word that the armistice had been signed. But at midnight no word
had been received, and while the big ships moved about their patrol work,
the men slept--those of them who had no duties to perform at that hour.
Only the officers and members of the crew watch, and the night radio
operators, remained awake.

To Jack it seemed that he had just closed his eyes when he was aroused by
the sound of the Essex's signal whistle. It screeched and screeched. Jack
leaped from his bunk and scrambled into his clothes.

"Something wrong," he muttered. "Wonder why they didn't call me?"

He hurried on deck.

Frank, in his cabin, also had been aroused by the noise. He, too, sprang
into his clothes and hurried on deck.

There the first thing that his eyes encountered was a circle of figures,
with hands joined, dancing about the bridge and yelling at the top of
their voices. Among them was Jack, who, for the moment, seemed to have
forgotten the dignity that went with his command. Also, the shrill signal
whistle continued to give long, sharp blasts. Frank looked at Jack in pure
amazement.

"Must have gone crazy," he muttered.

He hurried to the bridge and standing behind the dancing figures, caught
Jack by the coat as he whirled by.

"I say," he demanded. "What's the meaning of this? Have you gone mad?"

Jack stopped and broke away from the circle which danced on without him.

"Almost," said Jack, in answer to Frank's question, "and with good
reason."

"What--" began Frank.

"By George! Can't you think?" demanded Jack.

Gradually comprehension dawned on Frank.

"You mean--" he began again.

"Of course, I mean it," shouted Jack. "Why else do you think I'd be
dancing around here like a whirling dervish? Come on and join the crowd.
The armistice has been signed!"

"Hurrah!" shouted Frank.

A moment later he was circling madly about the bridge with the others.



CHAPTER XXVII

PREPARING FOR THE SURRENDER

ALTHOUGH the armistice had now been officially signed and fighting had
ceased, under orders from Admiral Beatty, commander of the Grand Fleet,
every ship was still stripped for action. While it appeared that
everything was open and above-board, the British admiral intended to take
no chances. He recalled other German treachery and he was not at all sure
in his own mind that the enemy might not attempt some other trick.

Two days after the signing of the armistice, upon instructions from the
admiralty, Admiral Beatty got in touch by wireless with the German fleet
commander in Helgoland, Admiral Baron von Wimpfen. With the latter Admiral
Beatty was to arrange for the surrender for such portions of the German
High Seas Fleet as had been decided upon by Marshal Foch and the German
armistice commission.

All day the wireless sputtered incessantly aboard the flagship, while
other ship commanders within radio distance listened to what was going on.
Jack was among these. He relieved his radio operator for the day and took
the instrument himself.

"The German fleet," ticked Admiral Beatty's flagship wireless, "will steam
forth from Helgoland on November 19 and move due west toward the English
coast, where the British fleet will be stationed to await its coming."

"Shall we dismantle our guns?" asked Admiral von Wimpfen.

"Yes."

"And what of the size of our crews?"

"They shall be large enough to handle the vessel. That is all. The crew of
each ship shall be reduced to the minimum."

"And how about our submarines?"

"They must be surrendered first."

"But the surrender cannot be completed in one day."

"I am aware of it," replied Admiral Beatty. "As I have instructed you, the
first of the German fleet will leave Helgoland on the night of November
19. By that I mean the submarines. They must steam on the surface. The
first flotilla to be composed of twenty-seven vessels."

"I understand," returned the German admiral.

"Very well. My ships will be stretched out in a fifty-mile line on either
side of your ships as they approach and will fire at the first sign of
treachery."

"There shall be no treachery, sir. You have the word of a German admiral."

"Very well I shall acquaint you with other details from time to time."

This was the conversation that Jack heard that day.

At noon on November 18, Jack, together with other commanders, received
word from Admiral Beatty to steam toward Harwich, on the English coast,
and to take his place in the long line of ships that would be gathered
there to receive the surrender of the enemy fleet.

Excitement thrilled the crew of the Essex. They were about to witness one
of the greatest events of world history and there wasn't a man aboard who
didn't know it. Nevertheless, there was no confusion, and the Essex
steamed rapidly westward.

"Hope we get up near the front of the line," said Frank to his chum. "Also
that we are close to Admiral Beatty's flagship."

"Here too," said Jack. "It will be a sight worth seeing."

"Rather."

"Well, we can't kick no matter where they place us, you know. I suppose I
shall receive the necessary instructions in plenty of time."

Jack did. The instructions came the following morning, while the Essex was
still possibly a hundred miles off the English coast.

"You will report to Admiral Tyrwhitt," Jack's message read, "who will
assign you to your station."

Jack immediately got in touch with Admiral Tyrwhitt by wireless. The
latter gave his position and informed the lad that his place in line would
be next to the Admiral's flagship.

"I thought Admiral Beatty would be up toward the front," said Jack.

"He probably will," was Frank's reply. "I have it figured out like this,
from what you have told me of the fact that the submarines will be
surrendered first: Admiral Tyrwhitt probably will receive the surrender of
the U-Boats, while Admiral Beatty will receive the formal surrender of
Admiral von Wimpfen himself."

"Maybe that's it," Jack agreed.

It was well after noon when the Essex sighted the flagship of Admiral
Tyrwhitt, the Invincible, and reported for duty. Jack received
instructions to lay to just west of the flagship. He obeyed.

From time to time now other vessels appeared and reported to Admiral
Tyrwhitt and were assigned places in the long line.

Suddenly there was a cheer from the crews of the many ships. Jack glanced
across the water, as did Frank. And then the latter went wild with
excitement.

Steaming majestically toward them came five great battleships flying the
Stars and Stripes.

"So the Americans will be in at the finish," said Jack.

"You bet they will," declared Frank. "We're always in at the finish."

"Well, you deserve to be this time, I guess," said Jack with a smile.

"We always deserve to be," declared Frank.

"So?" replied Jack. "I'm not going to argue with you about it."

"It wouldn't do any good," declared Frank. "Let me tell you something. If
it hadn't been for the United States this war wouldn't be over yet."

"Is that so?" demanded Jack. "Why wouldn't it?"

"Because all the British and French together don't seem to have been able
to lick the Germans."

"Rats," exclaimed Jack. "We would have done it in time."

"Maybe so, but there is nothing sure about it It was the Americans who
turned the tide at Chateau-Thierry."

"They did some wonderful work, I'm not gain-saying that," Jack admitted.
"But I can't see that it was any more remarkable than what the Canadians
did at Vimy Ridge."

"Well," said Frank smiling, "while the Canadians are really British
subjects, nevertheless they come from the same part of the world as the
Yankees. They're made out of the same pattern."

Jack smiled.

"I seem to have spoiled my own argument there, don't I?" he said.

Frank grinned too.

"You've got to admit," he said, "that when the Americans start a thing
they go through with it. They never turn back."

"True enough," Jack admitted, "but to my mind it takes them a deuced long
time to get started."

"They just want to be sure they're right first," Frank explained.

"Have it your own way. But those five American ships approaching now look
mighty good, I'll admit that."

"I never saw a more beautiful sight," declared Frank, and he meant it.

Majestically the American warships steamed along, the leading vessel
flying the flag of Admiral Sims. They approached almost to the flagship of
Admiral Tyrwhitt and the guns of the two flagships boomed out an exchange
of salutes. Then the American flotilla slowed down and swung to leeward,
and took its places in the long line.

"Going to be quite an event this surrender, if you ask me," said Frank.

"It certainly is," Jack replied. "I understand King George and Queen Mary,
together with many other distinguished British, French, Americans and
Italians, will be present to witness the surrender."

"Including ourselves," grinned Frank.

"Well, we're probably not such big fry," Jack commented, "but we've done
as much--and a whole lot more--than a good many of them, if you ask me."

"My sentiments exactly," declared Frank. "And for that reason we're just
as much entitled to be in at the finish as any of the rest."

"More so," said Jack quietly.

"Well, we'll be there. So we have no kick coming."

All day great vessels of war continued to arrive and take their places in
the line. As far as the eye could see long gray shapes lay in the
water--two lines of them--with perhaps half a mile between. Through this
space the German warships would pass when they came out to surrender.

When the eye could no longer see ships, the presence of other vessels was
noted by smudges of smoke on the horizon. The line of ships, or rather the
two lines, Jack and Frank knew, stretched almost to the distant shore.

"Yes," said Jack, "it's going to be quite an event."

Suddenly the guns of every ship burst out with a roar. The flagship of
Admiral Beatty was approaching down the line from shore. Aboard it, every
man of the great fleet knew, besides the admiral, were King George and
Queen Mary of England; and it was the royal salute that was being fired.
Even the American ships joined in the greeting.

The guns of Admiral Beatty's flagship were kept busy acknowledging the
salutes. On every deck handkerchiefs and caps waved frantically as the
flagship passed.

As the vessel drew abreast of the Essex, Jack and Frank, standing together
on the bridge, made out the forms of the King and Queen of England on the
bridge.

Both lads doffed their caps, and Jack ordered the royal salute fired by
the big guns of the destroyer.

The vessel trembled under the detonation and the crew seemed to go wild as
they cheered at the top of their voices.

The flagship passed on.

A mile or so to the east, the flagship slowed down and turned into line.

"And that's where I suppose she will remain until after the surrender,"
said Jack.

The lad was right.



CHAPTER XXVIII

THE SURRENDER


Germany's sea surrender began at dawn on November 20, nine days after the
signing of the armistice.

Out in this misty expanse of the North Sea the allied battleships had
taken up their positions in a fifty-mile line of greyhounds. Aboard the
allied battleships every eye was strained to the east; every man was on
the alert. The British and allied war vessels presented a noble sight,
stretched out as far as the eye could see, and beyond.

Every ship was stripped for action. Crews were at their posts. Not until
the surrender was an accomplished fact would the vigilance of the British
naval authorities be relaxed. Not until the German vessels were safe in
the hands of the allies would British officers and crews be certain that
the enemy was not meditating trickery up to the last moment.

The destroyer Essex, commanded by Jack, as has already been said, was at
the extreme east of the long line of battleships. Beyond it were the
flagship of Admiral Beatty, flanked still farther east by three big war
vessels, and Admiral Tyrwhitt's flagship.

Jack and Frank were on the bridge of the destroyer. Other officers were at
their posts. The crews stood to their guns. Below, the engine room was the
scene of activity. A full head of steam was kept up, for there was no
telling at what moment it might be needed.

Came a shrill whistle from the farthest advanced British vessel, followed
by a cry from the lookout aboard the destroyer:

"Here they come!"

As the red sun rose above the horizon the first submarine appeared in
sight. Soon after seven o'clock, twenty-seven German submarines were seen
in line, accompanied by two destroyers. These latter were the Tibania and
the Serra Venta, which accompanied the flotilla to take the submarine
crews back to Germany.

All submarines were on the surface, with their hatches open and their
crews standing on deck. They were flying no flags whatever, and their guns
were trained fore and aft in accordance with previous instructions from
Admiral Beatty.

Until the moment that they had sighted the first ship of the British
fleet, the German flag had flown from the mastheads of the various
undersea craft, but they had been hauled down at once when the allied war
vessels came into view.

The leading destroyer, in response to a signal from Admiral Beatty on his
flagship, altered her course slightly and headed toward the coast of
England.

The wireless instrument aboard the destroyer Essex clattered and a few
moments later the radio operator rushed to the bridge with a message for
Jack. The latter read it quickly, then said:

"Send an O.K. to the admiral?'

"What's up, Jack?" asked Frank.

"Lower half a dozen small boats, Mr. Hetherton," instructed Jack before
replying to Frank's question, "and have them manned by a score of men
each, fully armed."

"Aye, aye, sir."

Lieutenant Hetherton hurried away.

"What's up, Jack?" asked Frank again.

"I have been ordered to inspect each submarine as it comes abreast of us,"
Jack replied. "Apparently the admiral still fears treachery. I'll remain
aboard here, and leave the work to you and the other officers."

This was done. As each submarine drew up with the Essex she was boarded by
a score of the Essex's men. Some stood guard at the hatches with weapons
held ready, while an officer and the others of the crew went below for a
hurried trip of inspection, searching them diligently for "booby traps,"
and other signs of treachery.

This necessitated a slowing down in the speed of the German craft, but at
length the work was accomplished and Frank and his men, and all others
belonging aboard the Essex, returned to their ship.

"All serene, Jack," Frank reported.

"Very well, I shall so inform the admiral."

He scribbled off a brief message, which he sent to the radio room.

Now, with the submarines well along the line, the British fleet began to
move--escorting the U-Boats toward Harwich. The fleet would return the
next day to receive the surrender of the larger enemy war vessels, but
to-day it meant to make sure that the submarines were taken safely to
port.

There was one brief halt while the German admiral in command of the
flotilla went aboard Admiral Tyrwhitt's flagship to make formal surrender
of the submarines. He was accompanied by two members of his staff.

Admiral Tyrwhitt received him on the bridge. There were tears in the eyes
of the German admiral as he said:

"Sir, I surrender to you this submarine fleet of the Imperial German
navy."

He extended his sword.

Admiral Tyrwhitt waved back the sword and accepted the surrender in a few
brief words. The German admiral turned on his heel and walked to the rail.
There one of his officers held out his hand to a British lieutenant who
was nearby.

The latter refused it, and the German turned away muttering to himself in
his native tongue. The German admiral and his officers returned to the
destroyer, and the march of the fleets continued.

It was a procession of broken German hopes--in the van, a destroyer of the
unbeaten navy; behind, the cruel pirate craft that were to subjugate the
sea. Each of the allied warships turned, and keeping a careful lookout,
steamed toward Harwich.

As the Essex passed one of the largest submarines, which carried two 5.9
guns, Frank counted forty-three officers and men on her deck. The craft
was at least three hundred feet long.

"By George! Isn't she a whopper?" exclaimed the lad.

Jack nodded.

"She is indeed. The largest submarine I ever saw."

Near the Shipwash lightship, three large British seaplanes appeared
overhead. They were followed by a single airship. The sight of the Harwich
forces, which soon appeared in the distance, together with the seaplanes
and the airship, was a most impressive one.

Suddenly two carrier pigeons were released aboard one of the captured
submarines.

A shock ran through the officers and crew of every allied vessel in sight.
Apparently something was wrong. Sharp orders rang out. But the matter
passed over. It was explained that the pigeons had been released merely to
carry back to Germany the news that the surrender had been made.

Nevertheless, the act called forth a vigorous protest from the flagship of
the British commander-in-chief.

"Another act like that and I shall sink you," was Admiral Beatty's
message.

Still ten miles off shore, the procession came to a halt. Feverish
activity was manifest aboard the British vessels. Small boats were lowered
and put off toward the submarines. These carried British crews that were
to take over the vessels and conduct them to port. As fast as a British
crew took possession, the German crews were transferred to the German
destroyers there for the purpose of taking them back to Germany.

Then the procession moved toward Harwich again.

As the boats went through the gates into Harwich harbor, a white ensign
was run up on each of them, with the German flag flying underneath.

Before being removed to the destroyers, which were to carry them back,
each submarine commander, who were the only Germans left aboard the
vessels as they passed into the harbor, was required to sign a declaration
that his submarine was in perfect running order, that his periscope was
intact, the torpedoes unloaded and the torpedo head safe.

Despite orders issued to the Harwich forces in advance, to the effect that
no demonstration must be permitted in the city after the surrender of the
German fleet, wild cheering broke out on the water front as the
submarines, escorted by the great British warships, steamed into the
harbor.

Military police cleared the water front of the dense throng that had
gathered, but the best efforts they put forth were unable to still the
bedlam that had broken loose.

Commanders of the British ships had difficulty in restraining cheers by
their crews and later by the Harwich forces themselves when the fleet of
captured submarines was turned over to Captain Addison, the commandant at
that port.

Harbor space for the surrendered U-Boats had been provided in advance,
and the vessels were now piloted to these places, where they were placed
under heavy guard.

This work took time, and it was almost dark before the last submarine had
been escorted to its resting place.

All day crowds thronged the streets of Harwich, cheering and yelling
madly. In vain the military authorities tried to stop the celebration. As
well have tried to shut out the sound of thunder in the heavens. At last
the authorities gave it up as a bad job, and joy and happiness ran rampant
and unrestrained.

It was a glorious day for England, and thousands of persons from London
and the largest cities of the island had hurried to Harwich to witness the
formal surrender of the fleet and its internment. All night the thousands
paraded the streets of the little village, the celebration seeming to grow
rather than to diminish as the early morning hours approached.

So passed the bulk of Germany's undersea fighting strength into the hands
of Great Britain and her allies. No longer would they terrorize with their
ruthless warfare. They were safe at last. The fangs of the undersea
serpents had been drawn.

And on the night of November 20, 1918, thus made harmless, they lay
quietly in the harbor of Harwich, England, above them flying the Union
Jack.



CHAPTER XXIX

THE SURRENDER COMPLETE


November 21! This was to be a day, perhaps, more historic than the one
that preceded it, for on this day was to be surrendered to the allied
fleet the bulk of the great war vessels that comprised the Imperial German
navy.

Heading the great British flotilla that moved out to sea again was the
super-dreadnaught the Queen Elizabeth, Admiral Beatty's flagship, aboard
which were King George and Queen Mary, as they had been the day before.

Following the first twenty-five British ships steamed the American
squadron, Admiral Rodman, aboard the dreadnaught New York, showing the
way. Following the New York were the Florida, Wyoming, Texas and Arkansas.
Behind the Americans trailed a pair of French cruisers, followed in turn
by a few Italian vessels, after which came the remainder of the great
British fleet.

So the flotilla moved out again and took up the positions they had held
the day before. Again every eye was strained to catch sight of the first
German warship. And at last came the cry, sounding much as it had on the
preceding day:

"Here they come!"

The German fleet that approached now came much more swiftly than had the
flotilla of undersea craft. This time the halt was made while the German
flagship was abreast of the Queen Elizabeth. Admiral Baron von Wimpfen put
off for Admiral Beatty's vessel in a launch.

Admiral Beatty received the German admiral on the bridge of the Queen
Elizabeth, with him were King George and Queen Mary. Admiral von Wimpfen
made the formal declaration of surrender and it was accepted by the
British admiral without ostentation.

The German fleet thus turned over to Admiral Beatty consisted of
approximately one hundred and fifty vessels of all classes, including
dreadnaughts, battleships, cruisers and destroyers. Slowly these giant
vessels fell into line now and steamed toward Harwich, the British ships,
still cleared for action, accompanying them and watching carefully for the
signs of treachery.

But no such signs showed themselves. No longer were the Germans thinking
of fight. They had been decisively beaten, and they knew it. Apparently
they considered themselves lucky to get off so easily.

Still some distance off-shore, the crews of the German ships were
transferred to the half-dozen small vessels that were to carry them back
to the Fatherland, and British crews were put aboard the vessels. Then,
their eyes sad and watching what had once been the pride of Germany, the
German officers and sailors began their cheerless journey home.

Again it was a night of festivity in Harwich, and in all England, and all
allied countries, for that matter. The surrender of the great German fleet
was now a thing of the past. Germany's hands were tied. She could continue
the struggle no longer even should she elect to do so. While a formal
declaration of peace had not been signed, and probably would not be signed
for months to come, the war was over, so far as actual fighting was
concerned.

No wonder England, France, America, Italy and the smaller nations with
them went wild with joy. After four years of war, peace had again cast its
shadow over the earth, and everyone was glad.

"So it's all over."

It was Frank who spoke. He and Jack were in the latter's cabin on the
Essex. The ship was lying at anchor just outside Harwich harbor, riding
gently on the swell of the waves.

"Yes, it's all over," said Jack, "and I'm glad."

"So am I," Frank declared; "and yet we have had a good time."

"So we have, of a kind. And still you can't rightly call it a good time
when all we have been doing is to seek, kill and destroy."

"But it had to be done," Frank protested.

"Oh, I know that as well as you do. But war is a terrible thing, and the
more you see of it the more certain you become that it is all
foolishness."

"And yet, you can't permit a big bully to run amuck and smash up things
all over the world."

"That's true, of course, and it's exactly what the kaiser and his war
machine tried to do. Now, the machine had to be smashed, of course, and it
has been smashed. But how long will it take the world to recover? How long
will it take to rebuild what has been destroyed in these four years of
war?"

Frank shrugged his shoulders.

"I'm not good at conundrums," he replied.

"Nor I; and yet I'll venture to say that the reconstruction days will be
as hard as many we have experienced in the war."

"The thing that I want to know," said Frank, changing the subject
abruptly, "is just what will be done with Germany in the final peace
conference."

"You know as much about it as I do," replied Jack, "but my own idea is
that the German empire will be dismembered--divided into the states of
Prussia, Saxony, and so forth, as they were years before they united under
one head."

"I'm sure I hope so. Certainly the allies will never permit Germany to
attain such power that may make all our fighting futile--they'll never let
her grow strong enough to start another world struggle."

The lads conversed far into the night before retiring. Nevertheless they
were astir at an early hour, awaiting orders that they knew must come that
day; and they came shortly after noon in the shape of a wireless from Lord
Hastings.

"Return to Dover at once," the message read.

Again the Essex put to sea.

But it was upon a peaceful voyage that the destroyer was bound now. No
longer did her decks bristle with shining guns, crew at quarters and ready
for action. True, the Essex still showed plainly that she was a ship of
war, but her threatening attitude was gone. The war was over and all was
quiet aboard.

That night the destroyer put into Dover harbor and the lads went ashore to
report to Lord Hastings. It was after ten o'clock, but their former
commander received them at once in spite of the lateness of the hour.

"Sorry to disturb you at this hour, sir," said Jack, "but I thought
perhaps you would wish us to report to you immediately."

"And I am glad you did," returned Lord Hastings. "Come, tell me something
about yourselves. So you were in at the finish, eh?"

"You bet!" exclaimed Frank enthusiastically. "You should have been there,
sir."

"I was," replied Lord Hastings.

"You were, sir?"

"Yes."

"But we didn't see you, sir," said Jack.

"I know you didn't. But I saw you. And I saw Frank when he inspected the
submarines on the first day of the surrender."

"Where were you, sir?" demanded Frank.

"Aboard the Queen Elizabeth. I viewed the surrender as the guest of
Admiral Beatty, and their majesties."

For some time the conversation dealt only with the surrender of the fleet.
Then Lord Hastings said:

"Well, boys, the war is over. What do you intend to do now?"

"I know what I shall do, sir," said Frank.

"Well, let's hear it."

"I shall return to America as soon as I am able to procure my discharge."

"As I thought," said Lord Hastings. "And you, Jack?"

"I hardly know, sir. I have no relatives, few friends. There is no one
dependent on me, and I am dependent on no one. It strikes me, sir, that
the navy might be a good place to stick."

"And I had expected that, too," said Lord Hastings quietly. "But I don't
agree with you, Jack."

"Why not, sir?" asked Jack, in some surprise.

"In the first place," said Lord Hastings, "the life would begin to pall on
you when it settled down to dull routine. Now in active service, of
course, it's different. I know, because I've tried both. No, my advice to
you Jack, is to get out of the navy."

"But what shall I do, sir?"

"There are many things," said Lord Hastings quietly. "There is the
consular service, the diplomatic service. Who knows how far you may rise?
Already you have made a name for yourself and have won distinction. You
may go far, if you apply yourself."

"That's true, too, sir," said Jack. "I have thought of that, at odd
moments. But I guess you are right about the navy, sir."

"I know I am. And the sooner you get out of it the better."

"Then I'll take your advice, sir. But I'm afraid it won't be possible to
get a discharge for some time yet."

"It will be much simpler that you think, for both of you," said Lord
Hastings with a smile. "I still have some influence, you know, and I shall
see you receive your discharges within a fortnight, if you wish."

"Hurray!" shouted Frank. "That suits me. There is no use sticking in the
navy now. There is nothing to do."

"And," continued Lord Hastings to Jack. "In the meantime I'll look around
and see what I can turn up for you, Jack."

"Thank you, sir," said Jack.

"And in the meantime, Jack," added Frank, "you are going home with me for
a visit. That is, as soon as we get our discharges."

Jack hesitated.

"But I don't know that I should," he said. "Lord Hastings----"

"Go by all means," said Lord Hastings. "You have earned a rest and should
take it. Now I'll see about the discharges at once, and as soon as you
receive them, both of you take my advice and go to the United States. That
will give me additional time to look around, Jack. And when you get there,
stay until I send for you."

"All right, sir," said Jack with a smile. "You're still my superior
officer, sir. I must obey your commands."

The three shook hands and Jack and Frank returned to the Essex.



CHAPTER XXX

HOME AT LAST


"Recognize that, Jack?" asked Frank, pointing across the water.

The lads were standing on the forward deck of a great trans-Atlantic liner
that was edging its way into New York harbor.

Jack looked in the direction Frank indicated.

"Rather," he said, "although I only saw it once before. That's the Statue
of Liberty."

"Right," said Frank, "the emblem of that for which America went to war."

"And the spirit for which we all fought," Jack added.

"Exactly. Well, it's been a long time since I saw her. I'm glad to see her
again."

It was morning of the last day of the year 1918.

True to his word, Lord Hastings had been able to secure discharges for the
lads within two weeks after the surrender of the German fleet. They
accompanied Lord Hastings to London, where they remained some time at his
home. Frank, meanwhile, communicated with his father and announced that he
would be home soon. He did not give the exact date, for he wished his
return to be a surprise. And a surprise he knew it would be, as he now
stood on the deck of the incoming liner.

The ship docked a short time later and Jack and Frank went ashore at once.
They took a taxi to the Grand Central station, where they caught a fast
train for Boston. It was night when they arrived there, but Frank
determined to go out to his home in Woburn, ten miles from Boston, at
once.

Accordingly they took an elevated train at the South Station. This put
them in the North Station ten minutes later, and Frank found that there
was a train for Woburn in half an hour.

It was after dark when the lads alighted from the train in the little town
of Woburn. Jack had been there with Frank before, when the lads had
crossed the Atlantic to New York soon after the United States entered the
war. Accordingly, he knew the way from the station to Frank's home almost
as well as the latter did himself.

"Know where you are?" asked Frank.

Jack grinned.

"I've been here once," he said. "That should answer that question. You
know my memory is pretty good."

"Then you can show me which house I live in," said Frank.

Jack pointed to a house a block away where a dim light showed from beneath
a drawn curtain.

"There's the house," he said, "and there appears to be some one home."

"That's father, of course," said Frank. "He seldom goes out in the
evening."

The lads quickened their steps and soon were before the house. Quietly
they mounted the steps and as quietly tip-toed across the porch. Frank
tried the door. It was unlocked.

"Careless of father," he whispered. "I'll have to speak to him about
that."

He opened the door gently and the two lads passed within. Frank closed the
door noiselessly behind him. The lads dropped their grips silently in the
hall and then tip-toed toward a room at the far end, where a light showed.

Keeping out of sight, Frank peered in the door. There, with his back to
his son, sat Dr. Chadwick, reading. Frank stepped softly across the room
leaving Jack standing, grinning, at the door.

Frank reached out and put both hands across his father's eyes.

Dr. Chadwick's book dropped to the floor and for a moment Frank was afraid
he had frightened him by this unceremonious greeting. But Dr. Chadwick's
hands reached up and clasped the hands that for the moment blinded him.

"Frank!" he cried, and sprang to his feet.

The next moment father and son were in each other's arms.

Dr. Chadwick held his son off at arm's length, and looked at him.

"You're a sight for sore eyes," he declared. "You look better than you did
the last time I saw you, and you were looking fine then."

"Here, Father," said Frank, "is a friend of mine come to see you."

Dr. Chadwick turned and saw Jack in the doorway. He stepped forward and
gripped Jack's hand heartily.

"Jack Templeton, eh?" he exclaimed. "I'm glad to see you. And you are
Captain Templeton now, I perceive."

Jack blushed.

"They insisted on making me one, sir, and I couldn't refuse," he said.

"Now," said Dr. Chadwick, "you two boys sit right down here and tell me
all about yourselves. But first, are you hungry?"

"No, sir," said Frank. "We had dinner on the train just before we reached
Boston."

"Then let's hear what you have been doing. I understand you were present
at the surrender of the German fleet. Give me some of the details."

Until long after midnight the three sat there, Dr. Chadwick listening
eagerly to the tales of his son and the latter's chum. But at last he
looked at his watch.

"Why, it's after midnight," he exclaimed. "Time for bed."

Frank led the way to the room he had occupied since babyhood. This Jack
was to share with him during his stay.

"I'll tell you," said Frank, as he climbed into bed, "it feels pretty good
to a fellow to get back into his own bed after all these years."

"I should think it would," agreed Jack. "But mine is a long ways from
here. However, I guess I shall see it again some day."

"Of course you will, old fellow, and I'll go along with you."

They fell asleep.

Both lads were awakened by the sound of a commotion without. They jumped
out of bed. It was broad daylight of the first day of January, 1919.

"Still celebrating the new year, I guess," said Frank. "Remember we heard
'em shooting before we went to bed?"

Jack nodded.

Frank went to the window and stuck his head out. Instantly there was a
wild yell outside. Frank drew his head hurriedly back again.

"What's the matter?" asked Jack.

"I don't know," said Frank. "There is a whole gang of fellows out there
and they all seem to be crazy about something."

Jack had a faint suspicion. He crossed to the window and looked out.

Again a yell went up, followed by a cry from many throats:

"We want Frank!"

Even Frank heard this. His face turned red and he began to act flustered.

"Some of the fellows know I'm home, I guess," he said.

"That's what's the matter, all right," Jack agreed. "Better show yourself
again."

"Wait till I get some clothes on and I'll go down and see 'em," said
Frank.

"They'll probably want you to make a speech," Jack suggested.

Frank was alarmed.

"Speech?" he repeated. "I can't make a speech."

"Oh, yes you can. You don't mean to tell me that a fellow who has done
what you have--who has talked with kings and czars--is afraid to talk to
some of his old friends and companions?"

"That's different," declared Frank.

Jack smiled.

"I catch your point, and maybe you're right," he admitted. "However,
you'll have to do it."

"I suppose I shall," said Frank with a sigh, "so the sooner I get it over
with the better."

He led the way downstairs and on to the front porch. Jack stepped forward
close beside him. Again there was a wild cheer from many throats.

Both lads still wore their British uniforms, and they both presented a
manly and handsome appearance as they stood there on the front porch of
Frank's home.

"Hello, Frank!" "Glad to see you back!" "Are you going to stay here?"
"Tell us about yourself."

These were some of the cries hurled at the lad.

Frank's face turned red and he would have turned away had not Jack's
stalwart frame stayed him.

"Speech! Speech!" came the cry.

The hubbub increased.

"I can't do it, Jack!" Frank exclaimed.

"Oh, yes you can," replied his chum. "I'll help you."

He raised his right hand for silence, still keeping his left tightly on
Frank's shoulder, for the latter showed signs of bolting at the first
opportunity. Instantly the shouting died away and the crowd of young
fellows waited expectantly.

"I just want to introduce my friend," said Jack smiling. "Lieutenant
Chadwick, gentlemen, of His British Majesty's service, though an American
citizen, and a good one at that. Lieutenant Chadwick will be glad to say a
few words to you."

The cheering burst forth again, but died away as Jack pushed Frank
forward.

Frank made a brave effort and finally managed to say a few words. He grew
more at ease as he went along and his audience listened intently. He
spoke for perhaps five minutes, then concluded:

"And now, fellows, I want you all to step up and shake hands with my
friend--also my commander--Captain Jack Templeton. He's an Englishman, but
a pretty good fellow at that--and he's no older than any of us."

There was another cheer and the boys gathered around to shake Jack's hand
and get acquainted with him. And after they had talked and talked and
feasted their eyes on the British uniforms to their hearts' content they
went away. Then Jack and Frank went in to breakfast, where Dr. Chadwick
was awaiting them at the table.

A few words more and the history of The Boy Allies on the Sea is complete.

Jack remained with Frank for several weeks, then returned to England upon
receipt of a message from Lord Hastings announcing that he had found a
place for the lad in the diplomatic service. The story of Jack's struggles
in his chosen profession would make interesting reading, perhaps, but it
is in no wise connected with the great war. Suffice it to say that he is
rapidly rising to fame and fortune and that in years to come, in all
probability, he will hold one of the most important posts in the British
government.

Frank, for his part, remained in his home town, where he took up the
study of law. He proved an apt student and soon showed signs of talent
that undoubtedly will make him famous.

So here we shall take our leave of Jack Templeton and Frank Chadwick,
knowing that, in years to come, they will meet again, both famous then,
and that through all the years their friendship shall survive, and grow
stronger than it was in the days when they fought side by side for the
freedom of the world.

THE END





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