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Title: The Achievement of the British Navy in the World-War
Author: Leyland, John
Language: English
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                            THE ACHIEVEMENT
                             OF THE BRITISH
                              NAVY IN THE













  CHAPTER                                                           PAGE

    II. THE CENTRE OF SEA-POWER                                       11

   III. SWEEPING THE ENEMY FROM THE OCEANS                            21


     V. DEALING WITH THE SUBMARINES                                   37

    VI. THE NAVY AND THE MINE                                         46

   VII. THE NAVY AND ARMY TRANSPORT                                   55

  VIII. THE NAVY THAT FLIES                                           64

    IX. OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE NAVY                                  71



  THE KING CHATTING WITH ADMIRAL BEATTY                   _Frontispiece_

  A BRITISH FLEET STEAMING IN LINE AHEAD                               6

  DRIFTERS WORKING AT SEA                                              6


  A DRIFTER LAYING ANTI-SUBMARINE NETS                                22


  ON BOARD THE _Queen Elizabeth_ AT MUDROS                            38

  A FLEET MANŒUVRING AT SEA                                           64


  A BRITISH SUBMARINE                                                 80

  JOURNALISTS ON BOARD A MONITOR                                      80


   I.  THE CENTRE OF SEA-POWER: THE NORTH SEA           _At end of book_

                                                        _At end of book_




        Had I the fabled herb
         That brought to life the dead,
        Whom would I dare disturb
         In his eternal bed?
        Great Grenville would I wake,
        And with glad tidings make
        The soul of mighty Drake
         Lift an exulting head.

                    _William Watson._

When King George returned from the visit he paid to the Grand Fleet
in June, 1917, he sent a message to Admiral Sir David Beatty, who had
succeeded Sir John Jellicoe in the command, in which he said that
“never had the British Navy stood higher in the estimation of friend
or foe.” His Majesty spoke of people who reason and understand. But
it is certainly true that the work of the Sea Service during this
unparalleled war has never been properly appreciated by many of
those who have benefited by it most. The silent Navy does its work
unobserved. The record of its heroism and the services it renders pass
unobserved by the multitude. Sometimes it emerges to strike a blow,
engage in a “scrap,” or, it may be, to fight a battle, and then it
retires into obscurity again. Its achievements are forgotten. Only the
bombardment of a coast town or the torpedoing of a big ship, which
the Navy did not frustrate, is remembered. Such has been the case in
all the naval campaigns of the past. Englishmen, who depend upon the
Navy for their security and the means of their life and livelihood, as
well as for their power of action against their enemies, are but half
conscious of what the Fleet is doing for them. On this matter, British
statesmen, when they speak about the war, almost invariably fail to
enlighten them.

Who can wonder that people in the Allied countries are still less able
to realise that behind all the fighting of their own armies lies the
influence of sea-power, exercised by the British Fleet and the fleets
that came one after another into co-operation with it? Without this
power of the sea there could have been no hope of success in the war.
As the King said, the Navy defends British shores and commerce, and
secures for England and her Allies the ocean highways of the world. The
purpose of this book is to show how these things are done.

On the first day of hostilities the British Navy laid hold upon the
road that would lead to victory. There is no hyperbole in saying that
the Grand Fleet, in its northern anchorages, from the very beginning,
influenced the military situation throughout the world, and made
possible many of the operations of the armies, which could neither have
been successfully initiated nor continued without it. But in the early
days of August, 1914, when, from the war cloud which had overshadowed
Europe, broke forth the lurid horrors of the conflict, the situation
was extremely critical. What was required to be done had to be done
quickly and unhesitatingly, lest the enemy should strike an unforeseen
blow. Happily, with faultless knowledge, the strategy of the emergency
was realised, and with unerring instinct and sagacity it was applied.
The foresight of great naval administrators, and chiefly of Lord
Fisher, who had brought about the regeneration of the British Navy,
shaping it for modern conditions, was justified a thousandfold.

Never was the need of exerting sea command more urgent than at the
outbreak of war. Everything that Englishmen had won in all the
centuries of the storied past was involved in the quarrel. Only by
mastery of the sea could the country be made secure. Its soil had never
been trodden by an invader since Norman William came in 1066. The very
food that was eaten and the things by which the industries and commerce
of the country existed demanded control at sea. If the British Empire
was to be safe from aggression it must be safeguarded on every sea. If
England was to set armies in any foreign field of operations, and to
retain and maintain them there, with the gigantic supplies they would
require; if she was to render help to her Allies in men or munitions or
anything else, whether they came from England, or the United States, or
any other country, and were landed in France, Russia, Italy, or Greece,
or in Egypt, Mesopotamia, or East or West Africa, for the defeat of
the enemy, that must be done by virtue of power at sea. Therefore, in
this war, as John Hollond, writing his _Discourse of the Navy_ in 1638,
said of the wars of his time, “the naval part is the thread that runs
through the whole wooft, the burden of the song, the scope of the text.”

The moment when the First Fleet, as it was then called, slipped away
from its anchorage at Portland on the morning of Wednesday, July
29th, 1914, will yet be regarded as one of the decisive moments of
history. The initiative had been seized, and all real initiative was
thenceforward denied to the enemy. The gauge of victory had been won.
“Time is everything; five minutes makes the difference between a
victory and a defeat,” said Nelson. “The advantage and gain of time and
place will be the only and chief means for our good,” Drake had said
before him. By a fortunate circumstance, which should have arrested
the imagination as with a presage of victory—a circumstance arranged
five months before, as the result of a series of most intricate
preparations—time and place were both on the British side.

The First, Second, and Third Fleets, and the flotillas attached
to them, had been mobilised as a test operation, and inspected at
Spithead by King George, on July 20th. The First Fleet had returned to
Portland and the other fleets to their home ports, where the surplus or
“balance” crews of the Naval Reserves were to be sent on shore. Then
had come the now famous order to “stand fast,” issued on the night of
Sunday, July 26th, which had stopped the process of demobilisation.
Dark clouds had shadowed the international horizon. Austria-Hungary had
presented her ultimatum to Serbia. She declared war on the 28th. The
Second Fleet remained, therefore, in proximity to its reserves of men,
and the men were ready to be re-embarked in the Third Fleet.

Few people realised at the time the immense significance of the
memorable eastward movement of the squadrons from Portland Roads, or
of the assembly of those powerful forces at their northern strategic
anchorages. Those forces became the Grand Fleet, that unexampled
organisation of fighting force, under command of that fine sea officer,
Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. War was declared by Great Britain on August
4th. Successive steps of supreme importance were taken, which, in very
truth, saved the cause of the Allies. Disaster and surprise attack were
forestalled. The Fleet, fully mobilised, and growing daily in strength,
was already exerting command of the sea, and the safe transport of the
Expeditionary Force to France was assured. Co-operation with the French
Fleet was immediately established—its cruiser squadron in the Channel
and its battle squadrons in the Mediterranean.

Fighting episodes were not delayed, but for many months the operations
of the Grand Fleet remained shrouded as by a veil, lifted only on rare
occasions. Few people knew the tremendous anxieties and responsibility
of the British Commander-in-Chief. His vast command of vessels of all
classes and uses had to be organised into a mighty fleet, complete in
every element—battle squadrons, battle-cruiser squadrons, light-cruiser
squadrons, flotillas and auxiliaries, transports, hospital ships,
and every ship and thing that a fleet can require. A whole series of
intricate dispositions had to be made. Officers were to be inspired
with the ideas of the Commander-in-Chief and the whole Fleet was to be
so trained, under squadron and flotilla commanders, that each would
know on the instant how he should act.

If Nelson, in 1789, spent many hours in explaining to his “band
of brothers” his plans for his attack at the Nile, with fourteen
sail-of-the-line, what must it have been for Sir John Jellicoe to
communicate to his officers, and discuss with them, all his plans for
every emergency or call for the service of every squadron and ship in
his vast command? All this must be realised now. And during the anxious
early months of the war, as the winter was drawing near, the great
anchorages were as yet unprotected, and safety from hostile submarines
could often only be found in rapid steaming at sea. The mining
campaign of the enemy had also to be overcome. The anxieties were
enormous, and it was only the power of command, the sea instinct, the
deep understanding, the readiness to act in moments of extraordinary
responsibility, and the resource and professional skill of the
Commander-in-Chief and his staff and officers in command, that enabled
the tremendous work to be accomplished.



While this was in progress other work of immense significance had been
going on. The Admiralty had undertaken a gigantic task of supreme
importance with complete success. Great defensive preparations were
made in British waters, where all traffic was regulated and controlled.
The vast maritime resources of the country were added to the naval
service. Two battleships building for Turkey, another for Chile,
and certain flotilla leaders and other craft building in the
country, were taken over. Officers and men in abundance were ready.
The magnificent seafaring populations of the merchant marine and the
fisheries were drawn into the naval service, and subsequently the whole
mercantile marine was brought under naval control, and for practical
purposes was embodied with the Navy. Officers and men of these services
showed splendid heroism in situations of terror and responsibility
never anticipated.

A wide network of patrols was brought into being; the blockade was
organised and strengthened; the examination services were set on
foot and perfected; and the coast sectors of defence, with their
flotillas, were raised to a standard of high efficiency. Mine-sweepers
and net-drifters were at work. Every shipyard in the country and a
multitude of engineering and ammunition works began to buzz with work
for the Navy and the mercantile marine. Provision was made for dealing
with the raiding cruisers and armed merchantmen of the enemy.

At the time, the public knew little or nothing of what was in progress.
Imagination fails even now to grasp the magnitude of what was achieved.
The naval share in the campaign was of baffling obscurity, while the
stage of the war on land became crowded with fighting men, locked in
a terrible conflict, which at that time seemed to bode no good to
the Allies. After the brush in the Heligoland Bight on August 28th,
1914, the Fleet was lost to view. Not at first, but slowly, did it
become realised that the prognostications of peace-time alarmists had
proved baseless. There had been no “bolt from the blue,” as had been
foretold; neither invasion, nor raid, nor foray was attempted upon
British shores, and there was no anxiety about food. There was always,
with economy, enough to eat.

But popular confidence seemed for a time to be unreasonably
disturbed by a record of successive alarming and generally
unexplained incidents—the escape of the _Goeben_ and _Breslau_ in
the Mediterranean, the sinking of the _Aboukir_, _Cressy_, _Hogue_,
_Formidable_, and other vessels, the depredations of German raiding
cruisers on the distant lines of our trade, the bombardment of
Hartlepool, Whitby, and Scarborough, and other disquieting episodes.
Strange as it may seem, there were people who went about asking, “What
is the Fleet doing?” Was it not the ancient inspiration of the Navy to
seek out the enemy and to capture or sink or burn his ships wherever
they were to be found? Yet there was no battle. The German coast was
not attacked. Allied shipping to the value of millions of pounds was
being sunk. Why, then, was the Navy inactive? When, later on, the
submarine menace assumed formidable proportions, alarm began again
to seize upon the newspapers, when there was justification only for

The hidden truth was not comprehended. Victories were expected when,
owing to the coyness of the enemy’s strategy, none were possible.
The Seven Years’ War—the most successful in British annals, the
turning-point in British history, the war in which Horace Walpole asked
each morning what victory there was to record—began with the disaster
of Minorca, followed by the tragedy of Byng. The central facts of naval
history were but little known. Yet the Navy was, and is, in truth, all
in all to the country, the Empire, and the Allies.

Before we enter into the main purpose of this book, in which we shall
discover in several theatres of war the real nature of sea-power, as
well as the character and momentous consequences of the antagonism
which grew up between England and Germany, we may inquire what services
could in reason have been expected from the Navy in the great cataclysm
which was about to sweep with destruction over the nations. It would
not have been expected to fight a battle every month or even every
year, for battles are rare events in naval history. It would not
have been expected to attack fortified coasts, though it might do so
on occasions, because ships are designed and built to fight at sea.
The Navy would not have been expected to forestall every untoward
incident. Fish often slip through the net, as raiders have slipped
through our guard in this and other wars. Nor, in these days of the
stealthy submarine and the blind death-dealing mine, could the Fleet
have been expected to remain immune from every misfortune. No one could
have expected the Navy to devise a single conclusive defence against
the attack of the submarine, any more than it was asked to find an
infallible remedy for the effects of gunfire.

What we should have expected was that it would make the sea again the
protecting wall, as Shakespeare says, of the British Isles,

        Or as a moat defensive to a house
        Against the envy of less happier lands.

We should have expected it to safeguard the incoming of the supplies
without which neither the people nor their industries could exist—to
be the panoply of all trade and interests afloat, whether in the
nature of imports or exports. We should have expected it to deny all
external activity to the enemy at sea—we might not have anticipated the
advent of the submarine as a pirate commerce-destroyer—to shut off his
sea-borne supplies, and to exert that noiseless pressure on the vitals
of the adversary of which Admiral Mahan speaks—“that compulsion, whose
silence, when once noted, becomes to the observer the most striking
and awful mark of the working of sea-power.” We should have expected
the Navy to become the support, in thrust and holding, of the armies
in the field—the shaft to their spearhead; their flank and rearguard
also. Inasmuch as the war is world-wide, and we have powerful Allies,
we should have expected naval influence and pressure to be manifested
in the oceans, in the Mediterranean, and, indeed, wherever the enemy is
and the seas are. Finally, we should have expected the Navy to be to
the British Empire what it has always been to the Empire’s heart—its
safeguard from injury and disruption, and the bond that holds it

Each one of these functions has been executed by in Navy with
triumphant success in the war, and history would show that it is
executing them now as the Sea Service has accomplished them in all the
wars of the past.



        Of speedy victory let no man doubt,
        Our worst work’s past, now we have found them out.
        Behold, their navy does at anchor lie,
        And they are ours, for now they cannot fly.

                    _Andrew Marvel_, 1653.

Of all the theatres of the war, on sea or land, the North Sea is the
most important. It is vital to all the operations of the Allies.
Command of its waters and its outlets is the thing that matters most.
In that sea is the centre of naval influence. It is the key of all
the hostilities. From either side of it the great protagonists in the
struggle look at one another. There the great constriction of the
blockade is exerted upon Germany. It is the _mare clausum_ against
which she protests. Geography is there in the scales against her. She
rebels against British sea supremacy. The “freedom of the seas” is,
therefore, her claim—though she is endeavouring to qualify to be the
tyrant of them. Her only outlook towards the outer seas is from the
Bight of Heligoland and the fringe of coast behind the East Frisian
Islands, or from the Baltic, if her ships pass the Sound or the Belt,
issuing into the North Sea through the Skager-Rak. But they cannot
reach the ocean, except through the North Passage, where the Grand
Fleet holds the guard. Only isolated raiders, bent upon predatory
enterprise, have stealthily gone that way after nightfall. At the
southern gate of the North Sea, through the Straits of Dover and in
the Channel, the way is barred. The guns of Dover, the Dover Patrol,
and certain other deterrents forbid the enemy to adventure in that

[A] See Map I., at end of book.

The new engines of naval warfare—the mine, submarine, airship, and
aeroplane—found their first and greatest use in the North Sea; and only
by employing craft which hide beneath the water, and, on rare occasion,
by destroyers which seek the cover of darkness for local forays, have
the Germans been able to exert their efforts in any waters outside the
North Sea. At the beginning of the war they had raiding cruisers in the
Pacific and Atlantic, and a detached squadron in the Far East; but the
British Fleet reached out to those regions, and, aided by the warships
of Japan and France, it drove every vestige of German naval power from
the oceans.

In the North Sea, therefore, sea-power has exerted its greatest, most
vital, and most far-reaching effect. There the Germans, if they had
possessed the power, could have struck a blow which, if successful for
them, would have proved a mortal stroke at the British Empire and would
have rendered useless all the efforts of the Allies. Millions of men,
incalculable volumes of guns, munitions, and stores of every imaginable
kind for the use of the greatest armies ever set in the field, have
entered the French ports solely because the Grand Fleet holds the guard
in the North Sea. The whole face of the world would have been changed
by German naval victory. England would have been subjected by invasion
and famine. If the heart of the Empire had been struck, what would have
been the future of its members? If sea communication with the Allies
had been cut, what would have been their fate at the hands of the
victors? The attacks of sallying cruisers and destroyers upon the coast
towns of England, the “tip and run” raids, as they have been called,
and the visits of bomb-dropping airships and aeroplanes are the signs
of the naval impotence of Germany.

The situation in the North Sea is, therefore, of absorbing interest.
It may be studied chiefly from the two points of view of the strategy
of the opposing fleets and the exercise of the blockade. There is a
peculiarity in naval warfare, which is not found in warfare upon land,
that a belligerent can withdraw his naval forces entirely from the
theatre of war by retaining them, as with a threat, or in a position of
weakness, behind the guns of his shore defences. Nothing of the kind
is possible with land armies. A general can always find his enemy, and
attack or invest him, and, if successful, drive him back, or cause him
to surrender, and occupy the territory he has held. The Germans have
chosen the reticent strategy of the sea. They have never come out to
make a fight to a finish, to put the matter to the touch, “to gain or
lose it all.” The _animus pugnandi_ is wanting to their fleet. It was
necessary that they should do something. They could not lie for ever
stagnant at Kiel and Wilhelmshaven. They could keep their officers and
men in training by making brief cruises in and outside the Bight of
Heligoland. They might, with luck, meet some portion of the Grand Fleet
detached and at a disadvantage.

In any case, they were bold enough to take their chance on occasions,
always with their fortified ports and mined waters and their submarines
under their lee. They might succeed in reducing British superiority
by the “attrition” of some encounters. Such was the genesis of the
Dogger Bank battle of January 24th, 1915, when that gallant officer
Sir David Beatty inflicted a severe defeat upon Admiral Hipper, and
drove him back in flight, with the loss of the _Blücher_ and much
other injury. The same causes brought the German High Sea Fleet, under
Admiral Scheer, into the great conflict, first with Sir David Beatty,
and then with the main force of the Grand Fleet, under command of Sir
John Jellicoe, on May 31st, 1916. The events of the great engagement of
the Jutland Bank will not be related here. All that it is necessary to
note is that the Germans had so chosen their time that they were able
to avoid decisive battle with Sir John Jellicoe’s fleet by retreating
in the failing light of the day, and that their adventure availed them
nothing to break the blockade or otherwise to modify the impotent
position in which they are placed at sea. That action operated to the
disadvantage of England and her Allies in no degree whatever. The
superiority of the British Fleet as a fighting engine had been placed
beyond dispute.

The mine and the submarine have put an end to the system of naval
blockade as practised by St. Vincent and Cornwallis. No fleet can now
lie off, or within striking range of, an enemy’s port. Battleships
cannot be risked against submarines, acting either as torpedo craft
or mine-layers, nor against swift destroyers at night. That is the
explanation of the situation which has arisen in the North Sea. The
blockade is necessarily of a distant kind. There are no places on
the British coasts where the Grand Fleet could be located, except
those in which it lies and from which it issues to sweep the North
Sea periodically. The first essential is to control the enemy’s
communications, which is done effectively at the North Passage—between
the Orkneys and Shetlands, and the Norwegian coast—and at the Straits
of Dover. If the enemy desired a final struggle for supremacy at sea,
with all its tremendous consequences, he could have it. But he can be
attacked only when he is accessible. “There shall be neither sickness
nor death which shall make us yield until this service be ended,” wrote
Howard in 1588. That is the spirit of the British Navy to-day. But,
then, the Spanish Armada was at sea. It was not hiding behind its shore
defences. Be it noted that the Germans, thus hiding themselves, enjoy
a certain opportunity of undertaking raiding operations in the North
Sea. It is not a difficult thing to rush a force of destroyers on a
dark night against some point in an extended line of patrols and effect
a little damage somewhere. What advantage the Germans hope to gain by
such proceedings is difficult to discover.

The magnificence of the work of the British patrol flotillas and
the auxiliary patrols must be recognised. In the North Sea these
are subsidiary services of the Grand Fleet. Day and night, in every
weather—in summer heats and winter blasts and blizzards, when icy
seas wash the boats from stem to stern and the cold penetrates to the
bone—these patrols are at work. The records of heroism at sea in these
services have never been surpassed, and England owes a very great deal
to the men who came to her service. The mercantile marine has given its
vessels to the State, from the luxurious liner to the fishing trawler,
and officers and men have come in who have rendered priceless services.
The trawlers have carried on their perilous work of bringing up the
strange harvest of horned mines by the score. The patrol boats have
examined suspicious vessels, controlled sea traffic, and watched the
sea passages. The destroyer flotillas have been constantly at work and
ready at any time to bring raiding enemy forces to action. The Royal
Naval Air Service has never relaxed its activity and has engaged in
countless combats.

It has sometimes been wondered why the Grand Fleet did not take some
aggressive action: Why did it not attack the North German sea coast,
or rout out the pestilent hornets’ nest of Zeebrugge, which the enemy,
by internal communications impregnable to sea-power, had provided with
the most powerful guns, besides defending it by great mine-fields? This
matter requires to be examined. Naval history abounds with evidence
that to attack coast defences is not the proper or even the permissible
work of warships. It is the business of military forces, though naval
forces may often assist, and even give the means of victory. Moreover,
what was once possible is not possible now. Would Nelson have attacked
the French Fleet at the Nile if it had lain under the powerful guns
of these days, and behind mine-fields, through the secret passages of
which submarines could have issued to destroy him? It would be absurd
to compare Nelson’s attack upon a line of block-ships and rafts at
Copenhagen, covered by a few forts armed with old smoothbores, to an
attack upon coast positions defended by modern guns.

When old Sir Charles Napier was in the Baltic in 1854 he was denounced
at home because he did not destroy Kronstadt or Helsingfors. He rightly
refused to play his enemy’s game by endangering his ships. Captain
(afterwards Admiral Sir) B. J. Sulivan, who was with the fleet, put the
situation quite clearly in a letter written at the time. A military
operation was really required then, as it would be now, to accomplish
such a task.

  We know that two guns have beaten off two large ships with great
  loss. Had Nelson been here with thirty English ships he would
  have blockaded the gulf for years, without thinking of attacking
  such fortresses to get at ships inside. Brest, Toulon, and Cadiz
  were probably much weaker than these places.... I suppose there
  will be an outcry at home about doing nothing here, but we might
  as well try to reach the moon.

But the Navy has never left the Belgian coast secure from attack. It
has never lost its aggressive spirit. It has attacked from the ship
and the air. The seaplanes of the Royal Naval Air Service spotted for
the guns when the monitors were bombarding. Bombs have repeatedly been
dropped on Ostend, Zeebrugge, and the places in the rear. When the guns
were silent there were reasons for it. A conjoint naval and military
expedition was required. The enemy began to feel his hold on the coast
precarious. Continued operations by sea and land might compel him to
relax his grasp. Ships may not attack places defended by big guns,
mine-fields, and submarines and destroyers issuing from secret passages
through them, but it is certain the British naval offensive will never
be paralysed.

Such is the magnificent work of the British Navy in blockading the
German Fleet, molesting the enemy’s coast positions, and controlling
his communications with the oceans.

The commercial blockade, by which the enemy’s supplies and commodities
are cut off and his exports paralysed, is too large a subject to be
dealt with here. The object is to bring the full measure of sea-power
to bear in crushing the national life of the enemy. It is vital but
“silent” work of the Navy, and does not lend itself to discussion
or description. Questions of contraband and the right and method of
search, which arise from the blockade, caused discussions with the
United States before the States came into the war. The only object
of the British Navy and the Foreign Office was to put an end to the
transit of the enemy’s commodities, and to do so with the utmost
consideration for the interests of neutrals, and complete protection
for the lives of the officers and crews in their ships and in the
examining ships. For these reasons neutral vessels were taken into port
for examination, safe from the attentions of the enemy’s submarines.
One great hope of the Germans was that the neutrals would become more
and more exasperated with England. They remembered that the war of
1812 arose from this very cause. But they were completely disappointed
in all such hopes, and they themselves, by interfering with the free
navigation of other countries, brought the United States into the war
against them.

The blockade work of the examination service and of the armed boarding
steamers has been extremely hazardous. It has called for the greatest
qualities of seamanship, because conducted in every condition of
weather and when storm and fog have made it extremely perilous to
approach the neutral vessels—which, moreover, have sometimes proved to
be armed enemies in disguise. Hundreds of vessels have been brought
into port by the Navy in those northern waters. Sleepless vigilance
has been required and the highest skill of the sea in every possible
condition of the service, while the seaman has become a statesman in
his dealings with the neutral shipmaster. It has been for the Navy to
bring the ships into port, and for other authorities to inquire into
their status and to take them before the Prize Court if required.

The German High Sea Fleet having failed, the submarine campaign was
instituted, and began chiefly in the North Sea. It has never answered
the expectations of its authors. It has not changed the strategic
situation in any degree whatever. Great damage has been inflicted upon
British interests, and valuable ships and cargoes have been sunk, and
officers and men cast adrift in situations of ruthless hardship. The
tale of the sea has never had a more terrible record, nor one lighted
by so much noble self-sacrifice and unfailing courage.



        Far flung the Fleet then,
          Freeing the seas,
        Clearing the way for men,
          Merchantmen these.
        Sinking or flying,
          Broken their power,
        The enemy dying
          Left England Her dower.

                    _J. L._

In the foregoing chapter some reference was made to the campaign of the
German raiding cruisers and armed liners against British and Allied
commerce in the distant waters of the Atlantic and Pacific during the
early months of hostilities, and before we go any further this aspect
of the war must be discussed. One object of the enemy was to lead to
a scattering of British naval strength, but in this he was wholly
disappointed. The distribution of the British Fleet remained unchanged,
and the great numbers of swift cruisers and armed liners, which had
been apprehended as presenting a formidable menace to commerce, made
but a feeble appearance. The commerce-raiding campaign gave rise,
however, to a good deal of alarm at the time, though it surprised no
one who understood the means made available by the scientific and
mechanical developments of modern naval warfare, and who had studied
them in the light of history.

The interruption or destruction of the enemy’s commerce has always
been one of the objects in naval warfare. British floating commerce
offered a very large target, and the swift German cruisers, directed by
wireless telegraphy and supplied by friendly neutrals, were at work on
the lines followed by shipping, making it inevitable that there should
at first be considerable losses to the Allies. Admiral Mahan thought
that the British total losses in the long wars of the French Revolution
and Empire did not exceed 2½ per cent. of the commerce of the Empire.
The Royal Commission on the Supply of Food in Time of War expressed the
opinion that 4 per cent. would have been a more accurate estimate.



German cruisers, destructive as a few of them were, did not inflict
losses amounting to anything like the figures of the old wars.
In those contests of power, notwithstanding the depredations of
commerce-destroying frigates, British oversea trade grew, while that
of the enemy withered away. If the enemy captured ten British ships
out of a thousand the loss might be considered serious, but if the
British frigates captured ten out of the enemy’s hundred the injury
inflicted was ten times more effective. Towards the end of the long war
with France very few French traders were captured because scarcely any
ventured to sea, while the French continued to capture English ships
up to the very end of the war, ten years after their fleet had been
destroyed at Trafalgar. The loss by capture and sinking was at the
rate of 500 ships a year, and even in 1810, 619 English ships were lost.

In the present war the German commerce-destroying campaign, by means
of cruisers and armed liners, though very effective at the beginning,
collapsed with great rapidity. Hostile action against trade has never
before been so rapidly brought under control. Steam, the telegraph,
and wireless have enormously increased, as compared with the sailing
days, the thoroughness and efficiency of superior sea-power. Difficulty
of providing for coal and oil supply, the want of naval repairing and
docking bases, and, above all, the immense superiority brought quickly
to bear by the combined naval forces of England, France, and Japan,
aided by the Australian Navy (auxiliary to the British, to which it
belonged), within a comparatively short time caused the whole of
German commerce to disappear from the oceans. Soon not a single ship
remained—trader, cruiser, or armed liner—as a target, except that
such isolated raiders as the _Möwe_ might offer rare opportunities of
attack. This failure of the Germans seemed the more remarkable because
they had long recognised the floating commerce of England to be her
Achilles’ heel. Prince Bülow described it as such. They had expressly
reserved, at The Hague Conference, the right to convert merchantmen
into cruisers on the high seas to serve as commerce-destroyers. They
used this right in some instances, as in that of the _Cap Trafalgar_,
which was sunk in single-ship action by the British converted liner
_Carmania_. Yet this procedure proved of no effect in the war.

It would be a great mistake to regard the German cruiser campaign
against commerce apart from the general distribution of German warships
and the means taken to supply them with their requirements. The writer
is inclined to the belief that the impotence of the Germans in distant
waters shows that their Navy was not ready nor effectively prepared
for the war. The great expenditure on the High Sea Fleet proved
unavailing. The submarine boats did not exist in any considerable
number. Only about twenty-seven or twenty-eight of them were completed
in August, 1914, of which about a dozen were of early experimental
type, fit only for local use, and the programme provided only for the
building of half a dozen in each year. The German Navy possessed not
more than a couple of big airships, and a few effective aeroplanes.
The cruisers on foreign service were scattered about the world without
plan. The battle-cruiser _Goeben_ and the light cruiser _Breslau_
had been detached in the Mediterranean during the Balkan War, and,
according to the Greek White Book, Turkey having entered into alliance
with Germany on August 4th, the two cruisers fled to the Dardanelles
in conformity with orders received from Berlin. The Germans were
apprehensive as to their safety, and their naval authorities never
intended to leave them in their dangerous situation of isolation in an
Italian port. The business of controlling and directing the operations
of the commerce-destroying cruisers and armed liners, and providing
their supplies, was admittedly dexterously arranged by the agency
of wireless, mainly through the means placed at disposal by German
sympathisers in the United States, the States of Southern America, and
other neutral countries, though nothing they did could withstand the
steady pressure of sea-power.

The most considerable German force in distant waters was the East Asian
Squadron, under command of Admiral Count von Spee. It was located
at Kiao-Chau, and its principal elements were the armoured cruisers
_Scharnhorst_ and _Gneisenau_. Sooner or later this squadron was
bound to be defeated, as its commanding officer fully realised. The
Japanese declared war on August 23rd, and the fleets of Admiral Baron
Dewa and Admiral Kato were stretched out to blockade and intercept
him; but he extricated himself very dexterously, crossed the Pacific,
defeated Admiral Sir Christopher Craddock off Coronel on November 1st,
rounded Cape Horn, and was himself defeated with the loss of his whole
squadron in the battle of the Falkland Isles on December 8th. One of
his cruisers, the _Emden_, which had escaped the Japanese, made a great
noise in the world. Her captain was a very capable and also a very
gallant officer, who bombarded oil tanks at Madras, sank the Russian
cruiser _Jemtchug_ and the French destroyer _Mousquet_ at Penang, and
sent to the bottom seventeen British vessels, representing a value of
£2,211,000, besides three sent into port. The _Emden_ was destroyed
by H.M. Australian cruiser _Sydney_ at the Cocos-Keeling Islands on
November 8th. The _Karlsruhe_ sank vessels representing a value of

It is not the purpose here to describe the depredations and ocean
wanderings of the other German cruisers or auxiliary cruisers. The
object is to show how, by the all-compassing pressure of naval power,
they were successively destroyed. It would be folly to deny that there
was something defective in the disposition of the British naval forces
at the beginning. Admiral von Spee was at large, with two powerful
armoured cruisers, but Sir Christopher Craddock was left in inferior
force off the coast of Chile. The obsolescent battleship _Canopus_,
which had inferior speed, was to join him, but did not reach him in
time. The Australian battle-cruiser _Australia_, which would have been
an extremely valuable aid to Craddock’s squadron, did not pursue the
German squadron across the Pacific.

Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fisher returned to the Admiralty as First
Sea Lord on October 29th, 1914, and at once set about to use the
naval instrument he had been so largely instrumental in creating.
In dead secrecy and with incredible speed a force was prepared
and dispatched. Admiral Sturdee had with him the magnificent
battle-cruisers _Invincible_ and _Inflexible_, the armoured cruisers
_Kent_, _Cornwall_, and _Carnarvon_, the light cruisers _Bristol_ and
_Glasgow_, and the armed liner _Macedonia_. The battleship _Canopus_
was already at Port Stanley. Before anyone knew he had left England, he
arrived at the Falkland Islands on December 7th, after having steamed a
distance of 7,000 miles. The German Admiral was known to be approaching
with the object of utilising the islands as a base. He arrived on the
next day, but was taken by complete surprise, though he was conscious
of impending fate, and his squadron ceased to exist.

This was one of the master-strokes of the war, made with lightning
rapidity. Strategy was seen in action, and thenceforward the control
of the ocean was secured. There remained the business of rounding
up the enemy cruisers which were still preying upon shipping on the
routes of commerce. Cruisers of sufficient force were dispatched, with
instructions to remain at certain rendezvous, each forming a base upon
which lighter cruisers could fall back, or to the support of which
they could proceed. The lighter vessels cruised on specified curves or
lines of search, and in this way a network was spread over the oceans
comparable to a spider’s web. Thus in due course every enemy cruiser
and auxiliary was intercepted, or, conscious of the toils which were
spread for her, abandoned her task and sought safety in the internment
of a neutral port. The Grand Fleet in the North Sea was the master of
the situation, and made possible the decisive blow which was struck at
enemy power in the oceans.

Thenceforward the enemy was impotent in every sea. Not a man could
he send afloat to bring aid to his colonies and protectorates. His
distant possessions collapsed like a house built of cards. No means
had he to interrupt the transport of troops which have brought about
the darkening of every German “place in the sun.” “_Deutschland ist
Weltreich geworden_,” it was said. But distant possessions are the
ripe fruit which falls into the lap of the ultimate sea-power, and
the _Weltreich_ exists no more. By means of sea-power it has been
destroyed. The submarine is an effective weapon within its sphere,
but no victory has ever been won by evasion, and no sea-power can be
exercised by stealthy craft which hide beneath the surface of the sea.




        Others may use the ocean as their road,
        Only the English make it their abode;
        Our oaks secure, as if they there took root,
        We tread on billows with a steady foot.

                    _Edmund Waller_, 1656.

It is important next to consider the situation in the Mediterranean,
where sea-power is of momentous importance to the Allies. In those
historic waters the fate of many nations has been decided. They are a
vital link and the highway of the British Empire. Between Gibraltar
and Port Said two thousand miles of British welfare lie outrolled. To
France, with her great possessions in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunis,
the importance of this sea highway is supreme. She must, in this war
and at all times, traverse its waters or she will be undone. Italy
has won a great position In the Adriatic and the Mediterranean, and
she would wither away and perish if either fell under enemy control.
Trieste is her object, and she has proclaimed a protectorate over
Albania the better to establish her power in the Adriatic, and she has
her new possessions in the Libia Italiana of Northern Africa. From
the operations in the Mediterranean we shall learn something more of
the relation of sea-power to land operations, and of the limitations
of that power, and we shall see the allied navies of England, France,
Russia, Italy, and Japan in co-operation. We shall know why the enemy
made a great submarine stroke in the Mediterranean when everything else
at sea had failed.

[B] See Map II., at end of book.

The French battleship squadrons were concentrated in the Mediterranean
before the war. The cruiser squadron in the Channel, like David against
Goliath, was willing to encounter even the whole German High Sea Fleet;
but the French had been assured of British co-operation, and all danger
was forestalled. In the Mediterranean the _Goeben_ and _Breslau_ had
come west, and had bombarded Bona and Philippeville; but the French
Admiral, going south from Toulon, was on their heels, and they fled to
the east again, running the gauntlet of the British squadron on their
way to join the Turks.

They had intended to raid the French transports at sea. At this
time the French were bringing their troops from Algeria and Tunis,
amounting in all to nearly 100,000 men, with guns, horses, mules,
stores, ammunition, hospitals, tent equipment, and all the requirements
for field service, to join the main army in France. It was a great
responsibility for the French Navy, increased many-fold when troops
began to come from their eastern possessions through the Suez Canal.

Failure would have meant disaster. But the whole of the transport work
was managed without the loss of a man or a horse, and was a wonderful
success. It could hardly have taken place with so much security if the
British squadron had not been in the Mediterranean, and not at all if
the Grand Fleet had not held the German High Sea Fleet fast in its
ports by the blockade in the North Sea. From that time forward for many
months, until the Italians came into the war, on May 23rd, 1915, the
French squadron was employed in neutralising the Austro-Hungarian Fleet
in the Adriatic, which did not dare to move. The blockading squadron
was extended across the Strait of Otranto, with occasional sweeps to
the northward, to control hostile operations, if possible, at Cattaro
and along the Dalmatian coast up to the approaches to Pola, where
the submarine _Curie_ was entangled, and lost to the Austrians. The
French base for these operations was at Malta, but an advanced base
was established in the island of Lissa. The blockade was completely
successful in checking every effort of the Austrians to strike at the
stream of transport in the Mediterranean, though it could not avail
to save Montenegro or hold back the Austrians in their advance into
Albania. No fleet can operate beyond the range of its guns, unless its
flying officers carry their bombs into inland countries.

The blockade maintained through the winter at the Strait of Otranto
was exceedingly arduous and filled with peril. Enemy destroyers and
submarines were at work, issuing from the wonderful island fringe of
the Dalmatian coast, and the French knew their peril. The armoured
cruiser _Léon Gambetta_ was sunk by submarine attack, with the loss
of Rear-Admiral Sénès, who was in command, and every officer on board,
as well as nearly 600 men. The armoured cruiser _Waldeck-Rousseau_
suffered damage by torpedo, and the new Dreadnought _Jean Bart_, with
Admiral Boué de Lapéyrère, the French Admiralissimo of the combined
fleets, on board, was touched, though only slightly injured. There
were other submarine attacks and losses of small craft, and some
losses were inflicted upon the enemy. British cruisers were attached
to the French Flag during these operations, and they continued to
co-operate with the French and Italians in Adriatic waters and in the
Ægean, where the French and Allied naval forces were the guard of all
the operations at Salonika and in the Piræus. Fleets and armies have
co-operated in the Mediterranean from the very beginning of the war. In
May, 1917, the British monitors, which, with the converted cruisers,
had been operating with the military expedition against the Turks and
Bulgarians, appeared in the Adriatic, and rendered valuable aid to the
Italians in their advance towards Trieste. The naval coalition has been
a marvel of effective organisation.

German professors have sometimes said that the land would sooner or
later beat the sea—that “Moltke” would become the victor over “Mahan.”
That is the convinced opinion of the Pan-Germans, who say that the
railway will yet prove the more rapid and the more secure means of
transport than the steamship. The lines from Antwerp by Cologne to
Vienna, and from Hamburg to Berlin, and thence through the very heart
of Europe to Vienna, and on by Belgrade and Sofia to Constantinople,
and from the opposite shore of the Bosphorus to Baghdad and down to the
Gulf, and by a branch through Persia to the confines of India, were to
give commercial and, perchance, military command of two continents.
Enterprise by the branch railway through Aleppo and Damascus against
Egypt, with a view to further developments in Africa, was related to
this conception of land-power. The measures adopted by the Allies for
the reconstitution of Serbia, the expeditions to the Dardanelles and
Salonika, the strong action taken in Greece, the naval movements on the
coast of Syria, the operations in the Sinai peninsula and Palestine,
and the expedition from the Persian Gulf to Baghdad were the answer to
these gigantesque projects of the enemy.

Behind them all lay the working of the fleets. Every class of ship and
almost every kind of vessel employed in naval warfare has been used in
one or other of these operations—the battleship, cruiser, destroyer,
torpedo-boat, submarine, mother ship, aeroplane, aircraft-carrier,
mining vessel, river gunboat, motor launch, mine-trawler, armed
auxiliary, special service vessel, transport, store ship, collier,
oiler, tank, distilling ship, ordnance vessel, hospital ship, tug,
lighter, and a crowd of other craft. All these are required for the
work of the Navy in the Mediterranean, as elsewhere, and they have been
employed with a quality of seamanlike skill, enterprise, resource,
courage, and success such as the history of the sea has no previous
record of. The appearance at the Golden Horn of a British submarine,
which had traversed a Turkish mine-field, was the sign of new powers
in naval warfare. We are lost in admiration of the self-sacrifice
of officers and men, both of the regular naval service and of the
mercantile marine and the fisheries, the latter being the heroes of
the perilous work of mine-sweeping. The British and French navies,
and the vessel representing the Russian Navy, acted in the closest
co-operation, and all the naval forces worked in intimate association
with the armies.

Where there was failure, the failure was due to the inevitable
limitations of sea-power, which has already been suggested with
reference to the North German coast, Zeebrugge, and the Montenegrin and
Albanian coasts. The history of the Dardanelles expedition will not be
written here. Beginning with a bombardment of the entrance forts on
November 3rd, 1914, which had little other effect than to stimulate
the defence, continued after an interval of months by the great naval
attacks in March, 1915, in which enormous damage was done to the forts
at the entrance and, to some extent, at the Narrows, but with the loss
of British and French battleships by the action of gunfire and drifting
mines, the enterprise concluded with the landing of the Allied armies
in the Gallipoli peninsula. The troops were compelled by outnumbering
forces and concentrated gunfire to withdraw. The combined attack should
have been made at the beginning. The unaided naval attack had merely
stimulated the defence. Here was the greatest demonstration of which
there is record of the limitation of sea-power. In the attack of such
a military position naval forces are essential, but military operations
are required if the desired success is to be attained.

This is true of all the operations in the Mediterranean and elsewhere.
Sea-power gave the means by which the army drove back the Turks from
Egypt, and it was the support of the advance in Sinai and Palestine.
It gave protection to the transports which carried troops and Army
requirements to Salonika and the Piræus, patrolling the routes or
providing convoy for the ships. The enemy realised his opportunity, and
his submarines began to develop great activity in the Mediterranean.
Certain transports were sunk and an attempt was made to cut the
communications of the expeditionary forces with their base. Some
considerable losses were suffered thereby, but gradually systems were
developed which gave a reasonable sense of security. The British,
French, and Italian flotillas were employed, and that of Japan came to
their aid. Never had such naval co-operation been witnessed before.
We cannot separate the advance in Mesopotamia from the Mediterranean
operations because the same object inspired both—viz., that of
arresting the threatened development of German commercial and military
power, through Asiatic Turkey to the Persian Gulf, and through Persia
to the borders of India. The first advance to Kut-el-Amara and
Ctesiphon proved disastrous because undertaken with inadequate means;
but the Navy rendered brilliant service, and, in the second advance, a
sufficient river flotilla of gunboats and transports made possible the
advance to Baghdad and beyond. The naval flotilla co-operated with
most excellent effect in this advance, played havoc with enemy’s craft,
and recaptured H.M.S. _Firefly_, which had been lost in the retreat
from Ctesiphon.

Thus we see the Navy operating in the great central theatre of war and
on its outlook to the East, exerting influence, transporting troops,
forming the base of armies, and everywhere proving an essential factor
in all that was done. It was confronted in the Mediterranean, as
elsewhere, with the new weapon of the submarine in very active form.
That menace, and the campaign against it, shall be the subject of the
next chapter.



        My name is Captain Kidd,
         Captain Kidd.
        My name is Captain Kidd,
         Captain Kidd.
        My name is Captain Kidd,
         And wickedly I did;
        God’s laws I did forbid,
         As I sailed.

                    _Old Nautical Ballad._

Having seen the British Fleet and the fleets allied with it operating
in the North Sea, the Oceans, and the Mediterranean, we may suitably
turn to some special features of the duties and work of the Navy in the
war. The submarine came as a sign and a portent of new developments
in the means and the practice of warfare at sea. Regarded once as the
weapon of the weaker Power, it was adopted into the naval armoury of
the strongest. When, in 1901, under Lord Fisher’s administration as
First Sea Lord, a beginning was made in submarine construction by
the ordering of five Holland boats, many people were taken aback.
Confessedly the part to be played by the submarine lay at that time
in the realm of speculation, but the British Navy could not afford to
ignore it. Every advance must be watched and studied as it developed.
The development has been rapid, and there are British submarines
of astonishing powers, which have no equals in the world. They have
made their mark in many a theatre of war. The French had led the way.
The Germans followed in 1906. There is, indeed, the best reason to
believe that Grand Admiral von Tirpitz, chief of the Navy Department,
looked with no kindly eye upon submarine boats. He was a believer in
battleships and the creator of the High Sea Fleet, with its battle
squadrons and cruiser divisions. Concessions were made to the Admiralty
Staff, and a few submarines were put in hand; but it was not until the
beginning of the war that Tirpitz became inspired with the fervour of
the convert.

Even now the relative position of the submarine in the category of
warships is obscure. Admiral Sir Percy Scott thought that the knell
of the battleship had been rung by its growing power; yet ships of
the battleship class, carrying incredible armaments, possessing speed
beyond the dreams of _ante-bellum_ naval constructors, and infinitely
superior for a dozen reasons to anything the Germans had thought of,
have recently been completed, and will probably play a decisive part in
any future naval engagement.



But if the submarine has not dethroned the battleship, she has, in
the hands of the enemy, done other remarkable things. She has struck
a mortal blow at what many excellent people have hitherto regarded as
the settled and accepted code of International Law; she has appeared
as a pirate commerce-destroyer. Without warning and without pity
she has sunk fishing vessels, tramp steamers, stately liners, and
hospital ships. The code of honour is not observed by her. The
German submarine officer has orders to run no risks, although in the
old wars naval officers—who had no means of submerging either to attack
or to escape—gladly ran every risk incidental to the service in which
they were engaged. When the _Lusitania_ was sunk it was explained that
if the commander of the submarine had permitted the passengers to take
to the boats before firing his torpedo, “this would have meant the
certain destruction of his own vessel.” There was no evidence that such
would have been the case, but the risk, which implied a danger merely
incidental to naval service, was held to justify the sinking of the
great liner with 1,200 souls on board. The wildest imagination could
not have conceived that any human being could take such a distorted
view of right and wrong, and of the plain duty of the seaman.

The submarine has accomplished other remarkable things in the war.
She has converted benevolent neutrals into resolute enemies. She has
brought the United States into the war in support of the Allies. She
has transformed the mercantile marines opposed to her into actual
fighting forces. A few merchant ships were armed before the war began,
but now, because of ruthless submarine attack, the British mercantile
marine is for practical purposes embodied with the Navy, in the sense
that it is under naval control, is provided with means of defence,
and acts directly under naval orders. Moreover, one-half or more of
its shipping has been taken over by the naval service. The same is
true of the merchant ships of the Allies. The German submarine has had
a further effect. She has created a whole array of means directed
to her destruction. Countless inventors have been set at work, and
extraordinarily ingenious methods have been employed with the purpose
of putting an end to submarine activities by sinking every boat as she

In the early days of the submarine it was believed that she might be
sunk by using spar torpedoes fixed in swift boats, which would bear
down upon the submarine as she submerged and explode the charge against
her hull. But it soon occurred to seamen that if a swift vessel,
destroyer or other, could run down a submarine she might more easily
sink her by the impact of her sharp stem or a special keel. This method
has been practised in the war, and by this means a number of enemy
submarines have been dispatched to Davy Jones’s locker. There was an
early case in which a certain destroyer, going at high speed, actually
impaled a German submarine on her stem, and carried her onward, so
injured that she sank. Another early case was that of the German
submarine rammed and sent to the bottom off Beachy Head on March 28th,
1915, by the _Thordis_, commanded by that plucky skipper, Captain Bell,
who set an example to many.

Another plan was to use suitable vessels in pairs, each pair dragging
a cable connecting them, from which hung, on short lines, small mines
to be electrically exploded when a submerged obstruction, probably a
periscope or conning-tower, put a tension upon the connecting cable.
The disadvantage of this system was that the entrapping vessels could
not travel swiftly without bringing the cable near to the surface,
and the chance of a submarine fouling the cable was remote. Yet it may
be conjectured that the features of this system may have furnished
the germ of procedures now in use. Capture or sinking by the use of
nets was also an early idea, probably suggested by the nets used by
big ships at anchor for protection against torpedoes, and Admiral Sir
Arthur Wilson devised a large steel net for the purpose. Possibly this
method, too, has developed into the nets employed in dealing with
enemy submarines at the present time. But submarines were continually
increasing in strength of structure, speed, and handiness, so that new
systems were necessary and have developed with the requirements.

What the actual methods employed by the Navy are cannot be explained.
When Mr. Frederick Palmer, the American writer, visited the Grand
Fleet he asked how the thing was done, and officers said: “Sometimes
by ramming; sometimes by gunfire; sometimes by explosives; and in many
other ways which we do not tell.” M. Joseph Reinach also visited the
Fleet, and said in the _Figaro_ that the submarine was pursued “by net,
gun, explosive bomb, and other means.” Squadron-Commander Bigsworth on
August 26th, 1915, destroyed a submarine off Ostend by dropping bombs
upon her from his aeroplane, and there have been several other episodes
of the same kind. When the first American transports were attacked in
the Atlantic, bombs fitted with a short-time fuse were employed which
burst at a determined depth below the surface of the sea.

The Royal Naval Air Service plays a large part in the anti-submarine
campaign. Its seaplanes are always scouting over our waters and sight
enemy submarines from afar. Flying high, they can and do discover
submarines navigating below the surface, and by wireless or other
signals bring destroyers or other craft to the scene, where by special
means submarines are destroyed.

Probably gunfire is the chief means by which submarines are sent to the
bottom. A German submarine may attain complete submergence from the
cruising trim within about three minutes; but the time may be longer,
if she has a gun mounted, wireless rigged, and other top hamper. From
the awash position, in which her speed is reduced, she may submerge in
about two minutes. A swift destroyer, knowing the position of such a
submarine, may advance toward her, covering a nautical mile within two
minutes, so that she has an excellent chance of coming within range
and putting in shots with effect. Gunnery is carried to a high pitch
of proficiency in the Navy, and one destroyer may be mentioned which
knocked out the periscope of a German submarine at a range of over
2,000 yards with her first round. There is nothing an enemy submarine
likes less than to see destroyers tearing down towards her at high
speed as she is getting in her gun, withdrawing her periscope, lowering
her masts—often a disguise—and filling her tanks. Moreover, complete
submergence may not be a sure protection for her if she is watched, for
she may be destroyed by an explosive bomb.

German submarines have also learned to fear armed merchantmen, which
have not seldom used their guns with effect, sometimes compelling their
assailants to submerge, and so evading their attack, and sometimes by
obtaining direct hits. The _Dunrobin_ in September, 1916, carried on a
lively action for some minutes, hitting her assailant in the vicinity
of her conning-tower with a T.N.T. shell—thereby causing an internal
explosion, from which dense smoke arose—followed by three common shell,
each of them making a direct hit, after which the enemy suddenly
plunged at a sharp angle, evidently going to the bottom. In March,
1917, the _Bellorado_ was attacked by gunfire from a submarine, whereby
her master, chief officer, and a seaman were killed, while her gunners
put such shot into the assailant that she was silenced and manifestly

Further it is not permissible to go on describing how submarines are
accounted for. The catalogue of methods is a long one. There could
certainly be no single and decisive weapon for the destruction of this
new engine of warfare. There is no remedy for the effects of gunfire,
and if submarines discover targets possible to be attacked they will
certainly attack them. Some surprise was expressed that the British
Admiralty did not at once suppress the submarine menace. When the
submarine campaign began in February, 1915, it resulted in the sinking
of a number of British merchantmen; but, having risen to its height, it
declined, with fluctuations, until it was described as being “well in
hand.” The methods employed had been successful. Then, after several
months, the submarines began their depredations again, carrying them
into the Atlantic and the Mediterranean with great violence. They also
penetrated the Channel, though they never checked the great stream of
transport for the armies between English and French ports, which the
Navy was guarding with complete success.

The reason for this recrudescence of submarine piracy was the intense
energy which the Germans devoted to the production of standardised
and powerful classes of submarines, whose parts were produced in
many districts of the German Empire. The new boats were practically
submarine cruisers, capable of high surface speed, which enabled them
to overhaul slow merchantmen, and they were armed with powerful guns.
The early enemy submarine carried a 1.4-inch gun, but a 2.9-inch
12-pounder was provided. There is now reason to believe that the
calibre has risen to 4.1 inches and, in the case of some of the
more powerful boats, to 5.1 inches, these larger guns being shorter
and lighter than the same guns mounted in cruisers. But obviously
submarines of these classes, carrying on their work over wider areas
and in distant places, will not be so easy to destroy as the smaller
boats of the early submarine campaign, and this may account for
the difficulty in providing a complete protection from the attack.
Submarine sections have been sent overland and assembled at Trieste for
the Adriatic and Mediterranean, and at Varna for use in the Black Sea,
and also doubtless at the Golden Horn or in the Gulf of Ismid.

There is much uncertainty about the future of the submarine. She
exercises no command at sea, and she makes many fruitless attacks upon
armed merchantmen; but she is dangerous, nevertheless. The British
Navy has devoted exhaustless energy in applying every possible agency
for dealing with hostile submarines, and its great success encourages
the hope and belief that the scourge will yet be exterminated.
Destroyers, motor launches, patrolling ships of many classes,
seaplanes, observation balloons, and other craft are at work every day
and many of them every night. But whatever element of uncertainty there
may be as to the complete success of these agencies, there is none in
the conclusion that the submarine will never bring England, still less
her Allies, to the verge of famine or anywhere near it. Scarcity of
food is not due so much to the submarine as to the great demand on the
world’s supplies, and the enormous volume of shipping absorbed by the
naval and military requirements of England and her Allies. The Navy,
which has done such wonderful work in the war, is not and will not be
ineffective against the submarine.



        They sink, they slink, they seek the boat,
          Grisly horns stuck through their skin,
        Ready to sink all things that float,
          These villain boxes shaped of tin.
          The fisher sees the death therein,
        But reaches down with his long fling,
          And grasps the chain that holds them in,
        And draws the fangs they hoped would sting.


The British Navy fights for the great ideals of the people, acting upon
the lines of old and loyal traditions; but, while doing so, it has
encountered the desperate devices of the enemy, who has used the latest
achievements of scientific and mechanical invention in such a manner
as to overthrow many preconceived methods and accepted conventions of
naval warfare. We have already spoken of the submarine. Now we shall
see what the mine is, and how it is dealt with by the Navy and the
services the Navy controls. It has been said, with much truth, that
the essence of war is violence and that moderation in war is futility.
It is also true, as we see, in the cruel operations of Zeppelins and
bomb-dropping aeroplanes, and not less in the attacks of submarines,
as directed by the Germans and their allies, that the non-military
populations suffer the horrors of war in much greater degree than was
the case in the wars even of recent times.

But the Germans, at the very beginning of the war, outraged neutral
sentiment by employing ostensible merchant and passenger vessels,
flying neutral flags, and without giving warning to the neutrals, in
the deadly work of scattering mines indiscriminately in the open sea
on the main lines of trade. They acted in direct contravention of the
rules of war as previously accepted. These disguised mining vessels
had traversed the trade routes as if pursuing peaceful purposes, thus
enjoying the immunities which had always been accorded to innocent
neutral vessels, and yet they had wantonly endangered the lives of all
who traversed the sea, whether neutral or enemy. The Admiralty were
soon able to declare publicly that this mine-laying under a neutral
flag, as well as reconnaissance conducted by trawlers and even by
hospital ships and neutral vessels, had become the ordinary methods
of German naval warfare. The later history of the war shows how far
the Germans were prepared to go in casting off any restraint in their
efforts to do injury to their enemies. They compelled the British
Admiralty to adopt counter-measures.

For years past the Germans had devoted unremitting attention to the
study and practice of mining and the production of very powerful types
of mines. In that respect they were undoubtedly ready. The state of
war between England and Germany began at 11 p.m. on August 4th, 1914,
and on the morning of the next day German mines were being laid on the
east coast of England. The _Königin Luise_, a former Hamburg-Amerika
liner of 2,163 tons, was caught in the act, off the Suffolk coast,
and was sunk by the light cruiser _Amphion_ and the Third Torpedo
Flotilla. On the next day the _Amphion_ herself, the first British
warship destroyed in the war, fell a victim to the mines she had laid.
This disguised mine-layer had initiated a practice, which has since
been many times followed in the war, of throwing mines overboard in the
track of pursuing vessels. It was resorted to by the retreating Germans
in the battle of the Dogger Bank. Here it may be remarked that the
Germans have always claimed the right to subject every consideration to
their necessity to win, though at The Hague Conference of 1907, Baron
Marschall von Bieberstein, the German delegate, said that conscience,
good sense, and the duty imposed by the principles of humanity
would constitute the most effective guarantee against abuse, and he
proclaimed—“_je le dis à haute voix_”—that German naval officers would
always fulfil “in the strictest fashion the duties which emanate from
the unwritten law of humanity and civilisation.”

Any technical description of German mines would be out of place here;
but it may be said that generally they approximate to a spherical
shape, and are provided with projecting “horns,” almost in the shape of
drumsticks, concussion with which is calculated to break a small phial
within, whose contents cause the detonation of the enormous charge of
T.N.T. explosive. Each mine is provided with a sinker, which drops to
the bottom, and is attached to the mine by a cable or sounding-line
paid out by special mechanism to any desired length, whereby the mine
may be kept at the intended depth below the surface. There are other
types of mines, and in particular one of cylindrical form, containing a
prodigious quantity of explosive and capable of the widest destruction.
This has probably been used only in special situations. The ordinary
mines can be laid with great rapidity by a specially fitted mine-layer,
provided with rotary gear, bringing mine after mine along a special
track to the dropping position. The drifting mines which the Germans
at the very beginning of the war set afloat in the main trade route
from America to Liverpool, _viâ_ the North of Ireland, can be laid with
still greater rapidity.

When mine-laying in British waters by surface boats was made extremely
risky, or almost impossible, the Germans resorted to the employment
of submarine mine-layers, one of which was exhibited in the Thames.
Vessels of this class, so far as they are known, probably carry a
maximum of twelve big mines in six shoots or air-locks, the lower mine
in each shoot being released by means of a lever, after which the
other drops into its place, ready to be let go in the same way. The
boat exhibited in London and elsewhere was of a rough, rudimentary
character, indifferently built, and her speed was probably not more
than six or eight knots. Undoubtedly many of the submarine mine-layers
are of better type. They are constantly at work especially on the east
coast of England, and some losses have resulted; but the effect of
their operations is nearly always overcome by the means adopted by the

The first measure set on foot by the Admiralty was to organise a
system of search for suspicious craft, and to declare the North Sea
a war area, within which it was dangerous for any vessel to navigate
except through channels indicated by the naval authorities. The Germans
replied with their now famous and futile blockade order of February,
1915. New regulations were issued from time to time regulating
navigation through the British mine-fields, and the result has been, in
association with the patrols, to exercise a very close supervision over
the navigation in home waters. As to distant mining operations of the
enemy, the First Lord of the Admiralty stated, on March 8th, 1917, that
they had been carried very far, and the P. & O. liner _Mongolia_, sunk
off Bombay on June 23rd, 1917, was not the only vessel mined in the
Arabian Sea. From time to time it has been announced that mails for and
from the East and Australia have been lost at sea.

It is an inspiring thing to turn from this picture of mines and the
scattering of them by the enemy to another picture—that of the gallant
and successful manner in which the Navy, and the mine-trawlers and
other vessels embodied in its service and employed in the ceaseless
patrols, have grappled with the deadly menace of the mine. Ever
patrolling the British coasts, ever facing death, often speeding
to the help of vessels mined, torpedoed, or otherwise in distress,
the glorious men who man these craft have inscribed their names in
letters of gold on the roll of British honour and fame at sea. It was
a marvellous thing, this embodiment of the vast mine-sweeping and
patrolling service in the work of the Navy in the war. From all the
coasts fishermen have come, with their trawlers converted from the
craft of winning fish at sea, to the sterner work of bringing up and
destroying the strange harvest of deadly mines which endanger all
life at sea. Many a trawler has been sunk by contact with her fatal
captures; others have been sunk by hostile fire and bombing by enemy
aeroplanes, but never have the brave seamen quailed in the service of
the country and the Allies, and in every port men are to be met whose
craft have been sunk under them, and who have hastened to sea again.

Hundreds of ships, drawn from the mercantile marine and the fisheries,
steam yachts, motor boats, armed launches, and vessels of other
classes, are employed in such dangerous work. They share the trials
of war, wind, and weather with the regular naval patrols. Sir Edward
Carson, when First Lord of the Admiralty, directed attention to the
magnificent work of the mine-trawlers of these patrols. The force
employed at the beginning of the war numbered about 150 small vessels,
but increased to 3,000 or more. The whole nation should understand
what mine-sweepers were doing. “The thousands of men engaged in this
operation are the men who are feeding the whole population of this
country, from morning till night, battling with the elements as well
as the enemy, facing dangers under the sea. A mine-sweeper carries
his life in his hands at every moment, and he does it willingly.”
Later again he expressed his thanks and the thanks of the nation for
the splendid work they had accomplished. Of all the seamen who had
so deservedly earned the gratitude of the country none had had more
arduous and dangerous duties to perform than the gallant fellows in the

They have worked in reliefs day and night at sea, though sometimes
driven to port by the fury of the elements, and they brave every kind
of weather. As Admiral Bacon, commanding the Dover Patrol, has said,
with reference to the security with which thousands of merchantmen had
passed through the waters in his control, “no figures could emphasise
more thoroughly the sacrifice made by the personnel of the patrols and
the relative immunity ensured to the commerce of their country.” They
have trawled for mines not only in British but in distant waters. Their
magnificent work under fire, and attacked by bomb-dropping aeroplanes,
at the Dardanelles will never be forgotten.

An American correspondent, Mr. Gordon Brace, who sailed in a
mine-trawler to learn its work, concluded an article in the _New York
Tribune_ in these words:—

  I looked at those men who go out day after day; who wear their
  lifebelts continuously; who take their tea on the decks while
  they peer over the rims of their cups for the death that lurks
  in those sombre waters. I thought how fine was their devotion
  to their duty; how great a part they are playing in the war—out
  there alone, where their deeds are attended with no sounding
  of trumpets, where they give to their work the same quality of
  bravery as is required of the man in the trenches. And as I
  glanced at the inscription over the cabin, which read “England
  expects every man to do his duty,” I knew that England would not
  be disappointed.

The practical methods by which the Navy and its brave mine-trawlers
conduct their operations are of great interest, but description
cannot go too far. The enemy is certainly well acquainted with all
British methods previous to the war; but mine-sweeping systems do not
stand still, but develop with the progress of armaments generally.
Mine-trawling is developed from the system of trawling for fish, which
before the war had reached a high degree of technical efficiency, and
in the application of that system to their work in the war the men
have attained great proficiency and become extraordinarily successful.
The trawl-net varies in size with the dimensions of the vessel using
it. An average size would be about 100 feet in length, with a spread
of from 80 to 90 feet. The principal features in fishing trawlers are
fore and after frameworks, with fairleaders, a towing-block, a powerful
steam-winch, and towing-warps. A trawler would pay out hundreds of
fathoms of heavy wire warp, the handling of which called for great
skill and dexterity. It was not a very difficult thing to adapt this
method of trawling to the sweeping for mines. The fishing trawler goes
unaided, but in mine-sweeping the trawlers work in pairs, and the
towing-warp is replaced by the sweeping-wire. Two trawlers, steaming
abreast at a certain interval, drag a weighted steel hawser which, upon
striking the mooring of a mine, brings the deadly catch to the surface,
where it is exploded by gunfire from a destroyer or by rifle fire from
an armed trawler or motor boat. The mine-sweepers have encountered
perils and hardships which have never been recorded, and fishing
trawlers pursuing their peaceful occupations have often incurred the
same risks.

Next after the destruction of the enemy’s fighting vessels comes
the destruction of his death-dealing mines, and the mine-trawlers,
confronted with an unparalleled task, attended with extreme peril, have
rendered magnificent service to England and her Allies.



        What of the mark?
          Ah! seek it not in England;
        A bold mark, an old mark
          Is waiting over-sea;
        Where the string harps in chorus,
        And the lion flag is o’er us,
          It is there our work shall be.

                    _Sir A. Conan Doyle._

The stupendous and scarcely calculable operation of transporting
by sea the enormous armies which are employed in many theatres of
the hostilities is the index and measure of the greatest of all the
triumphs of naval power in the war, namely, that of establishing and
maintaining essential command of the sea. Against this bulwark the
enemy’s naval forces have battled in vain. The submarine may, in some
degree and in some circumstances, affect command of the sea, but it
cannot exercise it.

It is difficult to realise all that the transport of millions of men,
organised as armies and provided with all that armies require, has
meant to the Allies, or to bring home to ourselves a full sense of
what the responsibilities of the Navy have been in safeguarding them.
The armies of Frederick and Napoleon were pygmies compared with the
vast hosts which are set in the field to-day. When Frederick invaded
Silesia he had with him not more than 30,000 men. The motley army with
which Napoleon invaded Russia—the greatest that had ever been brought
under a single command—did not greatly exceed 600,000 on a liberal
computation. Wellington in the Peninsula never commanded 50,000 men.
But in March, 1916, Mr. Balfour, then First Lord of the Admiralty,
said that 4,000,000 combatants had already been transported under the
guardianship of the British Fleet, with 1,000,000 horses and other
animals, 2,500,000 tons of stores, and 22,000,000 gallons of oil, for
British use and the use of the Allies. In January, 1917, Admiral Sir
John Jellicoe, First Sea Lord, said that over 7,000,000 men had been
transported, together with all the guns, munitions, and stores they
required. Six months later, when the United States troops began to
arrive, the figure may be estimated to have reached 10,000,000.

The victory of Germany would have been swift and decisive if the great
armies represented by these figures had not come to the support of
France. French troops from Northern Africa and the East also joined
her brave army, because transport in the Mediterranean was secure. The
great army of Russia could have made no offensive movement if she had
not received the immense supplies of guns, munitions, motors, and other
material which came to her from abroad. Because of British supremacy
at sea and the shipping that consequently came there, Archangel, from
being a sleepy harbour, developed into one of the busiest ports on
the continent of Europe. Italy could have made no headway if many of
the things she required had not come to her by sea. Greece would have
remained permanently on the side of the enemy if sea-power and the
troops transported there had not rallied her to the Allies. The German
colonies would not have been occupied if fleets had not carried to them
the troops for their subjection. England, by virtue of sea command
guaranteed by her Fleet, has gathered her armies from India, Canada,
Australia, New Zealand, and from every colony and possession, and
has sent them to serve in France, Belgium, Greece, Gallipoli, Egypt,
Palestine, Macedonia, Mesopotamia, and Africa. Not a soldier has gone
afloat but a seaman has carried him on his back.

Before we can appreciate this aspect of the work of the Navy in the
war, we must gain some idea of what is implied by the military service
of these armies in the field. It is not enough to dispatch armies.
They must be maintained and supplied. The communications of an army
are vital to its operations, and the communications of all the armies
that England is employing are by sea, and are guarded by the Navy.
It would not be an easy thing to estimate the vast requirements of
fighting forces; but that is unnecessary. They are on an infinitely
greater scale, in proportion to the strength of the troops employed,
than in any previous war. Guns are far more numerous and much heavier
than they were. The expenditure of ammunition has gone beyond all
anticipation, and a real fleet is required for its transport. Horses,
mules, many descriptions of heavy and light ordnance and ammunition for
them, warlike and general stores of innumerable kinds, aeroplanes,
balloons, the gigantic “tanks,” hospitals and hospital requisites,
clothing, food, forage, camp equipment, transport vehicles, traction
engines, pontooning, railway, telegraph, building, and mining material,
locomotives of many kinds, petrol, and a hundred other stores and
things are necessary, and they must day and night be in transit,
without rest or pause. It will illustrate the gigantic nature of the
operation if we record that between November, 1916, and June, 1917,
2,000 miles of complete railway track were shipped, with nearly 1,000
locomotives, and other supplies by railway companies. Labour and work
for a hundred different services have to be provided also. The United
States and other countries have contributed enormous supplies, and,
with the coming of the American Army, the volume of the ceaseless
torrent—the veritable Niagara—will increase still more. History has no
parallel for such operations.

This vast business being the charge of the British Navy and of the
navies allied with it, we see how great an object it must be of the
enemy to strike at the lines of supply. That they have completely
failed would appear almost miraculous, if we did not know that the
reasons for the failure are altogether of a practical character. It
was inevitable that there should be some losses when submarines and
mine-layers were at work, but the destruction effected has been a
mere fraction of the whole, and the influence upon the campaigns is
entirely negligible. The Ministry of Munitions imports 1,500,000 tons
of material every month. The most considerable loss due to attack
has been in the matter of shell components, but it did not amount to
more than 5.9 per cent. of the whole supply from the beginning of the
submarine campaign up to June, 1917. The most serious disasters were
in the Mediterranean, where submarines sank the French transports
_Provence II._ and _Gallia_, engaged in the Salonika expedition, with
the loss of about 1,600 lives. The enemy will certainly continue his

Never was a more seriously planned attempt made than that of June 22nd,
1917, when General Pershing’s American Expeditionary Force was crossing
the Atlantic. German submarines, in considerable force, made two
attacks upon the transports, and on both occasions were beaten off with
every appearance of loss. One submarine was certainly sunk, and there
was reason to believe that the accurate fire of the American gunners
sent others to the bottom. For purposes of convenience the expedition
had been divided into contingents, each composed of troop-ships and a
naval escort designed to keep off such raiders as might be met with.
An ocean rendezvous was arranged with the American destroyers then
operating in European waters, in order that the passage through the
danger zone might be attended by every possible protection. There
was reason to believe that the Germans had secret intelligence of
the course taken by the transports to the rendezvous and of the time
appointed for their arrival there.

The first attack occurred at 10.30 p.m. at a point well on the American
side of the rendezvous, in a part of the Atlantic which might have
been presumed free from submarines. The heavy gunfire of the American
destroyers scattered the enemy boats, and five torpedoes were seen.
The second attack was launched a few days later, against the other
contingent, on the European side of the rendezvous. Not only did
destroyers hold the boats at a safe distance, but their speed resulted
in sinking at least one submarine. Bombs were dropped firing a charge
of explosive timed to go off at a certain distance under water. In
one instance the wreckage covered the surface of the sea after a shot
at a periscope. “Protected by our high seas convoy destroyers and by
French war vessels,” said the Secretary of the United States Navy, “the
contingent proceeded, and joined the others at a French port. The whole
nation will rejoice that so great a peril has passed for the vanguard
of the men who will fight our battles in France.”

This incident illustrates the method of protection chiefly employed by
the British Navy. When the original Expeditionary Force was sent to
France, the Grand Fleet was in readiness if the High Sea Fleet should
venture to issue to sea. Cruisers, destroyers, naval aircraft, and
submarines were on watch and guard in the North Sea and the Channel,
and the patrol was maintained, day and night, without intermission
until the army had been effectively transported. The patrol was then
organised upon a greater scale as the transport grew in volume. The
Dover Patrol undertook a work of the highest importance, and was
instrumental in holding off all destroyer attacks from the eastward.
Cruisers, destroyers, armed motor launches, mine-trawlers and drifters,
and other vessels have been constantly at work, and observation
balloons and seaplanes have never ceased their vigil. The triumph has
been complete, the enemy submarines have never penetrated the guard,
and the Channel communications of all the armies in France have been
made secure. There are certain features of this organisation which
cannot be dealt with here. The same system has been carried into the
Mediterranean and elsewhere, and the French, Italian, and Japanese
navies have shared in the work.

In this matter of transport protection the British Navy has rendered
magnificent service to all the Allies. General Sir Charles Munro, after
the evacuation of Gallipoli, said it was a stroke of good fortune
for the Army to be associated with a service “whose work remained
throughout this anxious period beyond the power of criticism or
cavil,” and General Sir Ian Hamilton reported that “one tiny flaw in
the mutual trust and confidence animating the two services would have
wrecked the whole enterprise.” This is true not only of Gallipoli but
of every place in which the Navy has been serving as the guard of the
communications, and the base and support of the military forces.

It will be understood that the Transport Department of the British
Admiralty undertook a colossal work at the beginning of the war. It
possessed the unrivalled experience gained during the South African
War, 1899–1901, when about 275,000 men were dispatched and supplied
with all army requirements over a distance of 7,000 miles of sea and
land. Then there was no enemy afloat, but the operation was greater
than any previously undertaken, and evoked the admiration of the world
as a revelation of resource, energy, organisation, national spirit,
good management, and business-like capacity. What will be said when
the now incalculable work of the Transport Department in this war can
be estimated and described? The inspection and selection of ships and
the conversion of them for the accommodation of troops and horses was a
great business. In 1899 it was estimated that a satisfactory transport
should be capable of carrying a number of men equal to 25 per cent. of
her tonnage. What is the rule now one cannot say. There are important
considerations of ballasting, speed, coal consumption, and other
matters in such business, and the removal or adaptation of existing
fittings and the allotting of space for various purposes have occupied
the Admiralty officers and officials.

It was a business both of embarkation and disembarkation, on both sides
of the Channel, and special provision was required for the wounded
and sick. The Naval Transport and Embarkation Officers have had a
very exhausting and anxious time in taking up, fitting, coaling, and
otherwise preparing vessels for sea, and in giving orders for the
movements of ships at the ports on arrival and departure, as well as
in providing for the safety and expedition of all embarkations of men,
horses, and stores, and arranging for docking and like matters. They
merit the gratitude of the country and the Allies. It may be said
that in all the naval and commercial ports of the United Kingdom,
and in the French ports as well, work of this or like kind has been
in progress uninterruptedly since the beginning of the war. It is
strictly naval work, and was set on an excellent and satisfactory
footing by the Admiralty; but, as the war progressed, and the pressure
grew greater, imposing additional duties on the Transport Department,
some matters dealt with by certain of its branches, and concerned with
ship construction, modification, and repair, were placed in charge of
competent civilians.



        Heard the Heavens fill with shouting, and there rain’d a
                ghastly dew
        From the nations’ airy navies grappling in the central blue.


From an account of the work of the British Navy in the war there must
not be omitted some exposition of the gallant doings of the men of
the Royal Naval Air Service. They have made their mark in the war,
in every theatre of it, and no one can tell what part they will play
before the struggle is at an end. Of some of their work very little is
known. They render “silent” service, like that of the Navy to which
they belong. They do not always carry on their duty alone. On occasions
they participate in that of the Royal Flying Corps of the Army. They
have been associated with the gallant French airmen, and the Americans
come with a new burst of energy. The Germans know British naval airmen
at Zeebrugge and Ostend, and in all the country behind those places;
at sea also, when the German raiders return from their exploits; and
on the West front of the Army, too, where they go at times far behind
the line, spying out the land, taking number and note of the enemy,
dropping bombs on his store and ammunition dumps, disturbing all
his rearward services, and stirring up his aerodromes and the nursing
places, where his fledglings, whom they call “quirks,” are taking to
themselves wings and learning to fly.



The Royal Naval Air Service has lent its aid to the Italians, has
provided unpleasant experiences for the Bulgarians, has dropped bombs
on the Turks at Gaza and thereabout, has rendered good service in
the Mesopotamian business, and was invaluable in “spotting” for the
guns which destroyed the fugitive German cruiser _Königsberg_ in the
jungle-clad reaches of the Rufiji River. From dawn to dusk these
knights of the air have been flying in many parts of the world, and
night-flying is their particular pleasure when there is great work
to be done. Their “game book” is very full of astounding episodes
of fighting which, in exciting experiences, put into the shade the
thrilling narratives which for generations have delighted the hearts
of boys. Few people know the sleepless vigil which the naval airmen
keep all round the British coasts, constantly flying to keep watch upon
the enemy, to spot his submarines, to discover his mine-fields, and
to defeat any efforts he may make when transports are moving at sea.
Such is an outline of the occupations and duties of the Royal Naval Air

There was an “Air Department” at the Admiralty before the war, and a
Naval Wing of the Royal Flying Corps with its “Central Air Office,”
its Flying School at Eastchurch, and seaplane and aeroplane stations
at six places on the coasts, as well as airships at Farnborough and
Kingsnorth. At the Royal inspection at Spithead of the great mobilised
Fleet, just before the war, naval aeroplanes, seaplanes, and airships
gave a fine display. Development was rapid, the Royal Naval Air Service
came into independent existence, and there is now the Fifth Sea Lord
at the Admiralty charged with the supervision of the Royal Naval Air
Service, and representing it on the Air Board.

Some of the most useful work of the Royal Naval Air Service is in
“spotting” for the guns of the warships. Its officers made a methodical
photographic survey of the coast from Nieuport to the Dutch frontier
early in the war to assist the monitors which were then bombarding
the coast, and to observe and correct their fire. They worked from a
height of about 12,000 feet, constantly observing the development of
the enemy’s gun emplacements, all in despite of hostile aeroplanes and
shells. That survey has been continued, and the result is the finest
thing in aerial cartography which has ever been achieved.

It will illustrate this part of the special work of the seaplanes if we
describe how they began, which we are enabled to do by a lively-witted
official scribe, who examined the records of their operations, and has
given his impressions:—

  “I can’t see where they’re pitching,” said the Navy-that-Floats,
  referring to the shells of the monitors bursting twelve miles
  away. “What about spotting for us, old son?” “That will I do,”
  replied the Navy-that-Flies. “And more also. But I shall have to
  wear khaki, because it’s done out here; by everybody, apparently.”

  “Wear anything you like,” replied the Navy-that-Floats, “as long
  as you help us to hit those shore-batteries. Only—because you
  wear khaki (the Royal Naval Air Service does not usually wear
  khaki) and see life, don’t forget you’re still the same old Navy,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.”

  The Navy-that-Flies added “Amen,” and said that it wouldn’t
  forget. Wherever its squadrons were based they rigged a flagstaff
  and flew the White Ensign at the peak. They erected wooden huts
  and painted them Service grey, labelling them “Mess-deck,”
  “Ward-room,” “Gun-room,” etc., as the case might be. They divided
  the flights into port and starboard watches, and solemnly asked
  leave to “go ashore” for recreation. They filled in shell-holes
  and levelled the ground for aerodromes; they ran up hangars and
  excavated dug-outs—whither they retired in a strong silent rush
  (the expression is theirs) when the apprehensive Boche attempted
  to curtail their activity with bombs.

Not all the good work of the Royal Naval Air Service in its
co-operation with the Fleet comes into public notice. It rendered
excellent service at the Dardanelles, the seaplane carrier _Arc Royal_
being present. There were many fine achievements, including the bombing
of a transport in the Straits by Flight-Commander C. H. K. Edmonds,
R.N. Seaplanes may take the place of scouting cruisers, as the eyes of
the Fleet, and relieve destroyers of some of their scouting duties.
What would Nelson not have given for the help of seaplanes when he
was crying out for frigates, and was groping for the French in the
Mediterranean in 1798, and came unknowingly within a short distance
of them; or, again, when, in 1805, they eluded him off Toulon?
Intelligence of the movements of our enemy is of the utmost importance
to officers commanding at sea, and this is the service which the naval
airmen have been rendering.

At the beginning of the war the Germans enjoyed an advantage in the
possession of some dirigible airships, which sailed in calm airs,
unimpeded, over the North Sea, surveyed its full extent, and reported
what they saw to the German naval authorities. Their number rapidly
increased. Thus the British Fleet was to a certain extent hampered in
its operations. Now the situation is changed. The enemy’s airships
know the peril of coming within range of anti-aircraft guns, and they
dread the “hornets” which carry special means of setting them on fire.
There are British airships, too, and observation captive balloons,
fixed and towed, as well as seaplanes, maintained in adequate numbers.
The seaplane played a useful part in the battle of the Jutland Bank,
and craft of the class will astonish the enemy in any subsequent naval

The dropping of bombs by the seaplanes or aeroplanes of the Royal
Naval Air Service has become the most prominent of its activities.
The machines are of great power, and, acting in numbers, they have
been able to drop an enormous weight of bombs on the enemy positions,
particularly in the districts behind the coast of West Flanders. Within
the space of four or five months 70 tons of explosives were dropped
on the German aerodromes in Northern Belgium. Brave naval airmen in
July, 1917, from a height of 800 feet, dropped bombs on the _Goeben_
and other enemy warships at the Golden Horn, and hit the Turkish War
Office also. In this work the young officers—for the service demands
youth—have given proof of exceeding keenness. It would be difficult to
catalogue the expeditions of the naval airmen on the Belgian coast.
They have assisted in most important operations.

How far such work may be continued, to what range carried, or what will
be the full effect, we do not know. The Navy-that-Flies will leave
nothing undone that is capable of accomplishment. It has operated in
association with the work of French flying men on many occasions, at
the bombardment of Zeebrugge and elsewhere. It will find a powerful
co-worker in the new and gallant allies who are bringing all their
force to bear from beyond the Atlantic. The United States air service
will develop with extraordinary rapidity, and its co-operation will be
warmly welcomed by British naval airmen. So abundant is the confidence
of Americans, so strong and virile their faith in themselves, that some
of them look to the aeroplane to end the war. Rear-Admiral Bradley A.
Fiske has demanded an immediate naval attack on the German fleet and
submarine bases in the Baltic by a monster fleet of aeroplanes and
seaplanes. He believes that the importance of naval aerial operations
is not sufficiently realised by the Allies and that Essen may be
destroyed by bombardment from the air.

The field of speculation does not fall within the scope of this little
book, the object of which is to illustrate the work of the Fleet and
its associated services in all the theatres of war. The Royal Naval
Air Service is still young, and has undoubtedly a great future.
Already it has proved a valuable auxiliary. It has assisted in the
important business of providing complete strategical observations. It
has aided the work of the commercial blockade, in making more easy on
many occasions the operations of the much-tried examination service.
Undoubtedly the transport of the armies and their stores across the
Channel and in many seas, which was the subject of the last chapter,
would have been conducted with less certainty, and perhaps with less
confidence, if it had not been for the active co-operation, as the
eyes of the Fleet, of the naval flying men. The long-range gunnery of
warships against permanent fortifications, both at the Dardanelles and
on the Belgian coast, has gained in accuracy from the observation by
the aircraft of the Navy.

This subject might have been pursued further, but enough has been said
to show that, among the agencies employed by the British Fleet in the
accomplishment of the supreme duties which it exercises for the safety
of the country and the support of the Allies, the Royal Naval Air
Service holds an important place. It has evoked enthusiasm among its
officers, who have maintained in a high degree, in many a battle in the
air, the fearlessness, resource, and daring of the Naval Service to
which they belong.



        Sailor, what of the debt we owe you?
          Day or night is the peril more?
        Who so dull that he fails to know you,
          Sleepless guard of our island shore?
        Safe the corn to the farmyard taken;
          Grain ships safe upon all the seas;
        Homes in peace and a faith unshaken—
          Sailor, what do we owe for these?

                    _The late Viscount Stuart._

No picture of the war work of the British Navy could be complete
without some account of its officers and men. From what has already
been said, the nature of the qualities demanded of them will have
been realised. In the general direction of the Navy by the Admiralty
there have been required calm reflection, profound insight, strategic
imagination, sound and swift judgment as to the full use and the
yet ill-understood limitations of sea-power, an abundant spring of
action, and the unflinching resolution to give effect to the utmost
to the striking and controlling force of the naval arm. In the
Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet there was needed the high ability
to administer and exercise the command, to inspire officers and men of
every rank and rating in the Fleet with zeal, efficiency, and devotion,
as well as sleepless vigilance in the long waiting for the enemy, and
instant readiness for action at all times. The Commander-in-Chief does
not work alone. He has a staff who collaborate in these duties and give
effect to his plans; and admirals secondary in command, who have no
light task in directing the work and operations of the larger elements
of the Fleet. Sir John Jellicoe, who was appointed to the Grand Fleet
at the beginning of the war, was a master of the high attainments
required for his office, and it was he who created the base of his
operations, organised all the agencies of his command, and exercised
that command with consummate ability. The instrument he had shaped
and handled so capably fell to the charge of Sir David Beatty, a most
gallant officer, eminently fitted to use it, whose temperament is the
very spirit of action, and yet who forms his plans in the mould of cool
reflection. Happily for the British Navy, the fire of action is mingled
in its officers with the ice of thought. They know when to strike, and
when they strike they strike hard.

Great responsibilities have rested on the captains of His Majesty’s
ships. They showed in the Jutland battle, in which they were tried by
the searching test of decisive action, that they possessed the ability
to inspire and discipline their men, and to put forth the maximum of
the fighting power of the ships. Officers in detached command away
from the Fleet have rendered very great services. The junior officers
are beyond praise. By universal testimony, their devotion, courage,
and ever-ready professional skill, in every test of emergency and
endurance, have never been excelled. The officers of the destroyers are
men above price. The commanders of submarines, who have even carried
their enterprise into the Baltic, and risked the perils of mine and gun
in the narrow waters of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, are officers
who have won new laurels for the Fleet.

The men of the lower deck, wherever they serve, give daily proof of the
bravery, hardihood, cheerfulness, and long endurance which have always
been the qualities of British seamen. Let Sir John Jellicoe speak of
them as he knew them:—

  Nothing can ever have been finer than the coolness and courage
  shown in every case where ships have been sunk by mines or
  torpedoes; discipline has been perfect, and men have gone to
  their deaths not only most gallantly, but most unselfishly. One
  heard on all sides of numerous instances of men giving up on
  these occasions the plank which had supported them to some more
  feeble comrade, and I feel prouder every day that passes that I
  command such men. During the period of waiting and watching they
  are cheerful and contented, in spite of the grey dullness of
  their lives.

It would not be difficult to single out instances from the records of
the war of constructive power in thought, and sound and swift judgment
in action, as well as of splendid courage, enterprise, dash, and
resolution—call it what you will—in the crisis of battle and in moments
of stress, exhibited in a manner rarely exampled in naval warfare. The
British Fleet has been rich in the mental endowments of its officers,
showing them to possess grasp and insight, and moral force, to dominate
hesitation and sustain action in the tremendous emergencies of battle
and when confronted with the most formidable responsibilities.
Excitement has never carried them away. Judgment has worked through all
their endeavours as, in the long watches and waiting, it has sustained

Eulogy is not required. Nothing that has been said exceeds the
merits of officers and men. It is right that these things should be
understood. The man is more than the machine, and the finest fleet and
most compete material equipment are dead and inert without the living
power of the officers who command, and the men who man the ships and
vessels of every class. It is they who have done and are doing the work
of the Navy in the war. They, and not their ships, have given security
to the British Isles, have kept the seas and oceans open for the
Allies, have safeguarded every interest afloat, and have worked and are
working, day and night, to defeat the purposes of the enemy.

We now turn to a consideration which is of paramount importance for
a right understanding of the Navy’s work in the war. England is the
support of all her Continental Allies. If she should suffer or lose
her power of supplying them with armies and arms, or should weaken in
her offensive, the Allies would collapse. This is a fact of primary
importance. The Germans realise it fully. They hesitate at nothing in
their efforts to strike at England. They publicly declared that they
would reduce her by famine. They struck at her mercantile marine, not
merely at ships which were armed and engaged in the naval service
in such large numbers, but at the ordinary cargo vessels, including
neutral vessels carrying British supplies, and at fishermen pursuing
their regular avocations, who, under The Hague Conventions, were,
with their boats, tackle, rigging, gear, and cargoes, to be exempt
from capture, and still more from destruction. Of the officers and
men of these services we must speak also. It became necessary, in the
conditions which had arisen, to bring the whole mercantile marine under
naval direction and orders, and practically it is embodied with the
Navy, and provided for the most part with armaments for defence, and
closely in touch with a great protective organisation.

When Mr. Balfour was First Lord of the Admiralty, speaking in the
House of Commons on March 7th, 1916, he directed special attention to
this aspect of naval work, not merely to the service of ships flying
the White Ensign, but to that of transports and of merchant and cargo
vessels, and their officers and men, conveying imports and exports,
and the supplies required by the Allied armies. “On them,” he said,
“we depend, not less than on our armed forces, for maintaining the
necessary economic basis upon which all war must ultimately be waged.”
There were, as he said, thousands of officers and men whose ships had
been sunk under them by mine and submarine, and yet who had cheerfully
signed on again, and were not to be driven from their ancient heritage
of the sea. England depends upon her mercantile marine for her national
existence. To a great extent, her food and raw materials are in its
charge; and it also brings without ceasing hundreds of thousands
of tons of munitions of many kinds required by the Allies. When,
therefore, we estimate the work of the Navy in the war, we must give
to the merchant branch of the Sea Service the position it deserves, as
an absolute and primary necessity to England and her Allies.

The nobility of the work carried on by the officers and men of
the merchant service and the fishermen, whether in armed ships,
mine-trawlers, or cargo vessels, is a dominant note of the war. Their
heroism has been conspicuous, and, as was stated by Admiral Sir Henry
Jackson, when he was First Sea Lord of the Admiralty, the facility
with which they learned to carry out their duties as part of a trained
fighting force was extraordinary. “The Allied nations,” he said, “owe
them a deep debt of gratitude for their response, as well as for their
indomitable pluck and endurance.” “There is no room in the Navy for
anything but the most sincere admiration and respect for the officers
and men of the mercantile marine,” said Sir John Jellicoe. They had
practically become a part of the fighting force, sharing in the work
of the Navy in the war, and their courageous conduct and unflinching
devotion to duty have gained the testimony of naval officers
everywhere, not only in the British service, but in the Allied navies
which have come into contact with them. Of the magnificent service of
the mine-trawlers we have spoken in a previous chapter.

Let this chapter conclude with an appeal to England and her Allies to
remember the great and enduring services of British seamen. They do
not often speak of one another. Sometimes, as by a flash, as when Sir
John Jellicoe wrote of his men, the truth is revealed. It was that
taciturn old officer, Sir John Jervis, who said of Troubridge that he
had “honour and courage as bright as his sword.” The torch is handed on
from one officer to another. There are many qualities among them. The
fire of Drake meets the resolute gravity of Blake; the long reflection
of Kempenfelt is the foil to the fierce glow of Nelson. The tradition
is continuous. Sir John Jellicoe could find no words to do justice
to his officers and men in the day and night actions of the Jutland
Battle. The glorious traditions of the past were worthily upheld. Sir
David Beatty showed his fine qualities of gallant leadership, high
determination, and correct strategic insight. Great qualities were
manifested by every rank and rating. Down in the engine-rooms, seeing
nothing of the battle, men were working like Titans, and some ships
reached speeds which they had never before attained. This was great
service for England and her Allies.

There is sometimes a tendency to forget—to lose proportion, also—in
censuring seamen for not doing what the power of the sea alone can
never achieve. Howe was burned in effigy in London almost at the very
time when he was fighting his glorious battle of Quiberon Bay, braving
the perils of rocks which were charted and known, and not, be it
noted, of submarines and mines which are invisible and unknown. As the
sarcastic songster wrote at the time:

          When Hawke did bang
          Monsieur Conflans,
        You sent us beef and beer;
          Now Monsieur’s beat,
          We’ve naught to eat,
        Since you have naught to fear.

And so Nelson spoke. “I will only apply,” he said, “some very old lines
wrote at the end of some former war:

        “Our God and sailor we adore
        In times of danger—not before!
        The danger past, both are alike requited:
        God is forgotten, and the sailor slighted!”

Now, the object of this book is to show what are the services of the
British Navy to England and to the Allies. Its influence has been
visible throughout the world, working everywhere with unexampled
success. It operates solely because of the qualities and sacrifices of
its officers and men. To them a high tribute must be paid.



        Where shall the watchful sun,
            England, my England,
        Match the master-work you’ve done,
            England, my own?
        When shall he rejoice agen
        Such a breed of mighty men
        As come forward, one to ten,
          To the song on your bugles blown,
          Down the years on your bugles blown?

                    _W. E. Henley._

Antagonism between England and Germany became the central fact in the
international situation many years before the war. There seemed to be
a fundamental antithesis between the ideals of the two peoples. The
freedom of the Englishman, guaranteed to him by sea-power, appeared
effeminate and undisciplined weakness to the German; the freedom of
the German, guaranteed to him only by the military strength of his
autocratic State, was regarded as feudal dependence by the Englishman.
Not to bring about a conflict, but to avert one—or, if the worst
came to the worst, to engage in one with success—was the motive of
British policy. There was no visible ground for German aggression, but
deep-seated antagonism was the element of danger which successive
Premiers and Foreign Ministers had had to take account of in appraising
their country’s future, and, with the guidance of their colleague at
the Admiralty, who based his judgment on that of his naval advisers,
they had obtained the means to build up the Fleet, which was to be the
country’s and Empire’s defence.



Armageddon was foreseen, though there was hope against hope that, in
the great crisis, the dire struggle might be averted. It was known
that Belgium and France would have need of England if the dogs of war
were let slip. Many soldiers and writers had pointed out that Belgium
would become the inevitable pathway of aggression. German writers had
declared it an injury that the Congress of Vienna had not established
Germany on the North Sea, and Arndt had expressed the ardent desire
of the German heart to reconquer the great western rivers, implying
the domination of the seas. There were dangers in these lesser
countries. They were full of possibilities. _Qui trop embrasse mal
étreint._ Belgium would cry aloud for English help. As to Italy, it
was difficult to believe that she could hold to her compact with the
Central Powers. Russia, it was known, would be against them. Thus in
all her naval efforts, long before the war, England, while guarding
her own interests, was working and building up her naval strength, in
conscious knowledge of the duty she might one day have to her friends
who have now become her Allies. This is a very important point, and it
leads to a brief survey of great sacrifices and unstinted efforts which
Englishmen have made in the past.

The Fleet that went into the war was the most powerful, best organised,
and best equipped in every essential particular in the world. Yet,
for a very long anterior period, Englishmen had remained unconscious
of what they owed to the Fleet. They had fought brilliant campaigns
in China, Afghanistan, India, Burma, the Crimea, Abyssinia, and
elsewhere, in which the Navy was a most essential factor, though it
had scarcely appeared in the public eye. It was therefore from a low
ebb that the British Navy rose to the high-water mark of the war. It
was not until about the year 1882 that the tide began to turn, driven
forward by the lively breeze of a very useful agitation, in which the
late Mr. W. T. Stead took a prominent part, and which is believed to
have been inspired by the present Lord Fisher and the late Mr. Arnold
Forster. A great shipbuilding scheme was put in hand in 1889. Ever
since that time, under far-seeing First Lords and First Sea Lords of
the Admiralty, the task of asserting British naval supremacy has gone
forward. Expenditure on the Navy mounted from £31,000,000 in 1901 to
£51,500,000 in 1914, which latter was thought a monstrous figure; but
it was not a penny too much for the great interests which had to be

Battleships of increasing power, cruisers of many classes, destroyers,
submarines, and auxiliaries were built. Lord Fisher came to the
Admiralty as First Sea Lord in 1904, and during the subsequent six
years an enormous work was carried on. The battleships culminated
in the Dreadnoughts—that class of ships with a main armament of all
big guns—the cruisers in the battle-cruisers, destroyers grew more
numerous and of much greater power, submarines were developed in range
and sea-keeping qualities. None of these types have stood still. The
Dreadnought developed into the Super-Dreadnought, and the latter has
developed into the ships of powers before undreamed of, which no one
has yet described. The submarine has been changed out of recognition,
and no one suspects what these British vessels can and will do when
“The Day” really comes.

All these mechanical developments of the Fleet, which are so essential
at the present time, grew out of the impetus given in and after the
year 1904. But that was not the only thing which placed the country
in such a position of advantage at the beginning of the war. The
battle-fleet and cruiser squadrons had been reorganised to coincide
with the needs of the Empire, owing to the shifting of the stress of
naval power from the Atlantic and the Channel to the North Sea. Some
squadrons in distant waters were reduced in strength to correspond
with the requirements, and non-fighting ships—vessels too weak to
fight and too slow to run away—were brought home from distant seas,
and their officers and men were made available for modern ships. A
system of nucleus crews was adopted for the reserve ships to facilitate
mobilisation and to make sure that the ships would be really fit
for sea. Before that time the whole Fleet had been pivoted on the
Mediterranean, and a British warship was rarely seen in the North Sea.
By progressive steps the naval front was changed from the South to the
East. On the east coast of the United Kingdom destroyer and submarine
flotillas were based on ports prepared for them. A great dockyard was
erected at Rosyth, and all along the coast naval bases were developed,
and every preparation was made for the possibility of war. These
were developments of great significance, and the immense and growing
strength of the British Fleet justified the French in concentrating
their battle squadrons in the Mediterranean, and leaving at Brest and
in the Channel only a division of cruisers, supported by flotillas.

Fleets of warships are meant to fight when the need for fighting
comes; but there was no affront to Germany, no cause for resentment or
agitation, in the concentration of the main strength of the British
Fleet in such places, and with such bases, that they could carry their
power into the North Sea. Force attracts force in strategy as in
physics, and the growth of the German High Sea Fleet at Wilhelmshaven,
with the great sea canal thence to Kiel on the Baltic, inevitably
brought about the British concentration. How magnificently advantageous
was the position secured has already been shown. In an earlier chapter
it has also been explained that by the strategic position occupied by
the Grand Fleet, and the grip held on the entrance to the Channel at
Dover, the North Sea became strategically a closed sea—a _mare clausum_.

This fact, which is a fact of geography as well as of strategic
concentration, has made the enemy restive and resentful. We are
described as the “tyrants of the seas,” and the “freedom of the seas”
became a catchword of the Germans. Every ruler who has felt the hard
pressure of British sea-power, whether his name was Louis, or Napoleon,
or Wilhelm, has, perhaps inevitably, taken this line in denouncing
us to neutrals and endeavouring to array neutrals against us. In an
earlier stage of the present war this was the consistent plea of
German statesmen. But when they instructed their sea officers to sink
the _Lusitania_ and many other ships, and when they threatened with
disaster neutral ships which approached the British Isles, they became
themselves the tyrants of the sea in a very real sense, and they thus
arrayed the United States and other States against themselves, and
brought a new Armada to strengthen the already superior British Fleet.

The war is a fight for freedom. The British Navy is fighting, and glad
to have the Allied navies fighting in co-ordination with it, for the
liberation of oppressed nations and countries from military domination.
Command of the sea implies no restriction of navigation. It exists only
in war time. In time of peace the British Navy guaranteed the freedom
of the seas, and will guarantee it again when the war is at an end. We
cannot do better than quote on this question what that distinguished
American writer Admiral Mahan said:—

  Why do English innate political conceptions of popular
  representative Government, of the balance of law and liberty,
  prevail in North America from the Arctic Circle to the Gulf of
  Mexico, from the Atlantic to the Pacific? Because the command of
  the sea at the decisive era belonged to Great Britain. In India
  and Egypt administrative efficiency has taken the place of a
  welter of tyranny, feudal struggle, and bloodshed, achieving
  thereby the comparative welfare of the once harried populations.
  What underlies this administrative efficiency? The British Navy,
  assuring in the first place British control and thereafter
  communication with the home country, whence comes the local
  power without which administration everywhere is futile. What,
  at the moment when the Monroe doctrine was proclaimed, insured
  beyond peradventure the immunity from foreign oppression of the
  Spanish-American colonies in their struggle for independence? The
  command of the sea by Great Britain, backed by the feeble Navy
  but imposing strategic position of the United States, with her
  swarm of potential commerce-destroyers, which, a decade before,
  had harassed the trade even of the Mistress of the Seas.

In concluding, therefore, we see how the British Navy, having served
Great Britain and the British Empire so efficiently and so well in
every interest and possession, fighting constantly against every
stealthy device of the enemy, has served the Allies not less well and
worthily. And we discover, too, that the Navy is ever friendly to
neutral Powers, and that the command of the sea which it exercises in
the war is the panoply of freedom and liberty throughout the world.




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Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained; occurrences of
inconsistent hyphenation have not been changed.

Page 6: “If Nelson, in 1789,” should be 1798.

Page 10: “by in Navy” was printed that way; probably should be “by the

Pages 11 and 29: Footnotes were unmarked in original, but have been
marked as footnotes here.

Page 66: “Nieuport” was printed that way; should be “Nieuwpoort”.

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we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.