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The History of Caliph Vathek By Chang Du Characters: 49632

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:03

These were the stars that they followed.

Eastward returning,

The stars of the old sailors

Steadily burning.

Fearlessness, loyalty, liberty,

These and none others

Shone in the eyes that they turned to us,

Eyes of our brothers.

Among the minor casualties of the war was the disappearance of newspaper contents bills; and it was chalked upon a paving-stone in Holborn, as doubtless upon other paving-stones elsewhere, that a little group of people read the most momentous tidings that had reached London since the days of Elizabeth. That to a certain extent they were not unexpected; that since the Lusitania went down they had perhaps been inevitable-the three words, scribbled by the newspaper vendor, America Declares War, were none the less thrilling. All that lay dormant in them had not yet been revealed; but, even at the time, they were sufficiently overwhelming. For they not only meant that a great people, recruited from almost every nation on earth, had spoken its final and unanimous endorsement of all that Britain and her Allies were shedding their blood for; they not only meant that America had come into the ring on the side of chivalry and clean fighting; but they meant the reconciling, with its infinite implications, of two great branches of one family, each with liberty at the very core of every movement of its policy, and both inheritors of the common tongue of Shakespeare, Milton, and Bunyan.

Of the progressive steps by which the American nation moved from a position of neutrality to one of intervention, this is not the place to give the history. Deeply, and most understandably, reluctant to interfere in the affairs of Europe, it was not until he had judged that the people as a whole-no less on the prairies of Dakota than in the parlours of Boston-had realized the issue as supra-European, did President Wilson voice the great decision. With an extraordinary patience, severely criticized not only abroad but at home, he had refused to allow any incident, however provocative, to become the casus belli for the United States until the essential evil, of which it was but a symptom, was recognized and repudiated beyond the last doubt; and, although diplomatic relations were broken off in February, on Germany's declaration of unrestricted submarine murder, it was not until April 6, 1917, that war was finally declared.

During that time American lives had been lost in the sinking of the Laconia, Vigilancia, Healdton, and Aztec; while there was made public the German intrigue with Mexico in which she had promised the latter the states of Texas and Arizona. It was with this in mind, no doubt, that President Wilson, on April 3d, spoke as follows: "Self-governed nations do not fill their neighbours' states with spies, or set the course of intrigue to bring about some critical position of affairs which will give them an opportunity to strike and make conquests. Such designs can be successfully worked out only under cover, and where no one has the right to ask questions. Cunningly contrived plans of deception or aggression, carried, it may be from generation to generation, can be worked out and kept from the light only within the privacy of courts, or behind the carefully guarded conferences of a narrow and privileged class. They are happily impossible where public opinion demands and insists upon full information concerning all the nation's affairs." As regarded the submarine campaign, he said, "Vessels of every kind, whatever their flags, their character, their cargo, their destination, their errand, have been ruthlessly sent to the bottom without warning and without a thought of help or mercy for those on board-the vessels of friendly neutrals along with those of belligerents. Even hospital ships and ships carrying relief to the sorely bereaved and stricken people of Belgium, though the latter were provided with safe-conducts through the prescribed areas by the German Government itself, and were distinguished by unmistakable marks of identity, have been sunk with the same reckless lack of compassion or principle." Proclaiming it to be America's duty to take up such a challenge, he finished his address to Congress in memorable words. "To such a task," he said, "we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other."

Such was America's entrance, with a gesture worthy of her, and in which none more than Britain might take a greater pride; and it would be quite impossible to overestimate the immediate moral value of her action. Though it was, of course, clear that, not for many months, could her full weight be felt in Europe, there had been placed at the disposal of the Entente's anxious statesmen not only the unplumbed resources of another continent, but a new spring of unjaded enthusiasm at a peculiarly troubled stage of the war. Of the subsequent growth of the American armies, of their historic rush over the Atlantic in the following spring, and of the self-abnegation with which, at a critical moment, they allowed themselves to be brigaded with the British and French forces, we may not write here, save in so far as their navy and ours made this possible. Here we must confine ourselves to a brief survey of the American effort at sea, prefacing all that follows with the reminder that, no less than ourselves, the United States' navy shared in the great traditions bequeathed by the Elizabethan admirals.

To such as were familiar with its inner life, that had indeed long been manifest; and we have already referred to a couple of incidents in which it had become apparent to the world at large. In the fight of the Chesapeake against the Shannon, wherein both victor and vanquished shared an equal glory, and, in the action of Lieutenant Hobson at Santiago, its true lineage had shone out; while no English-speaking sailor of modern times had gloried in it more eloquently than Admiral Mahan. At the same time, separated by thousands of miles, on either side, from any potential foe; self-dependent, owing to its vast inner resources, for almost every material of industry; and with but few colonies, scattered over the world, whose interests required protection, America's attitude toward naval expansion had necessarily been somewhat different from our own. It had seemed rather an adjunct to her great natural defences than the vital condition of her existence; and the reflection of this had been clearly visible in her recent programmes of construction. Thus in 1909, 1910, and 1911 only two new battleships had been authorized each year. In 1912 and 1913 this number had been reduced to one; while, in 1914, though three had been authorized, two second-class battleships had been sold to Greece.

In that year, however, the naval staff had issued a rather disquieting report; and, in the three years that followed, very considerable strides were made in the direction of strengthening the Fleet. Always admirable in personnel, and with a considerable maritime population upon which to draw, fresh attention was paid to her reserves, which, on her entrance into the war, were organized in four classes; and, in the strictly offensive sense, it was at sea that her help as a combatant was the soonest felt. Weakest in cruisers, and entirely lacking in high-speed, heavy-gunned battle-cruisers, she possessed fourteen battleships of the dreadnought type with another score of the second and third classes. Of her dreadnoughts six-the Pennsylvania, Arizona, Oklahoma, Nevada, New York, and Texas-mounted 14-inch guns, the first two carrying twelve of these, with a secondary armament of twenty-two 5-inch guns, and the last four carrying ten, with a secondary armament of twenty-one 5-inch guns respectively. Five other battleships were still in course of construction on her entrance into the war. She had also nearly a hundred destroyers and torpedo-boats, and something over sixty submarines, and was soon to be producing fast sub-chasers, as she called them, in very large numbers. Manned, as all these were, by a personnel not only eager and intelligent, but combining a nationally typical self-confidence with the modesty and discipline of true seamen, the American navy was thus a timely reinforcement of the most valuable kind; and it was made doubly so by the prompt generosity with which it lent itself to the existing commands.

Nothing else, indeed, was to have been expected, since the relations between the British and American navies had always been a little in advance, perhaps as regarded cordiality, of those prevailing between their respective countries. Even when they were opponents in the war that should never have been they had sincerely and consistently respected each other; and, for the last hundred years, whenever they had foregathered, it had been with a more than formal friendliness. "It has been a rule," wrote the doyen of American admirals, the late Admiral Dewey, in 1913, "that wherever a British and an American ship meet, their officers and their crews fraternize. The two services speak the same language, they have a common inheritance of naval discipline and customs. Exchanges of visits, which are ceremonial where other nations are concerned, become friendly calls in a congenial atmosphere."

Nor had more solid evidence been lacking of the genuine alliance of which both navies were conscious. Thus in 1859, when the Toey-Wan, a British chartered steamer, in the Pei River, was enduring an extremely heavy fire from the Chinese forts, the American flag-officer, Josiah Tatnall, who was present on the occasion, turned to a junior officer and exclaimed, "Blood is thicker than water," ordered his boat to be manned, and, with his own crew, took the place of the fallen British gunners. Later, when Admiral Dewey himself, while blockading Manila, during the Spanish-American War, was in serious difficulties owing to the attitude of the German admiral present in the Bay, it was the action of Captain Chichester, the senior British officer, in upholding Admiral Dewey's position under international law, that prevented the development of an awkward and potentially serious situation.

Divided into three main commands-the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Asiatic, each in charge of a full admiral, the only other full admiral in the American navy was the Chief of the Naval Staff at Washington. This officer, roughly corresponding with our own First Sea Lord, was in charge of all operations, the Secretary of the Navy, corresponding with our First Lord, being a civilian official of Cabinet rank. Of the three sea commands, the Atlantic was considerably the most important, and contained the chief proportion of the latest and most powerful vessels of the American navy. This command was held, during the American intervention, by a distinguished officer, Admiral Mayo, the naval administration at Washington being in the able hands of Admiral Benson, while to the command of all American naval forces operating in European waters was appointed Vice-Admiral W. S. Sims.

Born in Canada, formerly a naval attaché in London, and distinguished, throughout his career, by a remarkable combination of vision, initiative, and mastery of detail, Vice-Admiral Sims (later to become Admiral on the retirement of the admiral of the Asiatic Fleet) was the obvious choice for a position requiring very rare and special abilities. A close friend and admirer, in earlier days, of the British gunnery expert, Sir Percy Scott, Admiral Sims had been largely responsible for wide-spreading reforms in American gunnery methods-reforms carried through, not without opposition, by his characteristic tact and driving force. Always ready, at first hand, to examine the ideas of his most junior officers, invariably loyal to them, and caring nothing for personal dignity so that the war might be won in the speediest fashion, it was little wonder not only that he was idolized by all who served under him, but that his British colleagues could have asked for no more able or inspiring a helper.

Beginning in April, 1917, with five officers and a room or two, the United States Naval Headquarters in London had expanded, by the end of the war, to a total personnel of 912 occupying several large houses-notwithstanding that, during the whole time, Admiral Sims himself had scarcely missed a single attendance at the usual daily conference at the British Admiralty. Under him at sea, and at the various subsidiary bases, with which we shall presently deal more particularly, there were serving by November, 1918, nearly 5,000 officers and 76,000 men. Not until it is remembered that these fifteen bases were scattered between Queenstown in Ireland and Corfu in Greece, between Inverness in the North of Scotland and Bizerta near Algiers; that every one of them had to be created while the war was in active progress, and that simultaneously, both in Europe and America, thousands of untrained men and officers had to be educated-can some idea be formed of the administrative miracle expressed in the full contribution of American sea-power.

Declaring war in April, 1917, America's first naval units to appear in European waters were the destroyers that arrived in May to operate from Queenstown in the south of Ireland. Perhaps the most valuable of all, they arrived at a peculiarly appropriate moment. The submarine warfare was then at its most destructive stage; the British destroyer crews, at the end of their third winter, were beginning to show signs of staleness; while, owing to the demands upon them in every quarter and especially by the Grand Fleet, it had so far been impossible fully to develop the convoy-system of merchant shipping later so successful. The arrival of these destroyers, therefore, was trebly welcome; and they placed themselves, without reservation, at the British Admiral's disposal. Reporting immediately upon arrival to Vice-Admiral Lewis Bayly, he enquired how soon they would be ready for duty. "As soon as we have re-fueled, sir," replied the Senior American Officer; and that remained the keynote of all their activities. By the end of June, twenty American destroyers were regularly at work in the Queenstown area; and, by the end of the war, though they were still under the British Admiralty, there were none but American destroyers at this base.

Throughout that time, the bulk of their work consisted of escorting convoys; and the relief caused by their presence was felt almost immediately. It was in the Irish Sea, the Bristol Channel, and off the west coast of Ireland that our shipping losses had been heaviest; and our overworked destroyers had been obliged to fight the submarines by means of constant patrols in very broad areas. That had proved insufficient, as our losses clearly showed; and it was the American reinforcements that enabled us to turn the tide. The regular organization of convoys was at once put in hand, and the submarine sinkings began to decrease.

Proceeding westward, it was the task of the American destroyers to pick up these merchant-vessels or troopships, escort them through the danger-zone to the mouth of the Irish Sea or the off-shore patrols of the Bristol Channel, hand them over to the waiting British destroyers, and then, returning westward again, repeat the process; while, a little later, other detachments performed similar duties between Liverpool and Milford Haven. How well they worked let a figure or two show.

Actually at sea seven days out of every ten, they steamed, during the war, more than 2,000,000 miles. Of the total traffic passing through this area, they were responsible for sixty-five per cent.; while, whenever three or four days were likely to elapse between the arrival or departure of convoys, they at once took their part in the usual patrol-duties and submarine-hunting always in progress. Of the total number of nearly 2,000,000 American troops transported to Europe in 1918, sixty-two per cent. were escorted by American destroyers, more than 800,000 being carried in American ships. Such vessels as the great liners Aquitania, Olympic, Mauretania, and Leviathan were always brought to and fro under their guardianship, and none of them was lost; while, as to the co?perative spirit that produced these amazing results, let the remarks of a junior American destroyer-officer bear witness. "Old Admiral Bayly," he was heard to observe, "is a fine old gentleman for work. His policy is that, as long as there is a war on, there is no necessity for waiting around looking for something to do. He certainly has given us a hard time of it, but, because of his efficiency, insight, and powers of organization, everyone has appreciated the privilege of working under him." Needless to say, Admiral Bayly's feelings for his American command were equally warm.

Meanwhile at Brest in France a new American base was quickly growing. Already, in June, 1917, a few vessels had been sent there-converted yachts that were at once employed as escorts to coastal convoys through the Bay of Biscay. By October it was realized, however, that this must inevitably become one of the chief American naval stations in Europe; and the erection of barracks, hospitals, and repair-shops, on the largest scale, was at once begun. Early in the new year, many new vessels were sent there; and, by June, 1918, the complement had increased from sixteen yachts to thirty-four destroyers, four repair-ships, three supply-ships, and nine mine-sweepers.

Here, as at Queenstown, the main task was one of escort duty; and the American forces quickly became responsible for the safety of ninety per cent. of all the traffic along the French coast and in the Bay of Biscay. In the first three months of 1918, fifty-four convoys of 186 ships were thus escorted by the American destroyer-flotillas; while, in the third three months, these figures had increased to ninety-eight convoys of 742 ships. During July and August, 1918, these forces escorted no less than 3,500,000 tons of shipping-the entire French coast having been practically placed under the command of the American Rear-Admiral H. B. Wilson.

Almost contemporary with the development at Brest had been that of the American naval forces based upon Gibraltar. Here, on August 18 1917, had arrived the U.S.S. Birmingham, then the flagship of Rear-Admiral Wilson and a scout-cruiser of the United States Atlantic Fleet. With her had come the Sacramento, and, in less than four days, this vessel was at sea again escorting an English convoy-the American naval officers, just as at Queenstown, acting under the orders of the British Admiral. By the following March, twenty-eight American vessels were regularly operating from Gibraltar, and, by June, there were thirty-five, with another forty based upon Corfu-those at Gibraltar, under Rear-Admiral Niblack, acting as an integral part of the British forces and being entirely at the disposal of the British admiral in command.

Here also, as at Brest, the vessels were very various, consisting of cruisers, destroyers, and gun-boats, with a number of yachts, converted into warships, and some coast-guard cutters. Of these the larger vessels were continually on escort duty between the Mediterranean and England as also between the Continent and the chief South American ports. They furnished a quarter of the total escorts for local Mediterranean convoys, and more than seventy per cent. of the escorts for ocean and deep-sea merchantmen. To the smaller vessels were allotted patrol-duties at the mouth of the Mediterranean, local convoy work, and convoy work with vessels bound to and from the Azores. Far less sea-worthy than the larger vessels, and, as regarded the yachts, not intended for war-service, theirs were, perhaps, the hardest tasks of all and as little dramatic as those of the others. Precisely in the same spirit, however, of cheerful grumbling as that of their sea-loving British brethren, the officers and men of these heterogeneous vessels set themselves to compass their various tasks.

"Our ships," wrote one of them, referring to the five mine-sweepers under his particular command, "are the old Jersey fishermen's boats, re-rigged a bit and thrown together for this duty. When they outfitted these boats, they put all the stuff in a big gun and shot it at the hull. Then they loaded a machine-gun with nails and bolts, and shot that load after the first; and lo, out of chaos, we have sweepers. Our motto is 'Always ready' and 'We do anything.' And we do. We sweep, patrol, salvage wrecks, tug-boat, convoy sometimes, despatch duty, and if the coal isn't prompt, we get a rest. Day into night, night into day, and vice versa, sometimes normal, mostly not, that's our life-but we are all happy and well and working for the same cause.... All of the officers except three are Reserve officers, and a corking fine lot they are. I admire the spirit that brings them with us, and give them a lot of credit. Theirs has been a hard lot, and they have done well.... Meatless, wheatless, cheerless, heatless, foodless, and fruitless days are in our scheme of things economic, and sometimes there is evidence of brainless days with me.... You remember the old Rules of the Road for passing vessels? We have a new one to rival Farragut's famous 'Damn the torpedoes-go ahead.' Ours is modest:

Red to red and green to green,

To hell with danger-steam between.

Sweeping for mines is not like anything you see in a hotel or office or home-no, sir-it is entirely different. The broom is a big wire, and the game is looking for a needle in a haystack. It is a great sport in a way. I guess, if you analyze it seriously, it's the biggest game in this war from a naval point of view-a field is located, and instead of carefully avoiding it, we make the most exhaustive calculations to get right into it.... You have hunted big game in the mountains, but you could see what you were shooting at. We look for big game without that advantage. Get the idea? We don't want to throw ourselves any bouquets, but those who think that the submarine is the only menace, and destroyers the only duty, don't know what it means to hunt for the horned egg.... Every mine we get means a ship saved, each ship and cargo is worth at least three million dollars, and each mine we sink or explode cuts down the overhead. I am proud of my ships, my officers, and my men. We came across, and we are doing all we can to make good.... I have never met the King and Queen, so don't feel blue if they don't ask about me." To any one in doubt of the essential kinship between the average lieutenants of the English-speaking navies, we would beg to suggest a careful perusal of the foregoing letter.

Equally characteristic, and modestly illustrative of the spirit in which these American escort-officers interpreted their duty, is the following account, written by the commander of the destroyer Warrington, of the attempt to save the Wellington, a British collier. "The Wellington," he wrote, "carrying coal to Gibraltar, left Milford Haven with a convoy of about twenty ships in the morning of Friday, September 13th. Sunday night the escort of British destroyers left, and convoy proceeded under ocean escort of U.S.S. Seneca. About eleven in the morning of September 16th, the Wellington sighted a submarine which porpoised and instantly thereafter submerged about one point on her starboard bow. Immediately afterward she was struck by a torpedo forward, and the forehold was quickly flooded. The Wellington's crew of forty-four abandoned the ship in the two good lifeboats belonging to her, and were picked up by U.S.S. Seneca, the ocean escort.

First Lieutenant Fletcher W. Brown, Coast Guard, attached to Seneca, asked and obtained the permission of his commanding officer to man the Wellington with a volunteer crew and endeavour to bring her into port. A large number of the Seneca's crew volunteered, and eighteen men were chosen. At the same time the Master of the Wellington, the first and second mates and ten of her original crew volunteered to return with the Seneca's men. They were permitted to do so, and all went aboard the Wellington, with Lieutenant Brown in charge, but the Master of the Wellington navigating. Unfortunately, before returning to the Wellington, one of the lifeboats which had been used when the ship was first abandoned had been cast adrift. This left the vessel with but one lifeboat, two jolly boats, and two life-rafts which Lieutenan

t Brown had made on board.

At the time the Wellington's S.O.S. was received, the Warrington was operating with a west-bound convoy about eighty miles to the southward of the S.O.S.; but it was not before eleven P.M. that the Warrington was detached by the escort commander, and ordered to proceed to the position of the torpedoed ship. This order was carried out with all possible speed, but the Wellington had meanwhile been making about 7 knots per hour, heading for Brest, but steering badly on account of her being down by the head. Finally radio-communication was established between the Wellington and the Warrington, and a systematic search instituted by the latter vessel. Between eleven P.M., the sixteenth, and one A.M., the seventeenth, two eleven P.M. positions were received from Wellington differing by about forty miles. This discrepancy is explained by the first mate who states that the Master got a fix by simultaneous star sights about 11.30 and sent out a corrected position, which was forty miles away from his dead reckoning. I headed the Warrington toward the new position, and at three A.M. picked up Wellington dead ahead.

In the meanwhile we had received a radio from her saying she had stopped, but would go ahead again when wind had moderated. Just as we picked her up, the moon set. There was a strong breeze from the southwest and the sea was rough. I exchanged signals with Wellington and she stated that there was every probability of her remaining afloat till daylight and possibly longer, as her volunteer crew had then kept her afloat for seventeen hours. However, shortly after this signal was received, a bulkhead collapsed and she signalled for immediate assistance, and said her crew were abandoning ship. Immediately afterward I picked up her lifeboat containing first and second mates of Wellington, five of her original crew, and one of the Seneca's volunteer crew. I searched for more boats, coming as close to Wellington as I dared in the darkness. Going alongside in that wind and sea would have been suicide. I tried to hold Wellington's lifeboat alongside, but it quickly swamped and I had to cut it adrift.

Meanwhile, a desperate attempt was made to lower one of our boats, but after two men had barely escaped serious injuries in the attempt, I saw it would be a case of just so many more men in the water. The current was against the sea, so I went to leeward of Wellington and floated down three life-rafts well lighted, my Franklin life-buoys, and a number of circular buoys, all with lights. I learned afterward that Wellington's remaining boats were small and that they had been smashed in lowering, and that for some reason their own life-rafts had fouled and could not be gotten clear of the ship. Accordingly all the remaining men went down with the ship, or jumped just before she sank.

It was still very black, the proverbial darkest hour just before the dawn. From a few hundred yards to leeward I watched the black hull turn turtle, slowly settle in the water, and then disappear from sight. It was very distressing not to be able to do anything at that moment for the men in the water. Our life-rafts and buoys were there, with plenty of calcium torches, but we absolutely could not get a boat in the water. I circled slowly well clear of the raft. When dawn broke finally, we began to see men in the water. Some were on our rafts and buoys, some on pieces of floating wreckage. All were singing out to attract our attention. In picking them up, I had, of course, to take the ship alongside the men and to get heaving lines to them. In doing this, as you may well imagine, we had to draw a fine line between cutting the man down and getting close enough to get a heaving line to him. Manoeuvring amidst the wreckage, life-rafts, and buoys, we finally picked up eight men out of the water. One of these died on board. We had been able to save only half of the entire crew, but careful search for four hours failed to locate any more survivors.

One of the first men picked up from the water proved to be Lieutenant Brown, who had been in command of the volunteer crew. A heaving line had been flung to him, and he had grabbed it, but he says he does not remember having been hauled on board. He apparently lost consciousness until he awoke in a bunk in the C.P.O.'s quarters, when his identity was discovered. There were several commendable incidents on the part of our crew. I have recommended for life-saving medals three of my own crew-William James Taylor, coxswain; Robert Emanuel Noel, quartermaster, first class; Walter Irving Sherwood, fireman, first class-all for having jumped from the Warrington into the heavy sea, with lines made fast to their waists, in attempting to save life. Especially courageous was the action of Seaman James Osborne of the Coast Guard, one of the survivors. Osborne, supporting a shipmate-Coxswain John A. Peterson-swam to a small life-raft and placed Peterson, who was in a semi-conscious condition, on the raft, holding him, as well as he could, between his feet. Several times both Osborne and his shipmate were washed off the raft by the high seas, whereupon Osborne went to Peterson's assistance and replaced him on the raft. Finally, while I was going to the assistance of another man, who seemed for the time being in a more desperate predicament than Osborne, the latter semaphored from his pitching raft, 'I am all right; but he's gone unless you come right away.' We got them both. Above all, young Brown of the Coast Guard deserves commendation. It was he who organized the volunteer crew that kept the Wellington afloat for seventeen hours, and, without a doubt, with even average weather conditions, would have salved her."

While American cruisers, destroyers, gun-boats, coast-guard cutters, and tenders were thus all represented in European waters by the autumn of 1917, the first appearance of America's battleships was not till December 6th, when four of these were assigned to the Grand Fleet. Commanded by Rear-Admiral Hugh Rodman, and forming the Sixth Battle Squadron under Sir David Beatty, they consisted of the New York, Florida, Wyoming, and Delaware, the Texas joining in February, and the Arkansas relieving the Delaware in the following July. Here their duties, with the Battle of Jutland already an eighteen-month-old event, were but those of every similar squadron attached to the Grand Fleet-to take their share in filling the North Sea, to watch night and day for the tarrying High Seas Fleet, and to remain, throughout all that time, keyed to the highest pitch of preparedness and efficiency.

The Florida, Delaware, New York, and Texas were all, at different times, the subject of torpedo-attack; and the New York was successful in putting down a submarine in October, 1918. With other units of the Grand Fleet they undertook their appropriate share of convoy-work between the North of Scotland and the Norwegian coast. Finally, during the night of November 20, 1918, they proceeded to sea with the Grand Fleet, and had the satisfaction of being present at the arrival for internment of the German High Seas Fleet.

As we have seen, it was during the last quarter of 1917 that these battleships made their appearance; and, during these same three months, some American submarines first came into action and began regular patrols. Five of these, with the tender Tonopah, were based upon Ponte Delgada in the Azores; and, later, another seven arrived in Bantry Bay, and were soon operating from Berehaven. Though they were only successful, by indirect action, in accounting for one hostile submarine, their work of hampering the enemy's activities was of the most valuable nature, and, by the spring of 1918, they had become responsible for the whole area sentinelled from Berehaven.

To the work of the mine-sweepers we have already referred, and, in the summer of 1918, these were joined by the mine-layers, work being begun by these upon the Northern Barrage on June 8th. Thirteen excursions were made, the fourteenth being held up owing to the signing of the armistice; and, during these trips, more than 56,000 mines were laid at a cost of more than £9,000,000.

Nor must the navy's aid to the American army coal trade go without mention in these pages. Early in the autumn of 1917, the army coal situation in France became serious, and the navy was asked, in order to avoid a crisis, to send some colliers to the rescue. Accordingly, between the 5th of October and the 1st of December, 1917, navy colliers made thirty trips between Cardiff and the French ports, during which time they carried for the army 90,000 tons of coal. Later it was decided to place the whole of the army coal trade under the supervision of the navy; a base was established at Cardiff, under Rear-Admiral Philip Andrews, and, by the end of the war, there were fifty-five colliers in actual commission for this purpose.

Meanwhile, in America, as in England, though its activities were being curtailed, there had been no disposition to underestimate the serious nature of the submarine menace, and new methods of defeating it were being constantly thought out. Perhaps the most notable of these was the construction and large-scale employment of sub-chasers, the first of these coming into use during the early summer of 1918. These were 110-feet gasoline boats, each of them displacing eighty tons, and each carrying a 3-inch, a Y gun (for throwing depth-charges to a distance), and a dozen depth-charges. Each was manned by a crew of two officers and twenty-three men; and each was equipped with the very latest and best of American listening devices. They were thus able to detect submerged submarines up to a very considerable distance, and were particularly effective at night, when they drifted noiselessly, with their listening devices manned. By day they patrolled, stopping at intervals to listen; took their share of the ordinary convoy-work; assisted torpedoed vessels to reach port; and destroyed drifting mines.

By the first of July, 1918, there were more than seventy of these at work, and, by the end of the war, a hundred and twenty. Thirty-six of them were based on Corfu, and formed part of the barrage across the Straits of Otranto. Another detachment operated from Plymouth and a third from Queenstown; while the closing days of the war saw a fourth working from Gibraltar. Hunting as a rule in threes, the following account, selected at random from many of a like nature, will illustrate best, perhaps, with its official brevity, the sort of work performed by these American chasers. It relates the story, not of a red-letter day, but of a few exciting minutes, spent by three Queenstown sub-chasers on an October afternoon in 1918.

"Sub-chasers 47, 48, and 208, while on running patrol, made contact with submarine at 14.30. After four runs of various courses and distances, made position fix at 15.30, course 25 mag., distance 400 yards. Made attack in line formation 47 dropping six charges, 208 dropping five, and 48 dropping one charge. Stopped and listened; submarine heard by all three boats sounding badly damaged and within 200 yards of 48. As the other two chasers were not in position to make an attack together without losing time, 48 attacked, dropping two depth-charges. Stopped and listened. Submarine heard by all boats, sounded as if having trouble with her engines, and was hammering. Positive fix directly ahead of 47 who instantly attacked with two depth-charges. Stopped and listened. Submarine heard by 47 in direction of 208. 208 heard, but could not centre sound. A few seconds later, 208 and 47 got a fix just astern of the 208, which attacked as fast as she could turn and get under way, dropping two stern depth-charges. The first charge of this attack did not explode, although charge was properly set. The 208 reported an oil slick where last charge exploded. On investigation this was found to be merely disturbances caused by the explosion of the depth-charge. While the 208 was investigating this disturbance, several members of her crew saw what appeared to be the wake of a submarine on her port beam, but did not bring it to the attention of the commanding officer in time to make an attack. Stopped and listened. Positive fix by all three chasers within 200 yards of the 208, which immediately attacked with two stern charges and Y gun. First stern charge failed to explode. Chasers re-formed in original chase formation and got fix distance 400 yards. As 208 had only one charge left, she remained behind in case submarine should come to the surface. 47 and 48 attacked, each dropping two depth-charges. First charge dropped by 48 failed to explode. Stopped and listened. No definite fixes were obtained, but all chasers heard submarine running with apparent difficulty at about 310°. Ran a thousand yards and listened. Sound of submarine lost at 1,800. From then on disturbance due to wireless communication and the arrival of two destroyers, one trawler, two motor-launches, and the passing of a convoy, made it impossible to again pick up submarine." Such was an encounter, typical of many, and all invaluable as police-work, even though they failed, as did this one, in sinking or capturing the prey.

Luckier were the chasers engaged at Durazzo, during the British and Italian bombardment, when this important Albanian harbour was rendered untenable as an enemy base. Setting out at noon on October 2,1918, the sub-chasers, eleven in number, under the command of Captain C. P. Nelson, met the British and Italian squadrons at the appointed rendezvous. As they neared the coast, the whole force came under a very heavy fire from the enemy batteries; but the sub-chasers, by skilful zig-zagging, and keeping well inside the range of the guns, succeeded in carrying out their task without a single casualty.

Hardly had they pierced the barrage, however, before the periscope of a hostile submarine made its appearance; and, considering that the majority of the crews of the sub-chasers had never before been under fire, the coolness and decision of their tactics could hardly have been excelled. With her second shot Chaser 215 smashed the enemy's periscope, and then, in company with Chaser 128, steered at full speed for the spot where the submarine had gone under. Dropping their depth-charges, they were immediately rewarded by the coming to the surface of a large piece of steel plating followed by a great spout of heavy black oil, in the midst of which the plate sank again. A moment later Chaser 129 sighted another submarine about to attack the larger vessels. Twice it submerged, changing its course, but, in spite of engine trouble, the sub-chaser followed her, dropping three depth-charges, and, like her colleagues, receiving the best evidence of success. Seven large pieces of steel plating rose to the surface in the whirl, followed by a steady stream of black oil, proving that the depth-charges had done their work.

Having broken up the submarine-attack, a little later, they were once again of most timely service. At the entrance of the harbour, Chaser 130 sighted two floating mines. One of these she destroyed by gunfire, and the other she rendered harmless, just as a detachment of British destroyers was bearing down upon it at thirty knots. In this attack on Durazzo, every enemy boat in the harbour was either sunk or disabled; and no better example could be cited of America's naval co?peration.

Nor did this end upon the water, and, necessarily brief as this review must be, it must still be remembered that it extended both to land and air. With a personnel of thirty officers and 486 men, her Naval Railway Battery rendered very important assistance. With the first shipment arriving at St. Nazaire on July 25, 1918, all these heavy guns were mounted and ready in a little more than three weeks, and were in full action against the enemy throughout September and October. Laon, Longuyon, and Montmedy were the main objectives against which they were employed, 193 rounds being fired at the first of these, 119 at the second, and no less than 295 at what was one of the key positions behind the German retreat.

Finally, in turning from a record of service not to be estimated in many volumes, and with America's sonship of admiralty already, as we may hope, amply proved, let us finish this chapter with the following report of a young American naval ensign, working with a patrol of British seaplanes over the waters of the North Sea. "On June 4th," he said, "we received orders to carry out a reconnaissance and hostile aircraft patrol over the North Sea and along the coast of Holland. It was a perfect day for such work, for the visibility was extremely good, with a light wind of 15 knots and clouds at the high altitude of about eight or ten thousand feet. Our three machines at Felixstowe rose from the water at twelve o'clock, circled into patrol formation, and proceeded northeast by north along the coast to Yarmouth. Here we were joined by two more planes but not without some trouble and slight delay because of a broken petrol pipe which was subsequently repaired in the air. We again circled in formation, Captain Leckie, D.S.O., of Yarmouth, taking his position as leader of the squadron.

"At one o'clock the squadron proceeded east; our machine, being in the first division, flew at 1,500 feet, and at about half a mile in the rear of Captain Leckie's machine, but keeping him on our starboard quarter. We sighted nothing at all until half-past two, when the Haaks Light Vessel slowly rose on the horizon, but near this mark and considerably more to the south we discovered a large fleet of Dutch fishing smacks. This fleet consisted of more than a hundred smacks. Ten minutes later we sighted the Dutch coast where we changed our course more to the northeast. We followed the sandy beaches of the Islands of Texel and Vlieland until we came to Terschelling. In following the coast of Vlieland we were close enough to distinguish houses on the inside of the Island and even to make out breakers rolling up on the sandy beach.

"At Terschelling we proceeded west in accordance with our orders, but soon had to turn back because of Captain Leckie's machine which had fallen out of formation and come to the water. This machine landed at 3.15 and we continued to circle around it, finding that the trouble was with a broken petrol pipe, until about fifteen minutes later, when we sighted five German planes steering west, a direction which would soon bring them upon us. At this time Captain Barker had the wheel; Lieutenant Galvayne was seated beside him, but if we met the opposing forces he was to kneel on the seat with his eyes above the cowl, where he could see all the enemy planes and direct the pilot in which direction to proceed. I was in the front cockpit with one gun and 400 rounds of ammunition. In the stern cockpit, the engineer and wireless ratings were to handle three guns. We at once took battle formation and went forward to meet the enemy, but here we were considerably surprised to find that, when we were nearly within range, they had turned and were running away from us. At once we gave chase, but soon found that they were much too fast for us. Our machine had broken out of the formation and with nose down had crept slightly ahead of Captain Leckie, and we, being the nearest machine to the enemy, I had the satisfaction of trying out my gun for a number of rounds. It was quite impossible to tell whether I had registered any shots or not. Our purpose in chasing these planes was to keep them away from the machine on the water, which, if we had not been there, would have been shot to pieces. Finding that it was useless to follow them, as they could easily keep out of our range, we turned back and very shortly we were again circling round our machine on the water.

"It was not long before the enemy again came very close to us, so we gave chase a second time. This time instead of five machines as before there were only four, and one small scout could be seen flying in the direction of Borkum. It was the fourth time that we went off in pursuit of the enemy that we suddenly discovered that a large number of hostile planes were proceeding toward us, not in the air with the other four planes, but very close to the water. There were ten planes in this first group, but they were joined a few minutes later by five more. The scouts were painted black, the two-seaters green, and seemed very hard to pick up. We swung into battle formation and steered for the middle of the group. When we were nearly within range, four planes on the port side and five on the starboard side rose to our level of 15,000 feet. Two planes passed directly beneath us firing upward. Firing was incessant from the beginning, and the air seemed blue with tracer smoke. I gave most of my time to the four planes on our port side because they were exactly on the same level with us and seemed to be within good range, that is about two hundred yards. When we had passed each other, I looked around and noticed that Lieutenant Galvayne was in a stooping position, with head and one arm on his seat, the other arm hanging down as if reaching for something. I had seen him in this position earlier in the day so thought nothing of it. All this I had seen in the fraction of a second, for I had to continue firing. A few minutes later I turned around again, and found, with a shock, that Lieutenant Galvayne was in the same position. It was then that the first inkling of the truth dawned upon me. By bending lower I discovered that his head was lying in a pool of blood.

"From this time on I had no clear idea of just what our manoeuvring was, but evidently we took up a running fight steering east, then circled until suddenly I found our machine had been cut off from the formation and we were surrounded by seven enemy seaplanes. This time we were steering west or more to the southwest. We carried on a running fight for ten miles or so, until we drove the seven planes off. One of them was driven down, and made a very poor landing. Another was badly hit, side-slipped, and crashed in flames from a height of 2,000 feet. During the last few minutes of the fight, our engine had been popping altogether too frequently, and soon the engineer came forward to tell us that the fourth engine petrol pipe had broken. By this time I had laid out Lieutenant Galvayne in the wireless cockpit, cleaned up the second pilot's seat, and taken it myself.

"The engagement had lasted about half an hour, and the closest range was one hundred yards, while the average range was two hundred. The boat with Ensign Eaton in it landed between the Islands of Texel and Vlieland, while the other boat, which had not taken any part in the fight, was last seen two miles off Vlieland.... We descended to the water at 5.45, ten miles northwest of Ylieland. During the ten minutes we were on the water, I loosened Lieutenant Galvanye's clothing, made his position somewhat easier, and felt for his heart, which, at that time, I was quite sure was beating feebly. When we rose from the water and ascended to 1,500 feet, we sighted two planes which later proved to be the two Yarmouth boats. We picked them up, swung into formation, and laid out a course for Yarmouth.

"At ten minutes to seven, we sighted land, and, twenty minutes after, we were resting on the water in front of Yarmouth slipway. We at once summoned medical aid but found that nothing could be done. The shot had gone through his head, striking the mouth and coming out behind this ear, tearing a gash of about two inches in diameter. The boat had been more or less riddled, a number of shots tearing up the top between the front cockpit and the beginning of the cowl. The total duration of the flight was seven hours and ten minutes."

Once again this is but a typical narrative-the story of an odd day's work by a tiny unit, and, ranged behind it, pressing for equal rights of mention, stand a multitude of others. Here, reluctantly, these must remain untold, but it was happy for the world that, in bonds such as these, the future leaders both of Britain and America should have been growing up together. "There is one outstanding blessing," said Mr. Daniels, the Secretary of the United States navy, speaking at Springfield, Massachusetts, "which came to the world out of the tragedy of war, and that is the perfect co?peration, sympathy, and companionship between the British navy and the American. They are together now, and must forever be together in the resolve to protect what their valour won, and preserve alike for themselves and all the world complete freedom of the seas."

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