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Towards the end of August

Towards the end of August

So far as I know it was in that war that the great break with the old tradition was made. The old tradition, of course, was that a ship that had fought till it could fight no longer could be surrendered to a victorious enemy without shame. The records of the wars of a century ago abound in courts-martial on officers who in these circumstances had yielded a beaten ship, and they were always honourably acquitted, when it was shown that all that was possible had been done. It was evidently thought to be mere inhumanity to condemn a crew that had fought bravely to death by fire or drowning. Not that there are not grim stories that tell of a sterner resolution, like that of Grenville in the Revenge.

But on the whole the navy that had done more fighting than any other, and in the period of its existence when its fighting was most continuous, took what is at once a rational and a Christian view of these situations. Now it seems that war at sea dooms those who have fought unfalteringly to finish the business, when they can fight no longer, by a savage self-immolation. It is the only alternative to allowing the enemy the glory of a capture. Is this, after all, an intolerable humiliation? To find it so is a break with the old tradition and is not an innovation for the better. It sets up a pagan standard, and it is not the paganism of the stoic, but the unfeeling barbarism of the Choctaw.
CHAPTER XVI The Heligoland Affair
1914, the submarines under Commodore Roger Keyes discovered a r?le of quite unexpected utility. Their immediate function had been to watch the approaches to the Channel, so as to stop any attempt by the German Fleet to interfere
with the transport of the Expeditionary Force into France. In doing this, they found that they had exceptional opportunities for observing the enemy’s destroyers and light craft, and, as soon as the safety of the transports seemed assured, they constituted themselves the most efficient scouts possible. They soon found themselves in possession of an extensive knowledge of the habits of the Germans. It was this knowledge that led to the decision to sweep the North Sea up to Heligoland and cut off as many of the enemy’s light craft, destroyers, and submarines as possible The affairwas in every respect wellconceived[/url[url=http://mypaper.pchome.com.tw/barlowye/post/1370643944] andbrilliantly carried out..

The expedition included almost every form of fast ship at the Commander-in-Chief’s disposal. First the submarines were told off to certain stations, presumably to be in a position to attack any reinforcements which might be sent out from Wilhelmshaven or Cuxhaven. Then, in the very earliest hours of the morning, the two light cruisers Arethusa and Fearless led a couple of flotillas of destroyers into the field of operations. The Arethusa flew the broad pennant of Commodore Tyrwhitt. The Fearless was commanded by Captain Blount.

The two flotillas, with their cruiser leaders, swept round towards Heligoland in233 an attempt to cut off the German cruisers and destroyers and drive them, if possible, to the westward. Some miles out to the west, Rear-Admiral Christian had the squadron of six cruisers of the Euryalus and Bacchante classes ready to intercept the chase. Commodore Goodenough, with a squadron of light cruisers, attended Vice-Admiral Beatty, with the battle-cruisers, at a prearranged rendezvous, ready to cut in to the rescue if there was any chance of Arethusa and Fearless being overpowered.

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