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قراءة كتاب The Boy Allies at Jutland; Or, The Greatest Naval Battle of History

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‏اللغة: English
The Boy Allies at Jutland; Or, The Greatest Naval Battle of History

The Boy Allies at Jutland; Or, The Greatest Naval Battle of History

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 2


The two hurried after the officer who had accosted them; and while they are attending to the wants of the inner man, as Templeton termed their appetites, we will take the time to explain how these two lads came to be aboard the giant battleship, steaming into the North Sea in search of the enemies of Great Britain and her allies.

Frank Chadwick was an American youth of some eighteen years. Separated from his father in Naples at the outbreak of the great war, he had been shanghaied aboard a sailing vessel when he had gone to the aid of a man apparently in distress. There he was made a prisoner.

Some days later he had been rescued by Jack Templeton, a young Englishman, who had boarded the vessel off the coast of Africa, seeking payment for goods he had sold to the mutinous crew. The two lads had been instrumental in helping Lord Hastings, a British nobleman, put through a coup that kept Italy out of the war on the side of Germany and Austria. Lord Hastings had become greatly attached to the lads, and when he had been put in command of a vessel, he had both boys assigned to his ship.

Through gallant service Frank and Jack had won their lieutenancies.
Later Lord Hastings had assumed command of a submarine and had made
Jack his first officer and Frank his second officer.

Through many a tight place the lads had gone safely, though they had faced death more than once, and faced it calmly and bravely. Also, at this period of the war, they had seen service in many seas. They had been engaged in the first battle of the North Sea, when Great Britain had struck her first hard blow; they had participated in the sinking of the German Atlantic squadron near the Falkland islands, off the coast of Argentina, in South America; they had fought in Turkish waters and in the Indian Ocean, and also had been with the British land forces when the Japanese allies of the English had won the last of the German possessions in China.

In stature and disposition the boys were as different as could be. Frank, though large for his age, looked small when alongside of Jack. The latter, though no older than his friend, was a huge bulk of a boy, standing well over six feet. He was built proportionately. Strong as an ox, he was, and cool of head.

Here he differed from Frank, who had something of a temper and was likely to do something foolish on the spur of the moment if he became angry. Jack had served as a damper for his friend's anger and enthusiasm more than once.

That they could fight, both boys had shown more than once. Jack, because of his huge bulk and great strength, was, of course, harder to beat in a hand-to-hand struggle than was Frank; but what the latter lacked in this kind of fighting, he more than made up in the use of revolver, rifle or sword.

Frank was a crack shot with a revolver; and more than once this accomplishment had stood them both in good stead. Each was a good linguist and conversed in French and German as well as in English. This also had been of help to them in several ticklish situations.

On their last venture, at which time they had been under command of Lord Hastings, they had reached the distant shores of Russia, where they had been of some assistance to the Czar. In reaching Petrograd it had been necessary for them to pass through the Kiel canal, which they had done safely in their submarine in spite of the German warships and harbor defenses. Also they had managed to sink several enemy vessels there.

Returning, Frank and Jack had gone home with Lord Hastings, where Lady Hastings had insisted that they remain quiet for some time. This they had done and had been glad of the rest.

One day Lord Hastings had come home with the announcement that he had been called back into the diplomatic service. It was the aim of the British government to align Greece and Roumania on the side of the Allies. Realizing that they could not hope to accompany Lord Hastings, and not wishing to remain idle longer, Frank and Jack had requested Lord Hastings to have them assigned on active duty at once. Lord Hastings promised to do his best.

And this was the reason that Frank Chadwick and Jack Templeton found themselves aboard H.M.S. Queen Mary when she steamed out to the North Sea on an evening in the last week of May, 1916.



Up to this time the German Sea fleet, as a unit, had suffered comparatively little damage in the great war. Sheltered as it was behind the great fortress of Heligoland, the British sea forces had been unable to reach it; nor would the Germans venture forth to give battle to the English, in spite of the bait that more than once had been placed just outside the mine fields that guarded the approach to the great German fortress itself.

To have attacked this fortress would have been foolhardy and the British knew it. The British fleet, powerful though it was, would have been no match for the great guns of the German fortress, even had the battleships been able to force a passage of the mine fields; and this latter feat would have been a wonderful one in itself, could it be accomplished.

Upon several occasions German battleships, cruisers and submarines had ventured from behind the mine field and had delivered raids upon the British coast, almost 400 miles away. How they escaped the eyes of the waiting British was a riddle that so far had not been explained. But while they reached alien shores in safety, they had not returned with the same success. Twice the British had come into contact with these German raiders and in each case the enemy had come off second best. Several German cruisers had been sent to the bottom.

After occasions like these, the Germans would lie long behind their snug walls before venturing forth into the open again. They held the British navy in too great awe to treat it lightly.

But the fact that the British were able to keep the German fleet bottled up was a victory in itself, though a bloodless one. Practically all commerce with Germany had been shut off. It settled down to a question of how long the German Empire could survive without the necessary food and other commodities reaching her shores. What little in the way of foodstuffs did reach Germany came by the way of the Scandinavian countries—Norway, Sweden and Denmark; also some grain was still being shipped in by the way of Roumania and was being transported up the Danube, which had been opened to traffic again after Serbia had been crushed.

But these supplies were not great enough to take care of the whole German population. In the conquest of Russian Poland, Germany had improved her lot somewhat, for the fertile fields had immediately been planted and a good crop had been reaped.

And the one thing that prevented Germany from importing the things that would in the end be necessary to her existence was the British supremacy of the sea, abetted now somewhat by the navies of France, Italy and Japan. German commerce had been cleared from the seven seas. What vessels of war had been scattered over the world at the outbreak of the war had either been sent to the bottom, captured or were interned in foreign ports. These latter were of no value to Germany.

It had been more than a year now since the last German commerce raider had been sunk. The German commercial flag was seen no more in the four corners of the globe. It appeared that Germany was nearing the end of her rope.

And yet, bottled up in Heligoland, remained the German high sea fleet practically intact. It was a formidable fleet and one, it seemed, that should not be afraid to venture from behind the protection of