Heroes and Heroic Deeds of the Great War - D. A. Mackenzie


Never before in the history of the world has war been waged on such a gigantic scale. Never before have such vast armies been gathered together, or so many different nations and races been drawn into conflict. It is no exaggeration to say that the ultimate result of this Great War will affect the future of every people on the face of the globe.

Great Britain and her allies are fighting in defence of human freedom and the rights of small nations, and also to secure the blessings of an enduring peace. For many years Germany engaged in making elaborate military and naval preparations to crush rival States and found a world-wide empire which would bring her immense power and riches. Her leaders have openly boasted that the Germans are the most cultured and capable people in the world, and on that assumption based the claim that they have a right to control other nations. This war has revealed the violent methods by which they hoped to realize their ambitions. The Government of the Kaiser has broken international laws and at least one international treaty, while the German soldiers have committed terrible atrocities with intent to terrorize their opponents. In Belgium, for instance, they have destroyed beautiful, ancient buildings, laid waste towns and villages, and ruthlessly slain, not only unarmed men, but even women and children.

The immediate cause of the war was the attempt made by Germany's ally, Austria, to coerce the little kingdom of Serbia. Russia intervened so as to secure peace and an honourable agreement, whereupon Germany declared war against Russia and its ally, France. To strike a sudden and heavy blow at France a German army invaded Belgium, expecting to sweep through it with little delay. But the Belgian forces set up a gallant and unexpected resistance which greatly hampered the operations of the Kaiser's soldiers.

It was because Belgium was invaded that Great Britain declared war. The neutrality and independence of that small nation had been guaranteed by a treaty signed by Britain and Germany among others. It was a dishonourable act on the part of Germany to break this treaty, and it was the duty of our country to take up arms against the guilty Power.

Great Britain was not prepared on the outbreak of war for military operations on a large scale. We could send only a comparatively small army to the Continent to assist the Belgians and French to retard the advance of the German millions; but the courage and skill displayed by our soldiers served to baffle and delay the huge forces to which they found themselves opposed. From the outset they have proved themselves superior fighting-men to the Germans. In consequence, time has been gained to gradually increase our Expeditionary Force so as to ensure ultimate victory. Meanwhile our fleet has maintained Britain's command of the sea, and completely suspended Germany's overseas mercantile trade.

As soon as war was declared the entire British Empire rallied to support the Home Government. Offers of men, food supplies, and treasure were at once made by the various dependencies and dominions, and ere long transports began to convey troops to the seat of war from India, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, while in South Africa effective measures were taken to suppress a revolt which was fostered by German intrigues. Thus in the hour of trial the Empire was more closely united by the spirit of loyalty that prevails among its freedom-loving peoples.

A wave of intense patriotism swept over the British Isles, and all classes were moved by the common desire to resist the military ambitions of Germany and to take adequate measures which would ensure peace in the future, so that the highest ideals of humanity might be realized. Political differences were set aside, and a deep sense of public duty was everywhere aroused. Young men responded eagerly to the call to arms, and began to enlist in their thousands to fight for their native land. Rich men and poor men, workers and employers, abandoned their usual occupations and joined the colours. Business men left their desks, workers hastened from factory, mine, and yard, agriculturists turned from harvest-fields, and actors, artists, musicians, and writers became the military comrades of labourers, eager and proud to serve their King and country. Women volunteered as nurses, or engaged in various forms of emergency work, while large sums of money were subscribed to provide comforts for fighting-men and assist all those to whom war brings hardship and suffering.

To arouse the sympathy and interest of the readers, the romantic and heroic deeds of those taking part in the Great War on land and sea are here set forth. Four of the prominent leaders are dealt with, and accounts provided of their careers and adventures. These are all known as silent men—"Silent Kitchener", "Silent Joffre", "Silent French", and "Silent Jellicoe". The first two were in boyhood somewhat unruly, and each was influenced by the consequences of acts of disobedience to prepare for the serious duties of life. French, on the other hand, was a nervous, gentle lad, who was greatly given to preaching like a clergyman; while Jellicoe inclined to play pranks, and early felt the fascination of life at sea, which offered to him the opportunities for adventure he so greatly sought. But all were similar in one respect. As they grew up, they applied themselves with exemplary diligence to their studies, and won distinctions among their fellows, realizing that success is the reward of hard work and adequate preparation. Kitchener—whose loss we now mourn—and Joffre received their first military experiences in the Franco Prussian War, and the careers of both were afterwards of strenuous effort.

The French general spent much of his life in strengthening the defences of his country and improving the methods of training and leading its fighting-men.

Kitchener attained wide experience in foreign service, both as a soldier and administrator. His name will ever be associated with the inauguration of a new age of progress in Egypt, the cradle of world civilization, which had long suffered from oppressive and reactionary government. After it came under the control of Great Britain its welfare and security were continually menaced by the conditions which prevailed in the Sudan. That vast area of the ancient empire of the Pharaohs had been over-run by robber hordes, whose operations enabled the Mahdi to establish a fierce and fanatical tyranny at Omdurman. Kitchener was selected to perform the noble and arduous work of re-conquering the Sudan and rescuing it from barbarism, so that the masses of the people might enjoy the benefits of just and good laws, and the entire Nile valley be made once again a land of golden harvests and peaceful and progressive communities. After achieving successful conquest, Kitchener devoted himself to various schemes for the education and welfare of the people, and showed special concern for the needs of the small agriculturists.

The honoured name of Kitchener is likely to be associated also with the revival of civilization in that other ancient land, Babylonia, which in days of old was "the garden of Western Asia" and one of the centres of world commerce. A British army, strongly reinforced from India, is in occupation of that desolated region between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which has for long centuries suffered from the oppression and neglect of Turkey. There is every prospect that Babylonia may once again become what it was in Biblical times, "a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and honey".

One of the notable features of the Great War is the prominent part taken in it by India, which, for the first time in history, has sent its native soldiers to fight on European battle-fields. These brave and loyal men, like their high-souled ancestors, have proved themselves undoubted heroes, skilled in the art of warfare and unafraid of death. They know they are fighting for a good cause, and that when victory crowns the efforts of the Allies the world will be no longer overshadowed by the peril of German militarism which has threatened the liberties and rights of many peoples. In no other country in the world is the desire for a real and lasting peace more warmly supported than in India. Its people, in common with their fellow-subjects of the Empire and those of the allied nations, feel that when the war is ended humanity will be brought nearer to the happier time dreamt of by the poet who sang:

The world's great age begins anew,

The golden years return.

The great and just cause for which our country is striving is an inspiration to our soldiers and sailors who are—

Gentle in peace, in battle bold,

As were their sires in days of old.

These heroes are adding fresh lustre to the fame of Great Britain, not only by their courage and fortitude in battle, but also by their chivalrous and humanitarian treatment of fallen enemies. Our soldiers risk their lives to alleviate the sufferings of wounded foemen, and our sailors are ever ready to rescue from drowning the crews of hostile war-ships shattered in fierce conflict. Such noble deeds are worthy of a great people who have taken so prominent a part in advancing the cause of civilization throughout the world, and make us feel proud that British blood runs in our veins.

Lord Kitchener

Lord Kitchener, who for nearly two years from the outbreak of war had filled with distinction the post of Secretary of State for War in His Majesty's Government, was suddenly cut off in the midst of his labours. Early in June, 1916, he was proceeding to Russia on board the county cruiser Hampshire, on a mission of high import, when the vessel met with disaster and he was drowned.

The Hampshire  at the time was steaming along the west coast of the Orkney Islands in rough weather. Suddenly it struck a drifting mine and began at once to settle down by the bows. In a quarter of an hour it had heeled over to starboard and vanished from sight.

The disaster was witnessed from the shore, but no immediate help could be sent on account of the heavy gale and wild seas.

One or two rafts were launched from the Hampshire, but few on board them survived to land on the rocky coast. Attempts were also made to launch boats, and the captain intended that Lord Kitchener should go on board one of them. Whether or not he ever left the Hampshire  is uncertain. He died, as he had lived, a brave and fearless soldier.

Survivors state that, when the explosion occurred, he walked from the captain's cabin to the quarter-deck, and there, with characteristic calmness, watched the preparations for abandoning the doomed warship.

Lord Kitchener was born in Gunsborough House, near the little town of Listowel, in County Kerry, Ireland, but the greater part of his boyhood was spent at Crotta House, Kilflynn, in the same district. His father, who was a retired Indian army colonel, was of Suffolk and Leicestershire stock, and had purchased a large estate in Limerick and Kerry which he developed and improved; his mother was the daughter of a Suffolk clergyman. The other members of the family were Chevallier, Arthur, Walter, and Millie; Kitchener, the second son, was named Horatio Herbert, but was usually called Herbert.

It is told that at home young Herbert "never could be kept quiet". He often got into scrapes, but was lucky in getting out of them. Among strangers he is said to have been shy and awkward, and, as he had a habit of wandering about alone, some people looked upon him as a dreamer. He was never good at games, but he learned to swim with his brothers at Bannastrand, on the sea coast, 7 miles from Crotta House. There big waves come tumbling in from the Atlantic, and only strong swimmers can venture to bathe when a heavy "ground swell" is running.

Lord Kitchener


For a time Herbert took little interest in his lessons. This annoyed his father, who knew the boy was quite clever and just required to apply himself. With his brothers he attended a private school, and one day, just before an examination, his father took him to task for his carelessness, and said: "If you do not pass I will put you to the Dame School." When the results came out it was found that Herbert had failed. His father kept his word and sent the boy to the Dame School, saying: "If you do not attend to your lessons there I'll have you apprenticed to a hatter." Herbert felt keenly the disgrace he had fallen into. He made up his mind to study seriously. In time he made splendid progress and became good at arithmetic. By attending to his school work he gave himself the chance he required, and learned how important it was to value time and be industrious in acquiring knowledge that would help him when he grew older.

For a period after school life in Ireland the Kitchener boys studied in Switzerland, residing at the house of their tutor, on the eastern shore of Lake Geneva. They greatly enjoyed their new surroundings, and in their leisure hours engaged in bathing, boating, and mountain-climbing. Having early expressed the desire to become a soldier, like his father, Herbert subsequently removed to London, where he studied for the examination which admits pupils to the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. He passed successfully in January, 1868, and proved himself to be an excellent student.

By this time his mother had died, and his father, having sold his Irish estate, went to live at Dinan in Brittany. There Kitchener spent his holidays, and waited, after his academy course was finished, for a commission in the army. In 1870 war broke out suddenly between Germany and France. Being anxious to gain experience as a soldier, Kitchener enlisted as a private in the French army. He served, under General Chanzy, in the force which tried in vain to relieve Paris when it was surrounded by Germans. His "baptism of fire" was thus received in France.

Kitchener proved himself a courageous young soldier. Once he made a dangerous ascent in a war-balloon with two French officers to obtain information regarding the enemy's movements.

The military experience he gained in France proved to be most valuable to him. The French army had not been properly equipped, and everything was badly managed. Chanzy's force had scarcely received any training. Kitchener saw how important it was that soldiers should be thoroughly drilled, well organized, and furnished with sufficient supplies of weapons, ammunition, and food. The French suffered defeat because the Germans were prepared for war and they themselves were not.

When the young soldier returned to London he was reprimanded for joining a foreign army without permission from the War Office. He was taken before the Duke of Cambridge, the Commander-in-Chief, who was in doubt whether or not he should receive a commission. With a frown the Duke asked: "What have you to say for yourself? Why did you join the French army?"

Kitchener answered: "Please, sir, I thought I would not be wanted for a time. I was anxious to learn something."

The Duke was satisfied with the young man because he was so frank and showed such great interest in his profession. "I saw," he said afterwards, "that there was real grit in him, and I decided he should have his commission."

So it came about that, at twenty, Kitchener was gazetted as a lieutenant in the Royal Engineers. From the outset he showed great promise as a diligent and painstaking officer. After three years' service at home he joined the staff of the Palestine Exploration Fund, with purpose to gain practical experience in surveying work.

His duties in the Holy Land were of an arduous kind. He had to assist in preparing accurate maps of the country, showing every town and village and natural feature in detail, and was consequently kept continually "on the move". Much of his time was spent in desolate places. High mountains had to be climbed, and long, slow journeys made across bleak deserts in burning sunshine. Life in the sleepy villages and unhealthy towns offered few attractions and hardly any comforts to a European. Kitchener endured considerable hardships, suffering now from heat and now from cold, and had several attacks of fever. On one occasion he was struck with snow blindness—a painful eye trouble caused by the dazzling reflection of bright sunlight on wastes of mountain snow; on another he had a touch of sunstroke.

Being brought into contact with the natives, some of whom were always attached to the party as servants, Kitchener learned Arabic, and was consequently able to talk with them and study their manners and customs. He found it convenient sometimes to wear native costume, and when he allowed his beard to grow, and his face was tanned by the sun, he is said to have been mistaken for some great Arab chief on making appearance for the first time in a lonely village, mounted on a camel.

"Camels", he once wrote, "are bad beasts for survey work. I used to keep mine at a good trot for a bit, until he got cross, which he showed by roaring, and then suddenly shutting up all four legs and coming to the ground with a thud, at the same time springing up again and darting off in an opposite direction."

Now and again exciting adventures were met with. One of these occurred in the vicinity of Ascalon. This ancient city of the Philistines is referred to in the Bible as Askelon. Samson visited it, and slew there thirty of the enemies of his country. It is of special interest to a soldier because it was occupied in 1192 by King Richard I of England, "the Lion Heart", after he had defeated Saladin, a Khurd who had become King of Egypt. The battle took place during the course of the long struggle between the Christian Crusaders and the Moslems for the possession of the Holy Land.

Ascalon is situated on the shores of the blue Mediterranean, and, the afternoon being very sultry, Kitchener and Lieutenant Conder, his senior officer, decided to bathe. They were not long in the water when Conder was carried towards dangerous broken water by a strong current. Struggle as he might, he was unable to return to the shore. It was well for Kitchener that he had learned to swim among the great billows on the south-western coast of Ireland. Perceiving that his friend was in peril, he struck out boldly to rescue him from certain death. After a desperate struggle he was able to assist Conder to dry land.

He saved Conder's life on yet another occasion. They were engaged at the time—it was on 10th July, 1875—beside the little town of Safed, in Galilee, not far from the place where Christ performed the miracle of feeding over 4000 people with seven loaves and a few little fish. Suddenly the surveyors' camp was attacked by a mob, who shouted: "Kill the Christian dogs!" Neither the officers nor their native servants carried weapons. Conder was struck on the head by a man who wielded a club. "I must inevitably have been murdered", he wrote afterwards, "but for the cool and prompt assistance of Lieutenant Kitchener, who managed to get to me and engaged one of the club men, thereby covering my retreat. A blow descending on the top of his head he parried with a cane, which was broken. A second blow wounded his arm." Kitchener, however, held his ground until the rest of his party had retreated, after which he made his escape. A musket was fired, and the bullet whizzed past his ear like a bee in flight. Then a native ran after him, brandishing wickedly a naked scimitar, but was unable to get to close quarters. Stones were thrown by the mob of cowards, and Kitchener was struck by a big one on the left thigh. Fortunately a party of Turkish soldiers came on the scene and the attackers were put to flight.

After six years of hard work, which was very thoroughly done, Kitchener was able to hand over to the Palestine Fund Committee a complete map of Western Palestine on the scale of 1 inch to a mile.

When the war between Russia and Turkey came to a close, the island of Cyprus was occupied by Britain. Kitchener organized the new courts there and conducted the surveying work. He also acted for a time as British Vice-Consul in Asia Minor, and did much to restore order and improve the condition of the natives who had been ruined by the war.

Lancers at Mons


His next opportunity came when Britain had to occupy Egypt, which was in a state of rebellion and bankruptcy owing to bad government. It was found necessary to reorganize and train a native army under British officers. General Sir Evelyn Wood became Sirdar, or Commander-in-Chief, of the Egyptian forces, and, as Kitchener knew Arabic, he was appointed second in command to Colonel Taylor of the 19th Hussars. Taylor was not long in recognizing the young officer's abilities. "He's quiet," he said to a friend in 1883, "and he's clever."

There had arisen in the Sudan a religious pretender, called "The Mahdi"; his chief disciple was a man who afterwards became "The Khalifa". The Mahdi's forces took possession of some of the southern provinces, and Colonel W. Hicks, known as Hicks Pasha, who led a native army against the rebels, was cut off and perished with his whole force. Then General Gordon was sent from London to Khartoum to restore order in the Sudan. This gallant soldier soon found, however, that the Egyptian troops under his command were no match for the rebels, so he appealed for British reinforcements. But, unfortunately, the Home Government did not fully grasp the situation until it was too late. By July, 1884, Khartoum was surrounded by the armed followers of the Mahdi, and before the relief expedition arrived the city fell and Gordon was slain. The garrison had held out for 337 days, and were overcome on 26th January, 1885.

Kitchener acted as an Intelligence officer with the relieving-force. Disguised as an Arab, he managed to send messages to Gordon during the siege. In Gordon's journal there is an entry: "If Kitchener would take the place he would be the best man to put in as Governor-General". The story of how Gordon watched daily for the coming of the British troops, and how in the end he was struck down by a Dervish's spear, was related in Kitchener's official report.

After Khartoum fell Kitchener came home, and was sent to Zanzibar as one of the Commission appointed to fix the new boundary between German and British East Africa.

In 1886 he returned to the Nile valley as a Governor-General. The rebellion had spread northward, and he took energetic measures to restore order in the area under his control. At Suakin he defeated with heavy losses the notorious Osman Digna, a Turkish slave-dealer who had espoused the cause of the Mahdi. During the battle he sustained a serious wound, a bullet having entered his jaw and lodged in his neck. He was sent to hospital and then invalided home. By this time Kitchener had attained the rank of Colonel. Soon afterwards he became Adjutant-General of the Egyptian army.

The Dervishes in the Sudan were now becoming more and more daring and aggressive, and seemed determined to extend their power into Egypt proper. Preparations had therefore to be made to crush them. In 1892 Kitchener was appointed Sirdar, or Commander-in-Chief, and did his utmost to improve the Egyptian army, which was being trained by capable British instructors. His headquarters were at Cairo, within sight of the three greatest pyramids and the wonderful sphinx. There he planned his campaign against the Dervishes, and began the construction of a railway towards the south, so that the army, as it advanced, might be well supplied with food and ammunition and reinforced when necessary without delay. The work he undertook required great skill in management and constant and anxious attention to the minutest details.

An early success was the capture of the province of Dongola, which had been over-run by hordes of desert robbers, who murdered and enslaved the Egyptians and turned a fertile district into a wilderness.

By constructing a railway across the desert from Wadi Halfa to Abu Hamed, between which places the Nile curves like the letter U, Kitchener was able to shorten his advance south-ward. Then Berber was occupied, the Dervishes having fled from it in panic. About 200 miles distant lay Khartoum and the city of Omdurman, built by the Mahdi on the opposite side of the river.

The Khalifa's advanced force took up position beside the Atbara River which flows into the Nile. Kitchener prepared to attack it, and was able to bring up a brigade of British troops along his new railway to reinforce the Egyptian army. It consisted of Warwicks, Lincolns, Seaforths, and Camerons.

On 7th April, 1898, Kitchener was only 7 miles distant from the Dervish army, which lay behind a zareba—an obstruction made of piled-up thorns. A rapid night march brought the army into close contact with the enemy, and at daybreak the British guns opened fire. Before eight o'clock the infantry charged and took the zareba, the Egyptian soldiers displaying much courage and skill in friendly rivalry with their British comrades. Three-quarters of an hour sufficed to destroy the Khalifa's army, which lost about 3000 in killed alone.

Kitchener next prepared for the final blow at Omdurman. The railway was extended southward, and Atbara became a great centre for supplies.

The Khalifa had an army of over 40,000, and the British and Egyptian troops did not exceed 22,000. On 2nd September the opposing forces met in conflict outside Omdurman.

Kitchener had taken up position the night before and the battle commenced at six o'clock in the morning. This time the Dervishes made the attack while the British artillery shelled them. On they swept, like foaming billows, until at the 2000-yards range they met the thick and accurate shower of rifle bullets which cut them down as corn is cut down by a scythe. Again and again they tried to reach the British lines. Then the Lancers charged to clear the way to Omdurman. They met and broke up a concealed force of swordsmen, and Kitchener advanced on the city to prevent the enemy occupying it and so prolonging the struggle.

While this movement was being carried out, a reserve force of 15,000 Dervishes attacked the Egyptian wing of the army. This native brigade was commanded by General Hector MacDonald, who showed magnificent coolness and bravery. He re-arranged his troops and opened fire, scattering the advancing host and completing the victory.

Kitchener had halted and sent reinforcements to MacDonald, but success was assured before they arrived. Then he occupied Omdurman and Khartoum. The power of the Khalifa was thus shattered after long years of hard work under the wise direction of Kitchener. In time the whole of the Sudan was rendered peaceful. It is a vast country, about a million square miles in extent—twice as big as France and Germany combined. When it was controlled by the Mahdist power Egypt was never secure.

For his great services the Sirdar was raised to the peerage as Lord Kitchener of Khartoum and of Aspall and given a grant of 30,000. Both Houses of Parliament thanked him cordially. "He has written a new page of British history," declared a prominent statesman, "and has blotted out an old one."

When the Boer War broke out, on 9th October, 1899, Lord Kitchener, as Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan, was engaged in schemes for the good of the people who had come under our care. But towards the end of the year he was called to South Africa. The Boers had proved to be powerful opponents, and the British forces had met with disasters at Colenso and Magersfontein. Strong reinforcements were dispatched across the seas, and Lord Roberts was appointed to the supreme command. Kitchener was asked if he would act as chief of staff to this great soldier, and his reply by telegram was: "Delighted to serve in any capacity under Lord Roberts ". He gave loyal assistance to his superior officer. When Lord Roberts was returning to this country, after the capture of Pretoria, he said: "I am glad to take this opportunity of publicly expressing how much I owe to his wise counsels and ever-ready help. No one could have laboured more incessantly, or in a more self-effacing manner, than Lord Kitchener has done." Kitchener has always been ready to do his duty for the sake of the Empire.

The tide of battle turned soon after the arrival of Roberts and his assistant in South Africa. Kitchener reorganized the transport service and planned the relief of the besieged town of Kimberley and the capture of Cronje and his army at Paardeberg. In time the British troops swept northward and occupied first Bloemfontein, the capital of the Orange Free State, and then Pretoria, the capital of the Transvaal. Afterwards Lord Roberts returned to this country, and Lord Kitchener was given supreme command.

The Boers no longer fought pitched battles, but waged what is known as guerrilla warfare. They scattered all over the country in small forces, striking at the British where opportunity offered. As they were well mounted they were difficult to "round up". But Kitchener, by the exercise of skill and persistence, at length overcame all difficulties, and, having opened up negotiations with his opponents, brought the war to a close by the Peace of Vereeniging. On his return home he was created a Viscount and decorated by King Edward with the new and distinguished Order of Merit.

He next went to India as Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. For seven years he served in this capacity and introduced many reforms. He greatly improved the system of training and completely re-organized the various forces. When he left India its army was ready for any sudden call, and was stronger than ever it had been.

Afterwards Kitchener was sent to Australia, where he examined the defences, and worked out a scheme for training the Dominion's new army of 80,000 men. Then he paid a visit to New Zealand, the Government of which he provided with a similar scheme for its citizen forces. From New Zealand he travelled to Canada, where also he was consulted regarding military preparations.

In September, 1911, he returned to Egypt as the British Agent, and thus became chief administrator of that country. He threw himself heart and soul into the work. Like the great Egyptian kings of ancient days he did his utmost to make the country prosperous and contented. New laws were established to improve the lot of the fellah, or peasant, who tills the little farms in the Delta and Nile valley. "Lord Kitchener ", wrote a native in 1913, "is the most popular figure in Egypt to-day. He has made all the Egyptians realize that he is the friend of the Egyptians and understands their needs." One of the many schemes he has favoured is to reclaim a large portion of desert land by irrigation, and to give free gifts of 5-acre farms to native settlers.

When the present world war broke out, our great soldier and statesman was in London consulting the Government regarding his plans to develop and improve Egypt for the benefit of its people. He was about to return, but his services were required at home. He was asked, and consented, to undertake the duties of War Secretary.

It then seemed as if his whole life-work had been directed to prepare him for this responsible post. Our soldiers were to fight beside those of our great ally, France: Kitchener had himself served in the French army. Those dominions of the British Empire—Australia, New Zealand, and Canada—which resolved to send contingents to aid in the struggle, were familiar to him; he had helped to reorganize their forces and their system of training. He understood the needs of South Africa. Turkey, too, declared war, and Kitchener knew Turkey. Egypt was threatened: no one knew Egypt better than Kitchener; he was familiar also with the area through which troops attacking it must march, having surveyed that very land. From India came offers of help which were accepted. Our army was then strengthened by those brave native soldiers whom Kitchener had striven to make more efficient when acting as their Commander-in-Chief. And last, but not least, the young men of the home country who admired and trusted the great soldier responded to his call for recruits in the hour of peril, with the result that "Kitchener's Army" came into being.

One is reminded of the stirring little speech he made to a gathering of representative soldiers in South Africa after peace was signed. In the course of it he said:

"What have you learned during the war? Some have learned to ride and shoot; all of you have learned discipline, to be stanch and steadfast in the hour of danger, to attack with vigour, to hold what you have gained.

"You can never forget the true friends and comrades by whose side you have stood in a hundred fights. Even the hardships which you have so cheerfully endured will in the remembrance be only pleasures.

"Teach the youths that come after you what you have learned.

"Keep your horses and rifles ready, and your bodies physically fit, so that you may be prepared at any time to take your part in the great Empire which unites us all."

Here we have the Kitchener motto, which should never be forgotten—BE PREPARED.

General Joffre

General Joffre, the French Commander-in-Chief, is usually referred to among his country-men as "Silent Joffre". He never utters an unnecessary word, but what he does say is worth listening to. In appearance he is not very soldierly, and certainly not at all like Kitchener. He is of short stature and somewhat stout, and he has a habit of thrusting his hands into his pockets. In civilian attire one might mistake him for a shrewd and prosperous city business man who has spent much of his time at a desk. His jaw is broad and resolute, his nose prominent, with wide nostrils, and his grey-blue eyes are as kindly as they are penetrative. He has heavy, pondering lips, over which droops a large white moustache, and deep lines seam his broad forehead. You can see at a glance that he is a man accustomed to think deeply and long. When he smiles his face beams with unaffected good humour.

There is nothing about him to suggest the popular idea that all Frenchmen are gay and light-hearted. The grave, silent Joffre is a modest man of simple habits and manners. But he is "as hard as nails", as the saying goes, and always "wide awake".

The great general is a man of humble origin. It is said that one of his ancestors, a century ago, was a travelling pedlar in the Eastern Pyrenees, who used to go from village to village driving a van with all kinds of household wares. Because he was in the habit of shouting "J'offre ", which signifies "I offer ", he became known as "Joffre", and his descendants adopted the nickname as a surname. If this story is true, the Joffre family must have had no cause to be ashamed of their connection with the honest broker of village fame.

In boyhood General Joffre was regarded as being of rather daring and reckless character. Bathing was his favourite recreation, and he won among his fellows a great reputation as a diver and swimmer. But his feats alarmed his parents, and especially his mother, who feared he would some day meet with a grave mishap. It was his custom to have a plunge in a river near his home every morning before breakfast.

He was ordered to discontinue it, because he could not be prevailed upon to keep out of danger. "Some morning you'll be drowned," his mother exclaimed nervously. "I have never heard of such a foolhardy boy as you are."

The lad fretted under the restriction, and at length began to steal out of the house before anyone was up. So he was put to sleep in a room in a second story of the old-fashioned country house, and his mother locked him in every night. The river was strictly forbidden. "He can't be trusted," declared his mother; "he seems to enjoy risking his life."

But young Joffre was difficult to restrain. He soon hit on a plan to have his morning dip unknown to anyone. Securing an old sheet, he tore it up and made a "rope ladder "of it. He went early to bed, and woke with the lark. In the grey dawn he lowered his ladder from the window, clambered down it, and ran to the river-side. Then he had a cool plunge in a deep pool, diving headlong from a jutting rock, and swam about where the current was strongest as nimbly as a seal. Those who had occasional glimpses of him in the water were not surprised that his mother should feel nervous. After his bathe he did not wait to dry himself, but scampered home across the fields and climbed up his ladder to his bedroom before anyone in the house had wakened up.

These exploits went on for a time, until one morning the frail ladder snapped, and the boy fell heavily into the garden and broke his leg. He lay there for nearly two hours before he was discovered. "Oh, my dear, foolish boy," exclaimed his mother, "I knew something terrible would happen to you one day! Will you never be warned?"

His mother's tears hurt him more than his injury. So he resolved to be obedient to her wishes in future. To please her he began to study seriously, and when he was going about on crutches he got into the habit of reading a good deal.

"After all," his mother remarked to a friend one day, "this accident he has had may be a blessing in disguise."

General Joffre


At the same time she felt that her son had better have experience of strict discipline. He had been so wayward and determined and cunning that she feared he would return to his bathing exploits again. So the boy was sent to a college sooner than was intended, and before he had ceased to limp as he walked. He made good progress, and was looked upon as a lad of great promise. In time he decided to study for the army, and, like Kitchener, showed a preference for the Engineers. The ambitious spirit he had displayed in rivaling the feats of other boys in river bathing was then given a more serious turn. He determined to acquit himself with distinction in his military studies, and he certainly did so. Young Joffre was pointed out as an example to his comrades.

Before he was nineteen the war of 1870 broke out between Germany and France. He took part in the defence of Paris, and learned much by bitter experience regarding the military needs of his country. After the French capital fell, and peace was declared, he did useful work in connection with the reconstruction of the city defences, and was promoted to the rank of captain at the age of twenty-two. He was already marked out as a young soldier of great promise. It is of special interest to know that as an Engineer officer he had to do with the rebuilding of the famous fortifications of Verdun.

Subsequently he saw much active service in the French colonies. He took part in expeditions in Cochin-China, where he overlooked the erection of forts, and in West Africa. He also performed important duties in Madagascar and Algeria.

His promotion was rapid and well deserved. Ultimately, after his return home, he became the youngest general in the French army. His interests were entirely bound up in his profession. He studied the art of warfare continually, preparing himself for the struggle with Germany, which, he felt fully convinced, was bound to come in his own lifetime. In politics he took no part. When he appeared on a public platform he spoke simply as a soldier, and never feared to be frank regarding the seriousness of the coming conflict. In the army he was known as a reformer. He cared nothing for display. He worked hard for efficiency. His belief was that French soldiers were too apt to trust to their daring and fearless methods of attack. He wanted to have them trained to maintain a tenacious and enduring defensive, so that they might wear down the enemy and strike hard when they got them at a disadvantage. At manoeuvres he displayed great ability as a strategist who did the unexpected and outwitted his opponents. Nobody ever knew what Joffre's next move would be. He always showed himself strongest where his opponents thought he was weakest. Everyone admired the clever manner in which he handled large forces of men. The army and the public learned to place entire confidence in the silent, determined, and watchful General Joffre. His character has been well summed up by one of our own public men who paid him a visit at the seat of war. "General Joffre", he said, is not only a great soldier; he is also a great man.

Field-Marshal Viscount French

It is interesting to note that Viscount French is able to claim kinship not only with the English, Scottish, and Irish under his command, but also with our French allies. On his father's side he is descended from the Norman-French family of De Freigne, or De Fraxinis, which settled in Ireland. One of his ancestors, Patrick French, was a burgess of the town of Galway in the sixteenth century, and Patrick's grandson was popularly known as "Tierna More", which in Gaelic means "the great landlord ". This was John French of French Park, who commanded a troop in the Inniskilling Dragoons at the battle of Aughrim. Our marshal's great-grandfather purchased the estate of Ripplevale, in Kent, and his grandfather became a resident English landlord. Through his mother he can claim a connection with Scotland. Her name was Margaret Eccles, and she was the daughter of a West Indian merchant in Glasgow. The father of Lord French was a captain in the navy. After his death a Scottish uncle, Mr. William Smith, became the guardian of the family, which consisted of one son—the future great soldier—and five daughters, one of whom is Mrs. Charlotte Despard, of the "Women's Freedom League".

Lord French was born in Kenton 28th September, 1852. When he was quite a little boy no one imagined he would become a stern and dashing soldier. He was somewhat shy and nervous, and it seemed for a time as if he would elect to be a clergyman, because he so often dressed up as one at home and preached long sermons to his sisters. Nowadays he is known as "Silent French". But one trait of his youthful character he still retains, and that is consideration for others. Soldiers admire him because he is not one of those iron-hearted officers who seem to care little how they waste human lives, and because he always concerns himself greatly regarding their comfort. A pretty story is told about him by one of the old house-servants who knew him as a child. "One morning in the depth of winter," she has said, "when I went downstairs' I found Master Johnnie kneeling on the dining-room hearth trying his best to light the fire. He said in a tone of disappointment: 'I meant to have a good fire for you, but the wretched coal won't burn'."

His father and mother died when he was quite young, and "Master Johnnie "came under the care of his guardian. As he grew up he became fond of reading about wars. His favourite hero was Napoleon Bonaparte. But he did not neglect his lessons. He was always very studious, and early showed a desire to master a subject to which he applied himself.

Following his father's example, he first chose the navy as a career, and went to Eastman's Naval Academy at Portsmouth to study for the examinations. In time he became a midshipman on H.M.S. Warrior. The ironclads of these days were in the transition stage: they were fitted with engines and propellers, but also carried sails like Nelson's ships. A new type of vessel, which was named the Captain, was introduced when French was a middy. Its sides rose only 9 feet out of the water, and it had a raised "hurricane deck", with two revolving turrets carrying six guns. The crew consisted of about 600 men.

Great things were expected of the Captain. It was capable of powerful gun-fire, and afforded a small target to an enemy. But it proved to be thoroughly unseaworthy. Having been attached to the same squadron as the Warrior, on which French was serving, it entered the Bay of Biscay in rough weather. An anxious night went past, and when day dawned the Captain was nowhere to be seen. It had "turned turtle" and gone down with the entire crew. This disaster, which happened on 7th September, 1870, greatly impressed Midshipman French among others.

After four years' life in the navy the young officer left the sea and joined the 8th Hussars, in which he received a commission as a lieutenant. A month later, on 11th March, 1874, he was transferred to the 19th Hussars. His fellow-officers were not greatly impressed by him. "Why," exclaimed one of them, "he looks like a soda-water bottle." For a long time they nicknamed him "Soda-water bottle French ".

But the shy lad of low stature soon showed his worth. He was a most painstaking and studious soldier. He was quick to learn, and never forgot what he learned. Besides, he always did his duty promptly and thoroughly. His promotion was rapid, and he deserved it, for he worked hard.

He first saw active service in Egypt in 1884-5, when he took part in the operations against the Mahdi. He was then a major, and served under General Sir Herbert Stewart, who was pressing southward towards Khartoum to rescue Gordon with a force of less than 2500 men. At Abu Klea, Stewart was attacked by an army of 11,000 Dervishes, and a fierce battle was fought. The little British army formed a square, and although it was penetrated by the enemy, the savage desert warriors were driven back with great slaughter. It was in this action that Colonel Burnaby, a famous British cavalry officer who was fighting as a volunteer, met his death from an Arab spear.

The British pressed on, and next day fought another action, in which Sir Herbert Stewart was slain. About three weeks later Sir Redvers Buller arrived with reinforcements, and enabled the column Stewart had commanded to retire after a message had been received from Gordon saying he was not able to hold out much longer. Buller made special mention of French in his dispatches, adding that the force owed much to him. Shortly afterwards French was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, having proved himself an able and distinguished leader of cavalry. He commanded the 19th Hussars for six years, and then went to India as Assistant-Adjutant-General of Cavalry on the staff. Two years later he was transferred to the War Office, and carried out important reforms. He created a revolution in the training and tactics of cavalry.

When the Boer War broke out French was made a full major-general and given the command of the Cavalry Brigade in the Natal field force. He proved himself to be a superb and dashing leader. His first success was at Elandslaagte, where the Boers had cut the railway line and taken up a strong position. He commanded a mixed force, and after a stiff struggle drove back his opponents and captured their artillery and camp.

The main force of the Boer army afterwards pressed forward and began to surround Ladysmith. General Sir George White resolved to defend the town, and gave French important dispatches to carry to Sir Redvers Buller, then the Commander-in-Chief. He travelled by the last train which left the town. It was attacked by the Boers, but French escaped the showers of bullets that swept through the carriages by lying under a seat of a compartment, where he made himself as comfortable as possible and calmly smoked a cigar.

He afterwards fought several actions which retarded the advance of the Boers, and showed remarkable skill in adapting himself to the new conditions of warfare.

Early in 1900, after the arrival in South Africa of Lords Roberts and Kitchener, Lord French was placed in command of a mounted force between 4000 and 5000 strong, including seven batteries of horse artillery. His orders were to relieve the town of Kimberley, which had been surrounded and besieged by the Boers since October of the previous year. On 12th February he set out from Ramdan. "I promise faithfully", he said to Kitchener, "to relieve Kimberley at six o'clock on the evening of the 15th if I am alive." De Wet was watching this great mobile force and attempted to intercept it. As French was crossing a ford of the Riet River a shell burst near him, and he had a narrow escape from death. It seemed that he bore a charmed life. Strange to relate, French has never been wounded, although oft-times in danger.

In advancing upon Kimberley, French made quite a new use of cavalry. He attacked strongly entrenched positions held by infantry and artillery and passed right through between them. In doing so he opened out his squadrons into very widely extended formation, so that the Boer fire could not be concentrated against them, and dashed on at the gallop. Before his opponents quite realized what was happening, the great cavalry leader had passed behind and beyond them on his way to Kimberley.

The weather was burning hot, and this mobile relieving-force suffered alternately from dust storms and veldt fires. Still the advance was continued according to French's "time-table ". On the 14th Klip Drift, an important strategic position, was successfully occupied. Next morning the men were up early and in the saddle, riding forward at a brisk pace. Kimberley was sighted at half-past two in the afternoon and messages were sent to it by heliograph.

The Boers occupied two kopjes, and French, again extending his squadrons, charged through and round his entrenched opponents, with the result that they found it necessary to abandon the siege and effect a safe retreat. At six o'clock in the evening the gallant general entered the town with a small force and received a stirring welcome.

On the following evening, after engaging in several hours' heavy fighting, French received orders to hasten eastward so as to head off General Cronje's army, which was retiring from its strong position at Magersfontein, and making for Bloemfontein. This difficult task was performed with skill and success. The Boers were held up at Paardeberg while Kitchener advanced with infantry and artillery and completely surrounded them. After a brave and desperate resistance, against over-powering numbers, Cronje and his army of about 2000 surrendered.

On the march to Bloemfontein, and afterwards to Pretoria, General French distinguished himself as a cavalry leader. It was greatly due to his rapid and clever movements that the Boers had to evacuate position after position. The hardest fighting took place with General Botha, who proved himself a leader of great resource and daring.

After Pretoria was occupied, Kitchener planned his wide sweeping movements, which were called "drives", to clear the various districts of their mobile bands of fighting Boers. The greatest "drive" was carried out by French in the Eastern Transvaal. Afterwards he operated in the disturbed parts of Cape Colony. When the peace treaty was signed, on 31st May, 1902, it was recognized that French was without doubt the most original and brilliant leader of cavalry in the British army. Both Roberts and Kitchener praised him on several occasions, but none thought more highly of him than the soldiers under his command. They learned to trust him with absolute confidence, and they loved him because of his unassuming and kindly manner. He was always so cool, so resourceful, so simple and quiet. The brilliant general never posed, as it were, "to the gallery". A boastful word never escaped his lips, and he was generous to a fallen foeman. He always showed great concern about the men under his command, and went about his work as coolly and efficiently as a city man in his office or warehouse. The really great and clever men are often the most humble and considerate.

Lord French held various high military positions after the Boer War. In 1913 he was raised to the rank of Field-Marshal. When war broke out with Germany he was appointed to command the British Expeditionary Force. For seventeen months he discharged his responsible duties with distinction and then retired. In recognition of his great services he was raised by the King to the rank of Viscount. Sir Douglas Haig, a younger and no less brilliant leader, was chosen as his successor.

Matchless Fighting-Men

One thing which has been proved by the great war with Germany is that the soldiers of the British Empire are unsurpassed as fearless and determined fighting-men. At first the Germans despised them. In an order said to have been issued to his troops, the Kaiser made reference to "the contemptible little British army". But, soon after the fighting commenced, our gallant soldiers showed they were as bold and brave in battle as their heroic ancestors in days gone by.

The first meeting of British and German troops was in the vicinity of Mons in southern Belgium. Our soldiers were extended along a line about 28 miles long.

The conflict began on a Sunday afternoon, and, owing to the rapid advance of the Germans, it opened suddenly and unexpectedly.

Among the early arrivals at the position selected by General French were the West Kents. The weather was warm, and after digging trenches the men felt tired and hungry. While dinner was being got ready, a number of the jolly Englishmen proposed to have a bath in a canal which was in the vicinity. In a few minutes afterwards they were splashing merrily in the cool waters.

"I say, this is just fine," you could hear a man exclaim as he sprayed a comrade. "After that long march and digging the trenches, I wanted a dip badly. How do you feel?"

"A bit all right now," came the usual answer.

At first some shouted challenges to swim with friends for a hundred yards. But as more and more men entered the water, raising torrents of spray, the canal became too crowded for competitions.

"Come on now, you men who have had your dip," shouted a sergeant on the bank; "get out and allow some others to get in."

It was a lively scene. Dozens scrambled up the slope to run for towels, and others dived in with splash and splutter and shout. One might think the men were on holiday and not out to fight against fearful odds.

Those who had bathed, and got dressed, seized pannikins and filed towards the camp kitchen to obtain their rations. Ere long groups of hungry men were squatted about devouring a hot meal with relish, some of them at the same time watching the cantrips of the bathers in the canal.

Then suddenly the storm of war broke forth. Several German batteries of artillery had crept up through a wood in front of the British lines, and opened fire with shrapnel. The shells burst over the West Kents in dozens, and immediately there was excitement and confusion. Just as people scamper from the streets when a thunder-plump of rain comes down, so did the bathers and diners scamper for cover. Some soon got into position in their trenches; others had to snatch up towels and clothes and then race for their rifles, drying and dressing themselves afterwards in the narrow ditches they had excavated.

In other parts of the long British line, troops came under fire as soon as they arrived. They had to dig their trenches as they lay flat on the ground—not an easy task—but they did the work all the same. Late arrivals had no opportunity of using the spade at all, and took cover where it could be found: behind hedges, bushes, or boulders, or simply in shallow depressions formed by floods.

The bright sunshine was dimmed by the drifting smoke of the guns on either side. Bullets and splinters from the German shells came whizzing downwards, after each shell burst with a crash overhead. But the British soldiers remained cool and collected. They even made merry about the surprise they had received.

"What a dirty trick!" called one man. "They might have waited until I had finished my dip. I wonder where's my cap!"

"And my tunic," another exclaimed.

"The Germans have no manners," remarked a third. "They chucked a dirty bullet into my pannikin and spilt my soup."

"What a mess I'm in," growled a big fellow who was but half dressed. "I had just dried myself after a nice wash, when a shrapnel landed in a pot of potatoes and spattered me all over with mash and skins. My, but I do feel sticky!"

"They wanted to give you a German lightning lunch," a friend suggested, with a grin. "Don't you know there are hundreds of waiters in front of you?"

"Here they come," shouted man to man. "Aren't they pretty? Glad to see you, my lads!"

Lord French


The German infantry had begun to advance, believing that the British had been demoralized by the artillery. But the shrapnel had been less effective than they realized.

On came the enemy, charging in close order and in numbers far greater than the British. Their blue-grey uniforms made their dense masses look like waves sweeping over the green fields. And like waves they broke when they came into range of the rifles. Hundreds fell before the shower of well-directed bullets. For a few moments the attackers paused after the first shock. But their officers urged them forward, and they poured on again. In front of them the British troops were invisible, crouching in their trenches, disdaining the crash and scream of shrapnel, and taking sure and accurate aim. Whole companies of the Germans were mowed down.

"This minds me of harvest work," a British soldier said. "It's like reaping a field of barley."

"We'll soon have the whole crop cut," answered another.

On came the Germans, shouting and singing to keep up their courage, over ground strewn with the dead and dying. Many crouched up their shoulders and turned their faces sideways, as if they were walking against a fierce shower of hailstones. But they could make no head-way against the bullet-storm. So quickly did they fall that in some places the dead were piled up 5 feet high. Still the German officers cried: "Vorwarts!" (" Forward!"), and the dazed men in the blue-grey uniforms attempted to climb over the "walls" of the dead.

"Disgusting, I call it," remarked a British soldier.

"It's not fighting," a comrade said; "it's like shooting game."

"Are there any left?" asked a little man, reaching up to peer over his rifle.

"Thousands of them! thousands of them!" someone answered. "They seem to be rising out of the ground—coming out like rabbits from their holes."

The Germans were trying to overwhelm the British, but the khaki-clad troops never flinched. Hour after hour went past and the terrible slaughter continued. Battalions rushed forward and were shattered, and the survivors scampered away. But other battalions hastened to attempt the crossing of the blood-drenched ground. At some parts of the line the pressure was terrible and constant. Now and again British cavalry went out and set hosts of Germans scampering. Here and there the machine-guns made gaps in the massed troops "like red-hot iron thrust through packing-paper", as a British soldier put it.

Desperate fighting took place at a cross-road held by English, Scottish, and Irish soldiers. Sometimes, after thinning out an attacking German force, they leaped from cover and charged with the bayonet. The sight of the glittering steel made the enemy run.

It was only once at Mons that the Germans faced the British attackers. They had almost reached the trenches of the South Lancashires when out leaped these fearless Englishmen and dashed on the closed ranks of the Kaiser's warriors. They stood it for a few minutes, and frightful havoc was done. The Germans, however, were no match for the Lancashires and fled before them as fast as they could run.

"Rabbits don't like ferrets," a laughing Englishman exclaimed.

"And puppies hate running up against hedgehogs," added another.

All this time, and until darkness came on, the artillery roared on either side without ceasing. The noise was deafening. Maxim guns rattled like sewing-machines. howitzers bellowed like thunder, rifles snapped out their fire like thousands of riding-whips snapping together. In the distance the big guns sounded like slamming doors. Shells crashed in the air, on the ground, and dropped into the trenches or burst in front of them, causing them to collapse and bury brave men alive.

Aeroplanes skimmed below the clouds like giant eagles, spotting guns and trenches and signalling the range. Sometimes one of the machines was struck by shrapnel, and tumbled down like a bird with a broken wing.

Meanwhile the courageous members of the British Medical Staff Corps attended to the wounded and removed them to the rear. When the disabled warriors related their experiences in hospital they had many thrilling stories to tell.

On the third day of the fighting a magnificent charge was made by the 2nd British Cavalry Brigade, consisting of Lancers, Hussars, and Dragoons. Nothing like it has occurred since the Light Brigade won great glory at Balaclava. They rode out to silence the German big guns, which were doing frightful havoc at one particular point in the British lines, but before they could reach them they had to pass through the fire of about twenty machine-guns, which emptied many a saddle. Their advance was also hampered by barbed-wire entanglements. But they rode onward fearless and resolute and unstayed. When they reached the guns they cut down the gunners; then they damaged the guns so that no further fire might come from them. Having accomplished this they rode back—"all that was left of them".

Both on their way out and on their return they encountered German cavalry. One of the Germans who was taken prisoner said: "We were stronger in numbers than the Lancers, and thought we would hold them back, but they cut through us like cutters snipping barbed wire. I am sure each one of them speared an opponent. We were thrown into confusion, and just when we were trying to rally they wheeled round and dashed at us again. I can hear them shouting still. Our men and horses were cut down right and left. Ach! it was dreadful, indeed. Back they came once more, and they did not leave us until we were all scattered. Never again do I wish to meet a charge of the terrible Lancers."

A Middlesex company engaged in a most extraordinary struggle with the enemy. The men were engaged digging a trench, and while doing so an aeroplane flew overhead.

"I wish I had my rifle here," exclaimed one of the Englishmen, "so that I might have a pop at that fellow."

The company had left their arms behind: they were to be brought up by their comrades who were getting ready to take up position. It was hot and sultry, and they worked hard. Suddenly the sergeant saw advancing a force of German infantry with fixed bayonets. The airman had signalled for them.

They were close at hand before they were noticed, and came on at a rush. The trench-diggers had no time to retire. Some stood up to defend themselves with shovels; others used their fists. A good many fell, dying like heroes; but a remnant kept the Germans at bay, and those who got possession of the enemies' weapons set up a desperate fight until a British force came to the rescue. This was the Connaught Rangers. The dashing Irishmen attacked the Germans as Irishmen can, and drove them back, slaying many and making prisoners of those who had thrown down their arms and were unable to escape.

In another district the South Wales Borderers were hastening into action when they came against a regiment of Uhlans attacking a convoy. The gallant Welshmen at once took up position and opened fire, causing many, a horse and man to fall. As the fight developed, however, the German cavalry was reinforced and an attempt was made to surround the Welshmen and cut them up. It was a desperate situation.

"They have cornered us this time," a private exclaimed.

"They'll get it hot till the bitter end," remarked a companion.

But it seemed when he spoke that the end was not far off. The Welshmen were out numbered by their swiftly moving opponents.

Then suddenly the glad news was whispered along the lines: "Reinforcements are coming!" "Who are they? Who are they?" many asked.

"Look! look!" exclaimed a sergeant; "here are the Scots Greys and the 1st Lancers."

It was a splendid sight to see how the British cavalrymen dashed against the enemy, wheeling round, striking on left and right, retiring and charging again. The Welsh infantry fought with renewed vigour. But still the British force wag outnumbered. For six hours the fight was waged with great fury. Gradually, however, the Germans' encircling movement was shattered. Here the Uhlans were compelled to retreat; there they were thrown into confusion. Englishmen, Scotsmen, and Welshmen fought as fearlessly and as well as their sires of old. In the end the Germans were put to flight, after about 1500 had been either killed or wounded.

Outnumbered—in some places by ten to one —the British army had to retreat from Mons and district and fight what are known as rear-guard actions, so as to prevent the Germans from surrounding them. To allow the retreat to be carried out successfully, comparatively small forces of our troops had to hold back the enemy at various important points.

One night 150 Coldstream Guards were guarding a road, waiting for a French regiment which was expected to come to their aid. Through their spies the Germans came to know of this and tried to deceive the British. A number had stripped the French dead of their uniforms, and, having put them on, advanced from a wood. One of the Germans called out in English to the Coldstreams: "Do not shoot; we are the French." He walked boldly forward in advance of his fellows, but suddenly stabbed a British private who offered to shake hands with him. The officer in command at once gave the signal to fire, and the sham Frenchmen were driven back with considerable loss. But they soon returned again heavily reinforced, and an attempt was made to overpower the small British force by sheer weight of numbers.

The Guards were prepared for them, however. Maxims were posted at commanding points on either side of the highway; some were on housetops near by. Lying on their stomachs, the dauntless British riflemen poured an unceasing shower of bullets into the enemy's ranks. Germans fell like dead leaves from trees before a sudden gale. Again and again they came on; again and again they were driven back, stumbling over prostrate bodies of dead and wounded.

The moon came out and lit up the terrible scene. Then the fighting waxed more furious than ever. In time the Germans drew up a field-gun and opened fire with shrapnel. They were certain the British force could not resist the devastating shell which began to burst before and behind and above them.

Would the Guards have to retire? If they did so the consequences would be terrible. Behind them a considerable British force lay asleep, thoroughly exhausted, and if the Germans got through they would decimate it.

The major knew this, and when he observed that the Guards' fire was slackening before the shower of shell splinters and scattering shrapnel bullets, he cried out: "For God's sake, boys, don't fall back!"

No sooner had he spoken than the Guards recovered and renewed their vigorous defence. Then a marksman damaged the German gun with a well-placed bullet, and put it out of action. That lucky shot changed the situation. The Germans were advancing again in close order, confident of victory, and the British Maxims and rifles caught them at short range and mowed them down in scores. The survivors fled confusedly, leaving the Guards in possession of the ground they had so gallantly defended. Over I400 Germans were put out of action, most of them having been killed out-right, on that night of carnage and slaughter.

A single man may sometimes perform a deed of heroism which will save the lives of many. A canal was crossed by the Middlesex regiment, who had to keep back the advance of a horde of Germans strongly supported by heavy artillery. The bridge which spanned it had, however, to be blown up. If the enemy succeeded in rushing over it they might be able to overwhelm the gallant defenders. A charge of gun-cotton was placed beneath a girder and the fuse set alight. This work was carried out by a few members of the Royal Engineers, who suffered greatly from the attention paid to them by German snipers. But, as luck would have it, the fuse burnt out, having been severed by a bullet, and the bridge remained intact.

Perceiving this, a sergeant of the Engineers rushed forward to relight the stump of fuse which remained. It was a perilous task, because he might not be able to run back far enough before the charge exploded. But he never hesitated. He knew many British lives would be saved if he successfully performed his duty.

The Germans opened fire on him with rifles and field-guns. A shrapnel burst overhead as he caught the shortened fuse and ignited it. Then he turned round and ran a few paces. A shell swept over the canal and struck off his head, and in another second the gun-cotton exploded and blew the bridge into fragments. The Middlesex soldiers were thus enabled to hold their position, and before the time came to retreat they punished the enemy severely.

So confident were the Germans of victory that a message was telegraphed to Berlin, saying: "The British army is surrounded". There were rejoicings in the German capital, but these did not last long. Step by step the dauntless soldiers of our country retreated, fighting with courage and success, until the tide of battle turned and the Germans were driven back pell-mell towards the River Aisne.

A Group of Heroes

A thrilling deed of heroism was accomplished by a Highland soldier in the vicinity of Soissons on the River Aisne. About 150 men of his regiment were told off to guard a bridge in case any Germans should attempt to cross. It was not expected that a strong attack would be made at that particular place.

The day was warm and pleasant; sunlight twinkled on the river and birds sang among the trees. But for the booming of guns in the distance there was nothing to suggest war and bloodshed in that peaceful spot. The Highlanders chatted about home and the harvest-fields, and enjoyed the rest they were experiencing after long, weary marching and heavy fighting. One said: "If I had a fishing rod I should like to try that shady pool yonder. There is a nice ripple on the water."

He had hardly spoken when the "spit-spit-spit" of rifles rang out in the silence. A strong force of Germans had crept through the wood opposite them, and were evidently going to rush the bridge. Several Highlanders fell, and the rest took cover and opened fire. When the Germans made their appearance their ranks were swept by a Maxim gun, which cut them down in dozens.

For a time the attackers were held back. Then a strong column of Germans came in sight, hurrying along the highway to cross the bridge. The Highlanders were outnumbered by about seven to one.

"It will take us all our time to hold them back," one muttered.

"The Maxim will shatter that column in a twinkling," answered another cheerfully.

But suddenly the Maxim became silent. Snipers lying concealed in the wood had shot down, one after another, the men who had been working it, and it stood there unattended on its tripod among a heap of bodies. Meanwhile the Germans approached closer and closer to the bridge. The rifle-fire was not of sufficient volume to keep them back. It looked as if the little group of British soldiers would be exterminated.

A gallant Highlander who took in the situation at a glance leaped up, and, throwing down his rifle, ran towards the Maxim gun. The German snipers tried their best to hit him, but he seemed to have a charmed life. Bullets whizzed past his head like bees swarming from a hive; but he never faltered. Reaching the Maxim, he swung it, without detaching the tripod, across his back as coolly as though he were a fisherman lifting a creel of fish; then, instead of returning to his comrades, he ran across the bridge and placed the gun in front of the German column advancing along the highway. The belt which revolves to "feed" the Maxim was well charged with ammunition, and the Highlander opened a withering fire. "Rat-tat-tat" sounded the deadly gun as the Highlander crouched down, working it expertly and coolly. The Germans were unable to advance against the terrible hail of bullets, which thinned their ranks faster than it takes to tell. So they scampered to find cover, leaving heaps of their men dead and wounded on the road.

Meanwhile the snipers continued firing at the gallant Highlander, who kept the bridge like the Roman Horatius, but against more fearful odds. Again and again he was wounded, and just as he succeeded in putting to flight the attackers, he fell back dead, and once more the Maxim gun was silent.

The Germans began to reform to renew the attack. Ere they could do so, however, the surviving Highlanders heard reinforcements hurrying up from behind. As soon as they reached the river bank the fresh troops opened so vigorous an attack on the Germans that they were forced to fall back. Their retiral was a hurried one.

When the British soldiers crossed the bridge they found that the dead Highlander who had routed the German column, and given his life to save his comrades, had over thirty bullet wounds in various parts of his body. He will be remembered as one of the great heroes of the British army.

A similar act of splendid daring was performed by Lieutenant Dimmer of the 2nd Battalion of the King's Rifle Corps, whose home is at Wimbledon. He took part in the trench fighting in southern Belgium when the Germans endeavoured to break through the British lines and reach Calais. For some weeks the issue hung in the balance. Then the famous Prussian Guard, the "crack regiment" of the Fatherland, was brought up at the command of the Kaiser to sweep our troops before them. The fighting became very violent. Lieutenant Dimmer had, on one occasion, a narrow escape from death, for, as he was engaged inspecting the position, three bullets, fired by watchful German snipers, passed through his cap.

For several days the Royal Rifle Corps sustained fierce attacks. During the early part of the fighting two British machine-guns were put out of action, but one of them was recovered by Lieutenant Dimmer, assisted by Corporal Cordingley, who would have received the Distinguished Service Medal had he lived; he was killed by a bullet not long afterwards.

The Prussian Guard lost heavily, because the sons of Britain were more than a match for them, and repelled attack after attack. Urged onward, however, to make a final effort, they flung themselves on the British lines, convinced that they must succeed and win great glory.

This attack began about nine o'clock on a cold misty night. Lieutenant Dimmer was in the thick of the fight. He had charge of a Maxim gun, and was assisted by three men. But just when the Maxim was brought into action the leather of the cartridge-belt stuck fast, being swollen by the drizzle of thin rain. Meanwhile the enemy approached nearer and nearer, keeping up a fierce fire. Rifle-bullets and shrapnel splinters spattered about the gun like hailstones. It was a galling situation. But Lieutenant Dimmer was cool and brave and resourceful. He at once knelt down to adjust the silent gun, using a spanner so that the cartridge-belt might have room to move. While so engaged he was exposed to the deadly fire which swept along the trench. A bullet struck him in the jaw. It did not, however, cause him to flinch. "I did not mind," he has since said; "the wound only made me wild."

At length the cartridge-belt was got to work, and the gun poured out its fusillades of bullets on the advancing hosts, in which it made great gaps, while the men in the trenches kept up the rifle-fire with unerring aim, as steadily as if they were practising at targets on a shooting-range.

The German shrapnel crashed overhead, and many brave men were killed or wounded by scattering fragments of metal. Snipers also paid special attention to those working the machine-guns, and one after another the three men at this particular Maxim were picked off. But Lieutenant Dimmer stuck to his post, despite his wound, working the gun alone. A bit of shrapnel then grazed his right eye and almost blinded it. Still he kept the Maxim working. Another shell burst near him, and a splinter tore open a ragged wound on his forehead, from which the blood streamed down into his left eye. Twisting his head sideways, and occasionally wiping away the blood, he scarcely faltered at his task. Sometimes he was almost completely blind; at best he could only see through a haze of blood and perspiration. But he kept the gun in action while the Prussian Guard was sustaining frightful losses. Then, for a moment or two, the Maxim remained silent. Wearied and weakened by his wounds, he found it necessary to take rest, and especially to recover his vision. After cleansing his eyes and pressing his handkerchief against his fore-head bruise, to stop the flow of blood, he looked up and saw that the enemy were retreating. This gave him fresh courage and strength, and once again he staggered towards the gun. "I wanted," he has told, "to give them something to go on with, and banged away for all I was worth."

When one belt of cartridges was exhausted he fitted on another. Many a Prussian was laid low by that courageous British officer, who was still working his gun without assistance. Then another shrapnel shell burst in front of him, and he received a wound on his left shoulder. But his right arm remained free, and he resumed firing. At length, however, a rifle bullet sank deeply into his left shoulder, near the other wound, and he fell back unconscious. He had done heroic service in assisting to scatter the renowned Prussian Guard, and had certainly saved the position occupied by his battalion. In all he fired 900 cartridges, and most of these must have taken effect.

When Lieutenant Dimmer was picked up it was found that he had sustained five wounds. Temporary dressings were applied, and he recovered consciousness. Before he was conveyed to hospital, however, he insisted on going to his quarters, supported by two men, to make up his report. For his great bravery he has been awarded the Victoria Cross, and given promotion.

A touching story is told of an heroic Irishman who gave his life to save two chance acquaintances near Cambrai. He had been brought up in Glasgow, and was a private in the Royal Scots. Those who knew him say he was a rough character, given to quarrelling, and ever ready to use his fists. But there was a tender spot in his heart, and he had certainly much courage.

Along with a sergeant of the Leicestershire Regiment and a private of the Dorsets, who was wounded, he took shelter in a farm-house. The little party were cut off from the British forces, and Germans swarmed in their vicinity. They hoped to steal away in the darkness, and it looked as if they would manage to, for their presence was not suspected. But the Irishman was reckless, and, ignoring the appeals of the others, wandered outside. The Germans saw him and opened fire. He returned promptly to the house, and was greatly troubled because he had carelessly drawn attention to his companions. "I have just come in", he said, "to warn you that a party of the enemy is near. Hide yourselves; I am going out for a walk."

The sergeant saw at once that the Irishman had made up his mind to risk his life by performing some wild escapade, and ordered him to remain where he was. But he ignored the sergeant and made for the door; then, pausing on the threshold, he said: "It's like this, my son. You and your friend there are married, and have children who would mourn for you. As for me, I'm not the best, and nobody will be any the poorer if I'm shot. Am I not to blame in this matter? If I hadn't shown myself the Germans wouldn't have looked near the place. But they don't know there's anybody here but myself. So I'm going to rush out, and perhaps I may get off. If they catch me, they'll be quite satisfied, no doubt. But you must remain behind, Sergeant, for the sake of that poor wounded fellow there." His face never showed a sign of feeling until the sergeant began to move towards him. "Stop!' he exclaimed. "Stay where you are. If you follow me the Germans won't get a chance, for I'll shoot you down myself. Stop where you are, I tell you."

It was no use reasoning with him. He shut the door and walked off as coolly as if he were going to the barracks. When he came in sight of the Germans he pretended to be surprised, and made a sudden dash to escape across a field. But he had not gone far when he was brought down by a volley. He must have died before he fell. But he saved the lives of the other two men. The Germans thought he was a solitary straggler, and went off in another direction.

Night came on, but the two English soldiers did not get an opportunity to escape safely. They kept in hiding for three days before they were able to return to the British lines. The body of the heroic Irishman, who had died for others, was recovered and buried by the Red Cross men, and the "Last Post" was sounded over his grave.

It has been related that when King Robert the Bruce rode out against De Bohun, before the battle of Bannockburn, and slew that dashing knight, his officers remonstrated with him for risking his life, while they also praised him for his prowess. But what concerned the King most was that he had broken his battle-axe. An English soldier who had displayed great daring at the battle of Mons retired from it in a similar frame of mind. His right hand had been badly wounded, and he was found sitting by the roadside looking most dejected. "Is your wound very painful?" he was asked. "It's not my hand that worries me," he said. "I'm blessed if I haven't lost my pipe in that last charge!"

Scorching motor-cyclists are regarded as a nuisance on country roads in time of peace; but in war not a few of them have proved to be of great value. The story of how a "scorcher" won a French medal is of stirring character.

During the course of one of the many engagements fought on the banks of the River Aisne a small but determined French force occupied trenches facing those of the enemy. There were clumps of woodland on either side of the space between the opposing lines. In one English troops lay concealed; in the other there were Germans with machine-guns. For a time neither of these hidden forces was aware of the presence of the other.

The highway skirts the wood in which the Germans lay, and along it a strong force of French infantry came marching to support their entrenched countrymen. The Germans waited for them.

Suddenly the men in the trenches perceived that a trap had been laid. They caught glimpses of the enemy moving into position between the trees. As the force of infantry would be decimated as soon as they came into range, it was necessary that they should be warned in time. To accomplish this, attempts were made to signal to them, but the German sharpshooters promptly picked off each man who rose up from the French trenches to send a message.

The threatened danger was perceived also by the Englishmen in the opposite wood. It was no use for them to try to signal, because their message would not be understood. The only chance was to send a cyclist along the road which ran past the German ambush.

A daring Englishman leaped on his machine, and in a few minutes had crossed to the highway and was careering along it. He bent low in the saddle and scorched for all he was worth. "Teuf-teuf-teuf", sounded the motor in the tense stillness. The Germans were amazed at the man's daring. Their snipers, however, opened fire, and the brave scorcher was shot down. His bicycle tumbled over and was wrecked on a bank.

But no sooner did he fall than another "scorcher" made his appearance. This man was also killed, and did not even get so far along the road as his predecessor. Then a third brave Englishman made his appearance. He was as fearless as the others, and rode similarly at the highest speed. The German sharpshooters opened against him a brisk fire, and the bullets buzzed about his ears like mosquitoes. It was an exciting spectacle. The Englishmen peered from the wood and the Frenchmen from the trenches, watching the scorching cyclist careering along the highway, his back bent and his head stretched for-ward as if he were racing for a prize in some competition. "Snap-snap-snap", rang out the German rifles, but still the messenger whirled onward. He passed the wood in a cloud of dust and raced towards the French column of infantry, which was now drawing perilously near. Would he reach it safely and in time? The Germans did their best to prevent him. But they could only snipe. If they opened volley-fire they would reveal their presence to the force they intended to ambush.

At length, after several moments of breathless anxiety, the heroic "scorcher" reached the French force, dismounted, and warned them. He had risked his life for the sake of the allies of his native land, and saved hundreds of brave soldiers from certain death.

The French officer was astounded, not only at the message of warning he received, but at the daring displayed by the courageous Englishman, whom he saluted as though he confronted one of his superiors in rank. Then, taking from his tunic the French military medal which is the equivalent of our Victoria Cross, he pinned it above the breast of that dashing cyclist who so richly deserved such a high honour.

Another daring feat was accomplished by an officer and non-commissioned officer of the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. Early one morning a company of Germans conducted a fierce and sudden attack on one of the forward trenches of the Manchesters and compelled its occupants to retire. Two attempts were afterwards made to drive them back, but without success. It looked as if the Germans would hold out until reinforcements came to their aid to assist them to advance still farther.

Second-Lieutenant Leach declared in the afternoon that he would attack the enemy alone and compel them to retire. "I will go with you, sir," said Sergeant Hogan. The lieutenant consented, and they set out together.

One after the other these two brave soldiers crept along the communication-trench leading to the forward trenches, and when they got to close quarters opened fire on the enemy. Both were good shots, and almost every bullet took effect. Darting from point to point along the zigzagged route, they compelled the Germans to retreat to the far end of the trench after having killed eight of them and wounded a couple. Fourteen remained to be accounted for, but after firing a few random shots they threw down their rifles and held up their hands to signify that they surrendered. They were greatly astonished to find that they had been hopelessly beaten by only two men.

Lieutenant Leach had a marvellous escape. Several bullets had gone through his cap, and his muffler came to pieces when he took it off. Neither he nor Sergeant Hogan received a single wound.

A private of the Royal Irish Regiment one day sacrificed himself to save a force of the West Yorkshires from extermination. He had been taken prisoner during the previous night, and was confined in a farm-house on the outskirts of a little village near Reims. The Germans kept so well under cover that the British were not aware of their presence at this particular point.

When day dawned the West Yorkshires were ordered to advance and occupy the village. The Germans chuckled when they saw them coming, and word was passed round among the houses not to fire a shot until they were at close range. It seemed as if the unsuspecting Englishmen were to be exterminated.

Looking through a window, Pat took in the situation. He saw the Yorkshire lads marching forward as unconcernedly as if they were on parade. The Germans chattered gleefully round about him, laughing now and again. Pat did not understand a word they said, but he knew only too well that they were making merry over the surprise they were going to give to the force of Englishmen drawing near.

His heart was touched. He wanted to pick up a rifle and give the alarm. But if he attempted to seize one in that little room he would be quickly overpowered.

At length he resolved to do what the Germans would never think a man capable of doing—to rush out and let his comrades know they were in danger. It meant certain death for him. He realized that, but did not care. What although he lost his own life, if by doing so he saved the lives of many? He was a brave, generous, self-sacrificing man. The blood of generations of heroes ran in his veins.

On came the Yorkshires. The Germans got into position with loaded rifles, taking cool, deliberate aim. They paid no attention to Pat. Then, cautiously and softly, the Irish soldier slipped back from the window, crossed the room, and went out into the backyard. No one heeded his movements. Little did the enemy dream that Pat was resolved to spoil their murderous game by raising the alarm.

There was no time to be lost. The yard gate stood open, and the Irishman ran out. In another minute he was in the open, and was observed by friend and foe alike. He raised his arms above his head, to signify to the Yorkshires that danger threatened him, and he ran towards them for a few yards. Then the concealed Germans opened fire. The brave Irishman fell on his face, his body riddled with bullets.

But he had accomplished his purpose. The Englishmen at once realized what lay in store for them.

"Halt, and take cover," shouted the officer. The men obeyed promptly. They knew only too well why the order had been given.

"Who was that man, I wonder?" a private asked.

"One of our lads who has been taken prisoner," another said.

"Well, he's a game one!" the first speaker exclaimed.

"If he had not dashed out," a third declared, "we would have been caught in a trap."

Soon the fighting became brisk. The Yorkshires brought a machine-gun into action, and before long they had silenced the firing from the farm-house. Advancing in short rushes, they reached at length the prostrate body of Pat, whom they found to be still alive. His face was deathly pale, a stream of blood ran down his left cheek, and his left arm was almost cut through with bullet wounds. But he smiled when he saw an Englishman bending over him.

"I'm done for," he said faintly.

"You've saved many a life this day," a Yorkshire lad told him with deep emotion.

"Thank God for that!" the Irishman murmured. Then he became unconscious.

The Germans were driven from the village with considerable loss. Two Yorkshire lads carried the Irish hero to the farm-house and laid him gently on a bed. He died as his wounds were being dressed. As his identification badge was missing his name could not be ascertained. Next day he was buried in the little graveyard beside the village chapel, and few of the soldiers could refrain from shedding tears. Over the grave a wooden cross was erected, and on it a Yorkshire man wrote: "He saved others; himself he could not save."

Brave French Boys

When the great war broke out, all the able-bodied men of France who had received a military training were called upon to join the army to fight against the German invaders. Many French boys then wished they were old enough to assist in defending their native land. In every town and village you could hear them saying one to another: "Our soldiers are sure to beat the 'Boches'." That is the nickname they have given to the Germans. "My father left home this morning," a boy would declare proudly; "he has promised to bring me back a German helmet for a souvenir. I am going to keep watch over the house and protect mother."

"Playing at soldiers "at once became the favourite game everywhere. The young folks stuck little flags in their caps and armed themselves with wooden swords and guns. They drilled very smartly, just like real soldiers, in the playgrounds, and marched through the streets as if they were going to the war, keeping step to the music of their fifes and drums. When they began to fight sham battles they had to pretend, however, that their enemies were hiding somewhere in the woods. None of the French boys would take the part of the 'Boches' even in a game. They all wanted to be soldiers of France, so that they might return home in the evening, shouting proudly: "We have defeated the 'Boches'; they are all running away."

When real soldiers marched through the streets on their way to the battle-field, all the boys and girls of a town or village gathered to cheer them and shout "Vive la France!" The fighting-men waved their hands to them, smiling and well pleased.

Not only did they delight to honour their own countrymen. They also welcomed gladly the brave British soldiers whom they soon learned to love, because these khaki-clad warriors treated the young so kindly, carrying some on their shoulders and grasping others by the hand as they marched along.

At some railway stations the young people stood in crowds on the platforms when they heard that British soldiers were to pass through by train. Loudly they cheered as the engine slowed up to take in water. Sometimes they tried to sing the soldiers' songs, and although they could not understand the words they learned the tunes and rendered them by repeating "La la-la, la-la la-la." They gave the soldiers presents of sweets and fruits, and were thanked with smiles and handshakes. As the train steamed away, the young folks shouted "Goo'neet, goo'neet," thinking that our "good-night" means exactly the same thing as their "au revoir". The young French folks cried out "Goo'neet" whether it was morning, or afternoon, or evening.

Quite a number of stories are told of brave French boys who have taken part in fighting, or shown that they were not afraid of the Germans who invaded their towns. The people of France are very proud of their "little heroes".

One of these is named Gustave Chatain. At the beginning of the war he was just fifteen years old. He was employed as a herd-boy on a farm in north-eastern France, not very far from the River Oise, which flows into the Seine. Most of the farm-workers had been trained as soldiers, and were called up to fight for their country. Gustave envied them greatly. "They are lucky fellows," he said; "I wish I were big enough to go and fight the 'Boches' also."

Day after day he heard thrilling stories of battles in Belgium and along the western frontier. "The 'Boches' are coming nearer," the people began to say; "we have not yet got enough men together to keep them back. Once our armies are at full strength, however, we will defeat them. Besides, the brave British soldiers have come to fight for us."

Gustave fretted to see the women growing more and more alarmed, while Belgian and French refugees hastened westward. It was pitiful to see these poor people as they fled before the Germans along the highways. Old men and women and children had to walk many miles, carrying bundles of clothing and articles of furniture. Some pushed wheelbarrows or perambulators heaped up with the few things they could save, and others had little carts drawn by dogs. When night came on they slept in the fields or in barns, and they were thankful indeed when they reached a village and were taken into houses. They told terrible stories of their sufferings and the cruel deeds performed by the invaders. "Our homes are burned," Gustave heard them say, with tears in their eyes; "many of our friends have been killed; others have died by the wayside. Oh! give us a little food. We are weak with hunger. Our little ones are crying for milk."

Every day the crowds of refugees came along. "The 'Boches' are not far off," they said. "Thousands and thousands of them are hastening through France. They are trying to reach Paris."

At length, on a bright autumn morning, Gustave heard the German guns. Their harsh booming, which sounded like distant thunder, came from the direction of Senlis, a small town not far from the farm, with a beautiful little cathedral and the ruins of an ancient castle in which the kings of France used to reside in times long past.

The herd-boy listened for a time to the far-off roar of battle, watching with sad eyes the puffs of dark smoke that appeared when shells burst in the air. Then he said to himself: "Although I am only fifteen I am big and strong for my age. I will run off and join the army."

He slipped away without anybody noticing him. The women were gathered together in groups, gazing towards Senlis, and wondering if they would soon have to leave their homes. He walked across the fields as if he were going to look after the cows, until he was out of sight of the farm-house. Then he turned towards the highway and set off, walking as fast as he could, in the direction of Senlis. Ere long he came to a spot where three roads meet, and to his joy he saw marching towards him a company of those hardy French soldiers, the Alpine Chasseurs, who were on their way to the front. Gustave ran after them, and, taking up the pace, went swinging along with manly strides.

"Hallo, boy!" shouted one of the soldiers; "where are you going? You mustn't come this way."

Said Gustave: "I want to march with you to battle."

"You are a plucky little fellow," the soldier told him, "but you are too young. The 'Boches' would swallow you."

"If you will allow me to march with you," Gustave pleaded, "I will run errands and make myself very useful. I am not afraid of the 'Boches'."

Several of the soldiers laughed, and one said: "Come along then. You have a brave heart, and it's a pity you are not a little older."

Gustave was greatly delighted. He marched on, chatting with the soldiers, and at length he said: "I see you have some spare rifles in that cart behind there. I wish I had one."

Again the soldiers laughed, and one said to the other: "He's a real Frenchman. But it would be a shame to take him into the fighting-line. He might get killed."

"I am not afraid to die for France," Gustave told them.

"Give him a rifle," one of the soldiers said.

The boy turned towards the driver of the cart, holding out his right hand and smiling. "Can you shoot?" the man asked.

"I have brought down hundreds of crows," Gustave answered, "so surely I can bring down 'Boches'."

The man hauled out a rifle and handed it to the boy, saying: "You're small, and can easily take cover. Just keep as cool as when you are shooting crows."

"The 'Boches' are so much bigger than crows," Gustave said, "and I'll thin them out. See if I don't."

"Come on, little hero," a soldier called merrily. "Fall in, and don't boast till after you have done something."

Gustave went marching along, feeling very proud of himself, chatting and exchanging jokes with the Chasseurs. But at length an officer saw him and asked: "Who is this boy? He mustn't come with us. Send him home at once."

"Please, sir," said Gustave, saluting, "I wish to fight for France like my father and my brothers. Do let me go with you."

"You are just a child," the officer answered; "you must run away home."

The officer took the rifle from Gustave, and, seeing tears in the boy's eyes, patted him on the back and said: "When you are a big lad come and join the Alpine Chasseurs, and we'll all be proud of you. Au revior."

Gustave had to fall out, and for a time he watched the soldiers marching away in front of him along the dusty highway. But he did not turn towards home. He soon saw the warriors of another famous regiment approaching, and when they came up he fell into step and accompanied them.

"You mustn't follow us, little fellow," a soldier warned him; "we are going to battle."

"I can shoot well," said Gustave, "and I am a splendid walker. I want to fight the 'Boches'."

"Do you hear what he says?" one soldier remarked to another. "He wants to fight, and he's just a boy."

"What would your mother say if she knew?" a soldier asked.

Said Gustave: "She would say she has now four sons at the front instead of three. How proud she would be, too!"

"What is your name?" one of the men asked.

"Gustave Chatain," answered the boy.

"A brave name, indeed," another soldier remarked, as they marched along.

"I will run errands for you. I will be very useful," Gustave assured the men near him. "Besides, I can hide easily, and, as I said, I shoot well."

"If you promise to do what you are told, and keep out of sight," a soldier answered, "you can come with us."

"Thank you very much!" cried the delighted boy. "I hope you have a rifle to spare for me."

"If I gave you my rifle," remarked a smiling soldier, "I should have to sit down and watch you shooting. That would never do. You have promised to do what you are told, so I'll order you to lie down in a trench until we have need of you."

"It would be better to send him home," another soldier declared.

"He has come too far," his companion answered. "It might be dangerous for him to return now. We had better look after him until darkness comes on."

A few minutes later the soldiers reached a bend in the highway, and someone called out that Uhlans were approaching. An officer shouted a sharp command, and the soldiers spread out and took cover. Gustave crept up an embankment and saw about twenty German cavalrymen riding across a field. His companions opened a brisk fire and the enemy turned and fled, leaving nearly a dozen killed and wounded men behind. It was all over in a few seconds.

Another order was then given, and the French soldiers changed position. A German armed motor-car had come in sight, racing along the highway, and its machine-gun began to sound its "rat-tat-tat" like a blacksmith working very fast with his hammer. Several Frenchmen were killed, but the car was driven away. Gustave picked up from beside a dead soldier a rifle with fixed bayonet and several rounds of ammunition, and, seeing the company he had joined were advancing to a new position, he followed them. No one took any notice of him. In less than twenty minutes he came under fire. His company halted and took cover, keeping up a brisk fusillade towards the east. Gustave saw about 200 "Boches" advancing. They were clad in blue-grey uniforms, and marched close together. A thrill of joy passed through his veins because he had got a chance to fight for his native land, and lying behind a bush he took careful aim and fired several rounds. Before long the invaders began to retreat. As they did so the French soldiers advanced steadily, rushing from bush to bush and mound to mound, and firing briskly. Gustave did likewise. He went on fighting until the "Boches" were out of sight. Then he looked round to see where his company was next to move to. But to his astonishment he found that he was alone. He had been so much concerned about chasing "Boches" that he had not observed the Alpine soldiers taking up a new position. Greatly disappointed he returned to the highway. There he saw a dead soldier who was not much bigger than himself, and took off his uniform and cap and put them on.

"Now everyone will think I am a real soldier," he said to himself. "I will avenge the man whose uniform I am wearing."

He heard firing in front of him and hastened onwards. Evening was coming on, and he joined a regiment which had just arrived at the front.

"I have got lost," he said to one of the soldiers. "I was fighting and advanced too far."

It was observed that the uniform he wore was too big for him, and one of the men said: "If an officer sees you he will put you under arrest."

"But I wish to fight," pleaded the boy. "To-day I have slain many 'Boches'."

"That's more than any one of us has done yet," they told him. "You had better fall in and come with us."

They made room for the brave lad between two men of short stature. "You will never be noticed beside us," one of them said.

If Gustave was pleased before he was more pleased than ever now. He felt that he was a real soldier at last, marching in the midst of brave men.

That night he slept in a trench. His new regiment came into touch with the enemy on the banks of the Marne. He awoke at day-break and made a hurried breakfast of meat-sandwiches and coffee; but he felt little desire for food, because a battle began to be waged with great fury. In front of him the Germans had massed in great strength. They were determined to press on towards Paris, and the strong armies of the French and British were as determined that they would never get there.

The air was filled with the sound of guns of all sorts and sizes. Shrapnel shells exploded overhead, ripping harshly like sheets of metal being torn across by giants' hands. The "rat-tat-tat" of machine-guns was heard on every side, and there was a constant whizzing of rifle bullets that hummed like great bees and went past with lightning speed, or spat with a "zip-zip-zip" as they struck the heaped-up earth in front of the trenches. Occasionally every other noise was drowned for a full moment by the thundering explosion of a tremendous shell from one of the monster guns which the Germans had brought into action. Men fell wounded or dead on every side, yet no one was afraid. Every soldier was cool and determined and busy fighting against the invaders.

Gustave kept firing in front of him until the order came to advance. Then he rose with fixed bayonet and rushed forward with the rest to take up a new position and help to dig trenches. This happened over and over again, and his heart was filled with pride to think that the "Boches" were being driven back.

Before many days went past Gustave was looked upon as one of the pluckiest soldiers in his company. He was given a new uniform which fitted him better, a haversack, leggings, boots, and an overcoat. "When my face is spattered with mud flung up by the shells," he said to a companion, "no one is able to tell my age."

One day when Gustave advanced with the soldiers he reached a German trench. He fought bravely with the bayonet. Describing this charge he has said: "The 'Boches' are cowards. Many of them lie down in their trenches when we advance and pretend to be dead. That's one of their tricks. One has to give each body a little kick to find out whether or not a coward is shamming."

The allied armies won the great battle of the Marne, and the Germans were compelled to retreat. Gustave's company marched vigorously in pursuit of them with the others, and occasionally captured stragglers. The "Boches" were so tired with hurrying up to reach Paris and then retreating as smartly to escape the French and British bayonets, that many of them fell down by the roadway or in fields, while others crept into barns and houses to snatch a few hours of sleep.

Gustave accompanied an advance party for two days searching for these stragglers, when he came to a farm-house. The soldiers made a hurried search through the rooms, and, not finding anyone, procured some food and sat down to eat. Gustave meanwhile went towards a barn. The door was closed and locked. Through a crack, however, he was able to peer inside. To his joy he saw several haversacks and a good many rounds of ammunition lying beside a heap of straw. "Here's my chance", he said to himself, "to take some prisoners". He never thought of calling for assistance. With the aid of a splinter of wood he pried open the door, making no noise as he did so. Then he entered stealthily, looking about him, but could not see anybody on the ground floor. Listening intently, he heard the sound of heavy snoring coming from the loft above. So he crept softly up the ladder and saw seven "Boches" lying fast asleep on the floor, where they had spread out beds of hay for themselves. The fearless boy brought down the butt-end of his rifle sharply on the floor and awakened them. Then they all sat up suddenly, looking very much alarmed.

Gustave was prepared for them, having fixed his bayonet in case they should show fight; but they threw up their hands above their heads to signify that they surrendered.

"Follow me, one after another," Gustave said to one of the Germans who understood French. Having delivered this order with an air of dignity, he walked down the ladder from the loft and stood with his rifle at his shoulder ready to fire if one dared to act with treachery.

They gave him no trouble, obeying his command readily. One after another the "Boches" walked out of the barn, looking quite relieved. They were all afraid of the brave herd-boy.

Gustave ordered them to stand in a row as if at drill. Then he called to his companions, who were greatly amused and astonished to see seven big German soldiers holding their hands above their heads, while the gallant French boy stood looking at them with a stern, proud face. They raised a cheer for Gustave and called him a hero.

Soon after this Gustave was sent home for a well-deserved rest. Before he left the regiment an officer promised that he would receive a suitable education to equip him for a military career.

Another young hero was Emile Despres, a boy of fourteen, who died the death of a soldier. He did not have an opportunity of fighting like Gustave, but he showed himself to be quite as fearless and bold in the hour of peril. Armed Germans tried to break his courageous spirit. They threatened him with death and then offered to spare his life if he would act the part of a traitor. But Emile preferred to die with honour rather than live a life of shame.

A few weeks after war had been declared a battle was fought in the vicinity of Emile's native village of Lourches, which is situated near Douchy.

The French soldiers displayed great valour, but they were not numerous enough to hold back the hordes of advancing Germans, and were forced to retreat, much against their will. Many wounded soldiers came through the village. Some fell exhausted on the roadway, weak from loss of blood. Women went out and bandaged their wounds, and helped as many as they could to take shelter inside the houses, while boys ran about giving the bleeding soldiers water to quench their thirst. Shrapnel shells burst overhead and splinters flew about, doing much damage. Occasionally bullets spattered on the street like a shower of great hailstones.

At length the Germans entered the village. They burst open doors and smashed windows, searching everywhere for French soldiers, and were exceedingly angry with those women who were acting as nurses. In a miner's cottage lay a non-commissioned officer. He was in great pain, for he had been wounded in the side by a fragment of a shell; his cheeks were white as paper, his eyes half-closed, and his lips parched and dry. The miner's wife was bending over him, doing her best to stop the bleeding and relieve his suffering. He was very weak from loss of blood.

A German officer entered, followed by a few of his men, carrying rifles with fixed bayonets. He pushed aside the woman roughly, and she cried: "Oh, you coward! Would you treat me like this because I am nursing a brave man who is bleeding and in pain?"

The officer swore an oath and struck her, and she screamed helplessly. His brutal behaviour filled the heart of the wounded Frenchman with indignation. It was terrible to him to see one of his countrywomen who had treated him so kindly being bullied and struck by a German. Raising himself on his elbow he seized his revolver and fired. The bullet entered the officer's brain and he fell dead on the floor. Again the woman screamed and covered her eyes with horror.

The German soldiers pounced at once on the wounded Frenchman and dragged him from the couch. "He will die for this," they said.

Emile Despres had been watching the Germans entering house after house, and, like other boys, was wishing he were big and strong enough to fight them, when he heard the woman's scream and the report of the revolver. He ran into the miner's house and there saw a terrible sight. The dead officer lay on the floor in a pool of blood, in a corner crouched the terrified woman, while the German soldiers struggled with the wounded man. Emile looked on helplessly. What could he do? He was only a boy, and the enemies of his country were armed with deadly weapons.

After a few moments the French non-commissioned officer ceased struggling with his captors, and, leaning against the wall, panting with exhaustion and pain, whispered hoarsely to Emile: "Water, water! give me a drink of water!" His tongue was parched with thirst.

The Germans did not understand what he said, and, having bound his arms, turned away from him. Then Emile crept forward with a cup of cold water and held it to the mouth of the wounded man, who drank it up with great thankfulness. The boy's action greatly enraged the Germans. They seized Emile and pounded him with their fists, threw him on the floor, and kicked him. But although he suffered greatly he neither wept nor uttered a cry. Another officer who had been sent for had entered the house just as the soldier was being given the water to drink, and when he saw how brave this boy was he said: "Shoot him also."

The Germans bandaged the eyes of both the French soldier and Emile and marched them out to the village street so that all the people might see them being executed. Both stood up bravely. There was no sign of fear in the boy's bearing. He was prepared to die for his country.

The German officer was ill pleased when he saw how Emile behaved. No doubt he felt that he was displaying the spirit which moved all France to resist the invader. So he thought he would put him to shame and tempt him with his life to act the part of a coward.

"Take the bandage from the boy's eyes," he commanded, "and bring him here".

A German private walked forward, snatched off the bandage which blinded Emile, and pushed him over to the spot where the officer stood. The boy looked up with astonishment, wondering what was to happen next. But he never flinched; he was so brave and unafraid.

The officer thrust a rifle into the boy's hands, and, pointing to the French soldier, who stood blindfolded, waiting to die, spoke in French and said: "I will spare your life if you will shoot that man." He smiled grimly, and one or two of the German soldiers laughed.

Emile made no reply. At first he looked with disdain at the officer, then a smile crossed his pale face.

"When you shoot, you can run away home," the officer told him. As he spoke he walked backwards a couple of paces.

Emile raised the rifle to his shoulder as if he were about to do as he was commanded. He laid his finger on the trigger and the Germans waited. But little did they understand the spirit of the French boy. Suddenly Emile wheeled round, aimed point-blank at his cowardly tempter, and fired. The officer fell dead at his feet. It all happened in the twinkling of an eye.

The German soldiers who were standing near at once sprang upon the boy. Two thrust their bayonets through him and others discharged their rifles. Emile died ere he sank to the ground. But while the villagers who looked on mourned the boy's sad fate, they rejoiced in their hearts that he died the death of a hero. Emile Despres was a true son of France. His name will be remembered to the glory of his country and the shame of his country's enemies.

Indian Regiment in the Great War


In some of the towns and villages on the line of battle the women and children had to conceal themselves for many days in the cellars of houses. Not a few were buried alive when the walls crumbled down before exploding shells. Great sufferings were endured in all war-stricken localities. Those who escaped death were often without food and water for several days. Stirring stories are told of brave boys who boldly ventured forth from hiding to procure supplies, so that their mothers and brothers and sisters might not die of starvation.

At a farm-house near Reims a little boy about ten years old used to go and fetch food for his mother every morning when the opposing armies were fighting fiercely for long weeks on end in the neighbourhood. He was always accompanied by two dogs, and walked a distance of 4 miles to a village to purchase food. The British soldiers often watched him from their trenches. When a shrapnel shell burst overhead he ran to take cover. It was wonderful to see how fearless he was. Fortunately he never suffered any injury. In time the British advanced beyond the farm-house, and the plucky boy had no longer to risk his life to run his mother's errands.

Indians' Daring Feats

When the Germans first heard that Indian soldiers were to take part in the great war they spoke with contempt regarding them. But it was not long before they changed their minds. Our fellow-subjects of Empire from ancient India are magnificent fighting-men. Here is a vivid description by a German soldier of an attack they made on one occasion on the German trenches:

"With fearful shouting, in comparison with which our hurrahs are like the whining of a baby, thousands of those brown forms rushed upon us as suddenly as if they were shot out of a fog, so that at first we were completely taken by surprise. At 100 metres (108 yards) we opened a destructive fire, which mowed down hundreds; but in spite of that the others advanced, springing forward like cats and surmounting obstacles with unexampled agility.

"In no time they were in our trenches, and truly these brown enemies were not to be despised. With butt-ends, bayonets, swords, and daggers we fought each other, and we had bitter hard work—which, however, was lightened by reinforcements, which arrived quickly—before we drove the fellows out of the trenches."

Soon after the Indians arrived at the front the Germans attempted to play tricks on them, so as to cause confusion in their lines. One night a crafty soldier of the Kaiser, who could speak English, attired himself in the uniform of a Gurkha officer and crept towards a trench occupied by a Gurkha regiment. Then he stood up in the faint moonlight and said, pretending to deliver a message from a superior officer: "The Gurkhas are to move farther up the trench. Another Gurkha contingent is coming along."

Evidently the Germans had plotted to make a night attack. If they could get the Indians to move they would be able to seize part of the trench without opposition.

An officer who heard the order was puzzled by it, so he asked the stranger: "Who are you, and where do you come from?"

The only answer he received was a repetition of the order to move his men along the trench. This aroused his suspicions. Before obeying the command he thought it best to make sure that it was genuine. So he said to the disguised German: "Answer me at once. If you are a Gurkha, tell me by what boat you came across."

This was a question the stranger could not answer. He was completely outwitted, and, turning quickly, at once ran away. As he did so the Gurkhas opened fire and brought him down. His body was riddled with bullets.

The Gurkhas were not long in showing the Germans that they could beat them at their own game.

Near Dixmude, in Belgium, the British and Germans fought desperately for some days, facing one another in strongly defended trenches. The issue hung in the balance. It was necessary that the Germans should be dislodged, and a regiment of Gurkhas was sent forward to strengthen the attack. The firing never ceased, and was exceedingly brisk. All day long the Gurkhas fought beside their comrades, and when darkness came on they still found it necessary to keep up a fusillade, for the Germans had been reinforced and were preparing to attack across the open. Towards midnight the firing slackened, and it was observed that most of the Gurkhas had vanished. It was thought that they had received orders to proceed to some other part of the British lines. This belief was strengthened by the fact that the Germans in front had ceased to fire. "There's a new move on," one British soldier said to another, "and the Gurkhas have been shifted to meet it."

When dawn broke, however, it was noticed that the Gurkhas had returned to their position. Evidently they had been fighting, for a number of them had their left hands and arms bandaged. Then the news was whispered among the soldiers of two English Midland County regiments that the Gurkhas had been paying a visit to the enemy under cover of darkness. The order was given to advance against the silent German trenches, and was promptly obeyed. It was a cold morning, and after their all-night wait the Englishmen were glad to get some exercise. They rushed forward and soon took possession of the first line of three German trenches. When they did so, they got a great surprise. Not a man rose to resist them. The guns were in position, and beside them crouched dead gunners. All along the trenches dead Germans lay in rows. There could be no doubt as to what had happened. The Gurkhas had paid a night visit to their enemies, and, after a brisk and silent struggle, had exterminated them. Some had died in their sleep; others had attempted to defend themselves with their bayonets. But they were no match for the dusky warriors, who used their kukris with deadly effect and saved much loss of life among their brave English comrades. The Gurkhas received the wounds in their left hands by grasping the German bayonets.

On another occasion a sensational night attack was delivered by Pathans at a short distance south of Ypres. During the day it was observed that the Germans were massing in strength at a certain point, their purpose evidently being to drive a wedge through the British troops when darkness came on. They hoped to capture a position by sending forward overwhelming numbers.

Rain began to fall towards evening, and it came down more and more heavily as the light faded. "A dirty night for fighting," the British soldiers could be heard saying. Water collected in the muddy trenches. No one was allowed to shelter himself in an underground hut or to move about. There was no sleep for the soldiers that night. They had to be watchful and ready, for at any moment the enemy might charge across the few hundred yards of open space that separated the opposing trenches.

Not far behind the British trenches was a line of trees. When it was quite dark a regiment of Sikhs began to collect there. They moved about as stealthily as tigers creeping through a jungle. Scarcely a sound was heard. They were getting ready for the Germans, who were not even aware of their presence in this locality.

Ere long excited whispers passed along the British lines. "What is it?" one would ask of another. The reply always was: "The Indians are going out," and it was received with confident smiles.

The Indians were going out, were they? Here and there a British soldier peered out of a trench to catch a glimpse of them. Occasionally dark figures could be seen advancing noiselessly. There was a surprise in store for the Germans.

Against the sky-line the figures of the German pickets were quite visible. Six were counted by one British soldier, and he kept his eyes on them. Suddenly the six disappeared. What had happened? No one could tell. Not a sound reached the British lines.

Then some of the Sikhs returned as silently as they had gone out. They were not retreating, however. Their work was not finished—it had only begun. They had crept up to the "lookout" men and slain them with their knives without raising an alarm.

Hundreds of Sikhs then followed their daring and cunning fellows, and crept as quietly forward towards the unsuspecting Germans who were to attack the British.

More heads went up from the British trenches. There was tense excitement all along the lines. This was a night attack indeed, full of mystery and wonder. Complete silence reigned for many minutes. The Indians had all vanished, and everyone waited to ascertain what was going to happen.

Suddenly a few random shots rang out through the night. Then shrieks and groans were heard. The Sikhs had arrived at the enemy's trenches and were fighting with cold steel in the darkness. The surprise was as complete as it was unexpected.

Several light-balls were flung in the air by Germans in the rear, and as they burst the British soldiers could see at a distance of about 600 yards in front of them hundreds of fearless Indians attacking with great fury. Many of the Germans had been sleeping, so as to be refreshed for the attack they were to make later on, when they thought the British soldiers would be wearied and dispirited. They leaped up to resist the Indians, and were mowed down like corn on a harvest-field.

The whole force which was to rush the British lines was thrown into confusion, and after a brief struggle the survivors fled backward through the darkness, bewildered and terror-stricken. Great numbers were slain. No German attack could be made that night.

When the Sikhs returned it was ascertained how they had so successfully done the work allotted to them. The first batch of men which went out crept up to the German pickets, who were keeping watch while the main force lay asleep, and slew them with their knives. No Red Indian ever took scalps round a camp-fire more silently than the Sikhs disposed of these pickets. Not a single one escaped to give the alarm. Then the attackers returned for the main body, which succeeded in getting right in among the slumbering Germans before it was realized what was happening. Very few of the Sikhs were either killed or wounded, although the force they surprised greatly out-numbered them.

After the Indians had returned, the German artillery opened a heavy fire on the British trenches; but that proceeding did not compensate them for the disaster they had sustained. The Sikhs had taken all the heart out of the German infantry that night. Next day the British received reinforcements, and the enemy had to change their plans. But for this, of course, the chief credit was due to the brave and clever Indian soldiers.

The story of another night attack made by Indians is at once as amusing as it is wonderful. The French and British troops had captured a village in southern Belgium, and the Germans occupied a wood in front of it. After a day of stiff fighting darkness fell, leaving both sides almost equally strong. The German leader, fearing a night attack, protected the wood, with a double line of sentinels, and his main force lay down to snatch a few hours of sleep.

A British and a French officer discussed the position with one another.

"A night attack would be hopeless," said the French officer.

"Not at all," the other answered. "I have just received word that an Indian regiment is coming up to reinforce us. The wood will soon be captured without much loss of life."

The Frenchman shook his head. "The Indians," he said, "will never get near the sentries without being observed."

As he spoke, an orderly brought in word that the Indians had arrived, and were ready to go anywhere and do anything.

"Now," remarked the British officer to his ally, with a smile, "I will bet you a sovereign that the Indians will remove the double line of German sentinels, watchful although they may be."

"I'll bet you a sovereign they won't," laughed the Frenchman; "nor will I be sorry if you win it."

About eleven o'clock silence reigned in village and wood. All the Germans were sleeping soundly except their sentries, who kept a sharp lookout, listening intently in case an attack should be made. Then a number of Indians went out. The French officer who had taken up the bet waited beside his British friend, and gazed through the darkness towards the wood. But he neither heard nor saw anything unusual. There was no indication that an attack was in progress. The minutes went past, and seemed very long.

Then suddenly a frightful din was heard from the wood. A few shots were fired, and one or two cries of alarm rang through the air. But soon all was silent again, and the slumbering Germans were not awakened to go into action. What had happened? The French officer looked at his companion and whispered: "Have the Indians failed?"

"Wait a little and you'll find out what has happened," answered the British officer. "I think I have won my bet."

Not long afterwards the Indians began to return. They came in two by two, carrying something between them.

"They are bringing back their wounded," the French officer said.

But he was mistaken. What the Indians really brought back were the German sentries. They had caught thirty of them alive, and gagged and tied them up like sausages. Smiling, and showing their gleaming white teeth, the wonderful soldiers of India laid down on the ground before the British and French officers the German pickets who were supposed by their commander to be still guarding the wood. No one could resist the humorous aspect of the proceeding. The Frenchman promptly paid up his bet.

But no time was lost in taking advantage of the success achieved by the brave Indian warriors. A strong force crept swiftly towards the wood, and ere day dawned it was cleared of Germans. The losses sustained by the Allies were insignificant.

But it is not in night fighting alone that the Indians have tricked the Germans by doing the unexpected. In a part of Flanders they were operating for a time with French North African troops, who practise tactics similar to theirs. One of their ruses, when making an attack on the position occupied by the enemy, was to pretend that they had suffered much more heavily than was really the case. Men stopped firing and dropped into ditches, or concealed themselves behind trees and hedges. Then the supposed survivors would begin to retreat as if they had been beaten badly, giving signs that seemed to indicate that they were greatly scared. By acting in this manner they usually persuaded the Germans to leave their trenches and come on, believing that a success was being achieved.

On one occasion the sham retreat was so well conducted that, with cries of "Hoch! hoch!" the Kaiser's unsuspecting troops leaped up in great numbers to pursue the Allies. But the men who had concealed themselves had thoughtfully selected excellent positions, and waited until the Germans were about a hundred yards distant. Then rifles and Maxims opened a sudden and ferocious fire, scattering the deluded "pursuers" in hurried and perilous flight.

Having thus spread confusion before them, the Indians and North Africans leaped up and advanced with great dash and gallantry. They carried all before them. Two villages, named Hollabeke and Messines, were captured in a rush from the Germans, and the position of the allied troops was, as a result, greatly strengthened.

In the course of the fighting a battalion of a Wurtemberg regiment was cut off from escape, and forced down to the muddy banks of the River Lys. Only those able to swim could possibly regain the territory held by the Germans. But none was so foolish as to attempt the crossing under the fire of the Indian and North African troops. They had either to surrender or wait to be exterminated. So they surrendered in a body to the courageous and nimble soldiers they so greatly despised.

The fighting occupied altogether about five hours, and cost the Germans over 3000 in killed and wounded. Six guns, an ambulance, and many prisoners were captured. So well was the attack pressed home that the survivors of the Kaiser's force had to retreat a distance of about 6 miles.

Well does the Indian contingent deserve the praise which has been given in one of the official messages, which says: "It has done the work it was asked to do. It has maintained the line it was asked to maintain. In perhaps the greatest battle fought it has shown itself to be a worthy example of so many generations of soldiers."

When His Majesty, the King Emperor, held the Durbar at Delhi, he extended to the Indian army the privilege of being eligible for the Victoria Cross, which had been previously restricted to British troops.

His Majesty paid a visit to the front in December, and decorated the first Indian with the Victoria Cross for valour on the battle-field. This was Naik Darwan Sing Negi, of the 1st Battalion, 39th Garhwal Rifles. He had shown great valour during a night attack on trenches which had been captured by the Germans. Leading a company of gallant Garhwalis, he delivered assault after assault under heavy fire until the enemy were completely beaten. Before the operations ended he was wounded by a bomb, but this was not discovered until after victory had been won. When the last section of trench was captured, Naik Darwan Sing Negi was still in the forefront, fighting with courage and unfailing vigour.

Garhwal, the native country of Naik Darwan Sing Negi, is a Himalayan district of the United Provinces west of Nepal. During his early youth our Hindu hero looked after his father's flocks and herds among the high upland valleys, and at times drove off attacks by snow leopards and black bears with his sturdy companions. The Garhwalis are a brave and energetic people.

Another Indian hero, a sepoy of the 129th Duke of Connaught's Own Baluchis, had also been recommended for the Victoria Cross, but was lying in a hospital. The ceremony of decorating him was performed by His Majesty in January.

George V


This hero, whose name is Khudadad Khan, is a Mussulman from Chakwal, in the Jhelum district of the Punjab. He served in a machine-gun team which was overcome by a strong force of Germans after inflicting great loss. All his comrades were killed, fighting heroically. Before he left the gun, he damaged it so that it could not be used by the enemy, and thus saved many lives on the British side.

The military fame of the Indians is not a thing of yesterday. For over three thousand years their country has produced great leaders and brave soldiers who have never flinched in the hour of trial, or ever hesitated to sacrifice themselves for a cause they believed to be noble and good.

The Fighting Flying-Men

This is the first great war in which the aeroplane and air-ship have come into use. The aviator serves chiefly as an observer. He discovers how the enemy are arranging their troops and locates the big guns and trenches so that the artillery-fire may be directed to do as much destruction as the necessities of war demand. He also throws bombs to injure railways and aviation-sheds, to blow up trucks of ammunition, or to scatter cavalry by alarming the horses. Sometimes, too, he has to fight a battle in mid-air against a hostile flyer.

One day a British aviator soared high in the air, until his aeroplane was concealed by the clouds. He wished to approach the German position unseen, because the Kaiser's soldiers had mounted special guns, with their noses sticking in the air, to bring down aeroplanes. The day was warm when he set off, but at the great height he managed to reach, the air was as chilly as it is in the Arctic regions. When he thought he had travelled far enough he began to come down in spiral fashion through the raw misty cloudland. Suddenly he found himself in clear sunshine once again. Then he perceived he was not alone in these lofty regions. Right below him a German aeroplane was skimming along, its propeller buzzing loud, and the wings tilting gently from side to side, like a sea-bird's in a breeze. He at once resolved to attack the enemy.

Curving round, and dropping sideways towards his opponent, the British aviator began to shoot with his revolver. One bullet spattered on the seat beside the German, who, realizing his danger, at once ascended, so as to escape by getting out of range. Then commenced an exciting chase. On the ground German soldiers craned their necks, looking upward, while the rival airmen manoeuvred their machines to gain to advantage in position. The gunners were unable to open fire because they might strike the German machine.

The British flyer had the most skill, and was absolutely fearless; besides, his aeroplane was the speedier of the two. When he managed at length to get almost alongside his opponent, as the machines climbed upward, he discharged three rapid revolver-shots. Then he suddenly found himself in a bank of mist: he had darted into a cloud. Tilting the wings, he swung round in a wide circle; but when he got into clear air again he looked in vain for the German aeroplane. Was it escaping through the clouds above? At first he thought so. But the boom of a gun on the ground caused him to look downward. The Germans were opening fire on him. Not far away from the gunners lay a smashed aeroplane. Then he realized that he had mortally wounded his opponent, who had perished in his attempt to effect a landing. As soon as he completed the observations he had set out to make, he soared into the clouds again and returned safely to the British lines.

On another occasion a British aviator was called out to attack a German aeroplane which was hovering over the trenches and signaling the range to the enemy's artillery batteries about 5 miles distant. It soared so high that the fire of the British guns could not reach it.

This enemy's machine was a Taube, which is the German for "dove". The British aviator selected a speedy biplane, capable of flying at the rate of 80 miles an hour, and soon began to ascend.

"Now we're going to see sport," exclaimed one English soldier.

"Two to one against the gentle 'dove'," another shouted.

Everyone was keenly interested. A fight in the air was a new experience for the hardy soldiers, who were accustomed to crouch in their trenches to escape shell splinters, or to keep their rifles banging against attacks of numerous foemen.

The British machine rose with wonderful, rapidity in a wide semicircle. Now and again the German tried to get into position so as to cripple his opponent. He carried a passenger armed with a rifle. But each time the Taube darted against the rising aeroplane, the British aviator changed his course, still soaring higher and higher. Ere long a ripple of shots rang out, like the cracking of a riding-whip.

"It's getting hot now," a soldier exclaimed in a trench. "That German can sting with a vengeance."

"I say three to one against the ungentle dove," a comrade chimed in.

"How they do twist about up there," another remarked. "It makes one feel giddy to look at them. I wonder how they themselves feel."

"They haven't time to think about their feelings," a boyish-looking soldier suggested.

For a few minutes the aviators manoeuvred for position. By this time they were almost at the same height.

"Our man is doing well," said a sergeant calmly.

Shots rang out again as the two aeroplanes ran full tilt towards one another.

"There's going to be a collision," a soldier gasped excitedly.

But hardly had he spoken when the British machine dipped sideways, and curved as smartly to the left as a sea-gull sliding round on an air-current.

Snap-snap-snap! More firing. For a moment the Taube lurched and seemed to be in difficulties. Then it began to climb steadily. The British machine did likewise. As they rose, high in the air, both aeroplanes grew smaller and smaller.

"Now, now, don't get out of sight up there and spoil the show," growled a soldier with so sad a voice that his companions laughed heartily.

A few minutes went past, and again shots were heard. Up and down, up and down, and round this way and that the opposing aeroplanes were steered to win the advantage of position. But at length the British aviator rose well above his opponent. It seemed as if his machine had leaped upward with a giant bound, like an acrobat at a circus. Then the Taube was seen to tilt perilously to one side; it appeared to falter, like a bewildered bird, and then it dropped swiftly, planing to the ground. The sound of shots, which had been fired a few seconds previously, dropped down through the still air, and the soldiers realized that the enemy had been beaten.

They raised a cheer as the British machine darted away back behind the trenches. Its work had been accomplished. When the Taube landed it was found that the steersman and passenger were wounded. They were at once conveyed to hospital, while their machine was tugged off to the British sheds to do service in future against the gunners who had been so greatly helped by it.

"The show is now ended, gentlemen," cried a merry English soldier. "You will like the gentle dove much better next time you see it fly."

More thrilling, however, than even an air fight was the feat accomplished at a dizzy height by a British artificer who displayed great daring and courage in repairing damage done to an air-ship. If the story had appeared in a work of fiction it would have been regarded as impossible. But it happens to be true.

The British air-ship had gone aloft to conduct important scouting operations over the enemy's lines. It rose beautifully until its cigar-shaped envelope looked no bigger than a toy against the masses of drifting white cloud. The sunshine glistened on its sides, which sometimes shone like polished silver.

There was a strong breeze in the upper air, and the stately vessel moved slowly against it, and then swung round, tilting like a tacking yacht.

"How beautifully it answers the helm!" exclaimed a spectator.

With the wind in its favour the air-ship headed towards the German lines. It was far beyond the reach of artillery, and raced along at a swift rate of speed. The work that its navigator and crew set out to do was satisfactorily carried out. Rough plans were made and photographs taken; besides, signals were sent to the British lines to assist the artillery-men who were bombarding the enemy's position.

Then the air-ship swung round in graceful fashion, and came beating up against the wind towards its starting-place. Like a steamer struggling with a strong tide, it moved slowly. But gradually it came nearer and nearer, dropping the while, to escape the full force of the air-current, until it was no more than 2500 feet above the surface of the ground. It passed over the British trenches, and was making its way inland to the shed, a few miles distant. Then it suddenly faltered, and rocked from side to side.

The spectators became greatly alarmed. It was evident something had gone wrong. The tapering body of the vessel remained intact; it had not, therefore, sprung a leak. Had the helm been injured? No; it seemed to be all right. Officers peered through their field-glasses, and, as the bows of the hesitating vessel swung round, one exclaimed: "The propeller has been injured. How unfortunate!"

"Will they be able to get down safely?" another asked anxiously.

"Oh yes!" answered the first speaker; "but they cannot select the landing-place. There's a stiff breeze up there, and I'm afraid it will blow them into Germany."

"What a pity!" his friend exclaimed.

Up in the air-ship there was considerable excitement when the accident happened. The great steel propeller had snapped asunder. One of the blades then flew backward and struck the envelope with such force that the vessel quivered from end to end. Everyone on board was thrown down, and, as the cabin floor tilted and dipped violently, it seemed as if all was over. Regaining their feet, the crew began to make hurried observations to find out exactly what damage had been sustained. Ere long it was discovered, to the surprise and joy of everyone, that the envelope was not leaking. The vessel remained "airworthy", just as a crippled steamer is seaworthy so long as it answers the helm and keeps afloat. With careful attention it still remained possible to come down safely in open country.

Their first task was to get rid of the broken propeller. The engine-room artificer set to work at once, and managed to accomplish this without much difficulty.

"We are drifting back to the German lines," one of the crew remarked dolefully. "I suppose we are all going to be made prisoners."

They did not like the prospect. After reaching the British position again it was "hard lines" to have to return helplessly to the enemy.

Then everyone was greatly astonished to learn that the artificer proposed to fit on a spare propeller.

"How can he do that without descending?" asked one of the crew.

"Look where he must go—out on that thin 'jibboom' of ours," another remarked.

"It is an impossible task," commented the first speaker.

But the artificer was ready to attempt what seemed to be impossible and had certainly never been done before. The stanchion on which the broken propeller had swung was 15 feet long and less than 3 inches in thickness. It was quite an acrobatic feat to attempt, with the support obtained from the "rigging", to go along it, especially at the dizzy height of 2500 feet. Here was a test indeed for British, pluck and skill.

On the ground the anxious spectators, peering through field-glasses, were greatly amazed to witness a human figure moving out on that almost invisible rod of steel. What was happening? Was it possible that anything could be done in mid-air to prevent the air-ship falling into the hands of the enemy? No one believed it was.

The great vessel swayed gently, cleverly steered without doubt, but drifting steadily towards the German position.

"How long can it keep afloat?" asked an officer.

"For a good many hours yet: till to-morrow, if necessary," answered a friend.

"They're going to fit on the spare propeller," a third exclaimed gleefully. "The Germans won't capture our air-ship after all."

"Think of what you're saying," remarked the first speaker. "How can such difficult work be carried out at that height?"

The air-ship had moved round, and the officers could not follow what was happening. But the German spectators did. They were equally amazed to see a workman doing his utmost to fit on a propeller on the crippled air-ship; they could hardly believe their eyes. It seemed as if the artificer was a magician.

Onward drifted the great vessel through the air. As it passed over the British trenches the war-hardened soldiers peered upwards with wonder. Word passed from mouth to mouth that the little dot suspended, as it seemed, in front of the vessel was an artificer at work. Exclamations of wonder were heard on every side.

For two and a half hours the air-ship drifted helplessly away, until it looked like a boy's kite from the British position.

"It's gone for ever!" a khaki-clad soldier muttered.

"I wonder if that artificer is still alive," a friend remarked. "Plucky chap he is—or," he added softly, "was."

To the men in the air-ship who watched the artificer at work the minutes seemed long as hours. They feared greatly for the safety of the daring workman. But his coolness constantly reassured them. So much was he absorbed in his work that he did not seem to realize his peril. He endured the terrible strain with matchless courage, and when at length his task was finished he did not display any haste to return to safety. He proceeded coolly to test the propeller by swinging it round in half-turns to the left and to the right; then, satisfied he had done his work soundly and well, he turned round to make his way back to the cabin. Perspiration dripped from his forehead and almost blinded him. His face was pale and drawn. For a moment he was seen to hesitate. But he recovered and moved towards his friends. Strong arms were stretched out to support him. Every heart was thankful that his life was spared. When he reached the cabin the brave and heroic artificer staggered and suddenly collapsed in a faint. But he soon recovered and received a stimulant; then he listened intently to the loud buzzing of the propeller.

"It's running sweet!" he murmured. A smile lingered on his lips. He was satisfied. He had done his duty.

The propeller worked splendidly. Once again the air-ship swung round against the wind in a long semicircle; then it headed homeward, beating up triumphantly against the invisible air-waves, like one of Nelson's old ships tacking up the English Channel from the Bay of Biscay.

British soldiers cheered and waved their caps in the trenches below. Officers and men alike, who had witnessed what had taken place, were elated with triumphant joy. Many a hand was held out to congratulate the artificer when the landing was safely effected and he stepped once again on firm earth.

The Light Side of War

One of the characteristics of the British soldier is the cheerfulness he displays on all occasions. He has a strong sense of humour, which never fails him; he can enjoy a joke even when the bullets are darting about him like angry wasps searching for someone to sting. The big German shells, which were intended to rob away his courage and cow him, have sometimes provided him with amusement.

One day an English private, named Palmer, was suffering terribly in a trench from neuralgia. He endured the pain for hours, hoping it would pass away, but was unable to get relief.

"Oh, this will drive me crazy!" he exclaimed at length, resting his head on his open hand on the side of the trench.

"Poor chap!" murmured his companions.

Suddenly a huge shell from a German gun fell with a deafening thud in the ground in front of him. The trench almost collapsed with the shock, and the sufferer was stunned. For a minute or two he lay unconscious, and a comrade went over to lift him tenderly. Then he revived.

"Do you feel better?" he was asked.

Palmer smiled. He raised his right hand to his cheek and rubbed it gleefully. "The pain has gone!" he said. "Oh, my! what a relief!"

A merry laugh arose from the trench as a wag referred to the next German shell that burst near them as "Palmer's neuralgia cure".

An officer, who is a well-known cricketer, was lying cramped up for hours in a trench, longing for night to come on so that he might get a little exercise. The German snipers were concealed not far off, and blazed away when they got the least target to pop at. It was a hot corner. Sometimes a soldier raised his cap at the end of the bayonet and got it riddled by bullets in a few minutes.

The officer suffered from sharp pains in his right leg, and at length turned round and stretched it above the level of the trench mouth. In another second a bullet entered his thigh.

"I'm out, by Jove!" he exclaimed; "l.b.w. Better luck next time."

"War," remarked a private one day, as he sat down in a "funk hole" which had been dug out in a trench, "is a really horrible affair."

"Don't get downhearted, old chap," a comrade said. "Here's a London paper to read."

The other seized it eagerly and scanned the pages with great interest. What a treasure the newspaper seemed, although it was two weeks old.

At length he looked up and asked: "I say, where is the football page, old man? Have you torn it off for fun? Let me have a look at it."

"Oh, I didn't tear it off!" answered the other. "When I was reading the paper this morning a bit of shell carried off the football page."

"What a shame!" the football enthusiast exclaimed. "I was so anxious to see how my favourite team, the Woolwich Arsenal, got on. Ah, well! War is a really horrible affair indeed."

The fierce fighting which took place on the borders of France and Germany was one dark night relieved of its terrible seriousness by an attack of quite a humorous character.

It chanced that the Germans had occupied a little town from which the British were particularly anxious to drive them. In the midst of it is an old Norman church, with a high tower, which was being used as a signaling station. It proved to be of great service to the enemy, because it commanded a wide prospect of country. When the British attempted to advance, the signalers sent message's to two batteries of artillery concealed behind a field of hops, with the result that their fire was directed with deadly accuracy. The British had no desire to injure the church tower so as to render it useless for the purpose to which it was put by the Germans.

After a day of fighting, which was not decisive for either side, a night attack against the Germans was planned. The British force which was selected to carry it through was not a strong one, but the men entered into the spirit of the adventure and resolved to bluff their opponents into believing that their numbers were very great. A proportion of them carried tin basins and empty cans, with which to rouse a mighty din when they got near to the Germans. They also asked for a piper. One of the London Scottish Territorials, who had just arrived at the front, offered to serve in this capacity. He was just an amateur at the pipes, but promised he would make them skirl to some purpose. On being asked to play, he warbled a few bars of weird music, resembling the sounds heard in a farmyard, and was told he would do. Carrying the set of bagpipes, he then marched off with the others towards the village.

The advance was conducted in silence. It was a dark, misty night, and not a star could be seen. The conditions were admirably suited for the tactics of the attackers. They did not make straight for the little town, but selected a winding route which led them round fields of beetroot, turnip, and potatoes. By doing so they completely hoodwinked the drowsy German sentries.

The church tower proved to be a splendid landmark. It would not have aided them at all, however, on that murky night, had not the German signalers occupied it. These men were busily engaged sending private messages with coloured lamps to the batteries, so as to amuse themselves and while away the time, little dreaming that they were doing splendid service to the British.

Stealthily and silently the attackers moved down into the little town. Rain had begun to fall heavily, hushing the noise of their footsteps, and they approached quite close to the church before their presence was suspected. The Germans had made themselves comfortable in a number of houses. Many were fast asleep in warm beds; others were drinking heavily and singing songs.

The British force took up a strong position. Then the signal was given to alarm the enemy. The amateur piper blew the bagpipes and made them skirl indeed. The others shouted and yelled and clattered their tins on the cobbled streets. At the same time a brisk fire was opened, and the signalers on the church tower soon found their position rather uncomfortable. In a flurry a signal-lamp winked out a hurried message; then a bullet struck it and it winked no more.

The little town was thrown into confusion. Germans leaped from beds and drinking-tables and scampered hither and thither in a state of bewilderment and alarm. Showers of well-directed bullets hastened their pace or caused them to change their minds as to the best way by which to escape. The town seemed to be full of British troops. Loudly skirled the bag-pipes; the rattling of tins seemed to be the rattling of Maxim guns, and the yells of the humorous attackers were believed to be rejoicings over their assured success. Hundreds of Germans fled towards the hopfield. Apparently they were mistaken for the attackers, because their own batteries of artillery opened fire on them with shrapnel; but more were scared than were killed.

The British soldiers had really very little to do. Indeed the amateur piper seemed to be the hardest-worked man among them. He never ceased "tuning his pipes"; some of the squeals he got out of his chanter were quite awesome.

There never was a more successful attempt at creating a panic. The Germans evacuated the town in record time. No attempt was made on their part to rally and hold back the little band of Britishers, who had not a single man killed or wounded.

All the townsfolk were delighted when they discovered what had happened. They praised the British for their cleverness, and laughed over the hurried flight of the Germans, many of whom did not wait to clothe themselves after leaping from their beds. But the townsfolk were very polite regarding the bagpipes. They took it for granted that the piper's performance was supposed to be of high class character in his native land. One old lady exclaimed to this amateur, with flushed cheeks and gleaming eyes: "Oh, m'sieur, never will I forget your beautiful music! I will carry it in my heart for the remainder of my life."

She wondered why the soldiers laughed merrily when her words were translated to them. Then she said: "Ah yes, I understand! They can't forget that the beautiful music made the 'Boches' run away."

Occasionally soldiers who have found themselves cut off from their regiments have experienced adventures which were sometimes as amusing as they were exciting. A Highlander and a Londoner once took refuge in a little farm-house to escape the Germans. They were very anxious to return to their regiments, and saw that their only chance of doing so was to change their clothing. After a good deal of trouble they made the kindly housewife understand what they wanted. She smiled, and said something in French, and left the room. A few minutes afterwards she returned with a woman's dress and a man's suit of clothes.

The Londoner laughed merrily. "Well, I'm blessed," he exclaimed to his friend, "if she does not take you for my wife. That's why she has brought the lady's costume."

"Not at all," retorted the Highlander, who was the taller of the two; "the costume is intended for yourself. She thinks you are so pretty."

The housewife had only one suit of men's clothes to give, and the Highlander put it on. The Englishman got into the costume and made a comical-looking woman; then, performing the most amusing antics, he took his friend's arm and bade good-bye to the farmer's wife and daughter, whom he left laughing merrily until the tears ran down their cheeks. The soldiers enjoyed their experience, and when they reached the British lines were hailed with shouts of applause. "Strike up the band," exclaimed a wag; "here come the famous music-hall stars, 'Jock and his wife'. After a little song the lady will give a performance of the skirt dance, French style."

A British officer and nine privates attempted, on another occasion, to steal through the German lines dressed as women. They had been taken prisoners by the enemy, but managed to escape. One night they entered the town of Roye, feeling quite exhausted, and were greatly disappointed to find that the Germans occupied it.

By good luck they were met by a French lad, a native of Paris, who chanced to be residing at Roye with his aunt when the war broke out. As the officer could speak French, he was able to make the youngster understand that he wanted to find a safe hiding-place for himself and his men.

"Come with me," the young Frenchman said, "and I will conceal you all right."

He led them down a lane to a stable behind the house in which he was residing.

"You will be quite safe in the loft," he told them, "because the entrance is a hidden one."

"Thank you very much!" exclaimed the officer.

"I will bring you food as soon as I can procure some," the boy assured them. "Keep very quiet and do not come down on any account."

The British soldiers climbed the ladder, then pulled it up, and the concealed hatch was closed.

When this was done the boy hastened back to the house. Someone was knocking at the front door. He opened it and found himself confronted by a German officer, who began to ask him many questions. The lad answered every one, but did not give any information of value.

"Can I help to look after your wounded?" he asked. The officer smiled and declined the offer. But it had its desired effect. He never suspected that the simple-looking lad was concealing ten British soldiers in the back yard, and went away.

The next difficulty was to procure food for the hungry men lying in the loft. None could be purchased openly, for all the shops had been seized by the Germans, who fixed the quantity which each householder should receive daily. However, the lad arranged with, friends to contribute food for the hidden strangers, and both he and his aunt ate as little as possible.

He was thus able to carry supplies every night to the stable.

For nearly a week the soldiers kept in hiding; then they began to weary.

"This is worse than prison," they said.

"One settles down in prison, but here, knowing that we have a chance of escape, we cannot endure to remain long without doing something."

Said the lad: "If the Germans see you they will take you prisoners at once."

"Bring us workmen's clothes, so that we may disguise ourselves," they pleaded.

Said the lad: "You would be seized all the same. The 'Boches' are arresting all the able-bodied men in the town, and sending them out to dig trenches."

"Well, then," the officer said, with a smile, "bring us women's clothes, and we shall march off and not trouble you any more." The men laughed heartily at the idea of dressing up as French women.

Said the lad: "Do not say that you trouble me. It is a great honour to be of service to the brave Englishmen." He went away, and after some hours elapsed returned with female attire for the hidden soldiers.

"When you have all dressed up," said the lad, "I will act as your guide."

"That is very good of you," answered the officer, "but remember that if you accompany us you will be running a very great risk."

Said the courageous lad: "The risk would be greater if I stayed. What if the 'Boches' were to find your uniforms here? Do you think they would trouble to take me a prisoner? No; they would just shoot me as if I were a little black crow."

On the next night the disguised soldiers stole out from their hiding-place. They all looked very tall and powerful women, and chaffed one another in whispers. They slipped round by back streets, some walking alone and others in couples. The French lad accompanied the officer, who acted his part very well. It seemed for a time as if they would all be able to get away, but on the outskirts of the town the officer and his young friend were stopped by a German sentry, who refused to let them pass. "You must remain in Roye," he said. "It is very suspicious that you should want to leave it during the night. I shall report the matter at once, so that it may be investigated."

Alarmed at his attitude, the French lad and the officer turned back and warned the others. They lost no time in returning to their hiding-place in the stable loft.

A few days afterwards, however, they were able to regain their freedom. Allied troops were closing round the town, and the Germans found it necessary to retire from it, and this they did very smartly.

The French lad at once ran to inform the officers and men of what had happened. "We had better clear out at once," they said, "in case the Germans should come back."

"I will act as your guide," said their young friend. "I know all the roads in this district."

They were only too pleased to accept this offer. The lad took them by short cuts and unfrequented paths to Amiens, where they were able to rejoin their regiment. He thought it best not to return to Roye again. For all he knew his movements might have been watched by German spies. So he traveled by train to Paris, and was exceedingly glad to reach home safe and well.

Stragglers who have found themselves cut off from their regiments and surrounded by enemies on every side have had many exciting adventures. A young British artilleryman and a sapper of the Royal Engineers were isolated one day in a field near Soissons. Neither carried rifles. Together they crept towards the area where a force of British troops were posted, taking cover as well as possible, so as to escape observation.

Suddenly they saw six Uhlans riding out of a wood about 200 yards distant. These German cavalrymen were scouring the district for stragglers, and, believing they would kill rather than take prisoners, the two British soldiers determined to show fight.

Said the sapper: "Run to yon boulder. I observed as I came along that there are dead men lying behind it."

The young artilleryman set off at a scamper, followed by his companion. They promptly took cover behind the boulder, where they seized the rifles of a couple of fallen soldiers. The Uhlans observed them and rode forward at a quick canter.

The young artilleryman had been a Territorial before he joined the army, and used to be known as a rather good shot. His friend was also a creditable marksman. They lay, cool and collected, and took deliberate aim at the German cavalrymen. In a few minutes they had picked off an officer and three privates, who tumbled off their horses. The remaining two halted, wheeled about, and raced towards the wood, and one of them received a wound before he reached it.

Meanwhile four horses with empty saddles came racing forward. Up leaped the sapper and artilleryman, and after a brisk effort caught three of them. Then they mounted and rode towards the wood, the sapper leading the spare horse. "Who knows," he said, "but we may meet a wandering friend."

Before riding away they went over to the men they had shot down, in case any of them might be wounded and requiring a temporary dressing. But they were all dead. Taking possession of the helmets and the officer's sword, they then rode off towards the British lines, and had a great reception from their companions, who called them "The jolly horse-dealers".

Heroic Army Doctors

The devotion to duty and sterling courage shown by doctors and nurses and ambulance-men in caring for the wounded soldiers is worthy of the highest praise. In temporary and permanent hospitals there have been many acts of heroism and self-sacrifice which will never be recorded.

Among the lists of killed and wounded that have been published appear the names of officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the British Royal Army Medical Corps. Red Cross wagons have been fired upon by the enemy; even hospitals within artillery range have not been spared. Many of the doctors and stretcher-bearers have also been killed or wounded by risking themselves to rescue wounded warriors lying in trenches, or on open fields, while shells were bursting round about and rifle-bullets whizzed through the air.

It is not the duty of an army doctor to go into the firing-line. The ambulance-men are supposed to provide first-aid treatment and carry the wounded to hospital. But many doctors have over and over again hastened to the trenches to give speedy relief to wounded heroes, and by doing so have saved many lives.

A British doctor was in the habit, while a long battle was in progress, of going daily along the trenches under a hail of shrapnel bullets and splinters. To pass from one particular trench to another he had to cross a narrow ravine which was swept by the enemy's fire. One day he crossed and recrossed half a dozen times in response to signals which were made to him. He seemed to bear a charmed life. In the end, however, a bullet struck him down. Happily he was not killed, but the wound he sustained was a serious one.

The Victoria Cross was awarded by King George to Surgeon-Captain Rankin for his gallantry in having attended to the wounded in the trenches. He went on with this dangerous work for a couple of days, until his thigh and leg had been shattered by shrapnel.

How it feels to be wounded is described by a doctor who was taken to hospital with a bit of shrapnel buried in his neck. He had been riding forward towards the trenches when he heard the shrill sound of an approaching shell.

"Now", he thought, "I shall be struck." In another second he felt his horse sinking beneath him, and then he experienced a stinging pain in his neck. He fell clear of his horse, but one of his feet was entangled in a stirrup. Stunned and confused, he tried to free it. This he found to be a difficult task. He looked about him in a daze, and became aware that friends were hurrying towards him. Still he went on struggling with the stirrup. Not until he was removed to hospital and had the shrapnel splinter taken out did he completely regain his senses. He made a rapid recovery.

A stirring story is told of how a brave French doctor gave up his life at Ypres for the sake of his patients. These were not his own countrymen, nor Belgians, nor British, but wounded Germans who had been found lying in front of the Allies' trenches after a desperate attack which had been driven back.

They were cared for in the civil hospital. At the time, Ypres was being heavily bombarded by the Germans. A number of shells struck the hospital.

"Should we stay here any longer?" a volunteer nurse asked, addressing the doctor. "The enemy know that this is an hospital, and all the wounded are their own countrymen."

"I cannot leave my patients," answered the doctor, "no matter what the consequences may be.

"It seems strange," the nurse said, "that we should be placed in peril of our lives by Germans when we are nursing Germans. Do they deserve good treatment at our hands?"

"Let us show our superiority," remarked the doctor. "If they do not possess humanitarian feelings it is not for us to follow their example. Were we to imitate them we should descend to their level. So long as I remain here I will continue to look after the wounded Germans, showing them that a French doctor laughs at their shells, and only knows his duty."

Two nurses, who were unable to endure any longer the strain of the bombardment, left the hospital and sought a place of safety. A few days later, however, they returned, and with tears in their eyes confessed to the doctor that they were ashamed to think they had deserted their patients.

Two Germans had died in the interval. There were still fifty-two left, and some of these were in a critical condition. The French doctor laboured unceasingly, dressing their wounds and performing his duty faithfully.

Three days after the nurses had returned he was killed by a shell which came through the roof. His body was removed and buried under cover of darkness. He had died at his post, a real hero, attending to the wounded and suffering enemies of his country. On the following day the survivors were carried from the hospital during a lull in, the bombardment, and conveyed to a place of safety. It was not in vain that the noble French doctor had risked and lost his life for the sake of his patients.

Admiral Lord Jellicoe

Admiral Lord Jellicoe, who was selected at the outbreak of war to command the Grand Fleet, belongs to an old family of seafarers. His great-grandfather, Admiral Patton, was Second Sea Lord of the Admiralty when Nelson won the historic victory of Trafalgar; his father, who died in September, 1914, was Captain John H. Jellicoe, of the mercantile marine, and was well known and highly esteemed at Southampton.

In his boyhood, Lord Jellicoe was known as the boy who never was afraid. It is told that one day he annoyed and alarmed his nurse very much by racing across a busy street, winding his way in and out between passing vehicles as if he took pleasure in being in danger. In vain she scolded him. Then she said: "I shall tell the first policeman I meet regarding you." Master John did not seem to be the least alarmed by this grave threat. He walked along, smiling to himself, and when he saw a policeman approaching ran up to him and exclaimed: "Oh, what a lot of pretty buttons you've got on your coat!" Master John was not easily scared.

It is not surprising that such a high-spirited boy, with the blood of generations of sailors in his veins, should have been attracted by the sea. He was never happier than when he wandered about Southampton docks watching ships coming and going, and he delighted to hear his father describing his voyages to distant lands. After he learned to read he took pride in the career of his great-grandfather, who had fought and distinguished himself under Admirals Hawke and Rodney. He was quite young when he expressed the desire to enter the navy. His father agreed that he should do so, but made him understand that he would have to study hard to pass the examinations, so that he might become an officer like his great ancestor.

In time the boy was sent to school at Rottingdean, and there he worked very hard to secure the reward which he greatly sought. He delighted his teachers by the way he applied himself. On 15th July, 1872, a few months before he had completed his thirteenth year, he entered the Royal Navy as a cadet. On the training-ship Britannia he studied so well that he took over too marks at the final examination and won all the first prizes. He continued to study as a midshipman, and at nineteen passed as a sub-lieutenant, taking three prizes. Before he was twenty-one he was appointed lieutenant, and then he had three first-class certificates to his credit. The future admiral spared no pains to become efficient and worthy of promotion.

Lieutenant Jellicoe served on H.M.S. Agincourt  when the Egyptian war broke out in 1882. His ship did not take part in the bombardment of Alexandria, but kept watch on other towns and on the Suez Canal. On his return home he continued his studies and won the 80 prize for gunnery lieutenants. Afterwards he was selected as a junior staff officer of the gunnery school at Portsmouth.

That Jellicoe was a heroic sailor, as well as a clever student, was first proved when he served as gunnery lieutenant on H.M.S. Monarch. One stormy day a steamer stranded on a sand-bank near Gibraltar. High seas broke over it, and Jellicoe commanded a boat which attempted to reach it so as to rescue the crew. After a stiff struggle the boat was upset. Fortunately the occupants had been provided with cork jackets and were able to reach dry land safely. The lieutenant was awarded a Board of Trade medal for his gallantry.

He had another narrow escape from drowning in 1893, when he served as lieutenant-commander on H.M.S. Victoria, the flagship of Vice-Admiral Tryon, of the Mediterranean Fleet. On 22nd June important manoeuvres were being carried out. Jellicoe was not on duty at the time. He lay in his cabin, suffering from malaria. In the afternoon the vessels were formed into two parallel lines, led by the Victoria  and Camperdown. Then the Vice-Admiral gave an order to turn inwards, but unfortunately miscalculated the room required by the leading vessels to perform the manoeuvre. The result was that the Camperdown collided with the Victoria  and tore open a huge hole in its starboard side. Vice-Admiral Tryon attempted to run the vessel to the shore, but she settled down by the bows, heeled over, and sank about fifteen minutes after she had been struck. Every man stood bravely at his post until the last minute. About half of the crew, including the admiral, were drowned and about half were rescued.

Commander Jellicoe was summoned by his servant, who explained hurriedly what had occurred. He leaped from his bunk in his pajamas, but before going on deck to try to save his life he went below to hurry up anyone who might be there. When he reached the bridge the Victoria  was sinking fast, and he was thrown into the sea. He sank, but afterwards rose to the surface. As he had been weakened by fever, he would certainly have gone down again but for Midshipman West, who swam to his assistance and kept him afloat until they were both rescued.

The scene was a terrible one. Several men who leaped over the stern of the Victoria  were cut to pieces by the revolving screws. Others who were swimming strongly were engulfed when the boilers of the sunken vessel exploded and threw up great volumes of water. Boats from the other war-ships hastened quickly to rescue the survivors. Fortunately the Camperdown, which was also badly injured, kept afloat in consequence of the cool and collected manner in which Admiral Markham, its chief commander, took precautions to avoid further disaster.

Four years later Jellicoe was promoted to the rank of captain, and served under Admiral Seymour on the China station on board H.M.S. Centurion, the flagship. In 1900 an anti-foreign war broke out in China. It was known as "the Boxer rising". The "Boxers" were members of a secret society who had armed themselves to put down the reform party and drive all Europeans out of the country. Missionaries and traders were tortured horribly and put to death, as were also Chinamen who did not favour the Boxer movement. China was thrown into a state of turmoil. When word was received from Pekin, the capital, that the Legations of the various foreign Powers, in which Europeans had taken shelter, were in danger of being overwhelmed, it was resolved to send an armed expedition from Tientsin, a distance of about 90 miles. This relieving-force was 2500 strong. It was composed of mixed nationalities and commanded by Sir Edward Seymour, who selected Captain Jellicoe as his chief staff officer. Three trains left Tientsin with the fighting-men, but the line was cut near Lo Fa. An attempt was then made to march to Pekin; but strong forces of Boxers not only resisted the advance of the Allies, but got in between them and Tientsin. Sir Edward Seymour, after fighting stiff engagements, and finding the enemy greatly outnumbered his force, decided to retreat. He abandoned the railway line and fought his way back to Tientsin.

At a stiff engagement at Pietsang, Captain Jellicoe, who had conducted himself with great gallantry, was seriously wounded. He was specially commended in dispatches by Sir Edward for his "judgment in action", and "most valuable help". In consequence he was subsequently made a Commander of the Order of the Bath. The Kaiser conferred upon him the Prussian Order of the Red Eagle of the Second Class, with crossed swords.

Pekin was ultimately reached by an army of 20,000 allied troops under Lieutenant-General Sir Alfred Gaselee.

After Captain Jellicoe's return from China he occupied important naval posts on sea and on shore. He was associated with Sir Percy Scott in encouraging good shooting and in generally promoting efficiency. As Director of Naval Ordnance he was a member of the Dreadnought Design Committee. When that historic battleship was launched, King Edward conferred upon him, in recognition of his services, a Knight Commandership of the Victorian Order. Afterwards he was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral. He became a Vice-Admiral in 1911, when he received the appointment of Commander of the Second Squadron of the Home Fleet. A year later he was selected as Second Sea Lord of the Admiralty.

Important naval manoeuvres were carried out in 1913. In these Britain was represented by the Blue Fleet under command of Admiral Sir George Callaghan, which was supposed to defend the coast. The enemy was represented by the Red Fleet, under command of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. The result of the manoeuvres has been kept secret, but it is known that Jellicoe achieved successes by the clever manner in which he conducted operations. He lured away the defending fleet and landed troops on the Yorkshire coast. A raid was also made on Sunderland.

When war with Germany was imminent, Sir John Jellicoe was appointed to the supreme command of the Home Fleets. He selected H.M.S. Iron Duke  as his flagship. From His Majesty, King George, he received the following message:

"At this grave moment in our national history I send to you, and through you to the officers and men of the fleets of which you have assumed command, the assurance of my confidence that under your direction they will revive and renew the old glories of the Royal Navy, and prove once again the sure shield of Britain and of her Empire in the hour of trial."

After serving for two years and four months as commander of the Grand Fleet, Sir John was appointed First Sea Lord of the Admiralty. His successor in the Fleet command is Admiral Sir David Beatty, who, as Jellicoe testified in his dispatch on the battle of Jutland, "had once again showed his fine qualities of gallant leadership, firm determination, and correct strategic insight".

This great battle emphasized the superiority of the British navy, even when matched against odds, as was the case during the earlier part of the action.

Sir John acquitted himself with distinction as First Sea Lord for a period of thirteen months. He was suffering from illness when he resigned in December, 1917.

In recognition of his services, the King conferred upon him a peerage, and he became Viscount Jellicoe of Scapa.

Vice-Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss was appointed First Sea Lord in succession to Lord Jellicoe.

Our Humane and Fearless Seamen

The first naval battle in the North Sea between British and German vessels took place about three weeks after war had been declared. It was fought off the German coast, in the bay known as Heligoland Bight, and not far from the Island of Heligoland, which is strongly fortified, and has a harbour for destroyers and submarines, and also a small dockyard for carrying out repairs.

The morning of battle was dull and misty, there was scarcely a breath of wind, and the sea was like a sheet of glass. Soon after day-break flotillas of British submarines and destroyers, which had been hovering in the vicinity, crept into the bight. Large war-ships, including battle-cruisers and cruisers of the "Town" class, manoeuvred at a distance, keeping in touch with the small craft.

These vessels were performing what is known in the navy as a "scooping movement". It was desired to entice some of the enemy's warships to come out and fight. If this could be accomplished, others would be forced to follow them.

The submarines advanced boldly towards Heligoland harbour, and began to show themselves, rising and sinking like a "school" of dolphins sporting in a summer sea. Several German destroyers at once darted out to pursue them. This was exactly what the British wanted. As our submarines retreated westward the hostile destroyers followed; but little did their commanders dream that they were being drawn into a trap.

Meanwhile the British destroyers were creeping round the north side of the bight, concealed in the mist, so as to get in behind the German vessels and cut off their retreat to Heligoland. One flotilla was led by the Arethusa, a swift small cruiser of a type called "destroyers of destroyers"; it carries two 6-inch and six 4-inch guns, as well as a machine-gun, and is fitted with four torpedo-tubes. Another flotilla was led by the Fearless, which is of the scout class, and is armed with ten 4-inch guns, four smaller quick-firers, and two torpedo-tubes. The average speed of our destroyers is about 30 knots, and they carry three 4-inch guns, and have from two to four torpedo-tubes.

When the German small craft were well out to sea the Arethusa  darted from a bank of mist, steaming southward across the bight at full speed, and followed by powerful destroyers. The Germans at once turned to race back to Heligoland, but they were unable to reach the island without giving battle. The Arethusa opened fire at long range and held them up, and the British destroyers closed in and made a magnificent attack. It was a stirring sight to see the opposing forces fighting furiously while racing at high speed. The Arethusa's 6-inch guns hammered the German vessels with deadly effect. Hither and thither they darted, endeavouring to escape the heavy shells.

Then the "scooping movement" developed as the British desired. Other German vessels were compelled to come out to assist the trapped destroyers. A cruiser hastened through the haze from Heligoland to beat back the aggressive and daring Arethusa. But this did not prove as simple a task as it seemed at first sight. The "destroyer of destroyers" turned her heaviest guns on the larger vessel, and showed she was capable of destroying even a cruiser. Her attack was supported by several destroyers that endeavoured to get within torpedo-range. Owing to her superior speed, the Arethusa  was able to dodge the cruiser so as to escape her broadside fire. Then a second German cruiser was summoned with all haste. When she hove in sight she fired first on the Arethusa  and then on the Fearless, which closed in boldly. The small British vessels seemed like barking dogs attacking big angry bulls.

Taking advantage of this scrimmage, a German destroyer, which had suffered from the Arethusa's  fire, endeavoured to escape to Heligoland. Four of our destroyers hastened in pursuit, their guns banging smartly all the while. The chase was brief and exciting. A stunning shot ripped through the German vessel's engines, and reduced her speed so much that she was quickly caught up and surrounded. Every available gun was quickly turned on her, and our gunners fired with unerring aim. Ere long she was riddled and battered down to the water-line. Fire suddenly broke out on board; the flames leaped high in the air, while volumes of black smoke wrapped her round like a plaid. Then she began to sink, and the attackers ceased firing.

As the smoke cleared off somewhat, German sailors were seen leaping into the sea. Our gallant seamen at once lowered boats to rescue them, for it is one of the glorious traditions of the British Navy to be chivalrous to a stricken enemy. As the poet Campbell has sung of another battle:

"Out spoke the victor then,

As he hailed them o'er the wave:

Ye are brothers! ye are men!

And we conquer but to save;

So peace instead of death let us bring.'"

But while the British tars were rescuing the drowning men a German cruiser came up and opened fire. Our destroyers had consequently to scatter, and as they did so they picked up all their boats except one, which could not be waited for.

It looked at first as if this boat would be captured by the Germans. The British bluejackets did not like the prospect, and peered through the haze, hoping to sight one of their own vessels.

"Hallo!" exclaimed one, as he saw the German cruiser moving away; "we are going to be left alone."

The Germans know well," another remarked, "that they will get us by and by." Through the mist came the constant booming of guns; the firing was increasing in volume.

"I wish I could see what is going on," exclaimed a tar impatiently.

"Things are getting livelier," a friend chimed in.

"Periscope on port bow, sir," called a blue jacket excitedly. The officer in command of the boat stood up at the helm and gazed anxiously across the calm sea. A submarine was approaching. Was it a German? One of the rescued men thought it was, and remarked in broken English: "You vas pick us up; now we pick up you."

The submarine rose like a whale coming up to breathe and spout. When the conning-tower was opened, however, a British officer appeared, with a broad smile on his face. The bluejackets were delighted when ordered to step aboard.

"It's a case of 'come inside', as the whale said to Jonah," one of them remarked merrily.

As soon as the occupants of the boat were rescued the submarine dived again. It seemed like an incident in a fairy story.

Meanwhile the Arethusa  was fighting fiercely with the second German cruiser, whose fore-bridge she wrecked. But the "destroyer of destroyers" was so heavily shelled that all her port guns, except one, were silenced, while her speed was reduced to about 10 knots. She drew back to recover, and was not followed. The gun crews were soon replaced, and the wreckage cleared away. Then the Fearless  hastened to her support, and she went into action again.

By this time a third German cruiser had come along. She got a very brisk reception from the Arethusa and Fearless  and the destroyers. Torpedoes were fired, and kept her moving briskly to avoid them, while well-placed shells set her on fire. She retired in a sinking condition, and was chased by destroyers.

It was considered necessary by this time that the Arethusa  should withdraw, not only on account of the damage she had sustained, but also because it was perilous to approach Heligoland too closely and come under the fire of its guns. But a fourth cruiser appeared suddenly on the starboard quarter. This was the Mainz. She was immediately attacked by the Arethusa and Fearless  and several destroyers. The Arethusa  greeted her with three rapid broadsides, and the destroyers closed in under heavy fire to discharge their deadly torpedoes. The action continued for nearly half an hour. The Mainz  was severely battered.

Meanwhile other German cruisers began to approach, looking as unsubstantial as pencil-markings against the misty horizon.

"It's about time we were off," the bluejackets remarked one to another; "we cannot fight the whole German fleet with our small craft."

Then a puff of wind cut a long lane through the mist that obscured the open sea, and the British heroes saw with glad eyes several vessels of the Light Cruiser Squadron hastening to their assistance.

H.M.S. Southampton  opened fire at more than 10,000 yards distance. The Mainz  replied, and attempted at the same time to retire. But her doom was sealed. Shells burst upon her with bewildering rapidity; her engines stopped, and fire broke out; then her funnels were riddled. One of the last shots brought down her main-mast.

When the firing ceased the German cruiser was an awesome spectacle. So fiercely did the flames rage amidships that two of the funnels were red-hot. Her upper deck was strewn with wreckage and dead and wounded men. All the guns had been silenced, and most of them were shattered. Great shell-holes gaped on her port side.

Many of the German survivors leaped into the sea as their ship went down, and about 300 were rescued by our gallant seamen.

Battle-cruisers had followed the Light Cruiser Squadron. They were led by Admiral Beatty's flagship, the Lion, which has the speed of a destroyer, and carries ten of the great 13.5 guns that fire two rounds a minute. It was observed that the Light Cruiser Squadron was over-coming the Mainz, so the great vessels were turned north-eastward, in which direction the sound of heavy firing was heard. It was soon ascertained that a German cruiser of the "Kolberg" class was engaging the Arethusa  and some destroyers. The Lion  advanced in a semi-circle to cut her off from Heligoland, at the same time opening fire, with the result that the German retired. As the Lion  gave chase she sighted a two-funneled cruiser. Two heavy salvoes were discharged with deadly aim, and the enemy raced away through the mist, burning furiously and in a sinking condition. It was not considered advisable to pursue her, as destroyers had given warning of the presence of floating mines in the direction she was hastening.

Air War over France


The Battle-cruiser Squadron  then turned northward. After steaming about half an hour the cruiser of the "Kolberg" class, which had previously fled, was once again sighted. She was trying to steal through the mist, to work her way up the channel towards the mouth of the Elbe. But her doom was quickly sealed. The Lion opened fire with her heaviest guns from two turrets. A couple of salvoes were all that was required to dispose of the German vessel, which sank like a stone ten minutes after she had made appearance.

Four British destroyers were at once dispatched to pick up survivors, but not one was found. The swift and terrible attack had evidently stunned every man on board. No doubt the great majority were killed by the bursting shells, which ripped and holed the cruiser in quick succession, and caused her ammunition and boilers to explode in a hurricane of flame and smoke.

Twice during the battle the "Dreadnought" cruiser Queen Mary  was attacked by hostile submarines, but on each occasion she avoided the torpedoes by rapidly changing her course.

The "scooping movement" proved to be highly successful. Most of the German vessels which were enticed or forced to come out were severely handled; five of them were sunk. The British thus won a brilliant little victory, which proved to the whole world that our fighting seamen are as brave and cool and resourceful as were their predecessors who served under Nelson.

All our vessels retreated safely, despite the efforts of submarines to attack them. The "saucy Arethusa", which had covered herself with glory, was taken in tow by the Hogue, and both vessels returned homeward in the darkness with all lights out.

Among the Germans who were saved was a son of Grand-Admiral von Tirpitz. When an official account of the battle was issued at Berlin, a grudging admission of defeat was made, but it was frankly stated that the British sent out life-boats to save drowning Germans "without stopping to consider their own danger". Our country is justly proud of its naval victories; it is no less proud of the humane deeds of its gallant seamen, who never hesitate to risk their lives to rescue their stricken enemies.

It may be recalled, in connection with this battle, that a former Arethusa  was, in the days when war-vessels went under sail, "a frigate tight and brave". An old song celebrates a fight she waged against four larger vessels "off the Frenchman's land". The first she attacked was the Belle Poule. On the approach of the frigate—

The Frenchmen laughed and thought it stuff,

But they knew not the handful of men, how tough,

On board of the Arethusa . . . .

Our captain hailed the Frenchman, "Ho!"

The Frenchman then cried out, "Hallo!"

"Bear down, d'ye see,

To our Admiral's lee!"

"No, no," says the Frenchman, "that can't be!"

"Then I must lug you along with me,"

Says the saucy Arethusa.

Battles with Sea-Raiders

Several German war-vessels conducted raids upon British shipping. The most notorious of these was the cruiser Emden, which was under the command of Captain von Muller. It could steam at 24 knots an hour, carried twelve 4-inch guns, and had a crew of 361.

Shortly after war commenced she slipped out from the German port of Tsing-tao, in China. Then for about three months she roved the seas, obtaining coal and supplies from steamers that were met at various places by appointment. Guided by spies, and wireless telegraphic messages from Germany, she suddenly appeared, early in September, in the Bay of Bengal while British war-ships were conducting transports with Indian soldiers towards the Suez Canal.

Among the first of the Emden's  victims was a British trading-steamer. One day her captain received a wireless message, asking if he knew anything of a German cruiser in the Bay. He replied: "It does not exist." To his astonishment he was then informed: "Oh yes, it does! I am It." Soon afterwards the Emden, from which this humorous and tantalizing message had been sent, hove in sight. The captain and crew of the trader were arrested and taken off and the vessel was sunk. Five other steamers were disposed of in like manner. A seventh was captured and used as a prison ship. Captain von Muller was very courteous, and on each occasion apologized for having to send the vessels to the bottom. He waited for the City of Rangoon, a large liner, which was to sail from Calcutta, but the authorities were warned of the Emden's  presence in the Bay of Bengal by an Italian captain, and her sailing was postponed.

On 22nd September the German cruiser began to bombard Madras. But the forts opened fire on her and she retired speedily.

Two oil tanks were ignited by shells and three persons were killed. On the last day of the month five vessels were sunk by the Emden  off Ceylon.

H.M.S. Yarmouth  went in pursuit of the raider and captured two of her supply-ships. The Emden managed, however, to double back and captured seven vessels. Five were sunk, and 7000 tons of coal taken off one of them. On 27th October a Japanese liner was sunk near Singapore.

Next day the German raider appeared off the picturesque British town of Penang, on Prince of Wales Island, at the north entrance of the Straits of Malacca. The people there had been anxiously awaiting news of her capture. H.M.S. Yarmouth, which was using the port as a base, was known to be searching for her.

Dawn was breaking when the sound of big-gun firing broke out suddenly like a tropical thunderstorm. Windows rattled, and here and there panes were shivered to pieces. The whole town was awakened, and along the shore many heads were thrust out from windows to ascertain what was happening.

A grey mist hung over the sea, and everything was blurred and indistinct.

"What is happening?" someone asked gruffly.

"Battle practice, I suppose," suggested another.

There were a few war-ships in the bay—a small Russian cruiser, a French gunboat, and two torpedo-boats.

"The Russian is firing heavily," said the first speaker; "but what other vessel is that coming in and blazing away?"

Through the scattering mist loomed the dark hull of a war-ship with four funnels.

"It must be the Yarmouth," the other remarked.

"That's a German cruiser," a woman exclaimed excitedly. "Don't you see it's firing at the Russian. There—a shot has struck." A cloud of black smoke obscured the small cruiser for a few seconds.

"It can't be the Emden," urged the man who thought the new arrival was the Yarmouth. "The Emden  has only three funnels."

This was quite true. But Captain von Muller had rigged up a sham extra funnel to mislead those who sighted his vessel, which approached the bay at full speed, flying the British flag. Suddenly the British flag was hauled down and the German one hoisted. Then the firing commenced.

When the spectators on shore—who had been roused from sleep by the thunder of the guns—realized that a German vessel was giving battle the excitement became intense. As the sky brightened they obtained a better view of the approaching war-ship. It kept up a fierce cannonade, and the shells fell thick about the Russian cruiser. Volumes of smoke drifted across the waters, and sometimes the contending vessels were completely obscured. It soon became evident that the Russian was doomed. The German vessel was more than a match for her. Indeed the fire from the Russian was slow and inaccurate compared with that of the Emden.

But all the German shots were not well placed. Occasionally a shell landed on the beach. One burst over a house, but fortunately no one was injured by the scattering fragments.

"Surely the German is not going to bombard the town," exclaimed a stout man who had been leaning out at an open window and started back suddenly as the shell crashed above the roof.

"Where in the world is the Yarmouth?"  growled a friend who had entered the room. "Look! look!" cried the stout man's wife as she peered towards the harbour; "the Russian cruiser is on fire."

Through the smoke haze a tongue of crimson flame was seen shooting up from the doomed vessel, which had begun to sink. Shells continued to burst on it and near it, and for a time it was completely hidden in the heavy clouds of black smoke. When the air cleared again the Russian had vanished.

"She has gone!" cried a woman with trembling voice.

"Sunk to the bottom," her husband said, horror-stricken and amazed.

"Will the Yarmouth never come!" exclaimed someone anxiously.

"Where is the Yarmouth?" men asked one another.

Several people rushed to boats to rescue the Russians who were seen swimming about in the harbour. One volunteer, who had hastily dressed himself in his uniform, took command of a steam ferry-boat and was the means of saving a good many lives.

The Emden  made no attack on the town. She began to retire slowly about 6 a.m., and when nearly 3 miles out seemed to linger as if looking for some expected vessel. A British steamer was stopped, but after a short period was allowed to pass in to the harbour. Then at 7:20 more firing was heard.

"Has the Yarmouth returned?" many asked.

In a few minutes the firing ceased. It appears that a French torpedo-boat had been out scouting. When the Emden  was sighted the daring commander raced against her at full speed, endeavouring to get within torpedo-range. A shower of shells pounded his vessel to pieces, and the Frenchman went down like a diving whale. Everyone on board perished. Then the Emden  steamed away, and faded on the horizon.

But by this time the days of the German raider were numbered. British, French, Russian, and Japanese cruisers were searching for her. One November morning she approached the Cocos or Keeling group of islands to obtain a supply of fuel from a collier which she had arranged to meet there.

These islands are situated in the Indian Ocean, south of Sumatra, and were discovered by Captain William Keeling in 1609. Their "king" owes allegiance to Great Britain. He is the great-grandson of Captain Ross, an adventurous Scotsman who deserted from the British navy in the eighteenth century and for several years led the life of a privateer. He afterwards settled on Direction Island, and became "king" of a mixed community of run-away Malay slaves and others. One of the curiosities of the Cocos is a great and wonderful land-crab which can climb trees and open coconuts. It is referred to by Darwin in his Voyage of the "Beagle".

The Cocos group is now of great importance as a link of Empire. Direction Island is the headquarters of the Eastern Extension Cable Company, whose employees there number about 200. The cables connect Australia and other eastern countries with the rest of the world. There is also a wireless station, which is of great service to the British navy.

As soon as the Emden  arrived off Direction Island, Captain von Muller sent out an armed party to cut the cables and destroy the wireless station. But before the Germans were able to render the wireless instruments useless a brief message, intimating the arrival of the Emden, was tapped out by a cool-headed operator. It was picked up and transmitted hither and thither. Ere the wireless station was destroyed the Emden's  presence at the Cocos was known as far off as Melbourne.

Fortunately H.M. Australian cruiser Sydney  was at the time scouring the seas for German raiders, and acting in consort with other war-ships to protect the trade routes. A transport carrying British troops to Egypt was only about 100 miles distant from the Cocos on that fateful day.

A rather curious fact may here be mentioned regarding the Sydney. Its commander had arranged the night before that battle practice should be held, beginning at 9:30 a.m. About 7 a.m. came the wireless telegraphic message regarding the Emden's  arrival at the Cocos. The Sydney  at once hastened to meet her, getting up a speed of 20 knots. It made a record dash, and its gunners began to give battle at 9:40 a.m. Little did they think on the previous night, that their target was to be a German cruiser.

The Emden  was anchored beside the collier, and the landing-party was engaged wrecking the wireless station when the Sydney's  smoke appeared on the horizon. Captain von Muller at once gave orders to get to sea and clear for action. He was not certain of the four-funneled cruiser's identity. At first he thought it was the Yarmouth.  Then an officer perceived that it flew the Australian flag. The captain smiled. "If she's an Australian," he declared, "I'll sink her." Apparently he was not aware that several of the gun-layers on board had served in the Imperial navy, and that the Australian "tars", as a whole, were quite smart, although mostly young.

The Emden  got up speed and went briskly into the fight. Her first three shots struck the Sydney. One of them destroyed the range-finder, which was rather unfortunate. Another pierced the side of the Australian cruiser and fell back into the sea. A stoker who was standing in the wardroom got a glimpse of the nose of the shell coming through. He scampered away to escape the explosion, and when he returned saw only a handy "peep-hole", which gave him glimpses of the battle. The Sydney's  armour-plate was too thick for the Emden's shots. An officer on deck had a narrow escape. A shell whizzed over his head, displaced his cap, and killed a man behind him.

All this happened in a few seconds. With her eight 6-inch guns the Sydney  was more than a match for the German with her twelve 4-inch guns. Ere long the Australian gunners got the range, and their shells did great havoc. First the Emden's  foremost funnel went down; then her fore mast followed with a crash. How the young bluejackets cheered! Then the second funnel was swept away. Again they cheered.

"Keep cool, boys!" exclaimed the older hands.

"Bang, bang, bang!" went the Sydney's  guns.

"There goes the last funnel!" shouted the Australians, some of whom were not more than eighteen years old.

The Sydney  was being cleverly manoeuvred. She was able for most of the time to keep out of range of the Emden's  guns. During the hour and a half that the battle continued she covered about 56 miles and increased her speed to 26 knots. Down below stokers and engineers worked with tremendous energy. The chief engineer was suffering from appendicitis, but he stuck to his post grimly, and never spared himself.

The Emden  made a vain effort to escape northward, but the Sydney  hung on to her like a British bulldog. At length the stern of the German was shattered, and she began to settle down. She was consequently turned towards the beach on North Keeling Island, steaming at 19 knots, and grounded with such violence that the man at the steering-wheel was killed.

The Sydney  fired two broadsides in rapid succession, wrecking the last of the Emden's  guns, and then turned away to follow the collier, which by this time had taken flight. In less than an hour this vessel was overtaken and ordered to "heave to". She turned out to be a captured British steamer, named the Buresk, which had been manned by an alien crew consisting chiefly of Germans and Chinamen. When the Australian "tars" boarded her she was found to be in a sinking condition, for the German officers had opened and damaged the sea-cocks. After taking off the entire crew the Sydney hastened the end of the Buresk  by pounding her with four shells.

The Emden  was again visited towards evening. "She still had her colours at the mainmast-head," Captain Glossop of the Sydney  has reported. "I enquired by signal, International Code, 'Will you surrender?' and received a reply in Morse: 'What signal? No signal-books.' I then made in Morse: 'Do you surrender?' and subsequently: 'Have you received my signal?' to neither of which did I get any answer. The German officers on board (who had been taken prisoners off the collier) gave me to understand that the captain would never surrender, and therefore, though very reluctantly, I again fired at her at 4:30 p.m., ceasing at 4:35, as she showed white flags and hauled down her ensign by sending a man aloft."

By this time it was growing dark, and the Sydney  turned away to pick up two boats from the collier. Then Captain Glossop sent a boat to the Emden  saying he would return to give assistance next morning. It was unknown whether or not the German cruiser Konigsberg  was in the vicinity.

Meanwhile the armed landing-party which had destroyed the wireless station on Direction Island, having seen the Emden  disposed of, seized a small schooner, named the Ayesha, and set sail for the open sea.

Next morning the Emden  was boarded by the Australian victors. She presented a terrible spectacle. The deck was strewn with the mangled bodies of nearly 200 men. Only one gunner remained alive. All the survivors were suffering badly from thirst.

The first British officer who boarded saluted Captain von Muller and said: "I think you fought splendidly, sir;" and received in answer a gruff "No." So he turned away. The Emden's  captain, after a few minutes had elapsed, walked after the Sydney's  officer and said: "It was very kind of you to say we fought splendidly. I was not satisfied myself, and still think we could have done much better. It was lucky for you that at the very outset one of your shells destroyed our voice pipes."

The whole day was spent removing the wounded and prisoners to the Sydney. Among the latter was a German prince, a relative of the Kaiser's, who was serving on the Emden  as a junior officer. He had taken refuge in the torpedo-room. When brought out, after the battle had ended, it was thought he was dead. But he had only fainted.

One of the most remarkable happenings in connection with the fight was the rescue of a German sailor. He was one of seven who had been blown overboard by the explosion of a shell from the Sydney. For eight hours he kept afloat in the shark-infested sea before he was observed and picked up. His escape from death seemed a miracle.

Among the heroes of the Sydney  were two Australian boys who had volunteered for active service from a training-ship a few weeks previously. Captain Glossop did not want them, but, as they were keen and enthusiastic, decided to accept their services. An officer relates as follows how they conducted themselves during the fight with the Emden:  "One little slip of a boy did not turn a hair, and worked splendidly. The other boy, a very sturdy youngster, carried projectiles from the hoist to his gun throughout the action without so much as thinking of cover. I do think, for two boys absolutely new to their work, they were simply splendid."

Sinking of Emden


The German cruiser Konigsberg, which had vanished from Far East waters, fled to German East Africa. She was located hiding in shoal water about 6 miles up a river opposite Mafia Island. Part of her crew landed and entrenched themselves. H.M.S. Chatham  bombarded the concealed raider and rendered her unseaworthy. The British commander also took the precaution of sinking colliers in the only navigable channel, completely blocking it. So ended the career of another German raider.

How the Oceans Were Made Free

On a November Sunday evening a brief but fierce battle was fought in the South Pacific Ocean, off the rocky coast of Chile, between squadrons of British and German cruisers. The wind had been blowing hard all day and a rough sea was running, with billows constantly breaking in white foam.

Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock was the British commander. His flagship, the Good Hope, belonged to the "Drake" class of the older armoured cruisers. She steamed at about 23 knots, and carried two 9.2-inch, sixteen 6-inch, and a dozen 12-pounder guns, and was fitted also with torpedo tubes. The other vessels were the Monmouth, one of the "County" class, of similar speed to the flagship, with fourteen 6-inch guns and a group of smaller ones; the light cruiser Glasgow, a modern war-ship capable of running at 25 knots, with two 6-inch and ten 4-inch guns; and the Otranto, a swift armed liner, used chiefly for scouting.

The German squadron was under the command of Admiral Graf von Spee. It consisted of five cruisers. These were the Scharnhorst (flagship) and the Gneisenau, two fast sister ships of modern type, heavily protected, and armed with eight 8.2-inch and six 5.9-inch guns, as well as a number of small quick-firers to resist torpedo-boat attack; and the Nurnberg, Dresden, and Leipzig, three light cruisers which could steam at from 22 to 25 knots, but carried no gun heavier than the 4.1.

Admiral Cradock had been searching for some weeks for these vessels, which had been acting as raiders and had concentrated to oppose him. He had left behind the slow pre-Dreadnought battleship Canopus, which is armed with four 12-inch, twelve 6-inch, and ten 12-pounder guns, when he hastened northward from the vicinity of Cape Horn, and on the day of the battle she was some 200 miles lower down the coast. After sighting the Germans, the commander gave chase, steaming southward. The two squadrons were running in parallel lines shortly before the battle commenced.

At first our vessels had the advantage of wind and light. But when the sun went down the German cruisers, which were nearest the coast, became blurred in the haze of the brief southern twilight. The British war-ships stood out sharply against the brightly coloured western horizon, presenting well-defined targets for the German gunners.

At twenty minutes to seven the Scharnhorst opened fire, and soon the action became general. The Otranto, not being armoured, had to withdraw to a safe distance.

At the outset the Germans secured an overwhelming advantage. The Good Hope was so badly struck that her two 9.2-inch guns were put out of action and she began to blaze forward. The Monmouth was also heavily hit, and flames were afterwards seen leaping from her foremost turret. After a time, however, these fires had been got under.

It was rapidly growing dusk. The British gunners could see only the flashes of the enemy's guns to assist them in taking aim, while their own ships remained well in view.

Once again, as the battle waxed fiercer, the Good Hope began to blaze. Then the flames reached her magazine, which blew up, sending aloft lurid tongues of flame over 200 feet in the air, and throwing her funnels overboard. She sank with all hands—about 900 officers and men, including the gallant Admiral Cradock.

The large German cruisers then concentrated their fire on the Monmouth, with the aid of searchlights, for the gathering darkness had been intensified by clouds of drifting smoke. As the Monmouth  was again burning, it became evident that her doom was sealed, but she fought on to hold back the enemy and allow the Glasgow, which had been badly holed, to escape under cover of night. The Glasgow  retired reluctantly. Had she waited, she would undoubtedly have shared the fate of the gallant Monmouth, which went down under a bewildering and deadly shower of German shells with her 540 officers and men.

News of this naval disaster created a painful impression throughout the British Empire, and surprise was expressed that the Germans should have been able to concentrate a stronger squadron than our own in the Pacific.

Considerable alarm was aroused on the Falkland Islands, which lie to the north-east of Cape Horn, in the South Atlantic Ocean, and are part of the British Empire. The capital is Port Stanley, a well-built town, charmingly situated on the shore of an estuary of East Falkland Island, which opens between flanking cliffs and twists inland like a Highland loch, forming the outer harbour of Port William and the inner Stanley harbour. On the peninsula, which juts out between the estuary and the ocean, is a powerful wireless station.

The Glasgow and Canopus hastened to Port Stanley soon after the naval disaster, and there received wireless orders to make for Montevideo. Meanwhile the Admiralty warned the Governor of the Falklands to expect a German raid. It was anticipated that Admiral von Spee would take forcible possession of Port Stanley, which has not only considerable food supplies in its mutton-canning factories, but also a large naval coal store and a coaling dock. The harbour could be used as a base for operations against our war-ships and trading vessels in the South Atlantic. Fear was also expressed that a destructive raid would be conducted against South Georgia, where millions of pounds worth of whale oil could be destroyed.

With true British pluck, the volunteers of the Falklands mustered to fight the Germans. This force, which has two machine-guns, numbers about 130 men, all of whom are good shots and excellent horsemen. A message from the Admiralty instructed the Governor: "If the enemy land, volunteers should fight, taking care to do so beyond range of the enemy's big guns. Retiring tactics should be adopted." This meant that Port Stanley would have to be evacuated. So the women and children and old men were sent inland, with as much luggage as could be removed.

But while the war-cloud lowered darkly over the islands, events suddenly took a happier turn. The Canopus  returned to Stanley harbour to assist in defending it. Some large guns were landed and mounted at commanding points, and mines were laid across the mouth of Port William harbour.

[Illustration] from Heroic Deeds of the Great War by D. A. Mackenzie

On 7th December, a strong fleet of British war-ships made sudden and unexpected appearance in Port William. It was under the command of Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee, who had been in London when the Good Hope  and Monmouth  went down. The principal vessels were the two powerful Dreadnought cruisers, the Invincible  (flagship) and her sister ship the Inflexible, each armed with eight 12-inch guns and capable of steaming at 28 knots. Accompanying these were the Glasgow, which had been hurriedly repaired at Rio de Janeiro, the Bristol, and the older cruisers Carnarvon, Kent, Cornwall, and also the converted cruiser the Macedonia. Some of these vessels began to coal immediately after they cast anchor.

Next morning a sentinel on "Sapper Hill", which is situated near Port Stanley, sighted the German squadron. A hurried message was at once dispatched to the Invincible.

A flag-lieutenant, who was just getting up at the time, ran to Sir Doveton Sturdee and informed him of the approach of the Germans. The Admiral was engaged in shaving, and, glancing round with the razor in his hand, remarked very quietly, "That's all right. You had better go and get dressed. We'll see about the matter later." Then he resumed shaving. The incident recalls forcibly the familiar story of Sir Francis Drake and his game of bowls.

Admiral von Spee was unaware that so strong a British squadron awaited his arrival. He thought he would have to deal with but a few small ships.

The Scharnhorst  and Nurnberg  approached boldly the southern shore of Stanley peninsula to destroy the wireless station. But they sheered off suddenly when the battleship Canopus, lying in Stanley harbour, fired several rounds from her 12-inch guns, over the land, at a range of about 11 miles. One shell nearly struck the Scharnhorst.

When the British squadron put to sea, leaving the Canopus  behind to guard Port Stanley, Admiral von Spee's squadron was already in flight, steaming eastward. The Invincible  and Inflexible  had been sighted. It was a beautiful morning; the sky was almost cloudless, and a soft wind was blowing from the north-west. About half-past ten the German cruisers appeared as mere specks on the horizon, trailing wisps of smoke, the nearest being nearly 20 miles distant.

Then began a hot chase, the Dreadnought  cruisers forging ahead. About one o'clock their first shots were fired, striking the Leipzig  at a range of nearly 11 miles. She turned away to the south-west with the Nurnberg  and Dresden, pursued by the Glasgow, Cornwall, and Kent.

The Invincible  and Inflexible  hung on to the Scharnhorst  and Gneisenau, firing their 12-inch guns with great accuracy and rapidity over distances varying from 7 to 10 miles. Manoeuvre his vessels as he might, Admiral von Spee could not escape the deadly effects of the long-range fire, or get near enough to do any damage to his opponents. Fire broke out on board the Scharnhorst, and when the British shells holed her the red flames raging within were made visible. She listed heavily and sank at 4:17 p.m. with all hands—about 800 officers and men, including Admiral von Spee.

The Gneisenau  kept up the running fight for an hour and a half longer until, raked, riddled, and battered by the British Dreadnoughts, she toppled over and went down. About a hundred of her crew were rescued from drowning.

By this time the wind had freshened and the sea grown rough, and thick clouds were enveloping the sky. The Glasgow  and Cornwall  were engaging the Leipzig, which was sent to the bottom ere night fell. Early in the day the Bristol  and Macedonia  had sunk the two German colliers, but the transport escaped.

All the British vessels were accounted for after darkness came on except the Kent. She had gone in chase of the Nurnberg, and, as the Dresden  had made off at high speed, fears were entertained that the light British cruiser had got into difficulties with the two German cruisers, so the Glasgow set out in search of her.

All night long wireless calls were sent over the sea repeating Kent, Kent, Kent, Kent, but no answer came back. The cruiser, however, returned safely to Port William on the following afternoon, and reported having sunk the Nurnberg. Her silence was due to the fact that her wireless had been destroyed by a German shell.

She had distinguished herself by getting up a speed of 25 knots, although nominally a 21-knot vessel. This was accomplished by burning her boats and every available piece of wood on board, including trunks and furniture. Once she was in great peril. While fighting the Nurnberg, a shell set on fire some cordite charges in the casement and a flash of flame threatened her magazine. But Sergeant Mayes of the Marines picked up and threw aside a charge of cordite and extinguished the fire with a hose, thus saving the Kent  from the fate of the Good Hope. He has been awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry medal.

By this brilliant victory Admiral Sturdee freed the oceans of the world. No German fleet remained outside home waters. Of Admiral von Spee's squadron the Dresden  alone escaped, but she was sunk three months later.

Soon after the Falklands battle Admiral Beatty, with a battle-cruiser squadron, gave chase to a German fleet of similar ships across the North Sea, sank the Blucher, and severely damaged the Derfinger  and Seydlits, which escaped, burning furiously, through a mine field.

The Heroes of Gallipoli

Some of the fiercest and most picturesque conflicts of the war have been fought on the Gallipoli peninsula, where various landings were made in April, 1915, to secure military co-operation with the naval attacks on the Dardanelles forts. The rough coast, with its narrow beaches, steep slopes, and beetling cliffs, is admirably suited for defensive operations.

Near Gaba Tepe a dramatic coup was effected by the Australians. An advance force, which was conveyed across the sea in battleships, embarked in twelve whale-boats under cover of darkness and reached the shore just as dawn was breaking. As they came through the haze into shallow water the Turks opened fire, but the Australians leapt into the sea, and, wading ashore, charged a trench at a bound, and captured it in quicker time than it takes to tell.

Despite this initial success, however, the Turkish fire increased in fury. Then it was discovered that the landing had taken place farther north than originally intended and right below a ragged sandstone cliff. The jutting ridges overhead were occupied by Turks, who kept sniping continually.

"Up and at 'em, boys!" shouted an officer. Throwing aside their packs, the hardy Australians began to scramble up the cliff like the Highlanders who captured Quebec. They cleared the ridges at the point of the bayonet, nor paused until they reached the summit, which they held firmly until reinforced.

Meanwhile transports arrived with more Australians and New Zealanders and the shore fighting increased in fury. The Turks were heavily reinforced, but their efforts to dislodge the invaders failed completely.

The other landings, which took place at the toe of the peninsula, were similarly of desperate character. At one beach, between Cape Helles and Seddul Bahr, the large transport River Clyde, which carried about 2000 men, was run aground. Lighters were then drawn in between it and a reef, to carry a gangway over which the soldiers could run to the beach. It was not until darkness fell, however, that the men were got safely ashore and found it possible to advance in combination with other landing parties.

During the months of fighting which ensued, heroic efforts were made by the British and French troops to capture Achi Baba hill, which was strongly fortified, and held by a powerful army of Turks under the leadership of German officers.

In August a fresh landing was effected at Suvla Bay, and operations were formulated with purpose to capture the height of Sari Bair and cut off Turkish communications with Achi Baba. Had it been successful, the greater part of the peninsula would have been overrun by the Allied troops.

The Australians at Gaba Tepe, who held the area which had become known as Anzac, put forth heroic efforts to strike a staggering blow at the Turkish defence. The greatest initial success they achieved was the capture of Lone Pine trenches, a series of works which commanded one of the main sources of the enemy's water supply. Charging up hill with heroic dash against a withering fire, the Australians broke through the barbed-wire entanglements, only to find, however, that the trenches were covered with great beams of pine. Snipers continued to sweep their lines through loop-holes. But the resourceful Australians were not to be baffled. They tore up many of the beams and leapt into the darkened galleries, where desperate hand-to-hand encounters took place, until they completely won the position, which they held against fierce counter-attacks.

In the great combined attack which followed, a Colonial column, with an Indian mountain battery, gained the summit of a ridge of Sari Bair, but the columns from Suvla failed to come to their support in time and as arranged, and they were forced to retreat before a massed Turkish force supported by heavy artillery fire.

Subsequently our military authorities arrived at the decision that all attempts to overrun the peninsula would have to be abandoned. Then followed another dramatic happening. Late in December the army of 85,000, distributed between Anzac and Suvla, withdrew from their positions and put to sea in secrecy and without loss. The Turks had no idea what was happening until after the evacuation was concluded. A few weeks later the forces at the extreme toe of the peninsula similarly "lifted their tents like the Arabs and as silently stole away". These winter withdrawals were as masterly military achievements as the heroic landings in spring. All the forces engaged had, in this memorable and unexampled campaign, covered themselves with glory, and the Australians and New Zealanders displayed those high qualities of heroism and initiative which distinguish them as fighting men in the Empire's battles for freedom and justice.

British Military Ascendancy

Before the outbreak of war the military strength of Great Britain was far below that of France, Russia, or Germany. Now it ranks as one of the foremost military powers in the world, while it continues to maintain its naval supremacy. German dreams of world conquest have consequently been shattered.

During 1916 the British offensive on the Ancre and Somme proved that the enemy's elaborately entrenched and strongly held line could not withstand the bombardments of numerous and powerful British guns, or hold back our valorous soldiers. The Germans were out-manoeuvred, out-generalled, and out-fought, and were forced to retreat from a large salient on the Somme to the concreted entrenchments of the Hindenburg line. But before they could settle down, early in 1917, hard blows were struck. Vimy Ridge, the northern pivot of the line, was captured by our soldiers on a single morning. Its forts, earthworks, and dug-outs had been previously mauled or shattered by shell-fire, while deep mines, constructed secretly, were exploded at dawn on the day of battle. The enemy were afterwards deprived by the Allied armies of the strategical advantages of other heights on the Aisne, at Messines, and at Passchendaele.

Among the new developments in modern warfare was the British Tank, which did much to facilitate attacks on entrenched positions. At the battle of Cambrai, several hundred Tanks were employed to break through masses of barbed wire, enfilade trenches, and shatter machine-gun positions.

But for the revolution in Russia, which brought about the rapid decline of that country's military power, it is probable that German resistance on the Western Front would have been shattered before the end of 1917. Russian inactivity enabled Germany to strengthen its armies in France and Flanders, but the entry of the United States on the side of the Allies restored the balance of man-power on the Western Front.

Nevertheless the Germans succeeded in making a great and successful advance in March, 1918, and for a time the Allied positions in France were in grave danger, till, under the command of Marshal Foch, the Allies were able again to throw back the Germans from the Marne. As summer and autumn wore on, constant pressure forced the enemy to continual withdrawal.

Eventually, on 4th October, Germany was compelled to beg for an armistice, which was granted on 11th November. Meantime the Bulgarians, the Turks and the Austrians in rapid succession had submitted and sued for terms.

The Great World War was ended.