Flag and Fleet - How the British Navy Won the Freedom of the Seas
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Flag and Fleet - How the British Navy Won the Freedom of the Seas


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Flag and Fleet, by William Wood This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Flag and Fleet How the British Navy Won the Freedom of the Seas Author: William Wood Release Date: November 17, 2006 [EBook #19849] Last updated: March 3, 2009 Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK FLAG AND FLEET *** Produced by Al Haines THE SEA IS HIS Thy way is in the sea, and Thy path in the great waters, and Thy footsteps are not known. —Psalm LXXVII. v. 19. The Sea is His: He made it, Black gulf and sunlit shoal From barriered bight to where the long Leagues of Atlantic roll: Small strait and ceaseless ocean He bade each one to be: The Sea is His: He made it— And England keeps it free. By pain and stress and striving Beyond the nations' ken, By vigils stern when others slept, By lives of many men; Through nights of storm, through dawnings Blacker than midnights be— This sea that God created, England has kept it free. Count me the splendid captains Who sailed with courage high To chart the perilous ways unknown— Tell me where these men lie! To light a path for ships to come They moored at Dead Man's quay; The Sea is God's—He made it, And these men made it free. Oh little land of England, Oh mother of hearts too brave, Men say this trust shall pass from thee Who guardest Nelson's grave. Aye, but these braggarts yet shall learn Who'd hold the world in fee, The Sea is God's—and England, England shall keep it free. —R. E. VERNÈDE. [Frontispiece: VIKING MAN-OF-WAR.] FLAG AND FLEET HOW THE BRITISH NAVY WON THE FREEDOM OF THE SEAS BY WILLIAM WOOD Lieutenant-Colonel, Canadian Militia; Member of the Canadian Special Mission Overseas; Editor of "The Logs of the Conquest of Canada"; Author of "All Afloat: A Chronicle of Craft and Waterways"; "Elizabethan Sea Dogs: A Chronicle of Drake and his Companions"; and "The Fight for Canada: A Naval and Military Sketch." WITH A PREFACE BY ADMIRAL-OF-THE-FLEET SIR DAVID BEATTY G.C.B., O.M., G.C.V.O., Etc., Etc. TORONTO: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY OF CANADA, LTD., AT ST. MARTIN'S HOUSE 1919 COPYRIGHT, CANADA, 1919, BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY OF CANADA, LIMITED To Admiral-of-the-Fleet Lord Jellicoe In token of deep admiration And in gratitude for many kindnesses during the Great War I dedicate this little book, Which, published under the auspices of The Navy League of Canada and approved by the Provincial Departments of Education, Is written for the reading of Canadian Boys and Girls PREFACE BY Admiral-of-the-Fleet Sir David Beatty, G.C.B., O.M., G.C.V.O., etc. In acceding to the request to write a Preface for this volume I am moved by the paramount need that all the budding citizens of our great Empire should be thoroughly acquainted with the part the Navy has played in building up the greatest empire the world has ever seen. Colonel Wood has endeavored to make plain, in a stirring and attractive manner, the value of Britain's Sea-Power. To read his Flag and Fleet will ensure that the lessons of centuries of war will be learnt, and that the most important lesson of them all is this —that, as an empire, we came into being by the Sea, and that we cannot exist without the Sea. DAVID BEATTY, 2nd of June, 1919. INTRODUCTION Who wants to be a raw recruit for life, all thumbs and muddle-mindedness? Well, that is what a boy or girl is bound to be when he or she grows up without knowing what the Royal Navy of our Motherland has done to give the British Empire birth, life, and growth, and all the freedom of the sea. The Navy is not the whole of British sea-power; for the Merchant Service is the other half. Nor is the Navy the only fighting force on which our liberty depends; for we depend upon the United Service of sea and land and air. Moreover, all our fighting forces, put together, could not have done their proper share toward building up the Empire, nor could they defend it now, unless they always had been, and are still, backed by the People as a whole, by every patriot man and woman, boy and girl. But while it takes all sorts to make the world, and very many different sorts to make and keep our British Empire of the Free, it is quite as true to say that all our other sorts together could not have made, and cannot keep, our Empire, unless the Royal Navy had kept, and keeps today, true watch and ward over all the British highways of the sea. None of the different parts of the world-wide British Empire are joined together by the land. All are joined together by the sea. Keep the seaways open and we live. Close them and we die. This looks, and really is, so very simple, that you may well wonder why we have to speak about it here. But man is a land animal. Landsmen are many, while seamen are few; and though the sea is three times bigger than the land it is three hundred times less known. History is full of sea-power, but histories are not; for most historians know little of sea-power, though British history without British sea-power is like a watch without a mainspring or a wheel without a hub. No wonder we cannot understand the living story of our wars, when, as a rule, we are only told parts of what happened, and neither how they happened nor why they happened. The how and why are the flesh and blood, the head and heart of history; so if you cut them off you kill the living body and leave nothing but dry bones. Now, in our long war story no single how or why has any real meaning apart from British sea-power, which itself has no meaning apart from the Royal Navy. So the choice lies plain before us: either to learn what the Navy really means, and know the story as a veteran should; or else leave out, or perhaps mislearn, the Navy's part, and be a raw recruit for life, all thumbs and muddle-mindedness. CONTENTS BOOK I THE ROWING AGE WHEN SOLDIERS FOUGHT ROWBOAT BATTLES BESIDE THE SHORES OF THE OLD WORLD From the Beginning of War on the Water to King Henry VIII's First Promise of a Sailing Fleet 1545 CHAPTER I THE VERY BEGINNING OF SEA-POWER (10,000 years and more B.C.) II THE FIRST FAR WEST (The last 5,000 years B.C.) III EAST AGAINST WEST (480 B. C.-146 B.C.) IV CELTIC BRITAIN UNDER ROME (55 B.C.-410 A.D.) V THE HARDY NORSEMAN (449-1066) VI THE IMPERIAL NORMAN (1066-1451) VII KING OF THE ENGLISH ERA (1545) BOOK II THE SAILING AGE WHEN SAILORS FOUGHT ON EVERY OCEAN AND THE ROYAL NAVY OF THE MOTHER COUNTRY WON THE BRITISH COMMAND OF THE SEA BOTH IN THE OLD WORLD AND THE NEW DRAKE TO NELSON 1585-1805 PART I—THE SPANISH WAR VIII OLD SPAIN AND NEW (1492-1571) IX THE ENGLISH SEA-DOGS (1545-1580) X THE SPANISH ARMADA (1588) PART II—THE DUTCH WAR XI THE FIRST DUTCH WAR (1623-1653) XII THE SECOND AND THIRD DUTCH WARS (1665-1673) PART III—THE FRENCH WAR XIII XIV XV XVI XVII XVIII XIX THE FIRST WAR AGAINST LOUIS XIV (1689-1697) THE SECOND WAR AGAINST LOUIS XIV (1702-1713) WAR AGAINST FRANCE AND SPAIN (1739-1748) PITT'S IMPERIAL WAR (1756-1763) THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION (1775-1783) NELSON (1798-1805) "1812" BOOK III THE AGE OF STEAM AND STEEL WHEN THE BRITISH COMMAND OF THE SEA SAVED THE WORLD FROM GERMAN SLAVERY IN THE GREATEST OF ALL WARS 1914-1918 PART I—A CENTURY OF CHANGE (1814-1914) XX A CENTURY OF BRITISH-FRENCH-AMERICAN PEACE (18151914) XXI A CENTURY OF MINOR BRITISH WARS (1815-1914) PART II—THE GREAT WAR (1914-1918) XXII XXIII XXIV XXV XXVI XXVII XXVIII THE HANDY MAN FIFTY YEARS OF WARNING (1864-1914) WAR (1914-1915) JUTLAND (1916) SUBMARINING (1917-1918) SURRENDER! (1918) WELL DONE! POSTSCRIPT THE FREEDOM OF THE SEAS [Transcriber's note: The following two errata items have been applied to this e-book.] ERRATA Page XIII. For "Henry VII's" read "Henry VIII's." Page 254. L. 20 for "facing the Germans" read "away from Scheer," ILLUSTRATIONS VIKING MAN-OF-WAR. . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece "DUG-OUT" CANOE ROMAN TRIREME—A vessel with three benches of oars WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR'S TRANSPORTS Eddystone Lighthouse, 1699. The first structure of stone and timber. Build for Trinity House by Winstanley and swept away in a storm. Eddystone Lighthouse, 1882. The fourth and present structure, erected by Sir J. N. Douglass for Trinity House. T h e Santa Maria, flagship of Christopher Columbus when he discovered America in 1492. Length of keel, 60 feet. Length of ship proper, 93 feet. Length over all, 128 feet. Breadth, 26 feet. Tonnage, full displacement, 233. DRAKE One of Drake's Men-of-War that Fought the Great Armada in 1588. ARMADA OFF FOWEY (Cornwall) as first seen in the English Channel. SIR FRANCIS DRAKE ON BOARD THE REVENGE receiving the surrender of Don Pedro de Valdes. SAILING SHIP. The Pilgrim Fathers crossed in a similar vessel (1620). LA HOGUE, 1692. H.M.S. Centurion engaged and took the Spanish Galleon Nuestra Senhora de Capadongo, from Acapulco bound to Manila, off Cape Espiritu Santo, Philippine Islands, June 20, 1743. The ROYAL GEORGE NELSON FIGHTING THE GUNS ON THE MAIN DECK, 1782. THE BLOWING UP OF L'ORIENT DURING THE BATTLE OF THE NILE. THE BATTLE OF COPENHAGEN, APRIL 2nd, 1801. (Note the British line ahead.) The VICTORY. Nelson's Flagship at Trafalgar, launched in 1765, and still used as the flagship in Portsmouth Harbour. TRAFALGAR. 21st October, 1805. MODEL OF THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR. (Reproduced by permission from the model at the Royal United Service Institution.) THE SHANNON AND THE CHESAPEAKE. THE ROYAL WILLIAM. Canadian built; the first boat to cross any ocean steaming the whole way (1833), the first steamer in the world to fire a shot in action (May 5, 1836). BATTLESHIP. Seaplane Returning after flight. DESTROYER. A PARTING SHOT FROM THE TURKS AT GALLIPOLI. JELLICOE. BEATTY. LIGHT CRUISER. H.M.S. Monmouth, Armoured Cruiser. Sunk at Coronel, November 1st, 1914. BATTLESHIP FIRING A BROADSIDE. Jellicoe's Battle Fleet in Columns of Divisions. 6.14 P.M. THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND—PLAN II. Jellicoe's battle line formed and fighting. 6:38 P.M. British Submarine. Minesweeper at work. H.M. KING GEORGE V. FLAG AND FLEET BOOK I BOOK I THE ROWING AGE CHAPTER I THE VERY BEGINNING OP SEA-POWER (10,000 years and more B.C.) Thousands and thousands of years ago a naked savage in southern Asia found that he could climb about quite safely on a floating log. One day another savage found that floating down stream on a log was very much easier than working his way through the woods. This taught him the first advantage of sea-power, which is, that you can often go better by water than land. Then a third savage with a turn for trying new things found out what every lumberjack and punter knows, that you need a pole if you want to shove your log along or steer it to the proper place. By and by some still more clever savage tied two logs together and made the first raft. This soon taught him the second advantage of sea-power, which is, that, as a rule, you can carry goods very much better by water than land. Even now, if you want to move many big and heavy things a thousand miles you can nearly always do it ten times better in a ship than in a train, and ten times better in a train than by carts and horses on the very best of roads. Of course a raft is a poor, slow, clumsy sort of ship; no ship at all, in fact. But when rafts were the only "ships" in the world there certainly were no trains and nothing like one of our good roads. The water has always had the same advantage over the land; for as horses, trails, carts, roads, and trains began to be used on land, so canoes, boats, sailing ships, and steamers began to be used on water. Anybody can prove the truth of the rule for himself by seeing how much easier it is to paddle a hundred pounds ten miles in a canoe than to carry the same weight one mile over a portage. Presently the smarter men wanted something better than a little log raft nosing its slow way along through dead shallow water when shoved by a pole; so they put a third and longer log between the other two, with its front end sticking out and turning up a little. Then, wanting to cross waters too deep for a pole, they invented the first paddles; and so made the same sort of catamaran that you can still see on the Coromandel Coast in southern India. But savages who knew enough to take catamarans through the pounding surf also knew enough to see that a log with a hollow in the upper side of it could carry a great deal more than a log that was solid; and, seeing this, they presently began making hollows and shaping logs, till at last they had made a regular dug-out canoe. When Christopher Columbus asked the West Indian savages what they called their dug-outs they said canoas; so a boat dug out of a solid log had the first right to the word we now use for a canoe built up out of several different parts.