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Sea Warfare   By: (1865-1936)

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First Page:

SEA WARFARE

BY

RUDYARD KIPLING

MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON 1916

CONTENTS

PAGE

THE FRINGES OF THE FLEET 1

TALES OF "THE TRADE" 93

DESTROYERS AT JUTLAND 145

THE FRINGES OF THE FLEET

(1915)

In Lowestoft a boat was laid, Mark well what I do say! And she was built for the herring trade, But she has gone a rovin', a rovin', a rovin', The Lord knows where!

They gave her Government coal to burn, And a Q.F. gun at bow and stern, And sent her out a rovin', etc.

Her skipper was mate of a bucko ship Which always killed one man per trip, So he is used to rovin', etc.

Her mate was skipper of a chapel in Wales, And so he fights in topper and tails Religi ous tho' rovin', etc.

Her engineer is fifty eight, So he's prepared to meet his fate, Which ain't unlikely rovin', etc.

Her leading stoker's seventeen, So he don't know what the Judgments mean, Unless he cops 'em rovin', etc.

Her cook was chef in the Lost Dogs' Home, Mark well what I do say! And I'm sorry for Fritz when they all come A rovin', a rovin', a roarin' and a rovin', Round the North Sea rovin', The Lord knows where!

THE AUXILIARIES

I

The Navy is very old and very wise. Much of her wisdom is on record and available for reference; but more of it works in the unconscious blood of those who serve her. She has a thousand years of experience, and can find precedent or parallel for any situation that the force of the weather or the malice of the King's enemies may bring about.

The main principles of sea warfare hold good throughout all ages, and, so far as the Navy has been allowed to put out her strength , these principles have been applied over all the seas of the world. For matters of detail the Navy, to whom all days are alike, has simply returned to the practice and resurrected the spirit of old days.

In the late French wars, a merchant sailing out of a Channel port might in a few hours find himself laid by the heels and under way for a French prison. His Majesty's ships of the Line, and even the big frigates, took little part in policing the waters for him, unless he were in convoy. The sloops, cutters, gun brigs, and local craft of all kinds were supposed to look after that, while the Line was busy elsewhere. So the merchants passed resolutions against the inadequate protection afforded to the trade, and the narrow seas were full of single ship actions; mail packets, West Country brigs, and fat East Indiamen fighting, for their own hulls and cargo, anything that the watchful French ports sent against them; the sloops and cutters bearing a hand if they happened to be within reach.

THE OLDEST NAVY

It was a brutal age, ministered to by hard fisted men, and we had put it a hundred decent years behind us when it all comes back again! To day there are no prisons for the crews of merchantmen, but they can go to the bottom by mine and torpedo even more quickly than their ancestors were run into Le Havre. The submarine takes the place of the privateer; the Line, as in the old wars, is occupied, bombarding and blockading, elsewhere, but the sea borne traffic must continue, and that is being looked after by the lineal descendants of the crews of the long extinct cutters and sloops and gun brigs. The hour struck, and they reappeared, to the tune of fifty thousand odd men in more than two thousand ships, of which I have seen a few hundred. Words of command may have changed a little, the tools are certainly more complex, but the spirit of the new crews who come to the old job is utterly unchanged. It is the same fierce, hard living, heavy handed, very cunning service out of which the Navy as we know it to day was born... Continue reading book >>




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