No corrections yet
THE DOVER STRAITS RAID.
DESTROYERS V. DRIFTERS.
By II. C. C. DOSX.
By the beginning of 1018 the deep minc barrage ucross the Dover Strait from Folke- stone to Cape Gris Nez, on the French coast, had been made so efficient that the German submarines were no longer able to traverse the passage without grave risk. The mines were laid in lines at varying depths, those at shallowest depth being 30ft. to 40ft. beloAV the surface. Supporting [ this minefield were numerous trawlers and drifters, assisted by the destroyers of the [.Dover Patrol. Their j'ob was to drive the
submarines down on to the mines by gun- fire during the day, and to maintain a line of flares, making night as bright as day during tho night, so that the submarines diving to avoid being seen in these flares, would foul the minefields. The U-boat com-
manders reported their nerve-racking ex- periences, and it was decided to detach some of the larger destroyers from the German High Seas Fleet to carry out a raid on these vessels.
The flotilla chosen was the second, under Captain Ucinecke. The raid was to be carried out on. February 7, 1918. Bad weather interfered with the programme, delaying it until the night of February 14-15. The German flotilla made a fast run along the Dutch coast, arriving off the Sandettie Bank, almost due nor.th of Calais, and distant thonce about 15 miles, at half-past 12 o'clock on the morning of February 15, where it divided into two parts. About mid-way in the Channel, between "Folkestone and Gris Nez, lie two shallow patches of water known us the Varne and the Ridge, separated by two miles of water. One half of the flotilla was to attack the line south of these ridges, and the other half, under Captain Heinecke himself, was to attack the northerly line. The Germans were unaware of the deep minefield, no submarine having survived to report its existence, so that, to their mind, the trawlers were their only objective«.
At midnight a submarine had been sighted near Folkestone, hut despite the efforts of the trawlers aud drifters, she had escaped. A searchlight on the Folke- stone Pier was showing its beam across the Straits, when the skipper of the trawler Sabreur about 1 o'clock sighted four de- stroyers crossing the beam. He took'them to bo British ships in pursuit of the sub- marine. When the leading destroyer caine abreast of the paddle mine-sweeper New- bury, she blew three short blasts on her siren, und opened a devastating fire on the paddlet-, riddling her, and causing her depth chargea to 'explode, occasioning heavy damage and casualties. After circling round the Newbury the destroyers switched on their . searchlights, shelling and sinking the drifters W. Elliott and Veracity. The remainder of the drif- ter division escaped under heavy fire. The paddle minesweeper Lingfield was severely shelled. The motor-launch ML12 was sunk. The attack on this section lasted half an hour. Then the enemy made off.
On the southern portion of the line, south of the Ridge, the other half flotilla commenced its operations at a few' minutes to 1 o'clock. The first vessel at- tacked vvus the trawler Janies Pond, the southernmost ship of the line, quite close to Cape Gris Nez. Shelling her savagely, the three destroyers scored numerous bits, ono killing two of her wireless operators and mortally wounding a third. A number of her flares, stored forward, took fite, so that the bows of the ship were soon ablaze. The commanding- officer, Chief-Skipper A. E. Berry, D.S.C., was wounded in the legs, but ho remained calm, ordering his crew to lie down on deck until the furious onslaught should lull. The destroyers moved off, upon which the trawler's crew endeavoured to extinguish the fires, but it was a hopeless task, so the skipper reluct- antly gave the order "Abandon ship." They had pulled away only, a short distance in the ship's boat when the trawler blew up. The crew landed on the French coast.
Two Gallant Engineers.
The Geuuans next turned their utteuttou to tho dufter Clover Bank, sinking her and leaving only oue survivor. Hie drittel Cosmos va as sunk, leaving three surAivors, and the dufteia Jeannie Mun ay, Violet May, Golden Rule, 'Ircasure, and Golden Gain were all badi) damaged A shell stiuck the Violet i\Ii>, killing her skippei nnd scverul others Hie two eiigmecis got the boat overside, and placing two injured men in it, abandoned ship Hie) decided later to try to extinguish the fires, so they boaided her again They made such progiess against the flumes that the) biought their wounded on board again burning flares through the night until the dufter Coulage towed them to Dover the following morning The tAvo engineeis-A Noble and J Ewing-ya el o each awarded the conspicuous gallantry medal
The Cieimdiis sunk the dufter Christina Ciuig with nil hands, then teaching the Rid^c, tinned right about and steanurg back ulong the line met the dufter Sihti Queen, which, had taken off the survivors of the Cosmos and was proceeding to Doaci The Germans sank the Silver Queen, then made off into the din Unos», heading for Zeebiugge The) were not brought to action because the destroyers of the Dover Patrol did not re tciAO the AYirelcss SOS They got to Avitlun 12 miles of Zecbrugge when the German destroer GIO? stiuck a minc She reached port safe.. The total Butish losses lind been one trawler and seven duflers sunk, one pajldlo minc iSiYeepcr and six di liters damaged Thiee |Ro)nl Naval Reserve olHcets, seven skip- pers, and 12 men were killed, 54 missing, and 13 Avounded Admit ni Scheer claimed 12 gunidships and two motor launches sunk, though the md ay as really abortive, foi the duftei line was maintaining its flarcb the next night without liitciruption The seetet of the minefields Yias well kept and when the Gcnnan det>tro)ets repeated thojr' md later they weie severely mntiled by British and Fiench dcstro)cis In the circumstances, honevei, the mid was justi- fied, foi live Gen mun submarines lind peushed in the Uovei uiea between Decem- ber l8, 15)17 and lebiuaiy 0, IMS-as fur as the Germans knew a0 the result of the nttion of these dnfteis
On March 21, aci) eail) m the morning) IS Gunnan (Iestro)eib made a mid into the btinits They Aveic divided into thiec flotillas, and weie to ettnek Dunkitk, La Pnnnc, und Biuy Dunes Hie Butish dCbtio)crs Botha and Moms with tinco 1 lench dcstiovcts-Mehi Mn"on and Boudna-healing the gunine, ni ide for the flishos J ire wah opeucd on the cneinv ' îlot ii l-i, YY Inch w ts iiinning for Ztebinc,c,c, so the oidci ' l'icpnie to nm ' was given Jhc Jlotlu lammed the Gcnnan dcstiovcr Al'J amidships tuting hu clem in two Almost immediate, iftcr i shell btiutk the Botin b mun bttunpipt Mtinwhilc the Moms sank another eneniY dcsticvci
\7 Hie cnemt un Ici eovci of i binni e succn toipedocd the Both i but t ultd i to sud hu V sqindiun of ltioplints dioppt 1 nuintious btmbs on the letuiiiL, cneinv tin OYY int, thom into dist i dei Just
thcv tcicliod the Moll at /eebitig_t i eoitstal inotoi bolt ti Helling lit lne.li spud in a Meit cloud ol spt it stiCLC tied in tt t
ju lorn,' tnotlici dist!ovet m the stun Shi in in i.t I lowtvci to lcich /eel niL.ec
lins i et ill »tie ti hld i s tint u a t lleet cn
the Gilman 1 Inndeis i nun uni It ni ide I no mole of these i auls su the Bntish stionc.li<alil on the "sti lit betauit mole in
ttiibi* until the Gel man biibmiiuis no lui"ci etitleiYOuicd to inss tliioiiL.li but
wint. no1 til about
Within lut illimités t LöOü iliinioml w is ln»l liiuiitl nuil tcstmcil to it» owiiu m II ilton l> niltni London lotctitlv Will» nig tutu "in ot tbt lift» pit.uii.sitl l.A tlinmoi.il me ithjuts to Utilisait biisintss, a Hutton I. Hill» tlcilc. pulled out ii pnpci w lapping I toni Ina potket-but his diamond wim uot tin it Immediately aiintlict mu- llum! walked in. "Look what I" found in I ho dut in the gullet," he said, and he held aloft the lost dinmont!.