SPLENDID STORIES OF BRAVE DEEDS.
THE PRIVATE WHO CAPTURED FIFTY GERMANS.
A DESCRIPTION OF SHELL FIRE.
(From our own Correspondent!)
London, April 30, 1915
This week has been notable for a particu- larly bitter attack on Mr. Winston Churchill. Since the early days of the war, and even before the war, personal attacks on Mr. Churchill had been common enough. Latterly he has been the object of constant veiled and vague criticisms in certain well-
known London newspapers. But now at last the "Morning Post," apparently sup- ported to some extent by the "Times"and the "Daily Mail," has come out into the open with a very grave and categorical charge against the First Lord of the Ad- miralty. The allegation made is that Mr. Churchill, in his youthful impetuosity and arrogant cock-sureness, has over-ridden Lord Fisher and hoodwinked the Cabinet. He is said to have forced naval operations on his own responsibility, against the bet- ter judgment of the brilliant and experi- enced veteran, Lord Fisher, and to have deliberately allowed his Cabinet colleagues to believe that what were really his own decisions were the approved policies of the First Sea Lord and the Board of Ad- miralty. These are grave charges. If there is a word of truth in them, the Admiralty, or any other responsible position under the Crown in this country ought to be made too hot to hold Mr. Churchill for another second. Impeachment would be almost too good for him. And it is surely the business of Parliament, since these charges so vitally affect the security and confidence of the nation, no longer to ignore these innuen- does, which have now become grave and explicit charges, but to clear the matter up at once beyond a shadow of doubt for ever. No man draws breath between earth and sky in the world to-day on whose shoulders rests a heavier weight of respon- sibility than Mr. Churchill bears. The man who is responsible to Parliament and the nation for the British navy, in a war with Germany which is neither more nor less than a fight for national existence, bears no light load on his mind and conscience. If anything went wrong with the British
navy at this moment, the cause of the Allies would be as good as lost, and the future of Europe would lie in the hollow of Prussia's bloody hand. If the man who bears the brunt of that responsibility is not fit for the high role to which Fate has called him, the nation should know it, and he should disappear from the great stage of affairs as speedily as possible. But, on the other hand, public opinion, through
the House of Commons, should insist on the Minister concerned being protected
from the poisoned malice of calumny and chagrined self-interest.
An Appeal to Reason.
Personally, I refuse, until the facts are proved beyond dispute, to believe a word of these allegations. In the first place, what high secrets of policy are known to any London Unionist journal that are not also known to the Oppposition leaders? And if Mr. Bonar Law and his colleagues are aware of these facts, why have they remained silent so long? Moreover, having the advantage of some personal knowledge
of Lord Fisher, I should say unhesitatingly that Mr. Churchill has about as much chance of over-riding his judgment as a
baby would have of hustling Jack Johnson off a tram car. The First Sea Lord is not
built that way. He knows the nation will hold him responsible for the high naval
strategy of the war and for the proper handling of the British fleets. And he is not the man to sit down meekly at White- hall and say nothing while an ex-cavalry subaltern in a frock coat plays ducks and drakes with the navy. The chief charge against Mr. Churchill is that he rushed the fleet into the Dardanelles adventure against
Lord Fishers advice, and before the mili- tary were ready to provide the indispen-
sable co-operation on land. This seems a very unlikely tale. If Mr. Churchill over- ruled Lord Fisher and hoodwinked his Cabinet colleagues in this matter, who over-ruled the French Admiralty and who hoodwinked the French Cabinet, both of whom have co-operated in the Dardanelles operations from the first? Moreover, there is the case of Antwerp, where, according to the same very bitter
critics, Mr. Churchill is supposed to have rushed in where not only angels, but Lord Kitchener, feared to tread. A more pre- posterous story was never put in circula- tion in sober editorial type. Everybody who is the least bit behind the scenes knows well enough, as was pointed out in this column weeks ago, that the Antwerp expedition, which Mr. Asquith has stated
to have been the decision of the whole
Cabinet, was a sheer political necessity. But for that expedition, and the knowledge that it was coming, the Belgian army would
in all probability not be fighting with the Allies in Flanders to-day, and Belgium, faint with hopeless heroism and sickened with a futile martyrdom, might have come to terms with the Hun. One hestitates to anticipate any Ministerial statement on a matter that may yet come up for discussion in the House of Commons. But I am as-
sured on the authority of a member of the Cabinet that political considerations of a not wholly dissimilar character influenced the Allies in what is now being condemned as the prematare opening of naval opera- tions in the Dardanelles before the neces- sary military co-operation was available. This Minister was indignant at the attacks upon Mr. Churchill and the inferential con-
clusion that would be drawn from the "Morning Post" article that Ministers were ordering the strategy of this war without proper foresight, consideration, or enquiry. Was it likely, he asked, that the Cabinet would lightly plunge into an affair of such magnitude as the forcing of the Dardanelles without first ascertaining the
views of every person whose views were en- titled to respect and consideration? The initial bombardment of the Dardanelles was, he assured me, dictated by two vital considerations, of which the first was a well-grounded expectation that but for the initiation of this movement Bulgaria would have thrown in her lot with Turkey. There was some reason to believe also that when
the Allies revealed their intentions in the eastern Mediterranean military co-operation on a not unsubstantial scale might be looked for from Greece even before the French and British Expeditionary Forces would become available. That expectation was brought to nought by the action of the King of Greece in over-ruling his Prime Minister, Venezelos.
Before the fighting in the west assumed the sudden ferocity that has characterised it during the last few days, there were in- termittent rumors that Von Hindenburg was coming to take command there. The Germans regard von Hindenburg as a sort of greater Moltke, and believe that he will be able to re-establish a successful German offensive against the Allies in the west. Whether the hero of Tannenburg is really
in charge of the German legions in the west now is not definitely known. It is quite likely that he is. Certainly he was in Brussels quite recently, but this might have been purely a consultative visit. The energy the German lines have suddenly de- veloped, however, strongly suggests that von Hindenburg's influence is making it- self felt, and possibly General Joffre has now a new adversary to wrestle with in the realms of grand strategy. The cheerful spirits of the French commander-in-chief are not likely to be depressed by the know- ledge Von Hindenburg failed to achieve miracles against the Russians in the east, and he is not likely to perform very mira- culously under the strange conditions and against the more formidable odds confront- ing him in the west. The only effect of the fierce onslaughts by the Germans during the last days round Ypres and elsewhere has been to liven up the fighting and cause enormous casualties to the enemy. The Allies will ask nothing better than that the Germans should attempt to keep it up. It will mean that the moment of crucial de- cision will arrive the quicker, because the Germans cannot afford to go on throwing men away in the present reckless fashion very long. They are already outnumbered, and the Allies preponderance will increase with every battle fought under the condi- tions that obtained at Ypres. The German use of asphyxiating gases is a novelty quite outside all international convention and perfectly in keeping with German practice. We used to hear a lot about the "shining armor" from the Kaiser Wilhelm. Now we know that your true German Sir Galahad up-to-date wears a mask like a blackguard with a bludgeon, and fights, not with a puissant sword or a knightly lance, but with test tubes and sewer gas. Already the French and the Belgians have discovered means of render- ing this form of warfare of little practi- cal use. It most always depend in any case on the way the wind happens to be blowing and the conformation of the ground. The lowest down thing in war- fare used to be the poisoning of the wells. It has been left for Prussian cul-
ture to think of actually poisoning the
The Canadians were subjected to a good deal of quiet criticism during their long and dreary spell of training on Salisbury Plain. But nobody ever doubted the magnificence of their physique and spirit, and they have shown in these last days a disciplined courage and a fiery valor that will win them undying fame in the military annals of the British Em- pire. It was not their fault that they had to yield ground. When the French and Belgian trenches were rushed by the Germans, under cover of their asphyxi- ating gas, the flank of the Canadian posi-
tion was hopelessly exposed. But they
never wavered for a moment, and never lost their cool and steady demeanor. The Germans had massed two whole army corps for this attack, delivered at the juncture of the Allied line-always a weak point-where the troops of one army link up with another. The enemy's in- fantry burst through the trench and Bel- gian lines and swung round actually to at- ttack the Canadians in the rear. But the Canadians were neither surprised nor dismayed. A certain number of them promptly swung round to meet the Ger- mans, and they fought back to back like heroes. The Germans will not soon forget their first hand-grips with the soldiers of the Dominion, or that irresis- tible charge and desperate bayonet work with which the Canadians
recovered the heavy British guns that
had been lost, and checked the German advance. Unhappily their casualties have
been severe. In officers and men they have lost heavily. But those gallant men who have fallen have not fallen in vain, and their deeds have led to a rush in recruit ing, not only in Canada, but over here at home. The finest symptom of this war all
through has been that the response to the patriotic call ever becomes more ready and overwhelming when the fighting is most fierce and the most dinting blows are be- ing dealt.
Good Sportsmen and Good Fighters.
Some splendid stories of brave deeds are now being told from France and Flanders. It is proposed to erect a fitting memorial, in the little Yorkshire village to which he belongs, to perpetuate the deed that won the V.C. for the simple private in the Grenadier Guards who captured 30 Ger- mans single-handed. This doughty York shireman advanced in a scrimmage until he got the range nicely of a German trench. Thereupon he proceeded to pelt the Germans with dynamite until he had
them all-all that were left alive-com- pletely cowed, and, as he put it, "ready to feed out of my hand." Another fine
story is told of a well-known Rugby foot bailer, who used to play for the Old Mer- chant Taylors. He was caught with his
platoon in a German rush, sudden and
fierce, and was fighting for his life, at the heard of his surviving men, when he heard a shout behind him. The rousing shout was, "Play up O.M.T." And shortly afterwards relief arrived in the person of another well-known rugger man at the head of a company of infantry. Our sports- men have already suffered heavily in this war, but those who survive still keep in the thick of it. The old country owes more to her sporting sons than the tribute of history can ever repay. Their names fill the casualty lists every day, and they are dying at the front every day like old Romans, in the high Roman way, making death "proud to take them." And yet one finds puffy journalists with pincenez, sitting at home in dowdy armchairs, actu- ally indicting the sporting spirit of the
nation for its frivolity and failure to realise "the gravity of the situation."' The one possible thing that could com- pensate this country for tho hideonsness of a temporary German invasion would be to have some of these anaemic scribblers and anonymous detractors taken out and shot against a back wall by the modern Huns. That would probably be the only way of bringing nome to these "writing fellows" how the war really affecta people who are taking part in it. One is glad to see that Mr. A. J. Balfour has raised his voice in protest against this libel on our countrymen and countrywomen. There is scarcely a home that has not staked its beloved manhood on the hazard of this great game. There are few homes that have not been shadowed by the fell scimitar of death. And a measly little journalist, with a pale complexion and "most weak knees," dares to talk about "the people" not realising the gravity of the situation.
A Grim Picture.
A sergeant of Engineers sends a very de- scriptive letter home:-"What is being in a bombarded city like? In the place where I am now every particle of glass has 'gone west' and whole houses are blown to atoms. The effect of the large shells is terrific. Going along the streets you hear a funny whistling. Then you hold tight and touch wood. In a second a shell pitches, and then comes a crash that seems to split the world. I have seen a shell burst and send a fragment 300 yards, whioh in its turn has made another five foot hole in the ground. The actual shell itself makes a nice little hole about the size of our front room at home. The people get absolutely panic-stricken. You can see old women of 80, and fine little children being carried off to the hospitals badly hit. By God. if some of the. people in England could see the awful misery there would never be any more strikes while this war lasts. One shell pitched in a square where several civilians were selling things to the troops and blew seven literally to atoms. There was nothing left of them. Nothing can stand against it, and the noise is deafening. Those who survive the explo- sion can see only a smudge, a brick-colored smudge. where their home once stood.
That is what might have happened in Eng-
land. Don't worry about me in the least. This is the real life for me. So let 'em carry on." Another soldier has sent this little pen-picture:-"I was in a firing trench a few days ago which had in turn belonged to the French, the Germans, and the English. In some places in this trench there were showing the feet of both Ger- man and French dead. They had been killed and buried where they fell. One Frenchman had been buried about five months aso. His grave was marked bv a little cross. A shell carne along and blew the Frenchman and his cross in different directions. It wasn't a nioe thing to see
but we don't take a scrap of notice now of these things. Why, that mince tart that Flossie sent me was eaten by me in the trenches with my feet on a dead man. I could not move at the time without being shot. But I am quite happy and fit, and can't grumble.''
"What Devils They Are!"
In another of these letters home, upon which we depend so much for pen-pictures of the stirring events of the war. a private of the Royal Marine Light Infantry gives a graphic account of the sinking of the Irresistible in the Dardanelles, "It was about 4 in the afternoon," he writes, "when it happened. A minute before we hit that mine a shell struck us overhead somewhere, for inside our casement we could feel a distinct shock and hear the noise of falling pieces. Then, before we had recovered from that, came the real hit-such a tre- mendous blow. I was thrown completely off my feet. When I got up and looked at the blanched faces of our crew I could see that the old irresistible had finished her career. There was not much said; our officer told us all to remain inside until we knew what to do. By this time the ship had listed heavily over to port, slop- ing almost to an angle of 45 degrees. The next order was 'Everybody aft, so we all went aft and fell in. 1 never saw the slightest panic, just everylxxly going along as if we were in Portsmouth Harbor. We fell in, the Marines right aft. I took off my boots and coat, all ready. I cannot describe my feelings to you. Lots of things were surging through my mind-thoughts of you and of all. But we were not given much time for think- ing. All hands were soon busy, throwing overboard anything 'floatable,' barrels, tables, chairs, boxes, and anything we could lay hands on. Then we sighted, tear- ing towards us, a destroyer. How far off she seemed! We could do nothing but wait until she came up to us. Now came the worst part of all, and even now I cannot recall it without a shudder. The forts ashore, or, rather, the Turks in them,
must have seen that we were sinking, and . soon we were the target for scores of, guns. My word, what devils they were! Imagine our ship, listing right over, her decks covered with us all, helpless, and
all around us, growing ever nearer as tbey found the range, were those awful shells
bursting! Never can I forget the scene, if I live to be a hundred. But soon the destroyer carne up and alongside, and then began the task of transferring our- selves to her. Nearly all were off the Irresistible, when a shell burst right amongst a group of our men on deck, kill- ing several and wounding several more. It was horrible to see the wounds some of the poor chaps had. But soon we were all aboard, living, wounded, and dead, and so we tore away at full speed to safety. How we escaped being hit while rushing away I don't know. We passed through a very inferno of shells, and yet escaped untouched! Our captain, as fine a man as one could wish for, would not come with us, and the last I saw of the poor old Irresistible was the ship gradually sink- ing, great shells bursting all around her, and the captain standing on the bridge, cool and calm. He was saved later, and if it had not been for those horrible shells, no doubt all hands would have been saved. From the destroyer we were taken to the Queen Elizabeth, and there we were fitted out with what clothing we required. The next day we were all sent to different ships, I and several others going to the Ark Royal, the aeroplane ship. So ended it all. I never want to go through an- other experience like it, I shall never be able to forget it"
CURRENTS OF DEATH; A MOVING MINE FIELD.
Despite Lord Fisher's reputed dictum, "Hit first, hit hard, hit anywhere!"' naval warfare is not quite so crude a matter of mere strength (writes Mr. H. C. Ferraby, naval correspondent of the London "Daily Express"). Science enters very largely into it, many branches of science indeed, and in the operations at the Dardanelles hydro- graphy plays quite an important part in preserving our ships from the peril of floating mines.
Many messages from the scene of the struggle have referred to the fact that the ships anchor off Tenedos, an island to the south of the entrance to the straits, when they return from bombarding the forts. Why do they go there instead of to the larger Imbros Island, to the north, which lies nearer the entrance?,. The answer is supplied by hydrography, the science that studies the ocean with a view to ,its use for navigation.
It has been pointed out that the cur- rents from the Sea of Marmora through the Dardanelles would serve to carry drifting mines against the bombarding ships. Now, when a current reaches the open sea it is not instantly absorbed into the waters of the sea. It remains a current for a long time, and so it is with the brackish water from the Dardan elles. It flows in a steady stream towards the east coast of Greece, deflected a little northwards by the movement of the earth on its axis.
On the other hand, a steady current of sea water, which is heavier than fresh, sets along the bed of the ocean from Gibraltar eastwards, and in the Levant turns northwards to find its way along the bottom of the Dardanelles up to the Sea of Marmora. There is thus a double current in the straits, one up and one down. And Tenedos is in the path of the sea water current upwards, while Imbros is in the path of the mine-laden down-
These two currents have formed the subject of study by many eminent hydro- graphers, and recent experiments showed that depth or thickness of the outgoing current varied at different times from 46 ft. to 60 ft. This is comparatively shallow, as the depth of the Dardanelles is about 240 ft., but it is quite enough to carry mines. Indeed, if the Turks (or their German mentors) are clever they can turn this double current peculiarity to great advantage. It is generally believed that the type of drifting mine which they are using is the Leon torpedo, a contrivance which is as nearly intelligent as any in- animate object can be. This amalgama- tion of a torpedo and a mine has the capa- city, which no previous weapon of the type has possessed, of moving np and down to varying depths in the water.
It requires very little effort of imagina- tion to see how this can be made use of in the Dardanelles. The mine is put into the water at a depth which keeps it with- in the area of the downward current. At the end of a given time it sinks to a lower depth automatically, and entering the upward stream, is carried back again. Later on it again rises automatically into the outward flow of water, and is car- ried down once more. In a word, a mov- ing minefield can be sown, which will re- main actually in the straits. The mines will not drift away out to sea, as ordi- nary mines would do, some six or eight hours after they had been put into the water at Chanak.
The Leon torpedo has a further advan- tage for the Turks in this Narrows war- fare. It is constructed to be discharged from a torpedo tube. If, therefore, one of the torpedo tubes concealed along the shores of the straits can get one of the Allied battleships into bearing it can dis- charge a Leon torpedo at the ship with the knowledge that if the projectile misses the mark it will not be wasted, but will auto- matically transform itself into a drifting mine, and remain useful for a long time.
The principle of the Leon torpedo is perfectly well known in this country. Its use by the Turks, however, appears to have been somewhat unexpected, and this is probably the explanation of the some- what mysterious Admiralty statement that drifting mines were found in areas hither- to swept clear, "and this danger will re- quire special treatment. '
The danger of ordinary drifting mines in such a current cannot but have been foreseen by the Admiralty. The use of the Leon torpedo, however, would intro- duce a new element against which the special treatment referred to would natu-
rallv be required.
JOFFRE AND VON HINDENBURG
Of Joffre they say, writes the famous war correspondent, Fredk. Palmer, that when reinforcements are demanded he is always slow to respond. Yet they al- ways arrive if they are needed. In one
day I have seen 60,000 French troops pass over a single line of railway, for they may be sent very rapidly when neces
Joffre is not caught napping, thougn he always sleeps his eight hours a day. Von Hindenburg seems never perplexed, never rushed, though he has struck such tell- ing and sudden blows. Where Napoleon threw In 10,000 reserves and from his horse watch them double past to change
the tide of battle. von HinJenburg throws 300,000 rnen on railroad trains in the night into East Prussia, and ever- lastingly surprises and overwhelms the Russians. Meanwhile, in what seemed a fierce and desperate attempt to break through in front of Warsaw, he was only feinting. But he did not make a half-feint. It cost him 20,000 or 30,000
Again, in December, a copy of an ap- peal by Joffre to French soldiers, saying the time had come to drive the enemy out of France by a supreme effort, was taken on French prisoners. Now, the German staff could not tell whether this was a ruse or not. Joffre did begin at- tacking in a manner to indicate he might be about to launch a general at- tack. The Germans had to hurry up their reserves. But all Joffre wa aim- ing to do was to hold the Germans off from the Russians at a critical moment.
Joffre had to lose as many men for this object as Napoleon lost in some of his
Not so brilliant or able, perhaps, as Foch or Pau or Castelnau, Joffre has won the respect and affection of France by his balance. You have heard how, when von Hindenburg was about to un- dertake the campaign against Warsaw, he was asked what general he wished to take with him. "'Joffre!'' was his answer, it is said. If so, it was the prettiest compliment of foe to foe in the war.
- There is talk, as I write, that von Hindenburg may take command on the German west front this spring. In that case he will find himself against Joffre and Kitchener, too. His fame is se- cure. He is a very wise old man. Per- haps he will stay in the field where his
fame was made.
TELL-TALE GERMAN DIARIES
M. Barres, writing in the "Echo de Paris'' in April, says he learns that the diaries kept by German soldiers are, with certain exceptions, of such a nature that the German authorities, realising what formidable evidence they contain against themselves, have officially forbidden the soldiers to continue to keep them, al- though they had recommended them to be kept in the first instance. M. Barres adds:-"This is probably due to the fear of the crimes which the diaries relate, or of the moral usury of which they are
DISPATCH FRONT- SIR IAN HAMILTON.
DESPERATE STRUGGLES. ATTACKS AND-COUNTER-
The following official message from Gene- ral Sir Ian Hamilton has been received by the Minister of Defence:
"On the night of June 3 and the morn- ing of June 4 the Turks, having heavily bombarded a small fort the French, had captured in front of their extreme right and breached it, launched an infantry at-
tack against it. which was repulsed. At
about the same time they set fire to the scrub in front of the left centre of the 29th Division and attacked, but without, success. On the morning of the 4th inst. I made a general attack on the Turkish trenches in the southern area of the penin- sula, commencing with a heavy bombard- ment by all the guns, including two battle- ships, two cruisers, and several destroyers with 4-in. guns. On the cessation of the bombardment the troops rushed forward with the bayonet and were immediately successful all along the line, except in one spot near the left, where a heavy entangle- ment had not been destroyed by the gun
Good Work by Gurkhas.
The 6th Gurkhas, on the extreme left,
made a fine advance and took two lines
of trenches, but, owing to the regiment on their right being hung up by this wire, were eventually obliged to retire again to their original trenches. The 29th Division made good progress in the left centre, cap- turing a strong redoubt and two lines of trenches beyond it about 500 yards in ad
vanee of their original line. The Terri- torials, in the centre, did brilliantly, ad- vancing 600 yards and capturing three lines of trenches, but though the most advanced captured trench was herd all day and half the night they had to be ordered back in the morning to the second captured line, as both flanks were exposed.
A Deadly Redoubt.
The naval division of the right centre captured a redoubt and a formidable line of trenches constructed in three tiers some 300 yards to their front, but were so heavily enfiladed when the French retired that they also had to come back to their original line. The French second division advanced with gallantrv and re- took for the fourth time a deadly redoubt they call a 'Haricot'. Unfortunately the Turks developed heavy counter-attacks through prepared communication trenches, and under the cover of accurate shell fire were able to recapture it. On the ex- treme right of the French line a French division captured a line of trenches which, though counter-attacked twice during the night, they still hold. I have not yet heard details of the casualties, but am afraid they are considerable.
Prisoners from the Goeben.
"We captured 400 prisoners, including ten officers. Among the prisoners were five Germans, the remains of a volunteer machine-gun detachment from the Goe-
ben, whose officer was killed, and whose machine-gun was destroyed. During the progress of the fight I received informa- tion from Anzac that enemy reinforce- ments had been seen advancing from Maidos towards Krithia. Consequently General Birdwood arranged to attack the trenches in front of Ginns Post at 10 p.m., which was successfully carried out and the trenches held during the night. The Turkish casualties were heavy. At 6.30 a.m. the enemy heavily counter-at- tacked and bombed our men out of the captured trench with a new heavy de- scription of bomb, though we still hold the communication trenches which had been constructed during the night.
A Strong Position.
"To sum up, a good advance, at least 500 yards, including two lines of Turkish trenches, has been made along the front nearly three miles in the centre of our southern section, but we are back to our original right and left. We are making a fresh effort now to advance the left to bring it up in line with the centre, though
the Turkish position here is extraordi- narily strong naturally, with a deep ravine on one side and the sea on the other."
[The above message appeared in portion of yesterday's issue.] ,