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the Mission, and had deliberately planned his retreat
accordingly. The circumstances are related in some
detail by the Vicar Apostolic Fran9ois Xavier Vogt,
who is a Frenchman by birth, but had been a natura-
lised German for the past ten years. As soon as he
saw the troops approaching along the road which
skirts the Mission, he went up to Captain von Bock
and pointed out to him that the cathedral and other
mission buildings were likely to become endangered.
One can picture the scene — the priest, as calm and
dignified as his natural nervousness at the sound of
roaring guns and shrieking shells would allow him
to be, and the young Prussian officer, immaculately
clad in white ducks, but with a hot and dusty face
beneath his white topee, and showing very plainly
that he was not in the best of tempers. His reply
to Father Vogt was typical of the breed.

"I do not need to ask the bishop where to place
my men." Father Vogt complains that the captain
said this in a loud voice before a throng of people,
as though to show that he was not afraid to snub a
priest, nor anyone else who should dare to interfere
with him ! Apparently, however, the priest was not
the man to be snubbed so easily, for he persisted in
pressing his point, observing that he had never
lieard that Prussian officers were in the habit of
taking shelter beneath the walls of sacred buiklings



H.M.S. "MANICA" IN EAST AFRICA 101

during an action. Wliereat Captain von Bock con-
descended to argue the case in a lower key, quoting
the Geneva Convention, whicli, he said, allowed
combatants to approach within a hundred metres of
the mission walls. Father Vogt was not sufficiently
familiar with the terms of the Convention to dispute
the matter any further, and so withdrew to his own
precincts.

The kite-balloon and the seaplane did their best
to keep the shells oil the Mission, but there were four
or five ships firing simultaneously, and it was quite
impossible to maintain an accurate check upon every
gun. It speaks well for the efficiency of the spotting
that only one direct hit was made on a mission build-
ing — unfortunately by a 12-inch shell on the cathedral
— while the splinters, although they played havoc
with the stained-glass windows, and caused some
damage to the baptistry, did practically no harm to
the main structure. I\Iore important is the fortunate
fact that, although the cathedral was packed with
people, not one of them was injured. The vicar,
however, ascribes this deliverance to another agency
than that of the kite-balloon and seaplane. " When
one thinks," he says, " of the vast number of people
who were assembled here, their immunity can only be
explained by a special protection of the good God."
Without any derogation of the work of the observers,
we may heartily subscribe to these sentiments.

We are fortunate in having a description by
Father Vogt's oAvn pen of that scene in the cathedral
during the early hours of the morning of loth August
191G. With the first streak of dawn the thunder of
the guns began, and gradually the shells, following
the line of the Germans' retreat, began to fall nearer
and nearer to the Mission. Father Vogt had hurriedly
thro^^^l on his robes and taken his stand at the
confessional. " The church trembled," he says,
" and I trembled too ; and I think that every one

11



162 THE FIRST KITE-BALLOON SHIP

confessed well." Such delightfully human touches,
all too rare in these sinister days, serve to remind
us that even war is a very human affair when you
come to close quarters with it.

By six o'clock the sun was well up, and the vicar
gave orders that the Angelus should be rung. What
a strange congregation was that which thronged
into the cathedral ! Swahilis, Indians, Arabs ; men,
women, and children ; clad in every description of
garb, from the white duck suit of the Babu clerk to
the simple loin-cloth of the humble peasant. Some
came barefooted, others wore sandals, and others
wooden clogs ; some of the women wore frilled
cotton trousers, others encased their legs, body, and
shoulders in the multiple folds of the cotton sari ;
some were clad in white, others sported the most
startling colours, and made a lavish display of cheap
necklaces and bangles. The Arab women for the
most part wore either veils or black masks over their
faces, but the Swahili women openly flaunted the
beauties of their features, adorned with pendants as
large as table-napkin rings, hanging from their ears
and noses. Some were bare-headed, their back hair
well greased with cocoanut oil, others wore white or
coloured turbans, and others made the all-sufficing
sari provide a headgear as well as a skirt and blouse.
Such was the motley crowd that trooped into the
cathedral as the thunder of the guns grew louder
and louder.

Facing this strange assembly were Father Vogt,
who had mounted to the altar, and Father CJallcry, who
stood beside him and read Mass. In the distance the
guns roared vmceasingly, but more terrifying than
this deep rumble were the shrieking and explosions
of the shells, which were falHng all romid them.
" My feet and hands were cold," says Father Vogt,
" V)ut I was quite calm, and confident in the protec-
tion of Heaven. Our Christians prayed with fervour.



H.M.S. "MANICA" IN EAST AFRICA 103

At the moment of the elevation of the Host the
building rcct-ived a mijo^hty shock from the burst of
a shell, of which several fragments fell on the church.
During communion the whole church shook violently
— we heard the noise of a great fall — a small side-
tower had been struck. I expected a precipitous
rush from the church. But no ! not only w^as there
no panic, but they moved closer to the altar rails and
to me."

Picture that assembly of strangely diverse creeds
— a few Christians, many Mohammedans, many
fetish-worshippers, with a faith made up of child-like
beliefs in fairies, hobgoblins, unsightly deities, and
awesome devils — all brought face to face with the
prospect of being suddenly hurled into eternity.
Before them stood two honest, God-fearing men,
who, with blanched faces, but showing no other
sign of fear, calmly performed their religious offices.
More than half the congregation knew nothing of the
faith which upheld these Christian priests, and
understood not a word of what they were saying ;
but one and all felt instinctively a sense of protection
in their proximity, and, with that mysterious accor-
dance that so often characterises a crowd, one and
all moved nearer to the altar-rails as the sound of
the devastating shells grew louder in their ears.
Possibly their primitive minds attached strange sig-
nifications to those deafening sounds, and refused to
believe that mortal hands had produced such dia-
bohcal torments. Were they not the devils of Hell
let loose on earth— raging, tearing, screaming devils,
sent by the Prince of Devils in a paroxysm of fury
to destroy the whole world ? And were not these
two white-robed priests striving with prayers and
incantations to exorcise the devils, and drive them
back whence they came ? They were the white
man's priests, and surely they must have power to
combat the Evil One, else the white man would not



164 THE FIRST KITE-BALLOON SHIP

have entrusted them with such a task. So this flock
of frightened children, young and old, were urged
by fear towards an unquestioning faith, which we
sophisticated folk can only envy, and, when the tower
came tumbling down with a mighty crash, their one
idea was to creep closer to the altar-rails — to the
visible emblem of a power beyond their comprehen-
sion.

At last Father Vogt decided that it would be safer
to take them out of the cathedral by way of the
choir and sacristy to the big INIission House, which
stands farther from the sea. They had only just left
when the baptistry chapel collapsed, so that the
nave was filled with a cloud of choking dust ; but
no one was injured, and soon the whole congregation
found sanctuary inside the dwelling-house. Shortly
afterwards the bombardment ceased, for the Ger-
mans and their Askaris had fled at the approach of
our men, and found their way into the neighbouring
country. Captain von Bock was killed by one of
our shells not far from the Mission. Another ofticer,
Captain von Boedecke, was standing near the pom-
pom to the right of the Customs House when a well-
placed shell from the Severn scored a direct hit on
the gun, and he, too, was killed outright.

In the meantime the Marines, led by Captain
Thomas, ll.M.L.L, had taken possession of the
Governor's house, where they were joined by a small
detachment of Zanzibar Rifles, with whose aid they
proceeded to clear the country in a westerly direction.
They found enemy parties concealed in the long grass,
and were subjected to a heavy rifle-lire by which
Captain Thomas unfortunately was killed, and about
half a dozen others were wounded. Simultaneously
the seamen had pressed forward past the Boma, that
flanks the Governor's house, and luid captured
many of the enemy in tlioir dug-outs. Other parties
of seamen worked round beliinil the Governor's



H.M.S. "MANICA" IN EAST AFRICA 165

house, cutting ofl the enemy's Hne of retreat, and
causing him to al)andon his maxims and hght guns.
Thus the attack was driven home from several points
at once, overwhehuing the enemy with its rapidity
and vigour, so that they lied in confusion, dis-
heartened by the loss of their two oflicers, and quite
incapable of initiating an orderly retreat.

Having routed the enemy, it now remained for us
to secure possession of the town, and to prepare for
the possibility that the Germans might draw rein-
forcements from neighbouring posts and make a
counter-attack. Headquarters were established at
Government House, dead and wounded were col-
lected, pickets were stationed over a pre-arranged
area, defences were strengthened, and scouts de-
spatched to report on the movements of the enemy.
VVhen the Navy goes a-soldiering it has its own
methods of doing business, and they are usually
both simple and effective. It knows no such luxury
as an Army Service Corps, but it just tells one of its
officers that so many men will be landed, and that
they will want to be fed. Gunner ^Moore, ably
assisted by Leading Seaman Doney, and supervised
by Commander Wilson of the Mersey, cheerfully
undertook to keep the 350 men of the landing-party
supplied with food, and carried the arrangements
through without a hitch. The medical department
had a rather larger personnel, but fortunately it was
not called upon to make use of all its resources, and
it did what it had to do with ease and efficiency.

It must always be remembered that the Navy
owes much to the fact that its units are self-contained,
so that the organisation of an expedition virtually
resolves itself into a joining up of forces which are
already organised. Every man-of-war has its ser-
vice corps, its medical corps, its machine-gun corps,
its artillery, and its infantry ; you have only to add
together the complements of enough men-of-war and



166 THE FIRST KITE-BALLOON SHIP

you can form an army — complete except for the
absence of cavalry. And, with regard to the cavalry,
it is a peculiar characteristic of the sailor that he
usually fancies that he would make an excellent
cavalry-man. I have no doubt that he Mould try
his hand at it if he were given half a chance, and, if
he found that horses were unavailable, he would
accommodate himself quite as happily on a camel,
a donkey, or a pig.

Commander Watson, who was in charge of the
landing-party, had a busy time during the next
three days after the capture of Bagamoyo in dealing
with the Arabs, Indians, and natives, as well as with
the Askaris who deserted in ever-increasing numbers
from the German forces. The taking of the town
was an important event in the native mind, for it
had been the capital of a large district in the days
of the slave trade, and the terminus of the great
caravan routes from the interior. The result of its
falling into our hands was immediately apparent in
the demoralisation of the enemy's troops. A strongly
fortified point at IMtoni Ferry, six miles up the
Kingani River, was promptly evacuated, and Askari
deserters began to flock in from all sides. Com-
mander Watson's diplomacy was largely instrumental
in securing the latter result, for, with the aid of
Captain Dickson as interpreter, he handled the
situation with admirable adroitness. First he as-
seml)led Swahilis, Arabs, and Indians on the beach,
and told them that the British would respect their
property, and allow them to return peaceably to
their houses in the town, but that they in turn
would be expected to give any information they could
about the enemy's movements. He explained that
by doing so they would be serving tlicir own interests
because, if the enemy counter-attacked and were
allowed to approach the town, tlurc would be such
a bombardment from the ships as would make that



H.M.S. "MANICA" IN EAST AFRICA 167

of 15th August pale into insignificance. Then he
told each tribe to select two or three men to report
to the commander every morning, and to be gener-
ally responsible for the good behaviour of their
people.

The Bagamoyans received this speech with ap-
plause, and with many expressions of gratification that
the British forces had assumed control of the country,
and, as an earnest of their good -will, they proceeded
to bring in all the German cattle they could find,
and present them to our headquarters. The informa-
tion they gave us about the enemy's movements
proved to be both valuable and accurate. Soon the
Askari deserters began to filter in, and Commander
Watson made a point of interviewing them all. He
told them that the British had no quarrel with them,
but only with their German masters, that the British
did not compel the natives to fight for them, and
that all who gave themselves up and handed in their
rifles could go free. Soon the number of deserters
increased by leaps and bounds, so that Bagamoyo
was filled to overflowing. The congestion was in-
creased by bands of fugitives from neighbouring
villages, who brought in reports that the Germans
were beating, robbing, and killing them, and were
compelling all able-bodied men to serve as porters.
It is significant that in every part of Africa where the
German has attempted the task of colonisation —
South-West Africa, the Cameroons, Togoland, and
East Africa — he has invariably succeeded in making
himself cordially hated by the native population.

In East Africa, as in the Cameroons, the German
military authorities had to stop the fishing industry,
because they were afraid that the fishermen would
convey information to the British. For two years the
Bagamoyans had been forbidden to fish when, on
18th August, Commander Watson gave them leave
to resume this and other industries, which had been



168 THE FIRST KITE BALLOON SHIP

similarly interdicted, and to reopen the markets.
The expression of joy among the whole population
was loud and long. On the same day a military
detachment arrived from Sadani, including some
Zanzibar Rifles, whose beaming faces made quite
an impression on the Askari deserters, suggesting to
them that military service under the British Govern-
ment must be quite a different affair from the mili-
tary service they had known. Next day, another
detachment of soldiers arrived, and took over garrison
duty from the Navy, which was thus enabled to
re-embark and proceed to its next job.

On 21st August 1916 a naval bombardment of
Dar-es-Salaam was commenced, and was continued
intermittently until 1st September, the gun posi-
tions and trenches, revealed by the aerial observers,
being selected for special attention. It was during
this period that the kite-balloon achieved what was
a record in those days by remaining up for four and
a half hours at a stretch, spotting for the flagship
and reporting all enemy movements for the informa-
tion of the intelligence ofTiccrs. In the meantime
the military were making their preparations to
advance on Dar-es-Salaam, and on 31st August they
got under way from Bagamoyo, to march for thirty-
six miles through a barren and waterless district.
On 3rd September they approached their objective,
whereat the Navy devoted half an hour's intense
bombardment to the gun positions at the northern
end of the town. Next morning, our troops being
encamped on the outskirts and our squadron lying
ready to renew the bombardment at a moment's
notice, the Challenger hoisted a white flag, and
proceeded towards the harbour with a letter demand-
ing surrender. One of our small craft sent the letter
ashore, and in a short while the answer came in the
shape of the (lcj)uty l)Uigomaster, accompanied by
the bank manager and an interpreter. They were



II.M.S. "MANICA" IN EAST AFRICA 169

taken to the flagship, where they agreed to surrender
the town unconditionally. Our troops then moved
in to take possession, and by three o'clock that after-
noon the Union Jack was floating over the Magistracy.

There remained a few smaller towns along the
coast, which had to be taken to complete the Navy's
task. On 7th September Kilvva Kivinje surrendered
to the Vengeance, and Kilwa Kisiwani to the
Talbot ; on 13th September the squadron landed
a military force at Mikindani, which offered no resist-
ance ; on 16th September the troops occupied Sudi,
while the squadron proceeded to Lindi, and found
the place deserted ; and on 18th September two
men-of-war and a transport proceeded to Kiswere,
which was occupied without encountering any opposi-
tion. With the capture of Kiswere the whole coast
of the country, once known as German East Africa,
passed into our hands, excepting only the Rufigi
Delta— an uninviting swamp inhabited mainly by
mosquitoes, crocodiles, and alligators. We bom-
barded enemy camps there from time to time, but
made no attempt to land there until we had thor-
oughly reconnoitred the ground by aircraft. The
story of one of these reconnaissances, in which Com-
mander Bridgeman lost his life, and Flight Lieutenant
Moon was taken prisoner, has been told in the account
of the Navy in East Africa.

While the flagship was lying off Bagamoyo, Admiral
Charlton conceived the idea that he would like to
make an ascent in the kite-balloon. It was fortunate
that the sea was fairly calm, for I have heard of an
occasion when an admiral went up in a kite-balloon,
and, on descending again to his quarterdeck, was
obliged to beat a precipitate retreat into his cabin.
It is a curious fact that the motion of a ship, when
communicated to the kite-balloon she is towing,
becomes accentuated to such a degree that only an
extra hardy mariner can hope to escape the eilects



170 THE FIRST KITE-BALLOON SHIP

of it. Admiral Charlton, however, was quite pleased
with his experience, and later on he made a signal
to the Maxica.

" I am very much pleased Avith the efficiency of
the Kite-Balloon Section, and the smart handling
of the balloon. I wish to assure them that they
are doing good and useful work."

The tribute was much appreciated, for it is often
the misfortune of those who laboijr with a new device
to receive more criticism than encouragement.
That it was also well deserved I hope that this record
may aflord ample evidence.

The best tribute, however, to the efficiency of the
kite-balloon, and to the accuracy of its control over
gunfire, has been paid by the enemy himself, both
in East Africa and at Gallipoli. If the Manica came
within range of the German guns with her kite-
balloon down, they invariably opened fire, but, if the
kite-balloon was up, the Germans in East Africa,
like the Turks at Gallipoli, preserved a dignified
silence. Experience had taught them wisdom.



THE NAVY IN THE PERSIAN GLLF



171



CILVPTER XIII

THE TANGISTANI RAIDS

Judged by the standard to which the war has
accustomed us, the whole thing was a very small
affair, so small that even in peace-time it would not
have occupied more than three columns in the
morning newspapers. In war-time it could not be
expected to occupy more than half a dozen lines,
tucked away in a corner where no one would notice
them. It happened to turn out all right, and of
course that makes a difference. If a small colony
of Enghshmen, women, and children had been mur-
dered by Arab cut-throats, Fleet Street in peace-time
would have found enough material to fill a whole
page, and even in war-time would have produced
some artistic effects in headlines. But by the grace
of God, and the efforts of British soldiers and sea-
men, the tragedy was averted.

In order to understand how the affair came about
one must go back a few years in the history of the
Persian Gulf. Great Britain had been policing the
waters and shores of the Gulf for 300 years before
it occurred to Germany that her designs upon the
Middle East were severely inconvenienced by the
British paramountcy in Arabia and Western Persia,
and with Teutonic perseverance she set about the
task of undermining that paramountcy. It is not
my purpose to relate the adventures of Herr Wonck-
haus, the modest trader in mother-of-pearl, who built
most palatial edifices round the shores of the Gulf

173



174 THE NAVY IN THE PERSIAN GULF

out of mysterious funds, which certainly did not
arise from the profits of his small trade ; nor the
advent of the Hamburg-America liner dispensing
champagne dinners up and down the Gulf, while the
stewards' band discoursed sweet music, nor the long
tale of intrigue whereby Turkey, in her role of Ger-
many's vassal, made several attempts to acquire
territory round the Gulf, but was happily frustrated
by British vigilance. Suffice it to say that the atti-
tude of our Foreign Office was clear and precise
throughout the course of all this scheming. We had
managed very nicely for 300 years to keep the Gulf
open to the traders of all races without discrimina-
tion ; we had suppressed the activities of Arab pirates,
and our political residents had acted as arbitrators
between the various Arab tribes whenever they
became disputatious with one another, and had won
the confidence and respect of them all. For doing
this work we sought no remuneration or quid pro
quo ; we made no attempt to secure territory for
ourselves, beyond a small island which we leased to
house a telegraph station ; we did not even claim any
advantage in trading facilities for British merchants.
But, on the other hand, we were quite determined
that we wanted no assistance with the work, and
that no other nation should step in and rob any of
the Arab chiefs of an inch of territory. In fact, we
postulated the right to establish a kind of Monroe
Doctrine in the (]ulf. Our object, of course, was that
we did not want any European Power to be able to
use the Persian Gulf as a base for warships, which
would be able to threaten a flank attack on our line
of communication with India. Germany knew our
object, and knew the value of defeating it, and that
is why she spent many years and mucli money in
assiduously trying to establish an influence over the
natives of Persin and Arabia.

The most im|)(>rtant character in this little drama



THE TANGISTANI RAIDS 175

first appears on the scene in 1910 in the shape of
the German consul at Bushire, Ilerr Wassmus.
Bushire Hes on the east side of the Gulf, near the
northern end of it, and is important mainly because
it is the only place on that side which can boast a
harbour, or anything like a harbour. Vessels of
small draught can make their way into the port, but
any ship drawing twenty feet or more must lie out-
side, a prey to the strong shcwiah which blow from
the west across the Arabian desert. Here is the end
of the caravan trade route, which leads from central
Persia through Shiraz, bringing dates, raw cotton,
oriental carpets, silks, and other merchandise for
export to Europe, India, and China, as well as goods
for the Persian Gulf trade which are transported in
native sailing vessels, called dhows. Here the great
Wassmuss arrived in 1910, ostensibly to safeguard
the interests of German traders. At that time he
was a portly gentleman with grey hair, but 1 am
told that he has grown thinner since then, and that
his hair has turned white, which is not altogether
surprising, for Bushire is no health resort. He left
it for a while, but was back again in 191.3, and upon
his return he found it necessary to spend the worst
of the hot weather at Shiraz, which again is not sur-
prising, for Shiraz, standing .5,000 feet above the sea-


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