Lewis guns, and 4 i^-in. pompoms. The success of the attack
depended largely on an effective smoke screen, and Wing-
Comm. F. A. Brock and 60 ratings were lent to the Dover
command, where a small factory was set up to prepare the
materials for it.
The lessons of history were not very favourable to the enter-
prise. Naval Constructor R. P. Hobson had tried to block
Santiago in 1898. The Japanese had thrice attempted to block
Port Arthur in 1004. None of these attempts had been wholly
successful. Let us glance for a moment at the conditions under
which the attack was to be made. The distance from Dover to
Zeebrugge was 63 miles. This meant that the expedition must
start in daylight to be off the port by midnight. The night
must be dark and the wind on shore.
Twice the force was assembled and twice unfavourable
conditions supervened. On the night of April 11-12, it was
within 13 m. of its rallying point. Finally the night of April
22-23 w ^s fixed for the attack. The main force started at
4:53 P.M. on Monday, April 22. The bombardment was to begin
at 11:20 P.M., simultaneously at Zeebrugge and Ostend. The
smoke screen was to start at 1 1 =40 P.M. The " Vindictive "
was to reach the mole at midnight. The " Thetis " was to pass
the end of the mole 25 minutes later. The last point of departure
was at a point called G in lat. 51 27' N., long. 2 50' E. This
and other points on the route were marked by buoys laid after
careful triangulation by Capt. H. P. Douglas and Lt.-Comm.
Francis E. Haselfoot. It was here, some 12 m. off Zeebrugge and
Ostend, that the vessels took up their formation for attack.
The " Vindictive," which had been towing the " Iris II." and
" Daffodil," cast them off. The " Sirius " and " Brilliant "
shaped course for Ostend, the " Thetis " and her companions
eased down. The host of small craft dispersed for their various
tasks. The night was overcast, with a light wind from the N.E.,
and a thick column of smoke soon began to roll down the coast,
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As they approached the shore about 11:40 P.M. a great star
shell soared into the sky, which was soon thick with them shining
dimly through the eddies of the smoke. They were close to the
harbour when a great disappointment overtook them. The
wind, which had died away, shifted to the southward, greatly
reducing the efficiency of the screen. The searchlights fastened
on the vessels. At 1 1 :s6 the " Vindictive " emerged out of the
smoke into the full glare of their beams. The mole could be
seen 300 yd. on the port bow. Capt. Carpenter increased to full
speed and approached it at an angle of 45. A heavy fire was
opened on her and she replied with her port 6-in. battery, the
upper deck pompoms and the guns in the fore top. The storming
parties drawn up ready to rush ashore lost both their leaders at
this point. Col. Bertram Elliot, waiting to lead the Royals just
abaft the bridge, was struck down by a shell which did fearful
execution forward. Capt. H. C. Halahan at the head of the
bluejackets amidships was killed by machine-gun fire.
At one minute past midnight, the ship came alongside the
mole. It was intended to do this 300 yd. from the lighthouse
abreast of the 4-in. battery, but the starboard anchor was hung
up with a strong tide sluicing down the mole, and the ship was
carried some 700 yd. from the lighthouse or nearly 400 yd. to
landward of the intended spot. The port anchor was dropped and
bowsed to with only a shackle (75 ft.) out. A further difficulty
now arose. The rush of the 3-knot tide between the ship and
mole created a heavy swell which threw the ship off the mole;
only two of the 18 brows could reach the parapet, and the ship
could not be kept into the mole. Swaying upward with the roll
of the ship the two foremost brows came down scraping and
grinding along the mole. The naval storming parties led by
Lt.-Comm. Bryan Adams ran out along them, followed closely
by the Royal Marines led by Capt. and Adj. A. R. Chater. As
the seamen got to the wall they leapt down and tried to make the
mole grapnels fast (for hauling the ship into the mole), but only
one was got in place and a heavy roll broke it up.
This was a critical time, and it was four minutes past midnight
when the little " Daffodil " came up and pushed the ship
bodily into the mole. Two more brows were got into place and
the landing parties got ashore! The " Vindictive's " guns had
suffered heavily. The marine crew of the foremost 7'5-in.
howitzer had all been killed or wounded. A naval crew from one
of the 6-in. guns, which took its place, was almost entirely swept
away. In the foretop the Royal Marines under Lt. Chas. Rigby
had kept up a continuous fire with their pompoms and Lewis
guns till two heavy shells got home on it, killing or disabling
everyone there except Sergt. Norman Finch, who though severely
wounded continued to fight his gun singlehanded till the top
was wrecked by another shell. The " Iris II." with the Chatham
company of Royal Marines and D company of seamen had
suffered even more severely. She had gone alongside the mole
about 150 yd. ahead of the " Vindictive." The swell broke up
the scaling ladders. Lt. Claude Hawkings (" Erin "), who led
the way, made a grapnel fast and was shot down on the mole.
Lt.-Comm. G. N. Bradford (" Orion ") got to the top of a
derrick with a grapnel, leapt on to the mole, secured it and fell
back shot into the water. Comm. Val. Gibbs feh 1 , with both
legs shot away. The grapnels tore away, and the "Iris II.,"
slipping her cable, dropped alongside the " Vindictive " to
land her men across her. Here she again suffered heavily.
A big shell went through the upper deck and burst just where
56 marines were waiting to charge up the gangways, killing 49
and wounding seven. Another shell in the wardroom killed
4 officers and 26 men. The heavy swell made it difficult to get
alongside the " Vindictive," and only a few men had got across
when the siren sounded the retire.
To return to the landing on the mole. The 400 yd. or so by
which the " Vindictive " overran her position had a considerable
effect on the plan. The seamen, instead of dropping down on the
battery, had to go back to it 400 yd. along the mole. The
" fortified zone," instead of being between the " Vindictive "
and the shore, was now between the " Vindictive " and the
battery on the mole, increasing the difficulty of an assault.
The seamen of A and B companies under Lt.-Comm. B. F.
Adams, got ashore, and dropping on to the ledge below the
parapet made their way toward the lighthouse. They came to
a lookout station which they captured. Here an iron ladder
led down on the quay and three of the party went down it.
A machine-gun in the fortified zone was firing on them, and
Lt.-Comm. Adams advanced towards it for some 40 yd. and
after taking up a position returned to collect more men. Lieuten-
ant-Commander Harrison, severely wounded in the head, arrived
about this time and took charge. Lieutenant-Commander Adams
met Maj. Weller who gave him reinforcements, but by the time
he got back Lt.-Comm. Harrison had led a rush along the
parapet, where he and several of his men were killed- by ma-
chine-gun fire. Able seaman Mackenzie's courage here gained
him a V.C., and able seaman Evans was seriously wounded and
taken prisoner in trying to bring in Lt.-Comm. Harrison's body.
D Company was still in the " Iris II.," but the marines were
forming up on the mole to make an assault.
They had been busy at first in the other direction. The
first platoon to get ashore made to the right toward the shore
and silenced a party of snipers near No. 2 shed. Captain Bamford
(awarded the V.C.) joined them and they reached and held
a point 200 yd. toward the shore. Another party of marines
dropping straight to the mole had established a strong point
by No. 3 shed close to the "Vindictive." About 12:20 a ter-
rific roar and a great sheet of flame rose high above the din.
The viaduct had gone up, and the mole was secure from
landward side. Major Weller now received Lt.-Comm. Adams'
request for reinforcements and sent a platoon and the remains
of another to help him.
They advanced toward the lighthouse and reached the lookout
station, where they were held up again by machine-gun fire.
Lieutenant-Commander Adams and his men were some 40 or
50 yd. ahead. Nos. 5, 7 and 8 platoons were forming up under
Capt. Bamford for an assault on the fortified zone. This was
the position when the signal to retire blared out.
The demolition company (C Company of seamen) had got
ashore under Lt.-Comm. Dickinson, but the storming parties
were too close to permit of the sheds being blown up, and an
attempt to blow up the destroyers was beaten back. The danger
of the attack from landward had been removed by the destruc-
tion of the viaduct. Submarine Ci had parted its tow and
did not reach the scene in time. Lieutenant R. D. Sandford
(awarded the V.C.) in C3 had sighted the viaduct about half a
mile off, and running into the iron piers at p| knots had jammed
the vessel with its 5-5 tons of amatol hard and fast. The fuze
was lighted and the crew of six were pushing off in their little
motor skiff when the propeller was torn off by fouling the
submarine, and they had to take to the oars. A rain of bullets
fell close to them, and struck down two oarsmen in succession.
They were 300 yd. away when the viaduct went up, scattering
huge pieces of iron and concrete around them.-
Another bullet struck Lt. Sandford, but just at that moment
the picket boat with his brother (Lieut.-Comm. Francis
Sandford) came up and took them off. Meanwhile, in the
" Vindictive," Capt. Carpenter had seen the block ships go
jn. The position of the storming party and of the ship was
precarious. None of the mole anchors had grappled. The ship
was being held into the mole by the " Daffodil," and if she were
disabled it was practically certain that the men in the mole
would not get back. He decided it was time to retire. His own
siren was riddled through and through, but the order was passed
to the " Daffodil," and the shriek of its siren rose above the din.
It was 12:50 A.M. The parties came gradually back, the
marines retiring in perfect order, bringing their wounded with
them. Capt. T. M. Palmer refused to leave the shore while any
of his men were there, and joined the ranks of the missing.
Wing-Comm. F. A. Brock, too, never returned. He was last
seen fighting on the mole.
A hawser was passed from the "Vindictive," and at 1:10
A.M. the " Daffodil " began to pull her bows off the mole. The
hawser just held long enough to swing her bows round, and she
got clear. The " Iris II." came under a heavy fire as she left
the mole. A large shell carried away the port side of the bridge,
mortally wounding Comm. V. Gibbs and Maj. Chas. Eagles.
Lieutenant Spencer, though seriously wounded, continued to con
the ship and got her clear. Three more shells hit the ship and
caused heavy casualties in the crowded decks, but Motor Launch
558 (Lt.-Comm. Lionel Chappell, with Capt. Ralph Collins on
board) came up, and throwing a smoke screen round her helped
her to get away.
To return to the blocking ships. With the "Thetis" lead-
ing they had rounded the lighthouse in a storm of shot and shell.
The " Thetis " propeller fouled a net laid at the entrance to the
harbour and carried it with her. Both engines brought up, and
she grounded 300 yd. from the pierhead. She was under
heavy fire, and as she appeared to be sinking, the order was given
to abandon ship and blow the charges; they detonated and the
ship sank. The crew manned the remaining cutter and pulled
to ML$26 (Lt. Hugh Littleton) which was lying near.
The " Intrepid " astern had come under heavy shrapnel fire
from the guns as she approached the mole, but after rounding
it escaped their attention. She had 87 officers and men in her
instead of 54, as the surplus had contrived to stay on board rather
than miss the fight. She ran right into the canal, and Lt. Bonham
Carter went full speed ahead with the starboard engine and full
speed astern with the port to turn her round. As the ship com-
menced to make stern way he blew the charges, and the crews
got into two cutters which were picked up by the " Whirlwind "
and a motor launch. Lt. Bonham Carter with two officers and
four petty officers had got on a Carley raft and floated down the
canal. ML$82 (Lt. Percy T. Dean, awarded the V.C.) had come
right into the canal behind the " Iphigenia," and under a heavy
fire picked them up and took them off. All the crew except one
were saved. In the " Iphigenia," like the " Intrepid," the
engine room ratings had avoided being taken off, so as to be
present at the fight. She came under shrapnel fire off the mole,
and as she rounded it a star shell showed up the " Intrepid "
heading for the canal and the " Thetis " aground. Two shells
struck the ship on the starboard side. The canal was hidden by
smoke. It lifted for a moment, and the captain, seeing he was
heading for the western pier, went full speed astern, then ahead
with the starboard engine, and with a barge in front of him drove
into the canal. There was a gap between the " Intrepid " and
the eastern bank; he steered into it, collided with the " Intrepid,"
rang the gong to signify the imminent blowing of the charges,
went astern and then ahead. She grounded on the eastern bank
and the charges were fired. The crew left the ship in the only
cutter left under fire. ML2&2 (Lt. Percy T. Dean) was waiting
and took the crew on board, and then making the cutter fast to
his stem went out of harbour stern first at full speed. Heavy
machine-gun fire was concentrated on her; two officers were
dangerously wounded and two of the launch's crew of four
killed, but she got clear.
The destroyers had been lying off the harbour, and the
" Warwick " now picked up four motor launches, including
ML282 overloaded and full of wounded with 101 men of the
"Iphigenia" and "Intrepid." MLno (Lt.-Comm. Dawbarn
Young) had come under a heavy fire while trying to show the
blockships the way in. She was struck by three shells, which
killed or wounded half the crew and wrecked the engines. Her
captain, hit in three places and mortally wounded, gave orders
to the last, but died before reaching Dover. The " Warwick,"
" Phoebe " and " North Star " had been cruising off the mole to
screen the force from torpedo attack. The destroyer " North
Star " losing her bearings in the smoke had emerged from the
smoke screen and coming under a heavy fire was reduced to a
sinking condition. The " Phoebe " (Lt.-Comm. Hubert Gore-
Langton) attempted to tow her out, but the hawser was shot
away once, and parted another time. She was therefore aban-
doned and sunk. By 1:30 it was all over and the force was on
its way back to Dover. The " Vindictive " in terrible disarray
arrived there soon after 8 A.M. on April 23. The " Iris II.,"
limping behind her, reached home at 2:43 P.M. Her commander
had died that morning.
Meanwhile things had gone badly at Ostend. The blocking
ships " Brilliant " (Comm. Alfred ~Godsal) and " Sirius " (Lt.-
Comm. Henry Hardy), escorted by the Harwich destroyers
" Tempest " and " Tetrarch," arrived off the coast. The motor
launches under Comm. Hamilton Benn were busy laying a smoke
screen, supported by the " Faulknor " (flying Commodore
Hubert Lyne's broad pendant), " Lightfoot," " Mastiff,"
" Afridi," " Swift " and " Matchless." The wind was blowing
lightly from the N.W., but about 11:50 shifted to the S.W. and
blew back the smoke screen. The low clouds and drizzle made
visibility difficult, and the Stroom Bank buoy could not be seen
at first. Thinking that the ships were perhaps too far to the
northward, Comm. Godsal continued on his course for two
minutes, when he sighted the Stroom Bank buoy to the N.E. and
turned to pass to northward of it. It was not, however, in its
normal position (approximately i m. W.N.W. of the entrance),
but had been shifted about a mile to the eastward. Commander
Godsal steered from the buoy for the supposed direction of the
harbour. As he looked anxiously out for the pierheads at Ostend,
breakers suddenly loomed up on the starboard bow, and before
the ship could turn she was ashore. The " Sirius " behind her
grounded too. Fire had been opened from shore, and both ships
were accordingly blown up where they stranded about a mile
east of the piers. ML,2y6 (Lt. Roland Bourke) took off the
" Brilliant's " crew, while ML23 (Lt. Keith Hoare) rescued the
men from the " Sirius." A second attempt to close Ostend was
made on the night of May o-io by Comm. Alfred Godsal in the
" Vindictive " and Lt.-Comm. Hardy in the " Sappho," an old
cruiser of the same class as the " Sirius." This time there
was no preliminary bombardment but aircraft were cooperating.
Conditions seemed favourable for the attempt. The sea was
smooth, the night dark with wind from N.W., but hardly had
the ships left Dunkirk when the " Sappho " blew out a manhole
joint in her boiler and had to put back.
At 1 130 A.M. the small craft went in to lay the smoke screen.
News had previously come in that the Stroom Bank buoy had been
removed, and Lt. W. R. Slayter went in a coastal motor boat to
place a calcium flare in its old position. By i -.35 the smoke cloud
was beginning to come down, and at 1 143 the order was given
for the monitors to open fire. A roar of batteries answered from
the shore. Two coastal motor boats, CMB24 and 30, dashed
ahead and torpedoed the piers. But once again misfortune was
to attend the attempt. As the " Vindictive " approached, a
thick sea fog rolled up the coast, making it impossible to see
anything at over 300 yd. Uncertain as to his position, Comm.
Godsal steered to westward and then to eastward, and finally
gave orders to CMB23 (Lt. Hon. Cecil Spencer) to light a
million-candle flare. Though dimmed by the fog and drizzle,
its glare revealed the entrance 200 yd. off. The " Vindictive ".
steered for it and the guns found her at once. The after control
was demolished by a shell which killed everyone in it. The
bridge was swept with bullets, and Comm. Godsal ordered
everyone inside the conning tower. She was close to the eastern
pier when a heavy shell burst close to the conning tower, which
must have killed the commander for he was never seen again.
Lt. Victor Crutchley took command and tried to turn her up the
channel, but she grounded at an angle of about 25 to the pier
and lay hard and fast. Engineer Lieutenant Wm. C. Bury blew
the charges and she sank. The captain could not be found. ML-
254 (Lt. Geoff. Drummond, awarded the V.C.) came alongside
under a fierce fire. His lieutenant and deck-hand were killed and
he himself wounded in three places, but he managed to embark
39 officers and men, and then backing out of the entrance got
clear and just managed to reach the " Warwick." Day was
breaking and as the boat was badly damaged she was sunk.
ML276 (Lt. Roland Bourke, awarded the V.C.) now returned to
the " Vindictive," and after searching and shouting found
Lt. Sir John Alleyne and two men, all badly wounded, clinging
to a skiff. With three of his own crew killed or wounded
Lt. Bourke managed to get out and reach the monitor " Prince
Eugene " in safety.
This was the end of an enterprise for which no fewer than nine
V.C.s were awarded. Its casualties amounted to a total of
637 killed, wounded and missing.
Killed or died
"North Star" .
27 = 637
In judging what was achieved it is necessary to remember that
at the end of 1917 and early in 1918 the whole efforts of the navy
were directed toward one goal to counter the submarine. The
greatest losses were in the Channel where the Flanders flotilla
worked, and the blow they would have received by the blocking
of Zeebrugge and Ostend was well worth the risk. It was, how-
ever, only partially successful. Ostend, though the width of the
entrance was reduced probably to 300 ft., was not closed, and
though the ships sunk in Zeebrugge must have caused great
inconvenience and delay it may be doubted whether they
actually stopped the passage of submarines for more than a
month. The entrance was 300 ft. wide; there was still a space
of some 60 ft. between the stern of the " Iphigenia " and the
pier, and by dredging along the edge and fixing up warping
bollards it was made possible to warp submarines in and out at
high water. The enterprise had another aspect. The navy
chafed at its inactivity and looked eagerly for some outlet where
it could get at grips with its enemy. The blocking of Zeebrugge
and Ostend offered a good prospect of success and was within
a reasonable distance of it. And if it did not wholly succeed,
the work of those who took part in it sent a breath of inspira-
tion through the navy and gave all who took part in it a lasting
name. (A. C. D.)
ZEPPELIN, COUNT FERDINAND VON (1838-1917), German
airship inventor, was born at Constance, Baden, July 8 1838.
He was educated for the army and received a commission at
the age of 20. He served, as a volunteer, in the Federal army
during the American Civil War and whilst in America made
his first balloon ascent. Returning to Germany, he saw active
service in the Austrian war of 1866 and in the Franco-German
War of 1870. In 1891 he retired from the army with the rank
of general and thenceforth devoted his energies to the study of
aeronautics. In 1000 he built an airship, which rose from
the ground and remained in the air for 20 minutes, but was
wrecked in landing. In 1906 he made two successful flights at
a speed of 30 m. an hour, and in 1907 attained a speed of 36
miles. From that time onwards his airship construction made
steady progress, and the success he had achieved was evidenced
by the exploits of the Zeppelin airships in the World War. He
died at Charlottenburg March 8 1917.
ZHILINSKY, YAKOV (1853-1918), Russian general, was
born in 1853. On finishing his course at the Cavalry school in
St. Petersburg in 1876 he was given a commission in the Guards
cavalry, and in 1883 he was appointed on the general staff.
He became in 1899 commander of a dragoon regiment, and in
1000 was promoted to the rank of general. During the Spanish-
American War he was one of the foreign military attaches at
the American general headquarters. In the Japanese War
(1904-5) he was appointed chief of staff of the Viceroy of the
Far East, Adml. Alexeyev, and in 1909, when Sukhomlinov
became War Minister, Zhilinsky became head of the general
staff. At the beginning of 1914 he was appointed to command
the troops of the Warsaw military district, and on the declara-
tion of war in 1914 he became commander-in-chief of the north-
western front. After the defeat of Aug. and Sept. in eastern
Prussia inflicted on his armies (Samsonov's and Rennenkampf's)
he was recalled. In 1915 and 1916 he was the military repre-
sentative of the Russian supreme commander-in-chief at the
French headquarters. Zhilinsky was reported killed by the
Bolsheviks in 1918.
ZICHY, COUNT EUGEN (1837-1906), Hungarian traveller
(see 28.979), died in 1906.
ZIEM, FELIX FRANCOIS GEORGE PHILIBERT (1821-1911),
French painter (see 28.979), died in Paris Nov. n 1911.
ZIMMERMANN, ARTHUR (1859- ), the German Foreign
Secretary who, during the World War, conceived the idea of
trying to inveigle Mexico into an alliance against the United
States, was born May 8 1859 at Frankenstein. After having
been vice-consul at Shanghai and acting consul in 1900 at
Tientsin, he entered the Foreign Office in 1902 in a subordinate
capacity and rose by 1910 to be director of the Political Section.
In 1911 he was appointed under-secretary and in Nov. 1916
Secretary of State in succession to von Jagow. In this capacity
he addressed to America the note of Jan. 31 1917 on the subject
of U-boat warfare. He was also the author of the extraordinary
invitation of Jan. 19 1917 to Mexico to enter into an alliance with
Germany and to sound Japan as to her willingness to cooperate.