Robert L. Drake.

The Boy Allies with the Victorious Fleets The Fall of the German Navy online

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"But, father - " began the boy.

"I'll attend to you later," said the father, "not that I'll have need to,
probably, for the Germans will attend to both of us. What ails you,
anyhow? Don't you know that the Germans eventually will be masters of the
world? If we stand in with them, it may help."

"The Germans will never be masters of the world," said Jack. "You are
laboring under a delusion, Cutlip. Your son is a brave boy. Not only did
he warn us of the presence of a German submarine off the coast, but he
rendered such other assistance that the entire crew has been either killed
or captured."

Cutlip showed his surprise.

"You can't mean it!" he exclaimed. "Why, how could you overcome them. They
are supermen. Ever since the war started I have been reading about them.
They are wonderful fighters - marvelous."

"Your trouble, Cutlip," said Frank, "is that you have read too much about
them. I know that the country has been flooded with German propaganda, but
I'd no idea it had affected anyone like that."

"But - " Cutlip began.

Jack silenced him with a gesture.

"You'll have to change all your ideas now, Cutlip," he said. "You see that
the German is not a superman. We have beaten them. Besides, your country
is at war with Germany. Only a traitor, or a coward, would refuse to help
his country."

Cutlip seemed a bit startled.

"I guess that's true," he said at last. "Yes, I guess you're right."

"You and your son had better remain aboard until morning," Jack continued.
"We'll put you both ashore then."

"Jack," said Frank at this point, "don't you think we should make an
effort to destroy the submarine before we go?"

"By George! We certainly should," declared Jack. "That had slipped my mind
for the moment. We'll have one of the captured officers up and see if he
will reveal its hiding place."

One of the Germans - a petty officer - entered the cabin a moment later in
response to Jack's summons. Jack explained briefly what he wanted.

"Tell you? Of course I won't tell you," said the young officer. "Why
should I? Do you think I am a traitor to my country, or a coward?"

Jack shrugged.

"I was just offering the opportunity," he said.

The officer was removed and one of the men brought in. Jack quizzed him
with no better results. One after another the unwounded men were
questioned, but none would reveal the location of the submarine.

"Looks like we would have to find it ourselves," said Jack at length.
"There is no use questioning any of the others. They won't tell."

Assistance came from an unexpected source.

"Maybe I can help out a bit," said the elder Cutlip quietly.

Jack, Frank and Lieutenant Hetherton looked at him in surprise.

"You mean that you know and will tell?" asked Frank.

"I do. You have made my duty plain to me. No longer am I afraid of the

"How do you come to know this hiding place?" asked Jack.

"I discovered it to-day by accident. I was standing some distance back on
shore when I saw the vessel lying on the water."

"How far from here?"

"Just the other side of the reef."

Jack whistled.

"By Jove! We came awfully close," he said.

"You did indeed," said Cutlip. "But for the reef you must have been
discovered. Fortunately, it is very high."

"I suppose the U-Boat is on the surface at this moment," Frank

"Most likely," Hetherton agreed. "A small crew has probably been left on
board, and they more than likely are awaiting the return of their

"Strange they didn't hear the firing," said Frank.

"Not at all," said Jack. "I heard none of it here."

"The wind was blowing the wrong way," Hetherton explained.

"That must be the answer," Frank admitted. "Well, Jack, what do you say?
Shall we make an effort to get the boat to-night?" Jack hesitated.

"We may as well," he said at last. "Of course it will have to be taken
from the land, for we can't work the destroyer around the reef in the
darkness. Even if we got around safely, we should be discovered."

"Right," said Frank. "Then let's be moving. I take it, however, we will
need boats to reach the submarine."

"Our prisoners probably have left all the boats we need," Jack returned.

"That's so," said Frank. "Funny I didn't think of that. Will you be our
guide, Cutlip?"

"Glad to be," was the reply. "I want to redeem myself in some way."

"Let's be moving, then," said Frank, starting for the door.

"Hold on," said Jack "We've got to take a force with us, you know. Mr.
Hetherton, I'm going to leave you in command of the ship this time. I
shall command the shore party."

Lieutenant Hetherton's face fell, but all he said was:

"Very well, sir."

"In the meantime," said Jack, "pick fifty men and set them ashore. We'll
be there directly."

Lieutenant Hetherton saluted and left the cabin.

Half an hour later Jack led his men around the reef. There, a scant
hundred yards from shore, lay the submarine. The little party moved
silently to the edge of the water, and as silently embarked in the half a
dozen small boats they found there.

"Push off!" Jack commanded in a whisper.

Now young Cutlip had been left behind, but the father had elected to go
with the men in the boats. So earnest was his plea that Jack did not have
the heart to refuse him.

A dim light showed on the bow of the submarine as the little flotilla
approached; and then so suddenly that the night appeared to be lighted up
by magic, a flare of white made the boats approaching the submarine as
plain as day.

The submarine's searchlight had been turned on them.

"Down men," cried Jack.

The men, or those of them who were not needed at the oars, dropped to the
bottom of the boats. But the distance was so close that those on board
were able to make out the fact that the boats approaching were not filled
with their own men.

"Americans!" was the cry that carried across the water. "Man the forward
gun there!"

"Fire, men!" cried Jack in a loud voice. "Sweep the deck with your rifles.
Don't let 'em bring that gun to bear."

There was a crash of rifles as Jack's command was obeyed. Nevertheless the
Germans succeeded in training their rapid-firer, and it crashed out a
moment later. A veritable hail of bullets flew over Jack's men.

At a quick command from the lads, the boats drew farther apart, thus
making the task of the enemy more difficult. Then they closed in on the
submarine from both sides.

Harsh German cries and imprecations were wafted to the ears of the British
as the boats drew closer.

"Submerge!" shouted a voice.

"Quick, or we shall be too late," Jack roared.

The men at the oars exerted themselves to further efforts. Then Jack
caught another cry from the submarine.

"We can't submerge. The tanks are still broken."

"Good!" said Jack to himself. "Now I see what the trouble is. Faster," he
cried to his men.

"Quick," came a voice from the submarine, "we cannot let the ship fall
into the hands of the accursed Yankees. The fuse, man."

Jack understood this well enough. He raised his voice in a shout:

"Cease rowing!"

Frank's voice repeated the command and the little flotilla advanced no

"Put about and make for shore," shouted Jack. "Quick."

The order was obeyed without question, and it was well that it was. Hardly
had the boats reached the shore when there was a terrific explosion, and
the water kicked up an angry geyser.

"And that," said Jack calmly, "is the end of the submarine. They've blown
her up - and themselves with her!"



Early the following morning the Essex slipped from her little harbor and
put to sea. Cutlip and his son, who had been put ashore shortly before the
departure, stood at the edge of the water and waved farewell. Following
the father's conversion, he and his son seemed to be closer than before,
and they went away happily together.

Jack descended to the radio room.

"Get the Dakota for me," he instructed the operator.

"Dakota! Dakota!" flashed the wireless.

Ten minutes later the answer came.

"Destroyer Essex," flashed the operator again, following Jack's direction.
"Submarine reported to me yesterday destroyed. Crew either killed or

"Fine work, Templeton," was the reply flashed back a few moments later.

"I'm awaiting instructions," Jack flashed.

"Proceed to Newport News," came the answer, "and report in person to
Secretary of the Navy."

"O.K." flashed the operator.

Jack went to the bridge, where Frank was on watch.

"Well, old fellow," said Jack, "I guess our present cruise is ended."

"How's that?" asked Frank.

"We're ordered back to Newport News, and I must report to Secretary

"And after that, England again, I suppose?"

"I suppose so."

"Too bad," said Frank, "I would like to have had time to go to New York
and Boston to see my father. He could have met me at either place."

"You'll see him when the war's over, I guess," said Jack, "and to my mind
that will be before long now."

"Think so?" asked Frank. "Why?"

"Well, take for example the submarine raid off the American coast. It
looks to me like the dying gasp of a conquered foe. They must be nearing
the end of their rope to tackle such a problem."

"And still they have had some success," said Frank.

"True. But not much after all. What is the total tonnage destroyed in
comparison with the tonnage still sailing the seas unharmed?"

"There's something in that," Frank agreed. "But I can't say that I'm of
your opinion."

"Personally," declared Jack, "I believe that the war will be over before

"I hope so. But I can't be as optimistic as you are."

The run to Newport News was made without incident and the Essex dropped
anchor close to the spot where she had been stationed before.

She was greeted with wild cheers, for news of her success had preceded her
to the little Virginia city. Jack and his officers and men were hailed
with acclaim when they went ashore.

"Want to go to Washington with me, Frank?" asked Jack.

"That's a foolish question," was Frank's reply. "Of course I want to go."

"All right. Then we'll catch the ten o'clock train this morning. That will
put us in the capital some time before five."

"Suits me," declared Frank.

This program was carried out. Arrived again in the capital of the nation,
the lads went straight to the Raleigh hotel, where they got in touch with
the British ambassador.

"I've been hearing good reports about you, Captain," said the ambassador's
voice over the telephone.

"We were a bit lucky, sir, that is all," replied Jack deprecatingly.

"Nevertheless," said the ambassador, "Secretary Daniels wishes to thank
you in person, as does the President. I shall call for you within the

"Very well, sir."

Jack hung up the 'phone.

The ambassador was as good as his word. He arrived less than an hour later
and the lads accompanied him to the Navy Department, where they were
ushered into the presence of the Secretary of the Navy at once.

Secretary Daniels shook hands with both of the lads.

"You deserve the thanks of the whole nation for your gallant work," he
said. "I am instructed to take you to the President."

Jack and Frank flushed with pleasure, but there was nothing either could
say. From the Navy Department, the lads were escorted to the White House
immediately across the street, where President Wilson was found in his
office. The President was reached with little ceremony, and Secretary
Daniels himself made the introduction.

"So," said the President, "these are the young officers who commanded the
British destroyer Essex, which accounted for two of the enemy's
submarines? They look rather young for such important posts." He gazed
closely at Frank. "Surely," he said finally, "surely you are an American."

"Yes, sir," said Frank. "Born in Massachusetts, sir."

"Chadwick," mused the President. "Not, by any chance, related to Dr.
Chadwick, of Woburn."

"He is my father, sir."

The President seemed surprised.

"But I didn't know my old friend Chadwick had a son of your age," he said.

"Well, he has, sir," replied Frank with a smile.

"But how do you happen to be in the British service?"

Frank explained briefly.

"You have certainly seen excitement," said the President. "I am glad to
have seen you. Give my regards to your father when you see him. I am glad
to have met you, too, Captain," and the President shook hands with Jack.
"I hope to have the pleasure of meeting you both again some day."

The lads understood by this that the interview was ended. They followed
Secretary Daniels and the British ambassador back to the former's office,
where the latter handed Jack a paper.

"Cable from the British Admiral, I judge," he said.

Jack read the message.

"You are right, sir," he said. "We are ordered to home waters whenever you
are through with us, sir."

"I judged as much," said the Secretary, "which is the reason I had Admiral
Sellings order you to report to me. You are at liberty to return whenever
you please, sir. But first let me thank you for your services in the name
of the American people."

"Thank you, sir," said Jack, and saluted stiffly.

The lads now took their leave. The ambassador insisted on their going home
with him to dinner.

"But we should get back to our ship at once, sir," Jack demurred.

"Never mind," said the ambassador, "I'll take the responsibility of
holding you over an extra day."

So Jack and Frank dined with the ambassador, and took a late train to
Richmond, where they changed early in the morning for Newport News. When
they boarded the Essex later in the day they found in Jack's cabin the
commandant of Fortress Monroe, who, having learned that the Essex would
soon depart for home, had come to pay his respects while he yet had time.

"I want to tell you," he said to Jack, "that the Essex has made quite a
name for herself among my men."

"I'm glad to hear that, sir," declared Jack.

"The men are only sorry, and naturally," continued the commandant, "that
she was not manned by an American crew."

"Naturally, as you say, sir," Jack agreed. "Yet my first officer is an

The Commandant glanced at Frank.

"Can that be true?" he asked.

Frank smiled.

"It's true enough, sir," he said. "Yes, I'm a native of the Bay state and
am in the British service merely as the result of an accident."

He explained.

"Well," said the Commandant, 'I'm glad of it. I'll have something to tell
my officers and men that will make them proud. I hope that the next time
either of you find yourselves in these parts you will look me up."

"Thank you, sir. We certainly shall," said Jack.

The Commandant took his departure.

"And now," said Jack, "for England."

First, Jack made a personal tour of inspection of the destroyer. Finding
everything ship-shape, the crew was piped to quarters and Jack rang for
half speed ahead.

A crowd had gathered at the water's edge and the Essex was speeded on her
way by cheering and waving thousands. It was a touching scene, and Jack
was very proud.

"A great country," he confided to Frank, as the vessel moved slowly out
into the Roads. "A great country. I am glad to have seen it again, and I
hope to come back some day."

"Oh, you'll come back," said Frank. "You'll come back when the war's over,
to visit me."

"I certainly will," Jack declared.

The fortifications of Fortress Monroe now loomed ahead.

"I suppose the Commandant is somewhere about to wish us God-speed," Frank

The lad was right. And he did it in imposing manner.

The boom of a great gun was heard. This was followed by the roar of many
more; and the rumble continued as the Essex drew near, was louder as she
breasted the fort and continued as the ship passed on. Jack ordered a
reply to the salute from the forward guns, and for the space of several
minutes, the very sea seemed to tremble.

Then the Essex gathered speed and plowed ahead.

"Quite an ovation," said Frank, as he and Jack descended to the latter's
cabin, leaving Lieutenant Hetherton on the bridge.

"It was, indeed. Yes, as I said before, it's a great country. You should
be proud to be a native of it."

"I am," said Frank simply.



Following the return of the Essex to English waters, Jack reported at once
to Lord Hastings in Dover.

"I hear great things of you boys," said Lord Hastings. "Great things

"We were a bit fortunate, sir," Jack admitted.

"It was more than good fortune," declared Lord Hastings. "But it's nothing
more than I expected of you both."

They conversed about various matters for some minutes. Then Jack asked:

"And what is in store for us now, sir?"

"You will report to Admiral Beatty," said Lord Hastings. "The Essex will
be assigned to duty with the Grand Fleet in the North Sea. Patrol work,
mostly. There is little likelihood that the Germans will make another
effort, but the sea must be patrolled, nevertheless."

"When do we report, sir?"

"At once. You will weigh anchor in the morning. Admiral Beatty's flagship
is somewhere off the coast of Belgium."

"Very well, sir," said Jack, and departed.

The next day the Essex left Dover. Fifty miles out, Jack picked up the
flagship by wireless and received his instructions.

Days lengthened into weeks now and weeks into months and the Essex was
still patrolling the North Sea with others of the Grand Fleet - composed
besides British vessels of an American squadron in command of Vice-Admiral
Sims. August passed and September came and still the Germans failed to
venture from their fortress of Helgoland and offer battle to the allies.

The work became monotonous. Occasionally, the Essex put back to port for
several days to replenish her bunkers and to take on provisions. At such
times Jack and Frank usually went ashore for short periods, and the crew,
portions at a time, were granted shore leave.

It was upon the last day of September that great news reached the
fleet - news that indicated that the war was nearing its end and that now,
if ever, the German fleet might venture from its hiding place and risk an

Bulgaria had broken with Germany and sued for a separate peace.

Several days later came the news that an armistice had been signed and
that Bulgaria had ordered all German and Austrian troops to leave her
boundaries. King Ferdinand abdicated in favor of his eldest son, Boris,
who immediately ordered the demobilization of the Bulgarian armies.

"Turkey will come next, mark my words," declared Frank as he and Jack
stood on the bridge, looking off across the broad expanse of the North

"Most likely," Jack agreed; "and after Turkey, Austria. That will leave
Germany to fight the world by herself."

"She'll never attempt that," Frank declared. "The minute she sees her last
chance gone, she'll squeal for help, the same as a hog. It's not in a
German to take a licking, you know. He begins to show, yellow when the
game goes against him."

"Perfectly true," said Jack, with a nod. "Now, it strikes me that Germany,
facing the problem of fighting it out alone - for she must see that
Bulgaria's action will soon be followed by her other allies - may send out
her fleet for a grand blow."

Frank shook his head.

"Not a chance," he said.

"But," said Jack, "it has been the opinion of war critics and experts
right along that Germany was saving her fleet for the final effort when
all other means had failed."

"I don't care what the experts think," declared Frank, "I don't think the
Germans will dare risk an engagement. In the first place, it would be
suicidal - she would have everything to lose and nothing to gain. Don't
fret. The German naval authorities know just as well as we do what would
happen to the German fleet should it issue from Helgoland."

"Maybe you're right," said Jack, "but in the enemy's place, I wouldn't
give up without a final effort."

"That's just it," Frank explained. "You wouldn't, and neither would I.
Neither, for that matter, would any British or American officer, nor
French. But the German is of different caliber. He doesn't fight half as
well when he knows the odds are against him. No, I believe that the German
fleet will be virtually intact when the war ends."

"Then we'll take it away from them," declared Jack.

"I'm sure I hope so. It would be dangerous to the future peace of the
world to allow the Germans to keep their vessels."

"Well," said Jack, "you can talk all you please, but you can't convince me
our work is over - not until peace has been declared - or an armistice
signed, or something."

"I agree with you there. There will be plenty of work for us right up to
the last minute."

As it developed the lads were right.

"It was shortly after midnight when Jack was aroused by the third officer.

"Message from Admiral Beatty, sir," said the third officer, and passed
Jack a slip of paper.

Jack read the message, which had been hastily scribbled off by the radio

"German squadron of six vessels reported to have left Helgoland and to be
headed for the coast of Scotland," the message read. "Proceed to intercept
them at full speed. Other vessels being notified."

Jack sprang into his clothes, meanwhile having Frank summoned from his
cabin. Frank dashed into Jack's cabin, clothes in hand.

"What's up?" he demanded.

"Germans headed for the Scottish coast," replied Jack briefly, and dashed
out of the door.

Frank followed him a few moments later. Jack was standing on the bridge
giving orders hastily.

"Have a look at the engine room, Frank," said Jack, "and tell the engineer
to crowd on all possible steam. We'll have need of speed this trip, or I
miss my guess."

Frank obeyed.

The Essex, which had been proceeding east by south at a leisurely pace,
had come about now and was dashing due north at top speed. Jack himself
shaped the course and gave the necessary instructions to the helmsman.

Below in the radio room, the wireless began to clatter. The operator, from
time to time, was getting into touch with other vessels of the Grand Fleet
ordered north to intercept the German raiders.

First he received a flash from the Lion; then the Brewster replied, and
after her, the Tiger, Southampton, Falcon, White Hawk and Peerless.
Counting the Essex this made eight ships speeding northward to intercept
the enemy.

"I take it," said Jack, "that this is about the last blow the enemy will
attempt to deliver. The Germans, knowing they are beaten, are intent now
only upon doing what damage they can while there is yet time. This raid, I
suppose, they figure will throw a scare into the coast cities, as similar
raids did earlier in the war. However, they'll have a surprise this time,
for all the coast ports are fortified now. There will be guns there to
stand them off until we get there."

"Let's hope we get there in time," muttered Frank. "I'd like one more
crack at the enemy. I'm afraid they are going to get off too easily when
peace comes."

"We've got to get there in time," declared Jack.

From time to time the radio operator sent reports to Jack giving the
positions of other vessels rushing to the defense of the coast ports.

"We'll get there first, at this rate," said Jack. "We're closer than the

"But we're no match for the enemy single-handed," declared Frank. "Chances
are that the German squadron is composed mostly of battleships."

"True enough," Jack admitted, "but we'll do what damage we can. The
Tiger, Lion, White Hawk, Falcon and Peerless are warships, you know.
They'll be more than enough for the foe."

"Yes; but we may be at the bottom of the sea by that time."

"Don't worry. We'll hold our own until assistance arrives."

Jack made a rapid calculation.

"If we had any idea of the approximate position of the enemy at this time,
we would know better how to go about our work," he said.

"You might call the enemy and find out?" said Frank with a grin.

"Don't be funny, Frank," said Jack severely. "This is no time for levity."

Came a cry from the lookout.

"Battle squadron off the port bow, sir!"

Jack clapped his glass to his eye.

The ships were too far distant and the night was too dark, however, to
permit him to ascertain the identity of the approaching vessels.

"May be the enemy, Jack," said Frank.

"Right," Jack agreed.

A shrill whistle rang out on the Essex.

This was the answer to Jack's order to pipe the crew to quarters.

"Clear ship for action!" was Jack's next command.

"If it is the enemy," he confided to Frank, "we'll try and keep him

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Online LibraryRobert L. DrakeThe Boy Allies with the Victorious Fleets The Fall of the German Navy → online text (page 9 of 12)