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K 1897 







IN 1897 




IN 1897 



Second Edition 



95, MiMOBiES, RC. 


[An Si^U Baerred] 





Gbhebal Lord Roberts, V.C, on reading this foreeost of the 
Coining War, wrote as follows : — 

Grove Pu-k, EiDgaburjr, 
liydleaei:, H&rch SB, IgBt. 
Dkab Sir, — I entirelf coDcnr with jou in tbinlciiig it most dednble 
to bring borne to tbe British public in evEry possible wkj tbe d&ngets 
to whicb the natioo is espoaec, aalesa it muntains a Narj &nd Armjr 
safficieatly stTonB and well organised to meet the defensive toqiiirement* 
of the Empire.— BelieTB me, joiire faithfully, 


Field-Marshal Viscount Wolseley, KP., in his Lift of 
MaTlborough, speal^ plainly when he says — 

The lost battle foaght in EuaUnd vta foaght to Mcore Junes hi< 
crown. If throogh tbe follj uid parsimon; of oiir people we should 
aver tee snotber, it wiU be fought m defence of London, The struggle 
will be, not for ft dnuuty, but for our own veiy existence ■ 
independent nation. Are we prepared to mei 
Tes ; the soldier ftnd tbe sailor say No. 

c politician aa^'B 

Such outspoken exprefisions of opinion from two of our 
chief military authorities should cause the British puhlic to 
pause and reflect Ou all hands it is admitted by both naval 
and military experts, that, notwithstanding the increase of our 

Navy by the Spencer programme, our country is inadequately 
defend^ and totally unprepared for war. The extraordinary 

C reparations now going forward in France and Russia are 
eing made in view of au attack upon England, and it is 
ominous that the downfall of our Empire is a perpetual eubjeet 
of discussion in the Paris press. Although a Briton, I have lived 
long enough in France to kuow that the French, while hating 
the Germans, despiae the English, and are looking forward 
to a day not far hence when their battleships will bombard 
our south coast towns, and their legions advance over the 
Surrey Hills to London. When the Great War does come, it 
will come swiftly, and without warning, ^ye are accustomed 
to scoff at the idea of an invasion of Britain. We feel secure 
in our sea-girt island home ; we have confidence in our bravja 
sailor defenders, in our gallant Army, and our enthusiastic 
Volunteers, and we eutertaiu a supreme contempt for " mere 
foreigners." It is this national ^otism, this insular conviction 
that foreign engines of war are inferior to our own, that may 
cause our ruin. Everything we possess, everything we hold 
dear, our position among nations, out very life, depends for its 
safety, firstly, upon the undoubted predominance of our Navy 
over any likely or possible combination of the Navies of 
Continental Powers ; and, seconEJly, upon an Army properly 
equipped and ready to take the field on rewipt of the 
momentous word " Mobilise" I 

Is our Navy, even strengthened by the recent programme, 
in a sufficiently efficient state to retain the supremacy of the 
seas ? Let us face the situation boldly, and allow a well-known 
and distinguished officer to reply to that question. Admiral of 
I the Fleet Sir Thomas Symonds, G.C.B., writing to me, says— 


Our weak Narj, with iU incflii'ieiit ptrtonnel, bu i 
■n eoonnaualy iDcreoaed duty, Buch as defending increasad 
food, and coals. Our guns are the vorsC in tlie woild iu forty-aevFti 
Teasels, mountiog 350 niuzKleloader?, whero the French and all fori^igii 
Navies use oiil;/ brtuhtoadcre. DimenaionB, eipenae, and very many 
other reasons are given for tliia ruinous custom, but all other Navies 
it breoubloaders on vcssuls of the same dimensions as uur own. 
Ab to ei[>enses, Burh economy (so called) means the luoat execrable 
imrsiinony — to nithloaaly murder men and disj^aw our (lag and Navy. 

Our rortj-sertD Teeble Tesaeb, weak in anuAiuent, and all compoein]! 
Ihcm, n-dur« onr Har; to compuntive iDsigDiGcBoce, and are a prvpara- 
tiun For HtsgniM and rain irhm at war. 

nr HtsgniM and 

Yet we are content to sit iilly by, cunGilent iii a atrau^li 
which two foreign Powers ate slowly but surely underniinin<; ! 
Busaia and France, both barely able to sustain their gigantic 
Armies, are to-day straining every nerve to enlarge their naval 
forces, preparatory to a swift descent upon our shores. This 
alarming fact we wilfully disregard, aSectiug to find humour in 
the Franco-Muscovite preparations. Thus, unless we maintain 
a Navy of sufhcieut strength to prevent invasion, War, with 
its attendant horrors, ia inevitable, and the scene of battle will 
be England's smiling Relds. 

Turning to our Army, what do we iind f Even the civilian 
writer who studies it is amn&'d at the muddle of insufficiency 
in which it is steeped. Our Home Defence Scheme is a ver>' 
elaborate paper problem, but as our forces have never been 
mobilised, its many glaring defects must, alas! remain un- 
remedied until our highways echo to the ti'amp of an enemy. 
Upon this ptiiut a volume might be written, but a few plain 
facta must suffice. Military experts will, I think, agree when 
I assert that the 2nd Corps, as platiued by this grotestiue 
scheme, does not and fannot exist ; and while the 3rd Corps 
may possibly stand as regards infantry, because its infantry 
are all MOilia, yet it will have neither Regular cavalry nor 
guns. Every one of the staffs is a myth, and the equipment 
and commissariat arrangements are a complete guarantee of 
collapse at the outset of mobilisation. What, for instance, 
can be said of a system in which one unit of the 3rd 
Cavalry Brigade " mobilises," and obtains its "pereonal" and 
part of its " regimental " equipment at Plymouth ; the other 
part of its regimental paraphernalia, including munitions, at 
Aldcrahot ; and its horses — at Dublin ? Practically, half our 
cavalry at home are to-day, however, incapable of mobilisation, 
for, according to the latest return available, I find that over 
six thousand cavalry men have no horses ! Again, the Volun- 
teers, upon whom we must depend for the defence of Loudon, 

have no transport, and the ammunition columns for tlie 3rd 
Army Corps and the Regular cavalry do not exist. Sucli 
Bta^ering deficits as are in themselves sufficient to show 
liow critical would be our position if England were invaded, and 
in order to give an adequate idea of what we may expect during 
thflt reign of terror, I have penned the narrative which follows. 
Some, no doubt, believe that our enemies will treat us with more 
mercy than I have shown, but I firmly anticipate that in the 
desperate struggle for the supremacy of the world, towns will be 
bombarded and international law set at naught where our 
invaders see a chance of success. Consequently, the ruin 
must be widespread, and the loss of life enormous. 

In the various strategical and tactical problems invoh-ed. I 
have received assistance from a number of well-known naval 
and military officers on the active list, whose names I am, 
however, not at liberty to divulge. Suffice it to say that, in 
addition to personally going over the whole of the ground where 
battles are fought, I have also obtained information from certain 
official documents not made public, and ha\'B endeavoured to 
bring this forecast up to date by introducing the latest inven- 
tions in guns, and showing the relative strength of Navies as 
they will appear in 1897. In this latter I have been compelled 
to beiStow names upon many ships now building. 

To Lieut. J. G. Stevens, 17th V.B. Middlesex Regiment, 
who supplied me with many facts regarding the Volunteers ; 
to Mr. Alfred C. Harrasworth, F.B.Gr.S., whose suggestion 
prompted me to write this narrative; and to Mr. Harold 
Hannsworth, who on several occasions assisted me, I hereby 
acknowledge my thanks. While many readers will no doubt 
regard this book chiefly as an exciting piece of fiction, I trust 
that no small proportion will perceive the important lesson 
underlying it, for the French are laughing at us, the Russians 
presume to imitate us, and the Day of Reckoning is hourly 

Frikcb or Wales's Clcb, 

CovESTHY Street, W. 











■r '•^m 




S3UU. "THB DEMOS OF Will" . 









LN 1897. 



LR 1 War in JCngland t 

Growled by thoughtful, swni-viaaged meu, 
gasped with bated breath by pale-faced, terri- 
fied womeu, the startling oews passed quickly 
round the Avenue Theatre from gallery to 
boxes. The crisis was swift, complete, crush- 
ing. Actors and audience were appalled. 

Though it was a gay comic opera that was being performed 
for the first time, euterCainers and entertained lost all interest 
in each other. They were amazed, dismayed, awestrickea 
Amusement was nauseating; War, with all ite attendant 
horrors, was actually upon them ! The popular tenor, one of 
the idols of the hour, blundered over his lines and sang terribly 
out of tune, but the hypercritical first-night audience passed 
the defect unnoticed. They only thought of what might 
happen ; of the dark cavernous future that lay before. 

14 The Great War in England in 1S97 

War had been declared against Britain — Britain, the 
Empire that had so long rested in placid sea-girt security, 
confident of immunity from attack, waa to be invaded ! The 
assertion seemed preposterous. 

Some, after reading eagerly the newspapers still damp from 
the press, smiled incredulously, half inclined to regard the 
atartling intelligence as a mei'e fabrication by alarniiats, or a 
perfected phase of the periodical war-scare which sensational 
journalists annually launch upon the world during what is 
technically known as the " gooseberry " season. 

Other readers, however, recollecting the grave political 
crises on the Coutinent, set their teeth firmly, silent and dum- 
founderl. Upon niauy merchants and City men the news 
fell like a thunderbolt, for financial ruin at-iired them in the 

Evidently a desperate attempt would be made by the 
enemy to land on English soil. Already the startled play- 
goers could liear in their excited imagination the clash of arms 
mingling.with the triumphant yell of the victor, and the stifled, 
despairing cry of the hapless victim. But who, they wondered, 
wonld be the victim ? Would Britannia ever fall to the dust 
with broken trident and shattered shield ? Would her neck 
ever He under the heel of the foreign invader ? No, never— 
while Britons could fight 

The theatre, in its garish blaze of electricity, and crowded 
with well-dressed men and women, prescTited a brilliant 
appearance, which had suddenly become strangely incongruous 
with the feelings of the audience. In the boxes, where 
youth and beauty smiled, the bouquets which had been pro- 
vided by the management gave to the theatre a bright, 
artistic touch of colour. Yet the pungent odour they dif- 
fused had become sickening. Intermingled with other flowers 
there were many tuberoses. They are funereal blossoms, 
ineffably emblematic of the grave. Tliere is death in their 

When the astounding news fell upon the house the per- 
formance was drawing to a close. A moment before, every one 

had been silent mid motionless, listeniDg n'ith rapt alteution to 
tJie tenor's plaintive love song, and admiring the grace of the 
fair heroine, hut as the terrible truth dawned upon them they 
roae, amid a scene of the wildest excitement The few papers 
that had been purchased at fahuloua prices at the doors were 
eagerly scanned, many of the sheets being torn into shreds in 
the mad struggle to catch a glimpse of the alarming telegrams 
they contained. For a few moments the agitation nearly 
approached a panic, while above the hum and din the hoarse, 
strident voices of running newsmen could be heard outside, 
yelling, " War declared against England I Expected landing of 
the enemy ! Kxtrur-speshal !" 

There was a hidden terror in the word " Wat " that at first 
held the amazed playgoers breathless and thoughtful. Never 
before had its s^ifieance appeared so grim, so fatal, so fraught 
with appalling consequences. 

War had been actually declared I There whs no averting it ! 
It was a stem reality. 

No adroit diplomatic negotiations could stem the advan- 
cing hordes of foreign invaders ; Ministers and ambassadors 
were as useless pawns, for two great nations had had 
the audacity to combine in the projected attack upon Great 

It seemed incredible, impossible. True, a Great War had 
long been predicted, forecasts had been given of coming con- 
flicts, and European nations had for years been gradually 
strengthening their armies and perfecting their engines 
of war, in the expectation of being phinged into hostilities. 
Modern improvements in arms and ammunition had so 
altered the conditions of war, that there had long been a 
feeling of insecurity even among those Powers who, a few 
years before, had felt themselves strong enough to resist 
any attack, however violent. War-scares had been plentiful, 
crises in France, Germany, and Russia of frequent occurrence ; 
still, Qo one dreamed that Moloch was in Uieir midst — that 
tlie Great War, so long foreshadowed, had in reality com- 

TsE Ga£AT Wam tx EsicLun> a 1897 

•M«n llMt dM MiaMv te «_ _ 
jwUhrtfafcatfeiliwiMiMiM umn>- 

MMa far B 4mU« Mdi««M •( B«ii« ■« hxriH b 

- • M> te fan>7miL B> llMmfm « h 

., I, m4 w aawli that rrman ariO JMMiiifiiWiT Mnpl^ witk IW 

M «( lb alMMM ilfMd by PPMdot Onaat •■ F<fan»T SSrd, ISSS.- 

itf t— iiilri, to Ui ■• 
mIMm toiBfarm 

» tlsta «(nr vith 


wiWj^ Ut AniiM nd Vttj oidcn b> a»Ma>» U 

Thb dMilanttaa Im% w doul^ htm eoUtemfibttA bj 
■Ml far Mt«nl dajr^ Dnriac tu p«t mA A* Ooud 
Mm Iwd priTAto BpJfawM of tS* IW, ud uaii 4ftcr 11 i 
Imi laterrte* witfc M, d« 0U» at tbe MinirtiT of Foragn AEun. Il b 
HBMntood that OmmmI VmiwvsU. Itinuter of Ww, wu aln present. 

Vo on«Ul iwtM«tlaB of tiM D«dj>nUoD of War hai been giTeo to the Brittab 
Junimmaior. TkU lua ai ftii eonridatabla mprue. 

1 liU aubJacU, 1 
In Ibla ilixiiimtint Ui« Taar layii— 

" Oiir ralllitiil ami MitvM (ttbJoeU know the strong interest wbicb ire hava 
taiuHJUttiy fnlt In tit* (ImIIiiIim of our Kninlro, Oar dean Tor the pacificatiou 
«l inir WHMni frontiar liaa fxta ihanii] by the wbole Bngsiao nalion, which 
Duw *huw* llavlf raad/ to bear Treah aaorifloca to alleriat« the postion oT thoao 
ufil'raaawl by Diltlnh nile. Tho blood and jiroperty of oar faithfu] subjects 
liara ■!*■*« baan ilmr In m, and our whole rcign ntUata our oonatuit Bolicitude 

« iia ilurlliit Iha [l''iilnnibl« 
AuairD' 1luri|ury. aii'l Itrmitla, 
ail I al Jura II on In tin {loaltloii of our yno^iU 


vetco. T 

ita which DccuiTed r 
Our olyect, before all, 
' the frontier by 

mtly il 


n eoncert with the great Eurojimn Powera, otir Mies and 
HarinK, howcvc^r, rihaiiated our padfio eETorta, ve are compelled by 
Atf obatinilcf of Great Britaia to proceed to mora decimTe 4cta. A 
■ equity and of our oira digni^ enjoint it. By her leci^nt &cU Great 
HpUoea us under the necessi^ of having recourse to nnna. Pmronudlj 
Ekd of the justice of our cause, we make known to diif Faithful subjects 
n declare war against Great Britain. In now invoking a blesaiiig upou 
'e give the order for an invasion of Engltind." 
IS ejrittd the greatest entliustosm. Tlie news has spread 
Uly, and dense crowds hare assembled in the Nevskt, the Izak Plati, and 
the English Quay, wliere the posters are Iniiig exhibited, 
t .^ The British Anibnssador has not j'et received any cominunicstion from the 
^ periaJ GoTernmenl. 

Foil tain ebleau, Aug. Hlh, 4.3D f.m. 
I'resident Casimir-Perier has «y L-ived a teIe;.Tam from the Connt de Hante- 
^illo at St. Petersburg, stating that Ru»ia has declared war against Great 
.Britain. The President left immediataly for Paris by special train. 

Paris, Avg.Uth, 4. SO P.M. 
' An astounding piece of intelligence baa tbis afterooou been received at the 
"'Uiniatry of Foreign Aflaini. Il is nu less tban a Declaration of War by Kussta 

r' ist Britain. Tlie telegram eoiiliiiiiiug the announcement was received at 
Mititslry from the French AmbuHiador at St. Petersliurg aoon Bfter three 
* o'clock. The President was at once informed, and Ilia Cafabet immediately 
> raiumoned. A meeting is now being held for (he puruse of deciding npoD the 
I course to be putsaKl with regard to the oblipationa of France contracted by thb 
I Treaty ot Alliance made after the Cronstadt incident in 1891. The news of 
impending hostilities has just been published in a special edition of the Soir, 
and hat created the wildest excitement ou the Boulevards. Little doubt is 
entertained that France will join the inradinit forcea, and the result of the 
ddilientions of the Cabinet is auiiooslj awaited. Freaident Caaimir-Parier haa 
ratamed from Fonntainebleau. 


(Bt Telefbosb t 

1 DaL2IEL'9 Agbkct.] 

The meeting of the Cabiaet has jnst coocludcd. It has heen resolved that 
Fmnee shall unreservedly lender assistance to Bussui. There is great activity 
at the War Office, and trooj^H are already being ordered on active service. The 
eicitemcnt iti the streets is mcreasing. 

[Eeutek's Telbcbams.] 

Berlin, Aug, Jilh, S.30 p.m. 
Telegrams received here from St Peterabnrg report that Bussi* has bd- 
elpectedly declared war against Great Britain, and Called Upon France to aid 
her in a combined attack. The report is scarcely credited here, and further 
details are being eagerly awaited. The Emperor, who was to have left for 
Bremen this aftemoon. has abandoned Mb journey, and is now in consultation 
with Count von Caprivi. 


i8 The Great War in England in 1897 

Christiansand, Aug. 14/A, 7.30 p.m. 
The French Channel Squadron, which has been manoeuvring for the past 
fortnight off the western coast of Norway, anchored outside the fjord here last 
nights This morning, according to rumour, the Bus<tian Squadron arrived 
siiddenly, and lay about thirh^ miles off land. Secret telegrapnic orders were 
received at 6 p.m. by the Admirals of both fleets almost simultaneously, 
and the whole of the vessels left in company half an hour later. They sailed 
in a southerly direction, but their destination is unknown. 

Dieppe, Aug, lithj 8 p.m. 

Ten transport vessels are embarking troops for England. Four regiments of 
cavalry, including the 4th Chasseurs and 16th Quards, 

* The conclusion of this message has not reached us, all the wires counecting 
this country with France having been cut 




gHE excitement iu llie theatre had increased, and 
the curtaiu had been niug down. Death 
sliadows, grimly apparent, had fallen upon the 
Ijouse, and the Bcene waa an extraordinary and 
unprecedented one. No fiuch wild restlessness 
and impetuous agitation had ever before been 
witnessed witliin those walls. Some enthusiast of the pit, 
springing to his feet, and drawing a large red handkerchief 
from his pocket. wa\ed it. shouting — 

"Three cheers for good Old Enghind!" to which, after a 
moment's silence, the audience responded lustily. 

Then, almost before the last sound had died away, another 
patriot of the people mounted upon his seat, crying — 

" No one need fear. The British Lion will quickly hold the 
French Eagle and the Eussian Bear within his jaws. Let the 
enemy come ; we will mow them down like hny." 

Tilts raised a combined laugh and cheer, though it sounded 
forced and hollow. Iramedialely, however, some buoyant 
spirits iu the gallery commenced singing " Bule, Britannia," 
the chorus of which was taken up vigorously, the orchestra 
assisting by playing the last verse. 

Outside, the scene in the streets was one of momentarily 
increasiug excitement The news had spread with marvellous ,, 
rapidity, and the whole city was agog. An elbowing, waving, 
stormy crowd surged down the Strand to Trafalgar Square, 

20 The Great War in England in 1S97 

where an impromptu demonstratiou was being held, the 
Govennnent being denounced by its opponents, and spolfen of 
with confidence by its supporters. The Eadical, the Socialist, 
the Anarchist, each aired hia views, and through the throng 
a hoarse threatening murmur condensed into three words, 
" Down with Russia ! Down with France !" The cry, echoed 
by a thousand throats, mingled weirdly with the shouts of the 
newsmen and the snatches of patriotic songs, 

London was anxious, fevered, and turbulent, that hot, 
moonless August night. At that hour all the shops were 
closed, and the streets only lighted by the lamps. From the 
unlighted windows the indistinct shapes of heads looking out 
on the scene could be distinguished. 

On the pa^'euients of Piccadilly and Knightabridge knots of 
people stood arguing and wrangling over the probable turn of 
events. From uncouth Wbitechapel to artistic Kensington, 
from sylvan Highgate to the villadom of Dulwich, the amazing 
intelligence had been conveyed by the presses of Fleet Street, 
which were still belching forth tons of damp news-sheets. At 
first there was confidence among the people ; nevertheless little 
by little this confidence diminished, and curiosity gave place 
to STirprise. But what could it be ? All was shrouded in the 
daikest gloom. In the atmosphere was a strange and terrible 
oppression that seemed to weigh down men and crush them. 
London was, it appeared, walled in by tlie unknown and the 

But, after aU, England was strong; it wa? the mighty 
British Empire ; it was the world. What was there to fear ? 
Nothing. So the people continued to shout, " Down with 
France ! Down with tlie Autocrat ! Down with the Tsar ! " 

A yoimg man, who had been sitting alone in the stalls, had 
. risen, electrified at the alarming news, and rushing out, hailed 
a passing cab, and drove rapidly away up Northumberland 
Avenue. This conduct was remarkable, for Geoffrey Engle- 
lieart was scarcely the man to flinch when danger threatened. 
He waa a tall, athletic young fellow of twenty-six, with wavy 
brown hair, a dark, smartly-trimmed moustache, and handsome, 

A Tottering Empire 

well-cut features. He was happy and easj-going, nlways 
overflowing with genuine bonhomie. As the younger son of a 
very distinguished officer, he contrived to employ himself for 
a couple of hours a day at the Foreign Office, where, although 
a clerk, he held a very responsible positiou. Belonging to 
a rather good set, he was a member of several fashionable 
clubs, and lived in cosy, well-fumisheil chambers in St 
James's Street. 

Driving first to the house of his Jiande, Violet Vayne, at 
Biittand Gate, he informed her family of the startling intelli- 
gence ; then, re-entering the conveyance, he subsequently 
alighted before the door of his chambers. As he paid the 
cabman, au ill-clad man pushed a newspaper into his face, 
crying, "'Ere y'are, sir. Extrur-special edition o' the People. 
Latest details. Serious scandal at the Forrin' Office," 

Geoff'rey started. He stog^-ered, his heart gave a bound, 
and his face blanched. Thrusting half a crown into the man's 
dirty palm, he grasped the paper, and nisliing upstairs to 
his sitting-room, cast himself into a chair. In breathless eager- 
ness he glanced at the front page of the journal, and read the 
following : — 


A State Secret Divulobd. 

An extnorditiu; nimoar U goiDg thu round at the Service clubs to-night. 

It is iJlegod that the present Declaration of War would hnva been impossible but 

^^^^^^B for tbo treachery of Rome person through whow hciods the transcript of a teaet 

^^^^^^H beMj between England tnd Ocrmanj posaed to-day. 

^^^^^^H A prominent Cabinet Minister, on being qneatioufd hv onr reporter on the 

^^^^^^P Mlbject, admitted tbat be bad heard the rumour, hut aecUned to make anj 
^^^^^H dehnite sljitemaQt whether or not it was true. 

^^M There must be a good deal behind the mmour of treachery, inasmn^h as none 

^K^ or (lie promiueut men who have already been iuterviewed gave „'■'---'- 

■ prir 

■ dau' 
H and 


Geoffrey sat pale and motionless, with ejes 6xed upon the 
printed words. He read aud re-read them until the lines 
danced before his gaze, and he crushed the paper in his hands, 
and cast it from him. 

The little French clock on the mantelshelf chimed the hour 

The Great War in England in 1897 

of o[ie upon its silvery bell ; the lamp spluttered and burned 
dim. Still he did not move; he was dumfouuded, rooted to 
the spot. 

Blacker and blacker grew the crowd outside. The density 
of the cloud that hung over all portended some direful tragedy. 
The impendinj! disaster made itself felt. An alarming sense 
of calmness filled the streets. A silence had suddenly fallen, 
nnd was becoming complete and threatening. What was it 
that was about to issue from these black storm-clouds ? Who 
could tell ? 




ONDON was amaz«d. 

The provinces were awestricken, paralysed 
by the startling suddenness with which the 
appalling news of the invasion had been flashed 
to them. Bewildered, the people could not 
believe it. 

Ouly slowly did the vivid and terrible truth dawn 
individually upon the millions north and south, and then, 
during the Day of Kest, they crowded to the newspaper and 
telegraph offices, loudly clamouring for further details of the 
overwhelming catastrophe that threatened. They sought for 
information from London ; they expected London, the mighty, 
all-powerful capital, to act. 

Through the blazing Sunday the dust rose from the im- 

L patient, perspiring crowds in towns and cities, and the cool 
night brought no rest from a turmoil now incessant. Never 
before were such scenes of intense enthusiasm witnessed in 
England, Wales, and Scotland, for this was the first occasion on 
which the public felt the presence of invaders at their very 
A mighty force was on its way to ruin their homes, to 
sweep from them their hard-earned savnngs, to crush, to 
conquer — to kill them ! 
Fierce antagonism rose spontaneously in every Briton's 
heart, and during that never-to-be-forgotten day, at every 

The Great War in England in 1897 

barracks throughout the country, recruiting-sergeants were 
besieged by all sorts and conditions of men eager to accept 
the Queen's shilling, and strike for theiv country's honour. 
HeedlesB of danger, of hardship, of the fickle fortune of tlie 
fight, the determination to assist in the struggle rose instantly 
within theiu. 

At York, Chester, Edinburgh, and Portsmouth, volunteers 
came forward by hundreds. All were enthusiastic, uiidrilled, 
but ready to use their guns — genuinely heroic patriots of our 
land, such as are included in no other nation than the 
British. Pluck, zeal for the public safety, and an intense 
partisanship towanls their fellows induced thousands to join 
the colours — many, alas ! to sink later beneath a foeman'a 
bullet, unknown, uuhonoured heroes ! 

Already the Cabinet had held a hurried meeting, at which 
it had been decided to call out the whole of the Reserves. Of 
this the War Office and Admiralty had been notified, and the 
Queen had given her sanction to tlie necessary proclamation a, 
with the result that telegraphic orders had been issued to 
general officers commanding and to officers commanding 
Reservists to mobilise instantly. 

The posters containing the proclamation, which are always 
kept in readiness in the hands of otticers commanding 
Regimental Districts, were issued ioi mediately, and exhibited 
on all public places throughout the kingdom. On the doors of 
town halls, churches, chapels, police stations, military barracks, 
and in the windows of post offices, these notices were posted 
within a few hours. Crowds everywhere collected to read 
them, and the greatest enthusiasm was displayed. MiUtia, 
Yeomanry, '\'olunteer3. all were called out, and men on reading 
the Mobilisation Order lost no time in obtaining their accoutre- 
ments and joining their depota The national danger was 
imminent, and towards their " places of concentration " all 
cat^ories of Her Majesty's forces were already moving. In 
every Regimental District the greatest activity was displayed. 
No country maintains in peace the full complement, or any- 
thing approaching the full complement of transport which its 

Arming for the Struggle 

Armies require ; bence vehicles and horses to complete the 
Array Service Corps companies, and for the supplemental service, 
were being immediately requisitioned from far and near. 

One of the many anom^ies discovered during this critical 
period was, that while transport could thus be rapidly requisi- 
tioned, yet the impressment of civilians as drivers aod care- 
takers of the animals was not permitted by the law ; therefore 
on all hands the organisation of this requisitioned transpoit 
was fraught wilh the utmost difficulty, the majority of owners 
and employees refusing to come forward voluntarily. Registered 
horses were quickly collected, but they were far from sufficient 
for the requirements, and the want of animals caused loud 
outcries from every Kegimental District. 

The general scheme was the constitution of a Field Army of 
tour cavalry brigades and three army corps, with behind them 
a semi-mobile force made up of thirty-three Volunteer infantry 
brigades and eighty-four Volunteer batteries of position. Tlje 
garrisons having been provided for, the four cavalry brigades 
and the 1st and 2nd Army Corps were to be composed entirely 
of Regulais, the 3rd Army Corps being made up of Regulars, 
Militia, and Volunteers. Organised in brigades, tlie Yeomanry 
were attached to the various infantry brigades or divisions of 
the Field Army, and the Regular Medical Staff Corps being much 
too weak, was strengthened from companies of the Volunteer 
Medical Staff Corps. In brief, the scheme was the formation 
of a composite Field Army, backed by a second line of partially 

L trained Auxiliaries. 
Such a general scheme to set in battle order our land forces 
for home defence was. no doubt, well devised. Nevertheless, 
from the first moment the most glaring defects in the working 
out of details were everywhere manifested. Stores were badly 
disposed, there was a sad want of clothing, camp equipment, 
and arms, and the arrangements for the joining of Reservists 
were tbrougboub defective. Again, the whole Reserve had been 
left totally untrained from the day the men left the colours ; 
and having in view the (act that all leading authorities in 
Europe had, times without number, told us that the efficiency 

26 The Gkeat War in England in 1897 

of an Araiy depemied on drill, discipline, and shooting;, what 
could be expected from a system which relied in great part for 
the safety of the country on a Reserve, the raembers of which 
were undiecipUiied, undrilled, aud unpractiaed in shooting for 
periods ranging from nine years in the Guards to five years in 
the case of the Line ? 

On the day of mobilisation not a single regiment in the 
United Kingdom was ready to move forward to the front as it 
stood on parade 1 Kot an officer, not a man, was prepared. 
England had calmly slept for years, while military refi>rni3 had 
been effected in every otiier European country. Now she liad 
been suddenly and rudely awakened I 

Everywhere it was commented ypon that no practical 
peace trial of the mobilisation scheme had ever been made. 
Little wonder waa there, then, thnt incomplete details 
hampered rapid movements, or that the carrying out of the 
definite and distinct programme T\'as prevented by gaps 
occurring which could not be discovered until the working of 
the system had been tested by actual experiment. 

It was this past apathy of the authorities, amounting to 
little less than criminal negligence, that formed the text of the 
vehement outpourings of Anarchists, SociaUsts, and "No War" 
partisans. A practical test of the efficiency of the scheme to 
concentrate our forces should have taken place even at the 
risk of public expenditure, instead of making the experiment 
when the enemy were actually at our doors. 

Another anomaly which, in the opinion of the public, ought 
long t^o to have been removed, was the fact that the billeting 
of troops on the march on the inhabitants of the United 
Kingdom, other than owners of hotels, inus, livery stables, and 
public-houses, is illegal, while troops when not on the march 
cannot be billeted at all! At many poinfB of concentration 
tlii? absurd and antiquated regulation, laid down by the Army 
Act in 1881, waa severely felt. Public buildings, churches, 
and schools had to be hired for the accommodation of the 
troops, and those others who could not find private persona 
hospitable enough to take them in were compelled to bivouac 

Arming for the Struggle 

where they could. Of tents they had scarcely any, and many 
regiments were thus kept homeless and badly fed several days 
before moving forward ! 

Was there any womler, then, that some men should lose 
heart ? Did not such defects portend — nay, invite disaster ? 

Strange though it may seem, Geoffrey Engleheart was one 
of but two persons in England who had on that Saturday 
anticipated this sudden Declaration of War. 

Through the hot nij^ht, without heed of the wild turbulence 
outside, regardless of the songs of patriots, of gleeful shouts of 
Anarchists, that, mingling into a dull roar, penetrated the 
heavy curtains before the window of his room, he sat with 
brows knit and gaze transfixed. 

Words now and then escaped his compressed lips. They 
were low and ominous; utterances of blank despair. 


JOUNT VON I5E1LSTEIN was a polished coamo- 
politau. He was in many ways a very 
remarkable man. 

In London society he was as popular as he 
had previouBly been in Paris and in Berlin. 
Well-preseired and military-looking, he re- 
tained the vigour, high spirits, and spruce step of youth, spent 
his money freely, and led the almost idyllic life of a careless 
bachelor in the Albany. 

Since his partnership with Sir Joseph Vayne, the well- 
known shipowner, father of Geoffrey's.^iictJc, he had taken up a 
prominent position in commercial circles, was a member of the 
London Chamber of Commerce, took an active part in the 
various deliberations of that body, and in the City was con- 
sidered a man of considerable importance. 

How we of the world, however shrewd, are deceived by 
outward appearances ! 

Of the millions in Loudon Lheie were but two men who 
knew the truth; who were aware of the actual position held by 
this German landed proprietor. Indeed, the Count's friends 
little dreamed that under the outward cloak of careless ease 
induced by wealth there was a mind endowed with a cunning 
that was extraordinary, and an ingenuity that was marvellous. 
Truth to tell, Karl von Beilstein, who posed as the owner of 
the great Beilstein estates, extending along the beautiful valley 

of the Moselle, betveen Alf and Cochem, was not an aristocrat 
at all, and possessed no estate more tangible than the pro- 
verbial chateau in Spain. 

Count von Beilstein was a spy ! 

Hia life Iiad been a strangely varied one ; few men perhaps 
had seen more of the woiid. His bio<;raphy was recorded io 
certain police rs^tera Born in the Jews' quarter at Frank- 
fort, he had, at an early age, turned adventurer, and for eonie 
years was well known at Moute Carlo as a successful gamester. 
But the Fickle Goddess at last forsook him. and under another 
name he started a bogus loan ottice in lirussels. This, how- 
ever, did not last long, for the police one night made a raid ou 
the place, only to discover that Monsieur bad tlown. An 
extensive robbery of diamonds in Amsterdam, a theft of bonds 
while in transit between Hanover and Berlin, and the forgery 
of a large quantity of Bussian rouble notes, were events which 
followed in quick succession, and in each of them the police 
detected the adroit hand of the man who now called himself 
the Count von Beilstein. At last, by sheer ill-luck, he fell 
into the grip of the law. 

He was in St. Petersburg, where he had opened an office in 
the Bolshaia, and started as a diamond dealer. After a few 
genuine transactions he obtained possession of gems worth 
nearly £20,000, and decamped. 

But the Russian police were quickly at his heels, and he 
was arrested in Higa, being subsequently tried and condemned 
by the Assize Court at St Petcrsbu:^ to twelve years' exile 
in Siberia. In chains, with a convoy of convicts he crossed 
the Urals, and tramped for weeks ou the snow-covered Siberian 
Post Road. 

His name still appears on the register at the forwarding 
prison of Tomsk, with a note stating that he was sent on to the 
silver mines of Nertchinsk, the most dreaded in Asiatic Eussia. 

Yet, strangely enough, within twelve months of his sentence 
be appeared at Royat-les-Bains. in Auvergne, posing as a 
Count, and living expensively at one of the beat hotels. 

There was a reason for all this. The Kussian Government, 

The Great War in England in i8 

when he was sentenced, were well aware of his perfect training 
as a cosDiopolitan adventurer, of his acquaintance with persons 
of rank, and of liis cool unscnipulousness. Hence it was that 
one night while on the march along the Great Post Hoad to 
that boume whence few convicts return, it was hinted to him 
by the captain of Cossacks, that he might obtain his liberty, 
and a good income iu addition, if he consented to become a 
secret agent of tlie Tsar. 

The authorities deaired him to perform a special duty; 
would he consent ? He could exchange a life of heavy toil in 
the Nertchinsk mines for one of comparative idleness and ease. 
The offer was tempting, and he accepted. 

That same night it was announced to his fellow-convicta 
that the Tsar had pardoned him ; his leg-fetters were thereupon 
struck off, and he started upon his return to St. Petersburg to 
receive instructions as to the delicate mi3.siou he waa to perform. 

It was then, for the first time, that he became the Count 
von Beilatein, and Lis subsequent actions all betrayed the most 
remarkable daring, forethought, and tact With one object in 
view he exereiaed au amount of patience that was almost 
incredible. One or two minor missions were entrusted to him 
by his official taakmastera on the bunks of the Neva, and in 
each he acquitted himself satisfactorily. Apparently he was a 
thoroughly patriotic subject of tlie Kaiser, with tastes strongly 
anti-Muscovite, and after his partnership with Sir Joseph 
Vayne he resided in London, and mixed a good deal with 
military men, because he had, he said, held a commission in a 
Hussar regiment in the Fatherland, and took the liveliest 
interest in all military matters. 

Little did those officers dream that the information he 
gained about improvements in England's defences was for- 
warded in regular and carefully -written reports to tlie Russian 
War Office, or that the Tsar's messenger who carried weekly 
despatches between the Russian Ambassador in London and his 
Government frequently took with him a packet containing 
plans and tracings which bore marginal notes in the angular 
Iiandwritiug of the popular Count von Beilatein ! 

Early in the moroing of this memorabLe day when the 
startling news of the Declaration of "War had reached England, 
a teJegram had been handed to the Tsar's secret agent while he 
was still in bed. 

He read it through) then stared thoughtfully up at the 

The message, ia code, from Berlin, stated that a draft of a 
moat important treaty between Germany and England bad 
been despatched from the German Foreign Office, iind would 
arrive in London that day. The message concluded with the 
words, " It is imperative that we should have a copy of this 
document, or at least a summary of its contents, immediately." 

Although sent from Berlin, the Count was well aware that 
it was an order from the Foreign Minister in St Petersburg, 
the message being transmitted to Berlin &rst, and then retrans- 
mitted to London, in order to avoid any suspicion that might 
arise in the case of messages exchanged direct with the Kussian 
capital. Having read the telegram through several times, he 
whistled to himself, rose quickly, dressed, and breakfasted. 
While having his meal, he gave some instructions to Grevel, 
his valet, and sent him out upon an errand, at the same time 
expressing his intention of waiting in until his return. 

" Kemember," the Count said, as his man was going out, 
"be careful to arouse no suspicion. Simply make your in- 
quiries in the proper quarts-, and come back immediately." 

At half-past twelve o'clock, as Geoffrey Engleheart wa8 
busy writing alone in his room at the Foreign Office, he waa 
interrupted by the opening of the door. 

" HuUoa, dear boy ! I've found my way up here by myself. 
Busy, as usual. I see ! " cried a cheery voice as the door slowly 
opened, ajid Geoffrey looking up saw it was his friend the 
Count, well groomed and fashionably attired in glossy silk bat, 
perfect-fitting frock coat, and varnished boots. He called very 
frequently upon Engleheart, and had long ago placed himself 
on excellent terms with the messengers and doorkeepers, who 
looked upon him as a most generous ^'isitor. 

" Oh, how are you ? " Engleheart exclaimed, rising and 

The Great War in England in iS 

shaking his haud. " You must really forgive me, Couiit, but I 
quite forgot my appointment with you to-day." 

" Oh, don't let me disturb you, pray, I'll have a glance at 
the paper till you've finished," and casting himself into a chair 
near the window he took up the Times and was soon absorbed 
in it. 

A quarter of an hour went by in silence, while Engleheart 
wrote on, calmly unconscious that there was a small rent in 
the newspaper the Count was reading, and that through it he 
could plainly see each word of the treaty as it was transcribed 
from the secret code and written down in plain English. 

" Will you excuse me for ten minutes ? " Geoffrey exclaimed 
presently. " The Cabinet Council is sitting, and I Lave to run 
over to see Lord Stanbury for a moment. After I return I 
must make another copy of this paper, and then I shall be free." 

The Count, casting the newspaper wearily aside, glanced at 
his watch. 

" It's half-past one," he said. " You'll be another half-hour, 
if not more. After all, I really think, old fellow, I'll go on 
down to Hurlingham. I arranged to meet the Vaynes at two 

" All right I'll run down in a cab as aoon as I can get 
away," answered Engleheart. 

"Good. Come on as soon as you can, Violet will be 
expecting you, you know." 

"Of course I shall," replied his unsuspicious friend, and. 
they shook hands, after which the Count put on his hat and 
sauntered jauntily out. 

In Parliament Street he jumped into his phaeton, but 
iustead of driving to Hurlingham gave his man orders to pro- 
ceed with aU speed to the General Post Office, St. Mattln'a-le- 
Grand. Within half an hour from the time he had shaken the 
hand of his unsuspecting friend, a message in code — to all 
intents and purposes a commercial despatch — was ou its way 
to "Herr Brandt, 116 Friedrich Strasse, BerHo." 

That message contained an exact transcript of the secret 

The Great War in England in 1897 

Almost immediately after tlie Count had left, Geollrey 
made a discovery. From the floor be picked up a email gold 
pencil-case wHcli he knew belonged to von Beilstein. 

Engleheart was sorely puzzled to know why the Count 
should require a pencil if not to write, and it momentarily 
flashed across his mind that he might have copied portions of 
the treaty. But the next minute he diamissed the suspicion as 
ungrounded and preposterous, and placing the pencil in his 
pocket went in search of Lord Stanbtiry. 

It was only the statement he read in the People later, 
alleging treachery at the Foreign Office, that recalled the in- 
cident to his mind. Then the horrible truth dawned upon 
him. He saw how probable it was that he had been tricked. 

He knew that the mine was already laid ; that the only 
thing that had prevented an explosion that would shake the 
wliole world had been the absence of definite knowledge aa to 
the exact terms of the alliance between England, Germany, 
Italy, and Austria. 



\ r soa the night was dark and moonlesa. A thick 
][ii-t hung near the land. The Coastguard aud 
Artillery on our southern aud easteru shores 
riiiunt a terribly anxious time, peering from 
their points of vantage out into the cavernous 
darkness where no light glimmered. The 
Harbour Defence Flotilla was in readiness, and under the black 
cliffs sentinels kept watch with every nerve strained to its 
highest tension, for the safety of England now depended upon 
their alertness. The great waves crashed and roared, and the 
mist, obscuring the light of vessels passing up and down the 
Channel, seemed to grow more dense as the hours wore on. 

In the midst of the feverish excitement that had spread 
everywhere throughout the length and breadth of the land, the 
troops were, a couple of hours sJter the receipt of the alarming 
news in London, already being mobilised and on their way 
south and east by special trains. Men, arms, ammunition, and 
stores were hurried forward to repel attack, and in the War 
Office and Admiralty, where the staffs had been suddenly called 
together, the greatest actirity prevailed. Messages had been 
flashed along the wires in evety direction giving orders to 
mobilise and concentrate at certain points, and these instruc- 
tions were being obeyed with that promptness for which British 
soldiers and sailors are proverbial 

Yet the high officials at the War Office looked grave. 

Thk Great War in England in 1897 

and although affecting unconcern, now and then whispered 
ominously together. Tliey knew that the situation was critical. 
An immediRta and adequate naval defence was just possible, 
but the Channel Squadron was manceuvring off the Irish coast, 
and both the Coastguard Squadron and the Steam Reserve at 
the home ports were very weak. It was to our land army that 
we had to trust, and they were divided in opinion as to the 
possibility to mobilise a sufficient force in time to bar the 

Military experts did not overlook the fact that to Dunkirk, 
Calais, Boulogne, Dieppe, Fecamp, Havre, Honfleur, and Cher- 
bourg rail excellent lines of railway, with ample rolling-stock, 
all Government property, and at the heck and call of the 
French War Minister. In the various ports there was adequate 
wharf accommodation and plenty of steam tonnage. From 
the brief official despatches received from Paris before the 
cutting of the wires, it was apparent that the French "War 
Office bad laid its plans with much forethought and cunning, 
and had provided against any contretemps. An army of 
carpenters and engineers had been put to work in the ports 
to alter the fittings of such of the merchant steamers as were 
destined to convey horaea, and these fittings, prepared before- 
hand, were already in position. Four array corps had for 
several weeks been manceuvring in Normandy, so that the 
Reservists had become accustomed to their work, and in excellent 
condition for war; therefore these facts, coupled with the 
strong support certain to be rendered by the warships of 
tlie Tsar, led experts to regard the outlook as exceedingly 

For years military and naval men had discussed the 

Eossibilitiea of invasion, haggled over controversial points, but 
ad never arrived at any definite opinion as to the possibility 
of an enemy's success. Now, hoHever, the defences of the 
country were to be tested. 

Our great Empire was at stake. 

The power of steam to cause rapid transit by land and sea, 
the uncertainty of the place of disembarkment, and the great 

Bombardment of Newhaven 

weight of modem navFil artillery, combined to reader the 
defences of England oo the coaat itself moat uncertain and 
hazardous, and to cause grave doubta to arise in the minds of 
those who at that critical moment were directing the forward 
movement of the forces. 

The British public, whose national patriotism found vent in 
expressions of confidence in the Regular Army and Volunteers, 
were ignorant of the facts. They kuew that two great Powera 
had combined to crush our island stronghold, and were eager 
that hostilities should commence in oi3er that the enemy 
should be taught a severe lesson for their presumption. 

They, however, knew nothing of the plain truth, that 
although the 1st Army Corps at Aldershot would be ready 
to move at a few hours' notice, yet it was hopeless to try and 
prevent the disembarkation of the French army corps along 
a long line of unprotected coast by the action of a land force 
only one-third of their strength. 

So, by the water's edge, the lonely posts were kept through 
the night by patient, keen-aighted sentinels, ready at any 
moment to raise the alarm. But the dense mist that overhung 
everything was tantalising, hiding friend and foe alike, and no 
sound could be heard above the heavy roar of the waters as 
they rolled in over the rocks. 

London, infuriated, enthusiastic, turbulent, knew no sleep 
that night The excitement was at fever-heat. At last, soon 
after daybreak, there came the first news of the enemy. A 
number of warships had suddenly appeared through the fog off 
the Sussex coast, and bad lost no time in asserting their 
presence and demanding a large sum from the Mayor of 

The French Brst-class battery cruiser Tage, the Difvastation, 
the Pothuau, the Arithuse and others, finding that their demand 
was unheeded, at once commenced shelling the town. Although 
our Coastguard Squadron and first-class Steam Keserve had 
mobilised, yet they had received orders and sailed away no one 
knew whither. The forts replied vigorously, but the fire of the 
enemy in half an hour had ivrought terrible havoc both in the 

town and in the forts, where several of the guns had been 
rendered useless and a miniber of men had been killed. 
Hostilities had commenced. 

Never during the ceutuiy had such scenes been witnessed 
in the streets of London as on that memorable Sunday 
morning. The metropolis was thrilled. 

Dawn was spreading, saflron tints were in the sky herald- 
ing the sun's coming. Yet Regent Street, Piccadilly, and the 
Strand, usually entirely deserted at that hour on a Sabbath 
morning, were crowded as if it were midday. 

Everywhere there was excitement. Crowds waited in front 
of the newspaper offices in Fleet Street, boys with strident 
voices sold the latest editions of the papers, men continued 
their snatches of patriotic ballads, while women were blanched 
and scared, and chilJren clung to their mothers' skirts timidly, 
vaguely fearing an unknown terror. 

The shadow of connug events was black and dim, like a 
funeral pall. The fate ot our Empire hung upon a thread. 

Twenty-four hours ago England was smiling, content in the 
confidence of its perfect safety and immunity fram invasion; 
yet all the horrors of war had, with a startling, appalling 
Bu<idenness, fallen and bewildered it. The booming of French 
cannon at Newhaven formed the last salute of many a brave 
Briton who fell shattered and lifeless. 

As the sun rose crimson from the grey misty sea, the work 
of destniction increased in vigour. From the turrets of the 
floating monsters smoke and flame poured forth in continuous 
volume, while shot and shell were hurled into the town of 
Newhaven, which, it was apparent, was the centre of the 
enemy's attack, and where, owing to the deepening of the 
harbour, troops could efi'ect a landing under cover of the fite 
from the ironclads. 

Frightful havoc was wrought by the shells among the 
houses of the little town, and one falling on l>oard the Brighton 
Railway Company's mail steamer Paris, lying alongside the 
station quay, set her on fire. In hnlf an hoiir railway station 
and quays were blazing furiously, while the flames leaped up 

Bombardment of Newhaven 

about the ship, wrapping themselves about the two white 
fuDDels anJ darting from every porthole. 

The Custom House oppostte quickly ignited, and the in- 
flammable nature of it« contents caused the fire to assume 
enormous proportions. Meanwhile the bombardment was 
kept up, the forts on shore still replying with r^ularity, 
steadiness, and precision, and the armoured coast train of the 
1st Sussex Artillery Volunteers, uuder Captain Brigden, render- 
ing excellent service. In one of the forts a man was standing 
in front of a small camera-obacura, on the glass of which were 
D. number of mysterious marka This glass reflected the water 
and the ships ; and as he stood by calmly with his hand upon 
a keyboard, he watched the reflections of the hostile vessels 
moving backwards and forwards over the glass. Suddenly I 
he saw a French gunboat, after a series of smartly-execut^ 1 
manoeu\Tes, steaming straight over one of the marks, and, 
quick as lightning, his finger pressed one of the electric keys. 
A terrific explosion followed, and a column of green water shot 
up at the same instant. Tbe gunhoBit Zavel had been suddeuly 
blown almost out of the water by a submarine mine ! Broken 
portions of her black hull turned over and sank, and mangled 
remains of what a second before had been a crew of enthusiastic 
I^nchmen floated for a few moments on the surface, then dis- 
appeared. Not a soul on board escaped. 

Along the telegraph line from the signal-station on Beachy 
Head news of the blowing up of the enemy's gunboat was 
flashed to London, and when, an hour later, it appeared in 
the newspapers, the people went half mad with excitement. 
Alas, how they miscalculated the relative strength of the 
opposing forces ! 

They were unaware that our Channel Fleet, our Coastguard 
Squadron, and our Reserve were steaming away, leaving our 
eouthern shores praeticaUy unprotected ! 



IHE Briton is, alas 1 too prone to underrate his 
adversary. It is tljiB national egotism, this 
fatal ovet-confidence, that has led to most of 
the reverses we have sustained in recent wars. 
The popular belief that one Briton is as jjood 
as half a dozen foreigners, is a fallacy which 
ought to be at once expunged from the minds of every one. 
The improved and altered conditions under which international 
hostilities are carried on nowadays scarcely even admit of 
a hand-to-hand encounter, and the engines of destruction 
designed by other European Powers being quite as perfect aa 
our own, tact and cunning have now taken the place of pluck 
and perseverance. The strong arm avails but little in modem 
warfare ; strategy is everything. 

Into Brighton, an hour after dawn, the enemy's vessels 
were pouring volley after volley of deadly missiles. A party 
had landed from the French flagship, and, summoning the 
Mayor, had demanded a million pounds. This not being forth- 
coming, they had commenced shelling the town. The fire was, 
for the most part, directed against the long line of shops and 
private residences in King's Koad and at Hove, and in half an 
hour over a hundred houses had been demolished. The palatial 
HStel Mi^tropole stooii a great gaunt ruin. Shells had cairied 
large portions of the noble building away, and a part of the 
niin had caught fire and was burning uncliecked, threatening 

Landing of the French in Sussex 

to consume the whole. Church steeples had been knocked 
over like ninepins, and explosive miBsiles dropped in the centra 
of the town every moment, sweeping the streets with deadly 
effect. The enemy met with little or no opposition. Oiir 
first line of defence, our Navy, was missing ! The Admiralty 
were unaware of the whereabouts of three whole Fleets that 
had mobilised, and the ships remaining in the Channel, exclusive 
of the Harbour Defence Flotilla, were practically useless. 

At Eastbourne, likewise, where a similar demand had been 
made, shot fell thick as hail, and shells played fearful havoc 
with the handsome boardiug-houses and hotels that line the 
sea front. From the redoubt, the Wish Tower, and a battery 
on the higher ground towards Beachy Head, as well as a num- 
ber of other hastily constructed earthworks, a reply was made 
to the enemy's fire, and the guns in the antiquated martello 
towers, pla^d at intervals along the beach, now and then 
sent a shot towards the vessels. But such an attempt to keep 
the great ironclads at bay was absurdly futile. One after 
another shells from the monster guns of the Bussian ship 
Pjotr Yelikij, and the armoured cruisers Gerzog Ediviu.rskij, 
Krefser, and Najczdnik, crashed into these out-of-date coast 
defences, and efiectualiy silenced them. In Eastbourne itself 
the damage wrought was enormous. Every moment shells fell 
and exploded in Terminus and Seaside Boads, while the 
aristocratic suburb of Upperton, built on the hill behind the 
town, was exposed to and bore the full brunt of the fray. 
The fine modern Queen Anne and Elizabethan residences were 
soon mere heaps of burning debris. Every moment houses 
fell, burying their occupants, and those people who rushed out 
into the roads for safety were, for the most part, either over- 
wludiued by duljris, or had their limbs shattered by flying 
pieces of shell 

The situation was awful. The incessant thunder of cannon, 
the screaming of shells whizzing tlirough the air, to burst a 
moment later and send a dozen or more persons to an ttotimely 
grave, the crash of fidling walls, the clouds of amoke and dust, 
and the blazing of ignited wreckage, combined to produce a 

43 The Great War in England in 1897 

ta* men terrible than any witnessed in Englaud durii^ the 
prtMnt eentary. 

And nil thi* wns the outcome of one man's indiseretioa 
»rfl llin r.'anninjf duplicity of two others ! 

At hi^h nrxin Newhaven fell into the hands of the enemy. 

Th« fttliuik liiul Iteeu so entirely unexpected that the troops 
RWiUliMxl rtnd Hont there had arrived too late. The town was 
imtnn aockftil, and the harbour was in the possession of the 
Yrnnih, wlio were landing their forces in great numbers. 
Vr'itn h'ie\)]te and Havre transports were arriving, and dis- 
chiirj(itiK thtMr freights of fighting men and guns under cover 
of tti'f Hre from the French warships lying close in land. 

Kutwith Stan ding all the steps taken during the last twenty 
ynnni to improve the condition of our forces on land aud sea, this 
outbreak of hoatihtiea found us far from being in a state of 
preparedness for war. England, strangely enough, has never 
jet fully realised that the conditions of war have entirely 
ebanged. In days gone by, when troops and convoys could 
move but slowly, the difficulty of providing for armies engaged 
in operations necessarily limited their strength. It is now 
quite different. Improved communications have given to 
military operations astonishing rapidity, and the facilities 
with which large masses of troops, guns, and stores can now 
lie transported to great distances has had the effect of pro- 
portionately iucreasiag numbers. As a result of this, with 
the exception of our own island, Europe was armed to the 
teeth. Yet a mobilisation arrangement that was faulty and 
not clearly understood by officers or men, was the cause of 
the enemy being allowed to land. It is remarkable that the 
military authorities had not acted upon the one principle 
admitted on every side, namely, that the only effective defence 
consists of attack. The attack, to succeed, should have been 
sudden and opportune, and the Army should have been so 
organised that on the occurrence of war a force of adequate 
strength would have been at once available. 

In a word, we missed our chance to secure this inestimahlo 
advantage afforded by the power of striking the first blow. 

L&xxaBc or tbe fvuKB sk Scsscx 

n^wm ^ ^i sad mm apia^l 

te|iMi ■ nrf 

T« be ■»!■■ ■ to «ne <tf «»; >• he 

Atsy iMBii ^ vMfc ad t^e, tfatf rinti tlii diiHtMB 
nwMM cf T^l^ ■■i— gfaChii^Miifctiliwril. 
mn^n WBoU bm iiwiiiiT • Ant, s^ ■mfiin. iMtt. 
0«r Kny w wC i^ v finX, hA 1 
&^ aa Inoid fMit << *ie«; isr, as » vnta ia tke JbMf 
madXmfniHli ji iiiiili I a^ m USS. it ^i e^Mfly — ^at 

■pwfcna j to d* Sasr* e««MW dtoft. Oa ^fenve tadia ■» 
11 ■nil to a t^aaa^ ilatiMHiiTfli A fawi ie pofi^ ea^ 
aac be famed aat. .^a^ the nolafi^ and dfion^ of oar 
Begalir AiKf dieald baw fceea neb that tbe Tkloy eC oar 
fleet eaaU be qjeeffly and Tipaaa dT Ubsed bj dedsTe 
kiavB a« the maaf* ttaitarj. 

Abndr the aen o( tbe Infiac ef Oa cany ted— be«dM 

" tJMl B^ Uaad '—fcodoeed its dect apoa the nice ol ioed 
ta UBdoa aa Jatarfanw. Ia K^and we had aaij ive days' 
bnad-fltai^ aad n the ■ijnrity of oar a^ffiea eaaw frtta 
fioaia the friee e< bnad tieUed within twelve boon, and the 
fltdinsiy BaMaaariw of hfe woe psuportiaaatdj deazeL 

Bat the dice bad beca tiffmni, and the sins bj with 



In that never-to-be-forgotten Sutn^ay, scenes were 
witnessed iu the metropolis wliicli were of the 
most disgraceful character. The teeming city, 
from dawD till midnight, was in a feverish 
ttirmoil, the throngs iu its streets discussing 
the probable tnrn of affairs, singing patriotic 
songs, and giving vent to utterances of heroic intentions inter- 
Bperaed with much horse play. 

In Trafalgar Square, the liuh of London, a mass meeting of 
Anarchists and Socialists was held, at which the Government 
and military authorities were loudly denounced for what was 
termed their criminal apathy to the interests and welfare of 
the nation. The Government, it was contended, had betrayed 
the country by allowing the secret of the German alliance to 
fall into the hand» of its enemies, and the Ministers, adjudged 
unworthy the confidence of the nation, were by the resolutions 
adopted called upon to resign immediately. The crisis was an 
excuse for Anarchism to vent its grievances against law and 
order, and, unshackled, it had spread with rapidity through 
the lenj;th and breadth of the laud. In "The Square" the 
scarlet flag and the Cap of Liberty were everywliere in 
evidence, and, notwithstanding the presence of the police, the 
leaders of Anarchy openly advocated outrage, incendiarism, 
and murder. At length the police resolved to interfere, and 
this was the signal for a terrible uprising. The huge mob. 

Bomb Outrages in London 

which in the mellow sunset filled the great Square and 
blocked all its approaches, became a seething, surging masa 
of struggling Immaoity. The attack by the police, who were 
ordered to disperse them, only incensed them further against 
the authorities, whom they blamed for the catastrophe that 
had befalien our country. Angry and desperate they fought 
with the police, using both revolvers and knives. 

The scene was terrible. The scum of the metropolis had 
congregated to wage war against their own compatriots whom 
they classed among enemies, and for an hour in the precincta 
of the Square the struggle was for life. Dozens of constablea 
were shot dead, hundreds of Anarchists and Socialists received 
wounds from batons, many succumbing to their injuries, or 
being trampled to death by the dense mob. It was a repeti- 
tion of that historic day known as " Blootiy Sunday," only the 
light was more desperate and the conaetiuences far worse, and 
such as would disgrace any civilised city. 

Before sundown the police had l)een vanquished ; and as no 
soldiers could be spared. Anarchism ran riot in the Strand, 
Pall Mall, St. Martin's Lane, Northumberland Avenue, and 
Parliament Street. Pale, determined men, with faces covered 
with blood, and others with their clothes in shreds, shouted 
hoarse cries of victory, as, beaded by a torn red flag, they 
rushed into Pall Mall and commenced breaking down the 
shutters of shops and looting them. Men were knocked down 
and murdered, and the rioters, freed from all restraint, com- 
menced sacking all establishments where it was expected spoil 
could be obtained. At one bank in Pall Mall they succeeded, 
after some dilUculty, in breaking open the strong I'oom vrith 
explosives, and some forty or fifty of the rebels with eager 
greediness shared the gold and notes ihey stole. 

At the Strand corner of the Square a squad of police was being 
formed, in order to co-operate with some reiuforcements which 
were arriving, when suddenly there was a terrilie explosion. 

A bomb filled with picric acid had been thrown by an 
Anarchist, and when the smoke cleared, the shattered remains 
of thirty-four constablea lay strewn upon the roadway ! 

This was but tlie first of a series o£ dastardly outragea 
The advice of the Anarchist leaders in their intlamniatory 
speeches had l>een acted upon, and in half an hour a nuniher 
of bunib explosions had occurred in the vicinity, each doing 
enormous damage, and killing numbers of innocent persons. 
After the petard had been throwu in Trafalgar Square a loud 
explosion was almost immediately afterwards beard in Parlia- 
ment Street, and it was soon known that a too successful 
attempt had been made to blow up the Premier's official 
residence in Downing Street. The programme of the outrages 
had apparently been organised, for almost before the tnith was 
known another even more disastrous explosion occurred in the 
vestibule of the War Office in Pall Mall, which wrecked the 
lower part of tlie building, and blew to atoms the sentry on 
duty, and killed a number of clerks who were busy at their 
important duties in the apartments on the ground floor. 

Through Pall Mall and along Whitehall the mob ran, 
crying "Down with the Government! Kill the traitors! 
Kill them ! " About three thousand of the more lawless, 
having looted a number of shops, rushed to the Houses of 
Parliament, arriving there just in time to witness the frightful 
havoc caused by the explosion of two terribly powerful bombs 
that had been placed in St. Stephen's Hall and in Westminster 

A section of the exultant rioters had gained access to the 
National Gallery, where they carried on ruthless destruction 
among the priueless paintings there. Dozens of beautiful 
works were alaahed with knives, others were torn down, and 
many, cut from their frames, were flung to the howling crowd 
outside. Suddenly some one screamed, " What do we want with 
Art? Burn down the useless palace ! Purnit! Burn it!" 

This cry was taken up by thousands of throats, and on 
every hand the rebels inside the building were urged to set fire 
to it. Intoxicated with success, maddened by anger at the 
action of the police, and confident that they had gained a 
signal victory over the law, they piled together a number oE 
historic paintings in one of the rooms, and then ignited them. 

Bomb Outk^ges ix London 

The flames leaped to the ceiling, spread to the woodwork, and 
thence, with ajtpalliDg rapidity, to the other apartments. The 
windows cracked, and clouds of smoke and tongues of fire 
belched forth from them. 

It had now grown dusk. Tiie furious, demoniacal rabble 
surging in the Square set up loud, prolonged cheering when 
they saw the long dark building burning. In delight they 
paused in their Mork of destruction, watching the flames 
growing brighter aa tliey burst through the roof, licking the 
central dome: and while the timber crackled and the fire roared, 
casting a lurid glai-e upon the tall buildings round and lighting 
up the imposing fa^jide of the Grand Hotel, they clieered 
vociferously and sang the " Marseillaise " until the smoke half 
choked them and their throats grew hoarse. 

These denizens of the slums, these criminal crusaders agaiust 
the law, were not yet satiated by their wild reckless orgies. 
Unchecked, they had run riot up and down the Strand, and 
there was ecarcely a man among them n'ho had not in his 
pocket some of the spoils from jewellers' or from banks. 
In the glare of the flames the white blooilstained faces wore a 
determined expression as they stood collecting their energies 
for some other atrocious outrage against their so-called enemies, 
the rich. 

At the first menace of excesses, dwellers in the locality had 
left their houses and fled lieadlong for safety to other parts of 
the city. The majority escaped, but many fell into the hands 
of the rioters, and Were treated with scant humanity. Men and 
women were struck down and robbed, even strangled or shot if 
they resisted. The scene was frightful — a terrible realisation 
of Anarchist prophecies that had rendered the authorities 
absolutely helpless. On the one hand, an enemy had landed on 
our shores with every chance of a successful march to London, 
while on Ihe other the revolutionary spiiit had broken out 
unmistakably among the criminal class, and lawlessness and 
murder were everywhere rite. 

The homes of the people were threatened by double disaster 
—by the attack of both enemy and "friend." The terrible 

The Great War in England in 1897 

bomb outrages and their ajipalling results had completely 

disorganiaed the police, nnd although reintorcenients had been 
telegraphed for from every divisiou in London, the number of 
men mustered at Scotland Ynrd was not yet suflicient to deal 
effectually with the irate and rapidly increasing mob. 

As evening wore on the scenes in the streets arouad the 
Square were terrible. Pall Mall was congested by the angry 
mob who were wrecking the clubs, when suddenly t!ie exultant 
cries were succeeded by terrified shrieks mingled with fierce 
oaths. Each man fouglit with liis neighbour, and many men 
and women, crushed against iron railings, stood half suffocated 
and helpless. The National Gallery was burning fiercely, fleraes 
from the great burning pile shot high in the air, illuminat- 
ing everything with their flood of crimson light, and the wind, 
blowing down the crowded thoroughfare, carried smoke, sparks, 
and heat with it. 

Distant shrieks were heard in the direction of the Square, 
and auddenly the crowd surged wildly forward. Gaol-birds 
from the purlieus of Dniry Lane robbed those who bad valuables 
or money upon them, and committed brutal assaults upon the 
unprotected. A moment later, however, there a flash, and 
the deafening sound of tirenrms at close quarters was followed 
by the horrified shrieks of the yelling mub. Again and again 
the sound was repeated. Around them bullets whistled, and 
men and women fell forward dead and wounded "ith terrible 
curses upon their lips. 

The ICth Hussars had just arrived from Hounslow, and 
having received hurried orders to clear away the rioters, were 
shooting them down like dogs, without mercy. On every hand 
criea of agony and despair rose above the tumult. Then a 
silence followed, for the street was thickly strewn with corpses. 



I CIX)UDY moonless night, with a gusty wind wliicli 
now and then swept the tops of the forest trees, 
causing the leaves to smge like a summer sea. 
Withered branches creaked and groaned, 
and a dog howled dismally down in Fliinwell 
vill!i>;e, half a mile away. Leaning with his 
back against the gnarled trunk of a giant oak on the 
tylge of the forest, his ears alert for the sliglitest sound, hie 
hand upon his loaded magazine rifle, Geoffrey Engleheart stood 
on outpost duty. Dressed in a rough shooting suit, with a deer- 
stalker hat and an improvised kit strapped upon his back, he 
was half hidden by the tall bracken. Standing motionless in 
the deep shadow, with his eyes fixed upon the wide stretch of 
sloping meadows, he waited, ready, at the slightest appearance 
of llie enemy's scouts, to raise the alarm and call to arms those 
who were sleeping in the forest after their day's maix:h. 

The City Uivilian Volunteer Battalion which he had joined 
ivas on its way to take part in the conflict, wliich every one 
knew would be desperate. Under the command of Major 
Mansford, an experienced elderly officer who had long since 
retired from the Lancashire Kfgiraent, but who had at once 
volunteered to lead the battalion of young patriots, they had 
left London by train for Maidstone, whence they marched by 
way of Linton, Marden, and Goudhurst to Frith Wood, where 
they had bivouacked for the night on the Sussex border. 

50 The Great War in England in 1897 

It was known thnt Bussisn scouts had succeeded in getting 
as far as Wadburat, and it was expected tlmt one of the Freuch 
recoiinoitriog parties must, in their circuitous survey, pass the 
border of the wood on their way back to their own lines. Up 
to the present they had been practically unmolested. The 
British amiy was now mobilised, and Kent, Sussex, and Hamp- 
shire were overrun with soldiers. Every household gave men 
accommodation voluntarily, every hostelry, from the aristo- 
cratic hotels of the watering-places to the miassuming Red 
Lions of the villages, was full of Britain's brave defenders. 
The echoes of old-world village streets of thatched houses with 
quaint gables were awakened niyht and day by the ninibling 
of heavy artillery, the shouts of the drivers as they ui^d 
along their teams, and the rattle of ammunition carts and of 
ambulance waggons, while on every high road leading south 
battalions were on the march, and eager to come within fight- 
ing range of the audacious foreigners. 

At first the peaceful people of the villages gazed, wondered, 
and admired, thinking some manoeuvres were about to take 
place — for military manceuvres always improve village trade. 
But they were very quickly disillusioned. When they knew the 
truth — that the enemy was actually at their doors, that the 
grey-coated masses of the Russian legions were lying like packs 
of wolves in the undulating country between Heathtield, Etch- 
ingham, and the sea — they wei-e panic-stricken and appalled. 
They watched the stream of redcoats passing their doors. 
cheering them, while those who were their guests were treated 
to the beat fare their hosts could provida 

Tommy Atkins was now the idol of the hour. 

Apparently the enemy, having established themselves, wei'e 
by no means anxious to advance with undue haste. Having 
landed, they were, it was ascertained, awaiting the arrival of 
further reinforcements and aruianients from both Powers ; but 
nothing definite was known of this, except some meagre details 
that liad filtered through the Americau cables, all direct tele- 
graphic communication with the Continent having now been 

Fateful Days for the Old Flag 

Alas! Moloch had grimied. He had sliarperied his sickle 
for the terrible carnage that was to spread throiigii Albioo's 
peaceful laud. 

Terrible was the panic that the invasion had produced in 
the North. 

Food had risen to exorbitant pricea. In the great manu- 
facturing centres the toiling millions were already feelinz 
the pinch of starvation, for with bread at ninepence a smaU 
loaf, meat at a proliibitive figure, and the factories stopped, 
ihey were compelled to remain with empty stomachs and idle 

Birmingham, ilancheater, Liverpool, Newcastle, and the 
larger towns presented a gloomy, sorry aspect. Business was 
suspended, the majority of the shops weru closed, the banks 
barred and bolted, and the only establishments where any 
trade flourished were the taverns and music halls. These 
were crowded. Drink fiuwed, gold jingled, and the laughter 
at wild jest or the thunder of applause which giected dancing 
girls and comic vocalists was still as hearty as of old. Every- 
where there was a sordid craving for amusement which was a 
reflex of the war fever. The people made merry, for ere long 
they might be cut down hy a foeman's steel. 

Bestless impatience thrilled the community from castle to 
cottage, intensified by the vain clamourings of Anarchist 
mobs in the greater towns. As iu London, tliese shock-headed 
agitators held high revel, protesting against everything and 
everybody — now railing, now threatening, hut always muster- 
ing converts to their harebrained doctrines. In Mnnchester 
they were particularly strong. A number of serious riota had 
occurred in Deansgate and in Market Street. The mob 
wrecked the Queen's Hotel, smashed numbers of windows in 
Lewis's great emporium, looted the Guardian office, and set fire 
to the Town Hall A portion of the Litter only was burned, 
the fire brigade managing to subdue the flames before any very 
serious damage was occasioned. Although the police made 
hundreds of arrests, and the stipendiary sat from early morn- 
ing until late at night. Anarchist demonstrations were held 

The Gkpat War in England in i8 

every eveiimj; in tlie city and suburbs, always resulting ia 
pitla^, incendiarism, and not unfrequently iu nuirJer. In 
grey, inonuy-mnking Stockport, in grimy Salford, in amokj- 
I'endleton, and even in aristocratic Eccles, these demoRBtrationa 
were held, and ttio self-styled "Boldiers of the social revolution" 
marched over the gi-anite roads, headed by a dirty scarlet flag, 
boanding down the (jovernment, and crying shame wpon them 
fur the apathy with which they had r^arded the presence of 
the bearitod Caucnsiiui Tcherkesaes of the White Tsar. 

The kingdom was in wild turuiuil, for horror heaped 
npoii horror. Outrages that commenced in I^ouilon were re- 
peated with appalling freqwency in the great towns iu the 
provincee. An attempt had been made to assassinate the 
I'reniier while speaking in the Town Hall, Birmingham, the 
bomb which was thrown having killed two hard-working 
reporters who were writing near; but the Prime Minister, 
who 8eenie4 to lead a charmed existence, escaped without a 

In Livei"pool, where feeling against the War Office ran 
high, there were several explosions, two of which occurred in 
Bold Street, and were attended by loss of life, while a number 
of incendiary firea occurred at the docks. At Bradford the 
Town Hall was blown up, and the troops were compelled to 
fire on a huge mob of rioters, who, having assembled at 
Manninghsm, were advancing to loot the town. 

The cavalry barracks at York was the scene of a terrific 
explosion, which killed three sentries and maimed twenty 
other soldiers ; while at Warwick Assizes, during the hearing 
of a murder trial, some unknown scoundrel threw a petard at 
the judge, killing him instantly on the bench. 

These, however, were but few instances of the wild law- 
lessness and teiTible anarchy that prevailed in Britain, for only 
the most flagrant ciises of outrage were reported in the news- 
papers, their columns being filled with the latest intelligence 
from the seat of war. 

It must be siiid ttmt over the border the people were more 
law-abiding. The Scotch, too canny to listen to the fiery 

Fateful Days fou the Olu Flag 

declamations of hoarse and sliabliy agilutors, preferred to trust 
to Biiiish pluck and tlie strong arm of their brawny High- 
landers. In Caledonia the seeds of Anarchy fell on stony 

In Northern and Midland towns, however, the excitement 
increased hourly. It extended everywhere. From Ventnor 
to the Pentlands, from Holyhead to the Humber, from Scilly 
to the Nore, every man and every woman existed in fearfiil- 
ness of the crash that was impending. 

It was now known throughout the breadth of our land 
that the Government policy was faulty, that War Office and 
Admiralty organisation was a rotten make-helieve, and, worst 
of all, that what critics had long ago said as to the inadequacy 
of our naval defence, even with the ships built under the 
programme of 1894, had now, alas ! proved to be true. 

The suspense was awfuL Those who were now living in 
the peaceful atmospheres of their homes, surrounded by neigh- 
bours and friends in the centre of a great town, and feeling a 
sense of security, might within a few days be shot down by 
French rifles, or mowed down brutally by gleaming Cossack 
s/ittshkas. The advance of the enemy whs expected daily, 
hourly ; and the people in the North waited, staggered, breath- 
less, and terrified. Men eagerly scanned the newspapera; 
women pressed their children to their bi'easts. 

In the mining districts the shock had not inspired the 
same amount of fear as at the ports and in the manufacturing 
centres. Possibly it was because work was still proceeding 
in the pits, and constant work prevents men from becoming 
restless, or troubling themselves about a nation's woes. Toilers 
who worked below knew that foreign invaders had landed, and 
that the Militia and Volnnleers had been called out, but they 
vaguely believed that, the seat of war being away down south 
— a very long distance in the imagination of moat of them — 
everj'thing would be over before they could be called upon to 
take part in the struggle In any case coal and iron must bo 
got, they ai^ed, and while they had woik they had little 
time for uneasiness. Nevertheless, great numbers of stalwart 

Teie Great War in England in 

young miners enrolled tliemselves in the local Volunteer corps, 
and burned to avenge the affront to their country and their 

Tliose were indeed fateful, ever-to-be-remeuibered days. 

Amid this weary, anxious watching, this constant dread 
of what might next occur, an item of news was circulated 
which caused the greatest rejoicing everywhere. Intelligence 
reached New York, by cable from France, that Germany had 
combined with England against tho Franco -Russian alliance, 
that her vast army had been mobilised, and that already the 
brave, well-drilled legions of the Emperor William had crossed 
the Vosges, and passed the frontier into France. A sharp 
battle had been fought near Givet, and that, as well as several 
other French frontier towns which fell in 1870, wei'e again in 
the hands of the Germans. 

How difl'erent were German metliods to those of the 
British I 

With a pei'fect scheme of attack, every detail of which had 
been long thought out, and which worked without a liitch, tho 
Kaiser's I'orces were awaiting the word of command to march 
onward — to Paris. For years — ever since they taught France 
that severe lesson in the last disastrous war — it had been the 
ambition of every German cavalryman to clink his spurs on 
the asphalte of the Boulevards. Now they were actually on 
their way towards their goal ! 

The papers were full of these latest unexpected develop- 
ments, the details of which, necessarily meagre owing to the 
lack of direct communication, were eagerly discussed. It waa 
believed that Germany would, in addition to defending her 
Polish frontier and attacking France, also send a naval squadron 
from Kiel to England. 

The Tsar's spy had been foiled, and Kussia and France now 
knew they had made a f;dsc move! Russia's rapid and decisive 
movement was intended to prevent the signing of the secret 
alliance, and to bar England and Germany from joining hands. 
But happily the sly machinations of the Count von Beilstein, 
the released convict and adventurer, had in a measure failed. 

Fateful Days fok the Old Flag 

for Germany had considered it diplomatic to throw in her 
fortune with Great Brilain iu this desperate encounter. 

A feeling of thankfidness spread through the land. Never- 
theless, it was plain that if Germany intended to wield the 
double- handled sword of conquest in France, she would have 
few troops to spare to send to England. 

But tliose dark days, full of agonising suspense, dragged 
on slowly. The French well knew the imminent danger that 
threatened their own country, yet they could not possibly 
withdraw. Mad enthusiasts always ! 

It must be war to the death, they decided. The conflict 
could not be averted. So Biitons unsheathed their steel, and 
held themselves in readiness for a fierce and desperate fray. 

The invasion had indeed been planned by our enemies with 
marvellous forethought and cunning. There was treachery ia 
the Intelligence Department of the British Admiralty, foul 
treachery which placed our country at the mercy of the 
invader, and sacrificed thousands of lives. On the morning 
following the sudden Declaration of War, the officer in charge 
of the telegraph bureau at Whit«hall, whose duty it had been 
to send the telegrams ordering the naval mobilisation, was 
found lying dead beside the telegraph instrument — stabbed to 
the heart I Inquiries were made, and it was found that one 
ot the clerks, a young Frenchman who had been taken on 
temporarily at a low salary, was missing. It was further 
discovered that the murder had been committed hours before, 
immediately the Mobilisation Orders bad been sent ; further, 
that fictitious telegrams had been despatclied cancelling them, 
and ordering the Channel Fleet away to the Mediterranean, 
the Coastguard Squadron to land's End, and the first-class 
Reserve ships to proceed to the North of Scotland in search of 
the enemy ! Thus, owing to these orders sent by the murderer, 
England was left unprotected. 

Immediately the truth was known efforts were made to 
cancel the forged orders. But, alas! it was too late. Oar 
Fleets had already sjiiled ! 



|A3lL VON EEILSTEIN sat in liia own com- 
fortable saddle bag- ehuir, in his chambers in 
the Albany, lazily twisting a cigarette. 

On a table at his elbow was spread sheet 
319 of the Ordnance Survey Map of England. 
which embraced that part of Sussex where the 
enemy were encamped. With red and blue pencils he had 
been making mystic marks upon it, and had at last laid it aside 
with a smile of satisfiiction. 

"She thought she had me in her power," he muttered 
omiuonsly to himself. " The wolf If she knew everythiuf;, 
she could make me crave again at her feet for mercy. 
Happily she is in ignorance; therefore that trip to a more 
salubrious climate that I anticipated is for the present 
postponed. I have silenced her, and am still master of the 
situation — still the agent of the Tsar ' " Uttering a low 
laugh, he gave his cigarette a final twist, and then regarded 
it critically. 

The door opened to admit his valet. Grevel. 
" A message from the Embassy. The man ia waiting," he 

His master opened the note which was handed to him, read 
it with contracted brows, and said — 

" Tell him that the matter shall be arranged as quickly as 


Count von Beilstein at Home 

" Xotliiug else ? " 

" Xotliin^. I am leaving London, and shall not be back 
for a week — perhaps loager," 

With a sli<;ht yawn lie rose and passed into his dreasing- 
room, while hia servant went to deliver his message to the 
man iu waiting. The note had produced a marked elfect npon 
the spy. It was an order from his taskmasters in St. Peters- 
bui^. He knew it must be obeyed. Every moment waa of 
vital consequence in carrying out the veiy delicate missiou 
intrusted to him, a mission which it would require all his tact 
and cuuning to execute. 

In a quarter of an hour he emerged into bis sitting-room 
again, so completely disguised that even his most intimate 
acquaintances would have failed to recognise bim. ALtired in 
rusty black, with clean shaven face and walking with a 
scholarly stoop, he had transformed himself from the foppiab 
man-about- town to a needy country parson, whose cheap boots 
were down at heel, and in the lappel of whose coat was displayed 
a piece of worn and faded blue. 

" Listen, Pierre," be said to his man, who entered at his 
summons. " While I am away keep your eyes and ears open. 
If there is a shadow of suspicion in any quarter, burn all my 
papers, send me warning through the Embassy, and clear out 
yourself without delay. Should matters assume a really 
dangerous aspect, you must get down to the Kusaian lines, 
where they will pass you through, and put you on board one 
of our ships." 

'• Has the Ministry at Petersburg promised us protection at 
last ? " 

"Ves; we have nothing to fear. When the game is up 
amoii^' these Iambs, we shall calmly go over to the other side 
and witness the fun." 

" In what direction are you now going ? " 

" I don't know," replied the spy, as he nnlocbed a drawer 
in a small cabinet in a nicbe by the fireplace and took from 
it a long Circassian knife. Drawing the bright blade from its 
leathern sheath, he felt its keen double edge with his fingers. 

The Great War in England in 1897 

It was like a razor. 

" A desperate errdnil — eh ? " queried the valet, with a giin, 
noticing how carefully the Count placed the murderous weai>oa 
in his inner pocket. 

" Yes," he answered. " Desperate, A word sometimes 
means death." 

And the simple rural vicar strode out and down the stairs, 
leaving the crafty Pierre in wonderment, 

" Bah ! " the latter exclaimed in disgust, when the receding 
footsteps had died away. " So you vainly imagine, my dear 
Karl, that you have your heel upon my neck, do you ? It is 
good for nie that you don't give me credit for heiug a little 
more wideawake, otherwise you would see that you are raking 
the chestnuts from the fire for me. Bwn ! I am silent, docile, 
obedient ; I merely wait for you to burn your fingers, then the 
whole of the money will be mine to enjoy, while you will be in 
the only land where the Tsar does not require secret agents. 
Vain, avaricious fool I You'll it in your grave ! " 

Von Eeilstcin meanwhile sped along down the Haymarket 
and Pall Mall to Whitehall The clock on the stone tower of 
the Horse Guards showed it was one o'clock, and, with appar- 
ently aimless purpose, he lounged about on the broad pave- 
ment outside Old Scotland Yard, immediately opposite the 
dark facade of the Admiralty, His hawk's eye carefully 
somtiniaed every single person of the busy throng entering or 
leaving the building. Tliere was great activity at the naval 
headquarters, and the courtyard was crowded with persona hurry- 
ing in and out. Presently, after a short but vigilant watch, he 
turned quickly so as to be unobserved, and moved slowly away. 

The cause of this sudden manceuvre was the appearance of 
a well-dressed, dark-bearded man of about forty, having the 
appearance of a naval officer in mufti, who emerged hastily 
from the building with a handliag in his hand, and crossed the 
courtyard to the kerb, where he stood looking up and down 
the thoroughfare. 

" My man I " e-xclaimed von Beilatein, under his breath. 
" He wanta a cab. I wonder where he's going ? " 

Count von Blilstein at Home 

Five minates later llie naval ollieer was in a hansom, 
driving towards Westminster Bridge, while, at a little dietance 
behind, the Tsar's agent was following in another conveyance. 
Once on the trail, the Count never left his quarrj-. Crossing 
the bridge, they drove on rapidly through the crowded, 
turbulent streets of South Loudon to the Elephant and Castle, 
and thence down the Old Kent Hoad to the New Cross Station 
of the South-Eastem Eailway. 

As a protest against tbe action of the GovernineDt, and in 
order to prevent the enemy from establishing direct com- 
mimicatioQ with London in case of British reverses, the lines 
from tbe metropolis to the south had been wrecked by the 
Anarchists. On the Chatham and Dover liailway, Penge 
tunnel had been blown up, on the Brighton line two bridges 
near Croydon had been similarly treated, and on the South- 
Eastern four bridges in Rotherhithe and Bermondsey had been 
broken up and rendered impassable by dynamite, while at 
Haysden, outside Tunbridge, the rails had also been torn up 
for a considerable distance. Therefore traffic to the south 
from London termini had been suspended, and the few persons 
travelling were conipeUed to take train at the stations in 
the remoter southern snbuibs. 

As the unsuspecting officer stepped into the booking-oHice, 
his attention was not attracted by the quiet and seedy clergy- 
man who lounged near enough to overhear him purchase a 
Srst-class ticket for Deal. When he had descended to the 
platform the spy obtained a third-clnss ticket to the same 
destination, and leisurely followed him. Travelling by the 
same train, they were compelled to alight at Haysden and 
walk over the wrecked permanent way into Tunbridge, from 
which place they journeyed to Deal, arriving there about six 
o'clock. Throughout, it was apparent to the crafty watcher 
that the man he was following was doing his utmost to escape 
observation, and this surmise was strengthened by his actions 
on arriving at the quaint old town, now half ruined ; for, 
instead of going to a first-class hotel, he walked on until he 
came to Middle Street, — a narrow little thoroughfare, redolent 

6o The Great War in England in 1897 

of fish, running parallel with the sea, — and took up quarters at 
the Mariners' Best luu. It was a low, old-fashioned little 
place, with sanded floors, a smoke-blackened taproom, a rickety 
time-mellowed bar, with a comfortable little parlour beyoud. 

In this latter room, used in conmion by the guests, on the 
following day the visitor from London first met the shabby 
parson Tram Canterbury. The man from the Admiralty 
seemed in no mood for conversation; nevertheless, after a 
preliminary chat upon the prospect of the invasion, they ex- 
changed cards, and the vicar gradually became coutidentiaL 
With a pious air he related how he had been to Canterbury to 
conduct a revival mission which had turned out marvelloi^ly 
successful, crowds having to be tui-ned awny at every service, 
and how he was now enjoying a week's vacation before return- 
ing to his poor but extensive parish in Hertfordshire. 

" I came to this inn, because I am bound to pi'actise a most 
rigid economy," he added. " I am charmed ivith it. One sees 
so much character here in these rough toilers of the sea." 

" Yes," replied his friend, whose card bore the words 
" Commander Terbery, RN." " Being a sailor myself, I prefer 
thia homely little inn, with its fisher folk as customers, to a 
more pretentious and less comfortable establishment." 

" Are you remaining here long ? " asked hia clerical friend. 

" I — I really don't know," answered the officer hesitatingly, 
" Possibly a day or so." 

The spy did not pursue the subject further, but conducted 
himself with an amiability which caused his fellow-traveller to 
regard him as "a real good fellow for a paiBou." Together 
they smoked the long clays of the hostelry, they sat in the tap- 
room of an evening and conversed with the fishermen who 
congregated there, and frequently strolled along by the shore 
to Walraer, or through the fields to Cottingham Court Farm, 
or Sholden. Constantly, however, Commander Yerbery kept 
his eyes seaward. Was he apprehensive lest Uussian ironclads 
should return, and again bombard the little town ; or was he 
expecting some mysterious signal from some ship in the 
Downs ? 



In several occ&eions the spy had, with artful 
ingenuity, endeavoured to discover the object 
of CommaDder Yerbery'a sojourn, but upon 
that point he preserved a silence that wa8 
impenetrabla In their wanderings about the 
town they saw on every side the havoc caused 
by the bombardment which had taken place three days pre- 
viously. Whole rows of houses facing the sea had been carried 
away by the enemy's shells, and the once handsome church spire 
was now a mere heap of SDiouldering d^bria. The barracks, 
which had been one of the objects of attack, had suffered most 
severely. Meliuite had been projected into them, exploding 
with devastating effect, and demolishing the buildings, which 
fell like packs of cards. Afterwards, the enemy had sailed 
away, apparently thinking the strategical position of the place 

And all this had been brought about by this despicable 
villain — the man who had now wrapped himself in the cloak 
of sanctity, and who, beaming with well-feigned good fellow- 
ship, walked arm-in-arm with the man upon whom he was 
keeping the most vigilant observation ! By night sleep 
scarcely came to his eyes, but iu his little room, with its clean 
old-fashioned dimity blinds and hangings, he lay awake, — 
scheming, planning, plotting, preparing for the master-stroke. 
One morning, after they had been there three days, he 

The Great War in England in 1897 

stood alone in liis bedroom with the door closed. From his 
inner pocket he drew forth the keen Circasaian blade that 
reposed there, and gnzed thoughtfully upon it 

"No," he muttered, suddenly rousing himself, aa if a 
thought had suddenly occulted to him. " He is strong. He 
might shout, and then I should be caught like a rat in a trap." 

Replacing the knife in his pocket, he took from his vest a 
tiny phial he always carried ; then, after noiselessly locking 
the door, he took from the same pocket a small cube of lump 
sugar. Standing by the window he uncorked the little bottle, 
and with steady hand allowed one single drop of the colour- 
less liquid to escape and fall upon the sugar, which quickly 
absorbed it, leaving a small darkened stain. This sugar he 
placed in a locked drawer to dry, and, putting away the phial, 
descended to joifi his companion. 

That night they were sitting together in the private parlour 
behind the bar, smoking and cimttiug. It was an old-fashioned, 
smoke-begrimed room, with low oak ceiling and high wainscot, 
— a room in which many a seafarer had found rest and comfort 
after the toils and perils of the deep, a room in which many a 
stirring tale of the sea has Ijeeu related, and in which one of 
our best-known nautical writers has gathered materials for 
his stirring ocean romances. 

Although next the bar, there is no entrance on that side, 
neither is there any glass, therefore the apartment is entirely 
secluded from the public portion of the inn. At midnight the 
hearty Boniface aud his wil'e and servant had retired, and the 
place was silent, but the officer and his fellow-guest still sat 
with their pipes. The parson, as became one who exhibited 
the blue pledge of temperance in his coat, sipped his coffee, 
while the other had whisky, lemon, and a small jug of hot 
water beside him. The spy had ln!en using the sugar, and the 
basin was close to his hand. 

His companion presently made a movement to reach it, 
when the pleasant-spoken vicar took up the tongs quickly, 
saying — 

"Allow me to assist you. One Imnp ?" 


A Death Draught 63 

" Yes, thanks," replied the other, holding his glaas for the 
small cube to be thrown in. Then he added the lemon, whisky, 
and hot water. Beilstein, betraying no excitement, coutinited 
the conversation, calmly refilled his pipe, and watched hia 
companion sip the deadly potion. 

Karl von Beilstein had reduced poisoning to a fine ait. 

Not a muscle of his face contracted, though his keen eyes 
never left the other's countenance. 

They talked on, the Commander apparently unaffected by 
the draught ; his friend smilingly complacent and confident 

Suddenly, without warning, the ofScer's face grew ashen 
pale and serious. A violent tremor shook his stalwart frame. 

"I — I feel very strange," he cried, with difficulty. "A 
most curious sensation has come over me— a sensation as if — 
as if — ah ! heavens ! Help, help ! — I — I can't breathe ! " 

The mild-mannered pai'son jumped to his feet, and stood 
before his friend, watching the hideous contortions of bis face. 

"Assistance!" bis victim gasped, sinking inertly back in 
the high-backed Windsor arm-chair. " Fetch me a doctor — 

But the man addressed took no heed of the appeal. He 
stood calmly by, contemplating with satisfaction his villainous 

" Can't you see— I'm ill ? " the dying man cried in a feeble, 
piteous voice. "My throat and head are burning. Give me 
water — water .' " 

Still the spy remained motionless. 

"You — you refuse to assist me — you scoundrel ! Ah!" he 
cried hoarsely, in dismay. " Ah ! I see it all now ! Ood ! 
You've poisoned me ! " 

With a frantic effort he half-raised himself iu his chair, but 
fell back in a heap ; his arms hanging helplessly at his side. 
His breath came and went in short hard gasps ; the death-rattle 
was already in his throat, and with one long deep-drawn sigh 
the last breath left the body, and the light gradually died out 
of the agonised face. 

Quick as thought the Count unbulloned the dead man's 

64 The Great War in England i 

coat, and searching bis pockets ttw-jk out a large white ofEcial 
envelope bearing in the corner the blue stamp of the Admir- 
alty, It was addressed to "Sir Michael Culrae-Seymour, 
Admiral commanding the Channel Squadron," anti was 
marked " Private." 

" Good ! " ejaculated the spy, as he tore open the envelope. 
"I was not mistaken, after all! He was waiting until the 
flagship came into the Downs to deliver it," 

The envelope contained a letter accompanied by a chart of 
the Soutli Coast, upon which were certain marks at intervals 
in red with minute directions, as well as a copy of ttie code of 
secret signals in which some slight alterations had lately been 

"What forluue!" cried the Count gleefully, after reading 
the note. " Their plans and the secret of their signaU, too. are 
now ours ! The Embassy were correct in their surmise. 
With these the French and Russian ships will be able to act 
swiftly, and sweep the British from the sea. Now for London 
as quickly as possible, for the ioformation will be absolutely 

Without a final glance at the corpse, huddled up in its 
chair, he put on his hat, and stealing noiselessly from the 
house, set out in the moonlight to walk swiftly by way 
of Great Mongeham and Waldershai-e to Shepherd's Well 
station, whence he could get by train to Ix)ndon. 

The immense importance of these secret documents lie had 
not overrated. Their possession would enable the Russian 
ships to decipher many of the hitherto mysterious British 

The spy had accomplished liis mission I 




jOtJELY the most alarming teports were being 
received at tlie War Office, and at uewspaper 
offices throughout the country, of the rapi(Uy- 
increasing forces of the invaders, who were still 
landing in enormous numbers. Vague rumours 
were also afloat of desperate encouuters at sea 
between our Coastguard Squadron that had returned and the 
French and liussiau iiunclads. 

Nothing definite, however, was known. News travelled 
slowly, and was always unreliable. 

Mobilisation was being hurried forward with all possiblu 
speed. ><evertfaeleE8, so sudden had been the descent of the 
enemy, that Eastbourne, Newhaveu, and Seaford had already 
fallen into their hands. Into the half-wrecked town of Eastbourne 
regiment after regiment of Russian infantry bad been pouretl 
by the transports Samojed and ArUlxik, while two regiments 
of dragoons, one of Cossacks, and many mactune-gun sections 
had also been lauded, in addition to a quantity of French 
infantry from the other vessels. The streets of the usually 
clean, well-ordered town were strewn with the diSbria of fallen 
bouses and shops that hod been wrecked by Russian shells. 
The Queen's Hotel at Splash Point, with its tiere of verandahs 
and central spire, stood out a great gaunt blackened ruin. 

Along Terminus lload the grey-coated horde.'; of the Great 
White T&ir looted the shops, and showed no quarter to those 

TiiE Gri:at War in England in 

who fell into their hands. The Grand Hotel, the BurliDgton, 
the Cavendish, and others, were quickly transformed into 
barracks, as well as the hali-ruiiied Town Hall, and the Floral 
Hall at Devonshire Park, 

Robbery, outrage, and murder ran riot in the town, whii'li 
only a few days before had been a fashionable health resort, 
crowded by aristocratic idlers. Hundreds of unoffending 
persons had been killed by the merciless fire from the enemy's 
battleships, and hundreds mote were being shot down in the 
streets for attempting a feeble resistance. The inhabitants, 
surrounded on all aides by the enemy, were powerless. 

The huge guns of the Pamyat Azova, the Imperator Nicolai I., 
the Fjotr VeUklj, the Krcjser. the Kajezdniky and others, had 
belched forth their death-dealing missiles with an effect that 
was appalling. 

The thunder of cannon had ceased, but was now succeeded 
by the sharp cracking of Eussiau rifles, as those who, desperately 
guarding their homes and their loved ones, and making a 
stand gainst the invaders, were shot down like dogs. A 
crowd of townspeople collected in the open space outside 
the railway station, prepared to bar the advance of the 
Russians towards the Old Town and Upperton. Alas ! it was 
a forlorn hope for an unarmed mob to attempt any such 

A Kussiau officer suddenly shouted a ivurJ of command that 
brought a company of infjintry to the halt, facing the crowd. 
Another word and a hundred rifles were discharged. Agaiu 
and again they flashed, and the volley was repeated until the 
streets were covered with dead and dying, and the few who 
were not struck turned and fled, leaving the invaders to 
advance unopposed. 

Horrible were the deeds committed that night. English 
homes were desecrated, ruined, and burned. Babes were 
murdered before the eyes of their parents, many being impaled 
by gleaming Iluasian bayonets ; fathers were shot down in the 
presence of their wives and children, and sons were treated in 
a similar manner. 


The Massacre at Eastbourne 

The massacre was frightful. Ruin and desolation were on 
every hand. 

The soldiers of the Tsar, savage and inhnman, showed no 
mercy to the weak and unprotected. They jeered and laughed 
at piteous appeal, and with fiendish brutality enjoyed the 
destruction which everywhere they wrought 

Many a cold-blooded murder was committed, many a brave 
Englishman fell beneath the heavy whirling sabres of Cir- 
cassian Cossacks, the bayonets of French infantry, or the 
deadly hail of machiue giius. Battalion after battalion of the 
enemy, fierce and ruthless, clambered ou over the debris in 
Temiius Hoad, enthusia<!tic at finding their feet upon English 
soil. The flames of the burning buildings in various parts 
of the town illuminated the place witli a bright red glare that 
fell npou dark bearded faces, in every line of which was 
marked determination and fierce hostility. Landing near 
Ijingney Point, many of the battalions entered the town from 
the east, destroying all the property they came across ou their 
line of advance, and, turning into Terminus Hoad, then con- 
tinned tlirough ITpperton and out upon tlie road leading to 

The irench forces, who came ashore close to Holywell, on 
the other side of the town, advanced direct over Warren Hill, 
and struck due north towards Sheep Lands. 

At about a mile from the point where the road from East- 
dean crosses that to Jevington, the force encamped in a most 
advantageous position upon Willingdon Hill, while the Russians 
who advanced direct over St. Anthony's Hill, and those who 
marched through Eastbourne, united at a point on the Lewes 
Road near Park Farm, and after occupying Willingdon village, 
took up a position on the high ground that lies between it and 

From a strategic point of view the positions of both forces 
were carefully chosen. The commanding officers were evidently 
well acquainted with the district, for while the French com- 
manded Enstboume and a wide stretch of the Downs, the 
Kussians also had l>efore them an extensive tract of country 

68 Tiiic Great War in England in 1897 

extending in the north to Polegate, in the west to the Fore 
Down and Lilliegton, and in the east beyond Willingdon over 
Pevenaey Levels to the sea. 

During the night powerful searcli-ligiits from the French 
find Bussian ships swept the coast coiitinunlly, illuminating the 
Burrouuding hills and lending additional light to the ruined and 
burning town. Before the sun rose, however, the majority of 
the invading vessels had rounded Beachy Head, and had 
steamed away at full ejiced ilown Clianiiel. 

Dayliijht revealed tlie grim realities ut war. It ( 

Eastbourne with its handsome Uiildiiigs scorched and ruined, 
its streets blocked by fallen walla, and trees which liad once 
formed ahady boulevards torn up and broken, its shops looted, 
its tall clmrch steeples blown away, its railway station wrecked, 
and its people massacred, Alas ! tlieir life-blood was wet upon 
the pavements. 

The French and Russian legions, ever increasing, covered the 
hills. The heavy guns of the French arlillery and the lighter 
hut more deadly machine guns of the Russians had already been 
placed in position, and were awaiting the order to move north 
and commence the assault on Ij)ndon. 


The Massacre at Eastbournk 


It was too late 1 Nothing could now be done to improve the 
rotten state of our defences. The invasion had begun, and 
Britain, liandicapped alike on land and on sea, must arm and 
fight to the death. 

By Tuesday night, three days after the Declaration of War, 
two French and half a Russian army corps, amounting to 90,000 
oERcers and men, with 10,000 horses and 1500 guns and 
waggons, had landed, in addition to which reinforcements con- 
stantly arrived from the French Channel and Russian Italtic 
ports, until the nnmber of the enemy on English soil was 
estimated at over 300,000. 

The overwhelming descent on our shores had been secretly 
planned by the enemy with great forethought, every detnil 
having been most carefully arranged. The steam tonnage in 
the French harbours was ample and to spare, tor many of the 
vessels, being British, had been at once seized on the outbreak 
of hostilities. Tlie sudden interruption of the mail and tele- 
graphic services between the two countries left us in total 
ignorance of the true state of affairs. Nevertheless, for weeks 
an army of carpenters and engineers had been at work 
preparing the necessary fittings, which were afterwards placed 
in position on board the ships destined to convey horses and 
men to England. 

In order to deceive the other Powers, a large number of 
military transport vessels had been fitted out at Brest for a 
bogus expedition to Dahomey, Tliese ships actually put to 
sea on the day previous to the Declaration of War, aud on 
Saturday night, at the hour when the news reached Britain, 
they had already embarked guns, horses, and waggons at the 
Channel ports. Immediately after the Tsar's manifesto hail 
been issued the Russian Volunteer Fleet was mobilised, and 
transports which had long been held in readiness in the Baltic 
harbours embarked men and guns, and, one after another, 
steamed away for England without the slightest confusion or 
any undue haste. 



3ANY British military and naval writers had 
ridiculed the idea of a surprise invasion without 
any attempt on the part of the enemy to gaiu 
more than a partial and temporary control of 
the Channel. Although an attack on territoi-y 
without ha\'iog previously command of the sea 
hud gt'iiL'ially been foredoomed to failure, it had been long ago 
su^eated by certain military officers in the course of lectures 
at the United Service Institution, that under certain conditions 
such invasion was possible, and that France might ere long 
be ruled by some ambitious soldier who might be tempted to 
try a sudden dash on le perfde Albion. They pointed out 
that at worst it would entail on France the loss of thret- 
or four army corps, a loss no greater than she would suffer in 
one short land campaign. But alas ! at that time very little 
notice was taken of such criticisms and illustrations, for Britons 
had always been prone to cast doubts upon the power of other 
nations to convey troops by sea, to embark them, or to land 
them. Thus the many suggestions directed towards increasing 
the mobility and efficiency of the Army were, like other warn- 
ings, cast aside, the prevaihng opinion in the country being 
that sudden invasion was an absolute impossibility. 

Predictions of prophets that had so long been scorned, 
derided, and disregarded by an apathetic British public were 
rapidly being fulfilled. Coming events had cast dark shadows 

Is THE Eagle's Talons 

tliiit bad been unheeded, and now the unexpected bursting of 
llie war cloud produced panic through our land. 

General Sir Archibald Alison struck an alarming note of 
warning wlien he wrote in Blachcood in December 1893: "No 
one can look carefully into the present state of Europe without 
feeling convinced that it cannot continue long in its present 
condition. Every country is maintaining an armed force out 
of all proportion to its resources and population, and the con- 
sequent strain upon its monetary system and its industrial 
population is ever increasing, and must sooner or later become 

It had never been suQiciently impressed upon the British 
public, that when mobilised foe war, and with all the Reserves 
called out, Eussia had at her command 2,722,000 officers and 
men, while France could put 2,715,000 into the field, making 
a total force of the Franco- Russian Armies of 5,437,000 men, 
with 9920 field guns and 1,480,000 horses. 

This well-equipped force was almost equal to the combined 
Armies of the Triple Alliance, Germany possessing 2,441,000, 
Austria 1,590,000, and Italy 1,909,000. a total of 5,940,000 
officers and men, with 8184 field guns and 813,996 horses. 

Beside these enormous totals, how ridiculously small ap- 
peared the British Army, with its Regular forces at home 
and abroad amounting to only 211.600 of all ranks. 225,400 
Volunteers, and 74,000 Reserves, or 511,000 fighting men ! Of 
these, only 63,000 Regulars remained in England and Wales, 
therefore our Eeaervea and Volunteers were the chief defenders 
of our homes. 

What a mere handful they appeared side by side with these 
huge European Armies I 

Was it not surprising that in such circumstances the 
constant warnings regarding the wenkneas of our Navy — the 
force upon which the very life of our Empire depended — should 
liave been unheeded by the too confident public ? 

When we were told plainly by a well-known authority that 
the number of our war vessels was miserably inadequate, that 
we were 10,000 men and 1000 oHicers short, aud, among other 

72 The Great War in England in 1897 

tliitigB, ihat a French cruiser had, for all practical purposes, 
three limes the fighting efficiency of an English cruiser, no oue 
troubled. Nor was any one aroused from his foolishly apathetic 
confidence in British supremacy at sea. True, our Navy was 
strengthened to a certain extent in 1894, but hard facta, solemn 
warnings, gloomy forebodings, all were, alas ! cast aside among 
the " scares " which crop up periodically in the press during a 
Parliamentary recess, and which, on the hearing of a murder 
trial, or a Society scandal, at once fizzle out and are dismissed 
for ever. 

On this rude awakening to tlie seriousness of the situation, 
Service men now remembered distinctly the prophetic words 
of the few students of probable invasion. Once they had 
regai'ded them as based on wild improbabililies, but now they 
admitted that the facts were as represented, and that critics 
had foreseen catastrophe. 

Already active steps had been taken towards the defence of 

Notwithstanding the serious defects in the mobilisation 
scheme, the Ist Army Corps, formed at Aldershot under Sir 
Evelyn Wood, and three cavalry brigades, were now in the 
field, while the other army corps were being rapidly conveyed 

Independently of the Field Army, the Volunteers had 
mobilised, and were occupying the lines north and south of 
tlie metropolis. This force of Volunteer infantry consisted of 
108,300 officers and men, of whom 73.000, with 212 guns, were 
placed on the line south of the Thames. 

It stretched along the hills from Guildford in Surrey to 
Halsted in Kent, with intermedial* concentration points at 
Box Hill and Caterham. At the latter place an efficient 
garrison had been established, consisting of 4603 of all ranks 
of the North London Brigade, 4521 of the West London, 5965 
of the South London, 5439 of the Surrey, and 6132 of the 
Lancashire and Cheshire. This force was backed by eleven 
16-pounder batteries of the Ist Norfolk from Yarmouth, the 
1st Sussex from Brighton, the 1st Newcastle and the 2nd 

In thih EAtiLE's Talons 

Diirlinm from Seahaiu, and ten 40-poiiinl(;r batteries of the 3rd 
and 6tli Lancashire from Liverpool, the 9th Lancashire from 
Bolton, the let Cheshire from Chester, the 1st Cinque Ports 
from Dover, and the 2nd Cinque Ports from St. Leonards. At 
Habtea<l, on the left flauk, there were massed about 20,470 
Volunteer infantry, these being ninde up of the South Wales 
Brigade 4182, Welsh Border 5192, the North Midland 5225, 
and the South Midland 5970. The eleveu 16-pounder Intteries 
came from the Woolwich Arsenal, Monmouth, Shropshire, and 
Stafford Corps, and five 40-pounder batteries from the Preston 

To Guildford 4471 infantry in the Home Counties Brigade 
and 4097 in the Western Counties were assigned, while the 
guns consisted of four 40-pounder batteries from the York and 
Leeds Corps, the 16-pounder batteries of the Fife, Highland, 
and Midlothian Corps being unable, as yet, to get south on 
account of the congested state of all the northera railways. 

For this same reason, too, the force at Box Hill, the remain- 
ing post in the south line of defence, was a very weak one. To 
this the Volunteers assigned were mostly Scottish. 

Of the Glasgow Brigade 8000 of all ranks arrived, with 
4000 from the South of Scotland Brigade ; but the Highland 
Brigade of 4400 men, all euthiisiaatically patriotic, and the 
16-pounder batteries from Ayr and Lanark, were compelled, to 
their chagrin, to wait at their headquarters for several days 
before the railways — every resource of which was strained to 
their utmost limits — could move them forward to the seat of 

The five heavy batteries of the Aberdeen and North 
York Corps succeeded in getting down to their place of con- 
centration early, as likewise did the 16-pounder battery from 
Calloway. Volunteers also undertook the detencea north of 
the metroiKilis, and a strong line, consisting of a number of 
provincial brigades, stretched from Tilbury to Brentwood and 

The British Volunteer holds no romantic notions of " death 
or glory," but is none the less prepared to do his duty, and ia 

74 Tin; Gkeat War in Enclanu i 

always ready " to do anything, and to go anywhere." Every 
officer and every man of this yreat force whiuh had moonted 
guard north and south of the Thamea was resolved to act 
his part bravely, and, if necessary, lay down his life for his 
country's honour. 

At ttieir posts on the Surrey Hills, ready at any moment to 
go into action, and firmly determined that no invader should 
ent€r the vast Capital of the World, they impatiently awaited 
the development of the situation, e^er to face and annihilate 
their foreign foe. 

Britannia had always been justly proud of her Volunteer 
forces, although their actual strength in time of invasion hftd 
never before been demonstrated. Now, however, the test 
which had heen applied showed that, with an exception of 
rarest occurrence, every man had responded to this hnsty call 
to arm.s, and that on active sei-vice they were as fearless and 
courageous as any body of Eegulars ever put in the field. 

Every man was alive to Britain's danger ; every man knew 
well how terrible would be the combat— the struggle that must 
result in either victory or death. 

The double-headed Eagle had set his talons in British soil ! 



|N the Channel disastrous events of a most 
exciting diaracter were now rapidly occurring. 
Outside Seaford Bay, Pevensey Bay, and off 
Brighton and the Mares at Cuckniere Haven 
the enemy's transports, having landed troops 
and stores, rode at anchor, forming a line of 
retreat in case of reverses, while many fast French cruisers 
Bteamed up and down, keeping a abarp lookout for any 
British merchant or mail steamers which, ignorant of the 
hostilities, entered the Channel 

The officers and crews of these steamers were in most 
cases so utterly surprised that they fell an easy prey to the 
marauding vessels, many being captured and taken to French 
ports without a shot being fired. Other vessels, on endeavour- 
ing to escape, were either overiiauled or sunk by the heavy 
tire of pursuing cruisers. One instance was that of the fast 
mail steamer Carpathian, belonging to the Union Steamship 
Company, which, entering the Channel on a voyage from Cape 
Town to Southampton, was attacked ort* the Eddyatone by the 
Bussian armoured cruiser Qersog Edinhvrskij. The panic on 
board was indescribable, over a hundred steerage passengers 
being killed or mutilated by the shells from the bow guns of 
the cruiser, and the captain himself being blown to atoms by 
an explosion which occurred wlien a shot struck and carried 
away the forward funnel. After an exciting chase, the 

76 The Gre.\t War in England in 1897 


Carpathian -was sunk near Start Point, aud of the five hundred 
passengers aud crew scarcely a b ingle person survived. 

This terrible woi'k of destruction accomplished, the Eussian 
cruiser turned westward again to await further prey. As she 
steamed away, however, another ship rounded the Start follow- 
ing at full speed in her wake. This vessel, which was flying 
the British flag, was the barbette-ship Ceniurioji. Already 
her captain had witnessed the attack and sinking of the 
Carpathian, hut from a distance too great to enable him to 
assist the defenceless liner, and he was now on his way to 
attack the Tsar's cruiser. Almost immediately she was noticed 
by the enemy. Half an hour later she drew within range, and 
soon the two ships were engaged in a most desperate encounter. 
The giinners on the Centurion, seeing the Eussian cross flying 
defiantly, and knowing the frightful havoc already wrought on 
land by the enemy, worked with that pluck and indomitable 
energy characteristic of the Britisher. Shot after shot waa 
exchanged, but hissed and splashed without effect until the 
ships drew nearer, and then nearly every shell struck home. 
The rush of flame from the quick-firing guns of the Centurion 
was continuous, and the firing was much more accurate than 
that of her opponent, nevertheless the latter was manipulated 
with remarkable skill. 

The roar of the guns was deafening. Clouds of smoke 
rose so thickly that (he vessels could scarcely distinguish 
each other. But the firing was almost continuous, until 
suddenly a shell struck the Centurion abaft the funnel, and 
for a moment stilled her guns. 

This, however, waa not for long, for in a few moments she 
recovered from the shock, and her guns were again sending 
forth shells with repularity and precision. Again a shell 
struck the Centurion, this time carrying away one of her funnels 
and killing a large number of men. 

The Biitish captain, still as cool as if standing on the 
hearthrug of the smoking-room of the United Service Club, 
took his vessel closer, continuing the fire, heedless of the fact 
that the Russian shells striking his ship were playing such 


Fierce Fighting in the Channel 

fearful havoc with it. Every preparation liad been made for 
a desperate fight to the death, when suddenly a shot struck the 
vessel, causing her to reel and shiver. 

So well had the Eussians directed their fire that the British 
vessel could not reply. One of her 29-tonner3 had beeu blown 
completely off its carriage, and lay shattered with men dead 
all around, while two of her quick-firing broadside guns had 
beeu rendered useless, and she had sustained other injuries of 
a very serious character, besides losing nearly half her men. 

She was silent, riding to the swell, when wild exultant 
shouts in Russian went up from the enemy's ship, mingling 
with the heavy fire they still kept up. 

At that moment, however, even while the victorious shouts 
resounded, the captain of the CejiluHoji, still cool and collected, 
swung round his vessel, and turning, touched one of the 
electric knobs at his hand. As he did so a long silvery object 
shot noiselessly from the side of the ship, and plunged with 
a splash into the rising waves. 

Seconds seemed hoars. For a whole three minutes the 
captain waited ; then, disappointed, he turned away with an 
expression of impatience. The torpedo had missed its mark, 
and every moment lost might determine their fate, "With 
guns still silent he again adroitly manceuvred his ship. Once 
again he touched the electric kuob, and again a torpedo, 
released from its tube, sped rapidly through tlie water. 

Suddenly a. dull and muffled explosion from the Russian 
cruiser sounded. Above the dense smoke a flame shot high, 
with great columns of spray, as the guus suddenly ceased their 

There was a dead stillness, broken only by the wash of the sea. 

Then the smoke clearing showed the debris of the Gei-zofj 
EdiiOnirskij fast sinking beneath the restless waters. Some 
splinters precipitated into the air had fallen with loud 
splashes in every direction, and amid the victorious shouts 
of the British bluejackets the disabled ship, with its fluttering 
Russian cross, slowly disappeared for ever, carrying down 
ery soul on board. 

78 The Great War in England in 1897 

Thd torpedo, striking ber nmiilships, had blown an enormous 
hole right through her double bottom, and torn her transverse 
bulkheads away so much that her watertight doors were use- 
less for keeping her afloat, even for a few minutes. 

Partially crippled as she was, the CeiUurion steamed slowly 
westward, until at noon on tlie following day she fell in with 
a division of the Coastguard Squadron, which, acting under 
the fictitious telegraphic orders of the French spy, had been 
to Land's End, but wliich, now the enemy had landed, had 
received genuine orders from the Admiralty, 

Compared with the number and strength of the French 
and Russian vessels mustered in the Channel, this force was 
so small as to appear ludicrous. To send this weak defending 
division against the mighty power of the invaders was sheer 
madness, and everybody on boartl knew it. The vessels were 
weaker in every detail than those of the enemy. 

At full' speed the British vessels steamed on throughout 
that day, until at 8 p.m., when about twenty miles soutli 
of Selaey Bill, they were joined by forcea from the Solent. 
These consisted of the turret-ship Monarch, the turret-ram 
Rujxrl, the barbette-ship Rodney, the belted cruiser Aurora, 
and the coast defence armour-clads Cyclops and Gordon, to- 
gether with a number of torpedo boats. The night was calm, 
but moonless, and without delay the vessels all continued the 
voyage up Channel silently, with lights exliuguiahed. 

Two hours later the officers noticed that away on the 
horizon a light suddenly flashed twice and then disappeared. 

One of the enemy's ships had signalled the approach of the 
defenders ! 

This caused the British Admiral to alter his course 
slightly, and the vessels steamed along in the direction the 
light had shown. 

In turrets and in broadside batteries tliere was a deep 
hush of expectation. OHicers and men standing at their 
quarters scarcely spoke. All felt the figlit mnst he most 

Presently, in the far distance a small patch of light in the 

Fierce Fighting in the Channel 

sky showed the direction of Biightou, and almost iiniuediatelj 
the Admiral signalled to the cruisers Aurora, Galatea, and 
Kardssus, and the new battleship Hannibal, built under 
tlie 1894 programme, to detach themselves with six torpedo 
boats, and take an easterly course, in order to carry out 
instructions which he gave. These tactics caused consideralile 

The orders were to make straight for Eastbourne, and to 
suddenly attack and destroy any of the hostile transports that 
were lying there, the object being twofold — firstly, to cut off 
the enemy's line of retreat, and secondly, to prevent the vessels 
from being used forthe purpose of landing fuither reinforcements. 

Soon after 2 A.M. this gallant little division had, by careful 
mantenviiog, and assisted by a slight mist which now hung 
over the sea, rounded Beachy Head without being discovered, 
and had got outside Pevensey Bay about eight miles from 
land. Here a number of Bussian transports and service 
steamers were lying, among them being the Samojtd and Olaf, 
Krasnaya Gorhi and Vladimir, with two smaller ones — the 
Dnepr and the Arldsdk, 

Silently, and without showing any lights, a Britbh torpedo 
boat sped quickly along to where the dark outline of a ship 
loomed through the mist, and, having ascertained that it was 
the Olaf, drew up quickly, 

A few minutes elapsed, all being quiet Then suddenly a 
bright flash was followed by a fearful esplosion, and the 
bottom of the Tsar's vessel being completely ripped up by 
the torpedo, she commenced to settle down immediately, 
before any o! those on board could save themselves. The 
enemy had scarcely recovered from their surprise and con- 
luaion when three other loud explosions occurred, and in 
each case transport vessels were blown up. British torpedo 
boats, darting hither and thither between the Russian ships, 
were dealing terrible blows from which no vessel could recover. 
So active were they, indeed, that within the space of fifteen 
minutes six transporta had been blown up, as well as the first- 
claas torpedo boat Abo. The loss of life was terrible. 

The Great War in England in 189- 

SimulUiiieously with llie lirst explosion, the guns of tbe 
Aurora, Galatea, and Ifardssus thundered out a terrilile salute. 
The bright search-lights of the Russian cruisers and of the 
battleship Navarin immediately swept the sea, and throngh 
the mist discerned the British ships. The lights served only 
to show the latter the exact poaition of the enemy, and again 
oar guns belched forth shot and shell with disastrous effect. 

Quickly, however, the Russian vessels replied. Flame 
flashed continuously from the turret of the Navarin and the 
port guns of the Opritmik and the Najezdnik, while the search- 
lights were at the same time shut off. 

At first the fire was very ineffectual, but gradually as the 
vessels crept closer to each other the encounter became more 
and more desperate. 

The Russian torpedo boats Vzryv, Vindava, and EofHnj 
were immediately active, and the Narcissus had a very narrow 
escape, a Whitehead torpedo passing right under her bows, 
while one British torpedo boat, which at the same moment 
was endeavouring to launch its deadly projectile at the Navarin, 
was sent to the bottom by a single shot from the Najezdnik 

The combat was desperate and terrible. That the British 
bad been already successful in surprising and sinking a torpedo 
boat and six of the hostile transports was true ; nevertheless 
the number of Russian ships lying there was much greater 
than the British Admiral had anticipated, and, to say the 
least, the four vessels now found themselves in a most critical 

The Navarin aloije was one of the most powerful of the 
Tsar's battleships, and, in addition to the seven cruisers and 
nine torpedo boats, comprised an overwhelming force. 

Yet the English warships held their own, pouring forth an 
incessant fire. Each gim's crew knew they were face to face 
with death, but, inspired by the coolness of their officers, they 
worked on calmly and iudefatigably. Many of their shots 
went home with frightful effect. One shell which burst over 
the magazine of the Lieut. Ujin ripped up her deck and caused 
severe loss of life, while in the coui-se of half an hour one of 

Fierce Fighting in the Channel 

the heavy turret guns of the Navarin had been disabled, and 
two more Bu&sian torpedo boats sunk. Our torpedo boat 
deslroyera operating on the Channel seaboard were performing 
excellent work, the Havofk, Shark, Hornet, Dart, Bruiser, Mast^, 
Teaser, Janus, Surly, and Poreu^ne all being manteuvred with 
splendid success. Several, however, were lost while sweeping 
out the enemy's torpedo boat shelters, Including the Ardent, 
Charger, Boxer, and Rocket. 

But the British vessels were now suffering terribly, hemmed 
in as they were by the enemy, with shells falling upon them 
every moment, and their decks swept by the withering fire of 
machine guns. Suddenly, after a shell had burst in the stem 
of the Aurora, she ceased firing and swung round, almost 
colliding with the Narcissus. Her steam steering-gear had, 
alas ! bt;en broken by the shot, and for a few moments her 
officers lost control over her. 

A Eussian torpedo boat in shelter behind the Kavarin, 
now seeing its chance, darted out and launched its projectila 

The officers of the Aurora, aware of their danger, seemed 
utterly powerless to avert it. It was a terrible moment. A 
few seconds later the torpedo struck, the cruiser rose as if she 
had ridden over a volcano, and then, as she gradually settled 
down, the dark sea rolled over as gallant a crew as ever sailed 
beneath the White Ensign. 

Immediately afterwards the Kavarin exchanged rapid 
signals with a number of ships which were approaching with 
all speed from the direction of Hastings, and the captains ot 
the three remaining British vessels saw that they had fallen 
into a trap. 

The Narcissits had been drawn between two fires. Both 
her funnels had been shot away, two of her broadside guns 
were useless, and she bad sustained damage to her engines ; 
nevertheless, her captain, with the dogged perseverance of a 
British sailor, continued the desperate combat, With the first 
flush of dawn the fog had lifted, hut there was scarcely suffi- 
cient wind to spread ont the British ensign, which still waved 
with lazy defiance. 

82 The Great War in England in 1897 

On one aide of her waa the ponderoua Jfavarin, from tlie 
turret of wliich shells were projected with monotonous regu- 
larity, while on the other the Britiah cruiser was attacked 
vigorously by the Kajcsiliiik. The Narcissus, however, quickly 
showed the Russians what she could do against such over- 
whelming odds, tor presently she sent a shot from one of her 
20-ton guns right under the turret of the Navarin, causing 
a most diaaatrous explosion on board that vessel, while, at the 
same time, her 6-inch breechloaders pounded away at her 
second antagonist, and sank a torpedo boat mancenvring near. 

Both the Galatea and the Hannibal were in an equally 
serious predicament The enemy's torpedo boata swarmed 
around them, while Uie cruisers OpricnA, Admiral Komiioff, 
Hynda, and several other vessels, kept up a hot, incea- 
annt fire, which was returned energetically by the Britisli 

The sight was magnificent, appalling! In the spreading 
dawn, the great ships mauffuvring amartly, each strove to 
obtain points of vantage, and vied with each other in their ' 
uwful work of destruction. The activity of the British 
torpedo boats, darting here and there, showeil that those who 
manned them were utterly reckless of their lives. As they 
s)ted about, it was indeed marvellous how they escaped 
destruction, for the Bussiana had more than double the 
number of boata, and their speed was quite et^ual to our own. 

Xevertbelesa the British boata followed up their succeases 
by other brilliant deeds of daring, for one of them, with a 
sudden dasli, took the Hynda off her guard, and sent a torpedo 
at her with awful result, while a few moments later two 
terrific explosions sounded almost simultaneously above the 
tliunder of the guns, and it was then seen that the unprotected 
cruiser Asia, and the last remaining tiansport the Krasnatfn 
tforia, were both sinking. 

It was a ghastly spectacle 

HoazM despairing shrieks went up from hundreds of 
BassMQ sailors who fought and struggled for life in the daik 
roUing %'aters, and three British torpedo boats hamaoely 


Fierce Fighting in the Channel 

rescued a great number of ihem. Many, however, sank iui- 
niediat«Iy with their vessels, while some strong swimmera struck 
out for the distant shore. Yet, without exception, all these 
succumbed to exhaustion ere they could reach tlie land, aud 
the long waves closed over them as they threw up their arms 
and sank into the deep. 

During the first few minutes following this sudden disaster 
to the enemy the tiring ceased, and the Nai-arin ran up signals. 
This action attracted the attention of the officers of the British 
vessels to the approaching ships, and to their amazement and 
dismay they discovered that they were a squadron of the 
enemy who had returned unexpectedly from Uie direction of 

The British ships, in their half-crippled condition, could 
not possibly withstand such an onslaught as they knew was 
about to be made upon them, for the enemy's reinforcements 
consisted of the steel barbette-shipe Gangut, Alexander II., and 
Kicolai 2., of the Baltic Fleet, the great tnrretrship Pctr Vdik-i/, 
•tlie Burik, a very powerful central -battery belted cruiser of 
uver ten thoui^and tons, two new cruisers of the same type 
that had been recently completed, the Bnara and Ischma, with 
three other cruisers and a lai^ tlotilla of torpedo boats. Ac- 
companying them were the French 10,000 -ton armoiu^ 
barbette-ship Magenta, the central-battery ship RichelUu, the 
armoured turret-ship T&itnerre, and the Hoche, one of the finest 
vessels of our Gallic neighbour's Kavy, as well as the torpedo 
cruisers HiTondtlU and FUnnis, and a number of swift torpedo 
boats and " catchers." 

The captains of the British vessels saw that in the face of 
such a force defeat was a foregone conclusion ; therefore they 
could do nothing but retreat hastily towards Newhaven, in the 
hope of finding the division of the British Coastguard 
Squadron which had gone there for the same purpose as they 
had rounded Beachy Head, namely, to destroy the enemy's 

Without delay the three vessels swung round with all 
speed and were quickly headed down Clmnnel, while the 

1 897 

remaining attendant torpedo boats, noticing tliis sudden retreat, 
also darted away. This manceuvre did not, of course, proceed 
unchecked, the enemy being determined they should not escape. 
Signals were immediately made by the Altxander II., the flag- 
ship, and the Petr Vdiky and Ennra, being within range, blazed 
forth a atorra of shell upon the fugitives. The shots, however, 
fell wide, and ricochetted over the water, sending up huge 
columns of apray; whereupon the Narcissus and Galatea 
replied steadily with their 6-inch guns, while the heavy guns 
of the Hannibal were also quickly brought into play. 

In a few minutes the Magenta and Tonnerre, with the 
Alger, Cicille, and Sfax, started in pursuit, and an intensely 
exciting chase commenced. The engines of the British 
vessels were run at the highest possible pressure, but 
the French ships proved several knots swifter. As they 
steamed at full speed around Beacby Head towards Seaford 
Bay the enemy gradually overhauled them. The brisk fire 
which was being kept up soon began to tell, for all three 
retreating ships had lost many men, and the scenes of blood- 
shed on board were frightful 

Eagerly the officers swept the horizon with their glasses to 
discover signs of friendly aid, but none hove in sight. All 
three ships were weak, their guns disabled, with whole guns' 
crews lying dead around, and many of the officers had fallen. 
In strength, in speed, in armaments — in fact, in everything — 
they were inferior to their opponents, and they saw it was a 
question of sheer force, not one of coiirage. 

They would either be compelled to surrender to the Tricolor, 
or deliberately seek the gra\'e. With such a force bearing down 
upon them, escape seemed absolutely impossibla 




She sun at last broke forth brilliantly, betokening 
another blazing day. 

Having regard to the fact that both the 
Channel Fleet and the reserve had been sent 
on futile errands by our enemy's secret agent, 
and the superior forces gainst which the 
British liad all along had to fight, they had most assuredly 
shown what tact and course could effect. 

Opposite the Belle Tout lighthouse a disaster occurred to 
the Narcissus. During the fight one of her engines had been 
injui'ed, and this being now strained to its utmost limit had 
suddenly broken down altogether, with tbe result that the 
vessel gradually slackened speed, and the Sfax and Alger bore 
down quickly upon her, pouring into her a heavy fire from 
their 5-tonnera. The reply was a weak one from her quick- 
firing guiis, her heavy arms having nearly all been disableJ. 

Onward steamed the Galatea and Hannibal, keeping up a 
running fire with the four vessels pursuing them, while the two 
cruisers engaging the Narcissut continued their strenuous 
endeavours to silence her guns. The Britisli sailors, however, 
still undaunted, quickly showed their opponents that all the 
arms workable would be brought into play by directing a most 
vigorous fire upon their pursuers, blowing away one of the 
funnels of the Alger, and disabling one of her large bow guns. 

The Great War in England in 1897 

Juat theD, however, wliile the Narcissus was discharging a 
broadside, a torpedo boat crept under her stern and seut forth 
its Bubmerged projectile. For a moment there was a bush 
of expectation, then a dull explosion sounded as the cruiaer, 
apparently rent iu twain, plunged stem foremost into the 
sea, aud with her ensign still flying gradually disappeared 
without a soul on board being able to save himself. 

Meanwhile the Gulaica and Hannihal, with their torpedo 
boats, were sustaiuing serious injuries from the heavy bow 
fire, and there seemed every possibility that they too would 
share the same terrible fate as the Narcissus, when suddenly 
one of the officers of the Galatea discovered three vessels 
approaching. The " demand " was immediately hoisted, and 
responded to by both vessels running up private signals. With 
au expression of satisfaction he directed the attention of the 
captain to the fact, for the flags of the first-named vessel 
showed her to be the British turret-ship Afonarch, and those 
of the second the great barbette - ship Rodney, while a 
moment later it was discerned that the tliird vessel was the 

Even as they looked, other masts appeared upon the horizon, 
and then they knew relief was at hand. Both vessels ran 
up signals, while the men, encouraged by the knowledge 
that some powerful British ironclads were bearing down 
to their aid in indented line ahead, worked with increased 
vigour to keep the enemy at bay. 

It was a fierce, sanguinary fight. Fire vomited from all the 
vessels' battered works, and the scuppers ran with blood. The 
French vessels, having apparently also noticed the relief ap- 
proaching, did not seem inclined to fight, but were nevertheless 
compelled, and not for a single insfant did the firing from the 
attacked vessels cease. Their guns showed constant bursts of 

Soon, however, the Rodney drew within range. A puff of 
white smoke from her barbette, and the C^cille received a taste 
of her quick-firing guns, the shots from which struck her 
amidships, killing a large number of her men, aud tearing up 


Battle off Beachv Head 87 

her deck. This was followed by deafening discharges from the 
four 25-ton guns of the Monarch, while the Gorgon and a 
number of other vessels as they approached all took part 
in the conflict, the engagement quickly beconaing general. 
With great precision the British directed their lire, and the 
French vessels soon prepared to beat a retreat, when, without 
warning, a frightful explosion occurred on board the Hinmdelk, 
and wreckage mingled with Intmnn limbs shot into the air 
amid a great sheet of flame. 

The miigazine bad exploded ! The scene on board the 
doomed vessel, even as witnessed from the British ships, was 
awful. Territied men left their gnns, and, rushing hither and 
thither, sought means of escape. But the boats had already 
been smashed by shots from the British cruisers, and all knew 
that death was inevitable. 

The burning ship slowly foundered beneath them, and as 
they rushed about in despair they fell back into the roaring 
flames. A British torpedo boat rescued about a dozen; but 
presently, with a heavy list, the warship suddenly swung 
round, and, bow first, disappeared into the green sunlit sea, 
leaving only a few poor wretches, who, after struggling vainly 
on the surface tor a few moments, also went down to tlie 

Tlie carnage was frightful. Hundreds of men were being 
launched into eternity, while upon the horizon both east and 
west dozens of ships of both invaders and defenders were 
rapidly approacliing, and all would, ere long, try conclusions. 

Before half an hour had passed, a tierce battle, as sanguinary 
as any in the world's history, had commenced. The cruisers, 
acting as satellites to the battleships forming the two opposing 
fighting lines, had quickly commenced a series of fierce skir- 
mishes and duels, all the most destructive engines of modern, 
warfare being brought into play. 

The division of our Channel Fleet that had at last returned 
consisted of the powerful battleship Eoyal Sovereign, flying the 
Admiral's flag; the barbette-shipa Anson, If otce, Camperdoim, 
and Benbow; the turret-ships Thunderer and Conquerw; the 

The Great War in England in 1897 

cruisers Mersey, Terpsiehore, Melampus, Tribune, Laiona.Immor- 
talUi, and Barlutm; witli tlie torpedo gunboats Spanka- and 
Speedwdl, and nineteen torpedo boats. 

The forces of the invaders were more than double that of the 
British, for, in addition to the vessels already enumerated, the 
reinforcements consisted of the French battlesliipa Amiral 
BavMn, Formidable, Amiral Duperri, Brennus, Trihonart, 
Jemappes, Terrible, Fequin, Indomptdble, Caiman, Courbet, 
Divastation, Rcdouhiahle, and Furieux, together with nine 
cruisers, and thirty-eight torpilleurs de haute mcr. 

From the very commencement the fighting was at close 
quarters, and the storm of shot and shell caused death on every 
hand. With such an overwhelming force at bis disposal. 
Admiral Maigret, the French commander, had been enabled to 
take up a position which boded ill for the defenders, neverthe- 
less the British Admiral on board the Royal Sovereign was 
determined to exert every effort to repulse the enemy. 

Ill the thick of the fight the great fi^ship steamed along, 
her compartments closed, her stokeholds screwed down, her 
four 67-ton guns hurling great shots from her barbettes, and her 
smaller arms pouring out a continuous deadly fire upon the 
French ship Indomptable on the one side, and the great liussian 
armoured cruiser Nicolai I. on the other. Upon the latter the 
British vessel's shells played with a terribly devastating effect, 
bringing down the loi^e forward mast and the machine guns 
in her fighting tops, and then, while the crew worked to get 
the wreckage clear, the Maxim, Nordenfelt, and Hotchkiss 
guns of the Royal Sovereign suddenly rattled out, sweeping 
with their metal hail her opponent's deck, and mowing down 
those who were cutting adrift the fallen rising. A moment 
later a shell struck one of the pair of guns in the Mcolai's 
turret, rendering it useless, and then the captain of the Royal 
Sovereign, who had been standing in the conuing-tower calmly 
awaiting his chance, touched three electric knobs in rapid 
succession. The engines thi-obbed, the great ship moved along 
at increasing speed through dense clouds of stifling smoke, 
and as ebe did Qp the captain sbonted an order which had 

Battle off Beachy Head 

the effect of Buddenly turning the vessel, and while her great 
barbette guns roared, the nun of the British vessel crashed 
into the broadside of the Tsar's ship with a terrific impact 
which caused her to shiver from stem to stern. 

Then, as the big gims in her rear barbette thundered out 
upon the Indomptable, whose engines Ijad broken down, she 
drew gradually back from the terrible breach her ram had 
made under the water-line of her opponent, and the latti^r at 
once commenced to sink. The force of the impact had been 
so great that the Kussian's bull was absolutely broken in two, 
and as the iron stretched and rent like paper, she heaved 
slowly over, "turning turtle," and carrj-ing down with her over 
three hundred officers and men. 

Xbe British captain now turned his attention to the French 
ship, which had been joined in the attack by the Brennm, the 
£re from whose 58-ton guns at close quarters played great 
havoc with the British flagship's superstructure. A second ' 
later, however, the captain of the Eoyal Sovereign cai^ht the .] 
Jtuiomptable in an unguarded moment, and, springing towards * 
one of the electric knobs before him, pressed it This had the 
effect of ejecting a torpedo from one of the bow tubes, and so 
well directed was it that a few seconds later there was a 
deafening report, as part of the stem portion of the French 
ship was blown away, raising gi«at columns of spray. 

The situation was awful, and the loss of life everywhere 
enormous. Dense, blinding smoke, and the choking fumes of 
mi;tinite, obscured the sun, and in the darkness thus caused 
ihe flames from the guns sbed a lurid light upon decks strewn 
with dead and dying. The cruisers and scouts by which out 
battleships were surrounded cut off many of the French 
torpedo boats, but a large number got right in among the 
fleet, and some terrible disasters were thus caused. Once 
inside the circle of British cruisers, all fire directed at the 
boats was as dangerous to our own ships as to the enemy's 

The superiority of the French torpedo boats was, alas! 
keenly felt by the Britbb,,for in the course of the first hour 

The Great War in England in 1897 

five of our cruisers — the Tcrpakhore, Galatea, Melamptis, 
Tribune, Mersey, the turret-ship Conqueror, and the battleships 
Hannibal and Rodney, had been blown up. As compared 
with these losses, those of the enemy were at this stage by no 
means small. The French had lost two cruisers and four 
torpedo boats, and the Kussinns one battleship, three cruisers, 
and six torpedo boats. 

The British, with all these fearful odds against them, still 
continued a galling fire. The Camperdotcn, Anson, and Benbow, 
steaming together in line, belched a storm of shell from their 
barbettes, which caused wholesale destruction among the 
crowd of ships engaging them. Yet the withering fire of the 
enemy was telling terribly upon the comparatively small force 
of the defenders. Upon all three battleships the casualties 
were frightful, and on board each one or more of the heavy 
guns had been disabled. Suddenly a shot, penetrating a weak 
point in the armour of the Anion, entered her engine-room, 
disabling a portion of her machinery, while a moment later a 
shell from the Amiriil Diiperr^ fell close to her broadside 
torpedo dischai^e, and a fragment of the shell coming into con- 
r tact with the striker of a torpedo, just as it was about to leave 
its tube, caused a terrific and disastrous explosion between the 
decks. The effect was horrifying. The torpedo contained 
over 70 lb. of gun-cotton, therefore the devaslaling nature of 
the explosion may be readily imagined. Over a hundred men 
were blown to atoms, and the whole six of the broadside guns 
were more or less disabled. 

A second later, however, a shell from the Benbow struck 
the Amiral Dxipeni, carrying away the greater portion of 
her ecu ning- tower, and killing her captain instantly, while 
:t at tlie same moment a toriiedo from one of tlie British 
boats struck her bows with a frightful detonation, blowing an 
enormous hole in them. The catastrophe was complete. The 
crew of the doomed ship, panic-stricken, left their guns and 
commenced to lauuch the only two boats that remained un- 
injured ; but ere this could be accomplished, the TriKouart, 
which suddenly went astern, apparently to avoid a torpedo. 

Battle off Beachy Head 

crashed into lier, with the result that she heeled right over 
and quickly disappeared. 

The Camperdmm, fighting fiercely with the Eequia, the 
Ttrrible, and the Courbel, was sufTeriug terrible dajuage from 
bow to stem ; nevertheless her guns kept up an incessant 
torrent of shot, until suddenly, just after one of her shells had 
struck right under the turret of the Terrible, there was a 
deafening report, the air was filled with dense smoke, and the 
French ship, with her engines disabled, commenced to fill and 

A portion of the shell had penetrated to her magazine, and 
she had blown up, nearly half her crew being killed by the 
terrific force of the explosion. Many of the remaining men, 
however, scrambled on board the Caiman, which by some 
means had come into slight collision with her ; but scarcely 
had the last terrified man left the sinking vessel, when the 
Camperdown's powerful ram entered the Caiman's bows, 
breaking her hull, and she also foundered, carrying down with 
her not only her own crew, but also the survivors of the TerribU. 

This success was witnessed with satisfaction by the British 
Admiral, who nevertheless saw how seriously weakened was 
liis force, and how critical was the position of his few remain- 
ing ships. Yet he remained quite cool, for the heavy guns of 
the steel monster in whose conning-tower he stood continued 
thundering forth their projectiles, and the White Ensign still 
loomed defiantly through the dense black smoke, fluttering In 
the freshening breeze that was now springing up. 

Although a numberof the enemy's vessels had been sunk, 
he knew the issue murt be fatal to his force, for they were 
now surrounded by a number of sliips so vastly superior to 
them in armament and speed, that to die fighting was their 
only course. 

Though the cockpits were full, true British indomitable 
courage was showing itself everj'where on board our ships. 
Officers by words of encouragement incited their men to 
splendid heroic deeds, and guns' crews, with dark detennined 
faces, seeing only death ahead, resolved to fight and struggle to 

92 The Great War in England in i8 

the last for the honour of the UDion Jack, which ehoiild never 
be surmounted liy the Tricolor. 

A niomeut later, the captain, atandins with the Admiral, 
who had just entered the conning-tower of tho Royai Sorcreiffn, 
suddenly uttered a cry of dismay, aud with transfixed, horrified 
gaze pointed with his finger to the sea. 

Breathlessly the Admiral looked in the direction indicated. 

Though one of the bravest men in the Navy, and on hia 
breast he wore the Victoria Cross, his eyes fell upon a sight 
that appalled him. 

It was a critical moment, 

A small French vessel, the unarmoured cnisier Fauam, bad 
crept up unnoticed. The attention of the British otficere had 
been, until that moment, concentrated upon the three powerful 
battleships, tlie Eequin, the Bdvaslation, and tlie Jemappes, 
wliich kept up their hot fire upon the flagship, causing terrible 
destruction. Now, however, the British Admiral saw himself 
surrounded by the enemy, and the sight which caused his 
heart to beat quickly was a distinct line of bubbles upon the 
water, advancing with terrific speed, showing that a torpedo 
had been ejected from the Favcon directly at his ship ! 

In tlie conning-tower all knew their danger, but not a man 
spoke. Both the Admiral and the captain at the same instant 
saw the death-dealing projectile advancing, and both retained 
their coolness and presence of mind. The captain, shouting an 
order, sprang back and touched one of the electric signals, 
which was instantly responded to. 

It was tlie work of a second. The great engines roared 
and throbbed, and the huge vessel, propelled backwards by its 
13,000 horse-power, swung steadily round just as the torpedo 
glanced olf her bow obliquely. The crew of the lioyal 
Sovereiijn had never been nearer death than at that instant. 
Had the ironclad not halted in her course, the striker of the 
torpedo would have come square upon her hows, and one of 
the finest vessels of the British Navy would have probably 
gone to the bottom. 

The Faucon was not given an opportunity to make a 

3attle off Bfaciiy Head 

second atiempt. The captain of the Anstm had witnessed how 
narrowly the Britiali flagship had escaped, and immediately 
turned bis great guns upon the little vessel, with the result 
that her quick-firing guns were quickly rendered useless, her 
hull was torn up like paper, and she slowly sank without 
offering resistance. 

Shots came froui the frowning barbettes of the Campcrdoum, 
Dcnbow, and the turrets of the Mimarch rapidly, the damage 
and lose of life suffered by the enemy now being enormoua 
The three Frencli battleships engaging the Boyal Sovereigti at 
close quarters received terrible punishment. One of the 
75-ton guns of the Bequin had been rendered useless, her deck 
had been torn up, and ber bulwarks had been carried away, 
together with her funnel and forward masL The rear barbette 
gun of the Jemappes had been thrown ofi' its mounting, and a 
shell striking the port side battery, had burst against the 
forward bulkhead, and wrought horrible destruction amoug 
the guns' crews. 

The three powerful French vessels pouring their fire upon 
the British flagship, and finding themselves being raked by 
the heavy fire of their adversary, signalled the Tonnerre and 
PiiTievji to assist them. Both vessels drew nearer, and soon 
afterwards commenced pounding at the Royal Sovereign. 

The Anson, however, noticed the dangerous position of the 
British flagship, and, having manceuvred adroitly, succeeded in 
Retting under way, and with her great forward guns thunder- 
ing, she crashed her ram into the Furieux, and sank her, 
while almost at the ^ame moment a torpedo, discharged from 
une of the British boats, struck the Tonnerre right amidships, 
dealing her a blow from which she could never recover. Five 
minutes later, the Gangid, fighting desperately at close quarters 
with the Camperdovm, had part of her armoured casemate 
blown away, and the British battleship followed up this 
success by directing a torpedo at her in such a manner that, 
although she drew back quickly to avoid it, she nevertheless 
received it right under her stern. Some ammunition on board 
that vessel also exploded, and the effect was frightful, for 

94 The Great War in England in 1897 

fragmeuta of wood, iron, and human bodies were precipitated 
in all directions. 

The losa of life, although heavy on the British side, was 
nevertheless far greater on board the enemy's ships. The 
continuity and precision of the British fire wrought awful 
destruction. Between the decks of many of tiie French and 
Russian ships the carnage was frightful Among wrecked 
guns and mountings lay headless and armless bodies j human 
limbs shattered by shells were strewn in all directions upon 
decks slippery with blood. The shrieks of the dying were 
drowned by the roar and crash of the guns, the deafening 
explosion of shells, and tlie rending of iron and eteel aa the 
projectiles pierced armourplates, destroying everything with 
which tiiey came in contact. 

The noon had passed, and as the day wore on other 
catastrophes occurred involving further loss of life. One of 
these was the accidental ramming of the Sfax by the French 
battleship Eedovitable, which managed, however, to save the 
greater portion of the crew, although her engines brolce down. 

During the afternoon the fire from the British ships seemed 
to increase rather than diminish, notwithstanding each vessel 
flying the "White Ensign fought more than one of tlie enemy's 
ships, and in doing so constantly received shots that spread 
death and destruction between the decks. Still, amid the 
blinding smoke, the din of battle, and the constant roaring of 
the guns, British bluejackets with smoke-begrimed faces worked 
enthusiastically for the defence of Old England. Many heroic 
deeds were perfonned that memorable afternoon, and many a 
gallant hero was sent to an untimely grave. 

On board the Royal Sovereign the destruction was frightful 
By four o'clock many of the guns had been disabled, half the 
crew had perished, and the decks ran with the life-blood of 
Britain's gallant defenders. The captain had been struck upon 
the forehead by a flying fragment of shell, causing a fearful 
wound; yet, with his head enveloped in a liastily improvised 
bandage, he stuck to his post. He was engaging the liedoubtabte 
and getting the worst of it, when suddenly, having manoeuvred 

Battle off Beachy Head 

once or twice, he turned to his lieutenant, saying, " Lay guns, 
ahead full speed, and prepare to ram." The officer addressed 
Iransmitted the order, and a few moments later, as her guns 
Omndered forth, the bows of the Boyal Sovereign entered the 
broadside of the French ship with a loud crash, ripping her 
almost in half 

Backing again quickly as the lUdmibtable sank, ahe suddenly 
received a shock which made her reel and shiver. A shell from 
the Russian flagship had struck under her stem barbette, but, 
failing to penetrate the armour, glanced off into the sea. 

Fiercer and more fierce became the fight A well-directed 
shot from one of the 67-ton guns on the Anson's rear barbette 
struck the conning-tower of the MagnUa, blowing it away, 
killing the captain and those who were directing the vessel. 

The sun wa.s sinking, but the battle still raged with unabated 
fury. Each siiie struggled desperately for the masteiy. The 
British, fighting nobly against what had all along been over- 
whelming odds, had succeeded in sinking some of the enemy's 
Hnest ships, and intlicting terrible loss upon the crews of the 
others; yet the British Admiral, on viewing the sitnation, 
was compelled to admit that he was outnumbered, and that a 
continuance of the struggle would inevitably result in the loss 
of other of bis ships. There still remained three of the enemy's 
vessels to each one of the British. His ships were all more or 
less crippled, therefore a successful stand against the still over- 
whelming force would be sheer madness. He was not the sort 
of man to show the white feather ; nevertheless a retreat upon 
I'ortamouth had now become a matter of policy, and the Koyal 
Sovereign a few minutes later ran up signals intimating to the 
other vessels her intention. 

As the British Squadron moved away down Cliannel the 
hoarse exultant shouts of the enemy filled the air. But the fight- 
ing became even more desperate, and for over an hour there was 
a most exciting chase. The running fire did Uttle harm to the 
retreating ships, but their stem guns played terrible havoc with 
the French and Kussian torpedo boats, which were picked off 
one after another with remarkable rapidity. 

96 Till'; GiitiAT War in England in 1897 

OfTLittlehamptou one of the Itussiait ships ran up signals, 
and immediately the enemy's ships slackened. Apparently 
they had no desire to follow further west, for after a few parting 
shots they turned and stood away up Channel again, while thu 
surviving ships of the Eritisli Squadron steamed onward in the 
blood-red track of the dying day. 

At their head was the lioyal Sovereign, battered, and bearing 
marks of the deadly strife; but bright against the clear, calm 
evening sky, the British flag, half of which had been shot away, 
still fluttered out in the cool breeze of sunset. 

The British Lion had shown his teeth. Alas, that our Navy 
should have been so weak ! Several of the ships had had their 
engines severely damaged or broken, but our mart,'in of addi- 
tional strength was so small that we had no vessels wherewith 
to replace those compelled to return to port 

The struggle in this, the first naval battle in the defence of 
our Empire, had been desperate, and the loss of life appalhng. 

The First Act of the most sanguinary drama of modern 
nations had closed. 

What would be its dinouemcni I 





I H" Hull forty-«ight long weary hours of anxious 
suspense and breathless excitement had passed. 
The night was dark, the sky overcast, and there 
was in the air that oppressive sultry stillness 
precursory of a storm. 

Church clocks had chimed ten, yet most of 
the shops were still open, and the well-lighted streets of the 
diab old Yorkshire town were filled by a pale-faced, terror- 
stricken crowd surging down the thoroughfares towards the 
Victoria Pier. A panic bad suddenly been created an hour 
before by the issue of an extra-special edition of the Hull 
evening paper, the Daily Noes, containing a brief telegram 
in large type, as follows : — 

The CoBStenard at Donna Nook report that a strong force of Busnan war 
TMSels, iDcludiug the torret-ahip SrKutopoI and tte bujwtts- ships Sinofw and 
Cuot Vtliky, hare just hove in sight and arn mabiag for the Hnmbor. Lloyd's 
ugnal statioD on Spum Point hu also intimated that hostile ships coming - 
from the imth are Ijing-to jnat bejond the Lightship. 

The papers sold more quickly than they could be printed, 
a shilling each being given for copies by the excited 
townspeople, who now, for the first time, suddenly realised 
that the enemy was upon them. Men and hoys with 
bundles of limp papers, damp from the press, rushed 
along Whitefriargate, away in every direction into the 
suburbs, shouting the appal Hug intelligence in hoarse, 

loo The Gre.\t War in England in 1S97 

strident tones that awoke the echoes of the c^uieter thorougli- 

Now, even iis purchasers of papers read the few lines of 
print nnder the dim uncertain light of street lamps, the dull 
bcKiniiug of distant guns fell upon their ears, and the populace, 
wildly excited, made their way with one accord towards the 
Victoria Pier, to glean the latest news, and ascertain the true 
significance of the repeated firing. 

Was Hull in dai^er! Would the enemy advance up the 
river and bombard the town ? These all-importaut questions 
were on every one's tongue, and as the thousands of all classes 
rushed hitiier and thither, wild rumours of the enemy's inten- 
tions spread and increased the horror. 

Within an hour of the publication of the first intimation 
of the presence of the invaders the excitement had become 
intense, and tlie narrow streets and narrower bridges had 
become congested by a terror-stricken multitude. Time after 
time the thunder of heavy guns shook the town, causiuj; 
windows to clatter, and the people standing on the pier and 
along the riverside strained their eyes into the cavernous 
darkness towards the sea. But they could discern nothing. 
Across at New Holland, two miles away, lamps twinkled, but 
the many lights— -red, white, and green — that stud the broad 
river for the guidance of the mariner bad, since the Declaration 
of War, been extinguished. The familiar distant lights that 
had never failed to shine seaward at Salt End and Thomgum- 
bald no longer shed their radiance, and from the revolving 
lights at Spurn no stream of brilliancy now flaslied away upon 
the rolling waters of the North Sea. The buoys had been cut 
adrift, the Bull Lightship taken from her moorings, and the 
entrance to Grimsby harbour was unillumined. Not a star 
appeared in the sky, for all was dark, black, and threatening. 
Through the hot, heavy atmosphere the roar of cannon came 
from the direction of Spurn Point, and aa the sounds of the 
shots fell upon the ears of the anxious watchers, they stood 
aghast, wondering what would be their destiny. 

The suspense was awful. Men, women, and children, with 

The Doom of Hull 

scared (acea, stood in groups in the market-place, in Queen 
Street, aad in High Street, discussing the situation. This 
question, however, was already engaging the attention of the 
municipal and military authorities, for on hearing the alarming 
news the Mayor, with shrewd promptitude, walked quickly 
to the Town Hall, and held a limried informal consultation 
with Mr. Charles Wilson, Mr. Arthur Wilson, Mr. Bichardson, 
Major Wellsted, Alderman Woodhouse, and a number of alder- 
men and councillors. Ail knew the town was in periL The 
enemy could have bnt one object in entering the Humber. 
Yet it wa£ agreed that no steps could be taken at such brief 
notice to defend the place. The guardship Ed\-nhurgh had 
been withdrawn to form part of the squadron upon which they 
woidd be compelled to rely, with the batteries at PauU and the 
eabmarine mines. evident by the firing that an attack upon the British 
Squadron had conimeuced. The shadow of impending disaster 
had fallen. 

Working men, hurrying towards the pier, stopped their 
leader, Mr. Millington, and tried to learn what was being 
done, while many of the leading townsfolk were thronged 
around for information, and were centres of excited groups 
in Whitefriargate. The boatmen, sharply questioned on every 
hand, were as ignorant of the state of affairs as those seeking 
information, so nothing could be done except to wait. 

Women and children of the middle and upper classes, 
regardless of their destination, were being hurried away by 
anxious fathers Every train leaving Hull was filled to over- 
flowing by those Heeing from the advance of the Russians, and 
on the roads inland to Beverley, Selby, and Market Weighton 
crowds of every class hurried away to seek some place of 

Suddenly, just before eleven o'clock, the thousands 
anxionsly peering over the wide, dark waters saw away on 
the bank, three miles distant, two beams of white light, 
which slowly swept both reaches of the river. 

They were the search-lights of the battery at PaiilL 

The Great War in England in 

Scarcely had the bright streaks shone out and disappeared 
when they were followed by a terrific cannonade from the 
forts, and then, for the first time, those standing on the 
Victoria I'ier could discern the enemy's shipa How many 
there were it was impossible at that moment to tell, but 
instantly their guna flashed and thundered at the forts in 
reply. Far away seaward could also be lieard low booming. 
The enemy's vessels were creeping carefully up the Huniber, 
being compelled to take constant soundings on account of the 
removal of the buoys, and evidently guided by foreign pilots 
who had for years been permitted to take vessels up and down 
the river. 

Moments dragged on like hours, each bringing the town of 
Hull nearer its fate. The people knew it, but were powerless. 
They stood awaiting the unknown. 

The Hussian force, besides the three vessels already men- 
tioned, included the armoured crniser I>iviitri Donskoi, the 
ceutral -battery ship Kniax Pty'arsJii, the cruiser Pamyat 
ilerhiriya, two of the new armoured cruisers, Mtzcn and 
Syzran, of the RurUc type, the corvette Eazhoynik, the 
torpedo gunboatfl Oriden and Gaidamak, and the armoured 
gunboat Gremyastchy, with several torpedo boats. 

The manner in which they had manteuvred to pass Spurn 
Point and ascend the river was remarkable, and astounded tlie 
officers in tlie forts at PauU. They, however, wore not aware 
that each captain of those vessels possessed a copy of the 
British secret code and other important information compiled 
from the documents filched from the body of the Admiralty 
messenger by the Count von Beilstein at the Mariners' Eest 
at Deal 1 

The possession of this secret knowledge, which was, of 
course, unknown to our Admiralty, enabled the captains of the 
Eussian vessels to evade sunken htUks and other obstructions. 
and take some of their ships slowly up the river, bearing well 
on the Lincolnshire coast, so as to keep, uutil the last moment, 
out of the range of the search-lights at Paull. Then, on the 
first attack from the batteries, they suddenly replied with 

The Doom of Hull 

such a hail of shell, that from the first moment it was clesir 
that the strength of the fort with its obsolete guus was totally 

The roar of the cannonade was incessant. Amid the deafen- 
ing explosions the townspeople of Hull rushed up and down 
the streets screauiing and terrified. Suddenly a great shell 
fell with a dull thud in Citadel Street, close to a crowd of 
excited women, and exploding a second later, blew a number 
of them to atoms, and wrecked the fronts of several housea 

This served to increase the panic. The people were on the 
verge of madness with fright and despair. Thousands seized 
their money and jewellery and fled away upon the roads 
leading to the country. Otiiers hid away their valuables, and 
preferred to remain ; the crisis had come, and as Britons they 
determined to face it 

While the Bussian ships, lying broadside-on in positions 
carefully selected to avoid the electro-contact mines, poured 
their terrible fire upon the land battery at I'aull. their torpedo 
boats darted hither and thither with extraordinary rapidity. 
Several were sunk by shots from the battery, but four piquet 
boats in the darkness at last managed to creep up, and after 
searching, seized the cable connecting the mines with the 
Submarine Mining Station at FauU. 

This was discovered just at the critical moment by means 
of one of the British search-lights, and upon the hostile boats 
a frightful cascade of projectiles was poured by the quick-firing 
guns of the battery. 

But it was, alas, too late ! The cable had been cut> To 
the whole of the wires a small electric battery had in a moment 
beeu attached, and as the guns of the fort crashed out there 
were a series of dull explosions under the bed of the river 
across the channel from Foul Holme Sand to Killingholme 
Haven, and from PauU Coastguard Station to the Skitter. 

The dark water rose here and there. The whole of the 
mines had been simultaneously fired ! 

Cheei-3 rang out from the Bussian vessels, sounding above 
tho heavy cannonade. The destruction of this most important 

I04 The Gkeat War in England in 1897 

portion of the defences of the Homber had been accomplished 
by the boats just at the very instant when they were sliattered 
by British shells, and ere the waters grew calm again the 
last vestige of the boats had disappeared. The officers at Paull 
worked on with undaunted courage, striving by every means 
in their power to combat with the superior forces. In a 
measure, too, they were successful, for such havoc did the 
shells play with the gunboat Greviyastcky that she slowly 
foundered, and her crew were compelled to abandon her. A 
portion of the men were rescued by the Si/^ran, but two boat- 
loads were precipitated into the water, and nearly all were 
drowned. Two of the big guns of the Dimiiri Donskoi were 
disabled, and the loss of life on several of the ships was 
considerable. Nevertheless the firing was still incessant. 
Time after time the 9-tou guns of the Kniaz Pojarski and the 
four ISJ-tonners of the Mezen threw their terrible missiles 
upon the defences at Paull with frightful effect, until at length, 
after a most desperate, stubborn resistance on the part of the 
British commander of the battery, and after half the defending 
force bad been killed, the guns suddenly ceased. 

Both land and sea defences had been broken down ! The 
liussians were now free to advance upon Hull ! 

Not a moment was lost. Ten minutes after the guns of 
Paull had been silenced, the enemy's ships, moving very 
cautiously forward, opened a withering fire upon the town. 

The horrors of that bombardment were frightful At the 
moment of the first shots, fired almost simultaneously from the 
two big guns of the Syzran, the panic became indescribable. 
Both shells burst with loud detonations and frightfully de- 
vastating effect The first, striking one of the domes of the 
Dock Office, carried it bodily away, at the same time killing 
several persons ; while the other, crashing upon the Exchange, 
unroofed it, and blew away the colossal statue of Britannia 
which surmounted the parapet on the corner. Surely this was 
an omen of impending disaster ! 

Ere the horrified inhabitants could again draw breath, the 
air was rent by a terrific crash, as simultaneously Hame rushed 

io6 The Great War in England in 1897 

from the guiia of the Kniaz Pojarski, the Pamyat Mcrkuriya, 
and the Mezen, and great shells were hurled into the towa iu 
every direction. The place trembled and shook as if stmck 
by an earthquake, and everywhere walls fell and buildings 

Long bright beams of the search-liyhts swept the town 
and neighbouring country, lighting up the turbulent streets 
like day, and aa the crowds rushed headlong from the river, 
shot and shell struck in their midst, killing hundreds of 
starving toilers and unoffending men, women, and children. 

Lying off Salt End, the Cizoi Vdiky, which had now come 
up the river in company with two torpedo boats, poured from 
her barbette a heavy fire upon the Alexandra Dock and Earle's 
shipbuilding yard, while the other vessels, approaching nearer, 
wrought terrible destruction with every shot in various other 
parts of the town. In the course of a quarter of an hour 
many streets were impassable, owing to the fallen buildings, 
and in dozens of places the explosion of the miiUnite shells had 
set on fire the ruined houses. 

Missiles hurled from such close quarters by such heavy 
guns wrought the most fearful havoc. Naturally, the Russian 
gunnera, discovering the most prominent buildings with their 
search -lights, aimed at them and destroyed many of the public 

Among the first prominent structures to topple and fail 
was the Wilberforce 5lonument, and then, in rapid succession, 
shots carried away another dome of the Dock Of&ce, and 
the great square towers of St. John's and Holy Trinity 
Churches. The gaudily gilded equestrian statue of King 
William IIL was flung from its pedestal and smashed by a 
heavy shot, which entered a shop opposite, completely wreck- 
ing it; and two shells, striking the handsome offices of the 
Hull Banking Company at the comer of Silver Street, reduced 
the building to a heap of ruins. Deadly shells fell in quick 
succession in Paragon Street, and at the North-Eastern Railway 
Station, where the lines and platforms were torn up, and the 
Station Hotel, being set on fire, was soon burning fiercely, for 

The Doom of Hu 

the flames spread unehecked here, as in everj" other (luarler. 
Chmtih spires fell crdahiug into neighbouring houses, whole 
rows of sliops weit demolished in Wliitefriargate, High Street, 
and Sa^-ille Street, and roads were everywhere torn up by the 
enemy's exploding missiles. 

Not for a moment was there a pause in this awful work of 
destruction; not for a moment was the frightful massacre of 
the inhabitants suspended. The enemy's sole object was 
apparently to weaken the northern defences of London by 
drawing back the Volunteer battalions to the uortli. There 
was no reason to bombard after the fort had been silenced, 
yet they had decided to destroy the tAwn and cause the most 
widespread desolation possible. 

Flame flashed from the muzzh^s of those great desulitting 
guns so quickly as to appear like one brilliant, incessaut light. 
Sliells from the Ciaoi Veliky fell into the warehouses around 
the Alexandra Dock, and these, with the fine new grain ware- 
houses on each side of the river Hull, were blazing furiously 
with a terrible roar. High into the air great tongues of flame 
leaped, their volume increased by the crowd of ships in the 
dock also igniting in rapid succession, shedding a lurid glare 
over the terrible scene, and lighting up the red, augry sky. 
The long range of warehouses, tilled with inflammable goods, 
at the edge of the Albert and William Wright Docks, were on 
fire, while the wai-ohouses of the Railway Dock, together with 
a large number of Messrs. Thomas Wilson's fine steamers, were 
also in flames. Such a hold had the flames obtained that no 
power could arrest them, and as the glare increased it was seen 
by those fljiug for their lives that the whole of the port was 
now involved. 

The great petroleum stores of the Anglo-Am erican Com- 
jiany, struck by a shell, exploded a few moments later with a 
most terrific and frightrnl detonation which shook the town. 
For a moment it seemed as if both town and river were 
enveloped in one gi'eat sheet of flame, then, as blnzing oil ran 
down the gutters on every side, fierce tires showed, and whole 
streets were alight from end to end. 

io8 TiiE Gkeat War in England in 1897 

Hundreds of persons perished in the flames, liimdreds wei% 

shot down by the fragmenta of flying missiles, and hundreds 
more were buried under falling ruins. Everywhere the roar 
of flames mingled with the shrieks of the dying. Shells 
striking the Royal Infirmary hurst in the wards, killing many 
patients in their beds, and setting fire to the building, while 
others, crashing through the roof of the Theatre Koyal, carried 
away one of the walls and caused the place to ignite. One 
shot from the 13-toa gun of tho Syzran tore its way into 
the nave of Holy Trinity Church, and, exploding, blew out the 
three beautiful windows and wrecked the interior, while 
another from the same gun demolished one of the comer 
buildings of the new Alarket Hall. The handsome tower of 
the Town Hall, struck by a shell just under the dial, came 
down with a frightful crash, completely blocking Lowgate with 
its debris, and almost at the same instant a shot came through 
the dome of the Council Chamber, totally destroying the 

The Mariners' Hospital and Trinity House suffered terribly, 
many of the inmates of Ihe former being blown to pieces. 
One shot completely demolished the Savings Bank at the 
corner of George Street, and a shell exploding under the portico 
of the Great Tiiornton Street Cliapel blew out the whole of its 
dark fa^e. Another, striking the extensive pi-emises of a 
firm of lead merchants at the corner of Brook and Paragon 
Streets, swept away the range of buildings like grass before 
the scyllie. 

In the Queen's, Hiimber, Victoria, and Prince's Docks the 
congested crowd of idle merchant ships were enveloped in 
tiames that wrapped themselves about the rigging, and, crack- 
ling, leaped skyward. The Orphanage at Spring Bank, the 
Artillery Barracks, and Wilberforce House were all burning ; 
in fact, in the course of the two hours during which the bom- 
l>ardment lasted hardly a building of note escaped. 

The hoiisea of the wealthy residents far away up Spring 
Bank, Aniaby and Beveriey Roads, and around Pearson's Park, 
had been shattered and demolished ; the shops in Saville Street 

The Doo-M of Hull 

haJ without exception been destroyed, and both the Cannon 
Street and Pier Stations had been completely wrecked and 

Soon after two o'clock in the morning, when the Eussiau 
war vessels ceased their thunder, the whole town was as one 
huge furnace, the intense heat and suETocating smoke from 
which caused the Eussian Admiral to move his vessels towards 
the sea as quickly as the necessary soundings allowed. 

The glare lit the sky for many miles around. The immense 
area of great burning buildings presented a magnificent, appal- 
ling spectacle 

It was a terrible national disaster — a frightful holocaust, 
in which thousands of lives, with property worth millions, had 
been wantonly destroyed by a ruthless enemy which Britain's 
defective and obsolete defences were too weak to keep at bay 
— a devastating catastrophe, swift, complete, awful. 



NGLAND was thrilled, dismayed, jjctriiied. The 
wholesale massacre at Eastbourne and the 
terrible details of the bombardment of Hull had . 
spread increased horror everywhere throughont 
the land. 

Terror reigned on the Tyneside. Hospitals, 
public institutions, crowded with affrighted 
inmates, had no food to distribute. In Newcastle, in Shields, 
in Jarrow, and in Gateshead the poor were idle and hungry, 
while the wealthy were feverishly apprehensive. A Sabbath 
quiet had fallen on the great silent highway of the Tyne. In 
those blazing days and breathless nights there was an unbroken 
stillness that portended dire disaster. 

In the enormous crowded distiicts on each side of the 
river the gaunt spectre Starvation stalked through the cheer- 
less homes of once industrious toilers, and the inmates pined 
and died. So terrible was the distress already, that domestic 
pets were being killed and eaten, dogs and cats being no un- 
common dish, the very ofi'al thrown aside being greedily 
devoured by thoso slowly succumbing to a horrible death. 
Awful scenes of suffering and blank despair were being 
witnessed on every side. 

Three days after the enemy had ascended the Humber and 
dealt such a decisive blow at Hull, the port of South Shields 
was suddenly alarmed by information telegraphed from the 

Tekkor on the Tvne 

Cuaslguard on Ilarton Down Hill, about a mile south of Ihe 
town, to the eHect that they had sighted a iiumlier of French 
and Russian ships. 

Panic at once ensued- The hroail niarki-l-place was filled 
by a terror- stricken crowd of townspeople, while the seafaring 
population surged down King Street and Ocean Road, across 
the park to the long South Pier at the entrauce to the Tjne, 
eager to reassure themselves that the enemy had no designs 
upon their town. 

In the dull r«d aftei^low that lit np the broad bay of 
golden sand between Trow Point and the pier, a huge vessel 
suddenly loomed dark upon the sky line, and, as she approafhed, 
those watching anxiously through glasses made her out as the 
great steel tnrret-ship Zitzare C'amol, flying the French Tricolor. 
Immediately following her came a number of cruisers, gun- 
boats, and torpedo boats. They included the Dtmitri Ikmskoi, 
the Kniaz Pojanki, the Famyat Mtrktiriya, the Mexn, the 
Syaran, the Gridtn, and the Gaidamak, all of which had taken 
part in the attack on Hull, while they had now Ireen joined by 
the French battleships MassSta and Neptune, the small cruisers 
Cosavw, Detaix, l/Edaiwf, Coftlogon, and Lalandt, the torpedo 
gunboats Iberville, Zance, Ltger, and Fl6:he, and the guuvessels 
Eloile. Fulton, Gabes, Soffiitairc, and Vijiire, with a large 
number of torpedo boats and " catchers," in addition to those 
which were at Hull. 

As the vesseb steamed onward at full speed, the people 
rushed from the pier back again into the town in wild dis- 
order, while the Coastguard at Spanish Battery on the north 
shore of the estuaiy, having now discovered the presence of 
the menacing ships, at once telegraphed the iutelligence up to 
Newcastle, where the most profound sensation was immediately 
caused. The news spread everywhere, and the people on the 
Tyneside kuew that the hand of the oppressor was upon 

Suddenly, without warning, snjoke tumbled over the bowa 
of the La::nrc Carnol. There was a low boom, and one of the 
ponderous guns in her tiuret sent forth on enormous shell, 

The Great War in England in 1897 

which struck the battery at Trow Point, blowing away a 
portion of a wall. 

A moment later the battery replied with their 9-toniiera, 
sending forth shot after shot, moat of which, liowever, ricochetted 
away over the glassy sea. It waa the signal for a fight which 
quickly became desperate. 

lu a few moments half a dozen of the ships lay broadside 
on, and the great guns of tlie Mass/na and Neptune, with those 
of four other vessels, opened a terrible fire upon the fort, casting 
their shells upon the British gunners with frightful efi'ect. 

In the battery the Armstrong disappearing guns were 
worked to their utmost capacity, and the shots of the defenders 
played havoc with the smaller craft, three torpedo boats and 
a "cat-cher" being sunk in as many minutes. 

Meanwhile the Active-, Bonavenlure, Cambrian, Canada, and 
Archer of the Iteserve Squadron, now on its way from the north 
of Scotland in consequence of orders from the Admiralty 
having reached it, rounded Sharpness Point, and steamed full 
upon the enemy's ship.'i. 

The conflict was fierce, but quickly ended. 

Heavy fire was kept up from the fort at Tynemouth, from 
Spanish Battery, from Trow Battery, and from several new 
batteries with disappearing guns between the Groyne and the 
quarry at Trow, that had been constructed and manned since 
the mobilisation by Volunteers, consisting of the 1st New- 
castle Volunteer Engineers, the 3rd Durham Volunteer 
Arlillery, and the 4th Durham Light Infantry from Newcastle 
Nevertheless the assistance received by the British ships from 
the land was of but little avail, for a Bussian torpedo boat 
sent forth its messenger of death at the third-class cruiser 
Canada, blowing her up, while the engines of both the Active 
and Sonaventure were so seriously damaged as to be practically 
useless. Bapid signalling by the semaphore at Spanish 
Battery had placed the defenders on the alert, and although 
the British were sulfering so heavily on account of their 
minority, still tlie enemy were everywhere feeling the effect 
of the hot and unexpected reception. 

Terrok on the Tvne 

Before Lit]f an hour had pussed two Eii&sian gunboats faiul 
beeu torpedoed, and the >'reiicli cruiser I/Estaing, having 
caught fire, was burning fnrimisly, many of her crew perishiny 
at their guns. 

The Lamre Camot and the Massi'iia, heedless of the fire 
from the shore, steamed at half speed across the estuary until 
tfaey were opposite the Tyneniouth Battery, when they suddenly 
opened tire, Leing quickly joined by six French and Eussiau 


cruisers. In the nicniitime the contact mines were being 
blown up by piquet boats, who, although sulVerlng heavily 
from the fire from the shore, nevertheless continued their task. 
It was then seen how utterly inadequate were the defences of 
the Tyne, and what negligence had been displayed on the part 
of the War Ollico in not providing at Tynemouth adequate 
means of warding off or successfully coping with an attack. 

From behind the tall grey lighthouse a few guns were 
thundering, hut in face of the overwhelming force at sea it 
was but a soiTy attempt One shot from the battery sever-ely 
damaged the superstructure of the Lo^ne C'arrwt, another cut 

The Great War in Encji^ViNd in 1897 

through tlie funnel of the Neptune, carrjing it away, and a 
third entering the magazine of one of the small cruisers caused 
it to explotle with eerious loss of life. Yet the devastating 
effect of the enemy's shells on the obsolete defences of Tyne- 
month was appalling. 

Enclosed iu the fortifications were the crunihling ruins of 
the ancient Priory, with its restored chapel, a graveyard, and 
au old Castle that had beeu converted iulo artillery barracks. 
Ab flame and smoke rushed continuously from the barbeltea, 
turrets, and broadsides of the hostile ships, tlie shots brought 
down the bare, dark old walls of the Priory, and, crashing into 
the Castle, played havoc with the building. The lantern of 
the lighthouse, too, was carried away, prolwbly by a shot flying 
accidentally wide, and ever)' moment death and desolation was 
being spread throughout the fort. Such a magnificent natural 
position, commanding as it did the whole estuary of the Tyne, 
should have been rendered impregnable, yet, as it remained in 
1894, so it stood on this fatal day, a typical example of "War 
OflSce apathy and shortsightedness. 

Its gnns were a mere make-believe, that gave the place an 
appearance of strength that it did not possess. In the North 
:^ttery, on the left side, commanding a broad sweep of sea 
beyond Sharpness, only one gun, a (i4-pounder, was mounted, 
the remaining five rotting platforms being unoccupied ! At the 
extreme point, to command the mouth of tlio river, a single 
5-tonner was placed well forward with great ostentation, its 
weight, calibre, and other details having been painted up in 
conspicuous white letters, for the delectation of an admiring 
public admitted to view the Priory. The South Battery, a tritle 
stronger, was, nevertheless, a sheer burlesque, its weakness 
being a disgrace to the British nation. In fact, in the whole 
of the battery the upper defences had long been known to 
experts to bo obsolete, and the lower ones totally inadequate 
for the resistance they should have been able to offer. 

Was it any wonder, then, that the shells of the enemy 
should cause such fiigbtful destruction ? Among the British 
artillerymen there was no lack of courage, for they exerted 

Terror on the Tvne 

every muscle in their gallant eflbrta to repiilse the foe. Yt'l, 
liandicapped as they were by lack of efticieut amis and pro- 
perly constructed fortifications, their heroic struggles were 
futile, and they sacrificed their lives to no purpose. The 
deadly hail from the floating monsters swept nway the whole 
of the ancient PrJory walls, demolishing the old red brick 
barracks, blowing up the Castle gateway, wrecking the guard- 
room, and igniting the Prioiy Chapel. The loss of life was 
terrible, the whole of the men manning the 5-ton gun point- 
ing seaward having been killed by a single shell that burst 
among them, while everywhere else men of the Itoyal Artillery, 
and those of the Tynemonth Volunleer Artillery, who wen; 
assisting, were killed or maimed by the incessant rnin of 

Night clouds gathered black and threatening, and it ap- 
peared as if the enemy were carrying all before them. Tlie 
French battleship A'tpluiu, seeing the guns of all three batteries 
had been considerably weakened, was steaming slowly into the 
month of the Tyne, followed by the Russiau cruiser St/zmn, 
when suddenly two terrific explosions occurred, shaking both 
North and South Shields to their very foundations. High into 
the air the water "rose, and it was then seen that two sub- 
marine mines hud been exploded aimultanefiusly by electric 
curi-ent from the Tyncmouth Battery, and that both vessels 
had been completely blown up. Such was the force of the 
explosion, that the hull of the NrptaiiF, a great armour-clad o£ 
over ten thousand tons, had been ripped up like paper, and of h<!r 
crew scarcely a man escaped, while the cniistr had been com- 
pletely broken in half, and many of her crew blown to atoma 
Scarcely had this success of the defenders been realised when 
it was followed by another, for a second later a torjiedo 
boat succeeded in blowing up with all hanils the French 
torpedo gunboat Lance. 

These reverses, however, caused but little dismay among 
the invaders, for ere long the British cruisers had been driven 
off, the guns at Trow had beeu silenced, while those at Spanish 
Battery and Tynemouth conld only keep up a desultory fire^ 

ii6 TnK Gkkat War in ENCLANrt in 1897 

Tlien, in the falling gloom, ship after ship, guiiled by foreign 
pilots, and carefully evading a nnmberof hulks that had been 
placed near the estuaiy, eut^red the Tyne, pouring forth their 
heavy monotonous fire into Nortli Shields and South Shieldw, 
Skilfully as the despairing defenders managed their submarine 
mines, they only succeeded in destroying three more of the 
enemy's ships, the French torpedo gunboats IbervHk and 
Cassini and the cruiser Desaix, the crews perishing. 

Not for a moment was there a cessation of the eaunonadi- 
as the smaller ships of the enemy advanced up the river, and 
the damage wrought by their shells was enormous. Tynemoutli 
had already sufl'ered heavily, many of the streets being in 
flames. Tlie tower of St. Saviour's Church had fallen, the 
conspiciiotis spire of the Congregational Chapel had been shot 
away, tlie I'iera Office had been reduced to rains, and the long 
building of the Itoyal Hotel completely wrecked. The houses 
facing Percy Park had in many cases been shattered, a shell 
exploding nnder the archway of the Bath Hotel had demolished 
it, and the handsome clock tower at the end of the road had 
been hurled down and scattered. 

Slackening opposite the Scarp, the gunboats and cruisers 
belched forth sliot and shell upon North Shields, aiming first 
at the more conspicuons objects, such as the Sailors' Home, the 
Custom House, the tall tower of Christ Church, and the Harbour 
Master's oflice, either totally destroying them or injuring them 
irreparably, while the houses on Union Quay and those in 
Dockway Square and in adjoining streets, from the gasometers 
down to the Town Hall, were also swept by shells. Resistance 
was made from Fort Clifford on the one side of the town, from 
a position occupied by a battery of the Durham Volunteer 
Artillery, who had mounted guns on the hill behind Smith's 
Yard, and also by the submarine mines 'of the Tyne Division 
Volunteer Miners; but it was most ineffectual, and, when 
night fell, hundreds of terror-stricken persons had been killed, 
and the town was on lire in dozens of places, the flames 
illuminating the sky with their lurid brilliancy. 

In South Shields tragic scenes were being enacted. Shells 


TkRKOR on Till; 'rVNE 

dyiog about tlie town from ibe river on tbe one side and the 
sea on tlie other exploded in the streets, blowing unfortunate 
men, women, and children into atoms, wrecking public buildings, 
and setting fire to the cherished homes of the toilers. The 
congested blocks of buildings around Tanash Point were one 
huge furnace; the Custom Rouse, the River Police Statiou, 
and the Plate Glass Works were wrecked, while a shell ex- 
ploding in one of the petroleum tanks on the Commissioners' 
Wharf caused it to burst with fearful eflect. The queer old 
turret of SL Hilda's fell with a crash, the Church of St. Stephen 
was practically demolished, and the school in the vicinity 
unroofed. The dome of the Marine Scliool was carried bodily 
away ; nothing remained standing of the Wouldhave MemoriiJ 
Clock but a few feet of the square lower stnicture, and the 
Ingham Infirmary being set on fire, several of the patients 
lost their lives. Amid this frightful panic, Lieut-Col. 
Gowans and Major Carr of the 3rd Duiham Artilleiy, the 
Mayor, Mr, Readliead, Alderman Itennoldaon, Councillors Lisle, 
Marshall, and Stainton, the Town Clerk, Mr. Hayton, and the 
Eev. H. K Savage, were all conspicuous for the coolness they 
displayed. Courage, however, was unavailing, for South Shields 
was at the mercy of the invaders, and all defence was feeble 
and futile. Hundreds of the townspeople were killed by flying 
fragments of shells, hundreds more were buried in the debris 
of tottering buildings, while those who survived fled horror- 
stricken with tlieir valuables away int« the couutry, beyond the 
range of the enemy's fire. 

The horrors of Hull were being repeated. Tlie streets ran 
with the life-blood of unoffending British citizens. 

As evening wore on, the invaders came slowly up the Tyne, 
heedless of the streimous opposition with which they were met 
by Volunteer Artillery, who, having established batteries on 
various positions between Shields and Newcastle, poured a hot 
fire upon them. Advancing, their terrible guns spread death 
and destruction on either hank. 

The crowds of idle shipping in the gi-eat Tyne Dock at 
Soiitli Shields, and those in the Albert Edward nnd Korthnm- 

iiS The Great War in England in 1897 

berland Docks on the north bank, together with the staiths, 
warehouses, and offices, were blazing furiously, while the Tyne 
Commissioners' great workshops, Edwards' Shipbiiildiug Yard, 
and many other factories and shipbuilding yards, were either 
set on fire or seriously damaged. 

Many of the affrighted inhabitants of North Shields sought 
refuge in the railway tunnel, and so escaped, but hnndreils lost 
their lives in the iieighhourhood of Wallsend and Percy Main. 

Shells fell in Swinburne's brass foundry at Carville, 
destroying tlie buildings, together with the C'arvillo Hotel 
and the railway viaduct between that place and Howdon. 

The Wallaend Railway Station and the Theatre of Varieties 
were blown to atoms, and the houses both at High and Low 
Walker suffered severely, while opposite at Jarrow enormous 
damage was everywhere caused. At the latter place the Ist 
Durham Volunteer Engineers rendered excellent defensive 
service under Lieut.-CoL Price and Major Forneaux, and the 
Mayor was most energetic in his efforts to insure the safety of 
the people. A Bubmarine mine Iiad been laid opposite 
Hebburii, and, being successfully exploded, blew to atoms the 
French gunboat Gabcs, and at the same time seriously injured 
the propeller of the cruiser Cosaino. This vessel subsequently 
broke down, and a second mine fired from the shore destroyed 
her also. Nevertheless the invaders steadily advanced up the 
broad river, blowing up obstacles, dealing decisive blows, and 
destroying human life and valuable property with every shot 
from their merciless weapons. 

The panic that night in Newcastle was terrible. The 
streets were in a turmoil of excitement, for the reports from 
Tynemouth had produced the most intense alarm and dismay. 
On receipt of the first intelligence the Free Library Committee 
of the City Council happened to be sitting, and the chairman. 
Alderman H. W. Newton, the popular representative of All 
Saints' North, formally announced it to hia colleagues, among 
whom was the Mayor. The committee broke np in confusion, 
and an excited consultation followed, in which Councillors 
Dumford, Fitzgerald, and Flowers, with AldermuTi Sutton, took 

Tekror on the Tvne 

part, Capt. Nictiolls, tlie Cliiet Consteble, Major A, M, Potter 
of the 1st NorthumberliiQtl Artillery, Lieut.-Col. Angus of 
the let Xewcastle Vohiiiteer Artillery, Lieut.-Col. Palmer and 
Major Eiiiley of the Volnuteer Engineers, Mr. Hill Motuiu, 
and Mr. Joseph Cowen also entered the room and engaged in 
the discussion. 

At sncii a hasty informal meeting, nothing, however, could 
be done. The Mayor and Councillors were assured by the 
Volunteer officers that everything poBsible under the circum- 
staucea had been arranged for the defence of the Tyne. 
Property worth millions was at stake, and now that tlie news 
had spread from mouth to mouth the streets around the Town 
Hall were filled with crowds of excited, breathless citizens, 
oiucious to know what steps were being taken to insure tlieir 

So loudly did they demand information, that the Mayor 
was compelled to appear for a moment and address a few 
words to them, assuring them that arrangements had been 
made which be hoped would be found adequate to repel the foe. 
This appeased them in a measure, and the crowd dispersed ; 
but in the other thoroughfares the excitement was intensified, 
and famished thousands rushed aimlessly about, many going 
out upon the Higli Level and Low Level Bridges and straining 
their eyes down the river in endeavour to catch a glimpse of 
the enemy. 

Heavy and continuous firing could be heard as the dark 
evening draped on, and presently, just before nine o'clock, the 
anxious ones upon the bridges saw the Hash of guns as the 
invading vessels rounded the sharp Ix-ud of the river at the 
ferry beyond Rotterdam Wharf. 

The sij^ht caused the people to rush panic-stricken up into 
the higher parts of XewcaBtle or across the bridges into Gates- 
head, and from both towns a rapid exodus was taking place, 
thousand fleeing into the country. From gun-vessels, torpedo 
gunboats, and cruisers, shot and shell poured in continuous 
streams into the wliarves, shipping, and congested masses of 
houses on either l«ink. 

The Great War in England in 1S97 

The houses along City Eoad, St. Lawrence Road, Quality 
Eow, and Byker Bank, oa the outskirts of Newcastle, sufl'ered 
severely, while shots damaged the great Ouseburn Viaduct, 
wrecked St. Doiniuic's Roman Catholic Chapel, and blew away 
the roof of the new Bo.ii'd School, a prominent feature of the 

Several shells fell and exploded in Jesmond Vale. One 
burst and set fire to the Sandyford Brewery, and one or two fall- 
ing in Portland Eoad caused widespread destruction and terrible 
loss of life. The London and Hamburg Wharves, with the 
shipping lying near, were soon blazing furiously, and all along 
Quay Side, riglit up to the Guildhall, shops and otficea were 
every moment being destroyed and swept away. New Green- 
wich and South Shore on the Gateshead side were vigorously 
attacked, and many shots fired over the Salt Marshes fell in 
the narrow thorouglifares that lie between Sunderland Road 
and Brunswick Street. 

Upon the enemy's ships the Volunteer batteries on the 
commanding positions on either side of the high banks poured 
a galling fire, one battery at the foot of the Swing Bridge on 
the Gateshead side effecting terrible execution. Their guns 
bad been well laid, and the salvoes of shell played about the 
French gun-vessels and torpedo boats, causing frightful de- 
struction among the crews. Both Newcastle and Gateshead, 
lying so much higher than the river, were in a certain measure 
protected, and the high banks afforded a wide command over 
the waterway. At various points, including the entrances to 
the High Level Bridge, at the Side, the Close, New Chatham, 
and the Rabbit Banks, the Volunteers had opened fire, and 
were keeping up a terrible cannonade. The dark river reflected 
the red light which flashed forth every moment from gun 
muzzles, while search-lights from both ships and shore were 
constantly Btreaming forth, and the thunder of war shouk the 
tall factory chimneys to their very foundations. 

Heedless of the strenuous opposition, the invading ships 
kept up a vigorous fire, which, aimed high, fell in the centre of 
Newcastle with most appalling effect. In the midst of tiie 

Tekrok on the Tvne 

crowds in Newgate and Pilgrim Streets sheUs exploded, blow- 
iug dozens of British citizens to atoms and teariug out the 
fronts of Bhopa. One projectile, aimed at the strangely shaped 
tower of St. Nicholas' Cathedral, strnck it, and dwept away 
the thin upper portion, and another, crasbiDg iuto the sloping 
roof of the grim, time-mellowed relic Black Gate, shattered it, 
and tore away part of the walls. 

The old castle and the railway bridge were also blown up 
in the earlier stages of the bombardment, and the square tower 
of St. John's fell with a sudden crash right across the street, 
completely blocking it. From end to end Grainger Street was 
swept by French mt^linite shells, which, bursting in rapid 
succession, filled the air with tiny flying fragments, each as 
fatal as a bullet 6red from a rifle. The French shell is much 
more formidable than ours, for, while the latter breaks into 
large pieces, the former is broken up into tiny and exceedingly 
destnictive fragments. 

In the midst of this terrible panic a shot cut its way 
through the Earl Grey Monument, causing it to fall, many 
l^rsons being crushed to death beneath the stones, while both 
the Central Exchange and the Theatre Koyal were now alight, 
shedding a brilliant glare skyward. 

At this time, too, the whole of Quay Ride was a mass of 
roaring, crackling flames, the thin spire of St. Mary's Boman 
Catholic Cathedral had been shot away, Bainhridge's great 
emporium was blazing furiously, and the Art Club premises 
had taken fire. One sliot had fallen at the back of the Town 
Hall, and torn an enormous hole in the wall, while another, 
entering the first floor of the County Hotel, had burst with 
awful force, and carried away the grtater psirt of its gloomy 

In the Central Station opposite, dozens of shells had 
exploded, and it was now on fire, hopelessly invohed together 
with the adjoining Station Hotel, The grey front of the 
imposing Chronicle building had been wrecked by a shell that 
had descended upou the roof, and a row of dark old-fashioned 
booses in Eldon Square had been demolished. 

122 Tiiic Gkeat War in England in 1897 

The same fate had been shared by the Co-operative Whole- 
Bale Society's wareliouse, the Fish Market, the Jonrval office, 
uud both the Crown and M^tropole Hotels at the Ijoltom of 
(,'laytoii Street 

Yet the liriiij^ continued ; the ten-ified citizens wertj granted 
no qUBrter. The Eoyal Arcade was blown to atoms, the new 
red brick buildings of tlie Prudential Assurance Company 
were set on lire, and were blazing with increasing fury. The 
building of the North British and Mercantile Assui-ance Com- 
pany, the Savings Bank at the corner of Newgale Street, and 
tlie Empire Theatre were wrecked. Along New Bridge 
Street dozens of houses were blown to pieces, several fine 
i-esidences in Ellison Place were utterly demolished and 
blocked the roadway with their dtjbris, and the whole city, 
from the river up to Brandling Village, was swept time after 
time by salvoes of devastating shots. Eows of bouses fell, 
and in hundreds the terrified people were massacred. Away 
over the Nun's Moor shells were hurled and burst, and 
others were precipitated into the great Armstrong works at 

Suddenly, in the midst of the incessant thunder, a series of 
terrific explosions occun-ed, and the great High Level Bridge 
collapsed, and fell with an awful crash into the Tyne. The 
enemy had placed dynamite under the huge brick supports, 
and blown them up Bimultaneously. A few moments later the 
Swing Bridge was treated in similar manner ; but the enemy, 
under the gulling fire from the Volunteer batteries, were now 
losing frightfully. Many of the new guns at the Elswick 
works were brought into action, and several irouclads in the 
course of construction afforded cover to those desperately 
defending their honiea. 

But this blow of the invaders had been struck at a moat 
inopportune moment, and was evidently the result of an ordei' 
that had been imperfectly understood. It caused them to suffer 
a greater disaster than they had anticipated. Six torpedo boata 
and two gun-vessels had passed under the bridge, and, lying off 
the Hauglis, were firing into the Elawick works at the moment 


Terror on the Tyne 

when tbe bridges were demolished, and the dubris, falling across 
the stream, cut off all means of escape. 

The defenders, noticing this, worked on, pounding away at 
the hostile craft with merciless monotony, until one after 
another the French and Kiissians were blown to atoms, and 
their vessels sank beneath them into the dark, swirling 

While this was proceeding, two mines, one opposite Hill 
Gate, at Gateshead, and the other near the liotterdam Wharf, 
on the Newcastle side, were fired by the Volunteer Engineers, 
who thus succeeded in blowing up two more French gunboats, 
while the battery at the foot of the Swing Bridge sank two 
more torpedo boats, and that in front of the Chemical Works at 
Gateshead sent a shell into the "vitals" of one of the most 
powerful torpedo gunboats, with the result that she blew up. 

Everywhere the enemy were being cut to pieces. 

Seeing the trap into which their vessels had fallen above 
the ruined bridges, and feeling that they had caused sufhcient 
damage, they turned, and with their guns still belching forth 
flame, steamed at half speed back again towards the sea. 

But they were not allowed to escape so easily, for the mines 
recently laid by the Volunteers were now brought into vigorous 
play, and in the long reach of the river between High Walker 
and Wallseud no fewer than six more of the enemy's gun and 
torpedo boats had their bottoms blown out, and their crews torn 
limb from limb. 

Flashed throughout the land, the news of the enemy's 
repulse, though gained at such enormous loss, excited a feeling 
of profound satisfaction. 

The injury inflicted on the invaders had been terrible, and 
from that attack upon the Tyne they had beeu hurled reeling 
back the poorer by the loss of a whole fleet of torpedo and gun 
boats, one of the most efi'ective Anns of their sqnadrons, while 
the sea had closed over one of France's proudest battleships, 
the Ntptune, and no fewer than four of her cruisers. 

The surviving vessels, which retreated round the Black 
Uiddens and gained the open sea, aU more or less had their 


124 '^"E Great War in England in 1897 

engines crippled, and not half the men that had manned 

them escaped alive. 

They had wrought incalculable damage, it is true, for part of 

Newcastle was burning, and the loss of life had been terrible ; 

yet they were driven back by the Volunteers' desperately 

vigorous lire, and the lives of many tbousauds in Newcastle 

and Gatesheitd had thus been saved at the eleventh hoar by 

British patriots. 

Alas, it was a black day in England's history 1 

Was this to be a turning-point in the wave of disaster 

which had swept so suddenly upon our land 1 



ISAYS passed — dark, dismal, dispiriting. Grim- 
visaged War had crushed all joy and gaiety from 
British hearts, and fierce patriotism and deter- 
mination to light on until the bitter end mingled 
everywhere with liunger, sadness, and despair, 
British homes had been desecrated, British lives 
hud been sacrificed, and through the land the invaders rushed 
ravaging with fire and sword. 

Whole towns had been overwhelmed and sliattered, great 
tracts of rich land in Sussex and Hampshire had been laid 
waste, and the people, powerless against the enormous forces 
sweeping down upon them, had been mercilessly mowed down 
and butchered by Cossacks, whose brutality was fiendish. 
Everywhere there were reports of horrible atrocities, of 
heartless murders, and wholesale slanghter of the lielpless and 

The situation, both in Great Britain and on the Continent, 
was most critical. The sudden declaration of hostilities by 
France and Kussia had resulted in a great war in which nearly 
all European nations were involved. Germany had sent her 
enormous land forces over her frontiers east and west, success- 
fully driving back the French along the Vosges, and occupying 
Dijon, Chalons-sur-Saone, and Lyons. Valmy, Nancy, and 
Metz had again been the scenes of sanguinary encounters, and 
Chaumont and Troyes had both fallen into the hands of tlie 

126 The Great War in England in 1897 

Kaiser's legions. In Poland, however, neither Germaoa nor 
Austrians liad met witti auch success. A fiei-ce battle had 
been fought at Thom between the Tsar's forces and the 
Germans, and the former, after a desperate stand, were defeated, 
and the Uhlans, dragoons, and infontry of the Fatherland had 
swept onward up the valley of the Vistiila to Warsaw. Here 
the resistance offered by General Bodisco was very fonnidable, 
but the city was besieged, while fierce fighting was taking place 
all across the level country that lay between the Polish capital 
and the Prussian frontier. Austrians and Hungarians fought 
fiercely, the Tyrolese Jagers displaying conspicuous bravery at 
Erody, Cracow, Jaroslav, and along the banks of the San, and 
they had succeeded up to the present in preventing the Cossacks 
and Russian infantry from reaching the Carpathians, although 
an Austrian army corps advancing into Pussia along the Styr 
had been severely cut up and forced to retreat back to 

Italy had burst her bonds. Her BersaglierJ, cnirassiera, 
Piedmontese cavalry, and carabiniere had marched along the 
Comiche road into Provence, and, having occupied Nice, Cannes, 
and Draguigan, were on their way to attack Marseilles, while 
the Alpine infantry, taking the road over Mont Cenis, had, 
after very severe fighting in the beautiful valley between Susa 
and BardonnecMa, at last occupied Modane and ChamlnSry, 
and now intended joining bauds with the Germans at 

France was now receiving greater punishment than she 
had anticipated, and even those meniliers of the Cabinet and 
Deputies who were responsible for the sudden invasion of 
England were compelled to admit that they had made a false 
move. The frontiers were being ravaged, and although the 
territorial regiments remaining were considered sufficient to 
repel attack, yet the Army of tlie Saone had already been cut 
to pieces. In these circumstances, France, knowing the great 
peril she ran in prolonging the invasion of Eritaiu, was 
desperately anxious to make the British sue for peace, so that 
she could turn her attention to events at home, and therefore. 


Help from our Colonies 

although in a measure contravening Internatioual Law, she 
had instructed her Admirals to Lombard British seaports and 
partially-defended towns. 

Although the guns of the hostile fleet had wrought such 
appalling havoc on the Humber, on the Tyne, and along tlie 
coast of Kent and Sussex, nevertheless the enemy had only 
secured a qualified success. The cause of all the disasters that 
had befallen us, of the many catastrophes ou land and sea, vn^ 
due to the wretchedly inadequate state of our Navy, although 
the seven new battleships and six cruisers commenced in ISPi 
were now complete and afloat. 

Had we possessed an efficient Navy the enemy could never 
have approached our shores. We had not a suHicient number 
of ships to replace casualties. Years behind in nearly every 
tssenlial point, Britain had failed to give her cruisers either 
speed or guna equal in strength to those of other nations. 
Our guns were the worst in the world, no fewer than 47 
vessels still mounting 350 old muzzle-loaders, weapons dis- 
carded by every other European Navy. 

For years it had been a race between the hare and the 
tortoise. We had remained in dreamy unconsciousness of 
danger, while other nations had quickly taken advantage of 
all the newly -discovered modes of destruction that make modern 
warfare so terrible. 

Notwithstanding the odds against us in nearly every 
IMirticuIar, the British losses had been nothing as compared 
with those of the enemy. This spoke much for British pluck 
and pertinacity. With a force against them of treble their 
strength, British bluejackets had succeeded in sinking & number 
I'f the finest and most powerful ships of France and Russia. 
Prance had lost the Amiral Puperr^, a magnificent steel vessel 
of eleven thousand tons; the JVcpiKwe &nd Sedoulahlr, s. trifle 
smaller; tlie Tonncrrc, the TeTriile, the tSirieiix, the Indompt- 
nhlf, the Caiman, all armoured ships, had been lost; while the 
cruisers UEUaing, Sfax, Desaic, Cosamo, Faiicon, the despatch- 
vessel HirondelU, the gunboats Ibrrville, Gdbes, and Lanct, and 
eleven others, together with sixteen torpedo boats and numbers 

of transporta, had been either blown up, burned, or otherwise 

The losscB the Russiana had sustained, in addition to the 
many transports and general service steamers, iucliided the 
great steel cruiser Nicolai I., the vessels Gerzog Edinhurgsikij, 
Syzran, Byvda, Asia, Gangut, Kranaya Gorka, Olaf, and the 
torpedo boat Abo, with eight others. 

The destruction of this enormous force had, of course, not 
been effected without an infliction of loss upon the defeuders, 
yet the British casnalties bore no comparison to those of the 
enemy. "True, the armoured turret-sliip Conqueror had, alas ! 
been sacrificed; the fine barbette-ships Centurion and Rodney 
had gone to the bottom ; the splendid first-class cruiser jJnro«» 
and the cruiser NareimiS had been blown up ; while the cruiaers 
Terpsichore, Melanvpus, Tribune, Galatea, and Canada, with a 
number of torpedo boats and " catchers," had also been destroyed, 
yet not before e\'eiy crew had performed heroic deeds worthy 
of record in the world's history, and every vessel had shown 
the French aud Russians what genuine British courage could 

Still the invaders were striking swift, terrible blows. Ou 
the Humbet and the Tyne the loss of life liad been appalling. 
The bombardment of Brighton, the sack of Eastbourne, and the 
occupation of the Downs by the land forces, had been effected 
only hy wholesale rapine and awful bloodshed, and Britain 
waited breathlessly, wondering in what direction the next 
catastrophe would occur. 

Such newspapers as in thpse dark days continued to appear 
reported how great mass meetings were being held all over the 
United States, denouncing the action of the Franco-Russian 

In New York, Chicago, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, 
San Francisco, and other cities, resolutions were passed nc 
enormous demonstrations by the enthusiastic public, demanding 
that the United States Government should give an immediate 
ultimatum to France that unless slie withdrew her troops from 
British soil, war would be declared against her. 

Help from our Colonies 

Special sittings of Congress were being lield ilailj at 
Washington for tlie purpose of discussiug the advisability u( 
such a step ; iuBueiitial deputations waited upon the President, 
and all the prouiiDent statesmen were interviewed by the 
various enterprising New York journals, the result showing a. 
great prepouderance of feeling that such a measure should be at 
once taken. 

la British colonies throughout the world the greatest indig- 
nation and most intense excitement prevailed. Already bodies 
of Volunteers were on their wayfrom Australia and Cape Town, 
many of the latter, under Major Scott, having already been in 
England and shot as competitors at Bisley. From India a 
number of native regiments had embarked for Southampton, 
but tlie Xortberii frontier stations had been striingthened in 
anticipation of a movement south by Bussia, and the French 
Indian possessions, Pondichery and Karikal, were occupied by 
British Iroops. 

An exp»lition from Burmah had crossed the Shan States 
into Tonquin, and with the assistance of the Biitish Squadron 
on the China Station bad, after bard fighting, occupied a portion 
of the country, while part of the force bad gone farther south 
and commenced operations in French Cochin-China by a 
vigorous attack on Saigon. 

Armed British forces had also landed in Guadaloupe and 
Martinique, two of the most fertile of the West Indian Islands, 
and St. Bartholomew had also been occupied by West Indian 

Oq the outbreak of hostilities intense patriotism spread 
throu};h Canada, and from the shores of Lake Superior away to 
far Vancouver a movement was at once made to assist the Mother 
Country. In Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Kingston 
mass meetings were held, ur^jiiig the Dominion Government to 
allow a force of Volunteers to go to England without delay; 
and this universal demand was the more gratifying when it was 
remembered that more than a quarter of the population were 
themselves French. Nevertheless the knowledge that Britain 
was in danger was sulGcient to arouse patriotism everywhere. 

130 The Great War in England in 1897 

and within a few days 20,000 Volunteere were enrolled, and these, 
before a fortnight had passed, were on their way to Liverpool. 
Great was the enthusiasm when, a few days later, to the strains 
of " Rule, Britannia," the first detachment landed in the Mersey, 
and as they marched through the crowded streets, the people, 
delighted at this pnicticnl demonstration of sympathy, wrung 
the hands of the patriots of the West. Vessel after vessel, 
escorted by Uritish cruisers, arrived at the landing-stage, and 
diaeliM^ed their regiments of men to whom the knowledge of 
Britain's danger had been sufficient incentive to induce them 
to act their part as Britons. Then, when the last vessel had 
arrived, they were formed into a brigade, and set ont to march 
south in the direction of Birmingham. 

Meanwhile a great loan was being floated in Australia and 
the United States. The former colony had but recently passed 
through a serious financial crisis, but in America a sum of no less 
than £200,000,000 was taken up, although the issue only con- 
tinued a few days. In Wall Street the excitement was intense, 
and the stru^le to invest was desperate. No such scenes had 
ever been witnessed within the memory of the oldest member of 
the Stock Exchange, for financiers were determined to assist the 
greatest Power on earth ; indeed, apart from the sound security 
offered, they felt it their duty to do so. Melbourne, Sydney, 
Brisbane, and Calcutta all contributed in more or less degree, 
and the loan immediately proved the most succe-isful ever 

To Britain on every side a helping hand was outstretched, 
and, irrespective of politics and party bickerings, assistance 
was renderecK in order that she might crush her enemies, 
Britannia gathered her strength, and armed herself for the 
fierce combat which she knew must decide the destiny of her 
glorious Empire. 

London, starving, terror-stricken, and haunted continually 
by apprehensions of an unknown doom, was in a state of rest- 
lessness both night and day. Food supplies bad failed, the 
cheapest bread was sold at 3s. 8d. a small loaf, and neither 
fish nor meat could be purchased. 

Help from our Colonies 

In the City tlie panic was friglitfttl. Busiuess was paralysed, 
hundreds weru being mined daily, and after the first sensation 
and headlong rush on the Stock Exchange, transactions re- 
mained at a standstilL Then suddenly, when the seriousness 
of the situation was fully understood, there whb a run on the 

Crowds, eager and clamouring, surrounded the Bank of 
England, and establishments in Lombard Street and elsewhere, 
with cheques in their hands, demanding their deposits in gold. 
Although weak and half-starved, they desired their money in 
order to flee and take with them all they possessed before the 
enemy swept down upon London. 

Day and night in all the City banks the cashiers were kept 
paying out thousands upon thousands in hard shining gold. 
The clink of coin, the jingle of scales, and the eager shouts of 
those feverishly anxious for their turn, and fearing the 
resources would not hold out, formed a loud incessant din. 

As the days passed, and the run on the banks continued, 
one after another of the establishments, both in the City and 
the West End, unable to withstand the heavy withdrawals, 
were compelled to close their doors. Many were banks of 
such high reputation that the very fact of being a depositor 
was a hall-mark of a man's prosperity, while olhera were 
minor eslablishments, whose business was mainly with small 
accounts and middle-class customers. One by one they failed 
to fulfil their obligations, and closed ; and the unfortunate ones, 
including many women who had not been able to struggle 
successfully to get inside, turned away absolutely ruined ! 

In the West End the starving poor had formed processions, 
and marched through Mayfair and Belgravia demanding 
brend, while Anarchists held council in front of the blackened 
ruins of the N'alional Gallery, and the Unemployed continued 
their declamatory oratory on Tower Hill. The starving 
thousands from the East End ran riot in the aristocratic 
thoroughfares of Kensington, and, heedless of the police, — who 
were, in fact, powerless before such superior numbers, — 
residences of the rich were entered and searched for food. 

132 The GuEAi- Wau in England in 1S97 

and various acta of violeace ensued. The cellars of clubs, 
liotela, and private hnnses were broken open and sacked, 
granaries were emptied, wliolesale grocery warehouses were 
looted, and flour mills searched from roof to basemeat If 
they could not obtain food, they said, they would drink. A 
desperate starving crowd then forced an entry to the wine 
vaults at the Docks, and swallowed priceless vintages from 
pewter pota. Ifogsheads of port and sherry were carried up into 
ihe streets, and amid scenes of wild disorder were tapped and 
drunk by the excited and already half-intoxicated mullitude. 

For days London remained at the mercy of a drunken, 
frenzied rabble. Murder and incendiarism were committed in 
every quarter, and many serious and desperate conflicts occurred 
between the rioters and the law-abiding pntriotic cilizens. 

Enthusiasm was displayed by even the latter, when an 
infuriated mob one night surrounded Albeit Gate House, the 
French Embassy, and, breaking open the door, entered it, and 
flimK the handsome furniture from the windows. 

Those below made a huge pile in the street, and when the 
whole of the movable effects had been got out, the crowd set 
fire to them, and also to the great mansion, at the aame time 
cheering lustily, and singing "Rule, Britannia," as they 
watched the flames leap up and consume both house and 

The servants of the Embassy had fortunately escaped, other- 
wise they would no doubt have fared badly at the hands of the 
lawless assembly. 

When the fire had burned itself out, however, a sn^estion 
was spread, and the mob with one accord rushed to the 
Kussiau Embassy in Chesham Place. 

This house was also entered, and the furniture flung pell- 
mell from the windows, that too large to pass through being 
broki-n up in the rooms, and the fragments thrown to the 
shouting crowd below. 

Chairs, tables, ornaments, mirrors, bedding, kitchen utensils, 
and crockery were thrown out, carpets were taken up, and 
curlaius and coinices torn down by ruthless denizens of 

Hel!' from our Colonies 

Whitechapel and Shoreditch, who, maddened by driok, were 
determined to destroy everylhing belonging to the conntriea 
which had brour;ht dieaster upon them. 

Presently, when nearly all the furniture liad been removed, 
some man, wild-haired and excited, emerged into the street, 
with a great Sag he had discovered in one of the attics. With 
a Bhout of delight he unfurled it. It was a large yellow one, 
upon which was depicted a huge black double eagle; lbs 
fliig that hod been hoisted at tlie Embassy on various Stale 

Its appearance was greeted by a fearful howl of rage, and 
the infuriated people, falUiig upon the man who waved it, tore 
it into shreds, which they afterwards cast into the bonfire tliey 
had made for the Amba^dor's furniture. 

From the archives the secret papers and reports of spies 
were taken, and, being torn into fragments, were scattered 
from an upper window to the winds, until at last, men, snatch- 
ing up fiaring brands from the huge bonljre, rushed into the 
dismantled mansion, and, having poured petroleum in many of 
the apartments, ignited them. 

Flames quickly spread through the house, belching forth 
(mm the windows, and, ascending, had soon burst through the 
voof, illuminating the neighbourhood with a bright, fitful glare, 
'file mob, as the flames leaped up and crackled, screamed with 
liendish deliglit. From thousands of hoarse throais there went 
up loud cries of ■' Down with the Tsai' ! Down witli Kussia ! " 
And as the gr^at bonfii-e died down, and the roof of the 
Embassy collapsed with a crash, causing the tiames to shoot 
higher and roar more vigorously, they sang with one accord, 
led by a man who had mounted some railings, the stirring 
British song, "The Union Jack of Old England." 

Although the colonies had shown how zealously they were 
prepared to guard the interests of the Klother Country, thtir 
public spirit was eclipsed by the spontaneous outburst of 
jatrintisni which occurred in Ireland. Mass meetings were 
being held in lielfast, Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, 
Londonderry, Sljgo, Armagh, Diindalk, Newry, and dozens of 

134 The Great War in England in 1897 

I the I 

other places, at which men of all grades of society UDanimously 
decided by resolution to raise Volunteer regiments to take arms 
against the foe. 

The knowledge of Britain's danger had aroused the patriotic 
feelings of the people, and they were determined to give their 
sovereign a proof of their allegiance, cost what it might. 

The movement was a general one. NiitioualistB and 
Unionists vied in their eagerness to demonstrate their love 
for the Empire, and that part of it which was now in danger. 

Already the Irish Eeserve forces had been mobilised and 
sent to their allotted stations. The 3rd Irish Kifles from 
Newtownards, the 5th Battalion from Downpatrick, and tlie 
6th from Dimdalk, were at Belfast under arms ; the Donegal 
Artillery from Letterkenny had already gone to Harwich to 
assist in the defence of the east coast ; and both the London- 
derry and Sligo Artillery had gone to Portsmouth ; while the 
3rd Irish Fusiliers from Armagh were at Plymouth, and the 
4th Battalion from Cavan had left to assist in the defence of 
the Severn. 

Whatever differences of political opinion had previously 
existed between them ou the question of Home Rule, were 
forgotten by the people" in the face of the great danger which 
threatened the Empire to which they belonged. The national 
peril welded the people together, and shoulder to shoulder 
they marched to lay down their lives, it necessary, in the work 
of driving back the invader. 

Within six days of this spontaneous outburst of patriotism, 
2.">,000 Irishmen of all creeds and political opinions were on 
their way to assist their English comrades. As might have 
been expected, the greater number of these Volunteers came 
from the North of Ireland, but every district sent its sons, 
eager to take part in the great struggle. At the great meetings 
held at Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Limerick, Wexford, Waterford, 
Strahane, New town -Stew art, Dowupatricfc, Eallymeua, and 
dozens of other places all over the country, from the Giant's 
Causeway to Cape Clear, and from Dublin to Galway Bay, 
the most intense enthusiasm was shown, and men signed their 

Help from our Colonies 

iiuiiies to the roll in hundreds, many subscribing large sums 
to defray the cost of equipment and other expenses. Each 
passenger or mail boat from Lame to Stranraer, from Dublin 
to Holyhead, every steamer from Belfast to Whitehaven and 
Liverpool, brought over well-armed contingents of stalwart 
men, who, after receiving hearty receptions of the most 
enthusiastic and flattering description, were moved south to 
Stamford in Lincolnshire as quickly as the disorganised 
railway service would allow. 

The object of the military authorities in concentrating 
them at this point was to strengthen the great force of 
defenders now marching south. Detraining at Stamford, the 
commanding officer had orders to march to Oundle, by way 
of King's CUHe and Fotheringhay, and there remain until 
joined by a brigade of infantry with the Canadians coming 
from Leicestershire. The great body of men at length 
mustered, answered the roll, and marched through the quiet 
old-world streets of Stamford, and out upon the broad highway 
to King's Clifle on the first stage of their journey. 

It was early morning. In the sunlight the dew still 
glistened like diamonds on the wayside, as regiment after 
regiment, with firm, steady step, and shouldering their rifles, 
bravely passed away through the fields of ripe uncut corn, 
eager to unite with a force of Kegulars, and strike their first 
blow for their country's liberty. 

Sturdy fishermen from the rough shores of Don^al marched 
side by side with townsmen and artisans from Dublin, Belfast, 
and Limenck ; sons of wealthy raamtfacturers in Antrim and 
Down bore arms with stalwart peasantiy from Kerry and 
Tippenu'y ; while men whose poor but cherished cabins over- 
looked Carlingford Lough, united with fearless patriots from 
Carlow, Wexford, and Waterford. 

Since they landed on English soil, they had met with a 
boundless welcome. 

In I he rural districts the distress was not yet so great ss in 
the larger towns; consequently at King's CliH'e, when the first 
detachment halted for rest in the long straggling street of the 

The Great War in England in 1897 

t3T)ical English village, the bells of the <iiiaiiit ok] cliurch were 
rung, and villagers gave their defenders bread, cheese, and 
draughts of ale. While the men were standing at eas^e and 
eating heartily, two officers entered Bailey's, the village grocery 
atore, which served as post office, and received a cipher tele- 
graphic despatch. They emerged into the roadway immedi- 
ately, and their faces showed that some unforeseen event had 
occurred. A thii-d officer was summoned, and a hurried and ' 
secret consultation took place as they stood togelher opposite 
the Cross Keys Inn. 

" But can we do it ? " queried the youngest of the trio, 
aloud, pulling on his gloves, and settling the hang of hia 

The grave elder man, commander of the brigade, glanced 
quickly at liis wateh, with knit brows. 

" Do it ? " he replied, with a marked Irish accent. " We 
must. It'll be a dash for life; but the boys are fresh, and as 
dnty calls, we must push onward, even though we may be 
marching to our doom. Go," he said to the youngest of his 
two companions, " tell them we are moving, and that our ad- 
vance guard will reaeli them at the earliest possible moment" 

The young lieutenant hurried over to the little shop, and 
as he did so the colonel gave an order, and a bugle awoke the 
echoes of the village. 

Quick words of command sounded down the quaint, ancient 
street, followed by the sharp click of arms. Again officei-s' 
^■oices sounded loud and brief, and at the word " March ! " 
the great body of stem loyalists moved onward over the 
bridge, and up the School Hill on to the long winding road 
which led away through Apesthorpe nnd historic Fotherioghay 
to Oundle. 

The message from the front bad been immediately responded 
to, for a few minutes later the excited villa_(,'ers stood watching 
the rearguard disappearing in the cloud of dust raised by Uie 
heavy tread of the thousand feet upon the white highway. 






IHKOUGH the land the grey-coated hordes of 
the White Tsar spread like locusts — their 
track marked by death and desolation. 

liotb French and Bussian troops had taken 
up carefully selected positions on the Downs, 
aud, backed by the enormous remforcements 
now lauded, were slowly advancing. Every detail of the 
surprise invasion bad apparently been carefully considered, 
for immediately after tlie fierce battle off Beachy Head a 
number of French and Russian cruisers were despatched to 
the Channel ports iu order to threaten them, so as to prevent 
many of the troops in Hampshire, Dorset, and Devon from 
moving to their place of assembly. Consequently large 
bodies of British troops were compelled to remain inactive, 
awaiting probable local attacks. 

Meanwhile the invaders lost no time in extending their 
flanks preparatory to a general advance, and very quickly 
they were in possession of all the hi^h ground from Polegate 
to Steyning Down, while Cossack patrols were out on the 
loads towards Ciickfield and West Grinstead, and demon- 
strations were made in the direction of Horsham, where a 
Btrong force of British troops had hastily collected. 

As the long hot days passed, the Volunteers forming the 
line of defence south of London bad not been idle. A brigade 
of infantry had been pushed forward to Balcombe, and with 

tjS The Gk£at Wak n EMajum ■■ 1897 

Uc •dnaee flf tfae e »gi HT k^ ik *, of con 
oGibed-nlfaoatteniUeUoiMUied. Afn^oagflkal 
tlOK t t Mmal . P<M%Baoaih, «sd Wiaebester. wUdk k 
kmied down to Anndel to oeaqiy a Mvow defisave ] 

■ear tlwt town. Ind eone into eontMt wah the c 

■one J u p eiMte fi(^itti^ emaed. Oi^iaaU bad 1 
Mmt Im trrer Axvn, end about aid a n t a ptfnl < 
Sad Cmlfj Brigade bon FMenfidd. Ki|ip«ted I7 ml 
bad been oaddoiljr attad«d doae to Aduagton %-JIla^ 
Under a rigoroas five tbej' woe antetan atdy compelled 
to kU twdc fighting, and were almoet anaildhted, §at it 
wa* 0017 tfaen aaoertained ihat the eoemj veie utawiag in 
great foree; eridently with the intention of obtaining pottea^ 
•too of the bei^te u iar u Cocking, West D^n, and 
Chiebeeter, and so tJirealen Ptvtsmouth from the land. 

The nrviTon of tbia cavalry patit4 succeeded in recrDSsn^ 
tiie Aran, bat their loeees were exceedingly heavy. 

At daybreak the enemy were visible from Amndd, and 
dui and diell were poured into them from the batteriea 
eaUt^Atd altnig the hills to Hooghton. So heavy was tike 
Btiti«h fire that the Buasians were compelled to seek covei^ 
and their advance in this direction was, for this time> 

'Hie defenders, although occupying an excellent po^ticHi. 
were, however. Dot sufficiently strong to anccessfnlly cope with 
the onward ruah of invaders, and coald do little else beyond 
watchtn;; them. 

On tliC other Iinod, the BussisDs, displaying great tactical 
ftkiW, and led liy men who had thoronghly studied the 
geograiihy of the South of Englund, had gained a distinct 
ailvantage, for they had secured their left flank from attack, 
so that they conM now advance northward to Horsham and 
Balcombc practically unmolested. 

The first general movement commenced at noon, when an 
advance was made by two enormous columns of the enemy. 

Russian Advance in the Midlands 

one of which proceeded by way of Henfield and Partridge 
Green and the other hy Cooksbridge and Ke)'neB, the thii*d 
column reoiaining in Sussex to protect the base of operations. 
Meanwhile, Horsham had been occupied by a portion of the 
2nd division of the lat Army Corps with a 12-pouiider, a. 
9-pounder field batt«ry, and a field company of the Royal 
Engineers, and had been placed in a state of hasty defence. 
Walls had been loopholed, fences had been cut down, and 
various preparations made for holding the town. 

Our forces were, nevertheless, sadly lacking in numbers, 
A cavalry patrol of one of our flying columns was captured by 
Cossacks at Cowfold, and the neglect on the part of the 
commander of this column to send out his advance guard 
sufficiently far, resulted in it being hurled back upon the 
main body in great disorder. Then, seeing the success 
everywhere attending their operations, the invaders turned 
their attention to the British line of communication between 
Horsham and Arundel, and succeeded in breaking it at 
Billinghurst and at Petworth. 

Fierce fighting spread all over Sussex, and everywhere 
many lives were being sacrificed for Britnin. The defenders. 
alas! with their weak and totally inadetjuate forces, could 
make but a sorry stand against the overwhelming masses 
of French and Russians, yet they acted with conspicuous 
bmvery to sustain the honour of their native land. Villages 
and towns were devastated, rural homes were sacked and 
bumed, and everywhere quiet, unoffending, but starving 
Britons were being put to the sword 

Over Sussex the reign of terror was awful. The pastures 
were stained by Britons' life-blood, and in all directions our 
forces, though displaying their characteristic courage, were 
being routed. At Horsham they were utterly defeated after 
a fierce and bloody encounter, in which the enemy also lost 
very heavily ; yet the cause of the British reverse was due 
solely to a defective administration. Hurriedly massed in the 
town from Aldershot by way of Guildford, they had, owing to 
the short-sighted policy of the War Office, arrived without a 

140 The Great War in England in 1897 

sufficient supply of either transport or ammunition. Night 
was falling 03 tliey detrained, and in the hopeless confusion 
battalion commanders could not find their brigade bead- 
quarters, and brigadiers could not find their staffl 

This extraordinary muddle resulted in the fresh troops, 
instead of being sent forward to reinforce the outposta, being 
kept in town, while the jaded, ill-fed men, who had ali'eady 
been on the alert many hours, were utterly unable to resist 
the organised attack which was made before daybreak. 

Though they made a gallant stand and fought on with 
desperate determination, yet at last the whole of them were 
driven back in confusion, and with appalling loaa, upon their 
supports, aud the latter, who held out bravely, were at last 
also compelled to fall back upon their reserves. The latter, 
which included half a battery of artillery atationed at Wood's 
Farm and Toll Bar, held the enemy in temporary check ; but 
wiien the heavy French artillery was at length brought tip, 
the invaders were enabled to cut the railway, destroy tbo 
half battery at Wood's Farm, turn the British right flank, and 
compel thera to retreat hastily from Horsham and fly to 
defensive positions at Guildford and Dorking. 

By this adroit manceuvre the enemy succeeded in taking 
over two hundred prisoners, capturing the guns of the 12- 
pounder field battery, — which had not been brought into play 
for the simple reason that only ammunition for 9-poundera 
had been collected in the town, — and seizing a large quantity 
of stores and ammunition of various kinds. 

This success gave the enemy the key to the situation, 

Aa on sea, so on land, our blundering defensive policy had 
resulted in awful disaster. Sufficient attention had never been 
paid to detail, and the firm-rooted idea that Britain could never 
be invaded had caused careless indifference to minor matters of 
vital importance to the stability of our Empire. 

The contrast between the combined tactics of the enemy 
and those of our forces was especially noticeable when the 
cavalry patrol of the British flyitig column was captured on 
the Cowfield road and the column defeated. The commander 


Russian Advance in the Midlands 

of the column, a well-known ofBcer, imforlnnately, like many 
others, had had very little experience of combiDed tactics, ond 
looked upon cavalry not merely as " the eyes and ears of an 
army," but as the army itself. It was this defect that waa 
disastrous. For many years past it had never appeared quite 
clear whether British cavalry were intended to act en masse in 
warfare, or simply as scouts or mounted infantry, therefore 
their training had leen uncertain. The Home establishment 
of our cavalry was supposed to be about 12,000 men, but 
owing to a parsimonious administration only about half that 
number had horses, and in some corps less than a half. 
Another glaring defect was the division of many regiments 
into detachments stationed in various towns, the inevitable 
result of this being that many such detachments were without 
regimental practice for months, and there were many who had 
not manwuvred with a force of all arms /or years! 

Army organisation proved a miserable failure. 

The supply of ammunition was totally inadequate, and 
a disgrace to a nation which held its head above all others. 
It was true that depots had been established at various centres, 
yet with strange oversight no provision had been made for the 
work of ammunition trains. 

Originally it had been intended that men for thb most 
important duty should be found by the Iteeerves, aud that 
the horses should be those privately r^stered ; never- 
theless it was found necessaiy at the very last moment 
to weaken our artillery by detailing experienced men for 
duty with the ammunition column. Many of the horses 
which were registered for ser^'ice were found to be totally 
unfit, and very few of the remainder had been previously 
trained. In the case of those which were required for the 
cavalry regiments — nearly six thousand — the beat men in the 
regiments had to be told off at the very beginning of the in- 
vasion to hurriedly train and prepare these animals tor service, 
when they should have been available to proceed to any part 
of the kingdom at twenty-four hours' notice. By such defects 
mobilisation was foredoomed to failure. 

142 Thi; Gre.\t War in England in 1897 

The scheme, instead of being so arranged as to be carried out 
without coufusion, resulted in muddle and farcical humiliaLiou. 

Agaiu, the infantry, owing to the recent departure of the 
Indian drafts, had beenconsiderably weakened, many battalions 
being found on mobilisation very disoi^aniscd and inetlicient. 
As an iustance, out of one battaliou at Aldershot, which was 
on paper 1000 strong, 200 had been sent away to India, while 
of the remainder more tlian half had only seen twelve months 
service, and a large percentage were either under eighteen 
years of age or were "special enlistments," namely, below the 
minimum standard of height. 

Such a battalion compared very unfavourably with the 
majority of Volunteer regiments, — those of the Stafford 
Brigade, for instance, — the average service of the men in those 
regiments being over five yeare, and the average age twenty- 
seven years. British officers had long ago foreseen all these 
defects, and many others, yet tliey had preserved an enforced 
silenca They themselves were very inefficiently trained in 
mwiceuvriiig, for, with one or two exceptions, there were no 
stations in the kingdom where forces were sufficiently numerous 
to give the majority of the superior officers practice in handling 
combined bodies of troops. 

Thus in practical experience in the field they were far 
behind both French and £ussians, and it was this very serious 
deficiency that now became everywhere apparent. 

British troops, fighting valiantly, struggled to protect their 
native land, which they determined should never fall under the 
thrall of the invader. But alas! their resistance, though 
stubborn and formidable, was nevertheless futile. Time after 
time the lines of defence were broken. 

The Kuasian Eagle spread his black wings to the sun, and 
with joyous shouts the dense grey white masses of the enemy 
marched on over the dusty Sussex roads northward towards 
the Thames. 

After the battle of Horsham, the gigantic right column of 
the invaders, consisting mostly of French troops, followed up 
the defenders to Guildford and Dorking, preparatory to an 


RussuN Advance in the Midlands 

attack iipon London ; while the left column, numbering 150,000 
French and Kussiiins of all arms, pushed on through AlFoId 
to Haslemere. then tlirough Farnham and Odiham to Swallow- 
field, all of which towns they sacked and burned, the terrified 
inhabilauts being treated with scant mercy. As the majority 
of the defenders were massed in Kent, South Surrey, and 
Sussex, the enemy advanced practically unmolested, and at 
eunrise one morning a terrible panic woa created in Beading 
by the sudden descent upon the town of a great advance 
guard of 10,000 Eussians. 

The people were appalled. They could offer no resistance 
against the cavalry, who, tearing along the straight high road 
from Swallowtield, swept down upon them. Along this road 
the whole gigantic force was moving, and the Cossack skir- 
mishers, spuning on across the town, passed away through the 
Bailway Works, and halted at the bridge that spans the Thames 
at Caversham. They occupied it at once, in order to prevent it 
being blown up before the main body arrived, and a brisk 
fight ensued with the small body of defenders that had still 
remained at the Brigade depot on the Purley lioad. 

Meanwhile, as the French and Ru^ian advance guard came 
along, they devastated the land with fire and sword. The 
farms along the road were searched, and afterwards set on 
fire, while not a house at Three Mile Cross escaped. Entering 
the town from "Wliitley Hill, the great mass of troops, working 
in extended order, came slowly on, and, followed by 140,000 of 
the main body and 1000 guns, carried everything before them. 

No power could stem the advancing tide of the Muscovite 
legions, and as they poured into the town Id dense compact 
bodies, hundreds of townspeople were shot down ruthlessly, 
merely because they attempted to defend their homes. From 
the Avenue Works away to the Cemetery, and from the 
BaQway Station to Leighton Park, the streets swarmed with 
soldiers of the Tsar, who entered almost evety house in search 
of plunder, and fired out of sheer delight in bloodshed upon 
hundreds who were flying for their lives, 

if en, women, even children, were slaughtered. The 

massacre was friglitfoL Neither life nor property was re- 
spected; in every thoroughfare brutal outrages and murders 
were committed, and English homes were rendered desolate. 

Almost the fimt buildings attacked were the great factories 
of Messrs. Huntley & Palmer, whose 3000 hands were now, 
alas ! idle owing to the famine. The stores were searched (or 
biscuits, and afterwards the whole factory was promptly set on 
fire, Tlje Great West«rD, Queen's, and George Hotels were 
searched from yarret to cellar, and the wines and beer found 
in the latter were drunk in the streets. With the scant pro- 
visions found, several of the regiments made merry during the 
morning, while others pursued their devastating work. The 
banks were looted, St Mary's, Greyfriars', and St, I^iwrence's 
Churches were burned, and Sutton & Sons' buildings and the 
Railway Works shared the same fate, while out in the direction 
of Prospect Hill Park all the houses were sacked, and those 
occupants who remained to guard their household treasures 
were put to the sword. 

Everywhere the invaders displayed the most fiendish 
brutality, and the small force of British troops who bad 
engaged the Russian advance guard were, after a most 
fiercely contested stru^Ie, completely annihilated, not, how- 
ever, before they had successfully placed chaises of gun-cotton 
under the bridge and blown it up, together with a number of 
Cossacks who had taken possession of it. 

This, however, only checked the enemy's progress tempo- 
rarily, for the right flank crossed at Sonning, and as the main 
body had with them several pontoon sections, by noon the 
pontoons were in position, and tlie long line of cavalry, 
infantry, artillery, and engineers, leaving behind Reading, now 
in flames, crossed the Thames and wound away along the road 
to Banbury, which quaint old town, immortalised in nursery 
rhyme, they sacked and burned, destroying the historic Cross, 
and regaling themselves upon the ale found in the cellars of 
the inns, the Red and White Lions. This done, they again 
continued their march, practically unmolested ; while Oxford 
was also entered and sacked. 

Russian Advance in the Midlands 

True, scouts repoited strong forces of the defenders advan- 
ciDg across from Market Harborough, Kettering, and Ouudle, 
and once or twice British outposts had sharp encounters with 
the Russians along the bills between Ladbrooke and Daventry, 
resulting in serious losses on both sides; nevertheless the 
gigantic force of Eussians still proceeded, sweeping away every 
obstacle from their path. 

On leaving Banbury, the enemy, marching in column of 
route, took the road through Stratford-on-Avon to Wootton 
Wawen, where a halt for twenty-four hours was made in order 
to mature plans for an organised attack on Birmingham. 
"Wootton Hall, after being looted, was made the headquarters, 
and from thence was issued an order on the following day 
which caused Warwick and Leamington to be swept and 
bamed by the invaders, who afterwards broke into two 
divisions. One body, consisting of 50,000 men, including an 
advance guard of 5000, took the right-hand road ibom 
Wootton to Birmingham, through Sparkbrook ; while the 
remaining 100,000 bore away to the left through Ullenhall and 
Holt End to the extremity of the Hagley EUlls, intending to 
occupy them. They hod already been informed that strong 
defences had been established at King's Norton, in the im- 
mediate vicinity, and knew that severe fighting must inevitably 
ensue j therefore they lost no time in establishing themselves 
along the high ground between Kedditch and Bamt Green, in 
a position commanding the two main roads south from Dudley 
and Birmingham, 

That a most desperate stand would be made for the defence 
of the Metropolis of the Midlands the Russian commander was 
well aware. After the long march his troops were jaded, so, 
bivouacing in Hewell Park, he awiiited for nearly two days 
the reports of his spies. These were not so reassuring as he 
had anticipated, for it appeared that the high ground south of 
the city, notably at King's Norton, Northfield. Harbome, 
Edgbaston, and along the Hagley Road, was occupied by strong 
bodies of troops and a large number of guns, and that every 
preparation bad been made for a stubborn resistance. 


46 The Great War in England in 1897 


It also appeared that at the entrjince to the city at Spark- 
brook, which road had been taken by the right column, verj- 
little resistance was likely to be offered. 

That the poaitiona occupied by the defenders had been very 
carefully chosen as the most advantageous the Eussian com- 
mander was bound to admit, and although he possessed such a 
large body ol' men it would require considerable tactical skill to 
dislodge the defenders in order to prevent them covering with 
their guns the country over which the Russiau division, taking 
the right-haiul roads, must travel 



During that day an encounter of a moat fierce description 
occurred between hostile reconnoitring parties on the road 
between Bromsgi'ove Lickey and Northfield. The road gradu 
lUy ascended with a walled-in plantation on either side, an( 
he enemy were proceeding at a comfortable pace when 
uddenly a number of rifles rattled out simultaneously, an( 
hen it was discovered that the wall had been loopholed, an( 
hat the British were pouring upon them a deadly hail from 
jvhich there was no shelter. The walla bristled with riflea, an< 


Russian Advance in the Midlands 147 

from them came a storm of bullets that killed and wounded 
doEeiis of the invaders. 

The latter, however, showed considerable daring, for while 
the magazine rifles poured forth their deadly shower, tbey rallied 
and charged up the bill in the face of the fearful odds against 
them. For ten minutes or perhaps a quarter of an hour the fight- 
ing was a desperate hand-to-hand oue, the enemy entering the 
plantation with a daah that surprised the defenders. Gradually, 
although outnumbered by the Bussians, the British at length, 
by dint of the most strenuous effort and hard fighting, 
succeeded in inflicting frightful loss upon the invaders, and the 
latter, after a most desperate stand, eventually retreated in 
confusion down iuto the valley, leaving nearly two-thirds of 
the party dead or dying. 

The British, whose losses were very small, had shown the 
iovaders that they meant to defend Birmingham, and that every 
inch of ground they gained would have to be won by sheer 
fighting. An hour later another fierce encounter occurred in 
the same neighbourhood, and of the 4000 Russians who had 
advanced along that road not 900 returned to the main body, 
such havoc the British Maxims caused ; while at the same 
time a further disaster occurred to the enemy in another 
direction, for away at Tanworth their outposts bad been 
completely anniliilated, those who were not killed being 
tatcn prisoners by the 3rd South Scafibrdshire Voluntters, 
who, under Colonel K Nayler, acted with conspicuous bravery. 
In every diiection the enemy's outposts and advance guards 
were being liarassed, cut up, and hurled back in disorder with 
heavy loss, therefore the Bussian commander decided that a 
sudden and rapid movement forward in order to effect a 
junction with his right column was the only means by which 
the position could be carried. 

In the meantime events were occurring rapidly all over the 
country south of the city. The commander of the Russian 
left column, deciding to commence the attack forthwith, moved 
on his forces just before midnight in order to commence 
the onslaught before daybreak, knowing the British forces 

[48 The Great War in England in 1897 

always relieve their outposts at that time. Again, it was 
necessary to advance under cover of darkness in order to pre- 
vent the defenders' artillery, which now commanded the road 
between Alcester and Moseley, firing upon them. 

Having received a message from the right column stating 
that their advance guard had pushed on to Olton End with 
outposts at Sheldon and Yardley, and announcing their inten- 
tion of advancing through Sparkbrook upon the city before 
dawn, the commanding officer, leaving some artillery at Barnt 
Green, and sending on cavalry to Stourbridge and Cradley to 
turn the English flank at Halesowen, manoeuvred rapidly, 
bringing the main body of cavalry and infantry back to Alve- 
church, thence across to Weatheroak, and then striking due 
north, again marched by the tiiree roads leading to King's 

The high ground here he knew was strongly defended, and 
it was about a quarter to two o'clock when the British, by 
means of their search-lights, discovered the great dark masses 
advancing upon them. Quickly their guns opened fire, and the 
BuUen booming of cannon was answered by the Russian battery 
near Barnt Green. Over Birmingham the noise was heard, and 
had volumes of terrible significance for the turbulent crowds 
who filled the broad thoroughfares. The search-lights \ised by 
both invaders and defenders turned night into day, and the 
battle proceeded. 

The enemy had carefully prepared their plans, for almost 
at the same moment that they assaulted the position at King's 
Norton, a battery of Russian artillery opened a terrible fire 
from the hill at Tanner's Green, while the attacking column 
extended their right across to Colebrook Hall, with intent to 
push across to Moaeley Station, and thus gain the top of the 
ridge of the ground in the rear of the British positions, and so 
hem in the British force and allow the right column to advance 
through Small Heath and Sparkbrook unchecked. 

These simultaneous attacks met in the valley separating 
the parallel ridges held by the Russians and British, and the 
fighting became at once fierce and stubborn. A furions infantry 

Russian Advance in the Midlands 

fire raged for over an hour in the valley between tlie excellent 
position held by the defenders at King's Korton and the lower 
wooded ridge occupied by the Bussians, who had succeeded in 
capturing half a British battery who held it Owing to the 
bareness of the elope, the Russians went down into battle 
witbont cover, cut up terribly by the British infantry fire, and 
by the shell fire from the King's Norton batteries. From the 
British trenches between Breed Meadow and Monndsley Hall 
a galling fire was poured, and Russian infantry fell in hundreds 
over the undulating fields between the high road to Alcester 
and the Blithe River. 

From a ridge on the Stratford Road, near Monkspath Street, 
heavy Russian artillery opened fire just before dawn, and played 
terrible havoc with the British guns, which on the sky-fine 
opposite afforded a mark. As time crept on there was no 
cessation in the thunder on either side, while away along the 
valleys a most bloody encounter was in progress. The whole 
stretch of country was one huge battlefield. British and 
Russians fell in hundreds, nay, in thousands. 

The losses on every side were appalling; the fortune of 
war trembled iu the balance. 



battle ( 

3 long, : 

i outaide Birmingham was I 
and furioua No mote desperately contested 
engagement had ever occurred in the history of 
tho British Empire. From the very first 
moment of the fight it was apparent that the 
straggle would be a fearful one, both sides 
g advantages ; the British by reason of the magnificent 
defensive positions they occupied, and the Russians by reason 
of their overwhelming nnmberi Against a defending force of 
50,000 of all arms, 150,000 invaders — the majority of whom . 
were Kussiana — were now fighting, and the combat was 
necessarily long and deadly. British Volnnteera were con- 
spicuous everywhere by their bravery ; the Canadians rendered 
most valuable assistance, firing from time to time with excellent 
precision, and holduig their position with splendid courage ; 
while the Irish Brigade, who had moved rapidly from King's 
Cliffe by train and road, and had arrived in time, now held 
their own in a position close to Kingsheath House. 

Many of the principal buildings in Birmingham had during 
the past day or two been converted into hospitals, amongst 
others the Post Office, where the trained nurses received very- 
valuable assistance from the female clerks. A train full of 
British wounded was captured early in the evening at Barnt 
Green. It contained regular troops and civilians from tho 
Stratford force which had fallen back to AlcesttT, and the train 

Fall of Birmingham 

had been sent on from tbere in the hope that it would get 
through before the enemy were able to cut the line. This, 
however, was not accomplished, for the Russians inhumanely 
turned out the wounded aud filled the train witli their own troops 
and ammunition. Then, imder the guidance of a Birmingham 
railway man of French nationality who had been acting as 
spy, the train proceeded to New Street Station. It was im- 
possible for the officials at the station to cope with the enemy, 
for they had only expected their own wounded, or tliey would, 
of course, have wrecked the train by altering the points before it 
ai-rived in the station. The Russians therefore detrained, and, 
led by their apy, made a dash along the subway leading to the 
lifts ascending to the Post OfCce. These were secured, and' the 
Office was soon captured by the Russians, who not only thereby 
obtained a footing in the very centre of the town from which 
there was not much chance of dislodging them before Birming- 
ham fell, but they bad also obtained possession of the moat 
important telegraph centre for the North and Midland districts 
of England. 

Before the first flush of dawn the wholeof the country from 
King's Norton right across to Solihull was one huge battlefield, 
and when the sun rose, bright and glorious, its rays were 
obscured by the clouds of smoke which hung like a funeral pall 
over hill and dale For a long period the principal Russian 
battery on the Stratford Road was short of ammunition, and, 
seeing this, the strong British battery at Nortlifield moved 
quickly up into a commanding position at Drake's Cross, not, 
however, before it had been considerably weakened by the 
Russian fire from Bromsgrove Lickey. During this time, how- 
ever, detachments of Canadian markemen had been detailed 
with DO other purpose than to sweep the Russian road at the 
exposed points of its course, and 1o fire at everything and 
everybody exposed on the ridge. This was most effective, and 
for quite half an hour prevented any supply of ammunition 
reaching the enemy, thus giving the Biilish battery an op- 
portunity to establish itself. At length, however, both batteries 
of defenders opened fire simultaneously upon the Russian guns. 

The Great War in England in 1897 

and eo thickly fell tbe shots, that although ammuuitiou had 
by thia time l>een brought up, tho enemy's power in that 
quarter was completely broken. 

From that time the fiei-ce struggle was confined to cavalry 
and infantry. Troops ot Cossacks, sweeping up the banks of 
■ the Arrow, encountered British Hussars and cut into them witli 
frightful effect The defenders, fighting hard as the day wore 
ou, hindered the enemy from gaining any material advantage, 
though the latter forced tho outer line of the British shelter 
trenches on the slopes below the position of King's Norton. 
The Canadians had laid mines iu front of their trenches, which 
were exploded ju5t aa the head of the Russian assaulting parties 
were massed above them, and lai^e numbers of the Tsar's 
infantry were blown into atoms. 

Bullets were singing along the valleys like swarms of 
augi'y wasps, and the Kussian losses, in evety direction were 

Hour after hour the fighting continued. The British held 
good positions, with an inner line ot defence across from Selly 
Oak, Harborne, and Edgbaston, to the high crest on the Hagley 
Hoad, close to the Fountain, while the Russians swarmed over 
tho country in overwhelming numbers. The frightful losses 
the latter were sustaining by reason ot the defenders' artillery 
iire did not, however, disconcert them. But for the huge right 
column of invaders advancing on Birmingham by way of 
Acock's Green, it seemed an even match, yet as afternoon 
passed the firing in the valley swelled in volume, and the 
mad clamour of battle still surged up into the blue cloud- 
less heavens. 

The enemy could see on the sky-line the British reinforce- 
ments as they came up from Halesowen by the road close to 
their battery on the bare spot near the edge ot their right 
flank, and it was decided at four o'clock to deliver a counter 
Hank attack on the left edge of the British position, simul- 
taneously with a renewed strenuous assault by the tirailleurs 
from below. Soon this desperate manceuvre was commenced, 
and although the marching ground was good, the British guna 

had H 
that jH 

airy H 


Fall of Birmingham 

Bwept tbem with their terrible fire, and huudreds of tlie Tsar'a 
soldiers dyed the meadows wilh their blood. 

It was a tierce, mad dash. The British attacked vigorously 
on e^■e^y side, fought bravely, etraining every nerve to repulse 
their foe. 

The battle had been the most fieicely contested of any 
during the struggle, and in this desperate assault on King's 
>rortoD the Bussians had suffered appalling losses. The valleys 
and slopes were strewn with dead and dying, and a bullet had 
struck the British commander, mortally wounding him. As he 
was borne away to the ambulance waogou, the last words on 
that noble soldier's lips were a fervent wish for good fortune 
to the arms of the Queen he had served so well. 

But the British were, alas ! outnumbered, and at last re- 
treating in disorder, were followed over the hills to Halesowen 
and utterly routfjd, while the main body of the enemy marching 
up the Bristol' and^Pershore Boads, extended their left across to 
Harbome and Edgbaston. Meanwhile, however, the guns 
plowed on the edge of the city along the Ha^ley Boad near the 
Fountain, and in Beech Lane close to the Talbot Inn, as well 
aa the Volunteer batteries near St Augustine's Church and 
Westfield Boad, opened fire upon the advancing legions. The 
two lower roads taken by the enemy were well commanded by 
the British guns, and the Volunteers, with the Canadians and 
Irish, again rendered most valuable assiistance, everywhere 
displaying cool and conspicuous courage. The walls of the 
new viUas along the Hagley Boad, Portland Boad, and Beech 
Lane had been placed in a state of hasty defence, and rifles 
bristled everywhere, but as the sun sank behind the long range 
of purple hills the fight was in the balance. The British, as 
they stood, could almost keep back the foe, but, alas ! not 

There was soon a concentric rush for the hill, and as the 
cannons thundered and rifles rattled, hundreds of the grey-coats 
fell back and rolled down the steep slope dead and dying, but 
the others pushed on in face of the frowning defences, used 
their bayonets with desperate energy, and a few minutes 


154 The Great Wak in England in 1897 

later loud Ghouts in Biissian told that the ridge bad been 
cleared and the position won. Tlie battle had been long and 
terrible ; the carnage awful '. 

The British, making a last desperate stand, fought a fieroe 
hand-to-hand struggle, but ere long half their number \&y 
helpless in the newly-made suburban roads, and the remainder 
were compelled to leave their guns in possession of the enemy 
and fly north to Sandwell to save themselves. Then, aa they 
fled, the Bussians turned the British guns near St. Augustine's 
npon them, causing havoc in their rear. 

The shattered left column of the enemy, having at length 
broken down the British defences, I'aised loud victorious yells, 
and, after reorganising, marched down tlie Hagley Road upon 
the city, fighting from house to house the whole way. The 
gardens in front of these houses, however, aided the defenders 
greatly in checking the advance. 

The sacrifice of human life during those hours from day- 
break to sundown had been frightful. Tlie whole count^, 
from Great Packington to Halesowen, was strewn with blood- 
ameared corpses. 

Having regard to the fact that the defending force consisted 
of only 50,000 men against 100,000 Russians, the lasses 
inflicted upon the latter spoke volumes for British pluck and 
military skill. Upon the field 10,000 Russians lay dead, 30,000 
were wounded, and 2000 were prisoners, while the defenders' 
total loss in killed and wounded only amounted to 20,000. 

Indeed, had it not been for the reinforcements, numbering 
50,000, from the right column, which were by tliis time coming 
up with all speed from Acock's Green, the Russians, in their 
terribly jaded and demoralised state, could not have marched 
upon the city. As it was, however, the occupation commenced 
as night drew on ; the fighting that followed being principally 
done by the reinforcements. 

Leaving no fewer than 42,000 men dead, wounded, and 
captured, the invaders pushed on into Birmingham. Though 
the citizens' losses had already been terrific, nevertheless they 
found that they were still determined to hold out. In all the 

Fall of Birmingham 

principal roftJa leading into the city barricades had been 
rormed, aud liehiud them were bauds of desperate men, well 
equipped, and prepared to fight on to the hitter end. 

The first of these in the Hagley Bond had been constnicted 
nt the juuclion of Monument Itoad, and as the skirmishers and 
advance guard approached, offered a most desperate rcaistance. 
In addition to a vigorous rifle fire that poured fron^ the im- 
provised defences, three Maxinis were brought into play from 
thti roofs of large houses, and these, commanding the whole 
road as far as its junction with Ileech Lane, literally mowed 
dowu the enemy as ihey approached. Time after time the 
Uussians rushed upon the defenders' position, only to be 
hurled back again by the leaden hail, wliich fell so thickly 
that it was impossible for any body of troops to withstand it. 
By this the invaders' advance was temporarily checked, but it 
Mas not long before tliey established a battery at the comer of 
Norfolk Eoad, and poured shell upon the barricade with fright- 
ful effect Quickly the guns were silenced, and the lUissians 
nt last breaking down the barrier, engaged in a conflict at close 
iiunrters with the defenders. 

The road along to Five Ways was desperately contested. 
The slaughter on both sides was awful, for a detachment of 
Russians coming up the Harbome lload had been utterly 
annihilated and swept away by the rifle fire of defenders 
concealed behind loopholed walls. At Five Ways the entrance 
to each of the five broad converging thorougbfarps bad been 
strongly barricaded, and as the ent-my pressed forward the 
British machine guns established there caused terrible havoc. 
Behind those barricades men of Birmingham of evE^ry class. 
armed with all sorts of guns, hastily obtained from Kynoch's 
and other factories, struggled for the defence of their homes 
and loved ones, working with a dash and eneigy that greatly 
disconcerted the enemy, who bad imagined that, in view of 
their victory in the battle, little resistance would be offered. 

In the darkness that bad now fallen the scenes in the 
streets were frightful. The only light was the flash from gun- 
nmzzlea and the glare of Snmes consuming private houses and 



public buildings. The civilian defenders, reinforced by Re- 
gular soldiers, Militia, and Volunteers, had made such excel- 
lent preparations for defence, and ofTered such stremioiis 
opposition, that almost every fcot the Hussiana gained in the 
direction of the centre of the city was fought for hand to hand. 
Both right and left Eussian columns were now advancing up 
the Coventry. Stratford, Moseley, Pcrshore, and Bristol Goads, 
and in each of those thoroughfares the barricades were strongly 
constructed, and, being armed with Maxims, wrought frightful 

Gradually, however, one after another of these defences fell 
by reason of the organised attacks by such superior numbers, 
and the Russians marched on, killing with bayonet and sword. 

In the city, as the night passed, the fighting in the streeta 
everywhere was of the fiercest and most sanguinary description. 
In Corporation Street a huge barricade with machine guns had 
been constructed opposite the Victoria Law Courts, and, 
assisted by 200 Volunteers, who, inside the latter building, 
fired from the windows, the enemy were held in check for 
several hours. 

Time after time shells fell from the Eussian guns in the 
midst of the defenders, and, bursting, decimated them in a 
horrible manner ; yet through the long close night there 
was never a lack of brave men to step into the breach and 
take up the arms of their dead comrades. Indeed, it was only 
when the enemy succeeded in setting fire to the Courts, and 
compelling the defenders to cease their vigorous rifle fire from 
the windows, that the position was won; and not until 
hundreds of Russians lay dead or dying in the street. 

In New Street the Irish Volunteers distinguished them- 
selves conspicuously. After the retreat they had beea with- 
drawn with the Canadians into the city, and, wailing in the 
side thoroughfares at the opposite end of New Street, held 
themselves in readiness. Suddenly, as the enemy rushed along 
in their direction, an order was given, and they formed ap, 
and stretching across the street, met them with volley after 
volley of steady firing; then, rushing onward with fixed 

Fall of Birmingham 

bayonets, charged almost before the Eussiaua were aware of 
their presence. 

Without a thought of liia own personal safety, every Irish- 
man cast himself into the thick of the fray, and, backed by a 
strong body of Canadians and fusiliers, they succeeded in 
cutting their way completely into the invaders, and drivinfr 
them back into Corporation Street, where they were forced 
right under the hre of four Maxims that had just at that 
moment been brought into position outside the Exchange. 

Suddenly these guns rattled out simultaneously, and the 
Ilussians, unable to advance, and standing at the head of the 
long broad thoroughfare, were swept down with awful swiftness 
and with scarcely any resistance. So sudden had been their 
fate, that of a force over two thousand strong, not more than a 
dozen escaped, although the defendei-s were taken in rear by 
the force of 500 Russians who had occupied the Post Office on 
the preWous niyht. 

From Corporation Street a brilliant, ruddy glow suffust'd 
the sky, as both the Law Courts and the Grand Tlieatre weie 
in flamea, while St. Mary's Church and the Market Hall had 
also been fired by incendiariea 

In the panic and confusion, contlagralions were breaking 
out everywhere, flames bursting forth from several fine shops 
in New Street which had ah'eady been sacked and wrecked. 
Maddened by their success, by the Uiirst for the blood of their 
enemies, and the rash deeds of incendiaries, the Muscovite 
I^ons spread over the whole city, and outnige and murder 
were common everywhere. 

Away up Great Hampton Street and Hockley Hill tlie 
jewellery factories were looted, and hundreds of thousands of 
pounds worth of gems and gold were carried off, while the 
Mint was entered, afterwards being burned because only 
copper coins were found there, and the pictures in the Art 
Gallery were wantonly slashed by sabres and bayonets. 

The scenes on that memorable night were awfuL Binning- 
ham, one of the most wealthy cities in the kingdom, fell at last, 
after a moat stubborn resistance, for just before day broke the 

overwhelming forces of Kuasia occupying the stieets com- 
menced to drive out the defenders, and shoot down those who 
turned to resist. From Bordesley to Handsworth, and fi-om 
Smethwick to Aston, the city was in the hands of the enemy. 
The banks in New Street were broken open, and tlie gold 
stiitTed into the pockets of the uncouth dwellers on the Don 
nnd the Volga, Chamherlain's Memorial was wrecked, and 
Queen's College occupied by infantry. Cossack oflicers estab- 
ILihed themselves in the GiaTid and Queen's Hotels, and their 
men were billeted at the Midland, Union, Conservative, and 
other Clubs, and at many minor hotels and hiiildings. 

Before the dawu had spread, whole rows of shops were 
burning, their brilliant glare illuminating the streets that rau 
with blood. It was a fearful scene of death and desolation. 

The majority of the citizens had fled, k-.iviug everything in 
the hands of the enemy, who still continued their work of 
pillage. In the strcRts the bodies of 10,000 Russians and 3000 
British lay unheeded, while no fewer than 9000 of the enemy's 
infantry had been wounded. 

The headquarters of the Bussian army had at lost been 
established in a British city, for over the great Council Hotise 
there now lazily flapped in the fresh morning breeze the great 
yellow-and-black flag of the Tsar Alexander. 

And the Russian General, finding he had lost the enormous 
force of 61,000 men, spent the grey hours of dawn in nervous 
anidousness, pacing the room in which he had installed himseir, 
contemplating the frightful disaster, and undecided how next 
to act. 

An incident illustrative of tiie fiei-ceness of the fi^hl outside 
the city was published in the Thnes severid days later. 
It was an ejitract from a private letter written by LleittL 
,1. G. Morris of the 3rd Battalion of the York and I^ncostor 
Regiment, and was as Ibllows; — 

" The sun that day was blazing and merciless. Throughout 
the morning our battalion had lost heavily in the valley, when 
suddenly at about twelve o'clock the enemy ajiparently received 
reinforcements, and wo were then driven bark upon Weather- 

Fall of Birmingham 

oak by ulieer force of numbers, and afterwards again full 
further laek towards our position on the bigb ground iit 
Hagley Hoad. 

" Id tills hasty retreat I found myself with a servant and 
eighteen raen pursued by a lai^e skinnishing party of Kussians. 
All we could do was to riy before them. This we did, until at 
length, turning into Beech Lane, we found ourselves before a 
small, low-built ancient hostelry, the King's Head Inn, with a 
dilapidated and somewhat crude counterfeit presentment of Kin;; 
George II. outside. The place was unoccupied, and I decided 
immediately to enter it. I could count on every one of my men ; 
therefore very soon we were inside, and had barricaded the little 
place. Scarcely had we accomplished this when the first shots 
rang out, and in a few moments the space outaide where the 
cross-roads meet literally swarmed with Russians, who quickly 
extended, and, seeking cover at the junction of each of the five 
roads, commenced a terriUc fusilade. The windows froui 
which we fired were smashed, the woodwork splintered everj- 
where, and so thickly came the bullets that my men had to 
exercise the utmost caution in eoncealiug themselves while firing. 

" In a quarter of an hour one man had been struck and 
lay dead by my side, while at the same time the terrible 
truth suddenly dawned upon me that our ammunitiou could 
not last out. Regulating the firing, I rushed to one of the 
back windows that commanded the valley down to Harborne, 
and saw advancing along the road in our direction, and 
raising a cloud of duRt, about a tliousand Russian cavalry 
and infantry. 

"Back ngain to the front room I dashed, just in time to 
witness the enemy make a wild rush towards us. Our 
slackened fire had deceived them, and as the storming party 
dashed forward, they were met by vigorous volleys from our 
magazine riSes, which knocked over dozens, and compelled the 
remainder to again retire. 

" Again the enemy made a desperate onslaught, and again 
we succeeded in hurling them back, and stretching dead a 
dozen or more. Meanwhile the great force of Russians was 

Gkeat War in England i 


nioviDg slowly up the hill, and I knew that to hold the place 
inuch longer would be impossible. From the rear of the 
building a \igorou3 attack had now commenced, and moving 
more men round to the rear, so that our fire would command 
the eloping approach to the house, I gave an order to fire 
steadily, A moment later my sergeant and two other men 
had been severely wounded, and although the former had had 
his arm broken, and was near fainting from loss of blood, 
nevertheless he kept up, resting his ritie-barrel upon the 
shattered window-ledge, and pouring out the deadly contents 
of his magazine. 

"A few minutes afterwards a bullet shattered my left hand, 
and the man wlio crouched next to me under the window was 
a second later shot through the heart, and fell back dead among 
the disordered furniture. 

" Still not a man hesitated, not a word of despair was 
uttered. We all knew that death stared us in the face, and 
that to face it bravely was a Briton's duty. Only once I 
shouted above the din: 'Do your best, boysl Uemember we 
we are all Britons, and those vermin outside have wrecked 
our homes and killed those we love. Let's have our revenge, 
even if we die for it!' 

"'We'll stick to 'em till the very last, sir, never fear,' 
cheerily replied one young fellow aa he reloaded hia gun ; but 
alas ' ere he could raise it to fire, a bullet struck him in the 
throat. He staggered back, and a few moments later was a 

" Undaunted, however, my men determined to sell their 
lives as dearly as possible, and continued their fire, time after 
time repelling the attack, and sweeping away the grey-coats as 
they emerged from behind tlie low walls. 

"Three more men had fallen in as many seconds, and 
another, sta^i^ring back against the wall, held his hand to 
his breast, where he had received a teiTible aud mortal wound. 
Our situation at that momemt was most critical. Only two 
rounds remained to each of my nine brave fellows, yet not a 

man wavered. 



Fall of Birmingham 

"Looking, I saw in the fading twilight the dark masses of 
the enemy moving up the steep road, and at that moment a 
round was fired with effect upon those who had surrounded us. 
One more round only remained. Then we meant to die 
fighting. Blinding smoke suddenly tilled the half-wrecked 
room, and we knew that the enemy had succeeded in setting 
lire to the taproom underneath ! 

"I stepped forward, and shout«d for the last time the 
order to my brave comrades to fire. Nine rifles rang out 
simultaneonsly ; but I bad, I suppose, showeil myself im- 
prudently, for at the same second I felt a sliaip twinge in 
the shoulder, and knew that I had been struck. The rest was 
all a blank. 

"When I regained my senses 1 found myself lying in 
Sandwell Hall, with doctors bandaging my wounds, and then 
I learned that we had been rescued just in time, and that my 
nine comrades had all escaped the fate they had faced witli 
dogged disregard for their own safety, and such noble devotion 
to their Queen." 

It was a hlack day for Britain. During the long hours of 
that fierce, mad struggle many Victoria Crosses were earned, 
hut the majority of those who perfonned deeds worthy of such 
decoration, alas ' fell to the earth, dead. 



IANY important events had occurred in tlie 
Mediterranean since the outbreak of hostilities. 
At the moment of the sudden DeclaratioD of 
War, the ships forming the British Mediter- 
ranean Squadron were at Larnaka, Cypnia, 
and on receipt of the alarming intelligencL-, 
the Admiral sailed immediately for Malta. On arrival there, 
he heard that a strong force of French veasels had been 
despatched to Gibraltar for the purpose of preventing any 
British ships from getting out of the Mediterranean in order to 
strengthen llie Cliannel Squadron. Nevertheless he waited for 
some days at Malta, lu hourly expectation of instructions, which 
came at length about two o'clock one morning, and an hour later 
the Squadron sailed westward for an imknown destination. 

Our Fleet in those waters was notoriously inadequate in 
comparison with those of France and liussia. It consisted of 
three of the battleships constructed under the 1894 programme, 
the Jufntvr, Caxar, and Victorious, with the cruisers Diana and 
Dido; the ironclads GoUingwood, Dreadnought, Hood, InJUxAU, 
Nile, Rttmillita, Rffptdsf, Sans Pareil, Trafalgar, Magnificent, 
Empress of India, and Etvenge ; the cruisers Aretkusa, Edgar, 
Fearless, Hawke, Scout, Orlando, Undaunted; the torpedo ram 
Polyphemus; thetorpedognn-vessel5t(jKf/^y; the Bloops Dolphin, 
Oannel, MelUa, and Brainhle ; and the despatch vessel Surprise, 
with twenty-two torpedo boats and six destroyers. 


Our Revenge in the Meditekkanean 163 

The iiiforrnation received by our Fleet at Malta was to 
the effect that the French force at Gibraltar ivas so strong 
that a. Huccessful attack waa out of the qucftiuu ; while the 
Russian Mediterranean and Black Sea Fleets, the strength of 
which was considerable, were nlso known to be approaching 
for the purpose of co-operating with the French. 

Notwithstanding the addition of three new battleships and 
two new cruisers to our force in the Mediterranean, the utter 
inadequacy of our Navy was still very apparent. For years 
the British public had demanded that a dozen more new 
battleships should be constructed in case of casualliea, but 
these demands were unheeded, and during the three years that 
had passed we had lost our naval supremacy, for France and 
Russia combined were now considerably stronger, France 
alone had 150 fighting pennants available along her southern 
shores, against our 59; and the Tsar's ships were all strong. 
well-equipped, and armed with gnus of the latest type. 

As was feared from the outset, the Russian Black Sea 
Fleet had struck for the Suez Canal, England's highway to 
the East. Egypt;, the Bosphorus, Gibraltar, and Tripoli in 
the grasp of the enemy, meant supremacy in the East, and a 
situation that would not be tolerated by either Italy or 
Austria, Therefore the British Admiral, recognising the 
(ciiousness of the situation, and having received instructions 
to return home and assist in the defence of Britain, mustered 
his forces and cleared for action. The events that occurred 
immediately afterwards are best related in the graphic and 
interesting narrative which was subsequently written to a 
friend by Captain Neville Reed of the great steel battleship 
Ititmiilirs, and afterwards published, together with the ac- 
companying sketch, in tlie Ulustralcd London News, as 
follows : — 

"After leaving Malta, we rounded the Adventure Bank off 
the Sicilian coast, and headed due north past Elba and on to the 
Gulf of Genoa. From Spezia we received deapfttches. and after 
anchoring for twelve hours, — during which time we were busy 
completing our preparations, — sailed at midnight westward. Off 

164 The Great War is England in 1897 

St. Tropez, near the Hy^res Islauds, in obedience to signals 
from the flagship, the Emp)-iss of India, the ironcladB JupUrr, 
Sans Parcil, Brptdse, with the cruisera Edgar, Dido, Diann, 
OriaTido, Undaunted, and Scout, the sloop Qamiet, and five tor- 
pedo boats, detached themselves from the Squadron, and after 
exchanging further signals, bore away due aouth. Giving the 
shore a wide offing, we steamed along throughout the afternoon. 
The Mediterranean had not yet been the scene of any bloody or 
fatal conflict, but as we cut our way through the calm sunlit 
waters with a brilliant cerulean sky above, the contrast between 
our bright and lovely surroundings and the terrible realities of 
the situation during those breathless hours of suspense still 
dwells distinctly in my memory. 

" It was our duty to fight the enemy, to beat him, and to pass 
through the Straits of Gibraltar and help our comrades at home. 
Every man, although totally unaware of his present destination, 
felt that at last the moment had come when the anpremc 
ambition of his life was to he realised, and he was to sttike a 
blow for his country's honour. 

"Apparently our Admiral was iu uo hurry. He no doubt 
waa awaiting events, for at sunset we lay-to about thirty miles 
south of La Ciotat, and spent the calm bright night restlessly 
anxious and keeping a sharp look-out for the enemy. There 
was a hush of expectation over the ship, and scarcely a sound 
broke the quiet save the lapping of the water against the smooth 
sides of the ironclad, and no sign of force except the swish of 
the waves falling on either side of the formidable and deadly 

" Just after seven bells in the morning walch, however, we 
resumed our voyage, and turning, went north again. Then, for 
the first time, we knew the Admiral's intentions. An ulti- 
matum had already been given. We teere to bombard Marseille / 

" Three hours later we came within view of the city. Seen 
from the sea it has a certain amount of picturesqueness. In 
the foreground there is the harbour, with a barren group of 
islands at its entrance, and behind masses of yellow houses 
covering an extensive valley, and white villas dotted over a 

Our Rkvengk in the Mediterranean 165 

semicircle of green hills stretching in the rear. Prominent in 
the landscape is the church of Nfitre Dame de la Garde, perched 
on the eminence on the right ; while on the left there stands on 
an island the Chateau d'lf, rendered immortal by the adventures 
of Monte Cristo ; and hehind, on the broad Quai de la Juliette, 
risea the fine Cathedral, built in alternate courses of black and 
white stone. It is a handsome and wealthy city, with its fine 
shady boulevard, the Cannebi^re running through its centie 
from the Arc de Triomphe right down to the old port wheace 
the mail steamers depart. This city, teeming with life, it was 
our duty to lay in ruins ! 

"Knowing how strongly fortified it was, that upon each of 
those hilb were great batteries ready at a given signal to pour 
out their deadly hail, and that under the blue waters were 
mines which might be exploded from the shore at any moment, 
we made preparations for counter-mining, and then cautiously 
approached within range. Suddenly, however, having got into 
position and laid onr guns, we received the anxiously expected 
order, and a few momenta later opened a terrific and almost 
simultaneous fire. 

" Through my glass I could clearly distinguish the terrible 
confusion being caused in the streets as our shells fell and burst 
on the Quai de la Joliette, in the Cannebi^re., and the Boulevard 
de I'Emp^renr. 

" The first tasta of our gims had produced a terrible panic, 
for 11 shell from the Drtadnougkt. lying next to us, had struck 
the tower of the Cathedral and brought down a great quantity 
of masonry, while another shell from one of our 67-ton guns, 
bursting in the I'alaia de Justice with terrible effect, had 
ignited it 

" It was our first shot, and the gun had been well sighted ; 
bnt ere we fired again such a storm of shell burst upon us that 1 
confess for a moment I stood in my conning-tower motionless 
in surprise. On all sides the Freiicli had apparently established 
batteries. From the great Fort St. Jean at the entrance to the 
port, and from the Eatterie du Phare on the opposite side, flame 
aud smoke belched from heavy gims continuously. From a small 



i66 TiiK Great War in England in 1897 

battery in the Cliiteau d'lf, from another ou the rocky pro- 
montory on the riyht known as the Edoume, from a number of 
smaller ones established ou the hills of I'Oriol and the Citadel, 
aa well oa from the great fortress of N6tre Dame de la Garde 
on the highest hill, a little to the right of the city, there came 
an incessant thunder, and dozens of shots ricochetted over the 
placid water towards us. 

"In a few moments, however, my GT-tonners were again 
adding to the deafening roar, my ten 6-ineh quick-firing guns 
were sending out their messengers of death, and my smaller 
arms, consisting of 3 and 16-poiinders, were acting thcii- part io 
the sudden outburst-. We had attacked the town without 
intention of investment, but simply to destroy it, and as the 
minutes slipped by, and I peered through my glass, I could see 
how devastating were our enormous modem shells. 

"All our guns were now trained upon the forts, and tlie 
bombardment was moat vigorous The six coast-defence shipe, 
which endeavoured to drive us otf, we quickly put out of action, 
capturing one, torpedoing two, and disabling the three others ; 
while up to the present, although a number of shots from the 
land batteries had struck us, we sustained no serious damage. 

" We were avenging Hull and Newcastle. Into the panic- 
stricken town we were pouring an unceasing storm of shell, 
which swept away whole streets of handsome buildings, and 
killed hundreds of those flying for safety into the country. 
Watching, I saw one shot from one of my bow barbette guna 
crash into the roof of the flne new Hotel dn Louvre, in the 
Cannebif;re. The French Tricolor on the flagstaff toppled over 
into the street, and a second later the clouds of smoke and the 
debris which shot up showed plainly the awful results of the 
bursting shell. 

" Time after time my 67-tonners crashed and roared, time 
after time I pressed my fingers upon the little knobs in the 
conning-tower, and huge projectiles were discharged ri^-ht into 
the forts. In conjunction with the never-ceasing fire of com- 
panion ships, we rained iron in a continuous stream that 
wrought havoc in the defences and destroyed all the buildings 



Our Revenge in the Mediterranean 167 

that offered tai^ets. In ao hour the Arsenal behind the Palais 
de Justice was laid in ruios, the fine Hdtel de Ville was a mere 
heap of smouldering debris, the Bourse, and the great Library in 
the Boulevard du Musfe were half wrecked by sheila, and the 
Custom House, the Gendarmerie, and the Prefecture were 
burning furiously. The Gh^tfiau du Phare on the headland at 
the entrance to the fort was suflering frightfully, and the shells 
that had struck the Citadel and the fort of Notre Dame had 
been terribly effective. Every part of the city from the 
Promenade du Prado to the Botanical Gardens was being swept 
continuously by our fire, and from the black smoke curling 
upward in the sunlight we knew that many broad handsome 
streets were in flamea Excited over their work of revenge, my 
guns' crews worked on with a contemptuous disregard for the 
withering fire being poured upon us from the land. They 
meant, they said, to teach the Frenchmen a lesson, and they 
certainly did. Around us shots from the batteries fell thickly, 
sending up huge columns of water. Suddenly a shell struck 
the BamUliea forward in front of the barbette, and burst like 
the rending of a thundercloud. The deck was torn up, a dozen 
men were maimed or killed, poor fellows 1 hut the solid face of 
the barbette held its own, and the muzzles of our two great 
guns remained untouched. 

" Several shots from the Notre Dame Fort and the Eiidoume 
Battery then struck us in quick succession. One was particu- 
Iftrly disastrous, for, crashing into the battery on the port side, 
it hurst, disabling one of the 6-inch guns, and killing the whole 
gun's crew in an instant. The effect was frightful, for the 
whole space around was wrecked, and not a man escaped. 

" Such are the fortunes of war ! A few momenta later we 
turned our heavy guns upon the Endoume Battery, perched up 
upon the rocky headland, and together with the Svipress of 
India aud the Victorious thundered forth our great projectiles 
upon it in a manner which must have been terribly discon- 
certing. The battery replied vigorously at first, but the Nile, 
noticing the direction in which we had turned our attention, 
trained her guns upon the same fort, and let loose a perfect 

1 68 The Great Wak in England in 1897 

hail of devastating shell. Without ceasing for a Becond, we 
played upon it, and could distinguish even with the naked 
eye how completely we were destroying it, until half an 
hour later we found that the Frenchmen had ceased to reply. 
We had silenced their guns, and, in fact, totally wrecked the 

" Several of our vessels were, however, severely feeling the 
fire from the Notre Dame Fortress and that ot St JeaiL 
Nearly one hundred men on board the Trafalgar had been 
killed; while two shots, entering one of the broadside batteries 
of the flagship, had caused frightful havoc, and had blown to 
atoms over forty men and three officers. A torpedo boat that 
had approached the French coast-defence ship just before she 
was captured had been sunk by a shot, but the crew were 
fortunately all rescued, after much difliculty, by the sloop 
Dolphin, which had severely suffered herself from the vigoixMia 
fire from the Batterie dn Phare. The funnel of the Nile h ~ 
been carried away by a shot from the Citadel, while among t 
more conspicuous British losses was a serious catastrt 
which had occurred on board the Hood by the pre 
explosion of a torpedo, by which a sub-lientenant and thirl 
three men were launched Into eternity, and sixteen men i-e 
severely wounded. The engines of the Arethusa were also broki 

"The smoke rising from the bombarded city increased ev 
moment in density, and even in the daylight we could ( 
tinguish the flames. The centre of Marseilles was bum 
furiously, and the fire was now spreading unchecked. One 4 
our objects had been to destroy the immense quantity of 1 
stores, and in this we were entirely successful We 1 
turned our united efforts upon the Fort St. Jean down j 
the harbour entrance and that of Notre Darue high on the 
liill. Pounding away at these, time shpped by until the 
sun sank in a blaze of crimson and gold. Both forts made a 
gallant defence, but each of our shots went home, and through 
my glasses I watched the awful result. Suddenly a terrific 
report caused the whole city to tremble. One of our shots had 
apparently entered the powder magazine in the Fort St Jeuii, 


Our Revenge in the Mediterranean 

and it had blown up, produuing an appalling catastrophe from 
which the fortress could never recover. 

" By this time the whole of the shipping in the docks was 
burning furiously, and the congested part of the city lying 
between the port and the Lyons Bailway Station was like a 
huge furnace. The sight was one of terrible grandeur. 

"Presently, just as the sun sank beiiind the grey night 
clouds, we ceased fire, and then gazed with calm satisfaction 
upon the result of our bombardment. We had treated a 
French city in the same manner as the French and Bussians 
had treated our own homes, and we could look upon this scene 
of destruction and death without a pang of remorse. But that 
was not all. When our guns were silent we could distinctly 
hear vigorous riHe firing at the back of the city. Then we 
knew the truth. 

" While we had been attacking Marseilles from the sea, the 
Italians, who a week before bad crossed the frontiei-, and with 
the Germans occupied Lyons, had co-operated with us on laud, 
and the terror-stricken MarseiUais, hemmed in by fire and 
bullets on either side, had been swept away in thousands. 

"The scenes in the streets were, we afterwards learnt, 
awful; and although the garrison offered a desperate resistance 
to the Italians along the valley near the Chateau dea Fleurs, 
most of them were killed, and nearly three thousand of their 
number taken prisoners, But the Italiana were unable to 
enter Marseilles themselves, as, long before they had succeeded 
in breaking up the laud defences, we had set tlie place on firv, 
and now, as night fell, the great city was one mass of flames, 
the lurid light from which illuminated sky and sea with a 
bright red glare." 

The blazing African sun waa fading, flooding the calm 
sapphire Mediterranean with its blood-red afterglow. The air 
was oppressive, the wind blew hot from the desert, and sboals 
of tiny green birds were chattering before roosting in the oasis 
of tall date palms that cast long shadows over the sun-baked 


170 The Great War in England in 1897 

stones of the Place du Gouvernement at Algiers. Kverything 
was of a dazzling whiteness, relieved only by the blue sky and 
sea. The broad, handsome Square was almost deserted, the 
jalousies of the European houses were still closed, and although 
a few people were sipping absiaithe at the caKs, the siesta was 
not yet over. 

At one corner of the Square the Mosque of Djama-el- 
Bjedid, with its dome and minarets, stood out intensely white 
against the bright, cloudless sky, its spotless cleanliness 
causing the white-washed houses of Europeans to appear 
yellow and diogy; and as the mviddin stood 00 one of the 
minarets with arms upUfted, calling the Faithful to prayer, idle 
Moors and Arabs, who had been lying asleep in the shadow 
during the afternoon, rose quickly, rearranged their burnouses, 
and entered the Mosque in order to render thanks to Allah. 

Darkness crept on after a brief twilight. Moorish wonien, 
wrapped in their white kaiclas, wearing their ugly baggy 
trousers, and veiled to the eyes, waddled along slowly and 
noiselessly among the palms, and gradually a gay cosmopolitan 
crowd assembled in the Place to enjoy the hcl fresco after the 
terrible heat of the day, and to listen to the fine band of the 
1st Zouaves, which had already taken up its stand in the 
centre of the Square, and was now playing one of Strauss's 
dreamy waltzes. 

The night was bright and starlit, one of those calm, mystic 
evenings peculiar to North Africa. All was peaceful, but no 
moon had yet risen. The city wore its gay air of carelessness. 
Wliite-robed Moors and red-fczzed Arabs, negroes from the 
Soudan, and Eiskris in their blue burnouses, lounged, chat- 
tered, and promenaded, wliile the cafi5s and bazaars around 
were full of life, and the warm, balmy air was laden with the 
scent of flowers. 

Suddenly, without warning, the whole place was illumin- 
ated by a brilliant light from the sea. Slowly it swept the 
town, and a few seconds later other bright beams shot forth, 
lighting up the quays, the terraces of white, flat-roofed houseB, 
and the Moorish city on the hilL Then, before the promenadeis 

Our Revenge in the Mediterranean 171 

could renlise the cause, a loud booming was heard at sea, 
Rnd almost at the same momei>t a shell fell, and, exploding 
ill the midst of them, blew a dozen Moora and Arabs into 

In a few seconds the cannonade increased, nnd the battery 
in the centre of the harbour replied. Then firing seemed to 
]<roceed from all quarters, and a storm of shell suddenly 
crashed upon the town with the most appalling effect 

British war-vessels had crept up within range, and were 
pouring the vials of Britain's wrath upon the ancient city of 
the Deys ! 

The detachment of vessels which, led by the new battleship 
Jupiter, went south from St. Tropez, had received instructions 
to destroy Algiers and return with nil speed to CagHari, in 
Sardinia, to await further instructions. The bomhardinent of 
the two cities simultaneously was in order to draw off the 
French Squadron from the position it had taken up near 
Gibraltar, so that the British could fight and then run past 
them into the Atlantic. 

How far the mnncenvre succeeded is shown in the few 
interesting details of the bombai'dment given in the course of 
an interview which a reporter of the Daily Telegraph had with 
Lieut Geoi^e Ingleton, of the first-class cruiser Edgar, The 
officer said : — 

" We arrived off Algiers two hours after sundown, and after 
an inspection with search -lights, began to let fly with our big 
guns. In a few minutes the AI-DJefna Battery in the centre of 
the harbour replied, and a moment later a very rigorous fire 
was poured forth from Fort Neuf on the right and Forts Bab- 
Azzoun and Conde on the leftk All four were very strong, and 
in conjunction with coast -defence vessels oQered a most 
vigorous resistance So suddenly did we fire upon the town, 
that a frightful panic must have been caused. Before we liad 
liiBd half a dozen times, a shot from one of our 22-tonner3 
Clashed into the dome of the Mosque and totally demolisiied it, 
while another particularly well-aimed shell struck the Mauie, 
a big handsome building on the Boulevard de la If^publiqnet 

172 The Great War in England in 1897 

facing the sea, tearing out a portion oi the front Theo, 
turning our guns upon the long row of shops, banks, and 
hotels which formed the Boulevard, we pouuded away most 
effectively, while several of our other vessels attended to the 

"During the first halt-hour the four warships of the enemy 
gave us coiiaiderahle trouble, but very soon our torpedoes had 
sunk two of them, and the other two were quickly captured. 

"Meanwhile, under the hot fire from the forts, the bom- 
hardment grew exciting. Shells were rieochetting on the water 
all round us, but our search-lights being now shut oEF, we 
offered a very indistinct target to the enemy. On nearly all 
our ships, however, there were some slight casualties. A shell 
severely damaged the Buperstnieture of the Jupiter, while 
others rendered useless several of her machine guns. A shell 
penetrated the Gannet, unfortunately killing fourteen blue- 
jackets ; and had it not been that the deck of the Edgar w&s 
protected throughout, the consequences to us would also have 
beeu very serious. Ne^'crtheless, our two 22-ton guns rendered 
valuable service, and contributed in no small measure to the 
demolition of the town. 

"From the outset we could see that Algiers was totally- 
unprepared for attack, anil, continuing our fire calmly and 
regularly, we watched the flames bursting forth in every pat-t 
of the town and leaping skyward. On shore the guns kept up 
their roaring thunder, although by aid of glasses we could 
detect how effectual were our shells in wrecking the fortifica- 
tions and lajing in ruins the European quarter. Every 
moment we were dealing ten'ible blows which shook the city 
to its foundations. The formidable city walls availed them 
nothing, for we could drop our shells anywhere we pleased, 
either on the hill at Mustapha or upon the pretty Moorish 
villas that lined the shore at St. Eugene. 

"Blazing away at long range upon the town, we spread 
destruction everywhere, llouses toppled like packs of cards, 
mosques were blown into the air, and public buildings swept 
away like grains of sand before the eirocca Under such a fire 

thousands of natives aud Europeans must have perished, for we 
were determined to carry out our intentions, and teach the in- 
vaders a lesson they were not likely to easily forget. Time after 
time our heavy guns crashed, while our 6-inch quick-firers kept 
up their roar, aud our machine guns rattled continuously. As 
the hours went by, and we continued our work of merciless 
destruction, we were liit ouce or twice, but beyond the loss of 
two men and some unimportant damage we escaped further 

" The roar of our guns was deafening, and the smoke hung 
over the calm sea like a storm-cloud. Still we kept on in the 
fiice of the galling fire from the shore, and before midnight had 
the satisfaction of witnessing a magoiGcent spectacle, for the 
isolated conflagrations gradually united aud the whole town 
was in flames. 

"We had accomplished our work, so with cheers for Old 
England we gave a parting shot, and turning were soon 
steaming away towards the Sicilian coast, leaving Alters a 
mass of roaring flame. 

" The journey was uneventful until just before noon on the 
following day. I was at that time on duty, aud suddenly, to 
my sorprise, detected a immber of ships. By the aid of our 
glasses, the captain and I found to our dismay that a number 
of the most powerful vessels of the Bussiaii Fleet were bearing 
down upon ns ! All our other vessels had made the same 
discovery, and I must confess that the meeting was somewhat 
disconcerting. The strength of the Kussiau ironclads was such 
as to cause our hearts to beat more quickly. To engage that 
great force meant certain defeat, while it was necessary that 
our Admiral off Marseilles should know of the whereabouts of 
this hostile squadron, therefore we resolved to get away. But 
although we altered our course and put on all speed, we were, 
alas 1 unsuccessful. At last we detei-mined at all hazards to 
stick to our guns so long as we were afloat, and as the first of 
the Tsar's ironclads drew within range, one of our 22-toimer8 
thundered. The white smoke, driven forward, tumbled over 
our bows. We bad spoken the first word of battle I " 



IHE great naval force of the Tsar, wit!i which we 
were now face to face," continued Lieuteoant 
Inglcton in his narrative, "consisti'd of the 
new battleship reiropavlovsk of 10,9i'i0 tons, 
■with a speed of 17 koots ; the great turret- 
Bhip Dvcnadsat Apostoloff of 8076 tons; the 
two new barbette-ships Kama, and Vologda of the Cizoi Veliky 
type; the Tchesm6 of 10,181 tons, the Ghtorgky Pubyedriosets 
of 10,280 tons, and the powerful Tria Si-iatitclia of 12,480 
tons ; the two enormous new cruisers Tiuvien and Jifinak, both 
of 17,000 tons, and running at 20 knots ; the Vladimir Afono- 
mach ai 5754 tons ; the armoured gunboat OL^eazny, and the 
new rama Admiral Seniavine and Admiral UsckaJcoff, with 
thirty torpedo boats, including the Kodor, Heni, Anakna, and 
Adkr, the latter being able to run at 274 knots. 

"Against such a gigantic force aa this our small force of 
vessels and torpedo boats jiresented but a sorry appearance. 
Nevertheless we had fired the first shot, and were now de- 
termined to die rather than haul down our colours. As our 
guns thundered, those of the Jupiter, Hepulse, jSans Pareit, 
Undaunted, Ch'lando, Diatia, Scout, and Gannet joined in noisy 
chorus. The 12-inch guus in the tun-eta of the Petro- 
pavloesk and the four big guus in the barbettes of the 
Fria Sviatitelia crashed out together, and almost immediately 
afterwards we found ourselves being swept from stem to steru 

A Naval Fight and its Consequences 175 

by the enemy's shells. The Eussi»it battleships were all well 
armoured, and had a much heavier shell fire than the vessels 
of either France or Britain. We were both in columDS of 
divisions in line ahead, but from the first moment of the en- 
gagement our position was critical. 

"A terrificanddeadlystorm burst upon us from the enemy's 
tops, while his heavy guna kept up an incessant thunder. 
With such an enormous force against us, it was apparent to 
every man on board that disaster was imminent. It had, alas ! 
never been graven sufficiently deep upon the public mind how 
absurdly weak we were in the Mediterranean. Here, as in all 
other squadrons, every grade of officer from commander down- 
wards was deficient in numbers, and the ships in commission 
had for years been so much below their complement tiiat the 
work had only been carried on with great difficulty. Other 
ships at home had been obliged to wait until a sufficient 
number of merchant seamen and half-trained engine-room 
staff could be scraped t<^ther to provide the semblance of 
a crew. In fact, successive British Governments of both 
parties had subordinated national necessities to a desire to 
evade a material .increase in taxation, and now at last our 
Mediterranean Squadron were compelled to face the inevilable. 

"The insidious cunning and patient methods to which the 
Ru^ians resort in order to attain their aims and break tlieir 
boundaries had once more been illustrated. They had, by dint 
of extraordinary chicanery, secured absolute possession of the 
small Turkish peninsula known as Mount Athoa Situated 
near the entrance of the Gulf of Salonica, it was a paramount 
strategical position, and its possessor was now enabled to keep 
watch upon Macedonia, and in the meantime be very near the 
Dardanelles, and also Asia Minor. The possession was accom- 
plished in a curiously secret manner, showing to what extent 
Russian foresight and artifice is carried. For years past the 
SocUti Slav de BienfaiAanfc had been sending, through a bank 
in Salonica, large sums of money to further the aim. To the 
casoal observer there was nothing extraordinary about this, 
foi the Buasians had established on the lofty heights several 

monasteries, converting the place into a clerical settlement. 
This fact was pointed out by the Fall Mall Gazette as far back 
as 1893, but the British public at that time failed to detect any 
fiussian lutrigue. 

" Gradually, however, Muscovite roubles parchased the 
Gurrounding property, and Greek couvents were reduced to 
poverty while Cussian institutions flouiiabed and increased. 
But, strangely enough, the inmates of these monasteries were 
suddenly discovered to be mock clerics, and then it was disclosed 
that under the cover of monastic garments and robes were to 
be found the Tsar's soldiers, performing a three years' special 
and specific militaty service ! 

" Yet, owing to the Sultan's weakness, to the almighty back- 
shoesh, and to the short-sightedness of 'Turkish statesmen, th« 
Russians were not dislodged, but the position was actually 
ceded to them, witli the result that they had now tirmly 
established themselves where they were enabled to counteract 
British action and influence. A naval station had been 
established for their Mediterranean Squadron at Poros, off the 
eastern coast of the Peloponntsus, some fifteen miles due south 
of the island of vilgina. Here there were three miles of deep 
water safe from sea attack, with an arsenal and dockyard, oii 
the very weakest point along the line of our highway between 
England and India ! Such was the manner in which our power 
in the Meditermueaa had been undermined ! 

"There was, however, no time for reflection amid the 
deafening roar. This Black Sea Eleet that had burst its bonds 
and passed through the Dardanelles intended to sweep us from 
the sea. Yet, not wi lbs landing the terrible fire pouring upon ns 
from these great and powerful ships, each fully equipped witli 
the latest and most improved arms, fully manned by well- 
trained men, and fiesh for the fray, we held our quarters, 
determined to show the forces of the Tsar defiance. Even 
though every man of us might be sent to an untimely grave, 
the Russian flag should never surmount the White Ensign of 
Britain. We were determined, so we set our teeth, aud showed 
a firm and vigorous front to the toe. 

A Naval Fight and its Consequences 177 

" Our two 22-tonnera rendered admirable service, and the 
cauDonade kept up from our 3 and 6-pounder quick-firing 
puns was playing havoc witli the Bussiau belted cruiser 
Vladimir Morwrnadi, lying on our port quarter. The vessel 
was slightly larger than ourselves, carrying much heavier 
armaments, including four 13-ton guns, and twelve 4-tonner8. 
She was indeed a very formidable opponent, nevertheless 
we did our best, and, blazing away at close quBrtere, soon 
succeeded in silencing the starboai-d 13-tonner nearest us. 

" Just at this moment I found we were being attacked on 
the port bow by the enormous new turret-ship Peiropavlovsk and 
the Vvenadsai Apostotof. Two of the heavy 12-inch guns of 
the former thundered almost simultaneously, and both shells 
striking us almost amidships, caused us such a shock that for a 
second I stood breathless. 

" In a few moments, however, it was reported that our 
' vitals' had fortunately escaped, and we continued firing as if 
no catastrophe had occurred. As a matter of fact, the damage 
caused by those two shells was appalling. 

"The Jupiter, steaming about two miles away on our star- 
board quarter, was apparently holding her own against the 
barbette-ships Tchtsm4 and Qkeorgky Pohyednostis, the cruiser 
Tinmen, one of the largest in the world, and the new ram 
Admiral Seniavine. The toax attacking vessels, as seen throngli 
the dense smoke, were pouring into the British ship a deadly fire ; 
yet, judging from the fallen tops and disabled engines of the 
Gkeorghy Pdbycdmmls and the wrecked superstructure of the 
Teitcsmi, the Jvpile/s heavy armaments were executing good 
work, notwithstanding the strength of the Tdiesmfs six 50-ton 
guns, admirably arranged in pairs in the centre of the vessel. 

" The Diana and Sam Pareil, lying near to one another, were 
(tesperately resisting the vigorous attack made by the Admiral 
Uschakoff, Minsk; Otvazny, Kama, and Vologda ; and here again, 
amid smoke and flying debris, I could distinguish that the 
67-tonners of the St-pulse, in co-operation with the lighter 
weapons of the Undaunted, were giving the enemy a taste of 
what British courage could accomplish. 

178 The Great War in England in 1897 

" The sea around us simply swarmed with Eussian torpedo 
boats, and it required all our vigilance to evade their continued 
attacks. Before an hour had passed we had succeeded in sink- 
ing two by shots from our 6-inch guns, and several more wera 
sent to the bottom by well-aimed projectiles from the IHdo 
and Jupiter. 

" As for ourselves, projectiles were sweeping across our deck 
like hail, and under the incessant and fearful fire we were 
suffering frightfully. Over sixty of our men and a sub- 
lieutenant had been killed, while forty-nine were severely 
wounded. Once I had occasion to go below, and between decks 
the sight that met my gaze was awful 

"Around two of the quick-firing guns on our port quarter 
lay the guns' crews, mutilated by shells from the Vladimir 
Monomach. They had been killed almost instantly while 
standing bravely at their posts. The scene was appalling. The 
mangled masses of humanity amid which the surgeons were nt 
work were awful to look upon, and I rushed up aoain with the 
terrible scene photographed indelibly upon ray meraoiy. 

" Meanwhile the ship was in the greatest peril. The con- 
tinual bursting of shells upon her shook and shattered her, and 
she trembled violently as, time after time, her own guns uttered 
tlieir thundering reply to her enemies. Heeling now this way, 
now that, as the helm was put hard over to avoid a blow, the 
situation on board was intensely exciting. 

"Those were terrible monients. The captain suddenly 
noticed the movements of the Vladim ir MonoTnach, and divined 
her intentions. She had ceased firing, and by a neatly executed 
manoeuvre was preparing to ram us. In a moment our helm 
was put over again, and the Edgar answered to it immediately. 
" ' Ready bow tube ! ' I heard the captain shout hoarsely. 
He waited a few moments, allowing the Eussian irouclad to 
partially perform her evolution, then just as she came almost 
into coUisinn with us he shrieked ' Fire bow tube ! ' at the same 
time bringing us over further to port. 

"The seconds aeemed hours. Suddenly there was a loud 
•on, a great column of water rose under the Itusaian's 

A Naval Fight and its Consequences 

bow, and we kiiew the torpedo had struck. At that moment, 
too, even while the water was still in the air, one of our tor- 
pedo boats which h&d ciept up under the VUidimir MoTutmach's 
stern sent another torpedo at her, which also hit its mark and 
ripped her up. Turning our guns upon the armoured cmiaer, 
we poured volley after volley into her, but she did not reply, 
for her men were panic-stricken, and she waa sinking fast 

" The Fetropavlovsk, leaving ua, endeavoured to rescue her 
crew, but ere a dozen men were saved, she settled down bow fore- 
most, and disappeared into the deep, carrying down with her 
nearly five hundred officers and men, 

"The Ihenadmt Apostotof kejtt up her fire upon ue, and a 
few moments later I witnessed another disaster, for a shot from 
one of her bow guus struck the torpedo boat that had just 
assisted us, and sank it A few minutes later a loud explosion 
in the direction of the Sajis Panil attracted my attention, and, 
turning, I saw amid the smoke-clouds debris precipitated high 
into the air. A shot from one of her 111-ton guns had pene- 
trated to the magazine of the Admiral Sentavine, which had 
exploded, causing a frightful disaster on board that vessel, and 
jtist at the same moment a cheer from the crew of one of our 
6-inch guns prompted me to look for the cause, which I found 
in the fact that they had shot the Russian colours completely 
away from the Vvertadsat Apostoloff. 

" Again another frightful explosion sounded loud above the 
incessant din, and to my satisfaction I saw a great column of 
water rise around the Admiral Uschakoff, wliich, fighting at close 
quarters with the Dido, had apparently been torpedoed. Not 
satisfied with this, the captain of the Dido, keeping his 
machine guns going, turned his vessel and discharged a second 
"NVhitehead, which also struck with such terrible effect that tlie 
Kussian ship began at once to sink, and in a few minutes the 
blue waves closed for ever over her tops, ere a score or so out 
of her crew of 300 could be rescued. 

"It was nearly three bells, and the sun was setting. A 
galling fire from the machine guns in the foretop of the Dvcnadtat 
Apo$toloff saA/^^aXj swept our deck, killing a dozen poor fellows 

i8o The Great War in England m 1S97 


who were at work clearing nway some diSbris, and at the same 
moment a shot from one of her 52-ton guns crashed into our 
port quarter, and must have caused terrible havoc among the 
guns' crews. A moment Inter we were dismayed by the report 
that our steering-gear had been broken. For a few seconds we 
were helplessly swinging round under the awful fire which was 
now pouring from the gi-eat guns of the Kussian ironclad, aad 
our captain was making strenuous efforts to recover control of 
the ship, when I saw the torpedo boat Anakria shoot suddenly 
across our hows, then quickly slacken as she got to starboard 
of ua. 

" A second later I realised her intention, and shouted frantic- 
ally. A line of bubbles had appeared on tiie surface advancing 
swiftly towards ua. She had ejected a torpedo straight at us, 
and I stood petrified, not daring to breathe. 

"A moment later there came a terrific explosion right 
underneath us, followed by a harsh tearing sound as iron plates 
were torn asundei' like tinfoil, and the ship's side was ripped 
completely up. The Edgar heaved higli and plunged heavily, 
a great column of water rose high above her masts, and 
the air seemed filled with flying fragments of iron and wood. 
The vessel rocked and swayed so that we could not keep our 
feet, aud then gradually heeling over, causing her guns to 
shift, she went down before a soul on hoard could launch 
a boat. 

" At the moment of the explosiou I felt a sharp twinge in 
the back, and found that I had been struck by a flying splinter 
of steeL The strain of those hours had been terrible, and of 
the events that followed I can only recollect two things. I 
remember finding myself struggling alone in the water with 
a shower of bullets from the Dvatadsai Apostoloff'a tops sending 
up little splashes about me. Then I felt my strength failing, 
my limbs seemed paralysed, and I could no longer strike out 
to save myself. Abaiidoniug all hope, I was sinking, when 
suddenly a rope was flung to me. I remember how frantically 
I clutched it, and that a few moments later I was hauled aboard 
a torpedo boat ; but for days afterwaixls 1 lay hoveriug 'twixt 

A Naval Fight and its Consequenxes i8i 

life and death, oblivious to all. I was one of the thirteen only 
who were saved out of a crew of 327 hrave ofiicera and men." 

Such a ghastly disaster could only produce profound dis- 
may among those who manned the remaining British vessels. 
Straining every nerve to ophold the honour of Britain, tha 
guns' crewa of the Jupiter, Sans FarcU, liepulse, and Uitdatintedf 
with smofce-begrimed hands and faces, worked on with that 
indomitable energy begotten of despair. Regardless of the 
awful rain of shot and shell, they reloaded and fired with calm, 
do^ed self-possession, the officers on all four vessels inspiring 
their men by various deeds of valour, and preserving such di»- 
cipline under fire as none hut British sailors could. The 
British naval officer is full of undaunted defiance and eon- 
tempt for his foes ; but, alwve all, he is a strict disciplinarian, 
and to this our country in a great measure owes the supremacy 
our Navy has hitherto enjoyed upon the seas. During the fight 
the vessels had been moving in a north-easterly direction, and 
although the Russians were unaware of the fact. Her Majesty's 
ships had therefore continued in their course. Hence, just as 
a cool breeze sprang up at sundown, soon after the Edgar had 
sunk, a line of low dark cliffs was sighted ahead. 

The officers of the Diana, watching anxiously through their 
glasses, distinguished the distant crest of Mount Genargeutu 
gradually appearing against the clear evening sky, and then 
they knew that they were off Sardinia, oxitside the Gulf of 

Altering their course, they headed due north, still keeping 
up a runniog fire, but the Russians prevented them making 

All our vessels were suffering frightfully, when there was 
a sudden explosion, and, to the Englishmen's dismay, it was 
seen that a torpedo had struck the Undaunted nearly amidships. 
Still the doomed vessel managed to evade a second attack, 
and by a desperate manoeuvre the captain succeeded in turning 
and heading for laud. 

The remaining ships, in their terribly crippled condition, 
would, the Russians anticipated, soon fall an ea^ P^^f* 

i82 The Great War in England in 1897 

Nevertheless, with their crews decimated, their guus disibled, 
and their machinery damaged, the British vessels still continued 
firing the men resolved to go down at their quarters. They 
knew that escape was hopeless, and every moment they saw 
their comrades being swept away by the great exploding pro- 
jectiles of the Tsar'a heavy guns. But they were not dismayed. 
To do their utmost for the defence of Britain, to keep afloat as 
long as possible, and to die like Britons with faces towards 
the foe, was their duty. Pale and desperate, they were fighting 
for their country and their Queen, knowing that only a grave 
in the deep and the honour of those at home would be the 
reward of their bravery — that at any moment they might be 
launched into the unknown. 

Suddenly there was a loud shouting on board the Jupiter, 
and signals were, a moment later, run up to her half-wrecked 
top. The captain of the Dido, noticing this, looked to ascertain 
the cause, and saw away on the horizon to the north, whence 
the dark night clouds were rising, a number of strange craft. 
Snatching up his glass, he directed it on the strangers, and 
discovered that they were Italian warahips, and were exchanging 
rapid signals with the captain. They were promising assist- 

Cheers rang loudly through the British vessels, when, a few 
minutes later, the truth became known, and the guns' crews 
worked with redoubled energy, while the Bussians, noticing tbe 
approacliing ships, were apparently undecided how to act. 
They were given but little time for reflection, however, for 
within Jialf an hour the first of the great Italian ironclads, the 
Zepanto, opened fire upon the Pctropavlovsk, and was quickly 
followed by others, until tlie action became general all round. 

Aid had arrived just in time, and the British vessels, with 
engines broken, stood away at some distance, leaving matters 
for the nonce to the powerful Italian Squadron. It was 
indeed a very formidable one, and its appearance caused the 
Bussian Admiral such misgivings that he gave orders to retreat, 
a manceuvre attempted unsuccessfully. The Italian Fleet, as 
it loomed up in the falling gloom, included no fewer than 

A Naval Fight and its Consequenxes 183 

twenty-six warsliips and forty-tbree torpedo boats. The 
vessels consisted of the barbette - ship Lejxinto of 15,000 
tons; the Snrdeyna, Sicilia, and Jic Vmberto of 13,000 
tons : the Anthxa Doria, Francesca Morosini, and Jiuggiero 
(ti Laurin of 11,000 tons; the turret-ships Dandolo and 
Ihiilio of the same size ; the Ammei-aglio di St. Bon of 9800 
tons ; the armoured cruisers Aticona, Castdfidardo, and Maria 
Pia, and tlie San Martino, each of about 4500 tons; the 
gun-vessels Andrra Provana, Cariddi, Castore, Curtatone; the 
torpedo ^nboats Aretusa, Atlante, Eundice, Iride, 3f<mt(beUo, 
and Monzambatio ; the despatch vessels Qalileo and VedcUa ; and 
the first-class torpedo vessels Aguil^i, Awdtoio, FaUo, NUMo, 
and Sparviero, and thirty-eight others. 

"With such a force descending upon the Russian ships, 
which had already been very severely punished by the vigorous 
fire of the British, there was little wonder that the Tsar's 
vessels should endeavour to escape. The Italian Fleet had 
already bombarded and destroyed Ajaccio two days ago, 
and, steaming south from the Corsican capital, had anchored 
for twenty-four hours off Cape della Caccia, near Alghero, 
in the north of Sardinia. Then again taking a southerly 
course in the ex(»ectation of joining bands with the British 
Klediterrancan Squadron, which was on its way from 
Marseilles to Cagliari, they had fallen in with the three 
crippled ships. 

Without hesitation the powerful Italian ironclads, several 
(if which were among the finest in the world, opened a terrific 
fire upon the Bussian ships, and as darkness fell the sight was 
one of appalling grandeur. From all sides flame rushed from 
turrets and barbettes in vivid flashes, while the Ma:!:ints in the 
tops poured out their deadly showers of bullets. The 
ponderous 105-ton guns ot the Andrea Doria, Franu^a Mora- 
iini, and Ryggiero di Lauria crashed and roared time after 
time, their great shots causing frightful havoc among the 
Russian ships, the four lOO-tonners of the Zcpanlo and the 
ti7-tonners of the Jie Uviherto, Sardtgna, and Sicilia simply 
knocking to pieces the Pctropavlovsk: The Kussiau ships wei-e 

receiving terrible blowa on every baud. With tbeir searob- 
lights beaming fortli in all directions, the sliipH were fighting 
fiercely, pounding away at each other with deafening din. It 
was not long, however, before this vigorous attack of tbe 
Italians began to tell, for within an hour of the first shot frc»n 
the Lejmnio the fine Euaaian battleship Gkeorghy Poli/ednoaeia 
and the great new cruiser Minsk of 17,000 tons had been 
rammed and sunk, the former by the Duilio, and tbe latter 
by the He Uwherto, while the Tckesnd and the gunboat 
Otrmny had been torpedoed, and scarcely a aoul saved out of 
1500 men who were on board. 

Explosions were occurring in quick succession, and red 
glares fiashed momentarily over the sea. Hither and thither 
as the Italian torpedo boats darted they ejected their miBsiles, 
and the rapid and terrible fire from the leviathans of Italy, 
pouring into every one of the remaining ships of the Tsar, 
killed hundreds who were striving to defend themselves. 

Suddenly the Sicilia, which had been fighting the Russiau 
fl^hip, the Tria Sviatitelia, at close quarters, and had blown 
away her conning-tower and greater portion of her super- 
structure, performed a neat evolution, and crashed her ram 
right into her opponent's broadside, breaking her almost in 

A few moments later there was a terrific explosion on 
board, and then the doomed vessel sank into the dark rolling 
sea, carrying with her the Russian Admiral and all hands. 

Quickly this success was followed by others — Ihe blowing 
up of the monster new cruiser Tiumen, the sinking of the 
Adlcr and four other Russian torpedo boats, occurring in rapid 
succession. Seeing with what rapidity and irresistible foroe 
they were being swept from the sea, the remainder of the 
Tsar's shattered fieet struck their flags and called for quarter, 
not, however, before the torpedo boat Kodor had been sunk. 
The Russians thus captured were the battleships Pdropavlovsk 
of 10,960 Ions, the Ih'cnadsat Apostoloff of 807G tons, the 
two new barbette- ships, Kama and Vologda, bot!i of whose 
engines had broken down, and fifteen torpedo boats. 

A Naval Fight and its Consequences 185 

At dawn most of the latter were maimed by Italians, while 
the captured ships, with the Italian colours flying and bearing 
evidence of the terrible conflict, were 00 their way due north 
to Genoa, accompanied by the battered British veasela. 

The strongest division of Eussia's Fleet had been totally 
destroyed, and the Tsar's power in the Mediterranean was 



ijHE Russians were within gunshot of Mancbestcrl 
A profound seDSation was caused in that city 
about eight o'clock on the evening o! Septem- 
ber 6th, by an announcement made by the 
Eeenijig News — which still appeared in fitful 
editions^ — that a Cossack patrol had been seen 
on the road between Macclesfield and Alderley, and that it 
was evident, from the manner of the Russian advance, that 
they meant to attack the city almost immediately. 

The utmost alarm was caused, and the streets were every- 
where crowded by anxious, starving throngs, eager to ascertain 
fuller details, but unable to gather anything further beyond 
the wild conjectures of idle gossip. 

The great city which, on the outbreak of war, was one of 
the most prosperous in the world, was now but a sorry 
semblance of its former self. Heated, excited, turbulent, 
its streets echoed with the heartrending wails of despairiiif^ 
crowds, its factories were idle, ita shops closed, and its people 
were succumbing to the horrible, lingering death which la the 
result of starvation. 

Wealth availed them naught. Long ago the last loaf had 
been devoured, the last sack of fiour had been divided, and the 
rich living in the suburbs now felt the pinch of hunger quite 
as acutely as factory operatives, who lounged, hands in pockets, 
about the streets, Manchester, like most other towns ia 


Panic in Lancashire 187 

Eugland, had come to the end of her supplies, and death 
and disease now decimated the more populous districts, 
while those who bad left the city and tramped north had 
fared no better, and hundreds dropped and died by the 

The situation in Lancashire was terrible. At Liverpool 
a few vessels were arriving from America, under escort of 
British cruisers, bringing supplies, but these were mostly 
purchased at enormously high rates, and sent to Londou by 
way of Manchester and SbetBeld, railway communication by 
tliat route being still open. This fact becoming known in 
Manthester caused the greatest indignation, and the people, 
rendered desperate by hunger, succeeded on several occasions 
in stopping the trains, and ■ appropriating the food they carried. 
The situation in Manchester was one of constant excitement, 
and fear that the enemy should repeat the success they had 
achieved at Birmingham. The hundreds of thousands of 
hungry ones who docked Manchester streets and the grimy 
thoroughfares of Stockport, Asliton, Oldham, Bolton, and 
other great towns in the vicinity, feared that they, like the 
people of Birmingham, would be put to the sword by the 
ruthless invaders. 

The week that had elapsed had been an eventful one, 
fraught with many horrors. After the success of the Russians 
lit Birmingham, the British troops, both Kegulars, Volunteers, 
and improvised, fell back and formed up north of the city, 
being practically nothing more than a strong line of outposts 
without resen'es, extending from Dudley, through West 
Bromwich and Suttou Park, to Tamworth, This scheme, 
however, was ill-devised, for the defenders, in order to act 
successfully, should have fallen back much further, and con- 
centrated their forces at one or two strategical points on the 
line to Manchester, as it had been ascertained from spies 
that a swift and vigorous attack on that city was meditated. 

The day following the taking of Birmingham was devoted 
hy the enemy to the reorganisation of their forces, and the 
rearrangement of their transport and ammunition train. 

The Great War in England in 1897 

Large qunntities of waggons and war storea of all kinds liad 
been found in the town and annexed by the victors, and at 
Kynoch's Factory nt Aston some hundreds of thousjinds of 
rounds of ammunition had l)een seized. Tliese had becu 
made for a foreign government, and tilted both rifles and 
machine guns of the Russians. 

Having Uiua reorganised, the Russians, leaving 10.000 men 
in Birmingham as a base, resumed their march north 011 llie 
third day. The left flank, consisting of 20OO cavalry and 
12,000 infantry, took the road through West Bromwich to 
Weduesbury and Bilston, but quickly found themeelves 
entrapped, for ou account of the many canals their cavsliy 
were unable to act, and their transport was cut off. The 
miners and factory men had armed themselves, and, acting 
in conjunction with the British troops from Dad ley ami 
Great Barr, succeeded, after some hard fighting around 
Tipton and Coseley, in completely annihilating the enemy, 
taking 5000 prisoners and killing the remaining 9000. 

Meanwhile the right flank had passed out of Birmingham 
by way of Castle Bromwich, and had advanced without opposi- 
tion through Wishaw and Tamworth to Lichfield, driving tiie 
defenders before them. The Russian main column, however, 
^^^ were not allowed to go north without a most desperate endeavour 

^^^^L on the part of our men to hold them iii check. Indeed, if ever 

^^^^M British couifiige showed itself it was during those dark days. 

^^^^r Advancing through Aston and I'erry to Sutton along thu 

H ancient highway, Icknield Street, the Russians sent a large 

W force through the woods to the high ground between Wild 

I Green and Mauey. Here the British had established strong 

I batteries, but after some desperate fighting tliese were at 

■ length captured, the enemy losing heavily. At the same 

I time, fierce fighting occurred in Sutton I'ark and across at 

I Aldridge, the defenders making the most streimous efforts 

M to break the force of the invaders. All was, alas! to no 

I purpose. The British, outnumbered as before, were com- 

I pelled to fall hack fighting, with the result that the enemy's 

W main column, pushing on, effected a junction with its right. 


Panic in Lanxashire 

Hank, which had bivouaced oil Wittitigton Heath, near Uvh- 
tield, uDd occupied the barracks there. 

On the diiy following the invaders broke into two columns 
and marched agaiu north, practically in battle formation, the 
ri^ht colnmn continuing along IckDJeld Street, through Burton, 
Derby, Bakewell, and Marple, driving back the defenders, 
while the left column took a route that lay through the hilly 
and wooded country near Cannock Chase. Both columiiB, 
advancing in Echelon of division, with cavalry on their Hanks, 
were constantly harassed in the rear by the British, and 
in their advance lost numbers of wa<!gons ond a large 
quantity of ammunition; but thuy succeeded in travelling 
so quickly north that they were actunlly marching on 
Manchester hefoi-e the people in that city could realise it. 
Signal acts of bmvery weie being everywhere reported, but 
what could individual heroism efl'ect against the fearful odds 
we had to face ? 

Thousands of men in Bolton, Bury, Oldham, AVi;^an, 
Uochdiile, and other neighbouring towns had already armed 
themselves, and, on heariug that Manchester was threatened, 
poured into the city to act their part bravely in its defence. 

It must be admitted that the British General commanding 
had, on gaining knowledge of the intentions of the Russians, 
taken every precaution in his power to prevent an advance on 

Our troops which had been defeated and driven back from 
Birmingham, had at once retreated north to the I'eak district, 
and about one-quarter of the number had taken up excellent 
defensive positions there, while the remainder, with small 
reinforcements of Regulars drawn from Lancaster, Warrington, 
Bury, Chester, Wrexham, Burnley, Ashton-under-Lyne, York, 
Halifax, and as fur distant as Carlisle, had, in addition to those 
from Manchester, been massed along the north bank of the 
Mersey from Stockport to Flixton, with a line of communica- 
tion stretching across to Woodley Junction, and thence over 
Olossfip Dale to the I'eak. 

Thus Manchester was defended by aforce of 38,000 cavalry. 

The Great War in England in 1897 

infantry. Volunteers, and colonials, against tlie Bussian army, 
consisting of the remaining 65,000 of tlie force which attacked 
Birmingham, and reinforcements of 10,000 infantry and 50OO 
cavalry that had been pushed rapidly forward from Sussex 
over the ground that the main hody had travelled. The total 
force of Kussians was therefore 80,000. 

From Stockport, the north bank of the Mersey to its con- 
fluence with the Irwell past Flixton was well guarded. 
Earthworks had been raised, trenches dug, walla had been 
loopholed, and houses placed in a state of hasty defence. 
Among the reinforcements now under arras were several 
portions of battalions of Lancashire Volunteer Artillery who 
had not gone south to their allotted positions in the defence 
of London, and five companies of the 1st Cheshire and 
Caruan'OD shire Artillery under CoL H. T. Brown, V.D., 
together with the Cheshii-e Yeomanry under CoL P. E. War- 
biirton. The Manchester Brigade was a strong one, consisting 
of six Volunteer battalions of the Manchester Itegiment, the 
1st under the Earl of Crawford, V.D., the 2nd under CoL 
Bridgford, V.D., the 3rd under Col. Eaton, V.D.. the 4th 
under Col. Lynde, V.D., the 5th under CoL Eocca, V.D., and 
the 6th under Col. Leea ; the Cheshire and Lancashire 
Brigades included three Volunteer battalions of the Lanca- 
shire Fusiliers under Colonels Young, Philippi, and Haworth, 
and two battalions of the South Lancashire Regiment ; whQe 
the Northern Counties Brigade, composed of one Volunteer 
battalion of the Hoyal Lancaster Beg t men t under Col. 
Strongitharm, two battalions of the East Lkncashire Begiment 
under Col. A. I. Eobinson, V.D., and Col. T. Mitchell, V.D., 
and two of the Loyal North Lancashire under CoL Widdows 
and CoL Orrarod, also mustered their forces and performed 
excellent defensi\'e work. It was here, too, that the Volunteer 
cyclists were found of the utmost value in scouting and carry- 
ing despatches. 

The excitement in Manchester on that memorable Septem- 
ber night was intense. That a desperate and bloody fray was 
imminent, every one knew, and the people were trusting to the 


Panic in Lancashire 

defensive line on llie river bank to protect tliem from the 
foreign destroyer. Would they be strong enough to effectively 
resist 1 Would they b6 able to drive back the Itussians and 
defeat them ? 

The people of Lancashire who condemned our military 
adminiatration did not do so without cause. It haiJ been 
claimed by many that England could never be invaded; 
nevertheless our course should have been to prepare for 
possible events. Our Army, being small, should have been 
better equipped and armed, as well as trained to balance 
weakness in numbers. Again, there had always existed a 
hideous hindrance to the efficiency of the Auxiliaries — the 
arms. Many of tlie Martini-Henrys carried by the Volunteera 
bore date of a ijuarter of a century ago, and their barrels were 
so worn they could not he fired accurately; while others 
possessed the Snider, which was practically a smoothbore from 
wear. What was the use of weapons surpassed in power by 
those of other nations ? It was an unpalatable truth that had 
now at last dawned upon Britain, that in arming her soldiers 
she was far behind the rest of the world. 

While Manchester spent the sultry night in feverish 
excitement at the knowledge that the enemy had advanced 
almost to their doors, the British outposts were being harassed 
by the enemy, who, flushed with success, were advancing 
gradually onward towards the line of defence. The Russian 
front had been suddenly widely extended, evidently aiming 
at a concentric attack on Manchester, and an attempt to 
wholly envelop the defenders' position by cavalry operating 
on both flanks. 

Some terribly desperate encounters took place during a 
frightful thunderstorm which lasted a portion of the night, 
and many a brave Briton fell while performing valiant deeds 
for the honour of his country. The anxiety within the British 
lines that hot night was intense. 

lieports coming in told of fierce fighting all along the line. 
Soon after midnight a British patrol, supported by cavalry, 
that had beea sent out from Northenden to Bagnley, was 


iga The Great War in England in 1897 

suddenly attacked by a party of Ruisiana, who lay in ambusli 
dose to Wythenshaw HalL A short hut fierce fight ensued, 
but the British, knowing that part of the country well, suc- 
ceeded in totally annihiliiting their antagonists. The firing, 
however, attracted attention in the Russian lines, with the 
result that a second attack was quickly made upon them. 
compelling them to retire up the hill at Lawton Moor, where 
they dashed into a small wood, closely pressed by the enemy. 
The attack was desperate. There is something terrible in a 
tight in a wood at night. The combatants could see nothmf; 
save an occasional tiash in the impenetrable darkness, and 
hoarse cries went up from the mysterious inferno. Neither 
invader nor defender could distinguish each other, and in the 
half-hour that followed, many a Kussian shot his comrade in 
mistake for his foe. 

At last the defenders, finding that the slightest rustling of 
boughs brought down a volley from magazine rifles, stood 
motionless, scarcely daring to bi'eathe, and waited anxiously, 
until at last the enemy, seeing that their efforts to drive them 
out were useless, withdrew, and went off towards B.iguley. 

In another direction, close to Henbur)-, near Macclesfield, 
B squadron of British cavalry surprised a small outpost camp 
of Bussians, and cut it up terribly, kilhng half the number; 
hut pushing on to Marthall, six miles across country, they 
came into collision with a body of Russian dragoons, and after 
a very fierce encounter were compelled to fall back again after 
considerable loss. On the outskirts of Nortliwich, and on the 
Ixirders of Delamere Forest, skirmishes occurred, resulting in 
serious loss on both sides. A reconnoitring party of Ru&siana 
was totally swept away and every man killed, by a British 
party who were concealed in an old farm building close to 
Alderley village; while another engaged in surveying the 
roails to Altrincham had been forced to retreat, leaving half 
their number dead or wounded on the edge of Tatton Park. 




•] iiiea of the gallant conduct of our Volunteers 
liming the night may be gathered from the 
1 Huwing extract from a letter by Lieutenant 
Joliii Rowling of the 2Dd Volunteer Battalion 
of the East Lancashire Regiment, to a friend a 
few days afterwards. He wrote — 
* You will no doubt have heard something about the warm 
work we had on the night before the Battle of Manchester. 
The city, as you know, was covered on the south by a long 
sCragglinfi line of outposts, extending practically from Stock- 
port to Altriucham. Late in the afternoon of September 6th 
we received an order to proceed to Mere, about four miles from 
Altrincham, having been detailed to form the section of the 
outposts from New Tatton to Goodier's Green, and on arrival 
at Mere half of our force of 600 was left in reserve there ; the 
supports were moved about half a mile down Watling Street, 
and tlie remainder was divided into three piquets, IJa 1 at 
Bentley Hurst Farm, No. 2 at Moss Cottage, and No. 3 near 
Mereplatt Farm, with four double sentry jiosta out in front of 
each piquet. 

"I was in command of No. 2 picket, with Anderson and 
Wishton as subs, and as soon as I returned to the piquet, after 
postiug the sentries, I sent the former with two sections to 
lorm a detached post at Over Tabley, and instructed him to 
send a reconnoitring patrol as far down Watling Street as he 

(94 The Great War in England in 1897 

might consider consistent with safety. Anderson posted his 
men, and returned to me about ten o'clock with a corporal 
and two men, bringing in a man who had been pointed out to 
him at Over Tabley as a suspicious character — in fact, he \va3 
said to be a spy. He had been staying at an inn there for 
two or three days, and had very little luggage. Andersou had 
examined his portmanteau, but found noihing there; and as 
the man refused to give any account of himself, he made him 
a prisoner. Fresh fires were continually breaking out, there- 
fore I thought it best to waste no time questioning htm, 
but took him into a room at Moss Cottage, where lie waa 
thoroughly searched. Notes were found upou him from 
which it was evident that he had been obtaining information 
lor the enemy for some time, and, better still, particulars of 
their proposed operations for the investment of Manchester, 
showing that they were advancing in our direction aloug the 
old Walling Street 

" I sent the prisoner under escort to the commander of the 
outposis, and at the same time sent word to Nos. l and 3 
piquets, after which Anderson and I went down to Over 
Tabley, leaving Wishton in charge of No. 2. The machine 
gun that had been allotted to my piquet I also ordered to 
Over Tabley, and on arrival there we threw up barricades, 
hastily constructed of barrels, doors, and logs, banked with 
earth, across the road between the Vicarage and the church. 
A quantity of barbed wire was found in the villa^, and this 
came in very useful, for we stretched several lengths of it 
across the roads on the off-side of the barricade. 

" There were under thirty of us, but every man was 
determined to do his duty unflinchingly. By this time it was 
past eleven, and very dark, yet there was just light enough to 
train the gun on to the centre of the cross-roads by Dairy- 
house Farm. Very soon we could hear the enemy approach- 
ing, and as their spy had not met them outside, they 
evidently concluded that the village was unoccupied, and 
advanced in comparatively close order, Cossacks leading, and 
the infantry so close that there was practically no division 



The Eve of Battle 


1 between their vanguard and maiiignaixl. The first section of 
1 Cossacka very soon found our first wire, and the whole of 
their horses came to grief. Those in the rear, thJukitig 
pruhably that there was no otiier obstruction in the way, 
spurred their horses and galloped over their friends, only to 
meet with a similar fate further on. 

"The pioneers doubled up, and began to cut the wires, 
and fearing that the infantry in the rciir would soon deploy, 
I gave the order for independent firing. The Russians stood 
it for some minutes, and attempted to reply, but not a man 
of ours was visible, and they soon retreated to Tabley Hall, 
wliere I had no means of following them. 

" It must be remembered that we were all Volunteers, the 
Kej^ara being on the Stockport flank of the outpost Una My 
men behaved splendidly, and the firing was excellent from 
lirst to last." 

About the same time as the unsuccessful attack v/aa mode 
on the outpoBts at Mere, the British line was broken through 
at Heald Green and Appletree. 

A cavalry patrol, supported by infantry, was feeling ila 
way along the road to Wilmslow, and bad passed Willow 
Farm, at which point the road nms beside the railway 

The storm had burst, the thunder rolled incessantly, rain 
1 fell in t^irrenu, and the lightning played about tbem, causiug 
|i their arms to gleam in its vivid flashes. 

Slowly, and without undue noise, the patrol was wending 

its way up the hill towards Finney Green, when suddenly 

there was a terrific rattle of musketry, and they discovered to 

1 their surprise that the enemy, who were occupying the 

I embankment of the North- Western Eailway on their left, ^^m 

were poaring npon them a fire sufficient to blanch the cheek ^^^^H 

of the bravest among them. ^^^H 

H Along the embankment for a mile or more were stationed ^^^^H 

1 infantry wilh magazine rifles, anl in addition they had ^H 

i broo^ht two machine gons into play with appalling eflect H 

So &udden did tbi? galling fire open upon them, that men and ^H 

196 The GiiEAT War in England in 1897 

horses fell without being able to fire a shot in retum. British 
infantiy, however, stood their ground, aud as the lightning 
dashed, disclosing the position of the enemy, every Russian 
who dared to stand up or show himself was promptly picked 
off. But against the awful rain of deadly bullets ejected from 
the machine guns, at the rate of 600 a minute, no force could 
nmke a successful defence. 

Many British heroes fell pierced by a dozen bullets ; still 
their comrades, seeking what shelter they could, continued the 

Meanwhile over the dismal muddy road the survivors of 
the cavalry galloped back, and quickly reported to the com- 
mander of the piquet at Appletree that the enemy were in 
strong force on the other side of the embankment between 
Oaklands and Wilmalow Park, and as they had heard a train 
run into Wilmslow Station and stop, it was evident that the 
enemy had reopened the line fiora Crewe, and intended con- 
centrating part of their reinforcements to the general advance. 
Tlie facts that the enemy had succeeded in cutting all the 
telegraph lines in the district, and had now obtained complete 
control over the railway, were most alarming, and the outlook 
of the defenders was rendered doubly serious by the lai^e force 
they were compelled to keep east of Stockport, and in the Peak 
district, to prevent the invaders getting round to attack Man- 
chester from the north. 

On receipt of the news of the disaster to the patrol, the 
commander of the piquet at Appletree immediately sent 
information to the commander of the piquet posted at the 
railway station at Cheadle Hulme ; but by a strange oversight, 
due no doubt to the excitement of the moment, sent no report 
to the commander of the outposts. The infantry engaging the 
Russians on the embankment, though exhibiting most gallant 
courage, were so exjxised that it was little wonder they were 
soon completely anniJiilated, only half a dozen escaping. 

Tlie enemy must have detrained a large number of troops 
at Wilmslow, for the British cavalry scouts were quickly 
followed up by Cossacks and the T^:av's Dragoons. Quickly the 

The Great War in England in 1897 

sentries between HealJ Green and Appletree were driven back 
on their piquets, ihe latter exiendinj; in skinnisliiug order. 
Such a manceuvi'e, however, proved fatal in the darkness aud 
on the heavy ploughed land over which they were fighting. 
Ala3 ! very few succeeded in reaching the supports, and 
when they did, they all feE back hurriedly on the reserves at 

Then the commander of the piquet at Cheadle Hulme 
Station, finding that he must inevitably be attacked by road 
and rail, set the station on fire, and with the assistance of the 
railway officiala blew up a large portion of the permanent way 
with dynamite, thua cutting off the enemy's means of com- 
munication. This accomplished, he fell back upon his supports 
at Adswood, and they, at about 2 a.m., retreated with the 
reserves to the embankment of the North -Western Eailway 
which carries the line from Stockport to Whaley Bridge, aud 
took up a strong position to assist in the defence of Stockport. 

The latter town was defended on three sides by railway 
embankments, which were now occupied by strong bodies of 
Regulars, with several Maxims. One embankment ran from 
the west boundary of the town to Middlewood Junction, 
another from Middlewood to Marple, and a third from Marple 
to Mayercrott. Throughout the night the defenders were in 
hourly expectation that an attack would be made upon their 
positions, with the object of investing Stockport as a pre- 
liminary to the assault on the defensive Unes north of the 
Mersey ; but the enemy apparently had other objects, and 
the disaster to the British cavalry patrol on the Wilmslow 
road was, unfortunately, followed by a second aud more serious 
one. The Cossacks and Dragoons that followed the British 
cavalry scouts overtook them just as they had joined their 
reserves, a short distance beyond Pimgate, about half-past two. 
A fierce fight ensued, and the force of British cavalry and 
infantry was gradually drawn into a cunningly-devised trap, 
and then there suddenly appeared a great force of Russians, 
who simply swept down upon them, slaughtering the whole of 
them with brutal ferocity, not, however, before they had 

The Eve of Battle 

fought desperately, and inflicted enormous loss upon the 

Having totally annihilated that detachment of defenders, 
the Russians marched into Cheadle, and, after sacking the 
little town, burned it, together with the Grange, the Print 
Works, the railway station, St, Mary's Church, and a number 
of large mills. 

The great army ot the Tsar had bivouaced, reserving its 
strength for a desperate dash upon Manchester. But the 
British outposts stood wakeful and vigilant, ready at any 
moment to sound the alarm. To those entrenched beyond the 
winding Mersey, soaked by the heavy rain, and spending the 
dark hours in anxiety, there came over the dismal country 
the sound of distant rifle-Gring mingling with the roll of the 
thunder. Ere long they knew that every man would be fight- 
ing for his life gainst the great hordes of invaders who would 
descend upon them swiftly and mercilessly. Across the country 
from the Peak away to Cheater, the Briton bravely faced his 
foe, an.xioua and vigilant, awaiting breathlessly tlie progreaa 
of eveuta 

Thus passed the stormy, oppressive night, till the grey 
dawn of a fateful day. 



IITH the first streak of daylight the anxious 
oxcited crowds of men and women, surging up 
and down the principal streets of Manchester, 
were alarmed by the sounds of heavy firiog. 
A terrible panic instantly ensued. The battle 
had actually commenced ! 
Half-starved operatives, with pate, wan faces, stood in 
groups in Deansgate, Market Street, Piccadilly, and London 
Eoad, while men, armed with any weapons they coulJ obtain, 
rushed out along the main roads to the south of the city tu 
assist in its defence. Lancashire men exhibited commendable 
patriotism, even though they had not hesitated to criticise the 
administration of our War Department ; for now at the critical 
hour not a man flinched from his duty, both old and young 
taking up arms for their country's honour. 

During the eventful night at all approaches to the city 
from the south the roads had been thrown into a state of 
hasty defence. A formidable barricade had been conatructed 
at a point in the Stretford Eoad close to the Botanical Gardens 
to prevent the enemy from advancing up the Chester or Stret- 
ford New Eoads ; another was thrown up at the junction of 
Chorlton Koad, Withington Eoad, Upper Chorlton Eoad, and 
Moss Lane West ; a third opposite Eusholme Hall prevented 
any march up the Wilmslow Eoad; while others of minor 
strength blocked the Anson Eoad close to the Elms, the 

Manchester attacked bv Russians 

Ix>ndoii Eoad nt Longsiglit, the Hyde Road opposite Belle Vue 
Prison, and at Ivy Place in the Ashton Old Road. 

These had all been raised out of any materials that came to 
hand. Barrels, brick rubbish, planks, doors, flooring of houses 
hastily torn up, and scaffold poles lashed together; in fact, 
the barriers were huge piles of miscellaneous and portable 
articles, even furniture from neighbouring houses being utilised, 
while lengths of iron railings and wire torn from fences played 
an important part in these hastily-built defences. Behind them, 
armed with rifles, shot-guns, pistols, knives, and any other 
weapon that came handiest, the men of Manchester waited, 
breathlessly impatient in the expectation of attack. 

As dawn spread bright and rosy, and the mist cleared 
from the low meadows beside the Mersey, the distant firing 
was continuous, and the one or two sheila that fell and burst 
in the centre of the city were precursory of an awful sanguin- 
ary struggle. Scarcely a person in that densely populated 
area had slept that night, and the streets were everywhere 
full, the most exciting and heartrending scenes being witnessed. 

A great crowd that assembled in Albert Square was 
addressed by the Mayor from the steps of the Town Hall, and 
uraed to strain every muscle to drive back the invaders, in 
order that the disaster at Birmingham should not be repeated. 
Even as he spoke, in the interval of wild cheering and the 
energetic singing of the National Anthem and "Rule, Britannia," 
the distant crackling of rifles and the low booming of field guns 
could he heard. 

It was the din of battle— the catastrophe caused by the 
cunning spy Von Beilatein, who was still living in luxury in 
London, and who still posed aa the friend of Geoffley Engleheart 
and Violet Vajne ! 

Geoffrey was still with the Volunteers assisting in the 
defence of London, but the French spy who had sent the foiled 
orders to our Navy had apparently made good his escape 

Here, in Manchester, the sound of the guns aroused that 
patriotic enthusiasm latent in the heart of every Briton. True, 
they were weary, famished, ill from lack of food, yet they were 

202 The Great War in England in 1897 

fiercely determined that the invader should never tread their 
Htreeta, nor should incendiaries burn or Bussian artillery destroy 
their handsome buildings — monuments of England's wealth and 
■p-eatnesa. In St. Peter's Square, at a mass meeting attended 
by nearly twelve thousand people, a deraonatration was made 
against the enemy, and it was resolved that every man should 
act his part in the struggle, and that no quarter should be shown 
ihe legions of the Tsar ; while at another impromptu meeting 
held in Piccadilly, in the open space opposile the Infirmary, 
the conduct of the Kussians before Birmingham was denounced; 
and some speakers, using violent language, lashed their hearers 
into a frenzy of mad excitement, causing an eager rush to the 
barricades in readiness for the terrible fray. 

As the Bun shone out pale and yellow in the stormy sky, 
the fighting spread quickly down the Mersey banks from 
Haughton away to Flixton, It became fiercest around Stockport, 
and over the level pastures the white smoke of rifles puffed from 
every bush, wall, and fence. 

The Russians were the superior force, for, while all were 
trained soldiers, not more than a third of the defenders had 
taken the Queen's shilling, and not more than half of them had 
ever had an hour's drill in their lives. They were simply 
volunteers who had found their own arms and banded for the 
defence of their homes. 

The soldiers of the Tsar, trained under the most rigorous 
discipline, had considerably improved in tactics, in drill, and in 
munitions of war since the Crimea, —a fact overlooked by the 
majority of Britons, — and they had now taken possession of 
every strategical position where batteries might be established. 
After fierce fighting over Lyme Park across to Norbury Hall, 
in which the Kussians lost very heavily owing to the British 
gun fire from the railway embankment, a great charge was 
made by an enormous body of infantry, who succeeded, after 
several futile attempts, in carrying the position, and driving the 
British artillerymen back to the road which runs from Stockport 
to Mar pie. 

The embankment which thus fell into the hands of the 



Manchester attacked bv Russians 203 

Muscovite infantry formed one of the strongest defences of 
Stockport, therefore they at once moved the guns up towards 
Davenport Station, and commenced shelling the city with the 
defenders' own guns ! 

The panic caused in Stockport was awful, when without 
warning shells commenced to explode in the crowded barricaded 
streets, but the Russians were not allowed to have things their 
own way for long. The British batteries on the opposite railway 
embankment between Heaton Norris aud New Mills formed up 
at the junction almost opposite Davenport, and opened a terrific 
fire upon the captured guns. 

For half an hour this continued, and the Russians, standing 
in an exjiosed position right on the sky-line, were being swept 
away by British shells, when suddenly the enemy were joined 
by reinforcements, whereupon a small force of British infantry, 
who had been brought quickly along, unperceived by the enemy 
from Marple, suddenly swarmed up the embankment at Norbury, 
and, charging along to the Russian position, added a strong rille 
fire to that of their artillery. 

The ofQcer commanding the British batteries watched the 
infantry advance through his field glass, and in a few minutes 
suddenly ceased his fire, so as to allow the infantry to make the 
dash for which they were preparing. A heliograph signal was 
flashed from the batteries, and then, without hesitation, the 
order was given to chaise. 

It was a terribly exciting moment If they succeeded they 
would in all probability save Stockport. If they were driven 
back the town was doomed. 

With admirable pluck the British rushed upon the guns, 
and for a few minutes there was a fierce stru^le hand to 
hand. Russians, although making a most desperate stand, 
were every moment being impaled on British bayonets, or, 
pierced by bullets, they rolled down the slopes into ditches 
covered in stagnant slime. Hacked to pieces by the email but 
gallant force of Britons, the enemy were forced at last to give 
iu and retire, leaving more than half their number killed j but 
with admirable tact, the fugitives were forced down the bank 

204 The Great War in England in 1897 

nearest the British batteries. Thus they fell into a trap, for 
iiB BOOH aa they attempted to recover themselves, and make a 
dash to reorganise tlieir line of communications, two British 
Maxims uttered their sharp rattle, and the whole force were 
simpiy mowed down wliere they stood. 

The fight had been a most desperate one, but, thanks to the 
heroic charge of the British iijautry, Stockport woa again 
safe, and the guns once more in the hands of her defenders. 

Meanwhile, fighting of the fiercest possible description was 
taking place across the meadows lying between Norbury aud 
ISramhall, and the Russians, unable to withstand the withering 
British fire, were gradually forced back to Cheadle Huliiie, 
where they were surprised by the defenders and utterly 
routed. So great was the slaughter, that it is estimated that 
ill this engagement alone, after the recapture of the guns by 
ihe British, over 4000 llussians were shot down and 3000 
taken prisoners I 

The Busaians, finding how desperate was the resistance, and 
how heavily they were losing, quickly brought up stroug 
reinforcements upon Cheadle, and, after a fiercely-contested 
conflict, succeeded in driving back the small British force, they 
being compelled to retreat back over tlie Meraey to Parr's 
Wood and Didsbury, afterwards blowing up the bridges, and 
keeping up a hot fire from the bank, where a large body of 
Volunteers were already entrenched. By this means, although 
they were unable to save Cheadle from being burned, they 
succeeded, by reason of the excellence of their position and the 
admirable tactics they displayed, in mowing down another 
aOOO of the Tsar's soldiers. In this instance the laurels 
remained with a portion of the llancliester Voliuiteer Brigade. 
the effect of whose rifle fire was appalling. 

It was now about ten o'clock, and the sky had cleared for 
a brilliant day. At Chapel-en-Ie-Frith a large detachment of 
Cossacks had been swept away by a body of British Hussars 
who had suddenly descended upon Whitehough, while almost 
at the same moment a British battery that had been hastily 
established on Chinley Churn succeeded in wiping out a body 

Manchester attacked by Russians 205 

of infantry that was advancing with all speed in the neighhour- 
liood of Yeardsley HalL But one of the most sanguinary 
portions of the battle waa the conflict wliich spread westward 
from Che&dle across to Altrinchani, Lymm, and Warrington. 
Already Altrincham had fallen. The fine villas of wealthy 
Manchester tradesmen and manufacturers, deserted by their 
owners, had been entered by the uncouth Muscovites and 
sacked. Every nook and comer had been searched for plate, 
jewellery, and money, paintings had been ruthlessly torn 
down, furniture broken and burned, and Russian troopers had 
made merry in many a handsome drawing-room. Old Field 
Hall and Timperly Hall had both been ransacked and set on 
fire with petroleum, while every house at Dunham Massey had 
Ijcen destroyed by incendiaries. 

Elated over their successes, the Bussiaus were collecting 
their forces preparatory to a decisive iiish over the Mersey to 
Strettord, intending to take that place, and advance by that 
route upon Manchester. The defenders, who had been warned 
of this through spies, awaited their chance, and suddenly, 
when the Russians least expected an attack, a body of British 
cavalry, hacked by infantry, crossed the Mersey, and sweeping 
down the level turnpike road to Sale, came upon their 
opponents before they were aware of their presence. The 
effect of this was frightful A small body of British Hussars, 
with some Lancashire Yeomanry, made a splendid chai^, 
exhibiting magnificent courage, and cut their way clean through 
the KuBsian hues with irresistible force ; while the infantry, 
advancing cautiously, and taking every advantage of the small 
cover afforded on that level country, poured forth a deadly rifle 
fire. Indeed, so gallant was this charge, that the Tsar's forces 
were almost annihilated. They endeavoured to make a stand 
near the cross-roads leading from Carrington Moss, hut the 
rifle fire of the defenders was so heavy that they dropped by 
hundreds under the deadly rain of British bullets. 

The disaster to the Russians being signalled back by them 
to their reserves at Tatton Park and around Knutsford, hod 
tlie effect of bringing up an enormous force of infantry. 

Signallers were at work in all directiona, nnd those who 
watehed the progress of the action found the next two honra 
full of exciting inomente. It was apparent at once that the 
Kussians had marked out Stretford as the gate by which they 
intended to enter Manchester, but they must have been misled 
by their spies as to the strength of the defenders in this 

Indeed, if they had surveyed the whole of the southern 
line defending the city, they could not have discovered a point 
more strongly fortified ; therefore it was a somewhat curions 
fact that they should have concentrated their forces upon that 
part. Possibly it was because they had formed an opinion by 
studying their Ordnance Maps — so generously provided for 
them by the British Department of Agriculture at a cost of 
one shilling each — that, if they succeeded in breaking the 
defence at Stretford, they would also secure the road running 
in a circular direction up to Barton, by which means they 
could enter Manchester by way of Eccles, Pendleton, and 
Salford at the same time as the march through Traftbrd. Such 
a design was, of course, cleverly planned. It must be admitted 
that, from a strategical point of view, the taking of Stretford 
would mean the fall of Manchester, a fact which the Buseian 
commanding officer had not overlooked. 

But the soldiers of the Tsar had reckoned without their 
hoata They only saw along the Mersey a thin and apparently 
weak line of defence, a massing of defenders without undue 
ostentation and without any particular show of strength. A 
balloon sent up by the Russians to reconnoitre from Sale had 
been fired at and brought down by the defenders, but with 
this exception scarcely a shot had been fired north of the 
Mersey. Britons were watching and waiting. Their foe, 
ridiculing the idea that a town like Manchester, almost utterly 
devoid of positions whereon batteries might be established, 
could be successfully defended, therefore kept up a desiiltory 
fire upon the British detachment that had swept away their 
advance guard, in the meantime covering the massing of their 
enormous force. This latter consisted of Cossacl^, guards. 

Manchester attacked bv Russians 207 

infantry, artillery, and two companies of engineers, with 
pontoon sections, as well as a ballooning party and two Seld 

The British detachment that had crossed the river were, 
however, unaware of the enemy's intention until too late. 
The mantenvres of the Russians were being watched by a 
British balloon sent up from Old Trafford, hut the signals made 
by the aeronaut were unfortunately unobserved by the party, 
so desperately were they 6gbting ; otherwise a disaster which 
befell them on tlie sudden rush of the enemy towards the river 
might possibly have been averted. However, no blame could 
be attached to the officer in charge of the detachment. The 
men acted their part bravely, and displayed that courage of 
which the Briton speaks with justifiable piide, even though, 
alasl they fell, every one of them fighting till the last, their 
bodies being afterwards frightfully mangled by horses' hoofs, 
as hundreds of Cossacks rode over them. Not a man of that 
party escaped, but each one had once more shown the world 
what pluck and courage could accomplish, and had gone to hia 
grave as a sacrifice for his counti-y aud his Queen. 



I OON came and went. The fighting grew fiercer 
around Manchester, and the excitement more 
intense within the barricaded, starving city. 
Through the wildly agitated crowds of women 
of all classes, from manufacturers' wives to 
factory girls, who moved up and down Deans- 
gate, Miiiket Street, and many other principal thoroughfares, 
feverishly anxious for the safety of their husbands and brothers 
manning the improvised defences, rumours of terrible disaster 
spread like wildfire, and caused loud wailing and lamentation. 
Now rumour told of huge British successes away beyond 
the Mersey, a report which elated the pale-faced hungry ones, 
bat this being followed quickly by a further report that a force 
of the defeuders had been cut up and utterly annihilated oat- 
side Eeclea, the cheering died away, and give place to deep, 
long-drawn sighs and murmurings of despair. 

Upon the dusty, perspiring throngs the hot noonday sun 
beat down mercilessly, the low rumbling of artillery sounded 
gradually closer and more distinct, and the smoke of burnii^ 
buildings in Sale and Altrincham slowly ascending hung in 
the clear aky a black ominous cloud. 

By about two o'clock the line of defence south of the 
Mersey had been nearly all withdrawn, leaving, however, the 
defending line running south-east of Stockport to Buxton and 
the Peak. Although Cheadle had fallen into the enemy's 

Gallant Deeds by Cvclists 

bands, an English battery, established near the railway at 
Bainford, commanded the road from Cheadle to Stockport, and 
British infantry, supported by artillery, were stroDgly en- 
trenched from Bramhall Moor through Norbnry, Poynton, 
Waidaend, Booth Green, and Bollington, then turning east 
through Macclesfield Forest to Buxton. This line was being 
hourly strengthened, and although not strong enough to take 
the offensive, it was too strong for the Bussians to attack. 

All the bridges over the Mersey, from Gkzebrook to Stock- 
port, had been prepared for demolition, but it was not intended 
to carry this out except as a last resource. Cavalry aud 
cyclist acouta who were left on the south of the Mersey had 
withdrawn across the bridges, after exchanging shots with the 
skirmishers of the advance guards of the enemy who quickly 
lined the banks. The bridges north of Cheadle were then 
blown up, and the defenders were well posted in Parr Wood, 
near where it vm believed the enemy would attempt to ford 
the river. The Russians contented themselves with exchang- 
ing a few shots with the defenders until half an hour later, 
when some of their batteries had been established, and then 
the passage of the Mersey at Korthenden was commenced, 
under cover of the guns of the Russians near the Convalesceat , 
Hospital, north of Cheadle. 

As soon as the Russian scouts approached the river three ' 
British outposts could be seen in the wood- They were, how- ' 
ever, driven in by some Cossacks, who forded the river and 
attempted to enter tlie wood, but were all immediately killed 
by hidden skirmishers. The Russian engineers were mean- 
while busy building a pontoon bridge, which they soon com- 
pleted, and they then crossed after a short opposition, rapidly I 
deploying to right and left in order to surround Didsbury. ■ 

This, the first force to cross the Mersey, consisted of two 
battalions of the Kazan Regiment and two battalions of the 
Vladimir, with two 9 - pounder and one 6 - pounder field 
batteries and 100 cavalry. Didsbury had been put in a stata 
of hasty defence, and was held by two battalions of the de- 
fenders, who also established a Volunteer battery at Bank 

Tin-: Gkeat War in England in 1S97 

Hall, and lined the railway embankment in force as far aa 
C'horl ton -with -Hardy. 

The enemy's batt«ry at the Convalescent Home tad 
rendered the wood almost untenable, but it was soon silenced 
by the well-directed fire of the British Volunteer battery, aud 
the wood was then re-entered by the defenders. By this 
time, however, a large number of the enemy had taken up 
positions in it, aud the British were once more gradually driven 

One section, consisting of six cyclists, with a light machine 
gun mounted on a double cycle, was told off under Sergeant 
Irons of the Eoyal Lancaster, to defend a junction of two 
paths about half-way through the dense wood, and as the 
latter waa still occupied by the defenders, the enemy could 
only make slow progress, and the cavalry could only move fay 
the paths. 

Irons, taking advantage of a bend in the path, dismovmted 
his men, who, having drawn up their cycles under cover, were 
formed up each side of the road to support the gun. About 
thirty Eussian dragoons, with their infantry, who were work- 
ing through tlie wood, were soon upon them, aud, seeing such 
a small force barring the way, the cavalry charged. 

They, however, met with such a terribly hot reception that 
only two i-caclicd the guns, and these were immediately shot. 
The stand made by these seven men was a most noteworthy 
instance of the indomitable courage of the defenders. In 
those critical moments thej remained calm and collected, 
obeying the ordeiB of their sergeant as coolly as if they had 
been drilling in the barrack square. But their position waa 
one of momentarily increasing peri!, for bullets whistled about 
them, and the force against tliem was au overwhelming ona 
The Russian horses and men who had fallen blocked the road, 
and Irons therefore gave the order to fall in, as the sound of 
firing had now drawn many of the enemy's skirmishers towards 
the spot. 

Irons then re-formed his squad, one of whom had been shot 
and another wounded, and, taking the wonnded man with 

Gallant Deeds by Cyclists 

them, retired. Just as they were moving off the corporal waa 
wounded in the shoulder, and Irons bimself received a bullet 
in the left arm. About two hundred yards nearer Didsbury 
there was a clearing, with farm buildings on both sides of the 
road, and these had been loopholcd and occupied by a small 
force of Volunteers. Irons, sending the wounded man on to 
Didsbury, remained here with his gun, and a few minutes 
later the position was vigorously attacked. 

The conflict which ensued was of the fiercest description. 
The mere handful of defenders fought with such desperate 
courage that the great body of Russians which surrounded 
them were from the first moment gradually swept away by the 
steady and precise fire from the farm. Around the buildings 
the enemy swarmed in overwhelming numbers, but every man 
who showed himself waa promptly picked off by Britona shooting 
almost as coolly as if they were competing for prizes at Bisley. 

Sergeant Irons' small machine gun, with its single barrel, 
rattled out continuously, shedding its rain of lead in all 
directions, while from muzzles of Martini rifles peeping over 
walls and from windows tliere came a continuous stream of 
bullets, which played frightful havoc with the foe. Within the 
first ten minutes two men of the defending force had been - 
shot dead and one wounded ; still, their comrades never lost 
heart, for they were determined that their position should 
never fall into the enemy's hands. The Russian officer who 
was directing the operations of the attacking party rose and 
shouted in Russian to encourage his men, but in a moment an 
English bullet struck him, and, with a loud cry, he fell forward 
over the body of a dragoon, shot through the heart. 

The stand the cyclists and their companions made was nn- 
pnralleled. They fought on heroically, knowing the importance 
of the position they held, and how, if it were taken, other and 
more serious British casualties must follow. Firing steadily 
and with caution, they displayed such bravery that even the 
RuEsiana themselves were compelled to secretly admire them ; 
and at last, after nearly half an hour's desperate fighting, the 
Tsar's soldiers found themselves ho terubly cut up that they 

212 The Great War l^ England in 1897 

were forced to retire, leaving more than half their number dead 
and many wounded. 

While tliis had been in progress, tlie British battery bad 
totally destroyed the Itussian pontoon, and thus all means of 
retreat for this portion oE the invading force were cut off. 
About ten thousand men had crossed the river at this point, 
and although they had deployed at first, they had all been 
gradually driven into the wood by the fire from the railway 

As soon as the pontoon was destroyed, the British com- 
menced to advance through the wood, slowly driving back the 
Kussiaus, who then endeavoured to make for Stretford along 
tbe north bank of the river ; but on seeing their intention a 
brigade of defenders was immediately pushed along the railway, 
and two regiments of cavalry were hurried down the road to 

These succeeded in heading the enemy, and, suddenly 
swooping down, they destroyed the rest of the Cossacks who 
had escaped from the wood, as well aa the remainder of the 
force who had attacked the farm. 

Another British battery was then hurried forward, and 
after a stubborn fight the remainder of the invaders who had 
crossed surrendered. 

In this attack alone the Eussians lost in killed and wounded 
200 cavahy and nearly 2000 infantry and artillery, while 
Stretford and Stockport still remained safe. But along the 
long lioe east and west the battle raged with increasing 
fierceness. The conflict was a terrible one on every hand. 

The town of Lymm had been sacked, and was now burning, 
while hundreds of unoffending men, women, and children living 
in the quiet Clieshiro villages had been wantonly massacred 
by the Muscovites. The latter were, however, now suffering 
well-merited pimiahment, for in this bloody battle they were 
falling dead in hundreds. 

The Russian Eagle was at last being forced to bite the 



S long blazing day was one of many battles and 
much toilsome combat. 

Fightiog spread over a front of nearly nine 
miles, and during the engagement one wing of 
the Russians was swung across three miles. 
Hour after hour the tremendous warfare raged 
between the armies of Queen Victoria and the Tsar, and the 
bloodshed was everywhere terrible. 

Small parties of the Russian Telegraph Corps had ferried 
over the Ship Canal and the Mersey near Latchl'ord, and wires 
were run out, and posts established connecting the hfuidquarters 
at Altrincham, on the south of the river, with the well-advanced 
fOiard stations on the Liverpool Road towards Manchester at 
Woolstone, Hollinfare, and Lower Irlam. 

Sending forth a huge division of infantry upon his left, and 
three brigades of cavalry in the centre, the Russian General 
struck hard at the British line between Stretford and Choriton- 
w it h -Hardy. 

Meanwhile, beyond Ashton-on-Mersey the battle was also 
growing in intensity, and rifle and cannon were noisily engaged. 
A strong force of Russian infantry was at once pushed across 
to Partington, where they succeeded in crossing the Ship Canal 
and the Mersey, subsequently joining their advance guard at 
Lower Irlam. 

The British reserves at Newtoa-in-Maicerfield, however. 

214 The Great War in England in 1897 

swept down upon them, ami a temble fight quickly ensued. 
The defenders advanced very steadily by section rushes, keeping 
imder good firing discipline aa they went, and the enemy were 
driven on towards Flixton, where they were simply swept away 
by the 12-pounder batteries established there, while at the 
same time their wires crossing the Mersey were cut, and com- 
munication with their headquarters thus interrupted. 

While this was in progress, another and more important 
attack was being made on Stretford, The heavy artillery lire 
and the affairs of outposts in the earlier stages of the battto 
had been followed by a carefully-regulated long-range fire of 
infantry on both sides. 

The tactics the Kussians had displayed were as foUowa : — 
They had gradually developed their iiiantry in front of the 
Stretford position, and brought their pontoons in readiness for 
a dash over the river. Then, after some tentative movements, 
designed to feel the strength of our forces massed at this 
important point, they apparently determined to carry it at any 

On their right flank the enemy were losing very heavily, 
A telegraphic message received at Altrincham gave the head- 
quarters alarming news of constant reverses. A strong force 
of infantry marching along the banks of the Etherow from 
Compstall, intending to get to Hyde by way of Mottram and 
Grodley Junction, had been attacked by British infantry and a 
couple of 9-poundera, and totally annihilated ; while at the 
same time, about a thousand men attacking a British battery 
on the hill at Charlesworth had been cut up and forced to 
retreat, being followed by some Lancers right down to Ludwortli 
Houses, where they were nearly all killed or wounded. 

Indeed, times without number during that memorable day 
the Kussians made fierce attacks upon our positions on the edge 
of the Peak district, but on each occasion they were hurled 
back with fearful loss by the thin line of defenders holding the 
high ground, 

A battery we had established on the crown of the hill at 
Wemethwas charged again and again by Cossacks and Dragoons, 

Great Battle on the Mersey 

bnt our men, displaying cool conrage at the critical moments, 
fought desperately, ami mowed down the foe in a manner that 
was remarkable. 

The Russians, having decided to carry Stretford, were 
making vigorous demonstrations towards the Peak, aud in the 
direction of Flixton, in order to distract our attention. They 
occupied us at many points iu the vast semicircle, and by thus 
engaging us all along the line, endeavoured apparently to 
prevent us from reinforcing the point at Stretford wliich they 
intended gaining. Both invaders aud defenders gradually 
extended iu order to meet outflanking movementa, and this was 
the cause of another sudden British success. It was a foregone 
conclusion that such on extension would exceed the limits of 
defensive power on one side or the other, aud then blows would 
be struck with the object of breaking the too extended line. 

What occurred is, perhaps, best related by one of the special 
correspondents of the Daily News, who, in his account of the 
battle, published two days later, said — 

" About three o'clock I was at Barton with the force of 
infantry who were holding the ixKid to Warrington, when we 
unexpectedly received telegraphic information from head- 
(juarters of a rapid extension of the enemy's left flank. A 
brigade which I accompanied was pushed on at once down to 
Holtinfare, where we reinforced those who had been so success- 
ful in cutting up the enemy at Lower Irlam half an hour before. 
We then extended along the Liverpool Koad, past Warrington, 
a<) far as Widnes. I remained with a small detachment at 
Hollinfare awaiting developments, when suddenly we were 
informed that the enemy had thrown a pontoon bridge over the 
Mersey at its confluence with the Bollin, and that a great body 
of infantry, with machine guns, had left L)T3im, where they 
had been lying inactive, and were already crossing. There 
were not more than one hundred of us, mostly men of the 
Loyal Lancashire from Preston and a few of the Manchester 
Pegiment ; but at the word of command we dashed down the 
road for nearly a mile, and then leaving it, doubled across the 
fields to Rixton Old Hall, where we obtained cover. 

2i6 The Gkfat War in Engi.amd in 1897 

" The Russians had chosen the most advantageous spot 
they could find to cross, for on the opposite hank there was a 
small thick wood, and in this they remained quite concealed 
until they suddenly dashed out and got across. Numbers had 
already reached our side ami were deploying, wlien our rifles 
spoke out sharply, and, judging from the manner in which the 
enemy were exposed, our fire was quite unexpected. About 
Ihirty of our men, kneeling behind a wall, kept up a vigorous 
tire, emptying their magazines with excellent eft'cct upon the 
grey-coats swarming over the improvised bridge. 

" Still it was impossible to keep them back, for the force 
effecting a passage was very much larger than we had antici- 

" A few minutes later, having ascertained the extent of the 
attack, our signallers opened comnmnication with Higher Irlam, 
nnd the information was conveyed on to Barton, whence the 
heliograph flashed the news down to Stretford. 

" Suddenly, however, in tlie midst of a shady clump of trees 
there was a loud rattle and continuous flashing. The enemy 
had brought a lO-harrelled Nordenfelt Jnta pl^y. fuid it was 
raining bullets upon us at the rate of a tliousand a minute t 

"The wall behind which I was crouching was struck by a 
perfect hail of lead, and there was a loud whistling about 
my ears that was particularly disconcerting. Nevertheless 
our men had in their sudden dash for the defence secured an 
e.iicellent position, and only three were killed and five wounded 
by this sudden outburst. 

"The struggle during the next few minutes was the moat 
desperate 1 have ever witnessed. At the moment of peril our 
men displayed magnificent pluck. They seemed utterly uncon- 
cerned at their imminent danger, and lay or crouched, flritig 
independently with calm precision, A dozen or so fell 
wounded, however, and a sergeant who knelt next to me, and 
who was shooting through a hole in the wall, was shot through 
tho heart, and fell dead while in the act of making an observa- 
tion to me. 

" The men who had attacked us were a fierce-looking set. 

Great Battle on the Mersey 

mostly composed of Tchuwakes and Monlwa from the central 
district of the Volga, and renowned as among the best infantry 
that the Tsar can command. 

" Rifles bristled from every bit of cover around us, and it 
was really mar\ellous that we scored such success. Indeed, it 
was only by reason of the courageous conduct of every indi- 
vidual man that the successful stand was made against sucli 
overwhelming numbers. We knew that if the enemy forced 
the passage and annihilated us, they would then be enabled to 
outHank our force, and get round to Eccles and Pendleburj — a 
disaster which might result in the rapid investment of Man- 
chester. Therefore we fought on, determined to do our very 
utmost to stem the advancing tide of destroyers. 

" Time after time our rifles rattled, and time after time tJie 
deadly Nordenfelt sent its hail of bullets around us. Preaently, 
however, we heard increased firing on our right, and then wel- 
come signals reached na from Martinscroft Green. We greeted 
them with loud cheering, for a force of our infantry and cavalry 
had returned along the road from Warrington, and, working in 
extended order, were bearing down upon the foe. 

" We ceased firing in that direction, and ere long we had 
the satisfaction of seeing the enemy's pontoon blown up, and 
then, with their retreat cut ofT, they became demoralised, anil 
were driven into the open, where we picked them off so rapidly 
that scarcely one man of the 1500 who had set his foot upon 
ihe Lancashire bank suivived. 

"From first to lust our men fought magnificently. The 
whole engagement was a brilliant and almost unequalled dis- 
play of genuine British bravely, and all I can hope is that the 
defenders of London will act their part with equal courage 
when the deci.'iive struggle comes." 



|HILE tills vigorona attack on tlie right Hank was 
in progreBS, ihe enemy made a sudden dash 
upon Stretford. 

The edge of the town itself — or rather 
suburb — lies but a short distance from the 
Mersey, and the turnpike road runs straight 
away over the river through Sale and Altrincham to Northwieh. 
At the end of the town nearest the river a road leading down 
from Barton joins the main road, and at tlie junction is a lai^ 
red-brick modem hotel, the Old Cock, while adjoining is the 
Manchester Tramway Company's stable and terminns. At a 
little distance behind lies a high embankment, which carries the 
railway from Manchester to Liverpool, while the Mersey itself, 
though not wide, has steep banks with earthworks thrown up 
to prevent floods. Hence the force holding this position found 
ready-made defences which were now of the utmost value. 

The defenders here included three batteries of Eoyal 
Artillery, one battalion of the Manchester Regiment, the 2nd 
Volunteer Battalion of the same regiment, and one of the 
Lancashire Fusiliers, a field company of Engineers, half the 
I4th (King's) Hussars with their machine gun section, and a 
company of signallers. Trenches had been dug at various 
points, and earthworks thrown up nil along the Une from 
Chorlton over to Flixton. Across the junction of the two roacJ!) 
opposite the Old Cock a great barricade had been constructed. 

The Fate of the Vanquished 

and behind this was a powerful batteiy that commanded the 
level country away towards Altrincbam. The bridges carrying 
the road and railway over the river had both been demolished 
by engineers, and many other precautions had been taken to 
prevent the enemy forcing a passage across. 

At last, with a swiftness that was surprising, the expected 
assault was made. Its strength was terrific, and the carnage 
on both aides appalling. 

The first dash across was effected by the Busstans from the 
rifle range near Old Hall, and this was rapidly followed by . 
another from the bank opposite the battery at Stretford, while 
further down a third attack was made near Mersey House, 
close to Ashton. 

Of the three, the strongest, of course, was that upon Stret- 
ford. The enemy had. by a good deal of neat manceuvring, 
brought their main body within the triangle bounded on the 
one side by the road from Cfaeadle to Altrincham, on the second 
by the road from the latter place to the river, and the third by 
the river itself. 

Pontoons were floated at many points, and while some 
cavalry forded the river, infantry and artillery rapidly crossed 
in the face of a terrific fire which was pouring upon them. 

Smokeless powder being used, the positions of the invaders 
were not obscured, and it could be seen that the British were 
effecting terrible execution. Hundreds of the foe who were in 
the act of crossing were picked off, and shells falling upon the 
pontoons destroyed them. The latter, however, were quickly 
replaced, and the force of the Tsar, by reason of the over- 
whelming numbers that had hurled themselves upon Stretford, 
succeeded, after a desperately-contested fight, in breaking the 
line of defence between Chorlton-with-Hatdy and Fallowfield, 
and advancing by short rushes upon Manchester. 

But the British infantry in their trenches behaved 
splendidly, and made the roads from Old Hall at Sale right 
along to Partington quite untenable, so the continuous advance 
of the enemy cost them very dearly. 

BuEsiau shells bursting in Stretford killed and injured large 

Dumbers of the defeQdera. Two of tbem struck the Old Cock 
in rapid aueceBsion, almost completely demolishing it, but the 
debris was quickly manned, and rifles soon spoke from its 
ruined walls. Again, a shell exploding in the largo tram 
stables, set a hay store on fire, and this burned furiously, while 
away in the centre of the town the Public Library nnd a 
number of shops in the vicinity had also been ignited in a 
similar manner. 

At last the thousands of grey-coats swarming over the 
. country fell in such enormous numbers upon the British rifle 
pits on the Mersey bank, that the first line of defence was at 
length utterly broken down ; but in doing this the enemy's front 
bad become much exposed, whereupon the Maxims on the rail- 
. way embankment between the river and Barton suddenly burst 
forth a perfect hail of bullets, and in a short time a whole 
division of Russian infantry, cavalry, and artillery had been 
literally swept out of existence. 

The batteries down in the Stretford Road, combined with 
those on the embankment, had np to this moment played 
greater havoc with the foe than any other. The men of the 
Manchester Regiment, both Regulars and Volunteers, were dis- 
playing the greatest coolness; but unfortunately the Lanca- 
shire Fusiliere and the Loyal North Lancashire, who had 
manned the trenches, had been partially annihilated, the 
majority lying dead, their bodies scattered over the level fields 
and roads. Yet, notwithstanding the strenuous opposition of 
the British batteries at this point, the Russians were bringing 
up huge reinforcements from Altrincham, Cheadle, and 
Northenden, and by estublisbing strong batteries commanding 
Stretford, they at last, about five o'clock, succeeded in killing 
nearly half the gallant defenders, and driving back the sur- 
vivors up the Barton Road. 

The tide of grey-coats rushing onward, captured the Biitish 
guns, and although the batteries on the railway embankment 
still held out, and the enemy suffered heavily from their 
Maxims, yet they pressed on into Stretford town, aud com- 
menced to sack it Messrs. Williams, Deacon's Bank, was 

The Fate of the Vanquished 

entered, the safee blown opeu, and large sums in gold and 
notes abBtracted, shops were entered and looted, and hooses 
ransacked for jewellery. 

Thus Stretford fell 

Its streets ran with blood; and on, over the bodies of it^ 
brave defenders, the hordes of the Great White Tsar marched 
towards Manchester. 

Meanwhile the British batteries on the railway embank- 
ment had also fallen into the hands of the Russians, who were 
now driving the survivora over towards Barton. They did not, 
however, retreat without a most desperate resistance. A row 
of thatched and white-washed cottages at the bend of the road 
they held for a long time, emptying their magazine rifles with 
deadly effect upon their pursuers, but at last they were driven 
north, and half an hour later joined their comrades who had 
massed at Barton, but who had been attacked in great force 
and fallen back in good order to Pendleton. 

By this time the euemy, having pierced the line of outposts, 
had occupied Barton and Eccles. At the former place they 
had set on fire a number of factories, and out of mere desire 
to cause as much damage to property as possible, they had 
blown up both the bridge that carried the road over the 
Ship Canal, and also destroyed the magnificent swinging 
aqueduct which carried the Bridgewater Canal over the 

This great triumph of engineering— one of the moat success- 
ful feats of the decade — was blown into the air by charges 
of gun-cotton, and now lay across the Ship Canal a heap of 
fallen masonry and twisted iron cantilevers, while the 
water from the Bridgewater Canal was pouring out in 
thousands of tons, threatening to flood the surroundin<{ 
district, and the church opposite had been wrecked hy the 
terrific force of the explosion, 

A frightful panic had been caused in Manchester by these 
reverses. The scenes in the streets were indescribable. At 
the barricades, however, the enemy met with a desperate 

222 The Great War in England in 1897 

Three great columns were marching on Manchester at that 
moment. The first, having broken the line of defence near 
Fnllowfield, divided into two divisions ; one, advancing up the 
Wilmslow Eoad, Btonned the great barricade opposite Kusholme 
Hall, while the other appeared on the Withington Boad, and 
commenced to engage the defences that had been thrown across 
Moss Lane and Chorlton Eoad. The second column advanced 
to where Eccles Old Koad joins Broad Street at Pendleton ; 
and the third, sweeping along up the Stretford Road, met with 
a terrific resistance at the Botanic Gardens at TrafFord, the 
walls of which, on either side of the road, were loopboled and 
manned by infantry and artillery ; while opposite, the Blind 
Asylum was held by a regiment of infantry, and a strong 
barricade, with a battery of 12-pounders, had been established 
a little further towards the city, at the junction of the Chester 
and Stretford New Eoads. 

The enemy advanced here in enormous force ; hut, seeing 
the formidable defences, a number of cavalry and infantry 
turned off along the Trafford Road, blew up the bridge of the 
Ship Canal in order to prevent a pursuing force of British 
cavaby from following, and after setting tire to the great 
dock warehouses and crowd of idle ships, continued along 
to Eccles New Eoad, where, however, they were met by 
another force of our Hussars, and toteJly routed and cut 

From this point the tide of battle turned. It was already 
half-past five, and the sun was sinking when the Eossian 
forces prepared for their final onslaught. Cossacks and 
Dragoons charged again and again, and infantry with bayoaeta 
fixed rushed onward to the barricades in huge grey legions, 
only to be met by a sweeping rain of British bullets, 
which filled the roads with great heaps of dead. In these 
defences, rendered doubly strong by tbe patriotic action 
of the stalwart civilians of Manchester, the invaders could 
make no breach, and before every one of them they fell in 

The men in the entrenchments saw the foe were falling 

The Fate of the Vanquished 

back, and found the attack growing weaker. TheQ signals 
were made, and they raised a long hearty cheer when the 
tmth was flashed to tliem. 

The news was inspiriting, and they fought on with redoubled 
I'nergy, for they knew that the great body of reserves from 
Ashton-under-Lyne, Hyde, and C'ompstall, as well as those 
who had been occupying the hills on the edge of the Peak, 
had been pushed right past Stretford to Barton, and were 
now advancing like a huge flln, outflanking the Russians and 
attacking them in their rear. 

The British tactics were excellent, for while the invaders 
were attacked by cavalry and infantry on the one side, tlie 
defenders manning the barricades made a sudden sortie, 
cutting their way into them with bayonet ruslies which 
they could not withstand, and which had a terribly fatal effect 

The Tsar's forces, unable to advance or retreat, and being 
thus completely surrounded, still fought on, and as they 
refused to surrender, were literally massacred by thousands 
by British troops, while many gnns and horses were captured, 
thousands of rounds of ammimilton seized, and many men 
taken prisoners. 

The fight in that evening hour was the most fiercely con- 
tested of any during that day. The fate of Manchester was in 
the hands of our gallant soldiers, who, although necessarily 
losing heavily before such an enormous army, behaved with a 
courage that was magnificent, and which was deserving the 
highest commendation that could be bestowed. 

As dusk gathered into darkness, the enemy were being 
forced back towards the Mersey over the roads they had so 
recently travelled, but still fighting, selling their lives dearly. 
The highways and fields were strewn with tlieir dead and 
dying, for while infantry fired into their frout from the cover 
of houses and walls, our cavalry, with whirling sabres, fell 
upon them and hacked them to pieces. Neither Cossacks 
nor Dragoons proved a mutch for our Hussars, Lancers, and 
Yeomanry, and even in face of the machine guns which the 
Kussians brought into play in an endeavour to break the line 

2 24 The Great War in England in 1897 

and escape, our infantry dashed on with grand and magnificent 
charges, quickly seizing the Nordenfelts, turning their own 
guns against them, and letting loose a fire that mowed down 

Across the neighhouring country our forces swept in good 
attack formation, and all along that great line, nearly six miles 
in length, the slaughter of Russians was frightfuL 

In the falling gloom fire flashed from the muzzles of rifles, 
cannon, and machiue guns, and far above the terrihle din 
sounded shrill cries of pain and hoarse shouts of despair as 
the great Army that had devastated our heloved country wiUi 
fire and swoi'd was gradually anuiliilated. In those roads in 
the south of the city the scenes of bloodshed were awful, aa a 
force of over 20,000 Russians were slaughtered because they 
would not yield up their arms. 

Outside Stretford a last desperate stand was made, but 
ere long some British cavalry came thundering along, and 
cut them down in a frightful manner, while about the same 
time a Russian flying column was annihilated over at Davj-- 
Hulme ; away at Carrington a retreating brigade of infantry 
which had escaped over the river was suddenly pounced upon 
by the defenders and slaughtered ; and at Altrincham the 
enemy's headquarters were occupied, and the staS' taken 
prisoners. Ere the Russian General could be forced to 
surrender, however, lie placed a revolver to his head, and 
in full view of a number of his officers, blew his brains 

Then, when the moou shone out from behind a dark bank 
of cloud just before midnight, she shed her pale light upon 
the wide battlefield on both sides of the Mersey, whereon lay 
the bodies of no fewer than 30,000 Russians and 12,000 
British, while 40,000 Russians and 16,000 British lay wounded, 
nearly 10,000 Russians having been disarmed and marched 
into the centre of the city as prisoners. 

The victory had only been achieved at the eleventh hour 
by dint of great courage and forethought, and being so swift 
and effectnal it was magnificent. 

The Fate of the Vanquished 225 

Manchester was safe, and the public rejoicings throughout 
that night were unbounded. 

The loss of life was too awful for reflection, for 12,000 
of Britain's heroes — ^men who had won the battle — ^were lying 
with their white lifeless faces upturned to the twinkling 





|N^ Sussex the situation was now most criticnL 
The struggle between the French invaders and 
the line of Volunteers defending London was 
long and desperate, but our civilian soldiers 
were bearing their part bravely, showing how 
Britons could fif;ht, and day after day repelling 
the repeated assaults with a vigour that at once proved their 

Three days after the battle at Miinchester had been fought 
and won, a man with slouching gait and woeful countenance, 
attired in a cheap suit of shabby grey, stood on the steps of 
the Gmnton Hotel, at Granton, and with his hands thrust int» 
his pockets gazed thoughtfully out over the broad waters of 
the Firth of Forth, to where the Fifeshire hills loomed dark 
upon the horizon. Slowly his keen eyes wandered away east- 
ward to the open sea, an extensive view of which he obtained 
from the flight of steps whereon he stood, and then with a sigh 
of disappointment he buttoned his coat, and, grasping his stick. 
descended, and walked at a leisurely pace along the road 
through Newhaven to Leith. 

" To-night. To-night at sundown ! " he muttered to himself, 
as he bent his head to the wind. 

Involuntarily he placed his hand to his hip to reassure 
himself that a letter he carried was still safe. 

" Bah ! " he continued, " I declare I feel quite timid to-night 

230 The Great War in England in 1897 

Everything is bo quiet here; the houBes look deserted, and 
everybody seems to have left the place. Surely they can have 
no fluapicioD, and — and if they had ? What does it matter ? — 
eh, what ? " 

Quickening his pace, he passed down the long, quaint 
street of Newhaven, lined on each side by ancient fishermen's 
cottages, and then, crossing the railway, passed under the wall 
of Leith Fort, whereon a couple of sentries were pacing. 
Glancing up at the two artillerymen, with the half-dozen 
obsolete guns behind them, and their background of grass- 
grown mounds and buildings, the wayfarer smiled. He was 
thinking how different would be the scene at this spot ere 

Leith Fort was a sort of fortified back-garden. The railway 
ran close to the sea, parallel with which was the highway, and 
upon higher ground at the back waa a block of buildings, 
before which a few black old cannoa were placed in formidable 
array, and in such a position as to be fully espoaed to any 
destructive projectiles fired from the sea. 

On went the down-at-heel wayfarer, his shifty eyes ever on 
the alert, viewing with suspicion the one or two persona he 
met Apparently he was e.\pecting the arrival of some ci-aft, 
for his gaze waa constantly turned towards the wide expanse 
of grey water, eager to detect the smallest speck upon the 
horizon. Any one who regarded him criticaUy might have 
noticed something remarkable about his appearance, yet not 
even his most intimate friends would have recognised in this 
broken-down, half-starved clerk, who had arrived at Grantou 
that morning, after tramping over from Glasgow, the popular 
man-about-town, the Count von Beilatein I 

"Those fools will aoon be swept away into eternity," he 
muttered to himself, as he glanced back in the direction of 
the fort " They will have an opportunity of tasting Russian 
lead, and of practising with their gima, which arc ordy fit for 
a museum. They mount guard to defend an attack ! Bah ! 
They seek their own destruction, for no force can withstand 
that which will presently appear to give theui a suddea 

A Shabby Wayfarer 

rousing. They wilt be elevated — blown into the air, together 
with their miserable guns, their barracks, and the whole of 
their antiquated paraphernalia. And to me the world owes 
this national catastrophe I I am the looker*on. These British 
have a proverb that the looker-on sees moet of the gama 
£i(n ! thai is full of truth." 

And he chuckled to himself, pursuing his way at the same 
pace, now and then glancing back as ir to assure himself that 
uo one dogged his footatepa. Dnrkness had crept on quickly 
as he passed along through the open country at Fillyside and 
entered Portobello, the little watering-place so popular with 
holiday makers from Edinburgh during the summer. Along 
the deserted promenade he strolled leisurely from end to end, 
and passing out of the town through Joppa, came at length to 
that nigged shore between the Salt Pans and Eastfield. The 
tide was out, so, leaving the road, he walked on in the darkness 
over the shingles until he came to a small cove, and a moment 
later two men confronted him. 

A few sentences in Russian were rapidly exchanged between 
the spy and the men, and then the latter at once guided him 
to where a boat lay in readiness, but concealed. Five minutes 
later the Count was being rowed swiftly but silently away into 
the darkness by six stalu art men belonging to one of the Tsar's 

The oars dipped regularly as the boat glided onwards, but 
no word was exchanged, until about twenty minutes later the 
men suddenly stopped pulling, a rope thrown by a mysterious 
but vigilant hand whistled over their heads and fell across 
them, and then they found themselves under the dark side 
of a huge ironclad. It was the new battleship, Admirai 
Orlovski, which had only just left the Baltic for the first time. 
Without delay the spy climbed on board, and was con- 
ducted at once by a young officer into the Admiral's private 

A bearded, middle-aged man, in handsome naval uniform, 
who was poring over a chart, rose as he entered. The spy, 
bowiug, said briefly in Bussiaa — 


" I desire to see Prince Feodor MazarofT, Admiral of the 

" I am at your service, m'sieiir," the other replied in French, 
motioning him to a chair. 

The Count, seatiog himself, tossed hia hat carelessly upon 
the table, explaiaiog that he had been sent hy the Russian 
Intelligence Department as bearer of certain important docu- 
ments which would materially assist him in his operations. 

" Yea," obaerved the Prince, " I received a telegram from 
the Ministry at Petersburg before I left Cliristiansaod, telling 
me to await you here, and that you would furnish various 

" That I am ready to do as far as lies in my power," replied 
the Count, taking from his hip jwcket a bulky packet, sealed 
with three great daubs of black wax. This he handed to the 
Prince, saying, " It contains maps of the country between 
Edinburgh and Glasgow, specially prejiared by our Secret 
Service, together with a marked chart of the Firth of Forth, 
and full detailed information regarding the troops remaining 
to defend this district." 

The Admiral broke the seals, and glanced eagerly through 
the contents, with evident satisfaction. 

" Now, what is the general condition of the south of Scot- 
land 1" the Prince asked, lounging back.twirhng his moustache 
with a self-satisfied air. 

" Totally uuprepared. It is not believed that any attack 
will be made. The military left north of the Cheviots after 
mobilisation were sent soutli to assist in the defence of 

" Let us hope our expedition to-night will meet with 
success. We are now one mile east of Craig Waugh, and in 
an hour our big guns will arouse Leith from its lethargy. 
Yon will be able to watch the fun from deck, and give us the 
benefit of your knowledge of the district. Is the fort at Leith 
likely to offer any formidable resistance ? " continued the 
AdmiraL " I sec the information here is somewhat vague 
upon that point." 

A Shabby Wayfarer 

" The place ia UBeless," replied the spy, as he stretched out 
his hand aod took a pencil and paper from the Prince's writing- 
table. " See ! I will sketch it for you. In the character of a 
starving workman who desired to volunteer I called there, and 
succeeded in obtainiug a good view of the interior. They have 
a. few modern guns, but the remainder are old muzzleloaders, 
which against such guns as you have on board here will be 
worse than useless." And as he spoke he rapidly sketched a 
plan of the defences in a neat and accurate manner, acquired by 
long practice. " The moat serious resistance will, however, be 
off^«d from Inchkeith Island, four miles oS* Leith. There has 
lately been established there a new fort, containing guns of the 
latest type. A plan of the place, which I succeeded in obtain- 
ing a few days ago, is, you will find, pinned to the chart of the 
Firth of Forth." 

The Admiral opened out the document indicated, and 
closely examined the little sketch plan appended. On the 
chart were a number of small squares marked in scarlet, 
surrounded by a blue circle to distinguish them more readily 
from the dots of red which pointed out the position of the 
lights. These squares, prepared with the utmost care by von 
Ijeilstein, showed the position of certain submarine mines, a 
plan of which he had succeeded in obtaining by one of hia 
marvellous master-strokes of finesse. 

" Thanks to you, Count, our preparations are now complete," 
observed the Prince, offering the spy a cigarette from hia silver 
case, and taking one himself. "Our transports, with three 
army corps, numbering nearly 60,000 men and 200 guns, 
are at the present moment lying 12 miles north of the Bass 
Kock, awaiting orders to enter the Firth, therefore I think 
when we land we shall " — 

A ray of brilliant white light streamed for a moment 
through the port of the cabin, and then disappeared. 

The Prince, jumping to his feet, looked out into the dark- 
ness, and saw the long beam sweeping slowly round over 
the water, lighting up the ships of his squadron in rapid 

234 The Great War in Engl,\nd in 1897 

" The search-lighta of Inclikeith ! " he gasped, with an 
imprecation. " I had no idea we were within their range, but 
now they have discovered lis there's no time to be lost. For 
the present I must leave yon. You will, of course, remain on 
board, and land with us " ; and .1 moment later he rushed on 
deck, and shouted an order which was promptly obeyed. 

Suddenly there was a low booming, and in another second 
a column of dark water rose as the first shot ricochetted about 
five hundred yards from their bows. Orders shouted in 
Eusaian echoed through the ship, numbers of signals were 
fxchanged rapidly with the other vessels, and the sea suddeuly 
became alive with torpedo boats. 

Time after time the British guns sounded like distant 
thunder, and shots fell in the vicinity of the Bassian Bhips. 
Suddenly, as soon as the men were at their quarters, electric 
signals rang from the conning-tower of the Admiral Orlovaki, 
and one of her 56-tonner8 crashed and roared from her tmret, 
and a shot sped away towards where the light showed. The 
noise immediately became deafening as the guns from nine 
other ships thundered almost simultaneously, sending a perfect 
hail of shell upon the island fort. In the darkness the scene 
was one of most intense excitement 

For the first time the spy found himself amidst the din of 
battle, and perhaps for the first time in his life his nerves were 
somewhat shaken as he stood in a convenient corner watching 
the working of one of the great guns in the turret, which 
regularly ran out and added its voice to the incessant thunder. 



JUtt the vessels were now under steam and 
approaching Inchkeith, when suddenly two 
Bhelta struck the Admiral Orlavski amidships, 
carrying away a portion of her superstructure. 
Several of the other vessels were also hit 
almost at the same moment, and shortly after- 
wards a torpedo boat under the stem of the flagship was 
struck hy a shell, and sank with all hands. Time after time 
the Eussian vessels poured out their storm of shell upon the 
fort, now only about a mile and a half distant ; but the British 
fire still continued as vigorous and more effective than at first. 
Again the flagship was struck, this time on the port 
quarter, but the shot glanced off her armour into the sea; 
while a moment later another shell struck one of her fighting 
tops, and, bursting, wrecked two of the machine guns, and 
killed half a dozen unfortunate fellows who had manned them. 
The debris fell heavily upon the deck, and the disaster, being 
witnessed by the spy, caused him considerable anxiety for his 
own safety. 

Even aa he looked he suddenly noticed a brilliant flash 
from one of the cruisers lying a little distance away. There 
was a terriflc report, and amid flame and smoke wreckage shot 
high into the air. An explosion had occurred in the magazine, 
and it was apparent the ship waa doomed ! Other disasters to 
the Russians followed in quick successioD. A cruiser which 

was lying near the Herwit light-buoy blazing away upon th& 
fort, suddenly rolled heavily and gradually heeled over, the 
■water around her being thrown into the air by an explosion 
beneath the surface. A contact mine had been fired, and the 
bottom ot the ship had been practically blown out, for a few 
minutes later she went down with nearly every soul on board. 

At the moment this disaster occurred, the Admiral Orlovaki, 
still discharging her heavy guns, was about half-way between 
the BriggB and the Pallas Eock, when a search-light illumi- 
iiated her from the land, and a heavy fire was suddenly opened 
upon her from Leith Fort. 

This was at once replied to, and while five of the vessels 
kept up their fire ujion Inchkeith, the three others turned 
their attention towards Leith, and commenced to bombard it 
with common sheU. 

How effectual were their efforts the spy could at once see. 
for in the course of a quarter of an hour, notwithstanding the 
defence offered by Leith Fort and several batteries on Arthur's 
Seat, at Granton Point, Wardie Bush, and at Seaside Meadows, 
near Portobello, fires were breaking out in various quarterB of 
the town, and factories and buildings were now burning with 
increasing fury. The great paraffin refinery had been set on 
fire, and tlie fames, leaping high into the air, shed a lurid glnre 
far away over the sea. 

Shells, striking the Corn Exchange, wrecked it, and one, 
flying away over the fort, burst in the Leith Distillery, with 
the result that the place was set on fire, and soon burned with 
almost equal fierceness with the paraffin works. The shipping 
in the Edinburgh, Albert, and Victoria Docks was ablaze, and 
the drill vessel H.M.S. Durham had been shattered and 
was burning. A great row of houses in Lindsay Itoad had 
fallen prey to the flames, while among the other large 
buildings on fire were the Baltic Hotel, the great goods station 
of the North British Kailway, and the National Bank of 

In addition to being attacked from the forts on the island, 
and on land, the Kussians were now being vigorously fired 

Landing of the Enemy at Leith 

upon by the British Coastguard ship Lnp^i-icuse, which, with 
the cruiser Active, and the gunboat cruisers Cockchnfer, Firm, 
and Watchfui, had now come within range. Soon, however. 

the enemy were reinforced hy stveral powerful vessels, and in 
the fierce battle that ensued the British ships were driven off. 
Then by reason of the reinforcements which the Bussians 

238 The Great War in England in 1897 

brought up, aad the great number of transports which wero 
now Etrriving, the defence, desperate though it had been, alas I 
broke down, and before midnight the invader set his foot apon 
Scottish soil. 

Ere tlie sun rose, a hiij^e force of 60,000 men had com- 
menced a march upon Edinburgh and Glasgow ! 

Events on shore during that never-to-be-forgotten night 
were well described by Captain Tiller of the Royal Artillery, 
stationed at Leith Fort, who, in a letter written to his young 
wife at Carlisle, on the following day, gave the following 
narrative : — 

" Disaster has fallen upon ua. The Russians have landed 
in Scotland, and the remnant of our force which was at Leith 
lias fallen back inland. On Friday, just after nightfall, 
we were first apprised of our danger by hearing heavy firing 
from the sea in the direction of Inchkeith Fort, and all 
civilians were sent on inland, while we prepared for the fight. 

" Very soon a number of ships were visible, some of them 
being evidently transports, and aa they were observed taking 
soundings, it was clear that an immediate landing was in- 
tended. Fortunately it was a light night, and while two 
Volunteer field batteries were sent out along the coast west to 
Cramond and east to Fisherrow, we completed our arrange- 
ments in the fort. With such antiquated weapons as were at 
our disposal defeat was a foregone conclusion, and we knew 
that to annoy the enemy and delay their landing would be the 
extent of our resistance. Some of our guns were, of course, 
of comparatively recent date, and our supply of ammunition 
was fair, but the Volunteer guns were antiquated 40-pounder 
muzzleloaders, which ought to have been withdrawn years ago, 
and the gunners had had very little field training. The 
arrangements for horsing the guns were also very ineERcient, 
and they had no waggons or transport Most of our forces 
having been drawn south, the only infantry available was a 
battalion and a halt — really a provisional battalion, for it was 
composed of portions of two Volunteer rifle regiments, with a 
detachment of Regulars. Our Regular artillery detachment 

Landing of the Enemy at Leith 

was, unfortunately, very inadequate, for although the arma- 
ment of the fort had been recently strengthened, the force had 
been weakened just before the outbreak of war by the despatch 
of au Indian draft. 

" It was apparent tliat the enemy would not attempt to 
destroy our position, but land and carry it by assault ; there- 
fore, while the Inchkeith guns kept them at bay, we under- 
mined our fort, opened our magazines, and got ready for a 
liltle target practice. 

" The Volunteer batteries sent eastward had been ordered to 
do what execution they could, and then, in the case of a reverse, 
to retire through Portobello and Duddingaton to Edinburgh, 
and those on tiie west were to go inland to Katho ; while we 
were resolved to hold the fort as long as possible, and if at last 
we were compelled to retire we intended to blow up the place 
before leaving- 

" As soon as we found the Kussian flagship within range, 
we opened fire upon her, and this action caused a perfect 
storm of projectiles to be directed upon ua. The town was soon 
in flames, the shipping in the harbour sank, and the martello 
tower was blown to pieces. Our search-hght was very soon 
brought into requisitiou, and by its aid some of the boats of 
the enemy's transports were sunk, while others came to grief 
on the Black Rocks. 

" By this time the enemy had turned their search-lights 
in every direction where they could see firing, and very soon 
our Volunteer batteries were silenced, and then Gran ton 
harbour fell into the hands of the enemy's landing parties. 
Having first rendered their guns useless, the survivors fell 
back to Corstorphine Hill, outside Edinbui^h, and we soon 
afterwards received intelligence that the Russians were land- 
ing at Gran ton in thousands. Meanwhile, although our 
garrison was so weak and ineKperienced, we nevertheless kept 
up a vigorous fire. 

" We saw how Inchketch Fort had been silenced, and how 
our Volunteer batteries had been destroyed, and knew that 
sooner or later we must share the same fate, and abandon oar 

position. As boatload after boatload of Russians attempted to 
land, we either sank them by shots from our guns or swept 
them with a salvo of bullets from our Maxims ; yet as soon 
as we had hurled back one landing party others took its 

" Many were the heroic deeds our gunners performed that 
night, as hand to hand they fought, and annihilated the 
Kussians who succeeded in landing; but in this frightful 
struggle we lost heavily, and at length, when all hope of an 
effective defence had been abandoned, we placed electric wires 
in the magazine, and the order was given to retire. This we 
did, leaving our search-light in position in order to deceive the 

" Half our number had been killed, and we aped across to 
Bonnington, running out a wire along the ground as wb went. 
The Russians, now landing rapidly in great force, swarmed into 
the fort and captured the guns and ammunition, while a party 
of infantry pursued us. But we kept them back for fully 
a quarter of an hour, until we knew that the fort would 
be well garrisoned by the invaders; then we sent a current 
through the wire. 

" The explosion that ensued was deafening, and its effect 
appalling. Never have I witnessed a more awful sight. 
Hundred of tons of all sorts of explosives and ammnnition 
were fired aimultaneously by the electric spark, and the whole 
fort, with nearly six hundred of the enemy, who were busy 
establishing their headquarters, were in an instant blown into 
the air. For several moments the space around us where we 
stood seemed filled with Hying diibris, and the mangled remains 
of those who a second before had been elated beyond measure 
by their success. 

"Those were terribly exciting moments, and for a few 
seconds there was a cessation of the firing. Quickly, however, 
the bombardment was resumed, and although we totally 
annihilated the force pursuing us, we fell back to Restalrig, 
and at length gained the battery that had been established on 
Arthur's Seat, and which was now keeping up a heavy fire 

Landing of the Exemy at Leitii 

upon the Eussiaa transports lying out in the Narrow Deep. 
Subsequently we went on to Dalkeith. Our situation is most 
critical in every respect, but we are expecting reinforoemeots, 
and a terrible battle is imminent." 

Thus the Bussiana landed three corps of 20,000 each 
where they were least expected, and at ouce prepared to invest 
Edinburgh and Glasgow. Three of the boats which came 
ashore at Leith that night, after the blowing up of the fort, 
brought several large mysterious-looking black bosea, which 
were handled with infinite care by the specially selected 
detachment of men who had been told off to take charge of 
them. Upon the locks were the official seals of the Kussian 
War Office ; and even the men themselves, unaware of their 
contents, looked upon them with a certain amount of suspicion, 
handling them very gingerly, and placing them in waggons 
which they seized from a builder's yard on the outskirts of the 

The officers alone knew the character of these mysterious 
consignments, and as they superintended the landing, 
whispered together excitedly. The news of the invasion, 
already telegraphed throughout Scotland from end to end, 
caused the utmost alarm; but had the people known what 
those black boxes, the secret of which was so carefully 
guarded, contained, they would have been dismayed and 

Truth to tell, the Russians were about to try a method 
of wholesale and awful destruction, which, although vaguely 
suggested in time of peace, had never yet been tested in the 

If successful, they knew it would cause death and desola- 
tion over an inconceivably wide area, and prove at once a 
moat extraordinary and startling development of modem war- 
fare. The faces of a whole army, however brave, would blanch 
before its terrific power, and war in every branch, on land and 
on sea, would become revolutionised. 

242 The Great War in England in 1897 

But the boxes remained locked and guarded. The secret 
was to be kept until the morrow, when the first trial was 
ordered to be made, aad the officers in charge expressed an 
opinion between themselves that a blow would then be struck 
that would at once startle and terrify the whole world. 



' ittiickiog EdiDburgh the besiegers at once 
". .(.ivured they Lad a much more difficult 
k than they had anticipated. The Buseian 
onslaught had hecQ carel'iiUy planned. Land- 
ing just before dawn, the 1st Corps, consist- 
ing of about twenty thonsand men, marched 
direct to Glasyow by way of South Queeosferry and Kirk- 
liston, and through Linlithgow, Backing and burning all three 
towns in the advance. 

The 3rd Army Corps succeeded, after some very sharp 
skirmishing, in occupying the Pentland Hills, in order to pro- 
tect the flanks of the first force, while a strong detachment 
was left behind to guard the base at Leith. The 2nd Corps 
meauwhile marched direct upon Edinburgh. 

The defenders, consisting of Militia, Infantry, Artillery, 
the local Volunteers left behind during the mobilisation, and a 
large number of civilians from the neighbouring towns, who 
had hastily armed on hearing the alarming news, were quickly 
massed in three divisions on the Lammermuir Hills, along the 
hills near Peebles, and on Tinto Hill, near Lanark. 

The Russian army corps whiuh marched from Leitb upon 
Edinburgh about seven o'clock on the following morning met 
with a most desperate resistance. On Arthur's Seat a strong 
battery had been established by tlie City of Edinbnrgh 
Artillery, under CoL J. F. Mackay, and the Ist Berwickshire, 

244 The Great War in England in 1897 


under Col. A. Johnston ; and on the higher parts of the 
Queen's Drive, overlooking the crooked little village of Dud- 
dingaton, guns of the 1st Forfarshire, under CoL Stewart-Sande- 
man, V.D., flashed and shed forth torrents of bullets and shell, 
which played havoc with the enemy's infantry coming up the 
Portobello and Musselburgh roads. Batteries on the Braid 
and Blackford Hills commanded the southern portion of the 
city ; while to the west, the battery on Coratorphine Hill pre- 
vented the enemy from pushing along up the high road from 

Between Jock's Lodge and Dtiddingston Mills the HuBsians, 
finding cover, commenced a. sharp attack about nine o'clock ; 
but discovering, after an hour's hard fighting, that to attempt 
to carry the defenders' position was futile, they made a sudden 
retreat towards Niddry House. 

The British commander, observing this, and suspecting 
their intention to make a circuit aud enter the city by way of 
Newington, immediately set his field telegraph to work, and 
sent news on to the infantry brigade at Blackford. 

This consisted mainly of the Queen's Volunteer Eifle 
Brigade (Royal Scots), under C!oL T. W. Jones, V.D. ; the 4th, 
5th, 6th, 'Zth, and Sth Volunteer Battalions of the Itoyal Scots, 
under Col. W. U. Martin, V.D., Col. W. I. Macadam, Col. Sir 
G. D. Clerk, Col. P. Dods, and Col. G. F. Melville respectively, 
with a company of engineers. The intelligence they received 
placed them on the alert, and ere long the enemy extended his 
flank in an endeavour to enter Newington. The bridges 
already prepared for demolition by the defenders were now 
promptly blown up, and in the sharp fight that ensued the 
enemy were repulsed with heavy loss. 

Meanwhile the formidable division of the 3rd Itussiau 
Army Corps guarding; the base at Lcith had attacked the Cor- 
storphine position, finding their headquarters untenable under 
its fire, and although losing several guns and a large number 
of men, they succeeded, after about an hour's hard fighting, in 
storming the hill and sweeping away the small but gallaat 
band of defenders. 


Attack on Edinburgh 

The fight was long. It was a struggle to the death. 
Over the whole hiatoric battle-ground from the Tweed to the 
Forth, fighting spread, and everywhere the loss of life was 

The long autumn day passed slowly, yet hostilities con- 
tinued a3 viijorous nnd Banguinary as they had begun. Before 
the Bun eank many a brave Briton lay dead or dyin;;;, but many 
more Muscovites had been sent to that bourne whence none 

Aa it was, the British line of communications was broken 
between Temple and Eddleston, the outposts at the latter 
place having been surprised and slaughtered. But although 
the enemy strove hard to break down the lines of defence and 
invest Edinburgh, yet time after time they were hurled back 
with fearful loss. Cotintou and Liberton were sacked and 
bnmed by the Tsar's forces. On every hand the Russians 
spread death and destruction ; still the defenders held their 
own, and when the fighting ceased after nightfall Edinburgh 
was still safe. Strong barricades manned by civilians bad 
been hastily thrown up near the station in Leith Walk, in 
London Road opposite the Abbey Church, in Inverleith How, 
in Clerk Street and Montague Street, while all the bridges 
over the Water of Leith had been blown up with gun-cotton ; 
quick-firing guns bad been posted on Calton Hill and at the 
Castle, while in St. Andrew's Square a battery had been estab- 
lished by the Ist Haddington Volunteer Artillery, under Major 
J. J. Kelly, who had arrived in haste from Dunbar, and this 
excellent positiou commanded a wide stretch of country away 
towards Granton. 

At dead of night, under the calm, biight stars, a strange 
scene might have been vritnessed. In the deep shadow cast 
by the wail of an old and tumble-down barn near the cruSB- 
roads at Kiddry, about three miles from Edinbur^jh, two 
BuBsian infantry oSicers were in earnest conversalion. They 
stooii leaning iqwn a broken fence, talking in a half-whisper 
in French, so that the half-dozen privates might not under- 
stand what ihfy said. The six men were busy unpacking 

The Great War i 

several strange black cases, handling the contents wiih infinite 
caiB, Apparently three of the boxes contained a quantity of 
fine silk, carefully folded, while another contained a number 
of square, dark-looking packages, which, when taken out, ■were 
packed in order upon a strong net which was first spread upon 
the grass. Bopea were strewn over the ground in various 
directions, the silk was unfolded, and presently, when all the 
contents had been minutely inspected by the two officers with 
lanterns, a small tube was taken from a box that had remained 
undisturbed, and fastened into an object shaped like a bellows. 

Then, when all preparations were satisfactorily completed, 
the six men threw tliemselves upon the grass to snatch an 
hour's repose, while the officers returned to their previous 
positions, leaning against the broken fence, and gravely dis- 
cussing their proposals for the morrow's gigantic sensation. 
The elder of the two was explaining to his companion the 
nature of the coup which they intended to deliver, and the 
mode in which it would be made. So engrossed were they in 
the contemplation of the appalling results that would accrue, 
they did not observe that they were standing beneath a small 
square hole in the wall of the bam ; neither did they notice 
that from this apei'ture a dark head protruded for a second and 
then quiuk as lightning withdi'ew. It was only like a shadow, 
and disappeared instantly ! 

Ten minutes later a mysterious figure was creeping cautiously 
along under the hedge of the high road to Newington in the 
direction of the British lines. Crawling along the grass, and 
pausing now and then with his ear to the ground, listening, he 
advanced by short, silent stages, exercising the greatest caution, 
well awai^e that death would be his fate should he be dis- 
covered. In wading the Braid Burn he almost betrayed him- 
self to a Russian sentry; but at last, after travelling for over an 
hour, risking discovery at any moment, he at length passed the 
British outposts beyoud Liberton, and ascended the Braid Hills 
to the head quarters. 

The story he told the General commanding was at first 
looked upon as ludicrous. In the dim candlelight in the 

Attack on Edinburgh 

General's tcDt he certainly looberl a disreputable derelict, liis 
old and tattered clothes wet through, his bands cut by stones 
and bleeding, and his face half covered with mud. The three 
officers who were with the General laughed when he dashed in 
exciteiily, and related tlie conversation he hud overheard ; yet 
when he subsequently went on to describe in detail what he 
had witueseed, and when they remembered that this tramp was 
an artilleryman who had long ago been conspicuous by his 
bravery at El Teb, and an ingenious inventor, their expression 
of amusement gave way to one of alarm. 

The General, who bad been writing, thoughtfully tapped 
the little camp table before him «ith his pen. " So they 
intend to destroy us and wreck the city by that means, now 
that their legitimate tactics have failed I I can scarcely credit 
that such is their intention ; yet if they should be successful — 

'■ But they will not be successrul, sir. If you will send 
Borne ono to assist me, and allow me to act as I think fit, I will 
frustrate their dastardly design, and the city shall be saved." 

" You are at liberty to act as you please. You know their 
plans, and I have perfect confidence in you, Mackenzie," replied 
the officer. " Do not, however, mention a word of the enemy's 
intention to any ona It would terrify the men ; and although 
I do not doubt their bravery, yet the knowledge of such a 
horrible fate hanging over them must necessarily increase their 
anxiety, and thus prevent them from doing their best. We are 
weak, but remember we are all Britons, Now come," he added, 
"sit tlicre, upon that bos, and explain at once what is your 
scheme of defence against this extraordinary attack." 

And the fearless man to whom the General had entrnsted 
the defence of Edinburgh obeyed, and commenced to explain 
what means he intended to take — a desperate but well-devised 
plan, which drew forth words of the highest commendation 
from the commanding officer and those with him. They knew 
that the fate of Edinburgh hung in the balance, and that if the 
city were taken it wonI<l he the first step towards their down- 

JWO hours lat«r, just before tbe break of day, 
British bugles souuded, ttnd tho camp on the 
Braid Hills was irn mediately astir. That the 
enemy were about to test the efficiency of a 
new gigantic engine of war was uuknown 
except to the otlicers and the brave mau who 
had risked bis life in order to obtain the secret of the foeman's 

To him the British General was trusting, and as with knit 
brows and anxious face the grey-haired officer stood at the door 
of his tent gazing across the burn to Blackford Hill, he was 
wondering whether he had yet obtained- his coign of vantage^ 
From the case slung round his shoulder he drew his field 
glasses and turned them upon a chimp of trees near tbe top of 
the hill, straining his eyes to discover any movenienL 

On the of the liill two Vinlunteer artillery batteries 
were actively preparing for the coining fray, but as yet it was 
too dark to discern anything among the distant clump of trees ; 
so, replacing bis glasses, tbe commanding officer re-entered his 
tent and bent for a long time over the Ordnance Map under the 
glimmering, uncertain light of a guttering candle. 

Mitanwhile tbe Kussians were busily completing their ar- 
rangements for striking an appalling blow. 

Concealed by a line of trees and a number of farm biuldingB, 
the little section of the enemy had worked indefatigably for 


"The Demon of War" 

the past two houra, and uow in the grey dawn the contents 
of the mysterious boxes, a long dark monster, lay ujjon the 
grass, moving restlessly, trying to free itself from its trammels. 

It was a huge and curiously-shaped air-ship, and was to be 
used for dropping great charges of melinite and steel bombs 
filled with picric add into the handsome historic city of 
Edinburgh 1 Some of the shells were filled with sulphurous 
acid, carbon dioxide, and other deadly compounds, the intent 
being to cause suffocation over wide areas by the volatilisation 
of liquid gases ! 

This controllable electric balloon, a perfection of II. Gaston 
Tissandier's invention a few years before, was, as it lay upon 
the grass, nearly inflated and ready to ascend, elongated in 
form, and filled with hydrogen. 

It was about 140 feet long, 63 feet in diameter through the 
middle, and the envelope was of fine cloth coated with an 
impermeable varnish. On either side were horizontal shafts of 
flexible walnut laths, fastened with silk belts along the centre, 
and over the balloon a netting of ribbons was placed, and to 
this the car was connected. On each of the four sides was a 
screw propeller 12 feet in diameter, driven by bichromate of 
potassium batteries and a dynamo-elettric motor. The pro- 
pellers were so arranged that the balloon could keep head to 
a hurricane, and when proceeding with the wind would deviate 
immediately from its course by the mere pulling of a lever by 
the aeronaut. 

Carefully packed in the car were large numbers of the most 
powerful infernal machines, ingeniously designed to effect the 
most awful destruction if hurled into a thickly -populated 
centre. Filed in the smallest possible compass were square 
steel boxes, some filled with melinite, dynamite, and an 
explosive strongly resembling cordite, only possessing twice its 
strength, each with fulminating compounds, while others con- 
tained picric acid fitted with glass detonating tubes. Indeed, 
this gigantic engine, which might totally wreck a city 
and kill every inhabitant in half an hour while at an 
altitude of 6) miles, had rightly been named by the Pole 

50 Tul; Great War in England in 1897 

who had perfected Tissuiidier'a invention — "Tlie Denioii of 

While the two officers of tlie Kussian balloon section, both 
experienced aeronauts, were finally examining minutely every 
rope, ascertaining that all wfis ready for the ascent, away on 
Blackford Hill one man, pale and determined, with coat and 
vest thrown aside, was preparing a counterblast to the forth- 
coming attack. Under cover of the clump of trees, but with 
its muzzle pointing towards Bridgend, a long, thin gun of aa 
altc^etlier strange type had been brought into position. It 
was about four times the size of a Maxim, which it resembled 
somewhat in shape, only the barrel was much longer, the store 
of ammunition being contained in a large steel receptacle at 
the side, wherein also was some marvellously ■ contrived 
mechanism. Tlie six gunners who were assisting Mackenzie 
at length completed their work, and the gun having been 
carefully examined by the gallant man in charge and two 
of the officers who had been in the tent with the General 
during the midnight consultation, Mackenzie, with a glance 
iu the yet hazy distance where the -enemy had bivouaced, 
pulled over a small lever, which immediately started a 

" In three minutes we shall be ready for action," he said, 
glancing at his watch ; and then, turning a small wheel which 
raised the muzzle of the gun so as to point it at a liigber angle 
in the direction of the sky, he waited until the space of time he 
bad mentioned had elapsed. 

The officers stood aside conversing in an undertone. This 
man Mackenzie had invented this strange-looking weapon, and 
only one had been made. It had some months before been 
submitted to the War Otfice, but they had declined to take it 
up, believing that a patent they already possessed was superior 
to it; yet Mackenzie had nevertheless thrown his whole soul 
into his work, and meant now to show his superiors its pene- 
trative powers, and put its capabilities to practical test. Again 
he glanced at his watch, and quickly pulled back another lever, 
which caused the motor to revolve at twice the speed, and the 

"The Demon of War" 

gun to emit a low hissing sound, like escaping steam. Tiit^u 
he stepped back to the officers, saying — 

" I am now prepared. It will go up as straight and quickly 
as a rocket, but we must catch it before it ascends two miles, 
for the clonds hang low, and we may lose it more quickly than 
we imagine " 

The gunners stood in readiness, and the two oHicers looked 
away over Craigmillar towards the grey distant sea. Dawn 
was spreading now, and the haze was gradually clearing. 
They all knew the attempt would be made ere long, before it 
grew much lighter, so they stood at their posts in readiuess, 
Mackenzie with his hand upon the lever wMch would regulale 
the discharge. 

They were moments of breathless expectancy. Minute after 
minute went by, but not a word was spoken, for every eye was 
turned upon the crest of a certain ridge nearly three miles 
away, at a point where the country was well wooded, 

A quarter of an hour had thus elapsed, when Mackenzie 
suddenly shouted, " Look, lads ! There she goes ! Now, let's 
teach 'em what Scots can do." 

As he spoke there rose from behind the ridge a great dark 
mass, looking almost spectral in the thin morning mist, For a 
moment it seemed to poise and swing as if uncertain in its 
flight, then quickly it shot straight up towards the sky. 

" Keady ? " shouted Mackenzie, his momentary excitement 
having given place to great coolness. The men at their posts 
all answered in the affirmativa Mackenzie bent and waited 
for a few seconds sighting the gun, while the motor hummed 
with terrific speed. Then shouting "Fire!" he drew back 
the lever. 

The gun discharged, but there was no report, only a sharp 
hiss as the compressed air released commenced to send charge 
after charge of dynamite automatically away into space iu 
rapid succession ! 

Kone dared to breathe. The excitement was intense. 
They watched the effect upon the Bussian balloon, but to 
their dismay saw it still rapidly ascending and uobarmed I 

The Great W^ar in England in 1897 

It had altered its course, and instead of drifting away 
seaward was now travelling towards Duddingston, and making 
straight for Edinburgh, passing above the Kussian camp. 

" Misaed 1 missed ! " Mackenzie shrieked, turning back the 
lever and arresting the discharge. "It's four miles off now, 
and we can carry seven and three-quarters to bit a fixed 
object, Kemeraber, lads, the fate of Auld Keekie is now in 
your hands ! Ready ? " 

Again he bent and sighted the gun, raising the muzzle 
higher than the balloon so as to catch it on the ascent. The 
motor hummed louder and louder, the escaping air biased and 
turned into liquid by the enormous pressure, then with a 
glance at the gauge he yelled " Fire ! " and pulled back the 

Dynamite shells, ejected at the rate of BO a minute, 
rushed from the muzzle, and sped away. 

But the Demon of War, with its whirling propellers, aoa- 
tiuued on ita swift, silent mission of destruction. 

" Missed again !" cried one of the men, in despair. " See I 
it's gone I We've — good heavens ! — why, we've lost it — lost ii ! " 

Mackenzie, who had been glancing that moment at the 
gauges, gazed eagerly up, and staggered back as if he had 
received a blow. " It's disappeared ! " he gasped. " Tkej/vt 
outwUled us, the brutes, and nothing now can save Edivhuryh 
from destruction ! " 

Ofhcers and men stood aghast, with blanched faces, 
scarce knowing how to act. The destructive forces in that 
controllable balloon were more than sufhcient to lay the whole 
of Edinburgh in ruins ; and then, no doubt, the enemy would 
attempt by the same means to destroy the British batteries on 
the neighbouring hills. Already, along the valleys fighting 
had begun, for rapid firing could be heard in the direction of 
Gilmerton, and now and then the British guns on the Braid 
Hilla behind spoke out sharply to the Eussiaus who had 
occupied I/Kinhead, and the distant booming of cannon could 
be heard incessantly from Corstorpliine. 

Suddenly a loud, exultant cry from Mackenzie caused his 

"The Demon of War" 

companions to straiu their eyes away to Dudiltngston, and 
there they saw high in the air the monster aerial machine 
gradnally looming through the mist, a vague and shadowy 
outline. It bad passed through a bank of cloud, and was 
gradually reappearing, 

"Quick! There's not a moment to lose!" shrieked 
Mackenzie, springing to the lever with redoubled enthusiasm, 
au example followed by the others. 

The motor revolved so rapidly that it roared, the gauges 
ran high, the escaping air hissed so loudly that Mackenzie was 
compelled to shout at the top of his voice " Ready ? " as for a 
third time he took careful aim at the misty object now six 
miles distant- 

The War Demon was still over tlie Russian camp, and iu 
ft few moments, travelling at that high rate of speed, it would 
pass over Arthur's Seat, and be enabled to drop its deadly 
compounds in Princes Street But Mackenzie set his teeth, 
and muttered something tmder bis breath. 

"JVoic/" he ejaculated, as he suddenly pulled the lever, and 
for the last time sent forth the automatic shower of destructive 

A second later there was a bright flash from above as if the 
sua it-self had burst, and then came a most terrific explosion, 
which caused the earth to tremble where they stood. The 
clouds were rent asunder by the frightful detonation, and 
down upon the Russian camp the debris of their ingenious 
invention fell in a terrible death-dealing shower. The 
annihilation of the dastardly plot to wreck the city was 
complete. Small dynamite shells from Mackenzie's pneumatic 
gun had struck the car of the balloon, and by the firing of 
half a ton of explosives the enemy was in an instant hoist with 
his own petard. 

As the deiiria fell within the Russian lines, some fifty or 
sixty picric-acid bombs — awful engines of destruction — which 
had not been exploded in mid-air, crashed into the Muscovite 
ranks, and, bursting, killed and wounded hundreds of infantry- 
men and half a regiment of Cossacks. One, bursting in the 

254 The Great War in England in 1897 

enemy's lieadquarters, seriously injured several members of 
tbe staff; while another, falling among the Eugineere" trans- 
port, exploded a great quautity of gim-cotton, which ia its 
turn killed a number of men and horses. 

The disaster was awful in its suddenness, appalling in its 
completeness. The aeronauts, totally unprepared for such an 
attack, had been blown to atoms just when within an ace of 

Fortune had favoured Britain, and, thauks to Mackenzie's 
vigilance and his pneumatic dynamit* gnu, wiiich the Govern- 
ment had rejected as a worthless weapon, the grey old city of 
Edinburgh was still safe. 

But both Russians and Britons had now mustered thetr 
forces, and this, the first note sounded of a second terrific and 
desperately -fought battle, portended success for Britain's 
gallant army. 

Yet notwithstanding the disaster the enemy sustained 
by the blowing up of their balloon, their 2nd Army 
Corps, together with the portion of the 3nl Army Corps 
operating from tbeir base at Leith, succeeded, after terribly 
hard fighting and heavy losses, in at length forcing liack the 
defendei-a from the Braid and Blackford Hills, and the Corstor* 
phiue position having already been occupied, they were then 
enabled to invest Edinbui^b, That evening fierce sanguinary 
fights took place in the streets, for the people held the barri- 
cades until the last moment, and the batteries on Galtou Sill, 
in St, Andrew's Square, and at the Castle effected terrible 
execution in conjunction with those on Arthur's Seat. Still 
the enemy by their overwhelming numbers gradually broke 
down these defences, and, after appalling slaughter on both 
sides, occupied the city. The fighting was fiercest along 
Princes Street, Lotliian Eoad, and in the neighbourhood of 
Scotland Street Station, while along Cumberland and Great 
King Streets the enemy were swept away in hundreds by 
British Maxims brought to bear from Drummond Place. 
Along Canongate from Holyrood to Moray House, and ia 
LaaristoQ Place and the Grassmarket, hand-to-hand straggles 

"The Demon of War" 

took place between the patriotic civilians and tLe foe. From 
behind their barricades men of Edinbui^h fought valiantly, 
and everywhere inflicted heavy loss ; still the enemy, pressing 
onward, set fire to a number of public buildings, including the 
Blister Office, the Eoyal Exchange, the University, the Liberal 
and New Clubs, and Palace Hotel, with many other buildings 
in Princes Street The fires, which broke out rapidly in suc- 
cession, were caused for the purpose of producing a panic, and 
in this the enemy were successful, for the city was quickly 
looted, and the scenes of ruin, death, and desolation that 
occurred in its slreets that night were awful. 

In every quarter the homes of loyal Scotsmen were entered 
by the mthless invader, who wrecked the cherished house- 
hold g'>ds, and carried away all the valuables that were 
portable. Outrage and mntdcr were rife everywhere, and 
no quarter was shown the weak or unprotected. Through 
the streets the invader rushed with sword and firebrand, 
causing destruction, suffering, and death. 

The defenders, though straining every nerve to stem the 
advancing tide, had, alas ! been unsuccessful, and ere mid- 
ni;;ht Edinbui^h, one of ihe proudest and most historic cities 
in the world, had fallen, and the British standard floating 
over the Castle was, alas I replaced by the Eagle of the Sussian 



It was a sad misfortune, a national calamity ; yet 
oiir troops did not lose heart. Commanded as 
tliey were by Britons, astute, loyal, and fear- 
less, they, after fightiog hard, fell back from 
Edinburgh in order, and husbanded their force 
for the morrow. 
Indeed, soon after dawn the Russians found themselves 
severely attacked. Exidtant over their success, they had, 
while sacking Edinburgh, left their base at Leith very inade- 
quately protected, with the result that the defenders, swooping 
suddenly down upon the town, succeeded, with the assist- 
ance of four coast-defence ships and a number of torpedo hoata, 
in blowing up most of the Kuesian transports, and seizing their 
ammunition and provisions. 

Such an attack was, of course, very vigorously defended, 
but it was a smart manceuvre on the part of the British 
General, and enabled him, after cutting off the enemy's line 
of retreat, to turn suddenly and attack the Bussians who 
were continuing their destructive campaign through the 
streets of Edinbui^h. This bold move on the part of the 
defenders was totally unexpected by the foe, which accounted 
for the frightful loss of life that was sustained on the Russian 
side, and the subsequent clever tactics which resulted in the 
driving out of the invaders from Edinburgh, and British troops 
reoccupying that city. 

Frightful Slaughter outside Glasgow 257 

Meanwhile the 1st Bussian Army Corps, which on lauding 
had at once set out towards Glasgow, had marched ou iu a 
great extended line, Eacking the various towns through which 
they passed. As tliey advanced from Linlithgow, Airdrie, and 

kOCHCNO tOCM^-^^^^'^^V Vj^^ 

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^^bJ^**^***^ YV OLO KOHKlfcN^V^ 

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\ W™«-/^Ok 

Coatbridge were looted and hurned, while furLiier south, 
Mutherwell, Hamilton, and Bothwell shared the same fate. 
About 20.000 men, togetlier with 11,000 who had been forced 
to evacute Edinburgh, had at length advanced a little beyond 

258 The Great War in England in 1897 

Coatbridge, and, in preparation for a vigorous siege of Glasgow, 
halted witbiu seven lailes of the cit}~, with flanks extended 
away south to Motherwell and on to Wishaw, and north as far 
aa Chryston and KirldntiJlocb. 

In Glasgow the excitement was intense, and surging crowds 
filled the streets night and day. The fall of Edinburgh had 
produced the greatest sensatioo, and the meagre news of the 
disaster telegraphed had scarcely been supplemented when the 
report of the retaking of " Auld Keekie " came to hand, causing 
great rejoicing. Nevertheless, it was known that o\'er thirty 
thousand trained soldiers were on their way to the banks of the 
Clyde, and Glasgow was fevered and turbulent The scanty 
busiuess that had lately been done was now at a standstill, 
and the me^re supplies that reached there from America not 
being half sutticient for the enormous popidation, the city was 
already starving. But, as in other towns, gi-eat barricades had 
been thrown up, and those in Gallowgate and Duke Street, 
thoroughfares by which Glasgow might be entered by way of 
Parkhead and Dennistoun, were soon manned by loyal and 
patriotic bands of civilians. Other barriers were constmcted at 
St. KoUox Station, in Canning Street, in Monteith Row, and in 
Great Western, Dumbarton, and Govan Roads. 

South of the river, Eglinton Street and the roads at Cross- 
hill were barricaded, and in New City and Garscube Roads in 
the north there were also strong defences. All were held by 
enthusiastic bodies of men who had hastily armed themselves, 
confident in the belief that our Volunteera and the small body 
of Regulars would not allow the invader to march in force | 
upon their city without a most determined resistance. 

Now, however, the alarming news reached Glasgow that j 
the enemy had actually sacked and burned Coatbridge. Xn I 
an hour they could commence looting the shops in Gallowgate. i 
and their heavy tramp would be heard on the granite of Tron- I 
gate and Argyle Street ! Throughout the city the feeling of I 
insecurity increased, and' hourly the panic assumed greater \ 
proportions. I 

The sun that day was obscured by dark thunder^cloads, thai 

Frightful Slaughter outside Glasgow 259 

swirling Clyde flowed on black beneath its many bridges, and 
the outlook was everywhere gloomy and ominoua 

Still, away on the hills to southward, our small force of 
soldiers and Volunteers had narrowly watched the onward 
tide of destroyers, and carefully laid their plans. The manner 
in which the defensive operations were conducted is perhaps 
best related in a letter written by Captain Boyd Drummond of 
the let Battalion Princess Louise's (Argyll and Sutherland) 
Highlanders, to a frieud in London, and which was published 
with the accompanying sketch in the Daily Graphu. 

He wrote as follows : — " On the second day after the 
Bussians had landed. Colonel Cumberiand of 'Ours' received 
orders to move us from Lanark, and reconnoitre as far as 
possible along the Carluke road, with a view to taking up 
a position to cover the advance of the division, which had 
during the morning been considerably reinforced by nearly 
half the centre division from Peebles. In addition to our 
battalion with two machine guns, Colonel Cumberland was iu 
command of the let, 2ud, 3rd, and 4th Volunteer Battalions 
from Greenock, Paisley, Pollokshaws, and Stirling respect- 
ively, the 1st Dumbarton from Helensburgh, the Highland 
Borderers, and the Eenfrew Militia, together with a section 
of field artillery, a field company of Royal Engineers, and 
about forty cavalry and cyclists. Arriving at Carluke early 
in the afternoon, we awaited the return of scouts, who had 
been pushed on in advance to beyond Wishaw, in the direction 
of the enemy. They having reported that the Bussians had 
withdrawn from Wishaw, we at once moved on to I^w 
Junction, about a mile from that town, and finally took up a 
position for the night near Waterloo, commanding Wishaw and 

" Beyond the junction, towards Glasgow, the railway, 
which the euemy evidently did not intend to use, had been 
destroyed, but scouts from Morningside reported that the line 
to Edinburgh had not been cut, and that the permanent way 
remained uninjured. Colonel Cumberland therefore told off 
the right half battalion, with a machine guo, a section of 

Eiigineers, and six cyclists, to take up a position near the road 
between Newraaiiis and Momingside, with inatnictions to form 
piquets and patrol the roads north and east I was with No. 1 
Company, but, being «enior captain present, the chief gave me 
command of this detachment It was the first time such a 
responsibility had been conferred upon me; therefore I waa 
determined not to be caught napping. 

' As soon as we arrived at our ground, I sent two cyclists 
out to Newmaina and two to Morningaide, with orders to gleau 
what information they could, and to wait in the villages until 
further orders, unless they sighted the enemy's outposts, op 
discovered anything important. Aa soon as I had sent out 
ray piquets, I took my owu company and six of the EngineeiB 
down to Morningside. Some of the villagers, who had escaped 
when a portion of the invaders passed through on the 
previous night, had returned, and the cyclists gathered from 
them that we were close upon the heels of the Bussian 
reaiguiird. I 

" As the railway had not been destroyed, I thought that ■ 
possibly the invaders intended to use the line vid Mid-Calder. 
and therefore examined the station closely. While engaged 
in this, one of the Engineers suddenly discovered a wire very 
carefully concealed along the line, and as we followed it up 
600 yards each way, and could find no connection with the 
instrument at the sbition otiice, I at once concluded that it waa 
the enemy's field telegraph, forming means of commnnicatioQ 
between their headquarters at Aiidrie and the division that 
stiU remained in the Pentlands, 

" Cutting the wire, and attaching the ends to the instru- 
ment in the station, I left three Engineers, all expert tele- 
graphists, to tap the wire, and they, with the right half 
company, under Lieutenant Compton, formed a detached post 
at this point. I also left the cyclists to convey to me any 
mesaages which might he received on the instrument, and then 
proceeded to Newmains. The place was now a mere heap of 
smouldering ruins; but, as at Morningside, some of the terrified 
villagers had returned, and they stated that early in the 



Frightful Slaughter outside Glasgow 261 

morning they liad seen small detachments of Russian cavalrj' 
jiass through from Bankle.and proceed north along the Cleland 

" Leaving the left half company here with the other 
Engineers and the two cyclists, under Lieutenant Flauck, with 
orders to block the road and railway bridge, I returned to my 
piquet line. A few minutes laler, however, « cyclist rode up 
with a copy of a message which had been sent from the 
liusaiaD headquarters on the Pentlonds to the Glasgow invest- 
ing force. The message was iu cipher, but, thanks to the 
information furnished by the spy who was captured near 
Manchester, we were now aware of some of the codes used 
by the invaders, and I sent the messenger on to the Colonel 
at once. One of his staff was able to transcribe it suiiiciently 
to show that some disaster had occurred to the enemy on the 
Pentlands, fur it concluded with an order withdrawing the 
Hoops from Glasgow, in order to reinforce the 3rd Army 
Corps iu the fierce battle tiiat was now proceeding. It was 
nlao stated in the message that despatches followed, so at once 
we were all on the alert. 

"Almost jmnietiiately afterwanls news was received over 
our own telegraph from Carstairs, stating that a terrific 
)<attle had been fought along the valleys between I.eadbum, 
Linton, and Dolphinton, iu which we had suffered very 
severely, but we had nevertheless gained a decisive victory, 
for from dawn until the time of lelcgrapliing it was estimated 
that no fewer than 12,U00 Russians had been killed or 

" It appeared that our forces on the lammennuirs had 
moved quickly, and, extending along the ridges, through 
Tynehead, and thence to Heriot, and on to Peebles, joined 
hands with the division at that place before dawn, and, when 
it grew light, had made a sudden aud desperate attack. The 
cntmy, who had imagined himself in a safe position, was 
nnprepsrcd, and from the lirst moment of the attack the 
slaughter was awful. As noon wore on the battle had 
increiased, until now the invaders had been outflanked, and 

262 The Great War in England in 1897 

mowed down in such a frightful maimer, that the survivors, 
numbering nearly six thousand of all ranks, had, finding their 
urgent appeal to their forces at Airdrie met with no response, 
and imagining that they too had been defeated, at last sur- 
rendered, and were taken prisoners. 

" On receipt of this intelligence. Colonel Cumberland 
executed a manojuvrc that was a marvel of forethought and 
smartness. The appeal to Airdrie for help had, of course, not 
been received, but in its place he ordered a message in Russian 
to be sent along the enemy's field telegraph to the force 
advancing on Glasgow in the following worfs : ' KeinBiii at 
Airdrie. Do not advance on Glasgow before we join yoo. 
The defenders are del'eated with heavy losses everywhere. 
Our advance guard will be with you in twenty-four hours. 
Signed — Dnikovitch.' 

"This having been despatched, he reported by telegraph 
to the headquarters at C'nrstaii'S what he had done, and then 
our whole force immediately moved as far as Bellshill, in the 
direction of Glasgow. Here we came across the liussian out- 
posts, and a sharp fight ensued. After half an hour, however, 
we succeeded in cutting them oil' and totally annihilatiDg 
them, afterwards establishing oui-selves in Bellshill until 
reinforcements could arrive. We were now only six miles 
from the Eussian headquarters at Airdrie, and they, on 
receipt of our fictitious message, had withdrawn from the 
Clyde bank, and extended farther north over the hilla as far 
as Milngavie, 

" We were thus enabled to watch and wait in Bellshill 
undisturbed throughout the night; and while the enemy were 
eagerly expecting their legions of infantry who were to swoop 
down and conquer Glasgow, we remained content in the know- 
ledge that the hour of conquest was close at hand. 

" A short, hasty rest, and we were astir again long before 
the dawn. Just at daybreak, however, the advance guard of 
our force from Carstairs, which had been on the march durine 
the night, came into touch with us, and in an hour the combined 
right and centre divisions of the British liad opened the battle^ 

Frightful Slaughter outside Glasgow 263 

" Our lighting front extended from Wishaw right across to 
Condorrat, with batteries on Torrance and the hill at New 
Monkland, while another strong line was pushed across from 
Cambuslang to Parkhead, and tbence to Millerston, for the 
protection of Glasgow. 

■■ Thus, almost before our guns uttered their voice of 
defiance, we had surrounded the enemy, and throughout the 
morning the fighting was most sanguinary and desperate. 
Our batteries did excellent service: still, it must be remem- 
bered we had attacked a well-trained force of over tliirty 
thousand men, and they had many more guns than we 
possessed. No doubt the fictitious despatch we had sent had 
prevented the Russian commander from advancing on Glnsgow 
during the night, as he had intended; and now, finding him- 
self Eo vigorously attacked by two divisions which he believe<l 
had been cut up and annihilated, all his calculations were 
completely upset. 

" It was well for us that this was so, otherwise we might 
have fared much worse than we did. As it was, Cossacks and 
Dragoons wrought frightful havoc among our infantry; while, 
on the other hand, the fire discipline of the latter was magni- 
ficent. Every bit of cover on the hills seem to bristle with 
hidden rifles, that emptied their magazines without smoke 
and with fatal effect. Many a gallant dash was made by 
our men, the Volunteers especially displaying conspicuous 
conrage. The 1st Uumliartonshire Volunteers, under Col. 
Thomson, V.D., the 1st Renfrewshire, under Col. Lamont, 
V.D., aud the 4th Battalion Ai^U and Sutherland High- 
landers, under CoL D. M'Kayden, V.D., operated together with 
inagiiificeut success, for they completely cut up a strong 
Russian detachment on the Glasgow road beyond Udding- 
ston, driving them out of the wood near Italdowie, and 
there annihilating them, and afterwards holding their own 
on the banks of the North Calder without suflering very 
much loss. They handled their Maxims as smartly as 
any body of Regulars ; and indeed, throughout the day their 
performances everywhere were marked by steady discipline 

264 The Great War in England in 1897 

and cool courage tliat was iu tbe liighest degree com- 

" About two o'clock in the afternoon the battle was at ita 
height. Under the blazing sun that l*eat down upon us merci- 
lessly, my battalion fought on, feeling confident that the enemy 
were gradually being defeatei The alanghtor everywhere was 
frightful, and the green hillsides and fields were covered with 
dead and dying soldiers of the Tsar. The grey coata were 
soaked with blood, and dark, ugly stains dyed the grass of the 
fertile meadows beside the winding Clyde. Since their sudden 
landing iu Scotland, the enemy's early successes had been 
followed by defeat after defeat Their transports had been 
destroyed, their ammunition and stores seized, Iwth their 
2nd and 3rd Army Corps had been totally annihilated, 
leaving nearly twelve thousand men in our hands as prisoners, 
and now the defeat of this force of picked regiments, who had, 
on landing, immediately marched straight across Scotland, 
would effect a crushing and decisive blow. 

" But the struggle was terrific, the din deafening, the 
wholesale butchery appalling. Our men knew they were 
fighting for Caledonia and their Queen, and their conduct, from 
the first moment of hostilities, until stray bullets laid them tow 
one after another, was magnificent ; they were splendid 
examples of the true, loyal, and fearless Briton, who will fight 
on even while his lile-blood ebbs. 

"Evening fell, hut the continuous firing did not cease. 
The sun sank red and angry into dark storm-clouds behind the 
long range of purple bills beyond the Clyde, but the clash of 
arms continued over hill and dale on the east of Glasgow, and 
we, exerting every effort in our successful attempt to hold the 
five converging roads near Broomhouae, knew not which side 
were victors. 

" Suddenly I recreived orders to send over a small detach- 
ment to block the two roads at Baillieston, the one a main 
road leading up from Coatbridge, and the other from the hiily 
country ai-onnd Old Monkland, where tlie struggle was fiercest. 
Sending Lieutenant Planck over immediately with a detachment 



Frightful Slaughter outside Glasgow 265 

and several cyclists, I followed a3 soon as possible, and fonud 
he had blocked both roads in the centre of the little Scotch 
village, and had occupied the inn situated between the two 
roads, leaving Just snfficient space for his cyclists to pass. 
Looking towai-ds the city we could see tliat the hills OQ our 
left were occupied by British redcoats. In the village the 
quaint little low-built cottages, with their stairs outside, were 
all closed and deserted, and the place seemed strangely quiet 
after the exciting scenes and ceaseless deafening din, 

" Taking six of Planck's men and the cyclists about a mile 
towards Coatbridge, I posted tlieni at the cross-roads beyond 
Khind House, sending the cyclists out along the valley to 
Dikchead. All was quiet in our immediate vicinity for some 
time, until suddenly we discerned the cyclists coming back. 
They reporteil that they had seen cavalry. This, then, must be 
a detachment of the enemy, who in all probability were 
retreating. I at once sent the cyclists back to inform Planck, 
and to tell him we should not take a hand in the game until 
we had allowed them to pass and they had discovered his 
barricade. In a few minutes we could distinctly hear thetn 
approaching. We were all well under cover, but I was sur- 
prised to find that it was only an escorL 

"They were galloping, and had evidently come a long 
distance by some circuitous route, and had not taken part iu 
the fighting. I counted five — two Cossacks in advance, then 
about forty yai'ds behind a shabbily -diessed civilian on hoi-se back, 
nnd about forty yaids behind him two more Cossacks. They 
appeared to eitpect no interruption, and it occurred to me that 
the Cossacks were escorting the civilian over to the Russian 
position away beyond Hogganfield Loch. As soon as they 
were clear, I formed my men up on each side of the road to 
await events. 

" We had no occasion to remain long in expectation, for 
soon afterwards the stillness was broken by shouts and a few 
rapid shots, and then we could hear two horses galloping back 
One was riderless, and a corporal who attempted to stop it was 
knocked down and seriously injured; but the other had a rider. 

and as he neared us I could see he was the civilian. I knew I 
must stop him at all costs. 

" So, ordering the men on the opposite side of the road to 
lie down, we gave him a section volley from one side as he 
rushed past The horse was badly hit, and stumbled, throwing 
its rider, who was at once secured. To prevent him from 
disposing of anything, we bound him securely. Two of the 
Cossacks had been shot and the other two captured. Upon 
the civilian, nnd in his saddle-barjs, we fouiid a number of 
cipher despatches, elaborate plans sliowing how Glasgow was 
defended, and an autograph letter from the Russian General 
Drukovitch, giving him instructions to enter Glasgow alone by 
way of Partick, and to await him tliere until the city felL 

" But the city was never invested. An hour afier we had 
sent tliis mysterious civilian — who spoke English with a foreign 
accent — over to the Colonel, our onslaught became doubly 
desperate. In the dusk, regiment after regiment of Russians 
were simply swept away by the cool and deliberate fire of the 
British, who, being reinforced by my battalion and others, 
wrought splendid execution in the enemy's main body, forced 
back upon ns at Baillieston. 

"Tlien, as night fell, a report was spread tliat General 
Drukovitch had surrendered. This proved true. With his 
2nd and 3rd Army Corps annihilated, and his trans[>ort3 
and base in our bauds, he was compelled to acknowledge him- 
self vanquished; therefore, by nine o'clock hostilities had 
ceased, and during that nigiit nearly six thousand sui-vivora of 
the 1st I'ussian Army Corps were taken prisoners, and 
marched in triumph into Glasgow amid the wildest excitement 
of the populace. Tliis desperate attempt to invest Glasgow 
had cost the Russians no fewer than 25,000 men in killed and 

" The capture we effected near Baillieston turned out to be 
of a most important character. When searched at headquarters, 
a visiting-card was found concealed npon the man, and this 
gave our Colonel a clua The man has since been identified by 
one of his intimate friends as a person well known in London 

society, who poses as a wealthy Gernoftn, the Count von 
Beilstein ! It is alleged that he has fui several yeavs been 
living in the metropolis and acting as an expert spy in the 
Secret Service of the Tsar. He was sent handcuffed, under a 
strong escort, to London a few days after the battle, and if all 
I hear be true, some highly sensational disclosures will be made 
regarding his adventurona career. 

" But throughout Caledonia there is now unbounded joy. 
Our beloved country is safe ; for, thanks to the gallant heroism 
of our Volunteers, the Muscovite invaders have Iwen completely 
wiped ont, and Scotland again proudly rears her head." 

^^^^B ^^^HB^^^^ °^ ^^^ Thames, where the gigantic force 
^^^^H B^^^^^^S '^^ French auci Russians, Dumbering nearly 
^^^^H ^B^^^EB ^^'^ hundred thousand of all arms, had been 
^^^^1 B^^HE prevented from attiicking London by our 
^^^^V ^^^^^^B3 Volunteers and llegulars massed along the 
^^^^^^^ Surrey Hills, the slaughter ou both sides iiad 
been frightful. The struggle was indeed not for a dynasty, but 
for the \ery exiatt^nce of Britain as an independent nation. 

Sussex had been devastated, but Kent still held out, and 
Chatham remained in the possession of the defenders. 

The rout of the British at Horsham prior to the march of 
the left column of invaders to Eirminghaiii was succeeded by 
defeat after defeat, the engagements each day illustrating pain- 
fully that by force of overwhelming numbers the iuvaders 
were gradually Hearing their goal— the mighty Capital of our 

Uallant stands were made by our Regulars at East Grin- 
stead, Crawley, Alfold, and from Haslemere across Hind 
Head Common to Frensham. At each of these places, long, 
desperately-fought battles with the French had taken place 
through the hot September days, — our Regular forces confident 
in the stubborn resistance that would be offered by the long 
unbroken line of Volunteers occupying the range of hills 
behind. Our signallers had formed a long line of stations 
from Reculvers and Star Hill, south of the Medway Fortress, 




March of the French on London 269 

to Blue Bell Hilt, between Cbathnm and Maidstone, thence 
through Snodland, Wrotham, Westerhaiu, and Limpsfield to 
Caterham, and fioDi there on through Beigate Park, Boithill, 
St. Martha's, and over the Hog's Back to Alderahot. With 
flags in day and lamps by night messages constantly passed, 
and communication was thus maintained by this means as 
well as by the field telegraph, which, however, on several 
occasions had been cut by the enemy. 

Yet although our aoldiera fought day after day with that 
pluck characteristic of the true Briton, fortune nevertheless 
seemed to have forsaken ua, and even although we intiict«d 
frightful losses upon the french all round, still they gradually 
forced back the defenders over the Surrey border. Terror, 
ruin, and death had been spread by the invading Gauls. 
English homes were sacked, French soldieis bivouaced in 
Sussex pastures, and the ripening com was trodden down 
and stained with blood. The white dusty highways leading 
from London to the sea were piled with unheeded corpses 
that were fearful to gnze upon, yet Britannia toiled 00 
undaunted in this desperate struggle for the retention ol 
her Knipire. 

Aftt^r our defeat at Horsham, the liussians had con- 
tented themselves hy merely driving back the defenders to a 
lino of resistance from Aldershot to the north of Bagshot, 
and then they had marched onward to Birmingham. From 
Horsham, however, two columns of the invaders, mostly French, 
and numbering over twenty thousand each, ha<l advanced on 
Guildford and Dorking. At the same time, a strong demon- 
stration was made by the enemy in the country north of 
Eastbourne and Hailsham, by which the whole of the district 
in the triangle from Bexhill to Heathfield, and thence to 
Cuckfield and Steyning, fell into their hands. The British, 
however, had massed a strong force to prevent the enemy 
making their way into West Kent, and still held their own 
aloug the hills stretching from Crowborough to Ticehurst, 
and from Etcbingham, through Brightling and Ashburnhani, 
down to Battle and Hastings. 

270 Tiit: Great War in England in 1897 

The north ot Londoo had during the weeks of hostilities 
beeu strongly guarded hy Volunteers and Regulars, for in- 
formation of a contemplated landing in Esseii bad been 
received; and although the defenders had not yet fired a 
shot, they were eagerly looking forward to a cbance of 
proving their worth, as their comrades in other parts of 
England had already done. 

At first the tactics of the invaders could not be under- 
stood, for it had been concluded that they would naturally 
follow lip their successes on landing with a rapid advance on 

It was, of course, evident that the vic;orous demonstrations 
made in the North and other parts of Britain were intended 
with a view to drawing as many troops as possible from the 
defence of London, and dispose of them in detail before sur- 
rounding the capital. Yet, to the dismay of the enemy, no 
blow they delivered in other parts of our country had had the 
desired effect of weakening the defensive lines around London. 
At the opening of the campaign it had been the enemy's 
intention to reduce London by a blockade, which could perhaps 
have beeu successfully carried out had they lauded a strong 
force in Essex. The troops who were intended to land there 
were, however, sent to Seotland instead, and the fact that they 
had been annihilated outside Glasgow resulted in a decision to 
march at once upon the metropolis. 

Advancing from Horsham, the French right column, num- 
bering 20,000 men with about 70 guns, had, after despemte 
fighting, at last reached I^atlierhead, having left a battalion 
in support at Dorking. The British had resolutely contested 
every step the French had advanced, and the slaughter around 
Dorking had been awful, while the fighting across Fetchani 
Downs and around Ockley and Bear Green had resulted in 
frightful loss on both aides. 

Our Regulars and Volunteers, notwithstanding their gal- 
lantry, were, alas! gradually driven back by (he enormous 
numbers that had commenced the onslaught, and were at last 
thrown back westward in disorder, halting at Ripley, Here 

March of the French on London 271 

the survivors snatched a hasty rest, and fhey were during the 
night reinforced by a contiiigent of Regulars who had come 
over from Wicdsor and Hounslow. On the arrival of theee 
reinforcements, the Colonel, well knowing how serious was the 
situation now our first line of defence had been hroken, sent 
out a flying column from Kipley, while the main body marched 
to Great Bookbam, with the result that Leatherhead, now in 
the occupation of the French, was from both aides vigorously 
attacked. The British flying column threatening the enemy 
from the north was, however, quickly checked by the French 
guns, and in the transmission of an order a most serious 
blunder occurred, leading to the impossibility of a retreat 
upon Eiplcy, for unfortunately the order, wrongly given, 
resulted in the blowing up by mistake of the bridges over 
the river Mole by which they had crossed, and which they 
wanted to use i^ain. 

Thus it was that for a time this force was compelled to 
remain, at terrible cost, right under the fire of the French 
entrenched position at Leatherhead ; but the enemy were 
fortunately not slrong enough to follow up this advantage, 
and as they occupied a strong strategical position they were 
content to await the arrival of their huge main body, now on 
the move, and which they expected would reach Leatherhead 
during that night. After more fierce fighting, lasting one 
whole breatldess day, the defenders were annihilated, while 
their main body approaching from the south also fell into a 
trap. For several hours a fierce battle also raged between 
Dorking and Mickleham. The British battery on Box Hill 
wrought awful havoc in the French lines, yet gradually the 
enemy silenced our guns and cut up our forces. 

The invaders were now advancing in open order over the 
whole of Sussex and the west of Kent, and on the same day 
as the battle was fought at Leatherhead, the high ground south 
of Seveooaks, extending from Wimlet Hill to Chart Common, 
fell into their hands, the British suffering severely ; while 
two of our Volunteer batteries in the vicinity were surprised 
and seized by a French flying column. 

Id the Dieimtime, another French column, niunbenqg 
nearly twenty thousand infantry and cavalty. had adraaeed 
from Alfold. burning Ewhnrst and Cranley, and after ■ 
desperately-contested engagement they captnred the Britiab 
batteries on the hilb at Ha^combe and Hambledon. 

On the same day the French advance guard, though auEIef^ 
ing terrible loss, successfully att^tcked the battery of SegaUn 
on the hill at Wonersh, and Godalming having been invested^ 
they commenced another vigorous attack npoa the strong lint 
of British Regulars and Volunteers at Guildford, where aboitt 
fourteen thousand men were massed. 

On the hills from Gonishall to Scale our brave civilian 
defenders had remained throughout the hostilities ready to 
repel any attack. Indeed, as the days passed, and no 
demonstration had been made in their direction, they had 
grown impatient, until at length this sudden and ferocio&s 
onslaught had been made, and they found themselves face to 
face with an advancing army of almost thrice their sCrengtb, 
Among tlie Volunteer battalions holding the position were Uie 
1st Bucks, under Lord Addington, V.D.; the 2nd Oxfordshiw 
Light Infantry, under CoL R S. Hall ; the Ist, 2Qd. and 3ri 
Bedfordshire Regiment, under Col. A. M, Blake, Lieut.-OoL 
Rumball, and Col. J. T. Green. V.D.; the 1st Eoyal Berkshire, 
under Col. J. C. Carter ; the 1st Somersetshire Light Infantry. 
under CoL H. M. Skrine, V.D. ; and the 1st and 2nd Wiltshire, 
under the Earl of Pembroke, V.D., and Col. K B. aierriman, 
V.D. Strong batteries had been established between Guildford 
and Scale by the Ist Fifeshire Artillery, under Col. J, W. 
Johnston, V.D., and the Highland Aitillery, under CoL W. 
Fraser, V.D.; while batteries on the left were held by the 
lat Midlothian, under Col. Kinnear, V.D. ; the 1st East Riding, 
under Col. R, G. Smith, V.D; and the lat West Riding, 
under CoL T. W. Harding, V.D. 

Commencing before dawn, the battle was fierce and 
sanguinary almost from the time the first shots were ex- 
changed. The eight 60-pounder guns in the new 
the top of Pewley Hill, manned by the Royal ArtiUery, 

vero ex- i 
fort at 


2/4 The Great War in England in 1897 

commanded the ^alleja lying away to the south, and effected 
splendid defensive work. 

Indeed, it was this redoubt, wilh three new ones between 
Guildford aud Gomshall.and another on the Hog's Back, which 
held the enemy iu check fur a considerable time; and had there 
been a latter number of a similar strength, it is doubtful 
whether the French would ever have accomplished their design 
upon Guildford. 

The Pewley Fort, huilt in the solid chalk, and suirouaded 
by a wide ditch, kept up a continuous fire upon the dense 
masses of the enemy, and swept away hundreds of unfortunate 
fellows as they rushed madly onward; while the Volunteer 
batteries and the Maxims of the infantry battalions poured 
upon the invaders a devastating hail of lead. 

From Farnham, the line through Odiham and Aldershot 
was held by a force increasing hourly in etrength ; therefore 
the enemy were unable to get over to Farnborough to outSank 
the defenders. Through that brilliant, sunny September day 
the slaughter was terrible in every part of the enemy's column, 
and it was about noon believed that they would find their 
positions at Wonersh and Godahning untenable. 

Nevertheless, with a dogged persistency unusual to our 
Gallic neighbours, they continued to fight with uuquelled 
vigour. The 2nd Oxfordshire Light Infantry and the 1st and 
2nd Wiltshire, holding very important ground over against 
Futtenham, bore their part with magnificent courage, but were 
at length cut up in a most horrible manner; while the Ist 
Bedfordshire, who, with a body of Regulars valiantly held the 
road running over the hills from Gomshall to Merrow, fought 
splendidly ; but they too were, alas ! subsequently annihilated. 

Over hill and dale, stretching away to the Sussex border, 
the rattle and din of war sounded incessantly, and as hour 
after hour passed, hundicda of Britons and Frenchmen dyed 
the brown, sim-baked grass with their blood. The struggle 
was frightfuL Volunteer battalions who had manoeuvred over 
that ground at many an Eastertide had little dreamed that they 
would have one day to raise their rifies in earnest for the 

March of the French on London 275 

defence of their home and Queen. Yet the practice they had 
had now served them well, for in one instance the lat Berk- 
shire succeeded by a very smart manoeuvre in totally sweeping 
away several troops of Cuirassiers, while a quarter of an hour 
later half an infantry battalion of Regulars attacked a large 
force of Zouaves on the Compton Eoad, and fought them 
successfully almost hand to hand. 

Through the long, toilsome day the battle continued with 
unabated fury, and as the sun went down there was no cessa- 
tion of hostilities. A force of our Regulars, extending from 
Famham over Hind Head Common, fell suddenly upon a large 
body of French infantry, and, outflanking them, managed — 
after a most frightful encounter, in which they lost nearly half 
their men — to totally annihilate them. 

In connection with this incident, a squadron of the 5th 
Dragoon Guards made a magnificent charge np a steep hill 
liteially to the muzzles of the guns of a French battery, and 
by their magnificent pluck captured it. Still, notwithstanding 
the bravery of our defenders, and their fierce determination to 
sweep away their foe, it seemed when the sun finally dis- 
appeared that the fortunes of war were once more against us, 
for the French had now received huge reinforcements, and 
Dorking and Leatherhead having already passed into their 
hands two days previously, they were enabled to make their 
final assault a most savage and terrific one. 

It was frightful ; it crushed us ! In the falling gloom our 
men fought desperately for their Uvea, but, alas ! one after 
another our positions were carried by the invaders literally at 
the point of the bayonet, and ere the moon rose Guildford had 
fallen into the enemy's hands, aud our depleted battalions had 
been compelled to retire in disorder east to Effingham and west 
to Famham. Those who went to Effingham joined at midnight 
the column who had made an unsuccessful effort to recover 
Leatherhead, and then hivouaced in Oldlands Copse. The 
number of wounded in the battles of Guildford and Leather- 
bead was enormous. At Mickleham the British hospital flag 
floated over St. Michael's Church, the Priory at Cherkley, 

276 The Great War in England in 1897 

Chapel Farm, and on Mickleham Hall, a portioa of which still 
reioauied intact, although the huilding had been looted by 
Zouavea. In Leatherhead the French had established hospitala 
at Givona Grove, Vale Lodge, Elmbank, and in the Church of 
St. Mary and the parish church at Fetcham. At Guildford, 
in addition to the field hospitals on Albnry Downs and behind 
St Catherine's Hill, Holden, Warren, and Tyting Farms, Sutton 
Place and Loseley were filled with wounded French infantry- 
men and British prisoners, and many schools and buildings, 
including the Guildhall in Guildford town, bore the red 

At two most important strategic pointa the first line 
defending London had now been broken, and the British 
ofticers knew that it would require every eflbrt on our part to 
recover our lost advantages. The metropolis was now seriously 
threatened ; for soon after dawn on the following day two great 
French columns, one from Guildford and the other from 
Leatherhead, were advancing north towards the Thames ! The 
enemy had establiahed telegraphic communication between the 
two towns, and balloons that had been sent up from Guildford 
and Ashstead to reconnoitre had reported that the second line 
of the British defence had been formed from Kingston, through 
Wimbledon, Tooting, Streatham, and Upper Norwood, and 
thence across vid Sydenham to Lewisham and Greenwich. 

It was upon this second line of defence that the French, 
with their enormous force of artillery, now marched. The 
Leatherhead column, with their main body about one day's 
march behind, took the route through Epsom to Mitcham, 
while the troops from Guildford pushed on through Itipley, 
Cobham, and Esher. 

This advance occupied a day, and when a halt was made 
for the night the enemy's front extended from Walton to 
Thames Ditton, thence across Kingston Common and Maiden 
to Mitcham. Bivouacing, they faced the British second line of 
defence, and waited for the morrow to commence their onslaught 
In London the alarming news of the enemy's success caused a 
panic such as had never before been experienced in the 


metropolis. During the long anxious weeks that the enemy 
had been held within hounds hy our Volunteers, London had 
never fully realised what bombardment would mean. While 
the French were beyond the Surrey Hills, Londoners felt aecore; 
and the intelligence received of the enemy's utter root at 
Newcastle, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow added con- 
siderably to this sense of eecurity. 

London, alas I was starving. Business waa suspended; 
trains no longer left the termini ; omnibuses, trams, and cabs 
had ceased running, the horses having been pressed into 
military service, and those which had not had been killed and 
eaten. The outlook everywhere, even during those blazing 
suDiiy days and clear moonlit nights, was cheerless and 
dispiriting. The bright eun seemed strangely incongruous 
with the black war-clouds that overhung the gigantic city, 
with its helpless, starving, breathless miUions. 

In the sun-baked, dusty streets the roar of traffic no longer 
sounded, but up and down the principal thoroughfai-es of the 
City and the West End the people prowled, lean and hungrj- — 
emaciated victims of this awful stro^le between nations — 
seeking vainly for food to satisfy the terrible pangs consuming 
them. The hollow cheek, the thin, sharp nose, the dark -ringed 
glassy eye of one and all, told too plainly of the widespread 
suffering, and little surprise was felt at the great mortality in 
every quarter. 

In Kensington and Belgravia the distress was quite as keen 
as in Whitechapel and Hackney, and both rich and poor 
mingled in the gloomy, dismal streets, wandering aimlessly 
over the great Modem Babylon, which the enemy were now 
plotting to destroy. 

The horrors of those intensely anxious days of terror 
were unspeakable. The whole machinery of life in the Great 
City had been disorganised, and now London lay like an 
octopus, with her long arms extended in every direction, north 
and south of the Thames, inert, helpless, trembling. Over the 
gigantic Capital of the World hung the dark Shadow of Death. 
Ey day and by night its ghastly presence could be felt; its 

278 The Great War in England in 1897 

hideous realities crushed the heart from those who would face 
the situation with smiling countenance. London's wealth 
availed her not in this critical hour. 

Grim, spectral, unseen, the Destroying Angel held the 
sword over her, ready to strike I 



IHILE famished men crept into Hyde F&rk and 
Kensington Gardens and there expired under 
the trees of absolute hunger, and starving 
women with babes at their breasts sank upon 
doorsteps and died, the more robust Londoners 
had, on hearing of the enemy's march on the 
metropolis, gone south to augment the second line of defence. 
For several weeks huge barricades had been thrown np in the 
principal roads approaching London from the south. The 
strongest of these were opposite the Convalescent Home on 
Kingston Hill, in Coombe Lane close to Eaynes Park Station, 
in the Morden Road at Merton Abbey, opposite Lynwood in 
the Tooting Road; while nearer London, on the same road, 
there was & strong one with machine guns on the crest of 
Balham Hill, and another in Clapham Road. At Streatham 
Hill, about one hundred yards from the hospital, earthworks 
had been thrown up, and several guns brought into position ; 
while at Bculah Hill, Norwood, opposite the Post Office at 
Upper Sydenham, at the Half Moon at Heme Hill, and in 
many of the roads between Honor Oak and Denmark Hill, 
barricades had been constructed and banked up with bags and 
baskets filled with earth. 

Though these defences were held by enthusiastic civilians 
of all classes, — professional men, artisans, and tradesmen, — yet 
our second line of defence, distinct, of course, from the local 

28o The Great War m England in 1897 

barricades, was a very weak ona We had relied upon oor 
magnificent strategic positions on the Surrey Hills, and had not 
made sufficient provision in case of a sudden reverse. Our 
second line, stretching from Croydon up to Soutii Norwood, 
thence to Streatham and along the railway line to Wimbledon 
and Kingston, was composed of a few battalions of Volunteers, 
detachments of Metropolitan police, Berks and Bucks con- 
stabulary, London firemen and postmen, the Corps of Com- 
missionaires — in fact, every body of drilled men who could be 
requisitioned to handle revolver or rifle. These were hacked 
by great bodies of civilians, and behind stood the barricades 
with their insignificant- looking but terribly deadly machine 

The railways had, on the first news of the enemy's success 
at Leatherhead and Guildford, all been cut up, and in each of 
the many bridges spanning the Tliames between Kingston 
and the Tower great charges of gun-cotton had been placed, 
60 that they might be blown up at any instant, and thus 
prevent the enemy from investing the city. 

Day dawned again at last — dull and grey. It had rained 
during the night, and the roads, wet and muddy, were un- 
utterably gloomy as our civilian defenders looked out upon 
them, well knowing that ere long a fierce attack would be 
made. In the night the enemy had been busy laying a field 
telegraph from Mitcham to Kingston, through which messages 
were now being continually flashed. 

Suddenly, just as the British outposts were being relieved, 
the French commenced a vigorous attack, and in a quartet of 
an hour fightiug extended along the whole line. VoluuteeiB, 
firemen, policemen. Commissionaires, and civilians all fought 
bravely, trusting to one hope, namely, that before they were 
defeated the enemy would be oatflanked and attacked in their 
rear by a British force from tlio Surrey Hills. They well knew 
that to efl'ectuaUy bar the advance of this great body of French 
was out of all question, yet they fought on with creditable 
tact, and in many instances inflicted serious loss upon the 
enemy's infantry. 


Looting in the Suburbs 

Soon, however, French field guns were trained iipon them, 
and amid the roar of artillery line after line of heroic Britons 
fell shattered to earth. Amid the rattle of musketry, the 
crackling of the machine guns, and the booming of 16-pounders, 
brave Londoners struggled valiantly against the masses of 
wihily excited Frenclimen ; yet every moment the line became 
slowly weakened, and the defenders were gradually forced 
back upoa their barricadea The resistance which the French 
met with was much more determined than they had antici- 
pated ; in fact, a small force of Volunteere holding the Mitcham 
Boad, at Streatham, fought with such splendid bravery, that 
they succeeded alone and unaided in completely wiping out a 
battalion of French infantry, and capturing two field guns and 
a quantity of ammunition. For this success, however, they, 
alas I paid dearly, for a quarter of an hour later a large body 
of cavalry and infantry coming over from Woodlands descended 
upon them and totally annihilated them, with the result that 
Streatham fell into the hands of the French, and a few guns 
placed in the high road soon made short work of the earth- 
works near the hospital. Under the thick hail of bursting 
shells the brave band who manned the gnns were at last com- 
pelled to abandon them, and the enemy were soon marching 
unchecked into Stockwell and Brixton, extending their right, 
with the majority of their artillery, across Heme Hill, Dulwich, 
and Honor Oak. 

In the meantime a desperate battle was being fought 
around Kingston. The barricade on Kingston Hill held out 
for nearly three hours, but was at last captured by the in- 
vaders, and of those who had manned it not a man survived. 
Mitcham and Tooting had fallen in the first hour of the 
engagement, the barricade at Lynwood had been taken, and 
hundreds of the houses in Batham had been looted by the 
enemy in their advance into Clapbam. 

Nearly the whole morning it rained in torrents, and both 
invaders and defenders were wet to the skin, and covered with 
blood oud mud. Everywhere British pluck showed itself in 
this desperate resistance on the part of these partially-trained 

defeudeTS. At the smaller barricades in the suburban jeny- 
built streets, Britona held their own and cheeked the advance 
with remarkable coolness ; yet, as the dark, stormy day wore 
on, the street defences were one after another broken down 
and destroy ed. 

Indeed, by three o'clock that afternoon the eneray ran riot 
through the whole district, from Lower Sydenham to Kingston, 
Around the larger houses on Sydenham Hill one of the fiercest 
fights oeciirred, but at length the defenders were driven down 
into Lordship Lane, and the houses on the hill were sacked, 
and some of them burned. While this was proceeding, a great 
force of French artillery came over from Streatham, and before 
dusk five great batteries had been established along the Parade 
in front of the Crystal Palace, and on Sydenham Hill and 
One Tree Hill; while other smaller batteries were brought into 
position at Forest Hill, Gipsy Hill, Tulse Hill, Streatham Hill, 
and Heme Hill; and further towards London about twenty 
French 12-pounder8 and a number of new quick-firing weapons 
of long range and a very destructive character were placed 
along the top of Camberwell Grove and Denmark HilL 

The defences of London had been broken. The track of 
the invaders was marked by ruined homes and heaps of corpses, 
and London's millions knew on this eventful night that the 
enemy were now actually at their doors. In Fleet Street, in 
the Strand, in Piccadilly, the news spread from month to 
mouth as darkness fell that the enemy were preparing to 
launch their deadly shells into the City. This increased the 
panic. The people were in a mad frenzy of e.tcitement^ and 
the scenes everywhere were terrible. Women wept and 
wailed, men uttered words of blank despair, and children 
screamed at an unknown terror. 

The situation was terrible. From the Embankment away 
on the Surrey side could be seen a lurid glare in the sky. It 
was the reflection of a great fire in Vassall Road, Brixton, the 
whole street being burned by the enemy, toijether with the 
great block of houses lying between the Cowley and Brixton 


Looting in the Suburbs 

Londoa waited. Dark stonn-cIoiiLls scudded across the 
moon. The chill wind swept up the river, and moaned mourn- 
fully iu doors and chimneys. 

At last, without warning, just as Big Ben bad boomed 
forth one o'clock, the thunder of artillery shook the windows, 
and startled the excited crowds. Great shells crashed into the 
streets, remained for a second, and then burst with deafening 
report and appalling efiect. 

In Trafidgar Square, Fleet Street, and the Strand the 
deadly projectiles commenced to fall thickly, wrecking the 
shops, playing havoc with the public buildings, and sweeping 
hundreds of men and women into eternity. Nothing could 
withstand their awful force, and the people, rushing madly 
about like frightened sheep, felt that this was indeed their 
last hour. 

In Ludgate Hill the scene was awful. Shots fell with 
monotonous regularity, bursting everywhere, and blowing 
buildings and men into atoms. The French sheila were 
terribly devastating; the reek of melinite poisoned the air. 
Shells striking St Paul's Cathedral brought down the right- 
hand tower, and crashed into tlie dome ; while others set on fire 
8 long range of huge drapery warehouses behind it, the glare of 
the roaring flames causing the great black Cathedral to stand 
out in bold relief. 

The bombardment had actually commenced 1 London, the 
proud Capital of the World, was threatened with destruction ' 




HE Hand of the Destroyer had reached Bnglaod's 
' mighty metropolis. The lurid scene was 

In the atormy sky the red glare from 
hundreds of burning buildings grew brighter, 
and in every quarter flames leaped ap and 
black smoke curled slowly away in increasing volume^ 

The people were unaware of the events that had occurred 
in Surrey that day. Exhausted, emaciated, and ashen pale, the 
hungry people had endured every torture. Panic- stricken, 
they rushed hither aud thither in thousands up and down the 
principal thoroughfares, and as they tore headlong away in 
this sauve qui pent to the northern suburbs, the weaker fell and 
were trodden under foot. 

Men fought for their wives and families, dragging them 
away out of the range of the enemy's fire, which apparently 
did not extend beyond the line formed by the Hackuey Boad, 
City Itoad, Peutonville Koad, Euaton Eoad, and Westboume 
Park. But in that terrible rush to escape many delicate ladies 
were crushed to death, and numbers of others, with their 
children, sank exhausted, and perished beneath the feet of 
the fleeing millions. 

Never before had such alarm been spread ±h rough 
London; never before had such awful scenes of destruction 
been witnessed. The French Commander-in-chief, .who was 

London Bombarded 285 

senior to his Buasian colleague, had been killed, and his suc- 
cessor being unwilling to act in concert with the Muscovite 
staff, a quarrel ensued. It was this quarrel which caused the 
bombardment of London, totally against the instructions of 
their respective Governments. The bombardment was, in 
fact, wliolly nnnecessarj', and was in a great measure due to 
some confused orders received by the French General from 
his Commander-in-chief. Into the midst of the sui^g, 
terrified crowds that congested the streets on each side of 
the Thames, shells filled with mi^linite dropped, and, bursting, 
blew hundreds of despairing Londoners to atoms. Houses 
were shattered and fell, public buildings were demolished, 
factories were set alight, and the powerful exploding pro- 
jectiles caused the Great City to reel and quake. Above 
the constant crash of bursting shells, the dull roar of 
the flames, and the crackling of burning timbers, terrific 
detonations now and then were heard, as buildings, filled 
with combustibles, were struck by shots, and, exploding, 
spread death and ruin over wide areas. The centre of com- 
merce, of wealth, of intellectual and moral life was being 
ruthlessly wrecked, and its inhabitants massacred. Appar- 
ently it was not the intention of the enemy to invest the 
city at present, fearing perhaps that the force that had 
penetrated the defences was not sufficiently laige to accom- 
plish such a gigantic task ; therefore they bad commenced 
this terrible bombardment as a preliminary measure. 

Through the streets of South London the people rushed 
along, all footsteps being bent towards the bridges; but on 
every one of them the cntsh was frightful — indeed, so great 
was it tliat in several instances the stone balustrades were 
broken, and many helpless, shrieking persona were forced 
over into the dark swirling waters below. The booming of 
the batteries was continuous, the bursting of the shells was 
deafening, and every moment was one of increasing horror. 
Men saw their homes swept away, and trembling women 
clnng to their husbands, speechless with fear. In the 
City, in the Strand, in Westminster, and West End streets 

the ruin was even greater, and the destruction of property 

Westward, both great stations at Victoria, with the adjoin- 
ing furniture repositories and the Grosvenor Hotel, were 
burning fiercely ; while the Wellington Barracks had been 
partially demolished, and the roof of St. Peter's Churcli 
blown away. Two shells falling in the quadrangle of Buck- 
ingham Palace had smashed every window and wrecked some 
of the ground-door apartments, but nevertheless upon the 
flagstaff, amidst the dense smoke and showers of sparks flying 
upward, there still floated the Boyal Standard. St. James's 
Palace, Marlborough House, Staflbrd House, and Clareoce 
House, standing in exposed positions, were being all more 
or less darai^ed; several houses in Carlton House Terrace 
had been partially demolished, and a shell striking the Duke 
of York's Column soon after the commencement of the bom- 
bardment, caused it to fall, blocking Waterloo Place. 

Time after time shells whistled above and fell with a crash 
and explosion, some in the centre ot the road, tearing up the 
paving, and others striking the clubs in Palt Mall, blowing 
out many ot those noble time-mellowed walls. The portico of 
the Athenwum had been torn away like pasteboard, the rear 
premises of the War Office had been pulverised, and the 
Carlton, Eeform, and United Service Clubs suffered terrible 
damage. Two shells striking the Junior Carlton crashed 
through the roof, and exploding almost simultaneously, 
brought down an enormous heap of masonry, which fell 
across the roadway, making an effectual barricade ; while at 
the same moment shells began to fall thickly in Grosvenor 
Place and Belgrave Square, igniting many houses, and killing 
some of those who remained in their homes petrified by fear. 

Up Itegent Street shells were sweeping with frightful 

■effect. The.Cafi? Monico and the whole block of buildings 

surrounding it was burning, and the flames leaping high, 

presented a magnificent though appalling spectacle. The 

L front of the London Pavilion had been partially blown away, 

r uid of the two tmiform rows of shops forming the Qiiadnmt 

London Bombarded 


many had beea wrecked. From Air Street to Oxford Circus, 
and along PiccadiUy to Kniglilsbridge, there fell a perfect hail 
of shell and bullets. Devonshire House had been wrecked, 
and the Burlington Arcade destroyed. The thin pointed 
Bpire of St. James's Church had fallen, every window in the 
Albany was shattered, several houses in Grosveuor Place had 
suffered considerably, and a shell that struck the southern side 
of St. George's Hospit^il had ignited it, and now at 2 A.11, in 
the midst of this awful scene of destruction and disaster, the 
helpless sick were being removed into the open sti-eets, where 
bullets whistled about them and fragments of explosive shells 
whizzed past. 

As the night wore on London trembled and fell Onco 
Mistress of the World, she was now, alas I sinking under the 
iron hand of the invader. Upon her there poured a rain of 
deadly missiles that caused appalling slaughter and desolation. 
The newly introduced long-range guns, and the terrific power 
of the explosives with which the French shells were charged, 
added to the horrors of the bombardment ; for although the 
batteries were so far away as to be out of eight, yet the 
unfortunate people, overtaken by their doom, were torn limb 
from limb by the bursting bombs. 

Over the roads lay men of Loudon, poor and rich, weltering 
in their blood, their lower limbs shattered or blown completely 
away. With wide-open hazard eyes, in their death agony 
they gazed around at the burning buildings, at the fulling 
debris, and upward at the brilliantly-Ulnmined sky. With 
their last breath they gasped prayers for those they loved, 
and sank to the grave, hapltss victims of Babylon's downfall 

Every moment the Great City was being devastated, every 
moment the catastrophe was more complcti.>, more awfuL In 
the poorer quarters of South London whole streets were swept 
away, and families overwhelmed by their own demolished 
homes. Along the principal thoroughfares shop fronts were 
shiverel, and the goods displayed in the windows strewn 
about the roadway. 

About half-past three a frightful disaster occurred at 

The Great War in England in 1897 

Battersea. Very few shells had dropped in that disti 
when suddenly one fell right in the very centre of a great' 
petroleum store. The effect was frightful With a noise 
that was heard for twenty miles around, the ^hole of the 
great store of oil exploded, blowing the stores themselves 
high into the air, and levelling all the buildings in th<|J 
vicinity. In every direction burning oil was projected ov^fl 
the roofs of neighbouring houses, dozens of which at onan 
caught fire, while down tho streets there ran great streams ofV 
blazing oil, which spread the confiagration in every direcUoo. 1 
Showers of sparks flew upwards, the flames roared and I 
crackled, and soon fires were breaking out in all quarters, ■ 

Just as the clocks were striking a quarter to four, a greafcl 
shell struck the Victoria Tower of the Houses of Parliamen^fl 
bringing it down with a terrific crash. This disaster was4 
quickly followed by a series of others. A shell fell through 
the roof of Westminster Abbey, setting the grand old historic 
building on fire; another tore away the columns from the 
front of the Eoyal Exchange ; and a third carried away one of 
the square twin towers of St. Jfnry Woolnoth, at the c "" 

Lombard Street. 

Along this latter thoroughfare banks were wrecked, i 
ofBces set on fire ; while opposite, in the thick walls of tbel 
Bank of England, great breaches were being made. The f 
Mansion House escaped any very serious injury, but the doma I 
of the Stock Exchange was carried away ; and in Queen Victori* I 
Street, from end to end, enormous damage was caused to tho f 
rows of fine business premises ; while fvirther east the Monn- j 
ment, broken in half, came down with a noise like thunder, ] 
demolishing many houses on Fish Street Hill. 

The great drapery warehouses in Wood Street, Bread Street, I 
Friday Street, Foster Lane, and St. Paul's Churchyard suffered J 
more or less. Ryland's, Motley's, and Cook's were all aUgld I 
and burning fiercely ; while others were wrecked and shattered, 1 
and their contents blown out into the streets. The quaint I 
spire of St, Bride's had fallen, and its bells lay among the J 
debris in the adjoining courts ; both the half-wrecked offices 1 

of the Daily Telegraph aud the Daily Chronide were being 

The great clock-tower of the Law Courte fell about four 
o'clock with a terrific crash, completely blocking the Strand 
at Temple Bar, and demolishing the much-abused Grifiin 
Memorial; while at the same moment two large holes were 
torn in the roof of the Great Hall, the small black turret above 
fell, and the whole of the glass in the building waa shivered 
into fragments. 

It was amazing how widespread was the ruin caused 
by each of the explosive missiles. Considering the number 
of guns employed by the French in this cruel and wanton 
destruction of property, the desolation they were causing was 
enormous. This was owing to the rapid extension of their 
batteries over the hifjh ground from One Tree Hill through 
Peckham to Greenwich, and more especially to the wide ranges 
of their guns and the terrific power of their shells. In addition 
to the ordinary projectiles filled with melinite, charges of that 
extremely powerful substance lignine dynamite were hurled 
into the city, and, exploded by a detonator, swept away whole 
streets, and laid many great public buildings in ruins ; while 
steel shells, filled with some arrangement of liquid oxygen and 
blasting gelatine, produced frightful eflects, for nothing could 
withstand them. 

One of these, discharged from the battery on Denmark 
Hill, fell in the quadrangle behind Burlington House, and 
levelled the Hoyal Academy and the suiTounding buildings. 
Again a terrific explosion sounded, and as the smoke cleai^ 
it was seen that a gelatine shell had fallen among the many 
turrets of the Natural History Museum, and the front of the 
building fell out with a deafening crash, completely blocking 
the Cromwell Rnad. 

London lay at the mercy of the invaders. So swiftly had 
the enemy cut their way through the defences and opened their 
hail of destroying misses, that the excited, starving populace 
were unaware of what had occurred until dynamite began to 
rain upon them. Newspapers bad ceased to appear; and 

290 The Great War in England in 1897 

akhongh tdMraphio oommunicatioii was kept up with the 
defenders on the Snirey Hills hy the War Office, yet no details 
of the events oocnrring there had been made public for fear of 
spies. Londoners had remained in ignoianoe» and, alaa I had 
awaited their doom. Through the lonff soltiy night the flitaa- 
tion was one .of indescribable panic ana disaster. 

The sky had grown a brighter red, and the atreete within 
the range of the enemy's guns^ now deserted, were in most 
cases blocked by baming mins and fallen telegraph wires; 
while aboat the roadways lay the shattered corpses of men, 
women, and children, upon whom the shells had wrought their 
frightfol work. 

The bodies, mntilated, torn limb from limb, were sickemng 
to gaze upon. 



RYNAMITE Iiad sliflttfi-ed Charing Cioaa Station 
and the Hotel, for its smoke-begrimed facade 
had been torn out, and the Btation yard was 
tilled with a huge pile of smouldering debris. 
On either side of the Strand from Villiers 
Street to Temple Biir scai-cely a window had 
leL-n left iiiUict, and the roadway itself was quite impassable, 
(or dozens of buildings had been overthrown by shells, aud 
what in many cases had been handsome shops were now heajis 
of bricks, slates, furnitnre, and twisted girders. The rain of tire 
continued. I'ense black smoke rising in a huge column from 
St. Martin's Church showed plainly what was the fate of that 
noble edilice, while fire had now broken out at the Tivoli 
Music Hall, and the clubs on Adelphi Terrace were also 
falling ft prey to the tlnnies. 

The burning of Babylon was a sight of awful, appalling 

The few people remaining in the vicinity of the Strand 
who escaped the flying missiles aud falling buildin<^s, sought 
what shelter they could, and stood petiitied by tenor, knowiug 
that every moment might be their last, not daring to fly into 
the streets leading to Holbom, where they could see the 
enemy's shells were still falling with unabated regularity and 
frightful result, their courses marked by crashing buildings and 
bluiDg ruins. 

292 The Great War in England in 1897 

Looking from Chariug Cross, tlie Strand seemed one buge 
glaring furnace. Flames belcbed from windows on either side, 
and, bursting through roofs, great tongues of fire shot upwards; 
blazing timbers fell into the street ; and as Ihe buildings became 
gutted, and the fury of the devouring element was spoit, 
shattered walls tottered and fell into the roadway. The terrific 
heat, the roar of the flames, the bhndiag smoke, the stifling 
fumes of dynamite, the pungent, poisonous odour of m^lioite, 
the clouds of dust, the spliatera of stone and steel, and tine 
constant bursting of shells, combined to reuder the scene the 
moat awful ever witnessed in a single thoroughfare during the 
history of the world. 

From Kensington to Bow, from Camberwell to Somers 
Town, from Clapham to Deptford, the vast area of congested 
houses and tortuous streets was being swept contiuu&lly. 
South of the Thames the loss of life was enormous, ftff 
thousands were unable to get beyond the zone of fire, and 
many in Brixton, Clapham, Camberwell, and Kennington vten 
either maimed by flying fragments of shell, buried in the debris 
of their homes, or burned to death. The disasters wrought by 
the Frenchmen's improved long-range weapons were frightful 

London, the all-powerful metropohs, which had egotistically 
considered herself the impregnable Citadel of the World, Ml 
to pieces and was consumed. She was frozen by terror, and 
lifeless. Her ancient monuments were swept away, het wealth 
melted in her coffers, her priceless objects of art were torn u\> I 
and broken, and her streets ran with the blood of her starving 

Day dawned grey, with stormlight gloom. liain-clouds 
scudded swiftly across the leaden sky. Along the road in 
front of the Crystal Palace, where the French batteries were 
established, the deafening discharges that had continued 
incessantly during the night, and had smashed nearly all the 
glass in the sides and roof of the Palace, suddenly ceased. 

The officers were holding a consultation over despatches 
received from the batteries at Tulae Hill, Streatham, Ited Post ' 
Hill, One Tree Hill, and Greenwich, all of which stated that | 

- h 

Babylon Bukning 

ammtmition had run short, and they were therefore unahle to 
continue the boDibardment. 

Neither of the ammunition trains of the two columns of the 
enemy had arrived, for, although the bomlmrding batteries were 
nnaware of it, both had been captured and blown up by British 

It "as owing to this that the hostile guns were at last 
compelled to cease their thunder, and to this fact also was 
due the forluues of the defenders in the events immediately 

Our Volunteers occupying the line of defence north of 
London, through Epping and Brentwood to Tilbury, had for 
the past three weeks been in daily expectation of an attempt 
on the part of the invaders to land in Essex, and were amazed 
at witnessing this sudden bombardment. From their positions 
on the northern heights they could distinctly see how disastrous 
was the enemy's fire, and although they had been informed by 
telegraph of the reverses we had sustained at Guildford and 
Leatherhead, yet they had no idea that the actual attack on the 
metropolis would be made so swiftly. However, they lost not 
a moment It was evident that the enemy had no intention of 
ejecting a landing in Essex ; therefore, with commendable 
promptitude, they decided to move across the Thames immedi- 
ately, to reinforce their comrades in Surrey. Leaving the 2nd 
and 4th West Biding Artillery, under Col. HoH'mann and Col. 
N. Creswick, V.D., at Tilbury, and the Lincolnshire, Essex, and 
Worcestershire Volunteer Artillery, under CoL G, M. Hutton, 
V.D., Col. S. L. Howard. V.D., and CoL W. Ottley, the greater part 
of the Norfolk, Staffordshire, Tay, Aberdeen, Manchester, and 
Northern Counties Field Brigades moved south with all possible 
speed. From Brentwood, the Ist, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Volunteer 
Battalions of the Norfolk Begiment, under Col. A, C. Dawson, 
Col. E. R H. Combe, CoL H. E. Hyde, V.D., and CoL G. W. 
J. Unthank, V.D. ; the Ist and 2nd North Staffordshire, under 
CoL W. H. Duttou. V.D.. and CoL F. D. Mort, V.D. ; and the 
Ist, 2nd, and 3rd South Staffordshire, under CoL J. B. Cochrane, 
V.D., CoL T. T. Fisher, V.D., and CoL E. Nayler, V.D.; the 



2nd, 4tli, 5th, and 6th Koyal Higljlanders. under Col. W. A. 
Gordon, V.D., Col. Sir R D. Moncreiife, CoL Sir It Miritzies. 
V.D., and Col. Erskine ; the 7th Argyll and Sutherland Hi^i- 
landers, under Col. J. Porteous, V.I). ; the 3rd, 4th, and 5tli 
Liordon Hi_!^hlandera, under Col. A. D. Fordyce, CoL G, Jackson, 
V.D., and Col. J. Johnston — were, as early as 2 a.m., on their 
way to London. 

At this critical hour the Engineer and Eailway Volunteer 
Staff Corps rendered invaluable services. Under the direction 
of Col. William Birt, trnins held in readiness by tile Great 
Eastern Railway brought the brigades rapidly to Liverpool 
Street, whence tliey marched by a circuitous route beyond the 
zone of fire by way of Marylebone, Paddington, Kensington 
Gardens, Wal ham Gieeu, and across Wandsworth Biidge, thence 
to Upper Tooting, where they fell in with a large force of our 
Regular infantry and cavalrj-, who were on their way to outflfink 
the enemy. 

Attacking a detachment of the French at Tooting, they 
captured eeveral guns, destroyed the enemy's field tel^raph. 
and proceeded at once to fitreatham, where the most desperate 
resistance was offered. A fierce fight occurred across Strcat- 
harn Common, and over to Lower Norwood and Gipsy HiU, in 
which both sides lost very heavily. Nevertheless our Volunteers 
from Essex, although they had been on the march the greaW 
part of the night, fought bravely, and inliicted terrible punish- 
ment upon their foe. The 3rd and 4th Volunteer Battalions of 
the Gordon Highlanders and the 1st Norfolk, attacking a French 
position near the mouth of the railway tunnel, displayed con- 
spicuous bravery, and succeeded in completely annihilating 
their opponents; while iu an opposite direction, towards Tooting, 
several troops of French cavalry were cut up and taken 
prisoners by two battalion.-* of Koyal Highlanders. 

The hatteriea on Streatham Hill having been assaulted and 
taken, the force of defenders pushed quickly onward to Upper 
Norwood, where our cavalry, sweeping along Westow Hill and 
Church Street, fell upon the battery in front of the Crystal 
Falaca The enemy, owing to the interruption of their field 

Bahvlon Blrmng 

telegraph, were unaware of their preseiice, and were completely 
surprised. Nevertheless French in fan try men rushed into the 
Crystal Palace Hotel, the Whit« Swan, Stanton Harcourt, 
the Knoll, Bocklands, and other bouses at both ends of the 
Parade, and from the windows poured forth withering volleys 
from their Lebels. Our caialry. riding down tlie broad Parade, 
used tbeir sabres upon the artillerymen, and the whole of the 
French troops were quickly in a confused mass, unable to act 
with effect, and suffering appallingly from the steady fire of our 
Volunteers, who very soon cleared the enemy from the Wliite 
Swan, and, having been drawn up outside, poured forth a 
galling rifle fire right along the enemy's position. Suddenly 
there ivas loud shouting, and the British " Cease fire " sounded. 
The French, though fighting hard, were falling back gradually 
down the hill towards Sydenham Station, when suddenly shots 
were heard, and turliaued cavalry came riding into them at a 
terrilic pace from the rear. 

The British ofiicere recognised the new-comers as a s<[uadrou 
of Bengal lancers ! At last India had sent us help, and our 
men sent up a loud cheer. A large foree of cavalry and 
infantry, together with two regimenia of Goorkas, iiad, it 
appeared, been landed at Sheerness. They had contemplated 
landing in Hampshire, but, more unfortunate than some of 
their compatriots who had effected a landing near Southamp- 
ton, they were driven through the Straits of Dover by the 
enemy's ei-uisers. Marching north in company with a force 
from Chatham, they had earlier that morning attacked and 
routed the enemy's right flank at Blackheath, and, after 
capturing the battery of the foe at Greenwich, greater part of 
the escort of which had been sent over to Lewisham an hour 
before, they slaughtered a battalion of Zouaves, and had then 
extended across to Denmark Hill, where a sanguinary struggle 

The French on Dog Kennel, Red Post, Heme, and Tulse 
Hills turned their deadly machine guns upon them, and for a 
long time all the positions held out. At length, however, by 
reason of a splendid charfje made by the Bengal Lancers, the 

296 Tin; Great War in Hnclank in 1S97 

battery at Ked Post Hill was taken and the enemy slaughtered 
During the next half-hour a fierce hand-to-hand struggle took 
place up Dog Kennel Hill from St. Saviour's InHrmaty, and 
presently, when the defenders gained the spur of the hill, they 
fought the enemy gallantly in Grove Lane, Private Koad, 
Bromar Koad, Camherwell Grove, and adjoining roads. Time 
after time the Indian cavalry charged, and the Groorkas, witli 
their keen knives, hacked their vray into thoae of the enemy 
who rallied. For nearly an hour the struggle coDtiaaed 
desperately, showers of bullets from magazine rifiea sweeping 
along the usually q^uiet suburban thoroughfares, until the 
roads were heaped with dead and dying, and the houses 00 
either side bore evidence of the bloody fray. Then at last 
the guns placed along the hills all fell into our hands, 
and the French were almost completely swept out of 

Many were the terrible scenes witnessed in the gardens of 
the quaint last-century houses on Denmark Hill. Ai-ound 
those old-world residences, standing along the road leading 
down to Half Moon Lane, time-mellowed relics of an age 
bygone, Indiana fought with Zouaves, and British Voluoteers 
struggled fiercely hand to hand with French infantrymen. 
The quiet old-fashioned quarter, that was an aristocratic 
retreat when Camherwell was but a sylvan village with an 
old toll gate, when cows chewed the cud upon Walworth 
Common, and when the Walworth Road had not a bouse iii 
the whole of it, was now the scene of a frightful massacre. 
The deafening explosions of cordite from magazine rifles, the 
exultant shouts of the victors and the hoarse shrieks of the 
dying, awakened the echoes in those quaint old gardens, with 
their Dutch-cut zigzag walks, enclosed by ancient red brick 
walls, moss-grown, lichen covered, and half hidden by ivy, 
honeysuckle, and creepers. Those spacious grounds, whei« 
men were now being mercilessly slaughtered, had been the 
Bcene of many a brilliant /^(c cAamp^re, where splendid satin- 
coated beaitr, all smiles and ailes de pigeon, whispered scandal 
behind the fans of dainty dames in high-dreased wigs and 



Babylon Burning 

patches, or, clad as Wtitteau shepherds, had danced the alfresco 
minuet with similarly attired shepherdesses, and later on 
played jnquet and drank champagne till dawn. 

In the good old Georgian days, when Johnson walked daily 
under the trees in Gough Stjuare, when >racklin was playing 
the " Man of the World," and when traitors' heads blackened 
on Temple Bar, this colony was one of the most rural, exclusive, 
and gay in the vicinity of London. Alas, how it has decayed ! 
Cheap "desirable residences" have sprung up around it, the 
hand of the jerry-building Vandal has touched it, the sound of 
IrafBc roars about it ; yet still there is a charm in those quaint 
old gardens of a forgotten era. From under the dark yew 
hedges the jonquils still peep out early — the dowers themselves 
lire those old-fashioned sweet ones beloved of our grand- 
mothers — and the tea rosea still blossom on the crumbling 
walls and fill the air with their fragrance. But in this 
terrible stniggle the walls were used as defences, the bushes 
were torn down and trampled under foot, and the Sowers hung 
broken on their stalks, bespattered with men's blood I 

Proceeding south again, the defenders successfully attacked 
the strong batteries on One Tree Hill at Honor Oak, and on 
Sydenham Hill and Forest Hill, and then extending across to 
the Crystal Palace, had joined hands with our Voliinteera from 
Essex, where they were now wreaking vengeance tor the ruth- 
less destruction caused in London. 

The bloodshed aloiig the Crystal Pnlace Parade was fearful. 
The French infantry and artillery, overwhelmed by the 
onward rush of the defenders, and now under the British cross- 
lire, fell in hundreds. Dark -faced Bengal Lancers end 
fioorka?. with British Hussars and Volunteers, descended upon 
them with appalling swiftness; and so complete was the 
wlaugbtiT, that of the whole force tlmt had effected that terribly 
effectual bombardment from Sydenham, not mnre than a dozen 

By noon many of the shops on Westow Hill and private 
residences on College Hill and Sydenham Hill had been 
wantonly ignited by the enemy; but when the firing ceased 

some hours later, the roads were heaped with the corpses of 
those whose mission it had been to destroy London. 

Of all those batteries which had caused such frightful 
desolation and loss of life during the night, not one dot 
remained. The two French columns had been swiftly wiped 
out of existence ; and although oar forces had suffered very 
considerably, they nevertheless were able to go south to 
Croydon lat^r that afternoon, in order to take part in resisting 
the vigorous and desperate attack which they knew would 
sooner or later be made by the whole French army masseJ 
beyond the Suney Hills. The sun was on the horizon, and 
the shadows were already deepening. 

Assistance had arrived tardily, for the damage to property 
in 'London during the night had been enormous ; neverthelee* 
at this the eleventh hour we had inflicted upon the French a 
crushing defeat, and now England waited, trembling and 
breathless, wondering what would be the final outcome of thit 
fierce, bloody struggle for onr national existence. 



|17B yaltant defenders were striking swift, decisive 
blows for Eiigland'a honour. The French, 
demoralised by their severe defeat in the south 
of London, and suffering considerable loss in 
every other direction, fought desperately during 
the two days following the disastrous bom- 

In darkness and sunlight fierce contests took place along 
the Surrey Hills, where our Volunteers, under Major-Gen. 
Lord Methuen, were still entrenched. Every copse bristled 
with rifles; red coats gleamed among the foliage, and winding 
highways were, alas! strewn with corpses. Guildford had 
again been reoccupied by our Eegulars, who were reorganis- 
ing; and Leatherhead, holding out for another day, was 
retaken, after a terribly hard-fought battle, by the Highland. 
South of Scotland, and Gla^w Brigades, with the Ist Ayr- 
shire and Galloway Artillery, under Cob J. G. Sturrock, V.D. ; 
1st Lannrkahire, under Col. R J. Bennett, V.D. ; Ist Aber- 
deenshire, under CoL J. Ogston, V.D. ; and Ist North 
Riding Yorkshire Volunteer Artillery, under Major C. L Bell. 
In such a splendid and gallant manner had our comparatively 
small force manccuvred, that on the second night following 
the bombardment the whole of the invaders who had pene- 
trated beyond our line of defence towards the metropolis had 
been completely wiped out, in addition to which the breach in 

Tin; Guii-^T W AK IX ExuLASD IS 1897 

our lino had beeu filleJ up by strong reinforcements, and tl<u 
enemy driven from the high ground between Box Hill and 

The invaders, fiuding how vigorously we repelled any attack, 
made terrific onslaughts on our position at various points Ihej 
l>elieved were vulnerable, but everywhere tbey were hnrleS 
back with appalling slaughter. Volunteers from Aostralbi 
and the Cape, in addition to the other contingent of 10,000 
Indian native troops, had been landed near Southampton, and 
had advanced to assbt in this terrific struggle, upon the result 
of which the future of our Empire depended. Among thrat 
Colonials were 500 Victorian Bangers, 900 Victoria Mounted 
Rifles, and seven companies of Queensland Mouoted Infantrv. 
with two ambulance corps. 

The Indians landed in splendid form, having brought their 
full war equipment with them without any contribution what- 
ever from the Home Government, as it will be remeinbert%] 
they did when they landed at Malta during Lord Beaconsfleld's 
administration. Having received intelligence of the move- 
ments of the two columns of the enemy that had gone to 
London after taking Leatherhead and Guildford, they pushed 
on to Petworth. By the time they arrived there, however, 
both towns bad been recaptured by the British, who were then 
being severely harassed by the enemy massed along the south 
aide of our defensive line. Although numericiilly inferior to 
the enemy occupying that part of the country, the Indians 
were already well accustomed to actual warfare, the 
majority having been engaged in operations against the hill 
tribes ; therefore the commander decided to push on at once, 
and endeavour to outflank the large French force who with 
some Russian infantry had again attacked Guildford, and the 
manner in which this waa accomplished was a sinple illustra- 
tion of the valuable assistance the Indiana rendered us in 
these days of bloodshed and despair. 

One of the native officers of a Sikh regiment, the Subadar' 
Banerji Sijigb, having served with Sir Peter Lumsden's ■ 
expeditionary force some years before, had frequently 


into contact with the KussiaDS, and could speak Bubsieui 
better than some of the soldiers of the Tsar's Asiatic corps. 
The commander of the Indian force, determined that his men 
should strike their blow and sustain their reputation, advanced 
with great caution from Petworth, and late in the afternoon of 
the second evening after the bombardment of London, two 
Sikhs scouting in front of the advance guard sighted a Bnasian 
bivouac on the road on the other aide of the Wye Canal 
beyond Loxwood Bridge, which latter had been demolished. 
The Indians were thereupon halted on the road which runs 
through the wood near PlaisCow, aud the officers held council 
Their information was unfortunately very meagre and their 
knowledge of the country necessarily vague ; but the Subadar 
Banerji Singh, who was of unusually fair complexion, volun- 
teered to doQ a Russian uniforni, which had been taken with 
other property from a dead ofiicer found upon the road, and 
endeavour in that disguise to penetrate the enemy's lines. 

Towards dusk be set out on hia perilous journey, and, on 
arriving at the wrecked bridge, shouted over to two Russian 
sentries, explaining that he had been wounded and left behind 
after the fight at Haslemere, and requesting their assistance to 
enable him to cross. Believing him to be oue of their infantry 
officers, they told him there were no means of crossing unless 
lie could swim, as their engineers had sounded the canal before 
blowing up the bridge, and had found it twenty feet deep, 

Banerji Singh questioned them artfully as to the position 
of their column, which they said intended, in co-operation 
with a great force of French cavalry and infantry, to again 
attack Guildford at dawn ; and further, they told him in 
confidence that the rearguard to which they belonged only 
numbered about two thousand men, who had halted for the 
night with the transport waggons on the Guildford road, aboat 
two miles north of Alfold. 

Then, after further confidences, they suggested that he 
should continue along the canal bank for about a mile and a 
half, where there was a bridge still intact, and near which he 
would find the rearguard. 

Thanking them, he ^thdrew into the falling gloom, and a 

qaarter of an hour later entered the preseoce of his comoBanding 
officer, who, of course, was delighted wilh the infonnaUon 
thus elicited. The Subadar had carefully noted all the 
features of the canal bank and broken bridge, and the valuable 
knowledge he had obtained v/aa at once put to account, and the 
General at once formed Ids force into two divisiona Then, 
after issuing instructions for the following day, he gave orders 
for 8 bivouac for the night. 

The pioneers, however, were far from idle. During the 
night they worked with unflagging energ)-, quietly preparing s 
position for the guns to cover the contemplated passage at 
Loxwood Bridge, and before day broke the guns were mounted, 
and the Engineers were ready for action. As soon as there 
was sufficient light the laying of the pontoon commenced, but 
was at once noticed by the Russians, who opened fire, and very 
soon it was evident that information had been conveyed to the 
enemy's rearguard, and that they were returning to coDtest the 

In the meantime one division of the Indians, setting out 
before daybreak, had been cautiously working round to the 
main road crossing the canal north of Alfold, and succeeded in 
getting over soon after the majority of the Bussian rearguard 
had left for the assistance of the detachment at Loxwood 
Bridge, and, after a sharp, decisive fight, succeeded in capturing 
the whole of the transport waggons. The Engineers, with the 
Indians, had in the meantime succeeded in completing their 
pontoon under cover of the guns, and the second division 
of the Indians, dark-faced, daring fellows, rushed across to the 
opposite bank, and descended upon the enemy with frightful 
effect In the hot engagement that followed, the Russians, 
now attacked in both front and rear, were totally annihilated, 
and thus the wliole of the reserve ammunition of the force 
assaulting Guildford fell into our hands. 

This victory on the enemy's left ilank caused the tide of 
events to turn in our favour, for the huge Kussian and French 
columns that intended to again carry the hills from Dorking 

to Guildford were hampered by want of ammunition, and 8o 
vigorously did our Volunteers along the hills defend the re- 
peated attacks, that the invaders were again driven back. 
Then, as they drew south to recover themselves, they were 
attacked on their left by a large body of our Eegulars, and in 
the rear by the Indiana and Australians. Over the country 
stretching across from Cranley through Ewhnrat, Ockley, 
Capel, and Newdigale to Hurley, the fighting spread, as each 
side struggled desperately for the mastery. 

The fata of England, nay, of our vast British Empire, was 
ia the hands of those of her stalwart sous of many races who 
were now wielding valiantly the ritle and the sword. Through 
that blazing September day, while the people of London 
wailed among the ruins of their homes, aud, breathlessly 
annions, awaited news of their victory or their doom, the 
whole of East Kent, the southern portion of Surrey and 
Qorthem Sussex, became one huge battlefield. Of the vast 
bodies of troops massed over hill and dale every regiment 
became engaged. 

The butchery was awful 




M" Bea England waa now showing the world bow 
she still could figlit. Following the desperate 
struggle off Sardinia, in which Italy had tcd- 
dered us such valuable help, our Mediterraneaii 
Squadron attacked the French Fleet off Cape 
TresForcaa, on the coast of ilorocco, and after a 
terrific battle, extending over two days, defeated them with 
heavy loss, several of the enemy 'a vessels being torpedoed and 
sunk, two of them rammed, and one so badly damaged that 
her captain ran her ashore on Alboran Island. 

After this hard-earned victory, our Squadron passed out of 
the Mediterranean, and, returning home, had joined hands with 
the battered remnant of our Channel Fleet, now reinforced by 
several vessels recalled from foreign stations. Tlierefore. while 
the enemy marched upon London, we had collected our naval 
strength on the south coast, and at length made a final descent 
upon the enemy in British waters. The British vessels that 
passed Beacby Head coming up Chaunel on the night of the 
bombardment of London included the Empress of India, 
Infimble, Nile, TrafaXgar, MagniJUxnt, Sood, K'arspiee, Ihtad- 
iwughi, Camperdoum, Blenheim, Barham, Scnbow, JJTonarch, 
Anson, Immortaliti, and Royal Sovereii/n, with four of the new 
cruisers built under the Spencer programme, viz. the TcfribU, 
Power/itl, Doris, and Ids, and a number of smaller vessels, 
torpedo boats, and " destroyers." 

Naval Battle off Dungeness 

At the aame hour that oar vessels were passing Beachy 
Hi-ad, the Coastguard at Sandwich Battery were suddenly 
alanned by electric sipials being Hashed frou a nnmber of 
warships that were slowly passing the Gull Stream revolving 
light towards the Xlowns. The sensation tliese lights caused 
among the Coastguard and Artillery was immediately dispelled 
when it was discovered that the warships were not hostile, but 
friendly ; that the Kaiser had sent a German Squadron, in two 
divisions, to assist us, and that these vessels were on their 
way to unite with onr own Fleet. The first division, it was 
ascertained, consisted of the Badai, flying the flag of Vice- 
Admiral Koeater; the Sachen, commanded by Prince Henry 
of Prussia; the WurUTuherg.&aA the Bayem — all of 7400 tons, 
and each carrying 18 gnns and nearly 400 men ; while the 
despatch boat Pfeil, the new dynamite cruiser Trier, and a 
number of torpedo boats, accompanied them. The second 
division, under Kear-Admiral von Diederichs on hoard the 
Konig WiUulm, consisted of the Brandrnbiirg, Kilrfurst 
Friedrich WtUielm. and Warlh. each of 10,300 tons, and 
carrying 32 guns; the Deuisehland and the Friedrich der Orosst, 
with the despatch vessel Wacki, and several torpedo gunboats 
and other craft 

Before dawn, the British and German Fleets united near 
South Sand Head light, off the South Foreland, and it was 
decided to commence the attack without delay. Turning weat 
a^oin, the British ships, accompanied by those of the Emperor 
William, proceeded slowly down Channel in search of the 
enemy, which they were informed by signal had been sighted 
by the Coastguard at East Wear, near Folkestone, earlier in 
the night. Just as day broke, however, when the defenders 
were opposite Dynichurch, about eight miles from land, the 
enemy were discovered in force. Apparently the French and 
Knssian Fleets had combined, and were preparing for a final 
descent upon Dover, or an assault upon the Thames defences ; 
and it coiild be seen that, with both forces so strong, the fight 
woold inevitably be one to the death. 

Little time was occupied in preliminaries. Soon our ships 

3o6 The Great War in England in 1897 

were within range in fighting formation in single column in 
line abreast, while the French, under Admiml le Bomgeoti, 
advanced in single column in Hue ahead. The French flag- 
ship, leading, was within 2000 yards of the British line, 
and had not disclosed the nature of her attack. The enemy's 
Admiral bad signalled to the ships astern of hina to follow his 
motions tpgether, as nearly as possible to concentrate their 
guns at point blank, right ahead, and to pour their shot on the 
uistant of passing our ships. He had but three minut«s to 
decide upon tlie attack, and as he apparently elucted to pierce 
the centre of our line, the British had no time to counteract 
him. The French Admiral therefore continued his course, 
and as he passed between the Camperdown and BUn/t^m.hc 
discharged his guns, receiving the British broadsides and bow 
fire at the same time. In a few minutes, however, it was seen 
that the French attack had been frustrated, and as dawn 
spread the fighting increased, and the lines became broken. 
The ponderous guns of the battleships thundered, and ere long 
the whole of the great naval force was engaged in this final 
struggle for England's freedom. The three powerful French 
battleships, Jaiir^yiiibcrry, Jcmappea, and D6vaetation, and the 
submarine torpedo boat Gustave Zidi, fiercely attacked the 
Srandenbiirg and the Kiinig Wilhdvt; while the Camperdoum. 
A-nson, Drcadnmight, and Warspitc fought desperately with 
half a dozen of the enemy's battleships, all of which suffered 
considerably. Our torpedo boats, darting swiftly hither and 
thither, performed much effective service, and many snart 
mauffiuvres were carried out by astute ofiGcers in command of 
those wasps of the sea. In one instance a torpedo boat, which 
had designs upon & Russian ironclad, obtained cover by sending 
in front of her a gunboat which emitted an immense quantity 
of dense smoke. Tliis of course obscured from view the 
torpedo boat under the gunboat's stem, and those on board the 
Tsar's battleship pounded away at the gunboat, unconst^ioua of 
the presence of the dangerous little craft. Just as the gunboat 
got level with the fiattleship, however, the torpedo boat 
emerged from the cloud of smoke, and, darting along, ejected 

Naval .Battle off Dungeness 

its flniilehead with such precision that five minutes later the 
Bussian leviathan sauk beneath the dark green waters. 
Almost at the Eome moment, the new German djmamite 
cmiser destroyed a French cruiser, and a fierce and sanguinary 
encounter took place between the ImmoTlaJiti and the Tri- 
Jumart. The former's pair of 22-tonner3, in combination with 
her ten 6-inch guns, wrought awful havoc on board the French 
vessel ; nevertheless, from the turret of her opponent there 
came a deadly fire which spread death and destruction through 
the ship. Suddenly the Frenchman swung round, and with 
her quick-firing guns shedding a deadly storm of projectiles, 
came full upon the British vessel. The impact and the angle 
at which she was stnicfc was not, however, sufficient to ram 
her, consequently the two vessels became entangled, and amid 
the rain of bullets the Frenchmen made a de.<r)ierate attempt 
to board our ship, A few who managed t« spiing upon the 
Immorlalit^'i deck were cut down instantly, but a couple of 
liundred fully armed men were preparing to make a rush to 
overpower our bluejackets. On board the British cruiser, 
however, the enemy's intentions had been divined, and certain 
precautions taken. The Fusiliers Marins, armed with Lebels 
and cutlasses, suddenly made a desperate, headlong rush upon 
the British cruiser's deck, but just as fifty of them gained their 
goal, a great hose attached to one of the boilers was brought 
into play, and scalding water poured upon the enemy. This, 
in addition to some hand charges at that moment thrown, 
proved successful in repelling the attack; but just as the 
survivors retreated in disorder there was a dull explosion, and 
then it was evident, from the confusion on board the French 
ship, that she had been torpedoed by a German boat, and was 

Humanely, our vessel, the Immortaliti, rescued the whole 
of her opponent's men ere she sank ; but it was found that in 
the engagement her captain and half her crew had been 
killed. On every hand the fight continued with unabated 
fierceness; every gun was worked to its utmost capacity, and 
amid the smoke and din every vessel was swept from stem to 

3o8 The Great Wak in England in 1897 

stem. As moruing wore on, the enemy met with one or tm 
successes. Our two new cruisers Terrible and Pow^t/mI kad 
been sunk by French torpedoes ; the Huod had been ramiiud 
by the Amiral Baudin, and gone to the bottom with oeuiy 
every soul on board ; while the German despatch boat Wndit 
had been captured, and seven of otir torpedo boats had bees 
destroyed. During the progress of the fight, the vessels cani* 
gradually nearer Dungeness, and at eleven o'clock they were 
still firing at each other, with appalling results on either ddft 
At such close quarters did this great battle occur, that the loss 
of hfe was awful, and throughout the ships the destractioa 
was widespread and frightful. About noon tht; etuttDT 
experienced two reverses. The French battleship FfrmidMU* 
blew up with a terrific report, filling the air with dt'bria, bar 
magazine having exploded; while just at that motaent tltQ 
Cffurbet, whose 4S-tonners had caused serious damage to the 
Warspilc, was suddenly rammed and sunk by the Emprat tf 

This, the decisive battle, was the most vigorously contested 
naval fight during the whole of the hostilities. TJie scene WU 
terrible. The steel leviathans of the sea were being not 
asunder and pulverised by the terribly destructive moden 
arms, and amid the roar and crashing of the guns, shells wnn 
bursting everywhere, carrying away funnels, fighting tops, «o(t 
superstructures, and wrecking the crowded spaces between tbo 
decka Turrets and barbettes were torn away, guns du> 
mounted by the enormous shells from heavy gims ; steel 
armour was torn up and thrown aside like paper, and niaiiy 
shots entering broadsides, passed clean through and out at Gbe 
other side. Whitehead torpedoes, carrying heavy c-haiv^ of 
gun-cotton, exploded now and then under the enemy's shim: 
while both British and French torpedo boat " destroyeis, 
running at the speed of an ordinary train, were sinking or 
capturing where they could. 

Through the dull, gloomy afternoon the battle continued 
Time after time our ships met with serious reverses, (or 
Anaoth was sunk by the Russian flagship Alexa-nder 


I I 



Naval Battle off Dungeness 

assisted by two French cruisers, and this catastrophe was 
followed almost immediately hy the torpedoing of the new 
British crniser Doris, and the capture of the uew German 
dynamite cruiser Trier. 

By this time, however, the vessels had approached within 
three miles of Dungeness, and the Camperdovm, Emprexs of 
India, Itoyal Sovereign, InJUxihle, and WarspiU, lying near one 
another, fought nine of the enemy's vessels, inflicting npon 
them terrible punishment. Shots from the 67-touners of the 
Emprtss of Iiuiia, Eoyal Sovereign, and Campertlovm, combined 
with those from the 22-tonner3 of tlie Warspile, swept the 
enemy's vessels with devastating effect, and during the three- 
quarters of an hour that the fight between these vessels lasted, 
the scene of destractioa was appalling. Suddenly, with a 
brilliant flash and deafening detonation, the Russian fliigship 
Alexander IT., one of the vessels now engaging the five British 
ships, blew up and sank, and ere the enemy could recover 
from the surprise this disaster caused them, the Camperdown, 
rammed the Amiral Baiidin, while the Warspiie sank the 
French cruiser C^cillf., the submarine boat Gvkate ZOd, and 
afterwards captured the torpedo gunboat Bombe. 

This rapid series of terrible disasters apparently demoralised 
the enemy. They fought recklessly, and amid the din and 
confusion two Russian vessels collided, and were so seriously 
damaged that both sellled down, their crews being rescued by 
British torpedo boats. Immediately afterwards, however, a 
frightful explosion rent the air with a deafening sound that 
dwarfed into insignificance the roar oC the heavy guns, and the 
French battleship Jaurcgviherry was completely broken into 
fragments, scarcely any of her hull remaining. The enemy 
were amazed- A few moments later another explosion 
occurred, even louder than the first. For a second the French 
battleship Dhmstation, which had been en;^aging the Boyal 
Sovereign, was obscured by a brilliant flash, then, as frugments 
of steel and human limbs were precipitated on every side, it 
was seen that that vessel also bad leea completely blown cut 
of the water ! 

3IO The Great War in England in 1897 

The enemy stood appniled. The defenders themselves we« 
at first dumfounded. A few moments later, liowever, il 
became knowD throughout the British ships that the battery 
at Dungeiies3, two miles and a half distant, were rendeiinir 
assistance with the new pneumnlic gnn, the secret of which 
the Government had guarded so long and so welL Five 
years before, this frightfully deadly weapon had been tested, 
and proved bo successful that the one gun made was broken 
up and the plans preserved with the utmost secrecy in a safe 
at the War Office. Now, however, several of the weapons had 
been constructed, and one of them had been placed in the 
battery at Dungeness. The British vessels drew off to watch 
the awful effect of the fire from these marvellous and 
terribly destructive engines of modern warfare. The enemv 
would not surrender, so time after time the deafening explosions 
sounded, and time after time the hostile ships were shattered 
into fragments. 

Each shot fired by this new pneumatic gun contained 9O0 
lbs. of d3'namite, which could strike effectively at four miles! 
The result of such a charge exploding on a ship was appalling : 
the force was terrific, and could not be withstood by the 
strongest vessel ever constructed. Indeed, the great armoured 
vessels were being pulverised aa easily as glass balls struck by 
bullets, and every moment hundreds of poor fellows were being 
hurled into eternity. At last the enemy discovered the distant 
source of the fire, and prepared to escape beyond range ; but in 
this they were unsuccessful, for, after a renewed and terrific 
fight, in which three French ironclads were sunk and two of 
our cruisers were torpedoed, our force and onr allies the 
Germans succeeded in capturing the remainder of the hostile 
ships and torpedo boats. 

The struggle had been frightful, but the victory was 

That same night the British ships steamed along the Sussex 
coast and captured the whole of the French and Su^ftn 
transports, the majority of which were British vessels that had 
been seized while lying in French and Sussian porta at the 

Naval Battle off Dungenkss 

time war was declared. The vessels were lying between 
Beachy Head and Selsey Bill, and by their capture the enemy's 
means of retreat were at once totally cut ofT. 

Thus, at the eleventh hour, the British Navy bad shown 
itself worthy of its reputation, and England regained the 
eupremacy of the seas. 




I HE Day of Reckoning dawned. 

Ou land the battle was terri6c ; tbe etroggle 
was the most fierce and bloody of any during 
t!ie iDVasioD. The British Kegulara holding 
the high ground along from Crowborough to 
Ticehiirst, and from Etching ham, throagh 
nd Aahburnhani, down to Baltic, advanced in & 
_ ^ J line upon the enemy's base around £astbounie. 
The onslaught was vigoTously repelled, and the battle across 
the Sussex Dowua quickly became a moat wild and sanguioaiy 
one; but as the day passed, although the defenders were 
numerically very weak, they nevertheless gradually effected 
terrible slaughter, capturing the whole of the enemy's stores, 
and taking nearly five thousand prisoners. 

In Kent the French had adranced from East; Grinste»il 
through Edenbriilge, extending along the hills sotttb of 
Westerham, and in consequence of these rapid successes the 
depot of stores and ammunition which had been inaintaiued at 
Sevenoaks waa being removed to Bromley by rail ; but as the 
officer commanding the British troops at Eynsford could see 
that it would most probably be impossible to get tbem all 
away before Sevenoaka was attacked, orders were issued that 
at a certain hour the remainder should be destroyed. The 
force covering the removal only consisted of two battalions of 
the Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex) Regiment and 

The Day ok Reckoning 

half a squadron of tbe 9th Lancers; but the hills north of 
Sevenoalcs from LudiJesdown through Stanstead, Otford, Shore- 
ham, Haktcad, Famborougb, and Keston were still held by 
OUT Volunteers. These infantry battalions included the 1st 
and 2nd Derbyshire Eegiment (Sherwood Foresters), under 
CoL A. Buchanan. V.D., and Col. K Hall, V.D.; the 1st Kot- 
t in gham shire, under CoL A. Cantrell - Hubberety ; the 4th 
Derbyshire, under Lord Kewark; the 1st and 2nd Lincoln- 
sliire, under Col J. G. WilHams, V.D., and CoL R. G. EUifion ; 
the Ist Leicestershire, under CoL S. Davis, V.D. ; the 1st North- 
amptonshire, under CoL T. J. Walker, V.D. ; the 1st and 2nd 
Shropshire Light Infantry, under CoL J, A. Anstice, V.D., and 
Col. E. T. Masefield; the 1st Herefordshire, under CoL T. 
H. Purser, V.D.; the Ist, 3rd, and 4th South Wales Borderers, 
under CoL T. Wood, CoL J. A. Bradney, and Col. H. Burton, 
V.D.; the 1st and 2nd Warwickshire, under CoL W. S. Jervia 
and Col. L V. Loyd ; the let and 2ud Webh Fusiliers, under 
CoL C. S. Ifainwaring and CoL B. G. D. Cooke, V.D.; the 
2nd Welsh Eegiment, under CoL A. P. Vivian, V.D. ; the 
3rd Glamorganshire, under CoL J. C. Eichardson, V.D.; and 
the 1st Worcestershire, under Col. W. H. Talbot, V.D.; while 
the artilleiy consisted of the 3rd Kent, under CoL Ilozier ; the 
Ist Monmouthshire, under CoL C. T. Wallis; the Ist Shrop- 
shire and Staffordshire, under CoL J. Strick, V.D. ; and the 
5th Lancashire, under Col. W. H. Hunt 

The events which occurred outside Sevenoaks are perhaps 
best described by Capt. A. E. Brown, of the 4th V.B. West 
Surrey Eegiment, who was acting as one of the special 
correspondents of the Standard. He wrote — 

"I was in command of a piquet consisting of fifty men of 
my regiment at Turvan'a Farm, and about three hours before 
the time to destroy the remainder of the stores at Sevenoaks 
my sentries were suddenly driven in by the enemy, who were 
advancing from the direction of FroghalL As I had orders to 
hold the farm at any cost, we immediately prepared for action. 
Fortunately we had a fair supply of provisions and plenty of 
ammunition, for since War had broken out the place had 

been utilised as a kind of outlying fort, although at this time 
only my force occupied it. Our equipment included two 
machine gnus, and it was mainly by the aid of these we 
were saved, 

"The strength of the attacking force appeared to be about 
four battalions of French infantry and a battalion of Zouaves, 
with two squadrons of Cuirassiers. Their intention was, no 
doubt, to cut the railway line near Twitton, and thus prevent 
the removal of the Sevcnoaks stores. As soon as the cavalry 
scouts came within range we gave them a few sharp volleys, 
and those who were able immediately retired in disorder. 
Soon afterwards, however, the farm was surrounded, but I 
had previously sent information to our reserves, and suggested 
that a sharp watch should be kept upon the lino from Twitton 
to Sevenoaks, for of course I could do nothing with my small 
force. Dusk was now creeping on, and as the enemy remained 
quiet for a short time it seemed as though they intended to 
assault our position when it grew dart. I 

" Before night set in, however, my messenger, who had I 
managed to elude the vigilance of the enemy, returned, with s I 
letter from a brother officer stating that a great naval battle I 
had been fought in the Channel ; and further, that the enemy's | 
retreat had been cut off, and that the Kentish detendei-s had 
already retaken the invaders' base at Eastbourne. If we could, 
therefore, still hold the Surrey Hills, there was yet a chance of 
thoroughly defeating the French and Russians, even though 
one strong body was reported aa having taken Guildford and 
Leatherhead, and was now marching upon London. i 

"As evening drew on we could hear heavy firing in the I 
direction of Sevenoaks, but as we also heard a train running it I 
became evident that we bUII held the station. Nevertheless; ] 
soon after dark there was a brilliant Hash which for a second | 
lit up the country around like day, and a terrific report 
followed. We knew the remainder of our stores and ammuni- 
tion had been demolished in order that it should not fall into ] 
the enemy's hands ! 

"Shortly afterwards we were vigorously attacked, and oarj 

The Day of Reckoning 

podtioQ quickly became almost untenable by the dozens of 
bnllets projected in every direction where the flash of our 
rifles could be seen. Very soon some of the farm outbuildings 
fell ioto the hnnds of the Frenchmen, nnd they set them on 
fire, together with a number of hayatacks, in order to burn us 
out, Thi3 move, however, proved pretty disastrous to them, 
for the leaping flames quickly rendered it light as day, and 
showed them up, while at the same time flnsbes from our 
muzzles were almost invisible to them. Thus we were 
enabled to bring our two machine guns into action, and 
break up every party of Frenchmen who showed themselves. 
Away over Seveuoaks there was a glare in the sky, for the 
enemy were looting and burning the town. Meanwliile, how- 
ever, our men who had been defending the place bad retreated 
to Duntou Green after blowing up the stores, and there they 
re-formed and were quickly moving off in the direction of 
Twitton. Fortunately they had heard the commencement of 
the attack on us, and the commander, hailing Ids force, had 
sent out scouts towards Chevening, and it appeared they 
reached us just at the moment the enemy had fired the 
stacka They worked splendidly, and, after going nearly all 
round the enemy's position, returned and reported to their 
Colonel, who at once resolved to relieve us. 

"As may be imagined, we were in a most crilical position 
by this time, especially as we were unaware that assistance 
was so near. We bad been ordered to bold the faim, and we 
meant to do it as long as breath remained in our bodies. All 
my men worked magnificently, and displayed remavkable cool- 
ness, even at the moment when death stared us in the face. 
The reports of the scouts enabled their Colonel to make his 
disposition very carefully, and it was not long before the 
enemy were almost completely surrounded. We afterwards 
learnt that our reserves at Stockholm Wood had sent out a 
battalion, which foitunately came in touch with the survivors 
of the Sevenoaks force just as they opeued a desperate 
onslaught upon the enemy. 

"With the fierce tiamea and blinding smoke from the 

burning stacks iMlcliing in our faces, we fought oa with in 
arouod us on every eide. As the Gre drew nearer to u fk 
heat became intense, the showers of sparks galled us afaioE I 
as much as the enemj'B bullets, and some of us had ma rjt- I 
brows aod hair singed by the tierce flames. Indeed, it wmm I 
much &8 ve conid do to keep our ammunition from exploding; 
nevertheless we kept up onr stream of lead, pouring »ollrf I 
after volley upon those who had attacked us. Hevaibtdm, 
with sucii a barrier of flame and obscuring smoke between w 
we could see but little in the darkness beyond, and we ill I 
knew that if we emerged from cover we should be picked tt I 
easily and not a man would surviva The odds were agaiu 
us. More than twenty of my brave fellows had fired their Us 
shot, and now lay with their dead upturned faces loiAnit 
ghastly in the brilliant glare, while a number of otben iiii ' 
sunk back wounded. The heat was frightful, the sank 
stifling, and I had just given up all hope of relief, and M 
set my teeth, determined to die like an Englishman sliooU. 
when we heanl a terri6c volley of musketry at close qnaiten. 
and immediately afterwards a dozen British bugles sonnded | 
the charge. The scene of carnage that followed waa temUe 
Our comrades gave one volley from their magazines rifles, and 
then charged with the bayonet, taking the enemy completd^r 
by surprise, 

"The Frenchmen tried to rally, but in vain, and amosg 
those huge burning bams and blazing ricks they all fell a 
were captured. Dozens of them 8trug',ded valiantly till the 
last; but, refusing to surrender, they were slaughtered amid a 
most frightful scene of blood and fire. Tlie events of that 
night were horrible, and the true extent of the losses on both , 
sides was only revealed when the flames died down and tteJ 
parting clouds above heralded another grey and toilsome dsy'^ 

Late on the previous evening the advance guard of tlM 
enemy proceeding north towards Caterbam came in touch will 
the defenders north of Godatone, The French caviilry had 
seized Red Hill .Junction Station at sundown, and some of 
their scouts suddenly came upon a detatched post of 



The Uay of Rkckonikg 

17th Middlesex Volimteers at Tyler's Green, dose to God- 
Btoii& A very sharp skirmish eusued, but tho YoluoteerB, 
although suSerJDg severe losses, held their own, and the 
cavalry went off alon"; the Oxted Koad. This beiug reported 
to the British General, special orders were at ouce sent to Col. 
Trotter, the commander of this section of the outpost line. 

From the reports of the inhabitants and of scouts sent 
out in plain clothes, it was believed that the French intended 
massing near Taudridge, and that they would therefore wait for 
supports before attempting to break through our outpost line, 
which still remajned intact from the high ground east of 
Leatherhead to tlie hills north of Sevenonks. During tlie 
night Oxted and Godstone were occupied by the enemy, and 
early in the morning their advance guard, consisting of four 
battalions of iufantry, a squadron of cavalry, a battalion of 
Zouaves, and a sectiou of field artillery, proceeded north in 
two columns, one along the Koman road leading past Rook's 
^est, and the other post Flinthall Farm, 

At the latter place the sentries of the 17th Middlesex fell 
back upon their piquets, and both columns of the enemy came 
into action simultaneously. The French infantry on the high 
road soon succeeded in driving back the Volunteer piquet upon 
the supports, under Lieut Michaelis, statioued at the junction 
of the Eoman road with that leading to Godstone Quarry. A 
strong barricade with two deep trenches in front had here been 
constructed, and as soon as the survivors of the piquet got 
under cover, two of the defenders' machine guna opened fire 
from behind the barricade, assisted at the same moment by u 
battery on Gravelly HilL 

The French artillery had gone on towards Flinthall Farm, 
but in passing the north edge of Book's Neat Park their horses 
were shot by some Inniskilling Fusiliers lying in ambush, and 
by these two reverses, combined with the deadly fire from 
the two machine guus at the farm, the column was very 
quickly thrown into confusion. It was then decided to make 
a counter attack, and the available companies at this section 
of the outpost line, under Col. Brown and CoL Eoche, sue- 

cceded, a[tcr nearly two liours' hard fighting, in retaking 
(iodstone and Oxtcd, compelling the few survivors of tb 

enemy's advance guard to fall back to Blindley Heath. 

Ill tlie lueaiitiine our troops oecupj-ing tlie liue from 


HalsCead to Chatham and Mnidatone vent down into hattle, 
attacking the French right wing at the same time as Uie 
Indiana were attacking their left, while the Volunteers from 
tha Surrey Hills engaged the main body. The day 

i^ue day ^natj 

The Dav of Reckoning 

blazing hot, the roads dusty, and there was scarce a breath of 
wind. So hot, indeed, was it, that many on both sides fell 
£rom hunger, thirst, and sheer starvation. Yet, although the 
force of the invaders was nearly twice the numerical strength 
of the defenders, the latter fought on with undaunted courage, 
striking their swift, decisive blows for England and their 

The enemy, now driven into a triangle, fought with 
demoniacal strength, and that frenzied courage begotten of 
despair. On the hilla around Sevenoaks and across to the 
valley at Otford, the slaughter of the French was fearful. 
Britons fighting for their homes and their country were 
determined that Britannia should still be Ruler of the World. 

From Wimlet Hill the enemy were by noon totally cut up 
and routed by the 12th Middlesex (Civil Service), under I»rd 
Bury; the 25th (Bank), under Capt. W. J. Coe, V.D.; the 
13th (Queen's), under CoL J. W. Comerford; the 21st 
Middlesex, under Col. H. R Beaue, V.D.; and the 22nd, 
under Col. W. J. Alt, V.D. Over at Oxted, however, they 
rallied, and some brilliant charges by Cossacks, the slaughter 
of a portion of our advance guard, and the capture of one of 
our Volunteer batteries on Botley Hill, checked our advance. 

The French, finding their right flank being so terribly cut up, 
had suddenly altered their tactics, and were now concentrating 
their forces upon the Volunteer position at Caterham in an 
endeavour to break through our defensive Una 

But the hills about that position held by the North London, 
West London, South London, Surrey, and Cheshire Brigades 
were well defended, and the General had his finger upon the 
pulse of his command. Most of the positions had been 
excellently chosen. Strong batteries were established at 
Gravelly Hill by the 9th I^ncaahire Volunteer Artillery, 
under CoL F. Ainsworth, V.D.; at Harestone Farm by the 
1st Cinque Ports, under Col P. S. Court, V.D.; at White 
Hill by the 1st Northumberland and the Ist Norfolk, under 
CoL P. Watts and Col. T. Wilson. V.D.; at Botley Hill 
by the 6th Lancashire, under Col. H. -T. Rrtbinson, V.D. ; at 

320 The Great War in Enuland in 1897 

Tandridge Hill by the 3i-d Lancashire, under CoL R ^•V. 
Thom, V.D.; at Chaldon by the let Newcastle, uoder Col. 
W. M. Angus, V.D., who had come south after the victory at 
the Tyneside ; at Warlingham village by the lat Cheshire, 
commanded by Col. H. T, Brown, V.IJ.; at Warlingham Court 
by the 2nd Durham, imder Col. J. R Eminaon, V.D.; on 
tlie Sanderatead road, near King's Wood, by the 2nd Cinqua 
Ports, under Col. W. Taylor, V.D. ; and on the railway near 
Woldingham the 1st Sussex had stationed their armoured traiu 
with 40-pounder breech-loading Armstrongs, which they fired 
very effectively from the permanent way. 

Through limpsfiold, Oxted, Godstone, Bletchingley, and 
Nutsfield, towards Eeigate, Frenchmen and Britons fought 
almost hand to hand. The defenders suffered severely, 
owing to the repeated charges of the French Draj^oons along 
the highway between Oxted and Godatone, nevertheless the 
batteries of the 6th Laucasliire on Tandridge Hill, which 
commanded a wide area of country occupied by the enemy. 
wrought frightful execution in their ranks. In this they 
were assisted by the 17th Middlesex, uuder Col. W. J. 
Brown, V.D., who with four Maxims at one period of the 
fight surprised and practically annihilated a whole bat- 
talion of French infantry. But into this attack on Caterham 
the enemy put his whole strength, and from noon until four 
o'clock the fighting along the valley was a fierce combat to 
the death. 

With every bit of cover bristling with magazine rifles, and 
every available artillery position shedding forth a storm of 
bnllets and shell, the loss of life was awful. Invaders and 
defenders fell in hundreds, and with burning brow and dry 
parched throat expired in agony. The London Irish, under 
CoL J. Ward, Y.D. ; the Post Office Corps, under Col. J. Du 
Plat Taylor, V.D., and Col. S. R. Thompson, V.D.; the Inns of 
Court, under CoL C. H. Eussell, V.D.; and the Cyclists, led 
by Major T. De B. Holmes, performed many gallant deeds, 
and served their country well The long, dusty highways 
were quickly covered with the bodies of the unfortunate 

The Dav of Reckoning 

victims, who lay with blanched, bloodless faces and sightless 
eyes turned upward to the burning sun. On over them rode 
madly French cavalry and Cossacks, cutting their way into 
the British infantry, never to return. 

Just, however, as they prepared for another terrific ou- 
alaught, the guna of the lat Cheshire battery at Wai'linjjham 
village thundered, and with smart section volleys added by 
detachments of the London Scottish, under Major W, Brodie, 
V.D., and the Artists, under Capt. W, L. Duffield and Lieut 
Pott, tlie road was in a few minutes strewn with horses and 
inea dead and dying. 

Still onward there rushed along the valley great masses of 
French infantry, but the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Volunteer Battalions 
of the Eoyal Fusiliers, under Col. G. C. Clark, V.D., CoL 
A. L. Keller, and Col. L. Whewell respectively ; the 2ud 
V. B. Middlesex Ec^iment, under CoL G. Brodie Clark, V.D.; 
the 3rd Middlesex, under Col. R Hennell, D.S.O., late of the 
Indian Army; and the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th West Surrey, 
under GoL J. Freeland, V.D., CoL G. Drewitt, V.D., CoL S. R 
IJevington, V.D., and Col. F. W. Haddan, V.D.. engaged 
them, and by dint of desperate effort, losing heavily all the 
time, they defeated them, drove them back, and slaughtered 
them in a manner that to a non-combatant was horrible and 
appalling. Time after time, the enemy, still being harassed by 
the British Regulars on their right, charged up the valley, in 
order to take the battery at Harestone Farm; but on each 
occasion few of those who dashed forward survived. The 
dusty roads, the grassy slopes, and tlie ploughed lands were 
covered with corpses, and blood draining into the springs 
and rivulets tinged their crystal waters. 

As afternoon passed and the battle continued, it was by no 
means certain that success in this fierce final struggle would 
lie with us. Having regard to the enormous body of invaders 
now concentrated on the Surrey border, and striving by every 
device to force a passage through our lines, our forces, spread 
o\'er such a wide area and outfianking them, were necessarily 
weak. It was therefore only by the excellent tactics displayed 

by our ofticers, and the mngnificent courage of the men 
tbemselves, that we had been enabled to Jiold back these over- 
wlielming masses, wbich had already desolated Sussex with fire 
and aword. 

Our Regulars operating along the old Soman highway 
through Blindley Heath — where the invaders were making a 
desperate stand — and over to Lingfield, succeeded, after yery 
hard fighting, in clearing the enemy off the railway embank- 
ment from Crowhurst along to South Park Farm, and following 
them up, annihilat-ed them. 

Gradually, just at sundown, a strong division of the enemy 
were outflanked at Godstone, and, refusing to lay down their 
arms, were simply swept out of existence, scarcely a single 
man eacaping. Thus forced back from, perhaps, the most 
vulnerable point in our defences, the main body of the enemy 
were then driven away upou Eedliill, still fighting fiercely. 
Over Redstone Hill, through Mead Vale, and across Eeigate 
Park to the Heath, the enemy were shot down in hundreds 
by our Regulars ; while our Volunteers, whose courage never 
deserted them, engaged the French in hand-to-hand eucounteis 
through the streets of Eedhill and Reigate, as far as Underhill 

In Hartswood a company of the 4th East Surrey Rifles, 
under Major S. B. Wheaton, V.D., were lying in ambush, when 
suddenly among the trees they caught glimpses of red, hegjiy 
trousers, and scarlet, black-tasselled fezes, and a few seconds 
later they found that a large force of Zouaves were working 
through the wood. A few momenta elaiaed, and the combat 
commenced. The Algerians fought like demons, and with 
bullet and bayonet inflicted terrible punishment upon us ; but 
OS they emerged into the road preparatory to firing a volley 
into the thickets, they were surprised by a company of the 
2nd Volunteer Battalion of the East Surrey Kegiment, under 
Capt, Pott, who killed and wounded half their number, and 
took the remainder prisoners. 

Gradually our Volunteer brigades occupying the long range 
of hills united with our Regulars still on the enemy's right 

The Day ok Reckoning 

from Beigate to Crawley, and closed down iipou the foe, 
alowly narrowing the sphere of their operations, and by degrees 
forcing them back due westward. Bussiana and French, who 
hod attacked Dorking, bad by this time been defeated with 
heavy loss, and by dusk the main body had been thrown back 
to Newdigate, where in Reffold'a Copse one oi- two very sanguin- 
ary encounters occurred. These, however, were not always iti 
our favour, for the Civil Service Volunteers here sustained very 
heavy losses. On the railway embankment, and on the roa<l 
mnning along the crest of the hill to Dorking, the Frencli 
made a stand, and there wrought frightful execution among our 
mpn with their machine guns. Around Beare Green, Trout's 
Fann, and behind the " White Hart " at Holmwood, the enemy 
rapidly brought their guns into play, and occupied such strong 
strategic positions that as night drew on it became evident that 
they intended to remain there until the morrow. 

The defenders had but little cover, and consequently felt 
the withering fire of the French very severely. The latter had 
entrenched themselves, and now in the darkness it was difficult 
for our men to discern their exact position. Indeed, the 
situation of our forces became very serious and unsafe as night 
proceeded ; but at length, about ten o'clock, a strong force of 
British Eegulars, including the Sikhs and a detachment of 
Australians, swept along the road from Dorking, and came 
suddenly upon the French patrols. These were slaughtered 
with little resistance, and almost before the enemy were aware 
of it, the whole position was completely surrounded. 

Our men then used their field search-lights with very great 
advantage ; for, as the enemy were driven out into the open, 
they were blinded by the glare, and fell an easy prey to British 
rifles ; wliile the Frenchmen's own machine guns were turned 
upon them with frightful efiect, their battalions being literally 
mowed down by the awful hail of bullets. 


"son enqlandI 

|HE0UGH the whole night the battle still raged 
furiously. The enemy fought on with reckless, 
unparalleled dariug. Chasseurs and Zouaves, 
Cuirassiers, Dragoons, and infantry from the 
Loire and the Rhone struggled desperately, 
contesting every step, and confident of 
ultimate victory. 

But the enemy had at last, by the splendid tactics of 
the defenders, been forced into a gradually contracting sq^uare, 
boimded by Dorking and Guildford in tlie north, and Horsham 
and Billinghurst in the south, and soon after midnight, with a 
concentric movement from each of the four corners, British 
Itegulars and Volunteers advanced steadily upon the foe, 
surrounding and slaughtering them. 

The horrors of that night were frightful ; the loss of life 
OH every hand enornioiis. Britannia had husbanded her fall 
strength until this critical moment; for now, when the fate of 
her Empire hung upon a single thread, she sent forth her 
valiant sons, who fell upon those who had desecrated and 
destroyed their homes, and wreaked a terrible vengeance. 

Through the dark, sultry hours this awful destruction of 
life continued with unabated fury, and many a Briton closeil 
with his foe in death embrace, or fell forward mortally 
wounded. Of British heroes thei-e were many that night, tor 
true pluck showed it=elf everywhere, and Knglisbmen per- 



' For Engiand! 

formed many deeds worthy tbeir traditions as the most 
coura^'eous and andaunted among nationa 

Although the French Commander-in-chief had been killed, 
yet the enemy still fought on tenaciously, holding their ground 
on Leith Hill and through Pasture Wood to Wotton and 
Abinger, until at length, when the saffron streak in the sky 
heralded another blazing day, the straggling, exhausted remnant 
of the once-powerful legions of France and Russia, f«rspiring, 
du8t-covered, and blood-stained, finding they stood alone, and 
that the whole of Sussex and Surrey had been swept and their 
comrades slaughtered, laid down their arms and eventually 

After these three breathless days of butchery and bloodshed 
England was at last victorious ! 

In this tinal struggle for Britain's freedom the invader had 
been crushed and his power broken ; for, thanks to our gallant 
citizen soldiers, the enemy that had for weeks overrun our 
smiling land like packs of hungry wolves, wantonly burning 
our homes and massacring the innocent and unprotected, had 
at length met with their well-merited deserts, and now lay 
spread over the miles of pastures, cornfields, and forests, stark, 
cold, and dead. 

Britain had at last vanquished the two powerful nations 
that had sought by ingenious conspiracy to accomplish her 

Thousands of her brave sons had, alas ! fallen while light- 
ing under the British flag. Many of the principal streets of 
her gigantic capital were only parallel lines of gaunt, blackened 
ruins, and many of her finest cities lay wrecked, shattered, and 
desolate; yet this terrible ordeal had happily not weakened 
her power one iota, nor had she been ousted from her proud 
position as chief among the mighty Empires of the world. 

Three days after the great and decisive battle of Caterham, 
the British troops, with their compatriots from the Cape, 
Australia, Canada, and India, entered London triumphantly, 
bringing with them some thousands of French and Bussiati 
prisoners. In the streets, as, ragged and dusty, Britain's 

defenders passed through on their way to a great Opcn-Air 
Thanksgiving Service in Hyde Park, there were scenes of the 
wildest enthusiasm. With heartfelt gratitude, the people, 
scrambling over the debris heaped each side of the streets, 
cheered themselves hoarse; the men grnsping the hands of 
Volunteers and veterans, and the women, weeping for joy, 
raising the soldiers' hands to their lips. The glad tidings of 
victory caused rejoicings everywhere. England, feeling herself 
free, breathed again. In every church and chapel through the 
United Kingdom special Services of Thanksgiving for deliver- 
ance from the invaders' thrall were held, while in every town 
popular fStes were organised, and delighted Britons gaily 
celebrated their magnificent and ovetwhelmiug triumph. 

In this disastrous struggle between nations France had 
suffered frightfully. Paris, bombarded and burning, capitulated 
on the day following the battle of Caterham, and the legions of 
iheEaiser marched up the Boulevards with their brilliant cavalry 
uniforms flashing in the sun. Over the Hotel de ViUe, the 
Government buildings on the Quai d'Orsay, and the Ministries 
of War and Marine, the German flag was hoisted, and waved 
lazily in tlie autumn breeze, wliile the Emperor William himself 
liad an interview with the French President at the Elys^e, 

That evening all France knew that Paris had fallen. In a 
few days England was already shipping back to Dieppe and 
Itiga ber prisoners of war, and negotiations for peace had 
(.'ommenced. As security against any further attempts on 
England, Italian troops were occupying the whole of Southern 
France from Grenoble to Bordeaux ; and the Germans, in 
addition to occupying Paris, had established their headquarters 
in Moghilev, and driven back the Army of the Tsar far beyond 

From both France and Eussia, Germany demanded huge 
indemnitia?, as well as a laige tract of territory in Poland, and 
the whole of the vast Champagne country from Givet, on the 
Belgian frontier, down to the Saone. 

Ten days later France was forced to accept the prelimin- 
aries of a treaty which we proposed. This included the 

" For England ! " 

cession to ns of Algiers, with its docks and harbour, so that we 
might establish another oaval station in the Mediterraaean, 
ana the payment of an indemnity of £250,000,000. Our 
demands upon Russia at the same time were that she should 
withdraw all her troops from Bokhara, and should cede to us 
the whole of that portion of the Trans-Caspian territory lying 
between the mouths of the 0.\us and Kizil Arvat, thence along 
the Persian frontier to Zulfikai, along the Afghan frontier to 
Karki, and from there up the bank of the Oxus to the Aral 
Sea. This vast area of land included the cities of Khiva and 
Merv, the many towns around Kara Khum, the country of the 
Kara Turkomans, the Tekeh and the Yomuts, and the annexa- 
tion of it by Britain would effectoally prevent the Russians 
ever advancing upon India. 

Upon these liuge demands, in addition to the smaller ones 
by Italy and Austria, a Peace Conference was opened at 
Brussels without delay, and at length France and her Mus- 
covite ally, both vanquished and ruined, were compelled to 
accept the proposals of Britain and Germany. 

Hence, on November 16th, 1897, the Treaty of Peace was 
signed, and eight days later was ratified. Then the huge forces 
of the Kaiser gradually withdrew into Germany, and the 
soldiers of King Humbert recrossed the Alps, while we shipped 
back the remainder of our prisonetB, reopened our trade rouiea, 
ami commenced rebuilding our shattered cities. 


I BAW, cold December morning in London, 
With the exception of a statuesque sentry ou 
the Horse Guards" Parade, the wide open space 
was deserted. It had not long been ligbt, and 
a heavy yellow mist still hung over the gnas 
in St, James's Park. 
A bfll clanged mournfully. Big Ben chimed the hour, and 
then boomed forth eight o'clock. An icy wind swept across 
the gravelled square. The bftre, black branches of the stunted 
trees creaked and groaned, and the lonely sentry standing at 
ease before his box rubbed hia hands and shivered, 

Buddeuly a side door opened, antl there emerged a smalt 

EroceBsion. Slowly there walked in front a eleigyman baro- 
eadcd, reciting with solemn intonation tlie Burial Service. 
Behind him, with unsteady step and bent shouldera, a tremb- 
ling man with blanched, haggard face, and a wild look of terror 
in his dark, deep-sunken eyes. He wore n shabby morning-coat 
tightly buttoned, and his hands in bracelets of steel were 
behind his back. 

Glancing furtively around at the grey dismal landscape, he 
shuddered. Beside and behind himsoldiers tramped on in silence. 

Tho oITicer's sword grated along the gravel. 

Suddenly a word or command caused them to halt against 
n wall, and a sergeant, stepping forward, took a handkerchief 
and tied it over the eyes of the quivering culprit, who now 
stood with Ilia back against tho wall. Another word from the 

officer, aad the party receded some distance, leaviug the man 
alone. The monotonous nasal utterances of the cliaplain still 
sounded aa four privates advanced, and, halting, stood in single 
rank before the prisoner. 

They raised tLeir rifles. Tliere was a momentary pause, 
lu the distance a dog howled dismally. 

A sharp word of command broke the quiet. 

Then, a second later, as four rides ran<> out simaltaneously, 
t)ie condemned man tottered forward and fell heavily on the 
gravel, shot through the henrt. 

It was the spy and murdtrer, Karl von BeilsteinI 

He bad been brought trom Glasgow to London iu order 
that certain informalioa might be elicited from him, and aft«r 
his actions had been tliorou^lily investigated by a military 
court, he had been sentenced to death. Tbe whole of hia past 
was revealed by his valet Grevel, and it was proved that, in 
addition to bringing the great disaster upon England, he had 
also betrayed the country whose roubles puichased his 
cunningly-obtained secrets. 

Geoffrey Eugleheart, although gallantly sssisttng in the 
fight outside Leatherhead, and subsequently showing con- 
spicuous bravery during the Battle of Caterhatu, fortunately 
escaped with nothing more severe than a bullet wound in the 
aim. During the searching private inquiry held at the Foreign 
OHice after peace was restored, he explained the whole of the 
circumstances, and was severely reprimanded for his indis- 
cretion; but as no suspicion of von Beilsteiii's real motive 
had been aroused prior to the Ueclaration of War, and as it 
was proved that Geoffrey was entirely innocent of any com- 
plicity in the affair, he was, at the urgent re(|uest of Lord 
Stanbury, allowed to resume hia duties. Shortly afterwards 
he was married to Violet Vayne, and Sir Joseph, having re- 
covered those of hia ships that bad been seized by the Russian 
Government, was thereby enabled to give his daughter a hand- 
some dowry. 

The young French clerk who had been engaged at the 
Admiralty, and who had committed murder for gold, escaped 

330 r^'E Gkeat War in England in 1897 

to S|miii. and, after being hunted by Eiigliah and Spanish <le- 
tectives for many weeks, he became apparently overwhelmed 
l>y remorse. Not daring to show himself by day, nor to claim 
the money that had been promised him, he had tramped on 
tliroiigh the snow from village to village in the unfrequented 
valleys of Lerida, while his description was being circulated 
throiighont the Continent. Cold, weary, and hungry, he one 
night ootered the Posada de las Pijorraa at the little town of 
Oliana, at the foot of the Sierra del Cadi. Calling for wine, he 
took up a dirty crumpled copy of the Madrid Qlobo, three liaya 
old. A paragraph, headed "The Missing Spy," caught his 
eyes, and, reading eagerly, he foiiud to his dismay that the 
police were aware that he had been in Huesca a week before, 
and were now using bloodhounds to track him I 

The paper fell from his ner\'eles3 grasp. The wine at his 
elliow he swallowed at one gulp, and, tossing down his last real 
upon the table, he rose and stumbled away blindly into tlie 

AVhen the wintry dawn s]iread in that silent, distant \-alley, 
it showed a corpse lying in the snow with face upturned, lu 
tJie white wrinkled brow was a small dark-blue hole from 
which blood had oozed over the pallid cheek, leaving an u^'y 
stain. The staring eyes were wide open, with a look of un- 
utterable horror in them, and beside the thin clenched hand 
lay a revolver, one ehomber of wliich had been disehan^d ! 

The dreary gloom of winter passed, and there dawned a 
new era of prosperity for England. 

Dark days were succeeded by a period of happiness aud 
rejoicing, and Britannia, grasping her trident again, seated 
herself on her shield beside the sea, Kiiler of the Waves, Queen 
of Nations, and Empress of the World. 

Now readj, Foorth Editdon, piioe 6b. poet free, 

/Vmi) Svn. hanitMyrntltl hrnnul in rfolA jitt. 


Bt W. laird CLOWES, 

With 60 niaatr&tloiiB b; the QwrkUer i» MaiOna uu) Pr*d. T. Jum. 


THIS work hM been tml; deacribed by the public preM as &ii inl^noely 
realiBtic mod slirring romance of the near hitaie. It d«Berib« 
the wonderful adventures of an annDur-cUd craiaer, boilt on tbe Tjne, 
which takes part in a gT«at Naval War tJiat raddenl; breaku oat 
between Fiance and Gt«at Britain. The duhing wa;r in which the 
vee^ is handled, her narrow escapes, the boldneas of her BncceMrfal 
attHcks upon tlie enemj, and the heroic cobdoct of her oonunander and 
crew, form altogether a nanMive of moat abaorUng int«v«t, and full of 
Axfdting acenei 



■' Deserves Homething more than a mere patting notjce." — The Timti. 

'* Full of exciiing aituatLona. . . ■ Has manifold attnclions for all 
sorts of readers." — Armg and Naey Gaietle. 

■- The most notable book of the caaoo.°— TV Staadard. 

■' A clever book. Mr. Clowe* is pte-cmincat for literary tonch mid 
practical knowledge of naval affaiis." — DaH) Chrtmide. 

■• Mr. W. l*ird Clowes^ exciting aorj." — Paitg Ttlegropli. 

"We read -The Captain of the Mar; Rose' at ft dtling."— 71b 
Piia Mail iloMtit. 

"Written with no little spirit and imaginaiiuD. ... A stirring 
romance of the future.* — Atamdtetler Gvard^. 

" li of a realistic and exciting character. . . . Deaigued to show 
what the naval warfare of the fuliire may be." — Glatgow Herald. 

" One of the moat intereBting volumes of the year." — Lirrrpool 
Jovraal 0/ C'lmmerct. 

well lotd and magnificently illnstrated." — UitUed .Ssmw 


after comuiendng the atvy 


'• KuU of abtortHng interesL"— Koi/ii 

" Is intensely reahstic. ao much ao 
every one will be anxious lo read to the ead,'—f>undrr Adrerluer. 

" The book is splendidly tllostrated." — NiTthern Whig. 

Sotptr pnlrliiiitng CinnpRny Vtmttell, 

Now ready, Btgiith Hditioo, prioa 6b. post free, 

Uniform mill " The Captain of Ihr Haiy Ros',," viUh ivamtroiu Illmtratiotu 
by Fred. T. Jam aiul SUmn S. Hope. 




IN this Roinance of Love, War, and Hitvoliilioii, tha noUon Utkea place 
ten ;ear« henoe, and tvirna upon the solution of the problem of 
aerial navigatioD, which unabiua a vast Secret Socitttj to decide the Usaa 
of the coming world-wHr, for which tbe great natioua of the earth ara 
now prepanag. Battles ancb aa have hitherto only been vaguelj 
dreamed of are fought on land aad sea and in the air. Aerial uariaa 
engage armiea and fieets and fortreaaea, and fight with each other in 
an unsparing warfare, which baa for it« prize the empire of the world. 
Unlike all other esaajH in prophetic hctiou, it deals with the events of 
Ut-morrow, and with characters familiar in the eyes of living meti. It 
marks an entirely nev departure in fiction, and opens up possibililiee 
which may become Htupeadous aud appalling realiciea before the preaent 
generation of men has passed away. 


" Dlnce the dnfH nf th 

"A renllj axeitiug *nd eeasntioiikl roiii>uio&" — Lifrmry Wirrld. 

" As 1 work ol imngiustioD it Wkes high rsak." — Bdfaat Ifemi LeUer. 

"ITull o[ •bsorbing: iotereiL" — BarTow Men^d. 

" This powarful storj," — Liverpool Utrctay. 

" An ButirBly uow dapsrtun) In fiction." — Hti/nt^U Sfotfoptr. 

"Of BKueplionul brilLUncy uil power." — W^tm Figaro, 

■ ' Thl. remulublfl Btory. "— WwHji TVmw and Keho. 

-■Thsnt Ih h faBciution about his book thai hw will he aole to reajsi.'— 
HimmghtM QiUidlf. 

•' This exciting romance, "—iicomnjl World. 

■' A work o( ■tnm)i Imaginative power,"— i^iwJ« VovntT. 

"We muat conprstnlato tlie author upon ths vivHness and realilj with 
wliioh be draws Iiia unprsoedenlod pictnreii," — SrWoi Merevrif. 

"le quite eulbmlling." — Ulaii/nvi Ueraid, 

" A striking and fascinating novel," — HanpiHin Telfgraph. 

Sotnu IpnliUBlihtji Comiritiie lEhnUeli. 

UA 647 .L4 IBM 

Startord UrtvM 

IWII! 1 

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