Part 1 out of 4
The Boy Allies At Jutland
The Greatest Naval Battle of History
By Ensign ROBERT L. DRAKE
"The Boy Allies Under the Sea"
"The Boy Allies In the Baltic"
"The Boy Allies on the North Sea Patrol"
"The Boy Allies Under Two Flags"
"The Boy Allies with the Flying Squadron"
"The Boy Allies with the Terror of the Seas"
H.M.S. "QUEEN MARY"
A great, long, gray shape moved swiftly through the waters of the
Thames. Smoke, pouring from three different points in the middle of
this great shape, ascended, straight in the air some distance, then,
caught by the wind, drifted westward.
It was growing dark. Several hours before, this ocean greyhound--one of
Great Britain's monster sea-fighters--had up-anchored and left her
dock--where she had been undergoing slight repairs--heading eastward
down the river.
Men lined the rails of the monster ship. These were her crew--or some
of her crew, to be exact--for the others were engaged in duties that
prevented them from waving to the crowds that thronged the shore--as
did the men on deck.
Sharp orders carried across the water to the ears of those on shore.
The officers were issuing commands. Men left the rail and disappeared
from the view of the spectators as they hurried to perform their
duties. Came several sharp blasts of the vessel's siren; a moment later
her speed increased and as she slid easily through the waters of the
river, a cheer went up from both shores.
The crowd strained its eyes. Far down the river now the giant
battleship was disappearing from the sight of the men and women who
lined the banks. In vain, a few moments later, did many eyes try to
pierce the darkness. The battleship was lost to sight.
The vessel that had thus passed down the Thames was H. M. S. _Queen
Mary_, one of the most formidable of England's sea fighters. It was
with such ships as the _Queen Mary_, supported by smaller and less
powerful craft, that Great Britain, for almost two years of the great
war, had maintained her supremacy of the seas.
This great ship was new in service, having been completed only a few
years before the outbreak of the war. She was constructed at a cost of
$10,000,000. She was 720 feet long, of 27,000 tons burden and had a
complement of almost 1,000 men. For fighting purposes she was equipped
with all that was modern.
In her forward turret she carried a battery of six 16-inch guns. Aft,
the turret was similarly equipped. Also the _Queen Mary_ mounted other
big guns and rapid firers. She was equipped with an even half-dozen
12-inch torpedo tubes. She was one of the biggest ships of war that
roved the seas.
The _Queen Mary_ was one of the fleet of battleships that had patrolled
the North Sea since the outbreak of hostilities. Already she had seen
her share of fighting, for she had led more than one attack upon the
enemy when the Germans had mustered up courage enough to leave the
safety of the great fortress of Heligoland, where the main German high
sea fleet was quartered.
It had been in a skirmish with one of these venturesome enemy vessels
that the _Queen Mary_ had received injuries that necessitated her going
into dry dock for a few days, while she was given an overhauling and
her wounds healed. True enough, she had sent the foe to the bottom; but
with a last dying shot, the Germans had put a shell aboard the _Queen
Her damage repaired, the _Queen Mary_ was now steaming to the open
waters of the North Sea, where she would again take up patrol duty with
the other vessels that comprised the British North Sea fleet, under
command of Vice-Admiral Beatty, whose flagship, the _Lion_, had taken
up the additional burden of patrolling the _Queen Mary's_ territory
while the latter was being overhauled.
Aboard the battleship, the British tars, who had become fretful at the
delay, were happy at the thought of getting back into active service.
While they had been given an opportunity to stretch their legs ashore,
they, nevertheless, had been glad when the time to steam back into the
open sea had come. Now, as the _Queen Mary_ entered the mouth of the
Thames and prepared' to leave the shores of Old England for the broad
expanse of the North Sea, they sang, whistled and laughed gaily.
They were going back where they would get another chance at the enemy,
should he again venture from his lair.
Forward, upon the upper deck, stood two young officers, who peered into
the darkness ahead.
"To my mind," said one, "this beats a submarine. Just look about you.
Consider the size of this battleship! Look at her armament! Think of
the number of men aboard!"
"You may be right," returned the second officer, "but we have had some
grand times beneath the sea. We have been to places and seen things
that otherwise would have been impossible."
"True enough; but at the same time, when it came to a question of
fight, we have had to slink about like a cat in the night, afraid to
show ourselves to larger and heavier adversaries. Now, aboard the
_Queen Mary_, that will be done away with. Now we are the cat rather
than the mouse."
"It may be that I shall come to your way of thinking in time," said the
second speaker, "but at this moment I would rather have the familiar
feel of a submarine beneath my heel. I would feel more at home there.
Besides, we have lost one thing by being assigned to the _Queen Mary_
that hits me rather hard."
"I know what you mean," said the first speaker. "We indeed have lost
the companionship of a gallant commander. Captain Raleigh undoubtedly
is a first class officer--otherwise he would not be in command of the
_Queen Mary_--but we are bound to miss Lord Hastings."
"Indeed we are. Yet, as he told us, things cannot always be as we
would like to have them. He was called for other service, as you know,
and he did his best for us. That is why we find ourselves here as minor
"Yes; and it's a whole lot different than being the second and third in
At that moment another young officer hurried by.
"Coming, Templeton? Coming, Chadwick?" he asked as he passed.
"Where?" demanded the two friends.
"Didn't you hear the call for mess?"
"No; By Jove! and I'm hungry, too," said the young officer addressed as
Templeton. "Come along, Frank. We have been so busy talking here that
we had forgotten all about the demands of the inner man."
The two hurried after the officer who had accosted them; and while they
are attending to the wants of the inner man, as Templeton termed their
appetites, we will take the time to explain how these two lads came to
be aboard the giant battleship, steaming into the North Sea in search
of the enemies of Great Britain and her allies.
Frank Chadwick was an American youth of some eighteen years. Separated
from his father in Naples at the outbreak of the great war, he had been
shanghaied aboard a sailing vessel when he had gone to the aid of a man
apparently in distress. There he was made a prisoner.
Some days later he had been rescued by Jack Templeton, a young
Englishman, who had boarded the vessel off the coast of Africa, seeking
payment for goods he had sold to the mutinous crew. The two lads had
been instrumental in helping Lord Hastings, a British nobleman, put
through a coup that kept Italy out of the war on the side of Germany
and Austria. Lord Hastings had become greatly attached to the lads, and
when he had been put in command of a vessel, he had both boys assigned
to his ship.
Through gallant service Frank and Jack had won their lieutenancies.
Later Lord Hastings had assumed command of a submarine and had made
Jack his first officer and Frank his second officer.
Through many a tight place the lads had gone safely, though they had
faced death more than once, and faced it calmly and bravely. Also, at
this period of the war, they had seen service in many seas. They had
been engaged in the first battle of the North Sea, when Great Britain
had struck her first hard blow; they had participated in the sinking of
the German Atlantic squadron near the Falkland islands, off the coast
of Argentina, in South America; they had fought in Turkish waters and
in the Indian Ocean, and also had been with the British land forces
when the Japanese allies of the English had won the last of the German
possessions in China.
In stature and disposition the boys were as different as could be.
Frank, though large for his age, looked small when alongside of Jack.
The latter, though no older than his friend, was a huge bulk of a boy,
standing well over six feet. He was built proportionately. Strong as an
ox, he was, and cool of head.
Here he differed from Frank, who had something of a temper and was
likely to do something foolish on the spur of the moment if he became
angry. Jack had served as a damper for his friend's anger and
enthusiasm more than once.
That they could fight, both boys had shown more than once. Jack,
because of his huge bulk and great strength, was, of course, harder to
beat in a hand-to-hand struggle than was Frank; but what the latter
lacked in this kind of fighting, he more than made up in the use of
revolver, rifle or sword.
Frank was a crack shot with a revolver; and more than once this
accomplishment had stood them both in good stead. Each was a good
linguist and conversed in French and German as well as in English. This
also had been of help to them in several ticklish situations.
On their last venture, at which time they had been under command of
Lord Hastings, they had reached the distant shores of Russia, where
they had been of some assistance to the Czar. In reaching Petrograd it
had been necessary for them to pass through the Kiel canal, which they
had done safely in their submarine in spite of the German warships and
harbor defenses. Also they had managed to sink several enemy vessels
Returning, Frank and Jack had gone home with Lord Hastings, where Lady
Hastings had insisted that they remain quiet for some time. This they
had done and had been glad of the rest.
One day Lord Hastings had come home with the announcement that he had
been called back into the diplomatic service. It was the aim of the
British government to align Greece and Roumania on the side of the
Allies. Realizing that they could not hope to accompany Lord Hastings,
and not wishing to remain idle longer, Frank and Jack had requested
Lord Hastings to have them assigned on active duty at once. Lord
Hastings promised to do his best.
And this was the reason that Frank Chadwick and Jack Templeton found
themselves aboard H.M.S. _Queen Mary_ when she steamed out to the North
Sea on an evening in the last week of May, 1916.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Up to this time the German Sea fleet, as a unit, had suffered
comparatively little damage in the great war. Sheltered as it was
behind the great fortress of Heligoland, the British sea forces had
been unable to reach it; nor would the Germans venture forth to give
battle to the English, in spite of the bait that more than once had
been placed just outside the mine fields that guarded the approach to
the great German fortress itself.
To have attacked this fortress would have been foolhardy and the
British knew it. The British fleet, powerful though it was, would have
been no match for the great guns of the German fortress, even had the
battleships been able to force a passage of the mine fields; and this
latter feat would have been a wonderful one in itself, could it be
Upon several occasions German battleships, cruisers and submarines had
ventured from behind the mine field and had delivered raids upon the
British coast, almost 400 miles away. How they escaped the eyes of the
waiting British was a riddle that so far had not been explained. But
while they reached alien shores in safety, they had not returned with
the same success. Twice the British had come into contact with these
German raiders and in each case the enemy had come off second best.
Several German cruisers had been sent to the bottom.
After occasions like these, the Germans would lie long behind their
snug walls before venturing forth into the open again. They held the
British navy in too great awe to treat it lightly.
But the fact that the British were able to keep the German fleet
bottled up was a victory in itself, though a bloodless one. Practically
all commerce with Germany had been shut off. It settled down to a
question of how long the German Empire could survive without the
necessary food and other commodities reaching her shores. What little
in the way of foodstuffs did reach Germany came by the way of the
Scandinavian countries--Norway, Sweden and Denmark; also some grain was
still being shipped in by the way of Roumania and was being transported
up the Danube, which had been opened to traffic again after Serbia had
But these supplies were not great enough to take care of the whole
German population. In the conquest of Russian Poland, Germany had
improved her lot somewhat, for the fertile fields had immediately been
planted and a good crop had been reaped.
And the one thing that prevented Germany from importing the things that
would in the end be necessary to her existence was the British
supremacy of the sea, abetted now somewhat by the navies of France,
Italy and Japan. German commerce had been cleared from the seven seas.
What vessels of war had been scattered over the world at the outbreak
of the war had either been sent to the bottom, captured or were
interned in foreign ports. These latter were of no value to Germany.
It had been more than a year now since the last German commerce raider
had been sunk. The German commercial flag was seen no more in the four
corners of the globe. It appeared that Germany was nearing the end of
And yet, bottled up in Heligoland, remained the German high sea fleet
practically intact. It was a formidable fleet and one, it seemed, that
should not be afraid to venture from behind the protection of the
fortress. And some day, the world knew, when all other ways had failed,
this great fleet would steam forth to give battle to the British, in a
last effort of the German Emperor to turn the tide in his favor; and
while, in the allied nations at least, there was no doubt of the
ultimate outcome of such a struggle, it was realized that the German
fleet would give a good account of itself when it did venture forth.
Therefore, it was considered just as well that the British keep the
German high sea fleet bottled up and give it no chance to reach the
open, where, although the greater part might be sent to the bottom,
some vessels might escape and embark upon a cruise of commerce warfare.
This bloodless victory, it was pointed out, was of just as great value
to Great Britain as if all the German ships of war had been at the
bottom of the North Sea. Bottled up as they were, they were just as
This was the situation, then, when the _Queen Mary,_ with Jack and
Frank aboard, steamed down the Thames and out into the North Sea to
take up again her patrol of those waters; and there was nothing to warn
those on board of the great battle that even now was impending and that
was to result disastrously for Great Britain, even though the Germans
were to suffer no less.
Mess over, Frank and Jack made their way to their own quarters
amidships. Here they sat down and for some time talked over the events
of the days gone by.
"I guess there will be nothing for us to do this night," said Frank at
last. "We may as well turn in."
"I am afraid there will be nothing for us to do for some time to come,"
was Jack's reply. "I am afraid it will be rather monotonous sailing
about the North Sea looking for German warships, when the latter are
afraid to come out and fight."
"Well, you can't tell," said Frank. "However, that's one beauty of a
submarine. You don't have to wait around for something to happen. You
can go out and make it happen."
"That's so. But, by Jove! I wish these fellows would come out and
fight! Maybe we could put an end to this war real quickly."
"Yes, but we might not," returned Frank.
"Why, don't you think we can thrash them?"
"I suppose we can; but at the same time they can do a lot of damage.
Besides, some of them have come out. We've sunk some, of course, but
the others have returned safely enough. I can't see any excuse for
"It does seem that they should have been caught," Jack agreed, "but I
guess Admiral Jellicoe, Admiral Beatty and the admiralty know what is
"Sometimes it doesn't look like it," declared Frank. "I suppose there
are still some of these German submarines scooting about almost under
"I suppose so. However, ordinarily, as you know, they won't attack a
battleship. It's too risky. If they miss with the first torpedo, the
chances are they will be sunk."
"Well, we sunk a few," said Frank.
"I know we did; but we took long chances."
"The Germans take long chances, too."
"You must have a little German blood in you, Frank," said Jack, with a
smile. "If I didn't know you better, I would think you were sticking up
"No, I'm not sticking up for them; but they do things we seem to be
afraid to do. To my way of thinking, we should have gone and cleaned up
Heligoland a long time ago."
"By Jove! You want the enemy to win this war quickly, don't you?"
"Come, now. You know very well what would have happened if we had tried
to take a fleet into Heligoland. They would have blown us out of the
"Well, such things have been done," grumbled Frank. "I can tell you a
couple of cases. At Mobile Bay----"
"Oh, I've heard all that before. But conditions now are absolutely
different. What was done fifty years ago can't be done today."
"They aren't being done, that much is sure," replied Frank. "But this
argument is not doing us any good. Me for a little sleep."
"I'm with you," said Jack.
And half an hour later, as the _Queen Mary_ still steamed due east,
Frank and Jack slept.
Above, the third officer held the bridge. The great searchlight forward
lighted the water for some distance ahead, and aft a second light cast
its powerful rays first to port and then to starboard. There was not
another vessel in sight.
Farther to the east, other British battleships patrolled the sea, their
lights also flashing back and forth. It would be a bold enemy who would
venture to run that blockade; and yet, in spite of this, the strictest
watch was maintained. For the fact still remained fresh in the minds of
the British that upon two occasions the Germans had run the British
blockade; and both times the failure of the British to intercept them
had resulted in heavy loss of life on the coast, where the German
warships had shelled unfortified towns--against all rules of civilized
warfare--killing thousands of helpless men, women and children.
It was against some such similar attack that the British warships were
patrolling every mile of water. The British coast must be protected. No
more German raiders must be allowed to slip through and bombard
undefended coast towns.
Also, strict watch was kept aloft. For almost nightly now, huge German
Zeppelins were sailing across the sea and dropping bombs upon the coast
of Kent, upon Dover, and close even to London itself. It was feared
that one of these monsters of the air might swoop down upon the
battleships and, with a well directed bomb, send the vessel to the
bottom of the sea.
All British war vessels were equipped with anti-aircraft guns and these
were ever loaded and ready for action; for there was no telling what
moment they might be called into use to repel a foe. Upon several
occasions attacks of the Zeppelins had been beaten off with these guns,
though, up to date, none had been brought down.
But now there had been perfected a new anti-aircraft gun. With this it
was believed that the battleship stood a good chance of bringing down a
Zeppelin should it venture near enough.
With such a gun the _Queen Mary_ had been equipped as she was
overhauled in dry dock. With this gun went four men. One to stand by
the gun at night and keep watch of the sky and a second to do duty in
the day time. The other two men stood relief watches and were of
additional need should one of the first men be injured, taken sick or
And so it was that, as the _Queen Mary_ continued on her way, one of
these men stood by his gun just aft of the bridge, watching the sky.
Nor did he shirk his task.
Almost continuously his eye swept the dark heavens, following, as well
as he could, in the path of one or the other of the searchlights. He
used powerful night glasses for this purpose. Suddenly he gave a start.
He looked closely again through his glasses. Then he uttered a cry of
The third officer, on the bridge, gave an exclamation.
"What do you see?" he demanded.
"Zeppelin," was the reply. "Douse the light aft. Have the man forward
see if he can pick up the craft with his flash. About two points east
There came sharp commands aboard the _Queen Mary._
WARSHIP AND ZEPPELIN
A bell tinkled in the engine room of the _Queen Mary_. The ship slowed
down. Captain Raleigh had been called by the third officer. He took the
bridge and issued his orders sharply.
There was no telling whether the Zeppelin sighted by the man at the gun
would attack the ship, but Captain Raleigh considered it best to be on
the safe side. That was why he had left orders to be called immediately
should an enemy appear.
Again a bell tinkled in the engine room, following an order from the
commander of the _Queen Mary_.
The great engines stopped and became silent.
"Cut off all lights!" was the next command.
A moment later the great ship was in darkness.
Frank and Jack, in their quarters, were awakened by the sounds of
confusion above. All hands had not been piped on deck, so most of the
men still lay asleep, unconscious of what was going on above, but the
two lads, dressing hurriedly, made their way on deck. They walked
forward, toward the bridge.
All was dark and it was this that told Frank and Jack that something
was going on.
"Wonder what's up?" said Frank.
"Airship, I guess," was the reply. "Can't see any other reason for
extinguishing all lights."
Near the bridge the lads stopped and waited to see what would happen.
All was quiet aboard. Not a sound came from the officers or the men on
deck. Then Captain Raleigh commanded:
"Try the forward searchlight there. See if you can pick her up!"
The light flashed aloft; and there, so far above the _Queen Mary_ as to
be little more than a tiny speck, hovered a giant Zeppelin; and even as
they looked, the airship came lower.
"She's sighted us," said Captain Raleigh to his first officer, who
stood beside him. "Try a shot, Mr. Harrison."
The first officer passed the word and a second later there came the
sound of the anti-aircraft gun. The gunner had taken his range at the
moment the flashlight revealed the airship.
The shot brought no noticeable result.
"Fifteen knots ahead, Mr. Harrison!" ordered the captain.
He was afraid that the Zeppelin might drop a bomb on the ship; and from
that moment until the end of the battle the _Queen Mary_ did not pause.
First she headed to port and then to starboard, manoeuvering rapidly
that the German airmen might not be able to reach her with a bomb.
"Another shot!" commanded Captain Raleigh.
Still no result.
"Funny she doesn't rise and try and escape," said Frank.
"No, it's not," returned Jack. "They don't know anything about this new
anti-aircraft gun. They believe they are out of range."
"Well, they're likely to hit us with one of those bombs, and then where
will we be?" said Frank.
"If they hit us you won't know anything about it," was Jack's response.
Again the _Queen Mary_ tried a shot at the Zeppelin.
A cheer went up from the members of the crew who stood upon deck; for
the Zeppelin was seen to wabble.
"Nicked her," shouted the first officer.
Jack, standing near the rail, heard something whiz by his head.
Instinctively the lad ducked. He knew in a moment what had passed him;
he heard something splash into the sea.
"Bomb just missed us, sir!" he cried, stepping forward.
"Where?" demanded Captain Raleigh.
"Right here, forward, sir," replied Jack.
Captain Raleigh gave a quick command to his first officer, who passed
it to the man at the wheel.
"Hard a-port!" he cried.
The ship veered crazily; and at the some moment, Frank, who was
standing where Jack had been a moment before, heard something swish
"Another bomb, sir!" he reported.
There was no reply from the bridge. Captain Raleigh felt that, by
bringing the ship's head hard to port, he had spoiled the range of the
enemy in the air.
For some time no more bombs dropped near.
Again the _Queen Mary_ fired at the Zeppelin; and again and again.
The last shot was rewarded by another cheer from the crew. The giant
Zeppelin was seen to drop suddenly.
The crew cheered loud and long for it appeared that the Zeppelin was
about to drop into the sea. Down she came and still down; and then her
descent suddenly halted.
To those aboard the _Queen Mary_ this was unexplainable.
"Fire again, quickly!" shouted the captain.
The air gun boomed. At the same moment a man was seen to lean over the
side of the Zeppelin. He dropped something.
Again Captain Raleigh acted promptly and brought the head of the _Queen
Mary_ around. The German bomb missed. Before another could be dropped,
the man who manned the anti-aircraft gun fired again.
Another cheer from the crew.
The Zeppelin began to sink slowly.
"Full speed ahead!" cried Captain Raleigh. "They'll sink us!"
The _Queen Mary_ leaped ahead just in time.
And then the Zeppelin dropped.
With a splash it hit the water perhaps a quarter of a mile from the
British battleship. Came cries from the men, caught beneath the gas
bag. At that moment Jack stood close to the bridge. Captain Raleigh saw
"Man a boat, Mr. Templeton," he called, "and rescue those fellows in
Quickly Jack sprang to obey. Frank leaped after him. Hurriedly a small
boat was gotten out and launched. A half dozen sailors sprang in and
took up the oars. Frank and Jack leaped in after them.
The oars glistened in the glare of the searchlight as the men raised
them and awaited the word.
"Give way," said Jack.
The boat sped over the smooth surface of the sea.
Close to the wreckage of the Zeppelin it approached; and cries told
Jack that some of the Germans still lived.
"Hurry!" he cried, and the men increased their stroke.
Near the wreckage Jack gave the command to cease rowing. A German swam
toward the boat. Hands helped him in and he lay in the bottom panting.
Other forms swam toward them. These, too, were lifted in the boat. And
at last Jack counted fifteen Germans who had been saved.
"Are you all here?" he asked of a German officer.
"All but Commander Butz, sir," was the man's reply.
Jack commanded his men to row closer to the wreckage.
"Ahoy there!" he shouted, when he had come close.
The lad thought he heard a muffled answer, but he could not make sure.
He called again. This time the answer came plainer.
"Where are you?" asked Jack.
"Under the wreckage," was the reply.
Jack scrutinized the wreckage closely.
"Looks like it might sink any minute," he said "But we can't leave him
"What are you going to do?" asked Frank.
For answer Jack arose in the boat. Quickly he threw off his coat and
kicked off his shoes. Then he poised himself on the edge of the boat.
"I'm going after him," he replied.
Before Frank could reply, he had dived head first into the sea.
With a cry of alarm, Frank also sprang to his feet and divested himself
of his coat and shoes.
"Stay close, men!" he commanded. "I'll lend a hand if it's needed."
He, too, leaped into the water.
Rapidly, Jack swam close to the wreckage. He continued to call to the
German, and while he received an answer each time, he could not locate
the man. Twice he swam around all that remained of the huge Zeppelin.
By this time Frank had come up with him.
"Can't you find him?" he asked.
"No," returned Jack, "and I am rather afraid to swim under there. The
balloon may sink and carry me under. But if I were certain in exactly
what spot the man is imprisoned, I'd have a try at it."
Frank listened attentively; and directly the German's voice came again.
To Frank it seemed that the voice came from directly ahead of him.
"Lay hold of this end here," he said to Jack. "If you can lift it a bit
I'll go under and have a look."
"Better let me do it, Frank," said Jack.
"No; you're stronger than I am. You can hold this up better."
Jack did as his chum requested and a moment later Frank disappeared
under the wreckage, diving first to make sure that he got under.
Under the water the lad swam forward. His hand touched something that
was threshing about.
He felt sure it was the German. He rose. His head came in contact with
something, but the lad opened his eyes and saw that he was above the
surface. The imprisoned German was close beside him.
"Dive!" said Frank. "You can come out all right."
"Can't," was the reply. "My arm is caught."
Frank made a quick examination.
"I can loosen it," he said at last, "but I'll probably break the arm."
"Loosen it," said the German, quietly.
Frank took a firm hold on the arm at the elbow and gave a quick wrench.
He felt something give, and when he released his hold on the man's arm,
the latter sank suddenly.
Frank dived after him quickly. It was even as the lad feared. The
German had fainted from the pain of the arm, which Frank had broken
cleanly as he released it.
Frank dived deep and his outstretched hand encountered the German. The
lad grasped the man firmly by the collar and then struck upwards. A
moment later he succeeded in making his way to where Jack still tugged
at the balloon.
Jack lent a hand and they dragged the German from beneath the wreckage.
Then they towed him to the boat and other hands lifted him in. Frank
and Jack clambered aboard.
"Give way!" said Jack, sharply.
The boat moved toward the battleship; and even as it did so, the mass
of wreckage suddenly disappeared from sight with a loud noise.
"Pretty close, Frank," he said quietly. "You can see what would have
happened if you had still been under there."
"Can you fight?"
The speaker was a young British midshipman. Jack and Frank stood at the
rail, gazing off toward the distant horizon, when the young man
approached them. The lads turned quickly.
"Can you fight?" demanded the young man again. His eyes rested on Jack.
"Well," said the latter with a smile, "I can if I'm pushed to it. Who
wants to lick me now?"
The young midshipman also smiled.
"It's not that kind of a fight I'm talking about," he said. "You're new
aboard, so I'll explain."
"Do," said Jack.
"Well, there has been considerable rivalry between the men of our ship
and the crew of the _Indefatigable_. We had an athletic contest last
year and they beat us, carrying everything but the standing broad jump.
This year we are better fortified and we hope to get even. Among other
things there will be a boxing match. Jackson, that's the man we had
entered in that event, is ill. I have been elected to find a
substitute. I sized you up as being able to hold your own with most."
"Well, if that's the way of it, you can count me in, of course," said
Jack. "When does this come off?"
"As soon as we come up with the _Indefatigable_. Probably tomorrow."
"What other events are there?" asked Frank.
"Plenty," was the reply. "Besides the boxing match and standing broad
jump are the running broad jump; high jumping, a match with foils and a
"And are your lists filled?" asked Frank.
"I believe so. Why?"
"Well, I'd like to get in the revolver contest," replied the lad. "I'm
pretty handy with a gun."
"I'll see what can be done," returned the midshipman. "By the way, my
name is Lawrence."
They shook hands and walked off.
"Well, that's something to liven things up a bit," said Frank.
"Yes; but I didn't know they were doing such things in time of war."
"Neither did I; but it seems they are."
It was late that evening when Lawrence again approached the two lads.
"You're in luck," he said to Frank. "We are still one man shy on our
revolver team. I have named you for the place."
"Thanks," said Frank. "I'll promise to do the best I can. By the way,
where is this match to take place?"
"Right here. Last year it was pulled off on the _Indefatigable_."
It was drawing toward night when the _Queen Mary,_ steaming swiftly,
sighted smoke upon the horizon. Two hours later she slowed down a short
distance from three other vessels, which proved to be the
_Indefatigable_, the _Invincible_ and the _Lion_, the latter the
flagship of Vice-Admiral Beatty.
The commanders exchanged salutations; and among other things made
arrangements for the athletic contest that was to take place aboard the
_Queen Mary_ the following day. This was explained to the men.
The day's events were to begin at nine o'clock. They were to come in
this order: Standing broad jump, running broad jump, high jump, foil
match, revolver contest and boxing match.
"You're last on the card, Jack," said Frank, with a laugh, when they
were informed of the manner in which the events were to be pulled off.
"Hope I'm last on my feet, too," said Jack, with a laugh.
"Oh, I'm not worrying about you. You'll come through with flying
colors. I hope I am not nervous, though."
"You won't be," said Jack, positively. "I know you and that revolver of
yours too well."
"Guess we had better turn in early so as to be fit," said Frank.
And they did, retiring several hours after mess.
Every man aboard the _Queen Mary_ was astir bright and early the
following morning. Each man was filled with enthusiasm and each was
ready to wager his next year's pay on the outcome of each event. But
there was to be no gambling. Admiral Beatty had issued orders to that
At eight o'clock the championship entrants from the _Indefatigable_
came aboard, accompanied by many of their companions, who would be
present to cheer them on. Officers as well as men were greatly
interested in the day's sports. Admiral Beatty could not be present,
but Captain Reynolds, of the _Indefatigable_, stood by Captain Raleigh,
of the _Queen Mary_, as the first event was called.
"We're going to get even with you this time, Reynolds," said Captain
"Oh, no you won't. The score will be two in our favor after today."
They became silent as four men, two from each ship, made ready for the
standing broad jump.
The jumping was superb. After eight attempts one man from each ship was
eliminated; and at length the _Indefatigable_ man won.
"Two points for us, Raleigh," said Captain Reynolds, jotting down
something on the back of an envelope.
"Don't crow, we'll get you yet, Reynolds," was Captain Raleigh's reply.
The running broad jump was won by the _Queen Mary's_ entrants. Then it
was Captain Raleigh's time to smile.
"Told you so," he said to Captain Reynolds.
"Oh, you won one event last year," was the reply. "This high jump comes
And it did. The score was now four to two in favor of the
_Indefatigable_. Then came the match with foils and this also went to
the _Indefatigable_, making the score nine to two, for this match
carried five points for the winner. Also, the pistol contest and the
boxing match carried five points each.
"We've got you now, Raleigh," laughed Captain Reynolds. "Nine to two.
You've got to take both of the next two events to win. It can't be
"It has been done," was the reply.
"It won't be this time," was the reply. "I think we will win the
revolver contest, for I have some pretty fair shots, but if we don't,
we are sure to take the boxing match. We've a surprise for you there.
Here they go."
The revolver match was on. There were three men on each team. The first
mark was set, a target at twenty yards with a six-inch bull's eye.
Frank fired first. He hit the bull's eye easily. So did the others, all
except one of the _Indefatigable_ crew, who was thus eliminated, much
to his disgust, as the spectators jeered him.
The next shot at a smaller mark eliminated one of the _Queen Mary's_
crew. An _Indefatigable_ man and a _Queen Mary_ man both missed the
next mark and there remained but Frank for the _Queen Mary_ and a man
named Simpson for the _Indefatigable_.
The target had been removed to sixty yards and the bull's eye was but
two inches. Frank fired and scored a hit. So did Simpson. Next both hit
the mark ten yards farther back.
A one-inch bull's eye was substituted. Frank fired first. He scored a
clean hit. Simpson also hit the eye, though not so squarely. Still it
counted a hit.
Now the bull's eye was reduced to half an inch, and at seventy yards it
seemed almost impossible to hit it. This time Simpson was to fire
first. Carefully he took deliberate aim and fired.
A shout went up from the _Queen Mary_ men who stood near.
"Missed it by a hair," said one. "Beat it, Chadwick! Beat it!"
"He can't beat it! Hooray! We've won!" This from the _Indefatigable's_
"Good shooting, old man," said Frank, quietly, as he took his position.
Carefully he measured the distance with his eye.
Then he raised his revolver slowly, and seeming scarcely to take aim,
And a yell went up from the _Queen Mary's_ crew.
"Bull's eye! Bull's eye!" they cried, and danced and capered about the
Frank had won. He had hit the bull's eye squarely.
The men rushed up and danced about him.
"Good work!" they cried. "Five points for us. Nine to seven now. We'll
win this yet!"
Simpson approached Frank and extended a hand.
"Good shooting, son," he exclaimed.
Simpson was a man well along in years, and he put this touch of
familiarity to his words to make Frank realize that they were sincere.
"I used to be something of a shot myself," he said. "But I guess you
are better than I ever was."
Frank took Simpson's hand.
"You would probably beat me next time," he said.
Simpson shook his head.
"Not in a thousand years," he said, and walked off.
Meantime, Captain Raleigh and Captain Reynolds were having it out.
"Told you so! Told you so!" exclaimed the former, as pleased as a boy.
"We'll beat you yet, sure."
"No, you won't, Raleigh," said Reynolds, with a wink. "I'll tell you
something. Ever hear of a man named Harris?"
"Yes; I know several men by that name."
"Ever hear of Tim Harris?"
"By George! You mean Tim Harris, of the _Queen Elizabeth_?"
"The champion of the British fleet, eh? You mean to tell me you have
rung him in on us?"
"We didn't ring him in," was the reply. "He was transferred to the
_Indefatigable_ before the _Queen Elizabeth_ went to the Dardanelles.
We've been saving this up as a little surprise."
Captain Raleigh had lost his look of optimism.
"Then our man should be warned," he said. "He may wish to withdraw."
"It is only fair to tell him who his opponent is," agreed Captain
Reynolds. "I guess we should have done it long ago."
"I'll tell him," said Captain Raleigh.
At this moment there was a loud cheer from the crew of the _Queen
"Here he comes!" they shouted.
Jack, stripped to the waist and wearing a pair of trunks, had appeared
on deck. Two men accompanied him. These, it seemed, were to be his
seconds. Jack caught sight of Frank and smiled.
And again the crew of the _Queen Mary_ went wild.
The champion of the _Indefatigable_ had not yet appeared on deck; and
the crew of the _Queen Mary_ strained their necks hunting him out.
"Bring out your champion!" they called. "What's the matter with him? Is
The men of the _Indefatigable_ returned these compliments with jeers of
"Oh, just wait!" they howled.
Captain Raleigh, in the meantime, had approached Jack and his seconds.
"It is only fair to warn you," he said quietly, "that the man whom you
are to oppose is Tim Harris, champion of the British fleet."
Jack was surprised.
"I didn't know that, sir. I thought he was with the _Queen Elizabeth_."
"Well, he's here; but I didn't know it until a moment ago. It will be
no dishonor to you if you wish to withdraw. A man must be in perfect
trim to stand before Harris."
"Why," said Jack, in surprise, "I can hardly do that now, sir. The men
are depending on me."
Captain Raleigh smiled frankly.
"You are all right, boy," he said. "At your first words I thought you
were afraid. But you cannot hope for victory."
"I always hope for victory, sir, and I shall do my best. I am no
"Perhaps not; but Harris is almost a professional; in fact, I may say,
a good deal better than many professionals. He is fast for a man of his
size and has a terrible right-hand punch. I have seen him box often. If
you are decided to go on with this, a word of warning. Watch that right
hand of his like you would a hawk."
"I shall remember, sir," replied Jack. "Thank you."
"All right then," said Captain Raleigh. "I like your spunk. Good luck
Captain Raleigh walked back to Captain Reynold's side.
"Will he withdraw?" asked the latter.
"He will not. He says the men are depending on him and he must go
through with it."
"By Jove! a fine spirit!" exclaimed Captain Reynolds. "I hope he is not
too easily disposed of."
"I don't think he will be," said Captain Raleigh, quietly. "Someway, I
have a feeling that you haven't carried off the honors yet."
"But it's foolish to talk like that, Raleigh," said Captain Reynolds.
"You know this man, Harris."
"I suppose it is foolish, but it's the way I feel just the same. Ah!
There's Harris now."
Tim Harris had appeared on deck; and the crew of the _Indefatigable_
went wild. Now for the first time the crew of the _Queen Mary_ knew who
Jack's opponent would be; and after a look at Harris, they became
strangely silent. Then one voice called:
"Never mind who he is. Templeton can lick him, anyhow!"
The others took up the cry and Jack smiled.
Now the referee called the principals to him and gave them their
"No hitting in clinches, and clean breaks," he said.
Jack and Harris nodded that they understood. As the two stood there
together, the crowd sized them up.
Jack, standing well above six feet, still was not as tall as his
opponent, who topped him by a full inch. Their arms were about of a
length, but Harris was big through the chest and his arms seemed more
powerful than Jack's. A close observer, however, would have seen that
while Jack was in perfect physical condition, Harris carried a trifle
too much fat--not much, but still a trifle. With the battle anywhere
near equal, this fat might prove to Jack's advantage.
Jack's arms showed strength, but the muscles were not knotted like
those of Harris. Harris was perhaps twenty-eight years old, Jack almost
ten years younger. Jack had the youth, but Harris had the experience of
many hard encounters. It appeared that the odds were heavily against
Jack and Harris sized each other carefully. Jack smiled. So did Harris.
As they touched gloves, Harris said:
"You're a nice boy. I don't want to hurt you too much, so I'll make
this short"--the referee had announced that the match was to be for ten
"Don't worry about me," said Jack. "I can take care of myself. If the
match is short you won't find me on the deck."
Harris would have replied, but at that moment the referee called:
Jack leaped lightly backward even as Harris aimed a vicious blow at his
head, apparently trying to make good his word to end the battle at
once. The blow missed Jack's face by the fraction of an inch. Harris
followed up this blow with a right and left, which Jack blocked neatly,
and then brought his right up, trying to upper cut.
Jack leaped backward and the blow grazed his chin. Before Harris could
recover, Jack stepped quickly forward and planted a sharp right and a
hard left to Harris' nose. Harris stepped back and wiped away a stream
It was first blood for Jack and the crew of the _Queen Mary_ sent up a
But Harris only smiled. He was not to be caught so easily again.
These two blows had given the _Indefatigable_ champion some respect for
Jack's ability. He advanced more carefully this time. He feinted
rapidly and shot his left forward, quickly followed by his right. But
Jack had not been deceived and caught both blows upon his forearms.
"You're all right, boy," said Harris, admiringly, "It's a pleasure to
box with you."
"And I may say the same," said Jack.
They fell to it again.
As Harris stepped quickly forward his foot slipped and he fell to one
"Hit him when he gets up!" came a cry from the crowd.
Instead, Jack lowered his guard and extended a hand. He helped his
opponent to his feet. Then he stepped back and the battle continued.
Now Jack decided that he would feel the other out. He feinted rapidly,
once, twice, and struck out with a right; and he staggered back
suddenly, for something had suddenly come up under his chin with
terrible force. In a moment Jack realized what _it_ was. It was
Harris' right, which Captain Raleigh had warned him against. Had the
blow been timed perfectly, Jack realized, the fight would have been
over then and there.
Guarding desperately, Jack managed to fall into a clinch, where he hung
on until his head cleared. As he stepped back the referee called time.
The first round was Harris' by the margin of that hard uppercut.
"I'll be a little more careful of that right," Jack confided to his
seconds, as he again advanced into the ring.
Again the lad assumed the offensive, keeping careful eye on his
opponent's right fist. Again Harris tried to reach Jack's chin, but
this time Jack blocked the blow. He knew he would not be caught that
way again. Jack feinted three times, twice with his left and once with
his right, and then the right crashed against Harris' ear. The man
staggered back and before he could recover Jack planted two hard blows
--right and left--to his sore nose. Desperately, Harris rushed into a
Again the crew of the _Queen Mary_ cheered.
"And what do you think of that, eh?" asked Captain Raleigh of Captain
"The boy is a fighter," was the latter's reply. "But wait; experience
Harris became more cautious. He circled around Jack, lightly, dancing
about on his toes. The lad followed him quietly. Suddenly, Harris' left
fist shot out. Jack blocked, but before he could recover, Harris
launched himself like a catapult and a series of right and lefts
descended on Jack's face, neck, ears and abdomen.
Jack staggered back and Harris followed him closely, giving him no rest
Jack was still retreating at the bell.
Again in the third and in the fourth round Jack seemed to be getting
the worst of it. In the fifth he braced and sent in as good as he
received. In the sixth he almost floored Harris with a straight right
to the side of the jaw; and in the seventh Harris was kept on the
But in the eighth Jack again encountered Harris' right and the force of
the blow sent him reeling. All through the round Harris followed up
this advantage, and at the bell, it seemed that Jack would be unable to
continue the fight.
But his head cleared in the one minute rest period; and he fought
through the ninth round carefully. The lad realized now that, so far,
Harris had the better of the encounter and that, if he hoped to win, it
must be by a knockout. So, while Harris was trying in vain to put in a
finishing punch, Jack husbanded his strength, determined to make a
strong effort in the final round.
The rest refreshed him still more; and as time was called for the
tenth, Jack cast discretion to the winds and leaped forward.
In spite of this, he was cool, however, and kept his eye peeled for the
movement that would tell him Harris was about to launch his right.
A right and left he landed to Harris' sore nose. Then Harris rushed.
Jack was forced back around the ring by the force of this rush and
backed against the ropes; but he bounded out with great force and
landed a vicious left to the side of Harris' jaw. Then they clinched.
As the referee parted them, Jack saw the movement for which he had been
watching. Harris again was about to launch that terrible right. The lad
It flashed forth faster than the eye could see. But it had not come too
quick for Jack, who was expecting it.
The blow was aimed for the point of the chin and would have ended the
fight right there. But, judging the distance exactly, Jack moved his
head a trifle to one side; and Harris' fist flashed by his chin by the
fraction of an inch.
With all his force behind the blow, Jack put a straight left to Harris'
jaw. A terrible jolt to the abdomen followed; and, as Harris head came
forward again, Jack pivoted on his heel and struck with his right.
He had judged the time and the distance perfectly. His right fist
caught Harris squarely upon the point of the chin. There was a "smack"
that could be heard even above the cheering of the _Queen Mary's_ crew,
followed by a crash as Harris fell to the deck. With half a minute of
the last round to go, Jack had knocked the man out and won the day for
the _Queen Mary_ by a score of twelve to nine.
And the crew cheered again!
Harris remained prostrate on the deck.
Quickly, Jack pulled off his gloves and, leaning down, he picked up the
unconscious man and carried him to his own cabin. There he bathed the
man's face and brought him back to consciousness.
"How do you feel, old man?" he asked.
Harris looked at the lad queerly.
"So you beat me, eh?" he said. "Well, to tell you the truth, after the
fifth round I expected it. I am no match for you and I know it. Do you
realize that you are the champion of the British fleet now?"
"I hadn't thought of that," was Jack's reply.
"You have defeated the champion, so your title is undisputed," said
He rose from the bunk where Jack had placed him and felt tenderly of
"Quite a wallop," he said calmly. "Well, let me congratulate you. I am
glad that, as long as I had to be defeated some day, it was you who
turned the trick."
He extended a hand and Jack grasped it heartily.
"You would probably down me next time," he said.
"Not a chance," replied Harris. "I know when I have met my superior."
He moved toward the door. There he paused for a moment and said:
"Well, I must go and dress now. I hope that I may see you again before
"I am sure I hope so, too," returned Jack.
Hardly had Harris taken his departure when running feet approached
Jack's cabin. A moment later a crowd of sailors burst into the room.
Before Jack realized what was going on, they had seized him, hoisted
him to their shoulders and rushed out on deck again. There, for perhaps
half an hour, they paraded up and down, cheering wildly.
They lowered him to the deck, however, when Captain Raleigh and Captain
Reynolds approached. The former spoke first.
"I must congratulate you upon your remarkable exhibition," he said.
"You are a brave boy."
Jack flushed and hung his head.
"When I am mistaken I admit it," said Captain Reynolds. "You are more
than a match for Harris at any time."
"I did the best I could," said Jack, sheepishly.
"Well, it was pretty good," said Captain Reynolds.
With Captain Raleigh he moved away.
Frank now approached and accompanied Jack back to their cabin, where
Jack got info his uniform.
"Some scrapper, you are," said Frank. "I thought you were done for once
or twice, though."
"I thought so myself," returned Jack, with a grin. "I was pretty lucky
in that last round, if you ask me."
"Harris was pretty unlucky, I know that," said Frank, grimly. "Hurry
up, it's time to eat."
Jack's fight was the talk of the day aboard the _Queen Mary_; and
aboard the _Indefatigable_, too, for that matter. In fact, all the
British fleet within wireless radius knew before night that there was a
new champion of the British fleet; and they cheered him, though he
could not hear.
It was upon the following morning, while the _Queen Mary_ steamed about
in the North Sea, that Jack and Frank embarked upon their first piece
of work since they had been assigned to the giant battleship.
Both lads were in their cabin studying, when an orderly announced that
Captain Raleigh desired their presence. They obeyed the summons at
"And how do you feel today?" asked Captain Raleigh, as he eyed Jack,
"First rate, sir."
"Feel like another fight?"
"No, sir. I don't make a practice of that sort of thing."
"I'm glad to hear that. How would you like to take a little trip?"
"First rate, sir. Where to, sir?"
"Well, that's rather a difficult question," returned Captain Raleigh.
"Here, read this," and he passed the lad a slip of paper.
Jack did as commanded. This is what he read:
"Large number of enemy aircraft reported flying over North Sea, fifty
miles south of you, every night. Investigate.
Jack passed the slip of paper back.
"Well?" exclaimed Captain Raleigh.
"Yes, sir," replied Jack. "You want me to find out what's going on,
"Exactly. Can you run a hydroplane?"
"No, sir; but Frank here can."
"Lieutenant Chadwick, sir."
"Oh," said the commander, "so he is Frank, eh? All right. Then here is
what I want you two to do. Take the hydroplane aft and fly south. Take
your time and see what you can find out. The matter may amount to
nothing, and then again it may forebode something serious."
"Very well, sir," replied Frank. "When shall we start, sir?"
"You may as well start immediately. It is hardly possible, judging by
the tone of that message, that you will find anything by daylight, but
at least you can be on the ground by night."
"Very well, sir," said Jack, and waited to see if there were any
Captain Raleigh dismissed the two lads with a wave of his hand.
"That is all," he said. "Report the moment you are able to do so."
The two lads saluted and returned to their own cabin.
"You see," said Frank, "we didn't have to wait very long to find
something to do."
"I see we didn't," agreed Frank. "Now, the first thing to do is shed
"So that we shall not be taken for British should we fall among the
enemy. We'll put on plain khaki suits."
"Well, whatever you say," said Frank.
This was the work of but a few moments; and half an hour later the two
lads soared into the air in one of the _Queen Mary's_ large
"This is something like it, if you ask me," said Frank, as he bent over
"Pretty fine," Jack agreed, raising his voice to make himself heard
above the whir of the propellers and the noise of the engine. "I
wouldn't mind flying all the time."
"Where do we want to come down, Jack?" asked Frank.
"Let's see. The message said the enemy was flying about fifty miles
south. They probably won't be out before dark, so I should say it might
be well to go a little beyond that point."
"All right. But we may miss them in the darkness tonight."
"By Jove! That's so! Funny I didn't think of that. Let me think a
"No use of thinking," said Frank, "I have a scheme that will work all
"What is it?"
"Why, we'll stop right in the path taken by the enemy planes and then
drop down upon the water."
"So the Germans can see us as they fly by, eh?"
"They won't see us in the dark," said Frank. "We'll be a pretty small
spot down on the water. They will be looking for nothing so small."
"I guess you are right, after all," Jack agreed. "At least it's worth
trying. We'll be sure to hear them flying above; and if we went beyond
the lane of travel, or didn't go far enough, we might not even see
"Exactly," said Frank. "Well, there is no hurry, so I may as well slow
down a bit."
He did so and they went along more leisurely.
"Can't see what the Germans would be flying about here for," said Jack,
"and I have been trying to figure it out ever since I read that
"So have I," declared Frank, "If they were Zeppelins I could understand
it; they would be going and returning from raids on the British coast;
but surely they would not venture that distance with aeroplanes."
"I wouldn't think so. Still, you never can tell about those fellows.
They do a lot of strange things."
"So they do. Say!" Frank was struck with a sudden thought. "You don't
suppose the presence of many of those fellows heralds the advance of
the German fleet, do you? They might be just reconnoitering, you know."
"No, I hardly think that could be it. The Germans are afraid to venture
out. They know they'll get licked if they do."
"Well, those aeroplanes come out every night for some purpose, that's
sure," said Frank. "It's a wonder to me the Germans haven't tried to
sneak out in great force before now. They could come along here without
any trouble, or they could make the effort farther north, say near
"Well, I suppose they'll try it some day," said Jack, "but not right
away. How much farther do we have to go?"
Frank glanced at his chart and then at his speedometer.
"About fifteen miles," was his reply; "and then we'll be there too
The lad was right. It was not three o'clock when the hydroplane came to
the spot the lads had selected to descend.
"Well, here we are," said Frank.
"Guess we may as well go down, then," said Jack. "Some of those fellows
are likely to be prowling about and spot us."
"Just as you say," agreed Frank.
He set the planes and the machine glided to the water, where it came to
"Glad there is no sun," said Jack, "it would be awfully hot down here."
And there the lads spent the afternoon. Darkness came at last, and with
its coming, the lads made ready for whatever might occur. Eight o'clock
came and there had been no sounds of airships flying above. The lads
strained their ears, listening for the slightest sound.
And, shortly after nine o'clock, their efforts were rewarded. Jack
suddenly took Frank by the arm.
"Listen!" he exclaimed in a low voice.
AMONG THE ENEMY
To Frank's ears came a distant whirring. To ears less keen than the
lad's the sound, which came from above, might have been some bird of
the night flapping its wings as it soared overhead. But to Frank and
Jack both it meant something entirely different. It was the sound for
which they had been waiting. It was an airship.
Through his night glass Jack scanned the clouds and at last he picked
up the object for which he sought. Almost directly overhead at that
moment, but flying rapidly westward, was a single aeroplane. So high in
the air was the machine that it looked a mere speck and Jack was unable
to determine from that distance whether it was British or German.
"See it, Jack?" asked Frank in a low voice.
"Yes," was the reply. "A single craft, perhaps half a mile up."
"No more in sight, eh?"
"Not yet. This one is heading west."
"Guess we had better get up that way, then," said Frank.
A moment later the hydroplane was skimming swiftly over the water. For
perhaps three hundred yards Frank kept the craft on the water; then
sent it soaring into the air above.
There was not a word between the two boys until the hydroplane was a
quarter of a mile in the air. Then Jack said:
"Make your elevation half a mile and then head west, slowly. The
chances are there will be more of them. In the darkness we can let them
overtake us and mingle with them in safety."
Frank gave his endorsement to this plan and the machine continued to
rise. At the proper elevation, Frank turned the hydroplane's head
westward and reduced the speed to less than thirty miles an hour. So
slow was its gait, in fact, that it had the appearance of almost
Jack scanned the eastern horizon with his glass.
"See anything?" asked Frank.
"Thought I did," was the reply, "but whatever I saw has disappeared
now. Guess I must have been mistaken."
But Jack had not been mistaken.
Far back, even now, a fleet of perhaps a dozen German air planes were
speeding westward. For the most part they were small craft, having a
capacity of not more than three men, with the single exception of one
machine, which, larger than the rest, carried four men. The air planes
were strung out for considerable distance, no two being closer than two
hundred yards together.
And in this manner they overtook the hydroplane driven by Frank and
Jack, again surveying the horizon with his night glass, gave an
"Here they come, Frank," he said. "Let her out a little more."
Frank obeyed without question and the speed of the hydroplane increased
from something more than thirty miles an hour to almost sixty. And
still the Germans gained.
"This will do," said Jack, leaning close to Frank. "They'll overtake
us, but believing we are of their number, there is little likelihood
that they will investigate us very closely. We can fall in line without
trouble and accompany them wherever they go."
"Suits me," said Frank. "Just keep me posted on their proximity."
Gradually the Germans reduced the distance and at length the first
plane was only a few yards behind the craft in which Frank and Jack
were risking their lives. The German craft flashed by a moment later
without paying any attention to the hydroplane.
"Little more speed, Frank," called Jack.
The hydroplane skimmed through the air faster than before and the next
German craft did not overtake it so easily; but at length it passed, as
did a third and a fourth.
"Here's a good place for us to fall in line," Jack instructed.
Again Frank increased the speed of the hydroplane and it moved swiftly
in the wake of the fourth German craft. After that no enemy air plane
"Any idea where we are?" asked Frank of his chum.
"We're not far off the Belgian coast, but how far west I can't say,"
returned Jack. "Don't suppose it makes any particular difference,
"I guess not."
Frank became silent and gave his undivided attention to keeping the
German plane ahead of him in sight.
And in this manner they proceeded for perhaps another half hour.
Then the machine ahead of Frank veered sharply to the south. Frank
brought the head of his own craft in the same direction and the flight
"Headed for the Belgian or French coast, apparently," said Jack to
himself. "Wonder what the idea is?"
Now the craft ahead of that in which the two boys rode reduced its
speed abruptly. Frank cut down the gait of his own craft and they
continued on their way more slowly.
"Nearing our destination, wherever that is," muttered Jack.
The lad felt of his revolvers to make sure that they were ready in case
of an emergency.
"Land ahead," said Frank, suddenly.
Jack gazed straight before him. There, what appeared to be many miles
away, though in reality it was but a few, was a dark blur below.
Occasionally what appeared to be little stars twinkled there. Jack knew
they were the lights of some town.
"Guess that's where we are headed for, all right," he told himself.
Behind the British hydroplane the other German airships came rapidly,
keeping some distance apart, however. Jack leaned close to Frank.
"Just do as the ones ahead of you do," he said quietly. "I don't know
where we are nor what is likely to happen. Keep your nerve and we'll be
"Don't worry about me," responded Frank. "I'm having the time of my
Jack smiled to himself, for he knew that Frank was telling the truth.
There was nothing the lad liked better than to be engaged in a
dangerous piece of work and more than once his fondness for excitement
had almost ended disastrously.
"Frank's all right if he can just keep his head," muttered Jack. "I'm
likely to have to hold him in check a bit, though."
They had approached the shore close enough now to perceive that the
distant lights betokened a large town.
"Probably Ostend," Jack told himself, "though why they should come this
way is too deep for me."
But Jack was wrong, as he learned a short time later.
The town that they now were approaching was the French port of Calais
and it was still held by the French despite determined efforts of the
Germans at one time or another to extend their lines that far. The
capture of Calais by the Germans would have been a severe blow to
England, for with the French seaport in their possession, the Germans,
with their great guns, would have been able to command the English
channel and a considerable portion of the North Sea coast.
When it appeared that the German aircraft would fly directly over the
city, the leading machine suddenly swerved to the east. The others
The night was very dark, and in spite of the occasional searchlight
that was flashed into the air by the French in Calais, the Teuton
machines so far had been undiscovered. Now, hanging low over the land,
a sudden bombardment broke out from the German air planes.
It was not the sound of bombs that came to the lads' ears; rather the
sharp "crack! crack!" of revolver firing. Jack and Frank gazed about
them quickly, for they believed, for the moment, that the Germans had
encountered a squadron of French airships.
But there was no other machine in sight save the German craft.
"What in the world is the meaning of this?" Frank asked of Jack.
"Don't know," returned the lad, "but I guess I'd better join in."
He drew his revolver and fired several shots in the air.
"Seems to be expected of us," he said. "We don't want to disappoint
The German aircraft now headed straight for the city of Calais. Frank
sent his machine speeding in the same direction. Then, just as it
appeared they would fly directly above the city, the first German craft
began to descend. The others did likewise and a moment or so later they
all came to earth in the center of what Frank and Jack could see was a
small army camp; and as they alighted from their machines, the lads saw
that it was an Allied camp and not a German.
"Must be Calais," said Frank to Jack in a whisper. "Have we been
mistaken? Are these French and British machines?"
"Well, it looks like it," returned Jack. "We'll keep quiet and let the
other fellows do the talking."
A French officer now approached the pilot of the first aircraft.
"We heard the firing aloft a moment ago," he said. "Did you encounter
"We were pursued all the way from the German lines," was the reply.
"I think not, though I believe we accounted for one or two of the
"Good. Will you fly again tonight?"
"Yes; but not before midnight."
The French officer withdrew.
At this one of the aviators raised a hand and the others gathered about
him, Frank and Jack with them. All wore khaki clothing and their
features were concealed by heavy goggles.
"Careful," whispered the aviator. "A false move and we are discovered.
Spread out now and see what you can learn. Gather here at midnight."
He waved a hand and the Germans, for such Jack and Frank now knew them
to be, separated. When the two lads were alone a moment later, Jack
"Well, this is what I call a piece of nervy business. What shall we do?
Inform the French commander immediately?"
"No. I have a better plan that that. They can hardly work any mischief
tonight. What information they learn will avail them naught for we can
warn the French commander later. We must find out what they are up to.
We'll stick close and follow them back to the German lines, if
"Good, then! Guess we had better do a little skirmishing about. It will
keep suspicion from us should we be watched."
"All right," said Frank. "Come on."
A STARTLING DISCOVERY
With the coming of midnight Frank and Jack returned to the spot where
the aeroplanes had been parked. Several of the German aviators already
had returned. The man who appeared to be the leader announced that they
would await the arrival of the others before taking to the air.
The others arrived one at a time until all were present but two. The
machines were in readiness to ascend the moment the missing men
arrived. The aviators were at their posts.
Suddenly there came a shout. A moment later the two German aviators who
were delaying the departure burst into sight at a dead run.
"Quick!" called one. "We are discovered!"
Immediately the others--Frank and Jack among them--leaped into their
machines and soared into the air. The last comers also leaped for their
craft and succeeded in getting above ground just as rifles began to
crack in the French camp.
Came a sudden cry from the machine nearest that of Frank and Jack. The
lads saw a man rise to his feet, throw up his arms and pitch, head
foremost, toward the ground. The aircraft, freed of a guiding hand,
rocked a moment crazily and then turned over, hurling its other
occupant into space.
There was a cry of anger from aboard some of the other German craft,
but no man raised a hand to stay the flight of his car. It would have
been suicide and the Germans realized it. They sped away into the
darkness whence they had come. Frank and Jack, in their British
hydroplane, went with them.
For an hour or two the aeroplanes sped through the darkness at
undiminished speed; then the foremost craft slowed down. The others did
"Surely we haven't reached the German lines already?" said Jack. Frank
shrugged his shoulders.
"You know about as much of what is going on as I do," he returned.
"Evidently we are going down, however."
The lad was right.
The leading German plane swooped toward the earth and the others
followed its example. A few minutes later all had reached the ground
safely and their occupants had alighted.
The two lads glanced around. It was very dark. A short distance to the
north they could see the broad expanse of the North Sea, stretching
away in the night. The dark waves lapped the shore gently with a faint
thrashing sound. The water was very calm.
Except for the figures that had alighted upon the shore in the darkness
there was not a human being in sight. To the south, to the east and
west stretched miles and miles of sand dunes. Just these sand dunes and
the waters of the North Sea--there was nothing else in sight.
At a signal the men gathered around the man who appeared to be the
leader. Frank and Jack thanked their lucky stars that the night was
very dark, for otherwise they would have been in imminent danger of
being discovered; and each lad realized that it would go hard with them
should their true identities be penetrated.
The darkness served them like a shield. Nevertheless, both lads kept
their hands on their revolvers. Each had determined that if discovered,
he would make an effort to escape in the nearest of the aircraft. Each
knew that there was little hope of such an escape, but, realizing what
was in store for them should they be discovered and captured, they had
decided it would be better to die fighting than to be stood up against
a wall and shot, or, possibly, hanged.
The group of men on the bench became silent as the leader addressed
"Men," he said, "it is to be regretted that we have discovered so soon.
There was still work to be done before the hour for our great effort to
crush the British fleet. However, to a certain extent we have been
successful. We have managed to sow the seed of suspicion in the minds
of our enemies. Prisoners, whom we have allowed to be taken, have let
slip words that will lead the British to think our fleet will slip from
its base and approach England from the south. We know better than that.
We know that on the night of May 31--which is tomorrow--our fleet will
strike the British off Jutland."
There was a subdued cheer from the assembled Germans. The speaker
"Through our efforts the British fleet has been scattered. The main
portion of the fleet lies to the south and will be unable to reach
Jutland in time to save the portion of the British fleet there from
destruction. Of course, should wind of the move reach the British there
would still be time for the fleet to gather. But no such word will
reach the enemy. After sinking the first section of the British fleet,
our vessels will steam south and meet the main British fleet. The
numbers will be nearer equal then. We shall be victorious."
Again there was a subdued cheer, in which Frank and Jack joined for the
sake of appearances. Again the speaker continued:
"I shall now explain the reason we have landed here. Our part in the
work has been done. Here we shall remain until nightfall tomorrow. We
shall then sail north and take part in the battle. In my pocket here,"
he tapped the breast of his coat, "are instructions I shall read to you
before we leave. Until that time we shall rest here, for we have done
work enough for the present. We shall be safe here. Our position now is
directly between two French lines and for that reason we shall not be
disturbed. Of course, if it becomes necessary, we can take to our
machines and get out of harm's way. We have provisions and water enough
to last us; and while the weather is warm, it is still cool enough. At
any rate, we shall have to make the best of it."
The man ceased speaking and beckoned the others to follow him. He
walked a hundred yards to the east. There he made a mark in the sand
with his foot.
"Until the time for us to move has come," he said, "let no man set foot
beyond that line. I make this rule for safety's sake."
He walked two hundred yards from the sea itself and repeated the
operation and instructions; and then to the west.
"Within these bounds," he said, "we will spend tonight and tomorrow.
The man who disobeys these instructions shall be shot. Do I make myself
There was a murmur of assent.
"Very well," said the leader. "Now you are all left to your own
devices. First, however, I shall pick the watches for the night."
Frank and Jack, at this, slunk well back into the crowd, for they did
not wish to be scrutinized closely. But they need have had no fear. The
leader of the Germans laid a hand on the shoulders of the two men
"You two," he said, "shall stand guard the remainder of the night, one
to the southeast and one to the southwest. But do not venture beyond
the boundaries I have laid down."
The Germans saluted and moved away.
The leader moved toward the sea and none of the others followed him.
Instead, some walked a short distance to the east, others to the south
and still others to the west. They threw themselves down in the sand. A
few remained near the airships.
Frank and Jack walked a short distance toward the sea, but kept some
distance behind the German leader, who stood looking off across the
water, apparently deep in thought. The lads sat down upon the ground.
"Well," said Frank, "what are we going to do about it?"
"Do!" echoed Jack. "Why, there is only one thing we can do--one thing
we must do! We must get away from here and warn the fleet!"
"All right," said Frank, "it sounds easy; but how?"
"Well, that doesn't make any difference. We've got to do it."
"And the moment we have gone our absence will be discovered, the
Germans will know the fleet has been warned and the attack will be
given up," said Frank. "And we don't want anything like that to happen.
It will be the first time the Germans have mustered up courage enough
to come out and give battle. We don't want to frighten them off."
"We don't want to let them sneak up on a part of our fleet unguarded,
either," declared Jack.
"Of course not. You say we must give the warning. We'll try, of course.
But first, why not let's put all the aeroplanes except the one we want
out of commission?"
"By Jove! a good plan! We'll do it."
"Exactly," said Frank. "Then there is still another thing."
"What is that?"
"Why, we want the instructions that fellow carries," and Frank waved a
hand in the direction of the German leader. "He was kind enough to let
us know he has them. We'll have to take them away from him."
"Say!" exclaimed Jack, "you've laid out quite a job for us, haven't
"It's got to be done," declared Frank.
"Well, all right, but we shall have to be careful."
"Right you are," Frank agreed, "one little slip and the whole thing
will be spoiled."
"Then there must be no slip," said Jack, quietly
"I agree with you there. Now the question arise? as how the thing may
best be done."
"We'll have to wait until they're all asleep," said Jack.
"You forget the sentinels won't sleep," said Frank.
"No, I don't; and they will be the first disposed of. They are not
looking for enemies from within, you know. You walk up to one and I'll
walk up to the other. We'll be challenged when we get close, of course.
Then it will be up to us to silence those fellows before they can make
"We'll try it. Then what?"
"Then we'll come back and put the airships out of commission as
carefully as possible."