Part 2 out of 4
"That's easy enough. All we have to do is to let out the 'gas.'"
"Next we'll have to go through the commander's pockets without arousing
"That's more difficult, but I suppose it can be done."
"Next we'll have to get our hydroplane to the water. Fortunately, we
came down closer to the sea than the others. We should be able to do
that without awakening the sleepers."
"Then," said Frank, "we climb in and say goodbye, eh?"
"All right. We'll work it that way then. It's as good as any other. Now
we'll keep quiet until we are sure everyone is asleep."
Their plans thus arranged, the lads became quiet. They said not a word
as they waited for sleep to overcome the Germans, but gazed out quietly
over the dark sea.
THE PLAN WORKS--ALMOST
"Time to get busy."
It was Frank who spoke. All was quiet among the sand dunes. The
commander of the Germans had laid down upon the ground, some distance
from the others, half an hour before. Snores from various points
announced that most of the men were sleeping soundly.
Jack and Frank got to their feet
"Careful," said Jack as they separated. "Remember, don't give your man
a chance to let out a cry."
Frank nodded in the darkness and walked slowly toward the sentinel he
had selected to silence. Jack moved in the other direction.
As Jack came within a few yards of his prey, the man raised his rifle
"It's all right," said Jack. "I couldn't sleep and it was lonesome back
there. I want company."
The German lowered his rifle.
"It's lonesome here, too," he said. "Wish you had been selected for my
"I wouldn't have minded it tonight," said Jack, approaching closer.
The German reached in his pocket and produced a pack of cigarettes. He
extended the pack to Jack.
"Have one?" he invited.
Jack accepted a cigarette.
The German produced a match. He laid his rifle upon the ground as he
struck the match upon the leg of his trousers.
It was the moment for which Jack had been waiting.
Quickly his revolver leaped out. In almost the same instant he reversed
it and before the German realized what was about to happen he brought
the butt down on the man's head with great force.
The man fell to the ground without a sound.
Frank, advancing upon the other German, also was challenged when he
drew close, but he, too, engaged his prey in conversation. As the man
turned his head for a moment to gaze across the dark sand, the lad
struck him violently over the head with his revolver butt. The German
dropped like a log.
A few moments later Frank and Jack met again near the first aeroplane.
"It'll have to be quick work here," Jack warned "We haven't a whole lot
of time, you know."
Frank nodded that he understood. Rapidly they passed from one plane to
another letting out the gasoline. Five minutes later, with the
exception of their hydroplane, which rested some distance away, every
craft upon the beach was dry. They were absolutely useless--or so the
"Now for the papers," said Jack, as he straightened up after tinkering
with the last machine.
Cautiously the two lads advanced upon the sleeping German. Frank raised
his revolver and would have brought it down on the man's head had not
Jack stayed him with a gesture.
"No need of that," he said. "I don't like to hurt a man except when it
is absolutely necessary."
Frank put the revolver back in his pocket.
Gently, Jack thrust his hand into the German's pocket. He fumbled about
a moment and then drew forth a paper. Turning his head aside he struck
a match and glanced at the paper. Then he nodded his satisfaction.
"This is it," he said.
Frank, at that moment, had risen to his feet. Believing the work was
accomplished, he was moving off toward the hydroplane. As Jack now made
to get to his feet, he chanced to glance at the German he had just
relieved of the papers.
The lad uttered an exclamation of surprise, and no wonder. The man's
eyes were open and gazed straight at Jack. In his hand he held a
revolver and it was levelled at Jack's head.
"Hands up!" said the German, quietly.
There was nothing for Jack to do but obey or be shot. His hands went
high in the air, but he still retained the valuable papers.
"Drop those papers," was the next command.
Jack obeyed and the papers fluttered to his feet. The German reached
out and picked them up with his left hand while with his right he still
covered the lad with his revolver.
"So you're a spy, eh?" said the German.
Jack made no reply, but a gleam of hope lighted up his eye; for, Frank,
chancing to turn for some unexplainable reason, had taken in the
situation and was now advancing on tiptoe to his friend's aid.
"How did you get here?" demanded the German, making ready to rise.
Again Jack made no reply; but none was necessary, for at that moment
Frank had come within striking distance. His arm rose and fell, and as
his revolver butt descended upon the German's head, the latter toppled
over in a heap.
Quickly, Jack stooped and again recovered the papers he had taken so
much pains to get.
"Come on!" cried Frank. "We haven't time to fool around here. The rest
of this crowd is likely to wake up in a minute or two."
Jack followed his friend across the sand. They laid hold of the
hydroplane and rolled it toward the water. In it went with a splash and
"Climb aboard quickly!"
Jack needed no urging and a moment later the two boys were ready for
flight. And then, suddenly, there was the crack of a revolver behind
them and a bullet flew close to Jack's ear.
The German leader had recovered consciousness, and springing to his
feet, dashed to the water's edge and fired point blank at the machine.
Fortunately, in his excitement his aim was poor and he missed. Before
he could fire again, Frank wheeled about and his revolver spoke
The German threw up his arms, and with a gasp, pitched headlong into
But the sounds of the two shots had aroused the sleeping camp. Wild
cries came from the shore, followed by heavy footfalls as the Germans
rushed toward the water.
"Hurry, Frank!" cried Jack.
As lightly as a fairy the hydroplane skimmed over the water; then went
soaring in the air. Frank gave a loud cheer.
"Safe!" he exclaimed.
But the lad was wrong.
From on shore came a chorus of angry cries and imprecations. Hastily
the Germans made a rush for their aeroplanes to give chase. None would
move. Followed more cries and angry shouts.
"Wait," said one German. "I've some gasoline."
Rapidly he opened up a big can, which he took from the bottom of his
machine. Quickly the tank was filled and the man climbed into the
pilot's seat. Another jumped in with him.
"Give us some of that gasoline!" cried another.
The German shook his head.
"Not enough," he replied. "We'll overtake those fellows and then come
back for the rest of you."
The aeroplane leaped skyward and started in pursuit of Frank and Jack.
The two boys, believing that they were safe, were going along only at a
fair rate of speed when Jack's keen ears caught the sound of the
"They're after us, Frank!" he called.
"Impossible!" replied Frank. "How can they fly without gas?"
"Well, they're coming, all the same," declared Jack.
He produced his two revolvers and examined them carefully.
"You run this thing and I'll do what fighting is necessary," he said.
"Wish I could shoot like you can; but I can't; and I can't run this
The German aeroplane was gaining steadily.
"He can outrun us," said Frank, quietly. "There is only one, thank
goodness. You'll have to bring him down, Jack."
"I'll try," was Jack's reply. "If I had a rifle I might be able to pick
him off now."
"Well, he won't hardly have any the best of it," said Frank. "The
chances are he has no rifle either."
Frank was correct in this surmise.
Rapidly the German aircraft gained.
"Crack!" the German had fired the first shot.
It went wild. Jack fired, but with no better result.
"Hit anything?" asked Frank, without turning his head.
"No," said Jack, "but neither did the other fellow."
"Try it again," said Frank.
Jack did so; but again the bullet went wild. All this time the two
craft were flying straight out to sea.
Once more the German fired and Jack felt something whizz overhead.
"This is getting too close," the lad muttered to himself. Then he
called to Frank.
"Slow down, quick!"
Frank had no means of telling what plan Jack had in mind, but he did
not hesitate. The hydroplane slowed down with a jerk.
The pilot of the German craft was caught off his guard. He dashed upon
the hydroplane. But as he neared it he swerved to the left to avoid a
collision. It was what Jack had expected. Standing up in his precarious
position, Jack took a snap shot at the pilot as the German craft swept
At that close distance, in spite of the rate of speed at which the
enemy was travelling, a miss was practically impossible.
The German machine swayed crazily from one side to the other; then
"I got him, Frank!" shouted Jack.
Both lads gazed over the side at the falling enemy.
Suddenly the machine righted and descended more slowly.
"By Jove! a cool customer," said Frank. "He's regained control of the
plane. He'll be up again in a moment."
Again they watched the foe carefully.
"No, he won't," said Jack, "he's still going down."
"Then we may as well be moving," said Frank.
"Hold on!" shouted Jack. "We can't leave those fellows there. They may
get to shore or be picked up. Then they would give the warning and all
our efforts would be for naught."
"Right," said Frank. "We'll go down after them."
The hydroplane descended slowly.
THE FIGHT ON THE WATER
Below, the fallen aeroplane rested upon the surface of the sea. In the
darkness, it was hard for the lads to tell just how badly the craft was
damaged and whether it would float; but Jack's idea was to be on the
While still some distance from the water, there was a shot from below.
"Hello!" said Jack. "They're alive and kicking, all right. Wonder if we
can't go down and get them from the water."
"It's a better plan, I guess," said Frank. "We'll have an even break
then. This way they have all the advantage."
He opened up the engine and the hydroplane ran some distance from the
position of the men below. Then he shut off the motor and allowed the
plane to glide down to the sea.
With the craft riding the swell of the waves, Jack picked up the enemy
with his night glass. The disabled craft also was riding the waves
gently perhaps five hundred yards away.
Jack gave the position to Frank, and the hydroplane approached the foe
slowly. Within a range that would make accurate revolver shooting
possible, the hydroplane came to a halt. As it did so there was the
sound of a revolver shot from across the water and something whizzed
"Must have some pretty fair shooters over there," said Frank, quietly.
"However, they can't see us any better than we can see them. Of course,
they can see our craft all right, the same as we can see theirs, but
they can't spot us."
"No; nor we can't spot them, which makes it worse," said Jack.
"We'll try a couple of shots for luck," said Frank.
He raised his revolver and fired quickly twice. His efforts were
rewarded by a scream, apparently of pain.
"Must have hit one of them," he said grimly.
Again a revolver across the water flashed and the two lads heard a
bullet whistle by.
Jack fired but without result and then Frank fired again.
There was another scream.
"Either got the other one, or the same one again," said Frank.
They waited some moments in silence, but no further shots came from
"By Jove!" said Jack, "you must have got them both. Let's go and have a
Slowly, Frank started the hydroplane and they bore down on the enemy.
Now they were two hundred, then one hundred yards away.
"Must have got them, all right," said Frank. "I----"
The flash of a revolver from the disabled craft interrupted him. It was
closely followed by another and then two more.
With a sudden move, Frank changed the course of the hydroplane. He felt
a sharp pain in his left shoulder.
"Got me," he called to Jack.
The latter was alarmed.
"Where?" he demanded.
"Left shoulder," said Frank, quietly. "Nothing serious, though."
Jack levelled his revolver and fired rapidly at the enemy. His pains
were rewarded by howls of derision.
"They tricked us, all right," said Jack, as he reloaded.
"That's what they did. I should have known better, too. They almost
"We've got to get them, some way," declared Jack.
"Show me how, and I'll go along with you," declared Frank.
"Well, I've got a scheme, but I don't know whether it will work or
"Let's hear it."
"All right. But first, can you manage this plane all right with that
"Sure; it's not very bad."
"All right then. Well, you keep under cover about here, moving about
just enough to spoil the aim of the foe. I'll drop over the side and
swim to the enemy. I can get there unobserved, all right, because they
won't be expecting me. I'll pull one of them over and settle with him
first. Then I'll get the other."
"I don't know," Frank considered the plan. "I suppose it might work,
but there is nothing sure about it."
"There's nothing sure about anything," declared Jack. "But it's better
than staying here all the rest of the night. Besides, we must hurry,
"That's right," agreed Frank. "All right, then. So be it. Will you take
"No use," said Jack. "It would be wet by the time I got there. Here I
"Good luck," Frank called after him.
Gently, Jack lowered himself over the side of the hydroplane, first
divesting himself of his coat and shoes; then struck out for the
Slowly the lad swam, for he did not wish to betray his coming by the
sound of a splash. The distance was not great and a powerful swimmer,
such as Jack, could cover it easily in a few moments.
Jack did not approach the enemy craft from the front. Giving it a wide
berth, he swam around it and then, turning quickly, bore down upon the
aeroplane more swiftly. He swam with his head barely above the water,
and he was ready to dive immediately should he be sighted.
There was not a sound aboard the aeroplane as Jack drew close to it.
Raising his head slightly, he could see no human form.
"Funny," the lad muttered to himself. "Wonder where they keep
themselves. No wonder we couldn't hit them."
He was within a few feet of the disabled craft and he now rose higher
in the water to get a good look about. Still he saw no one.
Twice around the machine the lad swam and not a human being did he see.
"There is something awfully queer about this," he told himself. "I'll
He laid hands on the aeroplane and scrambled aboard. Quickly he sprang
to his feet, ready to tackle any foe that might have seen him crawl
aboard. Nothing happened.
Jack made a careful inspection of the disabled plane. Then, as he still
gazed around, a sudden thought struck him. Without taking time to
consider it, he sprang suddenly to the side of the plane and leaped
into the water and with swift and powerful strokes struck out for his
Jack had hit upon the solution of the desertion of the German
Even as Jack had lowered himself from the hydroplane and swam across
the water, the Germans in the other craft had done the same thing. Both
sides had struck the same plan almost simultaneously. Jack, in making a
wide detour as he approached the foes' machine, must have passed the
two Germans in the water.
Now, realizing that the Germans must be close to the hydroplane, had
they not already reached it, and remembering that Frank was wounded,
Jack felt a sudden dread steal over him. His long, powerful strokes
sent him through the water at great speed.
But the Germans had not made their presence known to Frank yet. Neither
was as swift a swimmer as Jack, and for that reason, their progress
through the water had been considerably slower. Also they had gone very
A short distance from the hydroplane, one had swum to one side of the
plane and the second to the other. The Germans also had discarded their
revolvers, for they had realized they would be useless after their
trip through the water. Also, not being expert swimmers, they had
wanted to be unhampered by weight as much as possible.
Frank was still guiding the plane about occasionally to avoid a chance
bullet from the enemy, but at the moment the Germans came close, he had
stopped the craft and was peering into the darkness, straining his ears
for the sound of a struggle that would tell him Jack was engaged with
Suddenly a sound came to his ears from across the water, but it was not
what he expected, although it was in Jack's voice:
"Frank! Look out! They are after you!"
Instantly, the lad understood the situation. He drew his revolver with
his uninjured arm and sprang to one side of the aeroplane. As he did
so, a figure reached up and grabbed him by the hand so that he could
not fire. At the same time a second figure clambered aboard the craft
from the opposite side. Frank raised a cry:
Jack needed no urging. He was swimming through the water as fast as
With a sudden move, Frank jerked his hand loose from the grip that held
him and turned just in time to encounter the second German. Frank
raised his revolver and fired quickly; but the German ducked, and
before Frank could fire again, he had come up close to Frank and
grappled with him. In vain Frank sought to release his arm so that he
could bring the weapon down on his opponent's head. The man clung
A sudden lurching of the hydroplane told Frank that the second German
was coming aboard. Unmindful of his wounded shoulder, Frank struggled
on. With a sharp kick of his right foot he succeeded in knocking the
first German's legs from beneath him; and again the lad tried to raise
his revolver to shoot the second German, who now advanced.
But the latter was too quick for him. Closing with the lad, the man
knocked the revolver from the boy's hand with a quick blow. The weapon
spun into the sea.
The first German returned to the attack.
"Get him quick!" he shouted. "There is another one around here some
Jack, at this moment, was within a few yards of the boat.
"You bet there is!" he said between his teeth. "And he'll be there in a
He did not call encouragement to Frank, for he wished to get aboard the
plane, if possible, before the men could stay him.
The two Germans rushed Frank simultaneously, and bore him back in the
plane. At the same instant, Jack, unmindful of danger that might lurk
aboard and thinking only of Frank's danger, laid hold of the plane and
climbed aboard. Then he stood erect and shouted:
"Come on, you cowards! Here's the other one!"
DAWN--AND A NEW ENEMY
The two Germans, just about to throw Frank overboard, turned quickly at
the sound of this new voice. They wasted no time.
"At him!" cried one, and leaped.
The other sprang after him.
Jack, with his feet wide apart and arms extended, braced himself to
receive the shock; and when it came he was ready. Frank, in the
meantime, sank down in the plane almost unconscious, for one of the
Germans had all but choked the life from him.
As the first German sprang, Jack met him with a straight right hand
blow to the face and the man reeled back. The second, seeing the fate
of his companion, dived for Jack's legs and seized them, pulling the
Jack felt out with his left hand and encircled the German's neck. Then
he squeezed. The German gasped for breath as his wind was shut off. His
hand searched his belt and presently flashed aloft with a knife. Jack
saw it. Releasing his hold on the man's throat, he seized the knife arm
with his left hand and twisted sharply, at the same time driving his
right fist into the man's face.
There was a sharp snap and a cry of pain. The knife fell clattering to
the deck of the plane. Jack, very angry, rose to his feet, stooped
over, and picking up the German as though he had been a child, heaved
"So much for you!" he muttered.
He stepped across the body of the second German to Frank's side and
stooped over him. Gently he raised his chum's head to his knee.
Frank's eyelids flickered and directly he opened his eyes.
"How do you feel, old man?" asked Jack.
Frank struggled free from his chum's grip and sat up. He shook his head
once or twice and then rose to his feet.
"I'll be all right in--Look out!" he broke off suddenly.
He dodged. But Jack, not realizing the import of Frank's words,
remained still. He felt something hot sear the lobe of his ear.
Wheeling abruptly, the lad saw the German whom he had first knocked
unconscious facing him with levelled revolver--the weapon was Jack's
own, which he had left behind when he swam to the enemy's aeroplane.
The German faced him with a smile.
"Hands up!" he commanded.
But Jack, with a few drops of blood trickling from his ear, suddenly
became very angry. He objected to being shot at from behind.
"Put down that gun!" he commanded in a cold voice. "Put it down before
I kill you!"
The German was struck by the menace in the lad's tones, and for a
moment he hesitated and the revolver wavered. Then he braced and
brought the weapon up again.
But that moment of hesitation decided the issue. In spite of the fact
that the revolver was pointed right at him, and that only a few feet
away, Jack took a quick step forward.
The German fired. Jack swerved a trifle. The bullet plowed through the
sleeve of his shirt and touched the skin; but that was all.
Again the man's hand tightened on the trigger, but he never fired
again. Jack's powerful left hand seized his wrist and twisted the
revolver from it Then, still grasping the wrist, the lad wheeled on his
heel. The German left the spot where he had been standing as though
pulled by a locomotive. He was lifted high in the air and, as Jack gave
a jerk and then released his hold, the man went sailing through the air
and dropped into the sea with a loud splash.
And at the same moment the intense darkness was shattered. The first
faint streak of dawn showed in the east.
Jack sat down. Frank did likewise.
"That settles that," said Jack, briefly. "Now we had better get away
from here. We haven't any too much time."
Frank, without a word, took his place at the wheel.
"Feel fit?" asked Jack.
Frank nodded, though he felt terribly faint.
"Sure you can make it?" Jack continued.
"Yes," replied Frank.
"Well, I just wanted to know," said Jack, "because here comes a German
Frank was startled. He turned in his seat, and there, not a mile and a
half away, was a ship of war. She was flying the German flag and was
making directly for the spot where the British hydroplane rested.
"By George! Won't we ever get out of this?" the lad muttered.
"We won't unless you hurry," said Jack.
"But those two Germans. Won't they be picked up and give the alarm?"
"One of 'em won't," said Jack, grimly, "and I feel pretty safe about
the other, too. Let's get up in the air."
Frank tinkered with the motor and took a firm grip on the wheel. But
the hydroplane did not move.
"Something wrong," said Frank, quietly.
"What?" demanded Jack.
"Something wrong with the motor. It won't work."
Frank had bent over and was examining it carefully.
Came a shot from the German torpedo boat.
"If we don't get out of here pretty quick," said Jack, quietly, "we
won't get out at all."
Frank made no reply, but continued to tinker with the engine.
A second shot from the German torpedo boat. It skimmed the water ahead
of the hydroplane. Jack gazed toward the vessel. As he did so a small
boat put off from the German and headed toward them.
"They're coming after us, Frank," said Jack, "a whole boatload of 'em.
How long will it take you to fix that thing?"
Frank uttered an exclamation of satisfaction.
"I've found it," he cried. "Five minutes," he answered Jack's question.
"Five minutes is liable to be too late," returned Jack, measuring the
distance to the rapidly approaching German boat with his eye. "However,
hurry as much as you can."
Frank did not take his eye from his engine.
"How far away?" he asked as he worked.
"Three quarters of a mile," replied Jack, calmly.
"Lots of time for us, then," said Frank, still working as swiftly as
"Maybe," replied his chum. "Don't forget they carry pretty fair rifles
"If we can get started before they shoot, I'll guarantee they don't get
us," returned Frank.
"Well, they'll get us if you keep talking and don't get a move on
there," said Jack. "They're coming like the wind."
"That's just the way I'm working. She's almost fixed row. Can you hold
"What, with a single revolver against a score of rifles? Not much.
They're right on us now. How's that engine?"
"Fixed!" cried Frank at that moment, straightening up.
"All right. Let her go then," said Jack, calmly. "They don't know yet
that we're going to run. They have made no preparations to fire.
Evidently they think we shall wait for them."
Even while Jack was speaking, the hydroplane began to move slowly over
the surface of the water. Very slowly it went at first, then faster and
"Halt!" came a cry from the German boat.
Jack picked up his cap and waved it at the Germans.
"Some other time," he called back. "We're terrible busy today.
The German officer gave a sharp command. Several sailors sprang to
their feet and blazed away at the hydroplane with their rifles. Bullets
flew by on all sides, but none struck home.
Again Jack waved his cap.
"Very bad shooting," he remarked. "Looks like some of my--Hello! That
wasn't so bad."
For the lad's cap, which he had been waving in derision at the pursuing
foe, was suddenly carried from his hand by a German bullet.
"By Jove!" said Jack, quietly, "I wouldn't have lost that cap----" He
gazed at it as it floated in the water.
And at that instant Frank sent the hydroplane soaring into the air with
a lurch. Jack glanced down into the water.
"Hold on, Frank!" he cried.
In response to this command, Frank slowed down.
"What's the matter now?" he demanded.
"Why, one of our erstwhile German friends has come to life. He was just
about to lay hold of us when you came up in the air. Great Scott! What
do you think of that?"
"What do I think of what?"
"Why, the Germans in the boat have just shot him."
"Shot whom? The German?"
"Yes; they saw him coming after us and evidently thought he was a
friend of ours. Poor fellow! To be shot down by one of his own
countrymen. And so goes the last chance the Germans had of learning
that we have discovered their plans."
"Then it is a good thing for us they shot him."
"For us, yes. But think of the irony of it!"
"Well," said Frank, "I wouldn't like to have shot him, defenseless as
he was; and I didn't want you to. That's why I didn't suggest having a
look for him before we came up."
"I couldn't have done it," returned Jack.
"No; nor I; and yet duty would have demanded it. For with him alive,
there always remained a chance that he would give the warning."
"It just goes to show," said Jack, slowly, "that even fate sometimes
works on the side of the right."
Unconsciously, Frank had allowed the speed of the hydroplane to
diminish during this conversation, and the crew of the German boat
again had found themselves within range. They had started to abandon
the chase when the plane soared aloft, but when it had slowed down,
they had resumed the pursuit, hoping that something had gone wrong with
Several bullets flew about the machine.
"Great Scott! They're at it again!" cried Jack. "Let's get away from
here right now."
"All right, here she goes," said Frank. "Full speed ahead!"
THE BOYS GIVE THE WARNING
One other adventure, it transpired, was to befall Frank and Jack before
they found themselves once more aboard the British battleship, _Queen
Mary_; and while it did not result seriously, both lads once more
approached the very door of death.
The morning sun was well above the horizon when Jack, shading his eyes,
made out in the distance a smudge of smoke.
"Smoke ahead, Frank," he called.
"Hope it's the _Queen Mary_" replied the lad. "It should be if I have
A few moments later the outline of a large ship of war loomed up ahead.
"Can you make her out yet?" asked Jack.
"No; but she's built like the _Queen Mary_"
The hydroplane sped on.
"By Jove! She is the _Queen Mary_" cried Frank, a few moments later.
"We're in luck."
Frank was right. As the hydroplane drew nearer it was plain to make out
that the vessel was the giant battleship the lads had quitted the day
"Wonder what Captain Raleigh will think of our information?" said
Frank, with a chuckle.
"Don't know. We've been pretty fortunate, though. I hope we are in
"So do I. The trouble is, our ships are scattered so far apart that
they may not be able to assemble quick enough in sufficient strength to
beat off the enemy."
"Don't worry; they won't get very far," said Jack, confidently.
"Oh, I know that. But if they should happen to come upon a small
portion of our fleet we are likely to get the worst of it."
"Well, there is no reason why they should be able to do that now. We
know their plans."
"That's true, too. And they won't, unless it is decided to engage them
in spite of their numbers, trusting reinforcements will arrive in
And, though the lad had no idea he was making a prophecy, that is just
what actually occurred.
The hydroplane now was less than a quarter of a mile from the _Queen
Mary_ and Frank reduced its speed abruptly. Whether this sudden slowing
down had anything to do with what followed it is hard to tell; but, no
sooner had Frank reduced the speed of the craft, than the plane wabbled
"Look out, Jack!" shouted Frank. "She's going down!"
Jack had not realized that there was anything wrong and now he did not
grasp the full significance of Frank's words. What Jack thought Frank
meant was that he was going to glide down to the deck of the
battleship. Frank, however, knew that there was something seriously
wrong with the craft. His first thought had been to jump after crying
out to Jack, but seeing that his friend had not understood, Frank stuck
to his post, trying as well as he knew how to bring the plane to the
sea as gently as possible.
For a moment it seemed that he would succeed, for, as it neared the
water, the plane righted itself. Frank drew a breath of relief. But his
relief was short-lived.
After remaining upon a level keel for one single instant, the
hydroplane turned turtle.
There came a cry of warning from aboard the _Queen Mary_, and even
before the falling boys struck water, boats were lowered over the side,
manned, and dashed to the rescue.
Although Frank had been unable to maintain the plane on an even keel,
his efforts had done some good; for the distance was not so great from
the water when the plane capsized as it would have been but for his
Jack uttered a cry of alarm as he felt himself being hurled into space,
for he had not realized what was about to happen. Frank, on the other
hand, had realized his position full well and no sound escaped him as
he was thrown into the water.
In falling, Jack was thrown clear of the machine, which struck the
water with a great splash. Not so Frank, who, held in by the wheel, was
carried down with the plane. The lad was very close to death at that
moment and he knew it.
He had caught a deep breath as he was drawn under, however, and this
stood him in good stead. Calmly the lad reached for the large
pocketknife he always carried, and with this, under water as he was,
proceeded quietly to cut the sides of the craft sufficiently to allow
him to escape. And in this he was successful.
At last he was free and struck upward as swiftly as possible. When it
seemed that his lungs must burst for want of air, his head suddenly
bobbed upon the surface. He gasped as he inhaled great breaths of the
fresh air. A boat approached at that moment and he was drawn aboard,
where he sank down.
Jack, when he came up from below, had thought first of Frank. Rapidly
he scanned the surface of the sea for some sign of his chum or of the
wreckage. Seeing neither, he knew what had happened. Taking a deep
breath he dived.
It took the lad some time to locate the sinking mass of wreckage below
and when he did come upon it there was no sign of Frank. Jack stayed
below until he could stand it no more; then rose to the surface. There
rough hands seized him and dragged him into a boat.
In vain the lad struggled. He wanted to get loose so he could make
another attempt to rescue his friend.
"Frank!" he cried.
"Be still," said a voice kindly. "Frank is safe in the next boat."
Jack uttered an exclamation of relief and lay still, resting from his
And so they came again to the _Queen Mary_ and were lifted aboard.
Frank and Jack clasped hands when they stood on deck and Jack
"By Jove! I thought it was all over when I couldn't find you down
"I thought it was all over myself for a minute," said Frank. "That's
one time when this old knife of mine helped out. I brought it back with
He displayed the knife and patted it affectionately.
"How do you feel?" asked Jack.
"First rate. And you?"
"Fine. Now we want to see Captain Raleigh."
At this moment the third officer approached.
"Captain Raleigh will receive you the moment you have put on some dry
clothes," said the third officer.
"But we must see him at once," exclaimed Frank.
"Change your clothes first," said the third officer kindly.
"But----" Frank began.
"I have Captain Raleigh's orders for you to report to him the moment
you have changed," said the third officer sharply. "You will hurry, if
Frank could see that there was no use protesting further. He shrugged
his shoulders and the two boys made their way to their cabin.
"The big chump," said Frank, as he slipped off his wet clothing. "The
whole British navy might be sent to the bottom while we are doing this.
What are a few wet clothes?"
"I guess it was the way we went at it," said Jack. "If we had blurted
out what we knew----"
"To tell the truth, I've a good notion to say nothing about what I
learned," said Frank.
Jack looked at his companion in the greatest surprise.
"Oh, no, you've not," he said at last, as he slipped on a dry shirt.
"Don't you believe I haven't," declared Frank. "I'm mad. I don't like
that way of doing things. Now if it had been Lord Hastings----"
"Well, it wasn't," said Jack. "I'm afraid that's one trouble with us."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Why, simply that he allowed us to get too familiar with him. The
result is we expect it from others, and when they don't treat us that
way we are disappointed."
"That may be it, of course," Frank conceded. "But at the same time, I
didn't like the tone of the third officer just now."
"Perhaps I didn't either," said Jack, "but I've got more sense than to
show it. As a matter of fact, I suppose we should have obeyed without
Frank continued to mumble as he slipped into a dry coat. He picked up
his cap and moved toward the door.
"Ready?" he asked of Jack.
"Almost. How's that shoulder?"
"All right. How's your wound?"
"Just a scratch. Didn't even bleed much." Jack picked up his cap and
also moved toward the door of the cabin. "Guess maybe he'll let us see
Captain Raleigh now," he said. "Come on."
Frank followed his chum.
On deck almost the first person they encountered was the third officer.
"Didn't take you long," he said with a smile.
"That is because we have important news," said Frank.
"Come, then. I'll conduct you to the captain myself," said the third
Frank and Jack hurried after him.
Captain Raleigh greeted the two lads with a smile, as they stood at
attention before him.
"You are back really sooner than I expected you," he said quietly.
"Have you learned anything?"
"If you please, sir," said Jack, "I shall skip the details until later.
The German high sea fleet will be off the coast of Denmark before
"What's that you say?" he demanded.
"It's true, sir," replied Frank, quietly, stepping forward. "The German
high sea fleet, in almost full strength, will attack our patrol
squadron in the Skagerak, off Jutland, tonight!"
For one moment Captain Raleigh looked at both lads closely. Then he
cried sharply, including all in the cabin with his words:
He sprang for the bridge!
PREPARING FOR BATTLE
Jack returned his watch to his pocket.
"Not much time to gather the fleet together," he said quietly to Frank.
"No," was his chum's reply, "but you can rest assured that all can be
done will be done."
Captain Raleigh, upon the bridge, had issued orders swiftly. The _Queen
Mary_, which had been heading southward after Frank and Jack returned
aboard, was quickly brought about. After several sharp commands to his
officers, Captain Raleigh motioned to Frank and Jack.
"Come with me," he said. "You shall tell me what you have learned as we
The two lads followed him.
Straight to the wireless room went the commander of the _Queen Mary_.
"Get the _Lion_ quickly," he ordered the wireless operator.
"_Lion! Lion_!" the call went across the water.
There was no reply.
"Try the _Indefatigable_," was the next command.
"_Indefatigable! Indefatigable_!" flashed the wireless.
The receiving apparatus aboard the _Queen Mary_ clicked sharply.
"_Indefatigable_ answering, sir," reported the operator.
"Send this," ordered Captain Raleigh, and passed a slip of paper on
which he had scribbled rapidly to the wireless operator.
The message read as follows:
"German high sea fleet to attack off Jutland tonight. Inform Admiral
Beatty. Relay message. Am steaming for Danish coast to engage enemy.
Information authentic. Follow me!
A short pause and again the receiving apparatus on the _Queen Mary_
"O.K., sir," said the operator.
"All right," this from Captain Raleigh. "Call the _Invincible._"
Again the wireless began to click. Two minutes later the operator
"_Invincible_ answering, sir."
"Send the same message," instructed Captain Raleigh.
It might be well to state here that all these messages were sent in
code, for it was probable that a German vessel of some sort might be
within the wireless zone and, if able to read the messages as they
flashed across the sea, would have communicated with the main German
One after another now the wireless of the _Queen Mary_ picked up the
battle cruisers _Defense, Black Prince, Warrior_ and the
super-dreadnaught _War-spite,_ all of which chanced to be within range
of the _Queen Mary's_ wireless. The destroyers _Tipperary, Turbulent_
and _Nestore_ also answered the call and were instructed to proceed to
the Skagerak at full speed.
And to each vessel, as it answered, the single word "relay" was
flashed. This meant that Captain Raleigh wanted the word sent to other
vessels of the British fleet not within her own wireless radius. And
the answer to this was invariably the same:
Still in the wireless room, Captain Raleigh turned to Frank and Jack
"Now, I shall be glad to know how you boys learned this information."
Jack explained as briefly as possible. Captain Raleigh interrupted
occasionally as Jack proceeded with his story and when the lad had
concluded, he said quietly:
"You have done well, young sirs. England has much to thank you for."
"But will the others arrive in time, sir?" asked Frank, anxiously.
"That," said Captain Raleigh, "I cannot say. You may be sure that they
will come to our assistance at all possible speed, however."
"But you will not await them there, sir?"
"No; I shall engage the enemy single handed if necessary."
With this Captain Raleigh turned on his heel and would have left the
wireless room. At that moment, however, the wireless began to click
again, and the commander of the _Queen Mary_ paused.
"For us?" he asked.
The operator nodded.
"Admiral Beatty, aboard the _Lion_, calling, sir."
"Take his message!"
There was silence for a moment, and then the operator called off the
clicks of his apparatus.
"Admiral Beatty wants to know your source of information," he reported.
Captain Raleigh dictated a reply.
Again silence for a few moments; and then the operator said:
"The _Queen Mary_ is ordered to the Skagerak under full speed. Hold the
enemy until the arrival of the main fleet. Assistance on the way.
_Indefatigable, Defense_ and _Black Prince_ also steaming for Jutland
to lend a hand. Open the engagement immediately you sight the enemy."
"Sign O.K.," said Captain Raleigh.
The operator obeyed and heard the operator aboard the _Lion_ repeat his
"I guess that is about all we can do," said Captain Raleigh. Again he
turned to leave the room and once more paused at the door.
"Keep your instrument going," he ordered the operator. "Pick up any
ship that may not have heard the message. Come, boys," this last to
Frank and Jack.
The boys followed their commander back to the bridge; thence to his
The interchange of messages had taken time, and glancing at his watch
now, Frank saw that it was after one o'clock.
"Great Scott!" he exclaimed. "I had no idea we had been in the wireless
room so long."
Back in his cabin, Captain Raleigh seemed to have forgotten the boys'
presence. He was busy for perhaps an hour poring over a mass of charts
and other papers. Frank and Jack stood at attention. They were becoming
uneasy, when Captain Raleigh looked up suddenly.
"Pass the word for the first officer," he instructed.
Jack sprang to obey and in a moment the first officer of the _Queen
Mary_ was in the cabin.
"Shape your course for Jutland proper," ordered Captain Raleigh.
The first officer saluted and obeyed.
"We'll go back to the wireless room," Captain Raleigh informed the two
lads. "I want to keep you boys near me for I may desire to ask a
question at any moment."
The lads followed their commander back to the wireless room.
"Any calls?" he asked the operator.
"One coming now, sir."
"Repeat it as it comes."
"Very well, sir. _Indefatigable_ calling."
"Ask her position."
"Five miles south by southwest, sir."
"Inform Captain Reynolds that we shall slow down and wait for him to
come up with us."
"Very well, sir."
The operator sent the message.
"O.K., sir, signed, 'Reynolds,'" the operator reported a few moments
"Ask her if she has picked up any other vessels."
"Destroyers _Fortune_ and _Shark_, sir," reported the operator a little
"Good. Give Captain Reynolds our position and tell him to keep working
his wireless. Tell him we are likely to need every ship we can bring
"Very well, sir."
The operator sent the message.
"O.K., again, sir," he reported.
Captain Raleigh passed a slip of paper to the operator.
"On this," he said, "are enumerated the ships that should be somewhere
in these waters. Pick up as many of them as you can. As you give the
warnings when answered check them off on the list. If any information
is asked, call me."
"Very well, sir," replied the operator, taking the slip of paper. "No
other instructions, sir?"
"No. Send the same message as you sent to the _Indefatigable_."
Captain Raleigh motioned Frank and Jack to follow him and left the
"I want you two to attend me closely," he informed the lads. "I shall
have lots of leg work that must be done from now until we sight the
enemy and even after that. You shall act as my orderlies tonight and
while the battle lasts."
Frank and Jack were considerably flattered by this. They knew that
Captain Raleigh had been pleased with their work.
"Very well, sir," they exclaimed in a single breath.
"I want one of you to report to the wireless room, room, ready to bring
me any message that may come," instructed Captain Raleigh. "The other
will stay here. You can suit yourselves about your positions."
"I'll go to the wireless room, then, sir," said Frank.
"Very well. Report to me instantly a message is received."
Frank saluted and took his departure. Jack stood at attention in
Captain Raleigh's cabin as the commander of the _Queen Mary_ again
plunged into a mass of charts.
Captain Raleigh sprang to his feet and opened his watch.
"Four o'clock," he said. "We won't reach Skagerak until well after six.
I am in hopes the Germans will not try to pass through before early
morning. We shall be ready for them then."
"How big a fleet have we there now, sir?" asked Jack.
"None, to speak of. Two or three cruisers and a couple of torpedo
boats. I believe we have a submarine or two there also, though I cannot
be sure of that."
"We'll lick 'em, sir," said Jack, enthusiastically.
Captain Raleigh smiled.
"I hope so," he said quietly.
At that moment the first officer called from the bridge.
"Battleship overhauling us fast, sir."
"Probably the _Indefatigable_," said Captain Raleigh.
He went on deck. Jack followed him.
At the same moment Frank came running up.
"_Indefatigable_ reports she has sighted us, sir!"
"Good!" exclaimed Captain Raleigh. "I felt sure it was the
_Indefatigable_. Tell her we shall steam slowly until she comes up with
Frank saluted and returned to the wireless room.
Now Captain Raleigh gave an order to the first officer.
"Have all hands piped to quarters, Mr. MacDonald."
Instantly, all became bustle aboard the _Queen Mary._ Men rushed hither
and thither; but in a moment order was restored out of the seeming
Followed by Jack, his first and second officers, Captain Raleigh made
an inspection of the giant battleship.
He addressed the different groups of men as he passed and told them
what was about to transpire.
"It is likely to be a one-sided battle at first," he told the men
quietly, "but I know that none of you will shrink because of that. You
have fought against odds before now. You will not mind doing it again."
The men cheered him.
His tour of inspection completed, Captain Raleigh ordered:
"Let each man be served with a good meal and let them have two hours
sleep--all but the watches."
The necessary orders were given and a short time later the men were
eating heartily. Then they went to their quarters, where some lay down
to sleep while others sat in groups and discussed the impending battle.
Shortly after five o'clock Frank and Jack found themselves alone in
their cabin, having been relieved of duty for an hour.
"It's going to be a great fight, Frank," declared Jack.
"You bet it is. It will be the greatest naval battle of history, if the
bulk of the British fleet comes up in time. Never before has such a
vast array of giant fighting ships as will be engaged in this struggle
contended for supremacy. In total tonnage engaged and in the matter of
armament and complement it will outrival even the victory of Nelson at
Trafalgar and the defeat of the Spanish Armada. And the British, as
always, will win."
"Let us hope so. But, as you and I know, the Germans are no mean
opponents. Considering the fact that, since the outbreak of the war,
they have had little opportunity to practise war tactics on the sea and
practically no chance at all to practise gunnery, the few battles that
have been fought have proven them foemen worthy of the best we have to
"True," said Frank. "Until reinforcements arrive they will outnumber
us. I don't know how many to one."
"To my mind it is foolish to engage the German fleet with only a few
ships," said Jack. "It won't gain us anything. I believe we should
retreat slowly and draw them on."
"I believe that would be a much better plan. We might engage them at
long range, running slowly before them. Then, when the main fleet came
up, we would take them by surprise."
And even at that moment the same plan was being revolved in the mind of
Vice-Admiral Beatty as, in his flagship, the _Lion_, he steamed swiftly
By this time the battleship _Indefatigable_ had drawn up almost on even
terms with the _Queen Mary._ The wireless of both ships were busy as
the commanders exchanged greetings and discussed their plans for
battle. A little later, as the _Indefatigable_ drew even closer,
Captain Reynolds of the _Indefatigable_ flashed this message:
"I am coming aboard you."
Half an hour later he came over the side of the _Queen Mary_ and
disappeared with Captain Raleigh in the latter's cabin. Directly an
aide was despatched for Frank and Jack, who made their way to their
"So!" exclaimed Captain Reynolds, when his eye fell on Jack, "this lad
is one of the two who gained this important information, eh? Let me
hear your story again, sir."
Jack repeated the account of the adventures he and his friend had had
the night before. Captain Raleigh produced the paper the lads had taken
from the commander of the German air squadron and the two commanders
scanned it together.
"Well, there is one thing in our favor," said Captain Reynolds. "The
Germans will fail to get the air support they are expecting."
"There probably will be other aircraft with the fleet," said Captain
"Most likely. Probably a Zeppelin or two with them. Fortunate we have
these new anti-aircraft guns aboard. They weren't completed any too
soon. Raleigh, what ships are in the Skagerak now?"
"Only three, I believe. The _Glasgow, Albert_ and the _Victoria_, the
former a battle cruiser and the latter two torpedo boats. If we can
arrive in time there will be five of us. Then, if the _Warspite_, the
_Invincible_ and the cruisers _Defense, Black Prince_ and _Warrior_
come up in time we will be more on even terms."
"Exactly. But the main fleet, farther south, will hardly arrive in time
I am afraid; and, by the way, you are wrong in your calculations. The
_Warspite_ is with the main fleet."
"Is that so? So, then, is the _Edinsburgh_, the _Tiger_, the
_Peerless_, the _Terror_, the _George IV_ and the _Richard_?"
"Yes; those, with a dozen battle cruisers and a score of torpedo boats,
comprise the main fleet. If they arrive in time, the Germans must
either run or be sent to the bottom."
At this moment a message was handed to Captain Raleigh from the
"Change in orders," said the commander briefly, after scanning the
piece of paper. "We are to engage the enemy at long range and seek to
draw him farther into the North Sea. Orders have been sent to the three
ships off Jutland to fall back before the approach of the enemy until
we can join them, if they sight the enemy before we arrive. If not, we
are all to retire slowly. The _Invincible_, three cruisers and half a
dozen torpedo boats will join us soon after dawn. The main fleet cannot
arrive until two hours before noon."
"By Jove, Raleigh!" exclaimed Captain Reynolds, "I am better satisfied
with those orders. There is more chance of success now. It would have
been foolhardy for us to engage the whole German fleet."
"I agree with you."
"Well, I'll get back to my vessel now."
Captain Reynolds arose and extended his hand to his fellow commander.
"In case----" he said simply.
Captain Raleigh gripped the hand. Then he accompanied Captain Reynolds
and saw him over the side.
It was now after 6 o'clock. The German fleet was due off Jutland at
almost any moment. Captain Raleigh and Jack made their way to the
"Get the _Glasgow_," commanded Captain Raleigh of the operator.
"_Glasgow! Glasgow_!" went the call.
"_Glasgow!_" came the reply a few moments later.
This conversation between the two commanders ensued:
"Have you sighted the enemy?" This from the _Queen Mary_.
"No," from the _Glasgow_.
"Have any of your consorts picked up the foe?"
"You received my earlier instructions?"
"Yes. We are holding our ground until we sight the enemy. Then we shall
retire. How long before you will come up with us?"
"In your present position, two hours. If you fall back, we shall, of
course, be with you sooner. Are you ready for action?"
"Good. I am giving my men all the rest possible. Goodbye."
"Funny," said Captain Raleigh to Jack, "they should have sighted the
enemy by this time."
"It would seem so, sir," agreed Jack.
"Well, they probably will be in sight by the time we come up with the
_Glasgow_," said Captain Raleigh.
But two hours later, when the _Queen Mary_ and _Indefatigable_ came up
with the other British ships, no enemy had been sighted yet. It was
then almost nine o'clock.
"You are sure you have not miscalculated the time?" Captain Raleigh
asked of Frank and Jack.
"Positive, sir," replied the former. "Besides, you have the document
relating to the attack."
"True enough. The enemy probably has been delayed. Or perhaps they will
await the coming of daylight."
"It would be better if they did, for us, I mean, wouldn't it, sir?"
"Much better," replied his commander briefly.
"Then let us hope that is what happens."
"But I am afraid it won't happen," said Jack. "If the Germans get this
far safely, they won't wait for us to overtake them."
"No; you're right there," said Captain Raleigh. "The thing that worries
me is that, if they do get by us, they will spread out all over the
sea. They will be able to raid the British coast, may succeed in
running through the English channel, and then we shall have to round
them up all over again. They would scatter over the seven seas."
"Then we've got to lick 'em," declared Frank, grimly.
Captain Raleigh smiled.
"That's the spirit I like to see," he said quietly. "It is the spirit
that has carried the British flag to victory against overwhelming odds
on many occasions."
"But he is not an Englishman, sir," said Jack with a smile.
"What?" exclaimed Captain Raleigh. "Not an Englishman? Then what is
"American," was Jack's reply.
"Oh, well, it amounts practically to the same thing," declared Captain
"Next to being an American," said Frank, quietly, "I would be English."
The first officer, Lieutenant MacDonald, burst into the captain's cabin
at this moment.
"Message from the _Glasgow_, sir!" he exclaimed. "German battle
squadron, steaming at twenty knots, sighted five miles off Jutland,
THE FIRST GUN
Skagerak, in which the greatest naval battle of history was about to be
fought, is an arm of the North Sea between Norway and Denmark. The
scene of the battle was laid off Jutland and Horn Reef, on the southern
extremity of Denmark.
From the reef of Heligoland, the main German base in the North Sea, to
Jutland, is about one hundred miles as the crow flies. Therefore, it
became evident that the German high sea fleet must have left the
protection of that supposedly impregnable fortress some time before.
That the advance of the German fleet had been well planned was
indicated by the very fact that it could successfully elude the British
cruisers patrolling the entrance to the mine fields that guarded
Heligoland itself. Could a British fleet of any size have got between
the German high sea fleet and Heligoland the menace of the German fleet
would have ended for all time.
At the moment, however, the British warships were scattered over the
North Sea in such a manner as to preclude such an attempt; and the best
Admiral Beatty and Admiral Jellicoe could hope for was to come up with
the German fleet and give battle, preventing, if possible, the escape
of any units of the fleet to other parts of the sea and to drive all
that the British could not sink back to Heligoland.
The German dash of one hundred miles across the North Sea was a bold
venture and one that the British had not believed the Germans would
attempt at that time. British vigilance had been lax or the German
fleet could never have gone so far from its base without discovery; and
this laxity proved costly for the British; and might even have proven
more costly still.
Above the German fleet came a fleet of aircraft, augmented to a great
degree by three powerful Zeppelin balloons. Lying low upon the water
also was a fleet of German submarines.
As the German fleet approached Jutland on the night of May 31, it was
shrouded in darkness. The night was very black and a heavy fog hung
over the sea. The night could not have been better for the attempt,
which would, in all probability have succeeded, had it not been for the
fact that the British had been forewarned.
Forewarned is forearmed; and this fact alone prevented the Germans from
carrying out their designs. It is history that the approach of the
German fleet had been reported to the commander of the British cruiser
_Glasgow_ by an aviator, who had sailed across the dark sea in a
hydroplane. Whether the Germans knew that there were but three British
vessels in the Skagerak cannot be told, but certainly they believed
they were in sufficient strength to force a passage, particularly by a
surprise attack, which they believed the present venture would be.
Therefore, it must have been a great disappointment to the German
admiral when a single big gun boomed in the distance.
This was the voice of the British battleship _Queen Mary,_ which,
taking directions from the _Glasgow's_ aviator, had fired the opening
shot, telling the Germans that their approach had been discovered and
that the passage of the Skagerak would be contested.
Immediately the German fleet slowed down; for the German admiral had no
means of knowing the strength of the British fleet at that point.
Hurried orders flashed back and forth. A few moments later three
aeroplanes, which had been hanging low above the German fleet, dashed
They had been ordered forth to ascertain the strength of the British.
In almost less time than it takes to tell it they were directly above
the British fleet, which, so far, consisted only of five ships of war--
besides the _Glasgow,_ an armored cruiser, the _Albert_ and _Victoria_,
torpedo boats, being the _Queen Mary_ and _Indefatigable_.
As the Germans approached in the air, a hydroplane ascended from each
of the British ships and British aviators gave chase to the enemy. One,
which had come too close, was brought down; but the other two returned
safely to the shelter of the German fleet, where the British dare not
follow them because of the presence of a superior force of the enemy.
But the German aviators had learned what they had been sent to learn.
They had discovered the strength of the British. Again sharp orders
were flashed from the German flagship.
The fleet came on faster.
Captain Raleigh, because of his seniority, had taken command of the
small British squadron. He had drawn his ships up in a semicircle,
heads pointed to the foe. As his aviators signalled that the Germans
were again advancing, Captain Raleigh gave the command that had been
long eagerly awaited by the men--a command which the commander of the
_Queen Mary_ had delayed giving until the last moment because he
desired to give his men all the rest he could.
"Clear for action!" he thundered.
Jack glanced at his watch and as he did so eight bells struck.
The exclamation was wrung from Frank.
"And no aid for at least three hours," said Jack, quietly.
As the lad spoke the fog suddenly lifted and gave to the British a view
of the advancing German fleet.
"Forward turret guns!" cried Captain Raleigh, "Fire at will!"
A terrible salvo burst from the 16-inch guns in the forward turret.
At almost the same moment the leading German ships opened fire.
The first few salvos from each side did no damage, for the range had
not been gauged accurately.
It became apparent now that the German admiral had no intention of
risking all his first line ships in this encounter. Apparently he had
decided that his smaller vessels were fully capable of coping with the
small number of the enemy that was contesting his advance.
From the shelter of the larger ships advanced the battle cruisers. Not
a battleship nor a dreadnaught came forward. But the smaller ships
dashed on swiftly and presently their guns found the range.
A shell burst aboard the _Glasgow's_ bridge, carrying away nearly the
entire superstructure. The captain and his first officer were killed,
and many men were injured as huge splinters flew in all directions.
Under the command of the second officer, the _Glasgow_ fought back.
A shell from her forward turret burst aboard the closest German vessel
and there was a terrific explosion, followed by a series of blasts not
so loud. Came fearful cries from aboard the enemy.
And then the whole sky was lighted up for miles around as the German
ship sprang into a brilliant sheet of flame. For perhaps two minutes it
lighted up the heavens; then there was another violent explosion and
the German cruiser disappeared beneath the water with a hiss like that
of a thousand serpents.
A cheer rose on the air--a loud British cheer.
"One gone," said Frank, quietly.
"Yes, but only one gone," replied Jack.
"Yes, but it's two o'clock now," said Frank, hopefully.
"About time to begin our retreat then," said Jack.
And the order for retreat came a few moments later.
The five British ships--for all were still able to navigate in spite of
the damage that had been inflicted--came about in a broad circle and
Then it was the Germans' time to cheer and they did so with a will. It
was not often that a British battleship had fled before a German ship
or ships and the Germans, since the war opened, had little chance to
cheer such a procedure. But now that they had such a chance, they
cheered their best Apparently, they had lost sight of the fact that the
British were retiring before superior numbers, and that, even in spite
of that and the fact that they now were retreating, they still had the
best of the encounter so far.
For one German cruiser lay at the bottom of the sea.
The British retreat was slow; and, for some unaccountable reason, the
Germans did not press forward as swiftly as they might have done.
Whether they feared a trap, or whether the German admiral had
determined to await the coming of day before disposing of the enemy,
was not apparent. But that he had some plan in mind, every Briton
"The longer he holds off the better," said Frank.
"Right," agreed Jack. "Of course, we probably could run away from them
if they pressed us too hard, but we wouldn't; and for that reason he
should be able to dispose of us if he came ahead swiftly."
"Wonder why some of these Zeppelins and airships haven't come into
action?" said Frank.
"I don't know. Perhaps the Germans are afraid of losing one of them.
They probably have other uses for them, for, should they break through
here, it is likely they have their plans laid. What time have you?"
"Three thirty," said Frank, after a glance at his watch. "An hour,
almost, till daylight. Do you suppose the others will arrive on time?"
"I hope so. It would be better, of course, if they arrived while it is
yet dark, for then they might come up unseen. But with their arrival we
still will be outnumbered; and, realizing that, the Germans, when the
day breaks, will press the attack harder."
"I guess we will manage to hold them till the main fleet arrives in the
morning," said Frank, hopefully.
"We will have to hold them," declared Jack.
At this moment the lads' attention was directed to the cruiser
_Glasgow_. Already badly damaged, a second German shell had now burst
amidships with a loud explosion.
"And that settles the _Glasgow_," said Jack, sadly.
He was right. Gamely the _Glasgow_ fought back, but it was apparent to
all, in spite of the darkness, that she was settling lower and lower in
"And we can't rescue the men," said Frank. "Remember the admiralty
orders. No ship in action is to go to the aid of another. It would be
"So it would," said Jack. "Poor fellows."
Slowly the _Glasgow_ settled; and for a moment the fire of all the
other vessels--Germans as well as British--lulled a bit. All eyes were
bent on the sinking ship.
A wireless message was flashed from the _Glasgow_ to Captain Raleigh of
the _Queen Mary_.
"Goodbye," it said. "Hold them!"
After that there was no further word from the doomed cruiser.
The searchlights of both fleets played full upon the _Glasgow_ as she
settled lower in the water. She staggered, seemed to make an effort to
hold herself afloat, and then sank suddenly.
The duel of big guns broke out afresh.
With the breaking of the intense darkness what a surprise was in store
for the Germans!
Back of the four remaining British ships that had at first engaged the
Germans, interrupting their dash and holding them in check until the
arrival of a force strong enough to engage the foe more closely, came
now the relief promised by Vice-Admiral Beatty.
Gathered from various parts of the North Sea, they had steamed toward
Jutland, and, arriving there at almost the same time, they had assumed
battle formation in the darkness.
That the British were approaching must have been known by the German
admiral, for their wireless apparatus had been working unceasingly,
telling of their approach, and these signals must have been caught by
the German warships, though, because sent in code, they were
undecipherable. Nor could the enemy tell, by the sound, just how close
the British were.
Captain Raleigh, too, as well as the other British commanders, had
known the other English ships were forming some distance back. Toward
these they now retreated; and just as dawn broke, and the British
sailors obtained their first view of the promised assistance--and
greeted the new arrivals with cheers--the British advanced to the
The German admiral, taking in the situation, knew that he still
outnumbered the British--that the advantage was still with him. He
determined to give battle. He knew, too, that it was only a question of
time until the main British fleet would approach and he determined to
win the battle before the arrival of new foes. He signalled an advance.
The British fleet was great and powerful--but not so great and powerful
as the German by far. As the _Queen Mary, Indefatigable_ and the two
torpedo boats fell back, still the center of German fire and still
hurling shell, seeking their proper places in the battle line, the
other British vessels came on. And presently the _Queen Mary_ and
others had gained their places in the formation.
Ahead of the larger ships now--the _Queen Mary_, the _Indefatigable_
and the _Invincible,_ advanced the speediest of light cruisers--the
_Defense_, the _Biack Prince_ and the _Warrior_. Behind these, spread
out fan-wise, came the destroyers _Tipperary, Turbulent, Nestore,
Alcaster, Fortune, Sparrow Hawk, Ardent_ and the _Shark_. The _Albert_
and _Victoria_ also had fallen in line, though badly battered by the
effects of the German shells during the night.
Then the three battle cruisers advanced; and as the battle opened, far
back came the battleship _Marlborough_, hurrying to join in the
The German fleet advanced to the attack in a broad semi-circle. The
flagship, the _Westphalen_, a dreadnaught of 18,600 tons, was squarely
in the center. To her left was the battleship _Pommern_ and next the
_Freiderich_; to her right the battleships _Wiesbaden_ and _Frauenlob_.
Beyond the battleships to the left were the cruisers _Hindenburg_ and
_Lutzow_, and beyond the battleships to the right the cruisers _Elbing_
and _Essen_. Torpedo boats, more than a score of them, also spread far
on either side.
Directly behind the single dreadnaught and the battleships came a
flotilla of submarines, ready to dash forward at the proper moment and
launch their deadly torpedoes. Overhead, and moving forward, were the
three giant Zeppelins and a flotilla of other aircraft.
Of all the vessels engaged, the _Queen Mary_ was the largest. The
_Marlborough_, advancing rapidly, came next and then the German
dreadnaught _Westphalen_. The British battle cruisers _Indefatigable_
and _Invincible_ were the next most powerful, in the order named, and
the other German vessels were by far superior to the British.
Now, as the battle opened with the greatest fury, another British
vessel was sighted to the westward. It was the _Lion_, the flagship of
Vice-Admiral Beatty, steaming at full speed ahead.
Over the tops of the three British cruisers, light vessels travelled
swiftly toward the enemy, the larger ships opened with their big guns.
The range was found almost with the first salvo and shells began to
drop aboard the enemy.
The British cruiser _Defense_, making straight for the German
dreadnaught _Westphalen_, hurled a shell aboard the German flagship
that burst amidships. There was a terrible explosion and men were
hurled into the water in little pieces. A hole was blown through the
But the _Defense_ paid dearly for this act. The forward guns of the
_Westphalen_ poured a veritable rain of shells upon the British vessel
and in a moment she was wounded unto death.
There was nothing the other vessels of the fleet could do to aid her;
and it was plainly apparent that she must sink. But the British tars
stuck to their guns and they continued to hurl shells into the German
line until the water of the North Sea washed over them.
The _Defense_ was gone.
This left the _Black Prince_ and the _Warrior_ alone before the larger
British vessels and they stood to their work gallantly. The fire of
both cruisers was centered on the German flagship; and it was plain
that if they continued at their work the _Westphalen_ was doomed.
An order was flashed to the German Zeppelins. Two sped forward.
Captain Raleigh of the _Queen Mary_ saw them advancing and the forward
anti-aircraft gun was unloosened. The first Zeppelin, flying low, was
pierced before it had moved forward a hundred yards; and it fell into
the sea between the German battleships, a flaming mass. But the second
Above the _Black Prince_ the Zeppelin paused. Something dropped through
the air. There was a flash, an explosion and a dense black cloud rolled
across the water. When it had cleared the _Black Prince_ was gone!
The anti-aircraft guns of the _Queen Mary_ and the _Indefatigable_
fired furiously at the Zeppelin; and a few moments later a shot from
the latter struck home. The second Zeppelin fell into the sea. By this
time the _Marlborough_ had drawn up with the _Queen Mary_ and the other
large British ships; and now these advanced majestically.
The first to encounter the weight of their guns was the German
battleship _Pommern_, of 12,900 tons. Raked fore and aft, she was soon
ablaze. Her crew leaped into the sea, almost as one man, following an
explosion in her boiler room; and the water was dark with bobbing
The _Pommern's_ sister ship, the _Freiderich_, slowed down and gave
assistance in picking up the crew of the former vessel; and while she
was engaged in this work no British gun fired at her.
Gradually the _Marlborough_, the _Queen Mary_, the _Indefatigable_ and
the _Invincible_ drew closer together as they advanced upon the
Germans. Shells burst over them with regularity, but so far none had
reached a vital spot.
The _Queen Mary_ turned all her forward guns on the _Westphalen_ and
raked her fore and aft. In vain the other vessels of the German fleet
sought to detract the _Queen Mary's_ fire. Captain Raleigh had started
out with the intention of disposing of the German flagship and he was
determined not to heed the others until the _Westphalen_ had been sent
to the bottom.
It was no easy task he had set for himself, for he now was the center
of fire of the whole German fleet--almost. A submarine darted forward
to save the _Westphalen_. The quick eye of a British gunner caught it.
He took aim and fired. The submarine disappeared.
With a view to disposing of the enemy immediately, Captain Raleigh
ordered that one of the two forward torpedoes be launched.
There was a hiss as the little tube was released. The distance was so
close now that a miss was impossible. There was an instant of silence,
followed by a terrible rending sound; then a loud blast. The torpedo
had reached the _Westphalen's_ boiler room.
Quickly the German admiral and his officers clambered over the side and
rowed to the _Wiesbaden_, where they were taken on board and the
admiral's flag run up. The _Westphalen_ was abandoned; and she sank a
few moments later.
In the meantime, the British cruiser _Warrior_, of 13,500 tons, had
been sent down by the explosion of a German shell which had reached her
magazine. So rapidly had she settled that not a man of her crew
escaped. Thus had the three light battle cruisers of the British--the
vessels that had shown the way--been disposed of.
At this moment Vice-Admiral Beatty and his flagship, the _Lion_,
entered the battle. The great guns of the flagship roared above the
others and the battleship _Frauenlob_, singled out by her fire, soon