Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

21 articles on this Page

IHK FLEET RUNNING THE GAUNTLET…

News
Cite
Share

IHK FLEET RUNNING THE GAUNTLET OF THE DARDANELLES. The Standard has published a correspondent's :ie:1 ription of the passage of the Dardanelles by the 13t ttish fleet, which, if a little out of date as a matter of news, is fit in its life-like interest to remain a his tjrical record of that memorable event. Beginning with Saturday, the 9th February, the day on which Ailmiral Hornby, whilst lying inactive in Besika Bay. reserved those instructions from home," the fulfil- w el I ment of which caused so much sensation and debate, we are thus told the feeling of the fleet when, having steamed toChnnak and been refused permission topass, they were obliged to turn back. "Bitter was the disap- pointment, .oud the groans, when our British sailors 8-vw their sh'ps turning back to the old anchorage; but a gleam of hope remained in the fact that orders were given to bank fires ready for ten knots steaming at twenty minutes'notice. We remained in a condition of excitement and extreme tension for three days, for it was well known that the admiral was keeping up con- frt,ant telegraphic communication with the Admiralty, itnd the signal Telegram on shore waa constantly being made. On Tuesday, the 12th, a rumour got tibout that the fleet bad orders to enter again the Dardanelles, and this was confirmed by the circum- stance that the admiral and captains of the fleet held a meeting on board the Alexandra, Admiral Hornby's flag ship, a meeting which was neither more nor less than a council of war. When the captains returned on board their ships it was made known that next day, the fleet was to go up the Dardanelles, and at all hazards to force the passage, I leave or no leave. This suited the temper of the men, and excitement rose all the higher from the previous disappointment. Recollections of the deeds of British fleets in other days, and especially of Sir John Duckworth's famous passage of the same Straits seventy-one years oefore almost to a day, were stirred up within them, as maps were studied and books of naval history referred to. The weather was bad in an intense degree when the fleet of five sailed, and :t became worse and worse as it got to the narrow entrance to the Dardanelles, until the dangers of navi- gation almost seemed worse than the gauntlet of the forts. The plan of attack is thus described: The guns wtre loaded with heavy charges of powder and Sbrapnell shell, trained on the beam, and run out just i evel with the battery ports. But these messengers of death hada smiling face upon them, for the tompions were in, and everythinglooked peaceful. The tips were filled with riflemen. and Gatling guns and all torpedo defences prepared, but nothing warlike was to be seen. Admiral Hornby's instructions were to pass peace- fully if possible, not to make any demonstration calculated to excite the Turks into a breach of the peace, but if the forts did open fire upon us, then Ti ese were the orders 'If any of the forts flre at und hit any ship of the squadron, the two divisions were to attack and silence the two forts above Ohanak Fort!! Namazieh and Ohanak Castle. The first bit of work calculated upon was the en- countering of a forty-ton Krupp gun, mounted in an earthwork some three miles below Ohanak. The orders respecting this formidable piece of ordnance w*re "The ships will paso within 200 yards of the gun, their broadsides bearing on it in succession; if the Turks fire it, it is to be dismounted, and the works around it destroyed." The unquestion- ing faith in success indicated in this order is truly British. Surrounded with a dense fo«r, the snow falling thickly, the wind howling trough the rigging, the squadron groped about until tnis wretched gun was found. Then forming in line the ships waited the result. Then, we are told, oreathless silence reigned over the ships, broken only by the dull thud, thud, ef the engines; yet b-neath that quietude was the greatest excitement. At the guns stood their crews, one man ready to slip out the tompion, the others to run the -in out, while the captain of the gun stood un- loveable, lanyard in hand, one jerk of which would nave sent the enormous shell spinning on its •rrnnd. Our hearts were in our mouths as the flag ship came abreast of the Ohanak gun; the little puff of smoke, the flame, the crash, were eagerly witched for, while minutes seemed years. At last relief came; we had passed in peace, and the tension was removed." What the result of this avoided conflict would have been it is perhaps useless to speculate upon, and the Standard's correspondent dismisses the matter with the remark that armour is not of much utility at 200 yards, and tells us what the guns of the ships were. The Alexandra's broad side was composed • if five 18 toa guns and one 25-ton; the Agincourt's, ,f seven 12 ton guus the Achilles', of eight 12-ton guns and one 9 ton the Sultan's, of four 18-ton guns, and one 12-ton the Tetneraire's three 25-ton guns, and four 18-tons; the Swiftsure's five 12 ton guns, and two 61 pounders making a total of four 25-ton guns, tb'rteen 18-t, n guns, twenty-one 12-ton guns, Hod one 9 tor. gun, or a gross available total of forty guns. Having passed the big gun without re- ceiving a fiery welcome, not much was expected from the two big forts above Ohanak, nevertheless ears were kept open Ears," or we are told-that it was absolutely impossible to see anything of the shore.. As the town of Ohanak was passed the wind in- creased in strength, the fog thickened, the snow and sleet fell worse than before, blinding the officers on the bridges, and biting ears, cheeks, and noses. The current, too, was dead against us, and was running nearly four knot. In this fearful weather, when neither ship's bead or stern were visible, and guided only by the hoarse cry of the leadsmen in the chains, did the squadron pass the narrows of the Dardanelles, iisre only three-quarters of a mile broad. At a speed of sight knots against the wind and current the forta^of Chanak and Iscala and Namazieh were passed. Breath less silence prevailed on beard the ships when these formidable batteries were being passed; they were the only point of serious resistance, added to which the Turkish authorities bad given us the pleasing infor- mation that torpedoes had been laid down between the opposite forts. But no—nothing occurred to bar our progressup the Straits no torpedo exploded under our bottom, and no shell came crashing against our sides. For the next two miles we were passing smaller forts and redoub's, but of these we took no notice, as they could all have easily been disposed of by a few shells." High as the hearts of the sailors had beat with excite- ment and." stern joy," we can easily believe that a feeling of relief was experienced when the gauntlet was run, for earthworks mounted with 18-ton Krupp guns, to say nothing of the single 40-ton monster, are not easy nuts to crack.

[No title]

THE VICTORIA CROSB AND ALBERT…

THE TOWNELEY FAMILY.

[No title]

COLLIERY DISASTER IN SCOTLAND.

THE VALUE OF THE CLEOPATRA.

[No title]

THE CAT TAX.

BOAT RACE ON THE TYNE.

[No title]

SCENE AT THE SIGNATURE OF…

[No title]

EXTRAORDINARY DIYORCE CASE.

THE VOLUNTEERS AND THE NEW…

A PRESTON WILL CASE.

[No title]

THE^QUEEN AT THE ROYAL TAPESTRY…

REMARKABLE BREACH OF PROMISE…

CHARGING AT FOOTBALL.

[No title]