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Surrender of German . Warships.


Surrender of German Warships. The first part of the German Fleet, which is to be surrendered to Sir David Beatty to- day, has left Kiel Harbour for the North Sea, to await his directions as to the place of internment. It consists of the six Dread- noughts, Bayern, Grosser Kurfuerst, Kron- prinz Wilhelm, Markgraf, Koenig Albert, and Kaiserin, and the battle-cruisers Seydlitz and Moltke. The Secretary of the Admiralty issues the following account of the meeting between Admiral Sir David Beatty and Rear Admiral Huge Meurer:— « The Grant Fleet, November 17th. Yesterday evening, at '0 o'clock, the con- ference on board H;s Majesty s ship Queen Elizabeth between the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet Admiral Sir David Beatty and Rear Admiral Huge Meurer, the plenipotentiary of the German naval high command, came to an end. Ten minutes later the German Admiral and the three officers who accompanied him emerged from the companion hatch and passed to the gangway. In the light of the electrics which hung along thp ship's rail they paused there and turned to acknowledge the formal salutes of the officers who escorted them to the side, their backs to the dense fog that had the wide waters of the Forth and facing the great aft turrets with their 15-mch guns. Then while the quartermaster's pipe shrilled its thin ceremonial was! they passed m order down to the waiting barge, and so to the chill and darkness beyond. And thus in the mists of these last days, when the great fleet hat has its home in these waters lay invisible, and only the voice of its i a, gnals and the echoes of its bells gave sound of its presence, the German dream of sea power and sea dominion has come to an end. As in some unequal chess match, when the loser, seeing the inevitable checkmate ahead, dispensed with the last moves, so the German Navy has spared itself the tragedy of a final and hopeless battle. The last act of the drama was accomplished in a strange en- vironment or half lights, failing to profound darkness. Already on Friday morning, when the light cruiser squadron, under Rear Admiral Sinclair, with its attendant destroyers, moved from its mooring in the Firth of Forth for the rendez- vous at sea with :he German light cruiser Konigsberg, bringing Rear Admiral Meurer and his staff, great fog stood dense upon the water, and the course down stream lay between unseen shores and through the lines of great ships that loomed dimly and within an instant were huge and close at hand. The gates of the booms shut one after an- other as H.M.3. Cardiff, the Rear Admiral's flagship, slipped through, and presently the fog within the Firth widened into the North Sea. The six light cruisers and ten destroyers distributed themselves over the calm surface, stretching in a long line abreast that dis- appeared in the vagueness of the horizon. The Konigsberg had been given the course that- should bring her to the meeting point at 2 p. m., but wireless message after message came from her describing in what manner she was varying the course-in one instance to make a detour about a German minefield that our ships have long since swept up-and stating her position and course. There was giound for a little anxiety lest in the dim- ness of mist that encircled the sea the British ships might miss her as she stood into the Firth, and that she might attempt the entrance unescorted. It was -1.20 precisely that the ships, having I patrolled the neighbourhood of the meeting point for about half an hour, picked her up- first as a blur in the haze to windward as she appeared from the southward, then a ship form growing into distinctness as she veered, and at last the shape of a long, light-painted cruiser, her sharp stem planing through the water with scarcely a bow wave, and the appointed flags by which she was to be recog- nisable flying at the head of those very long topmasts which the Germans still carry. Thus came the first German ship to enjoy irri.munity upon the seas for four years, the advance guard of those ships of the German Navy which are to be surrendered to the Allies. A ship is a ship, and her way upon the waters is ever the same, and yet somehow she conveyed to those on watch a sense of sur- render and the humiliation of failure and defeat. The Cardiff's searchlight fluttered as she flicked her orders across. The Konigsberg played her searchlight round in acknowledg- ment and came round to fall into station astern of the British flagship. It suggested some- thing like the resignation and mute obedience [ of a prisoner of war. At her fore-topmast she flew the flag of Rear Admiral Meurer and the Imperial German ensign at her peak, and at the main between the two the white flag flew out stiff and plain to be seen in the wind. Looking aft from the lofty bridge of the Cardiff, one saw her keeping station, rising and falling on the easy sea, obscured from moment to moment by the white ensign of the British Navy, and round her as she followed in the wake of the flagship the far-extending line of white cruisers gathered into a closer escort of swift and powerfully-armed ships. She signalled and our wireless picked up her message to a German land station to the effect that we had made her and taken her in charge. Then she relapsed into silence. With a telescope it was possible to make out the officers on her upper bridge and upon her lower bridge. Its weather-cloths lined with the heads of gazers, the black hats of a number of civilians, possibly of the Workers' and Soldiers' Council delegated to accompany the Rear Admiral. Her guns—she has five of 5.9 inch calibre-were hidden under canvas covers. The speed was reduced to ten knots for the entrance through the gates of the boom, and at 6 p.m. she was ushered to her berth off Inchkieth at the mouth of the Firth and anchored there. The ships of the escort anchored about her. Following her special orders she shewed throughout the night riding and steam lights of normal brilliancy and a light on each beam shining outward, while a motor launch was detailed to cruise around her till daylight, to prevent communication with the shore. The flag commander from the Queen Elizabeth escorted Admiral Meurer and his staff of four officers on board the destzoyer Oak, which conveyed them up the river to be received aboard the great flagship by Sir David Beatty. It was already dark when they set off, but the fog had lifted for the time being, and their course upstream was between vast black hulks of mighty warships mile upon mile of them in rows and tiers, each spangled with lit scuttles and humming with life. The Germans saw nothing of it all, for they were below in the ward room of the destroyer. The greatest factor for the world's peace, the most potent argument against Germany's claims to world domination, was all about them and hidden from them. A Berlin telegram says:— The following vessels have been claimed by Great Britain to be interned under the armistice conditions:- Battleships.—Kaiser, Kaiserin, Konig Albrecht, Kronprinz Wilhelm, Prinz Regent Luitpold, Markgraf. Grosser Kurftirst, Bayern, Konig, Friedrich der Grosse. [These are Germany's ten latest Dread- noughts. ] Eatble-Cruisers.—Hindenburg, DerfBfnger, Seydlitz, Moltke, Von der Tann. Light Cruisers.—Emden, Frankfurt, Brum- mer, Bremse, Koln, Dresden. Their departure must take place by 5 a.m. on November 18th. Their destination is not yet known. The vessels are to have reduced crews and no ammunition.

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