HEROISM AND HARDSHIP IN FLANDERS. SIR JOHN FRENCH'S DISPATCH A further long dispatch from Sir John French has been issued. It is dated .February 2, and was received on February 12. It covers a period of nearly three months—from Novem- ber 20, the date of the last dispatch. It reviews the operations in Northern France and Flanders, and deals chiefly with the fighting around La Bassee and Givenchy. Sir John French states that since the date of his last report the operations of the Army have been much hindered by bad weather. The dispatch tells of some successful minor night operations carried out during the last week in Novem ber in the 4th Corps. During the early days of December certain indications along the whole fromt of the Allied line induced the French Commanders and myself to believe that the enemy had -withdrawn considerable forces from the Western theatre. Arrangements were made with the Com- mander of the 8th French Army for an attack to be commenced on the morning of December 14. SCOTTISH GALLANTRY. Operations began at 7 a.m. by a combined heavy artillery bombardment by the two French and. the 2nd British Corps. The British objectives were the Petit Bois and the Maedelsteed Spur, lying respectively to the west and the south-west of the village of Wytschaete. At 7.45 a.m. the Royal Scots, with great dash, rushed forward and attacked the former, while the Gordon Highlanders attacked the latter place. f! The Royal Scots, commanded by Major F. J. Duncan, D.S.O., in face of a terrible machine gun and rifle fire, carried the German trench on the west edge of the Petit Bois, capturing two machine guns and 53 prisoners, including one officer. The Gordon Highlanders, with great gal- lantry, advanced up the Maedelsteed Spur, forcing the enemy to evacuate their front trench. They were, however, losing heavily, and found themselves unable to get any further. At nightfall they were obliged to fall back to their original position. Captain C. Boddam-Whetham and Lieut. W. F. R. Dobie showed splendid dash, and with a few men entered the enemy's leading trenches; but they were all either killed or captured. Lieut. G. R. V. Hume-Gore and Lieut. W. H. Paterson also distinguished themselves by their gallant leading. Although not successful, the operation was I most creditable to the fighting spirit of the Gordon Highlanders, most ably commanded by Major A. W. F. Baird, D.S.O. As the 32nd French Division on the left had been unable to make any progress, the further advance of our infantry into the Wytschaete Wood was not practicable. Possession of the western edge f the Petit Bois was, however, retained. Tie artillery was skilfully kandled. Our casualties during the day were about 17 officers and 407 other ranks. The losses of the enemy were very considerable. ATTACK BY THE INDIANS. I Sir John French proceeds to tell of am ;at- tack by the Indian Corps against the advanced trenches in their front on December 18 and 19. At daybreak it was found that the positions whfcb. had been taken were practically unten- able. Both flanks were in tke air, and a sup- porting attack failed, although attempted with the greatest gallantry and resolution. Lieutenant-Colonel Ronaldson held oiL till dusk, when the whole of the captured trenches had to be evacuated, and the detachment fell back to its original line. By the nighu of December 19 nearly all the ground gained during the day had been lost. From daylight on December 20 the enemy commenced a heavy fire from artillery and trench mortars on the whole front of the Indian Corps. This was followed by infantry attacks. At about 10 a.m. the enemy succeeded in driving back the Sirhind Brigade and captur- ing a considerable part of Givenchy, but the 57th Rifles and 9th Bhopals, north of the canal, and the Connaught Rangers, south of it, stood firm. About 5 p.m. a gallant attack by the 1st Manchester Regiment and one company of the 4th Suffolk Regiment had captured Givenchy, and had cleared the enemy out of the two lines of trenches to the north-east. General Macbean, with the Secunderabad Cavalry Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 8th Gurkha Rifles, and the 47th Sikhs, was sent up to sup- port. Some considerable delay appears to have oc- curred, and it was not until 1 a.m. on the 21st that the 47th Sikhs and the 7th Dragoon Guards under the command of Lieutenant- Colonel H. A. Lempriere, D.S.O., of the latter regiment, were launched in counter-attack. They reached the enemy's trenches, but were driven out by enfilade fire, their gallant com- mander being killed. The main attack by the remainder of General Macbean's force, with the remnants of Lieutenant Colonel Lempriere's detachment (which had again been rallied), was finally pushed in at about 4.30 a.m. and also failed. THE SEAFORTHS SUFFER. I In the northern section of the defensive line the retirement of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Gurkha Rifles, at about 10 a.m. on the 20th, had left the flank of the 1st Seaforth High- landers, on the extreme right of the Meerut Division line, much exposed. This battalion was left shortly afterwards completely in the air by the retirement of the Sirhind Brigade. The 58th Rifles, therefore, were ordered to support the left of the Seaforth Highlanders, to till the gap created by the retirement of the Gurkhas. No advance in force was made by the enemy, but the troops were pinned to their ground by heavy artillery fire, the Scaforth Highlanders especially suffering heavily. Shortly before nightfall the 2nd Royal High- landers on the right of the Seaforth High- landers had succeeded in establishing touch with the Sirhind Brigade. Early in the afternoon of December 20 orders were sent to the lfet Corps, which was then in general army reserve, to send an infantry brigade to support the Indian Corps. By nightfall the let South Wales Borderers and the 2nd Welsh Regiment of the 3rd Brigade had made a lodgment in the original trenches to the north-east of Festubert, the 1st Gloucestershire Regiment continuing the line southward along the track east of Festubert. The 1st Brigade had established itself on the east of Givenchy. By 10 p.m. the support trenches west of the orchard had been carried, but the original fire trenches had been so completely destroyed that thev could not be occupied. This operation was performed by the 1st Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and the 1st Northamptonshire Regiment, supported by tho 2nd King's Royal Rifle Corps, in reserve. oJ During the 23rd the enemy's activities ceased, and the whole position was restored to very much its original condition. The Indian troops have fought with the utmost steadfastness and gallantry whenever they have been called upon. THE GUARDS ATTACKED. f Weather conditions were abnormally bad, the enow and floods precluding any active opera- 'tions during the first three weeks of January. At 7.30 a.m. on January 25 the enemy began to shell Bethune, and at 8 a.m. a strong hostile infantry attack developed south of the canal, preceded by a heavy bombardment of artillery, minenwerfers and, possibly, the ex- plosion of mines, though the latter is doubt- ful. The British line south of the eanal was oc. cupied by half a battalion of the Scots Guards and half a battalion of the Coldstream Guards. of the 1st Infantry Brigade. The trenches in the salient were blown in almost at once; and the enemy'# attack pethe- trated this line. Our troops retired to a par- tially prepaaved second line. These supports held up the &Demy.who, how. (ever, managed to establish himself ivL fte brick ,stacks and some communication -trench e& 'fogt^veen the keep,, tjo road aaad the — I I and even beyond and west of the keep on I either side of it. I ENEMY DRIVEN BACK. I The London Scottish had in the meantime been sent up in support, and a counter-attack was organised with the 1st Royal Highlanders, part of the 1st Cameron Highlanders, and the 2nd King's Royal Rifle Corps, the latter regi- ment having been sent forward from the Divisional Reserve. The counter-attack was delayed in order to synchronise with a counter-attack north of the canal which was arranged for 1 p.m. At 1 p.m. these troops moved forward, their flanks making good progress near the road and the canal, but their centre being held up. The 2nd Royal Sussex Regiment was then sent for- ward, late in the afternoon, to reinforce. The result was that the Germans were driven back far enough to enable a somewhat broken line to be taken up, running from the culvert on the railway, almost due south to the keep, and thence south-east to the main road. The line was strengthened during the night; and the 1st Guards Brigade, which had suffered severely, was withdrawn into reserve and re- placed by the 2nd Infantry Brigade. I FIGHT FOR A VILLAGE. I While this was taking place another, and equally severe attack was delivered north of the canal against the village of Givenchy. At 8.15. a.m., after heavy artillery bombard- ment with high explosive shells, the enemy's infantry advanced under the effecti-/e fire of our artillery, which however, was hampered by the constant interruption of telephonic com- munication between the observers and bat- teries. Nevertheless, our artillery fire, combined with that of the infantry in the fire trenches, had the effect of driving the enemy from his original direction of advance. The Germans had lost heavily, and a well- timed local counter-attack, delivered by the re- serves of the 2nd Welsh Regiment and 1st South Wales Borderers, and by a company of the 1st Royal Highlanders, was completely suc- cessful, with the result that, after about an hour's street fighting, all who had broken into the village were either captured or killed; the village were ei and the original line round the village was re- established by noon. South of the village, however, and close to the canal, the right of the 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers fell back in conformity with the troop s south of the canal; but after dark that regiment moved forward and occupied the old line. During the course of the attack on Givenchy the enemy made five assaults on the salient at the north-east of the village about French Farm, but was repulsed every time with heavy loss. On the morning of the 29th January attacks were made on the right of the 1st Corps, south of the canal in the neighbourhood of La. Bassee. The enemy (part of the 14th German Corps), after a severe shelling, made a violent attack with scaling ladders on the keep, also to the north and south of it. In the keep and on the north side the Sussex Regiment held the enemy off, inflicting on his serious losses. On the south side of the hostile infantry succeeded in reaching the Northamptonshire Regiment's trenches; but were immediately counter-at- tacked and all killed. Our artillery co- operated well with the infantry in repelling the attack. In this action our casualties were incon- siderable, but the enemy lost severely, more than 200 of his killed alone being left in front of our position. PLUCK OF THE GUARDS. I On the 1st February a fine piece of work was carried out by the 4th Brigade in the neighbourhood of Cuinchy. Some of the 2nd Coldstream Guards were driven from their trenches at 2.30 a.m., but mad1; a stand some twenty yards east of them in a position which they held till morning. A counter-attack, launched at 3.15 &m. by one company of the Irish Guards and half a company of the 2nd Coldstream Guards, proved unsuccessful, owing to heavy rifle fire from the east and south. At 10.5 a.m., acting ullder orders of the 1st Division, a hfeavy bombardment was opened on the lost ground for ten minutes; and this was followed immediately by an assault by about 50 men of the 2nd Coldstream Guards with bayonets, led by Captain A. Leigh Ben- nett, followed by 30 men of the Irish Guards, led by Second-Lieutenant F. E. Graham, also with bayonets. These were followed by a party of Royal Engineers with sand bags and wire. All the ground which had been lost was brilliantly retaken; the 2nd Coldstream Guards also taking another German trench and r-ap- r turing two machine-guns. Thirty-two prisoners fell into our hands. Special credit is due to the regimental officers, non-commissioned officers and men oI the 2nd Coldstream Guards and Irish Guards, who, with indomitable pluck, stormed two sets of barricades, captured three German trenches. two machine-gjins, and killed or made prisoners many of the enemy. PRAISE FOR THE TERRITORIALS. t Sir John French has high praise for the Territorials. He says': In my despatch of the 20th of November, 1914, I referred to the reinforcements of Terri- torial Troops which I had received, and I men- tioned several units which had already been employed in the fighting line. In the positions which I held for some years before the out- break of this war I was brought into cloee contact with the Territorial Force, and I had every reason to hope and believe that when the hour of trial arrived they would justify every hope and trust which was placed in them. The Lords Lieutenant of Counties and the Associations which worked under them be- stowed a vast amount of labour and energy on the organisation of the Territorial Force; and I trust it may be some recompense to them to know that I, and the principal commanders serving under me, consider that the Terri- torial Force has far more than justified the most sanguine hopes that any of us ventured to entertain of their value and use in the field. Commanders of cavalry divisions are un- stinted in their praise of the manner in which the Yeomanry regiments attached to their brigades have done their duty, both in and out of action. The service of Divisional Cavalry is now almost entirely performed by Yeomanry, and Divisional Commanders report that they are very efficient. Army Corps commanders are loud in their praise of the Territorial battalions which form part of nearly all the brigades at the front in the first line, and more than one of them have told me that these battalions are fast approaching—if they have not already reached —the standard of efficiency of Regular in- fantry. OUR SPLENDID SOLDIERS. I The Field-Marshal also pays a warm tribute to the Army as a whole:— The troops composing the Army in France have been subjected to as severe a trial as it is possible to impese upon any boly of men. The desperate fighting described in my last despatch had hardly been brought to a conclusion when they were called upon to face the rigours and hardships of a winter campaign. Frost and snow have alternated with periods of con- tinuous rains. The men have been called upon to stand for many hours together almost up to their waists in bitterly cold water, only separated by one or two hundred yards from a most vigilant enemy. Although every measure which science and medical knowledge could suggest to mitgate these hardships was employed, the sufferings of the men have been very grea t. In spite of all this they presented, at the inspections to which I have referred, a most aoldier-like, splendid, thpugh somewhat war- worn appearance. Their spirit remains high and confident; their general health is excel- lent, and their condition most satisfactory. I regard it as most unfortunate that circum- stances have prevented any account of many splendid instances of courage and endurance in the face of almost unparalleled hardship and fatigue in war coming regularly to the knowledge of the public. • V
RAILWAY ACCIDENT. I An accident to an express from Newcastle to Manchester caused slight injuries to several passengers on Monday. The train had just left Leeds at 11.7 when two coaches jumped the points. One turned completely over, and the other fell sideways against a signal cabin. The following were treated at Leeds In- firmary: Francie Garvey, bookmaker, West Middlesborough, cuts; Mrs. Crymk Stock- ton, Manchester, dislocated shoulder; Adolf Fttather, Leeds, dislocated fingers; and Wm. ry Brown, Ripon, contusion of jaw. V "Y:ii
DRESS OF THE DAY. I A SMART NEW BLOUSE. Many of the best shops in the West-End are beginning to be quite gay with a display of smart spring fashions The Sales are now practically over, and they undoubtedly have swept away with them all that was in any way demode, or that remained over from the winter styles. Shops and showrooms have been swept, garnished, and generally furbished up, and intc this fresh, bright at- mosphere the spring fashions are beginning to pour. At present the new styles can scarcely be said to have definitely cystal. lised into shape, at any rate so far as the more important items of dress—costumes, gowns, etc.—are concerned, and the wise woman who has not too many pennies to spend upon her spring outfit will wait a short time yet before she makes such im- portant purchases. In the meantime, how- ever, she may safely embark upon a blouse, skirt, or hat, for advance styles in all these garments take definite shape some little time before they do so in other departments of AN UP-TO-DATE MODE. Lltefer to X 571.] dress. Now, here in our sketch is one of the very newest and most up-to-date of the new spring blouses. This model is intended for wear with a skirt which is carried out in the same colour, and, if possible, in the same material as the blouse itself. In this case the material employed is violet taffetas of a particularly deep, rich tone, and it is accom- panied by an under-biouse of smoke-grey tvinon. The blcxuse proper is shaped in pina- fore style, and is extremely plain. It is cut out in a rather deep V at the neck, and is edged by a crossway binding of the silk. The armhotee are very large, and come to within a few inches of the waist; like the ueek, they are bound with a crossway band of the material. The blouse is rather loose, and is pouched a good deal at the waist. The under-blouse is also perfectly plain, and is mounted upon a lining of ivory net. At the neck it is cut in a small V, and is finished by a Tittle stand-up collar which is rolled over at the points. A band of violet velvet is carried across the open neck just at the base of the collar, and is caught down at each end by a button. The sleeves are cut in one with the blouse. They are fairly wide, and are gathered at the wrist, where they are set into a small band, which is con- cealed by one of the new cuffs. This cuff is double, and is caught in the middle by a violet velvet ribbon the upper half turns r back over the sleeve in gauntlet fashion, while the lower half flares over the hand. A DAINTY DRESSING JACKET. Our next illustration shows a very smart little dressing jacket, which may be carried out in flannel, wincey, delaine, cashmere, Jap silk, cotton crepe, muslin, zephyr, lawn, or voile. The jacket is rather high-waisted, find fastens in front. The neck is cut out in a shallow V, and is edged by a narrow band of the material, which is continued down j the front of the short waist line. A frill of I, traehing-lace falls from the eater edge of A COMFORTABLE DRESSING JACKET. I [Refer to X 572.] the band. Three rows of gaugings are run on each side of the front at a distance of an inch and a half from the centre. Ribbon is sewn to the inner end of each set of gaugings, and is tied in a smart bow in front. This pattern is in four sizes—32-44in. bust measure. It will take 312- yards of 50in. material for the medium size. NEW HATS FOR EARLY SPRING. I Smart milliners in the West-End are showing some most attractive small hats for wear during February and March. As is most sensible and appropriate for what is usually the most windy part of the English year, most of these hats are small and close- fitting, the very great majority of them being modelled on the lines of a Scotch bonnet or forage cap. Many of these smart little models are carried out in a happy alli- ance of hemp straw and satin, and are trimmed with nothing more than a single long, slender quill, which sticks out at one side. Then there are a few small hats which are not modelled on the ubiquitous military lines. One of the best of thcoo is shaped like a small inverted bowl, and is entirely covered with satin or velvet, preferably the latter. The trimming consists of a small bunch of mixed flowers placed well to the front of the hat. Tricoine hats are well to the fore again just now. One of the smartest examples of the moment is carried out in smoke-grey velvet, and has its brim bordered all the way round by narrow feather trim- ming of exactly the same shade. A tiny cockade of small grey feathers is caught to the left side of the hat by a handsome paste button, and constitutes the only trimming upon this most attractive model. NEW TAFFETAS FROCKS. I Paris houses are showing a number of most attractive new taffetas frocks for demi- sai-son wear. The taffetas used is almost as soft and thin as tissue paper, and vet it wears astonishingly well. In some cases faiffe is used instead of taffetas. It is really another make of taffetas, and, though equally soft and fine, is much heavier than the first-mentioned variety. Narrow cross- way binding of taffetas and motifs of hand- some embroidery are used to trim these frocks. Paper patterns can be supplied, price <4d. When ordering, please quote number, en. eloae remittance, and address to Miss Lisle, 8, La Belle Sauvage, London, E.G.
No foreign fishing boats are al1owd to I enter any British port, Allies' 'feMels ex-1 cepted. ?
MR. CHURCHILL'S REPLY TO GERMAN THREATS. A very important speech waa delivered by Mr. Churchill in the House of Commons on Monday. The First Lord reviewed the naval position, and, referring to the German threat- ened blockade, he said Germany could not be allowed to adopt a system of open piracy and murder. The time had come, he said, when the full force of our naval pressure must be for the first time applied to the enemy. We were now, said Mr. Churchill, to be the object of a kind of warfare never before prac- tised by a civilised State. The scuttling at ,sight, without search or parley, of merchant ships by submarine agency would have been universally reprobated and repudiated before the war, but it must not be supposed that be- cause the attack was extraordinary a good de- fence and a good reply could not be made. Losses no doubt would be incurred. Of that he gave full warning, but no vital injury could be done. Germany could not be allowed to adopt a system of open piracy and murder, while re- maining herself protected by a bulwark of in- ternational instruments which she had utterly repudiated and defied. There were good reasons for believing that the economic pressure which the Navy exerted was beginning to be felt in Germany. So far we had/lflot attempted to stop imports of food, we had not prevented neutral ships from trading direct with German ports, and we had allowed German exports in neutral ships to pass unchallenged. The time had come when the enjoyment of these immuni- ties by a State which had as a matter of de- liberate policy placed herself outside all inter- national obligations must be reconsidered, and a further declaration on the part of the Allied Governments would promptly be made which "would have the effect for the first time of I applying the full force of naval pressure to the enemy. 1, FULLY-EQUIPPED FLEET. I As to the Navy's preparedness for war, Mr. Churchill said that on the declaration of war we had a Fleet of sufficient superi- ority for all our needs, with a good margin for safety in vital matters, fully mobilised; a Fleet equipped for every requirement down to the smallest detail. We had enough supplies of ammunition, torpedoes, coal, officers, and men, and a complete system of transport, as well as an immense programme of new construction. There had been an enormous increase in the figures relating to ammunition. In time of peace one got little credit for such expenditure, but in time of war we thanked God it had been made. In regard to oil, there were ample supplies, and it was found possible to convert the Royal Sovereigns into completely oil-fuel ships. When mobilisation took place we were able to man every ship which was fit to be sent to sea, to man powerful new vessels building for foreign nations, and for which no provision had been made, and also man a large number of armed merchantmen. In addition, the Admiralty were able to pro- vide all the men necessary for the naval air service, which never existed three years ago, but which had already made a name for itself. The German army was no more ready for offensive warfare on a gigantic scale than was the British Fleet for national defence. I GERMANS IN HIDING. I Since November last two important events had happened. There was the victory off the Falkland Islands and the cruieer action on the Dodger Bank. The German flag had disap- peared from the oceans of the world. Only two small German cruisers and two armed mer- chantment were still at large, and these vessels were at present in hiding. During the last three months, on an average, about 8,000 British vessels had been continuously on the seas. Nineteen vessels had been sunk r-y the enemy, only four by above-water craft. The great sailors of the past, men of the revolu- tionary and Napoleonic wars, would have been astounded. During the two great wars which began in 1793 and ended in 1814 10,871 British merchant ships were sunk or captured by the enemy, and even after the decisive bøttl. of Trafalgar the loss to British shipping aver- aged over 500 a year. Our total losses on the high seas in the first six months of the war, not including trawlers engaged in mine-sweep- ing, were only 63. The command of the sea had not only en- abled our tr4de to be carried on practically without interruption, but we had been able to move freely about the world very large numbers of troops—approximately 1,000,000 men—without accident or loss of life. I NAVY SOUND AS A BELL. I The combat off the Dogger Bank was of great advantage, beSause of the light it threw on rival systems of designs, relative armament, gunnery, and efficiency. The range of the British guns exceeded that of the Germans, and the shooting was at least as good. Another remarkable feature of the action was that the steaming of our ships exceeded all records, despite the fact that they had been six months at sea. The truth was that the Navy was as sound as a bell all through. When, if ever, the great Fleets drew out for a general battle, we should hope to bring into line a preponderance not only in quality but in numbers, which would not be five to four, but something consider- ably greater. The losses of the Navy, although small as compared with the sacrifices of the Army, had been heavy. We had lost, mainly by submarines, the lives of about 5,500 officers and men, but we had killed, mainly by gun- fire, an equal number, which was, of course, a much larger proportion of the German force engaged. We had also taken in sea fighting 82 officers and 934 men prisoners of war. No British naval prisoners of war had been taken in fighting at sea by the Germans. (Cheers.) We had established for the time being a command of the sea such as we had never expected, and such as we had never known at any other period of our history. (Cheers.) In conclusion, Mr. Churchill said that in the months that were to come the British Navy and the sea power which it exerted would increasingly dominate the g. nera] situation, would be the main unfailing resource of the Allied nations, would pro- gressively paralyse the fighting erili gie-P, of our antagonists, and could, if need were, even in default of all other favourable causes, ultimately by itself decide the issue of this war. .—— ——.
t WHAT THE NAVY HAS DONE. ADMISSION BY GERMAN CRITIC. Despite "the blockade," German news- papers are talking much less confidently of the naval position <says the Rotterdam correspondent of the "Daily Telegraph"). They no longer write of the British Fleet being driven off the seas. On the con- trary, they are taking pains to instruct their readers as to the difficulty of their navy's task. Here is a quotation from the latest article by Captain Persius, the well- known naval critic, in the "Berliner Tage- blatt — "It would not be right to give way to un- founded optimism. That may be all very well for children, but not for grown-up people, who should remain conscious tliat our fleet has a gigantic task to fulfil, a task which is almost impossible. It is harmful to underrate your enemy. We leave speak- ing of the cawardice of the English Fleet to irresponsibles. The tactics of the English Fleet to remain as much as possible in har- bours are, on the whole, quite right, and should we, with our numerically smaller fleet, ask for a decisive blow in the first ilionthe, it would be a great mistake. Even strategists in civilian clothes now admit this. "The leaders of our fleet have chosen the practical middle course. They have known how to hold back the more ardent spirits among our seamen without quenching their ardour. What profit would it have brought us had our high seas fleet immediately at- tacked the enemy's superior force? It would have been threatened, humanly speaking, with complete extinction, while the British Fleet, although weakened, would not have been extirpated Then England would have triumphed. "Those at home who are waiting, with im- patience, for a great sea battle, must re- strain themselves until our smaller vessels and submarines have made the course free- that is, have destroyed some of the big units of the enemy-in order to bring the numerical strength to a level that will give us a more equal chance in the final big battle. "What has the English Fleet accom- plished? It would be self-deception not to admit that, on the whole, it has fulfilled its task. It has protected, on the whole, the trade of Britain and that of its Allies, and has driven our trade from the seas. It has given safe-conduct to British transports. It has not given way to an exaggerated desire for attack, such as is shown by some critics of our fleet; in fact, desire for attack it has shown very seldom. "But neither the leadership of squadrons, nor the conduct of crews, has justified, up to now, the name which the British Fleet has had for centuries. The Chili fight showed want of strategy, the Falklands battle was lacking in tactics, whilst in the North Sea the British were guilty of bad manoeuvring. These facts make it possible for us to believe that it is not impossible to break the power of the British Fleet."
THE MOST EXPENSIVE WAR £ 2,000,000,000 BY THE END OF THIS YEAR. Mr. Lloyd George told the House of Com- mons on Monday that this is the most ex- pensive war in history-in material, men, and money. The Chancellor's speech dealt with the results of the financial conference in Paris be- tween the British, French, and Russian repre- sentatives. He said they had committed the respective Governments to such heavy engage- ments that it was important he should assign some reason why we should undertake such liabilities. For the year ending December 31 next the aggregate expenditure of the Allies would not be far from = £ 2,000,000,000. Britain would be called upon to pay more than either of her two Allies, probably from X100,000,000 to £ 150,000,000 more than the highest figure spent by the other two great Allies. Britain could pay for her own expenditure on the war for five years, allowing a sub- stantial sum for depreciation, out of her in- vestments abroad, and France eould carry on the war for two or three years at least from the same resources, while at the same time having something to spare to advance to the Allies. The Allies were fighting the whole of the mobilised strength of Germany with perhaps less than one-third of their own strength, and the problem of the war for the Allies was to bring the remaining two-thirds of their re- sources and strength into the fighting line. Russia was a prodigiously rich country, with great natural resources of food and raw mate- rial, with overflowing resources and with plenty of labour to develop them. By her pro- hibition of the sale of alcohol alone she had increased the productivity of her labour from thirty to fifty per cent. But she had not yet been able to command the capital to develop these resources. France" had also special diffi- culties. For the moment she bore far and away the greatest strain of the war in propor- tion to her resources. THE COURAGE OF PARIS. I There was nothing that struck the visitor to Paris to-day more than the calm and severe courage which was supposed to be incom- patible with the temperament of the Celt by those who did not know him. There was a general feeling of assurance that the Germans had lost their tide, and that now German arms had as remote a chance of crush- ing France as they had of overrunning the planet Mars. There were a number of smaller States who looked to the greater countries in alliance with them for financial support. The Allied Powers had to see that Belgium did not suffer until the period came for her restoration and her com- pensation. Serbia was fighting with great courage and brilliancy, but with no resources of wealth and no exports with which she could purchase munitions of war. There were also other small States preparing for war, and it was obviously our interest that they should be well equipped for that purpose. The problem was how to mobilise the finan- cial resources of the Allies so as to give the greatest help to the common cause. A JOINT LOAN. I At the conference in Paris the question of a joint war loan was fully discussed and it was felt that it was the very worst way of utilis- ing our resources. If, instead of our raising £ 350,000,000 a few weeks ago for our own pur- poses, we had floated a great joint loan of F.1,004).000,000, the House could imagine what the result would have been. It was therefore decided that each country should raise the money for its own needs within its own markets. It was also provided that help to the outside smaller States should be given if the greater countries could afford to do so. and that all the three great Allied countries should con- tribute in equal proportions to the loan raised by the smaller States. At an opportune moment a joint loan would be made by the three great States to cover such advances to the smaller States. With regard to Russia, we had already advanced £ 32.000,000 for purchases here and elsewhere outside the Russian Empire. Russia had also shipped X8,000,000 of gold into this country. France had likewise made an advance in respect of purchases in that country GREAT GOLD RESERVES. I With regard to gold, the position of the three great countries was exceptionally strong. Russia and France had accumulated great re- serves, which had been hardly touched so far, and our own accumulations were larger than they had ever been in the history of this country. The suppression of the rebellion in South Africa insured us large and steady sup- plies, but for all that it was but prudent that we should husband our gold lest it should take wings and swarm to any other hive. Arrange- ments had therefore been made that if cur stock of gold were to diminish beyond a cer- tain point the Banks of France and Russia would come to our assistance. France was also to have access to our markets for Treasury Bills issued in France, and arrangements had been made which they hoped would restore ex- change in respect of bills held in this country against Russian markets. — ♦
BRITISH STEAMER STRIKES MINE. I TW, ELVE MISSING. I The West Hartlepol steamer Wavelet was mined off the Kentish Knock on Monday, and the master, Captain Cple, finding that his ship was in a sinking condition, beached her in Pegwell Bay. Eleven of the crew and a passenger were drowned. As the vessel appeared likely to founder at any moment, the first officer and eleven others got into one of the ship's boats, but owing to the heavy gale and rough seas it capsized and all were drowned. The missing members of the crew are J. Jones, chief mate; May- bray, third engineer; G. Crown, steward; Hill, Ness, and Bellis, able seamen; J ones, Windle, and Sasualas, firemen; and Gan- non, donkevman. Captain Cole, in an inter- view, stated that the vessel's side was torn out for a length of thirty feet. A huge portion of the steel hull was hurled on to the deck by the force of the explosion, and fell at the feet of Second Engineer Buck- ingham, who only escaped death by inches. The dharthouse was completely wrecked, and Captain Cole stated that the deck was strewn with pieces of iron from the mine and bolt-heads and rivets from the damaged hull. A huge column of water was thrown up by the mine. There was a second explo- sion which damaged the propeller. It was at first thought that the ship's bottom had been blown out, which accounted for the launching of the boat and the unfortunate loss of twelve lives. The Wavelet was on a voyage from Pensacola to Leith, laden with timber. She was of 2,992 tons register and was owned by Messrs. Neddham Brothers.
A woman named Margaret Woods, whose brother-in-law and a little niece were fatally injured in the ea-st coast bom bard- ment, has been found dead on the North Sands, Hartlepool. Notices handed in at the West Yorkshire collieries by the miners are to be withdrawn except from twenty-nine firms. These have not yet given a written guarantee that they would pay their men a minimum wage.
OUR CHILDREN'S CORNER. BY | UNCLE RALPH. I My DEAR CHILDREN,— I I am very glad to be able to gather from your letters to me this week that so many of you really enjoy solving our Word Square Competitions; but I am afraid there are just a few exceptions. Two or three of my little nieces and nephews having written to say they cannot ferret them out correctly; if not the whole, then one or even two of the words have proved a stumbling- block. That after all is only a trifle, and we must not be disheartened at trifles, must we? I wonder how many of you have read the story of King Robert Bruce and the spider? If you have, suppose you write and tell me what you think about it! The spider is a brave little creature, much more brave than some of us, and if we were to watch him when he is building his home we would find that, even though his web should break a. score of times, he docs not fall back, but starts up directly, and 6ets to work all over the same ground again. If you have failed in one Competition you must not be down- hearted, but work with an extra will at the next and see what you can do. At any rate, I am quite sure the result will be an im- provement on the Imt. and it is only little by little that the great things are accom- plished—by perseverance, and by so much patience as a blade of grass grows, content as it is with all the changes of heat and cold, but always expanding. One little niece quotes the old proverb, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again! She is quite right, and that is the way. I like to see children who are in earnest, no matter what they undertake, persevere, and one day I am quite sure wlI find them at the top of the tree. After all, we are living in a land where freedom cf thought and action is our happiness, and if we miss "top marks" once there is nothing, of course, to bar the way to our later euceefts. Talking of the tree top ri-minds me that this is the month when the birds begin to build, and on fine mornings we shall hear the thrush and blackbird piping out the news tltfit spring is coming. The swallows, too, will be returning to their old homes, and the rooks gather themselves together in ths t-all trees to discuss everything relating to rook laws and customs. What noisy birds tbgv are! This week, instead cf a Word Square, I r.m giving you what is known as a Diamond Puzzle, and the central letters of each line read downwards and across form the name of a large. well-known country. To give you plenty of time. I will keep this Competition open until March 11th. lyhen you have finished your solutions, address them in the usual way to "Uncle Ralph," La Belle Sau- sage, London, EC.-—With my love to you all, ever your affectionate LXCLB RALPH. ANSWERS TO LETTERS. CYRIL GOLDING Thank you very much for the nice photograph, Cyril, which I am very pleased to have. Your No. is 171—qu\te an old member. Michael's No. is 2789. I am glad to welcome him as a member. Dor.is SHOEL: I am glad to have your interesting letter, and to know just what you are doing. Your No. in the Corner" is 2218. I printed your No. some time ago, 1 'oris, but I am afraid you must have missed it. WINIFRED MI'MEY: So sorry to hear you have been ill. I hope you are now very much better. I am glad to know you were EO pleased with your prize. You must try again. MAY WILBY: Yes, the Spring with all its beautiful flowers will soon be here. I too have some hyacinths and snowdrops in my garden. ELSIE DOWLER Thank you for your letter. I shall be very glad to welcome you as a member. Will you fill up a coupon, Elsie? MARGARET F ARLAM 10U must not get blown into the sea, or I shail lose a niece. The weather has been rough in London, too, but I expect you have felt it the most. GWEN RAISON I am very glad to have your letter, and to know that you are doing so much for the "Corner." I hope your concert will be a great success. ANNA POLAND: Yes, Anna, you are quite correct. The more letters I receive from members the more pleased I shall be, and I am glad to have yours. Give my love to Peter. KATE ELY: So 'sorry to hear you have been ill, also your sister, but hope you aN now very much better. Thanks for kind wishes. MURIEL HUTCHINSON: I shall be glad to welcome both you and your sister as mem- bers. Will you each fill up a coupon? Yes, I know your friends well, and they write to me very often. I shall look forward to re- ceiving the letter which Edith has promised. CONNIE PATERSON: SO glad to hear from you once again. Your No. is 341. You are quite an old member. I am glad to know you have been busy working for the sold iers. HAROLD YOLNG: Yes, Harold. I did wonder when I should hear from you again. I am glad you like your membership card. SOLUTION OF SQUARE WORD COMPETITION. No. 2. EARS ARE A R E A I, SALT LIST OF PRIZEWINNERS. Volumes: Evelyn Calvert Gomor Mitchell. Boxes of Fry's Chocolates: Doris Bard- Well, George Horner. Pictorial Blotters: Eathy Hall, Arthur Pavord. DIAMOND PUZZLE. No. 1. 1. A vowel. 2. A bird. 3. A bony substance. 4. A large country. 5. To twist. 6. A cold substance. 7. A vowel. New Members.—2,784, William Patton; 2,785, J. H. Cole; 2,786, Edith Kelty; 2,787, Gladys Manners; 2,788, L. Edmunds; 2,789, Michael Golding; 2,790, Ruby Porter; 2,791," Joan Pinekard; 2,792, George Horner" 2,793, John Walton 2,794, Doris Garrand.
CHILDREN'S CORNER UNION. J Founded by UNCLE RALPH. I Open to aU Boy* and Gin. under 15 years I of air.. B RULES OF MEMBERSHIP. I 1. To do a good turn to someone every day. | 2. To be bright and sunny from morning till night. 3. To be kind and considerate to others. 4. To be truthful, honest and diligent. 1 5. To be unselfish in thought and action. I 6. To be kind to all animals.
I BROTHERS KILLED IN ACTION. In one of the latest lists of officers killed is the name of Lieutenant C. M. Cottrell-Dormer, D.S.O., of the Coldstream Guards, a younger brother of 2nd Lieutenant C. Cottrell-Dormer, of the Scots Guards, who was killed on October 17. This i« ihe sixteenth known case of British officer brothers being killed on ser- vice in France.
In one of the engagements which took place in France, Corporal James Gardner, of the 2nd Wilts, had a very lucky escape from death. A piece of shell struck one of the buttons on his tunic, which, fortunately, saved him from injurv. Corporal Gardner went through the Boer War, and was one of the first to join the colours again for the present war. i