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FLAG AND FLEET HOW THE BRITISH NAVY WON THE FREEDOM
OF THE SEAS
BY WILLIAM WOOD
Lieutenant-Colonel, Canadian Militia; Member of the Canadian Special Mission
Overseas; Editor of "The Logs of the Conquest of Canada"; Author of "All Afloat:
A Chronicle of Craft and Waterways"; "Elizabethan Sea Dogs: A Chronicle of Drake
and his Companions"; and "The Fight for Canada: A Naval and Military Sketch."
WITH A PREFACE BY
ADMIRAL-OF-THE-FLEET SIR DAVID BEATTY G.C.B., O.M., G.C.V.O., Etc., Etc.
TORONTO: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY OF CANADA, LTD., AT ST. MARTIN'S HOUSE
To Admiral-of-the-Fleet Lord Jellicoe
In token of deep admiration And in gratitude for many kindnesses during the
Great War I dedicate this little book, Which, published under the auspices of
The Navy League of Canada and approved by the Provincial Departments of
Education, Is written for the reading of Canadian Boys and Girls
PREFACE BY Admiral-of-the-Fleet Sir David Beatty, G.C.B., O.M., G.C.V.O., etc.
In acceding to the request to write a Preface for this volume I am moved by the
paramount need that all the budding citizens of our great Empire should be
thoroughly acquainted with the part the Navy has played in building up the
greatest empire the world has ever seen. Colonel Wood has endeavored to make
plain, in a stirring and attractive manner, the value of Britain's Sea-Power. To
read his Flag and Fleet will ensure that the lessons of centuries of war will be
learnt, and that the most important lesson of them all is this—that, as an
empire, we came into being by the Sea, and that we cannot exist without the Sea.
DAVID BEATTY, 2nd of June, 1919.
Who wants to be a raw recruit for life, all thumbs and muddle-mindedness? Well,
that is what a boy or girl is bound to be when he or she grows up without
knowing what the Royal Navy of our Motherland has done to give the British
Empire birth, life, and growth, and all the freedom of the sea. The Navy is not
the whole of British sea-power; for the Merchant Service is the other half. Nor
is the Navy the only fighting force on which our liberty depends; for we depend
upon the United Service of sea and land and air. Moreover, all our fighting
forces, put together, could not have done their proper share toward building up
the Empire, nor could they defend it now, unless they always had been, and are
still, backed by the People as a whole, by every patriot man and woman, boy and
girl. But while it takes all sorts to make the world, and very many different
sorts to make and keep our British Empire of the Free, it is quite as true to
say that all our other sorts together could not have made, and cannot keep, our
Empire, unless the Royal Navy had kept, and keeps today, true watch and ward
over all the British highways of the sea. None of the different parts of the
world-wide British Empire are joined together by the land. All are joined
together by the sea. Keep the seaways open and we live. Close them and we die.
This looks, and really is, so very simple, that you may well wonder why we have
to speak about it here. But man is a land animal. Landsmen are many, while
seamen are few; and though the sea is three times bigger than the land it is
three hundred times less known. History is full of sea-power, but histories are
not; for most historians know little of sea-power, though British history
without British sea-power is like a watch without a mainspring or a wheel
without a hub. No wonder we cannot understand the living story of our wars,
when, as a rule, we are only told parts of what happened, and neither how they
happened nor why they happened. The how and why are the flesh and blood, the
head and heart of history; so if you cut them off you kill the living body and
leave nothing but dry bones. Now, in our long war story no single how or why has
any real meaning apart from British sea-power, which itself has no meaning apart
from the Royal Navy. So the choice lies plain before us: either to learn what
the Navy really means, and know the story as a veteran should; or else leave
out, or perhaps mislearn, the Navy's part, and be a raw recruit for life, all
thumbs and muddle-mindedness.
THE ROWING AGE WHEN SOLDIERS FOUGHT ROWBOAT BATTLES BESIDE THE SHORES OF
THE OLD WORLD
From the Beginning of War on the Water to King Henry VIII's First
Promise of a Sailing Fleet 1545
THE VERY BEGINNING OF SEA-POWER (10,000 years and more B.C.)
FIRST FAR WEST (The last 5,000 years B.C.)
III EAST AGAINST WEST (480 B. C.-146
IV CELTIC BRITAIN UNDER ROME (55 B.C.-410 A.D.)
V THE HARDY NORSEMAN
VI THE IMPERIAL NORMAN (1066-1451)
VII KING OF THE ENGLISH ERA (1545)
THE SAILING AGE WHEN SAILORS FOUGHT ON EVERY OCEAN AND THE ROYAL NAVY OF
THE MOTHER COUNTRY WON THE BRITISH COMMAND OF THE SEA BOTH IN THE OLD WORLD AND
THE NEW DRAKE TO NELSON 1585-1805
THE SPANISH WAR
VIII OLD SPAIN AND NEW
IX THE ENGLISH SEA-DOGS (1545-1580)
X THE SPANISH ARMADA (1588)
THE DUTCH WAR
XI THE FIRST DUTCH WAR (1623-1653)
XII THE SECOND AND
THIRD DUTCH WARS (1665-1673)
THE FRENCH WAR
XIII THE FIRST WAR AGAINST LOUIS XIV (1689-1697)
SECOND WAR AGAINST LOUIS XIV (1702-1713)
XV WAR AGAINST FRANCE AND SPAIN
XVI PITT'S IMPERIAL WAR (1756-1763)
XVII THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
XVIII NELSON (1798-1805)
THE AGE OF STEAM AND STEEL WHEN THE BRITISH COMMAND OF THE SEA SAVED
THE WORLD FROM GERMAN SLAVERY IN THE GREATEST OF ALL WARS 1914-1918
A CENTURY OF CHANGE (1814-1914)
XX A CENTURY OF BRITISH-FRENCH-AMERICAN
XXI A CENTURY OF MINOR BRITISH WARS (1815-1914)
THE GREAT WAR (1914-1918)
XXII THE HANDY MAN
XXIII FIFTY YEARS OF
XXIV WAR (1914-1915) XXV JUTLAND (1916)
XXVII SURRENDER! (1918)
XXVIII WELL DONE!
THE FREEDOM OF THE SEAS
VIKING MAN-OF-WAR. . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece
TRIREME—A vessel with three benches of oars
WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR'S TRANSPORTS
Eddystone Lighthouse, 1699. The first structure of stone and timber. Build for
Trinity House by Winstanley and swept away in a storm.
1882. The fourth and present structure, erected by Sir J. N. Douglass for
The Santa Maria, flagship of Christopher Columbus when he
discovered America in 1492. Length of keel, 60 feet. Length of ship proper, 93
feet. Length over all, 128 feet. Breadth, 26 feet. Tonnage, full displacement,
DRAKE One of Drake's Men-of-War that Fought the Great Armada in 1588.
ARMADA OFF POWEY (Cornwall) as first seen in the English Channel.
DRAKE ON BOARD THE REVENGE receiving the surrender of Don Pedro de Valdes.
SAILING SHIP. The Pilgrim Fathers crossed in a similar vessel (1620).
H.M.S. Centurion engaged and took the Spanish Galleon Nuestra Senhora de
Capadongo, from Acapulco bound to Manila, off Cape Espiritu Santo, Philippine
Islands, June 20, 1743.
The ROYAL GEORGE NELSON FIGHTING THE GUNS ON THE MAIN
THE BLOWING UP OF L'ORIENT DURING THE BATTLE OF THE NILE.
OF COPENHAGEN, APRIL 2nd, 1801. (Note the British line ahead.)
Nelson's Flagship at Trafalgar, launched in 1765, and still used as the flagship
in Portsmouth Harbour.
TRAFALGAR. 21st October, 1805.
MODEL OF THE BATTLE OF
TRAFALGAR. (Reproduced by permission from the model at the Royal United Service
THE SHANNON AND THE CHESAPEAKE.
THE ROYAL WILLIAM. Canadian built;
the first boat to cross any ocean steaming the whole way (1833), the first
steamer in the world to fire a shot in action (May 5, 1836).
Seaplane Returning after flight.
A PARTING SHOT FROM THE TURKS AT
LIGHT CRUISER. H.M.S. Monmouth, Armoured Cruiser.
Sunk at Coronel, November 1st, 1914.
BATTLESHIP FIRING A BROADSIDE.
Battle Fleet in Columns of Divisions.
6.14 P.M. THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND—PLAN II.
Jellicoe's battle line formed and fighting. 6:38 P.M.
Minesweeper at work.
H.M. KING GEORGE V.
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