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abandoned. Then it was proposed to stow away on some outward bound ship, seize her at sea and make for Germany. With this purpose in mind Schiller got aboard the Matoppo, but the other conspirators deserted him. Not to be foiled, he captured the vessel single-handed. It developed that his name was Clarence Reginald Hodson, his father having been an Englishman, but he was born of a German mother, had been raised in Germany, and was fully in sympathy with the German cause. After a trial he was sent to prison for life, the only man serving such a sentence in the United States on a charge of piracy.
ENGAGEMENTS AND LOSSES
THE beginning of April found growing discontent among
neutrals against the British blockade of Germany and the virtual embargo on many other nations. Sweden especially demonstrated resentment. The United States made new representations about the seizure and search of first-class mail. All of this did not deter the Allies from pursuing their policy of attrition toward Germany.
The opening day of the month saw the arrival in New York harbor of the first armed French steamer to reach that port. The Vulcain, a freighter, tied up at her dock with a 47-millimeter quick-firing gun mounted at the stern. Inquiries followed, with the usual result, and the advancing days found other French vessels arriving, some of the passenger liners carrying three and four 75-millimeter pieces, the famous 75's.
On April 5, 1916, Paris announced that French and British warships had sunk a submarine at an unnamed point and captured the crew. In this connection it should be said that many reports were current of frequent captures made by the Allies of enemy submersibles. The British seldom admitted such captures, seeking to befog Berlin as to the fate of her submarines, But there was little doubt that numbers of them had been taken by both French and British.
An Austrian transport was torpedoed by a French submarine and lost in the Adriatic, April 8, 1916. Neither the loss of life nor the name of the vessel was made public by Vienna.
Two days later a Russian destroyer, the Strogi, rammed and sunk an enemy submersible near the spot where the hospital ship Portugal was torpedoed.
Reports from Paris, April 18, 1916, stated that the French had captured the submarine that torpedoed the Sussex. It was said that her crew and commander were prisoners, and that documentary evidence had been obtained on the vessel to prove that she sank the Sussex. The report could not be verified, but Paris semiofficially intimated that she had indisputable proof that the Sussex was a submarine's victim. The two incidents coincided so well that the capture of the vessel was believed to have been made.
Trebizond fell April 18, 1916, the Russian fleet cooperating in a grand assault. This gave Russia possession of a fine port on the Turkish side of the Black Sea and marked important progress for her armies in Asia.
Zeebrugge, Belgium, was shelled by the British fleet, April 25, 1916, the city sustaining one of the longest and heaviest bombardments which it had suffered since its capture by the Germans. As a convenient base for submarines it was a particularly troublesome thorn to the Allies, and the bombardment was directed mainly at buildings suspected of being submarine workshops, and the harbor defenses. Several vessels were sunk and much damage wrought, the German batteries at Heyst, Blankenberghe, and Knocke coming in for the heavy fire.
Naval vessels on guard engaged the Germans and succeeded in driving them off, although outnumbered. Two British cruisers were hit, without serious injury. The attack was part of a concerted plan which contemplated a smashing blow at the British line, while the Irish trouble engaged attention.
One British auxiliary was lost and her crew captured and a destroyer damaged in a scouting engagement off the Flanders coast on April 25, 1916. The identity of the vessel was never learned. The E-22, a British submarine, went down April 25, 1916, in another fight. The Germans scored again when they sank an unidentified guard vessel off the Dogger Bank after dusk April 26, 1916.
Reports from Holland, April 28, 1916, told of the sinking by an armed British trawler of a submarine near the north coast of Scotland. The enemy vessel had halted two Dutch steamers when the trawler appeared. The submersible was said to be of the newest and largest type and sixty men were believed to have been lost with her. The British announced the sinking of a submarine on the same day off the east coast, one officer and seventeen men being taken prisoners. It was believed that the two reports concerned the same craft.
London also admitted the loss on April 28, 1916, of the battleship Russell, which struck a mine or was torpedoed in the Mediterranean. Admiral Freemantle, whose flag she bore, was among the 600 men saved. The loss of life included one hundred and twenty-four officers and men.
The Russell was a vessel of 14,000 tons, carried four 12inch guns, twelve 6-inch pieces, and a strong secondary battery. She belonged to the predreadnought period, but was a formidable fighting ship.
The quality of Russia's determination to win victory, despite serious reverses in the field, was well indicated by an announcement made in Petrograd, May 1, 1916. A railroad from the capital to Soroka, on the White Sea, begun since the war started, had just reached completion. It covered a distance of 386 miles and made accessible a port that hitherto had been practically useless, where it was proposed to divert commercial shipments. This left free for war purposes the port of Archangel, sole window of Russia looking upon the west until Soroka was linked with Petrograd. German activity had halted all shipping to Russian Baltic ports. At the moment announcement was made of this event more than 100 ships were waiting for the ice to break up, permitting passage to Archangel and Soroka, which are held in the grip of the north for many months of each year.
A majority of these vessels carried guns, ammunition, harness, auto trucks and other things sorely needed by the Czar's armies. Additional supplies were pouring in through Vladivostok for the long haul across Siberia.
May 1, 1916, witnessed the destruction of a British mine sweeper, the Nasturtium, in the Mediterranean along with the armed yacht Aegusa, both said to have been sunk by floating mines.
The Aegusa formerly was the Erin, the private yacht of Şir Thomas Lipton, and valued at $375,000 when the Government took it over. The craft was well known to Americans, as Sir Thomas, several times challenger for the international cup held in America, had made more than one trip to our shores on the vessel.
The French submarine Bernouille was responsible for the sinking of an enemy torpedo boat in the Adriatic, May 4, 1916.
Washington received a note from Germany, May 6, 1916, offering to modify her submarine orders if the United States would protest to Great Britain against the stringent blockade laid upon Germany. This offer met with prompt rejection, President Wilson standing firm and insisting upon disavowal for the sinking of the Sussex and search of merchantmen before attack. (See United States and the Belligerents, Vol. V, Part X.)
Laden with munitions, the White Star liner Cymric was torpedoed and sunk May 9, 1916, near the British coast with a loss of five killed. The vessel remained afloat for several hours, and the remainder of her 110 officers and men were saved. She had no passengers aboard.
An Austrian transport, name unknown, went down in the Adriatic, May 10, 1916, after a French submarine torpedoed her. She was believed to have had a heavy cargo of munitions, but few soldiers, and probably was bound for Durazzo, Albania, from Pola, the naval base.
The M-30, a small British monitor, was struck by shells from a Turkish battery upon the island of Kesten in the Mediterranean and sunk on the night of May 13, 1916. Casualities consisted of two killed and two wounded.
The sunny weather of May brought a resumption of attacks by British and Russian submarines in the Baltic. May 18, 1916, London announced that four German steamers, the Kolga, Biancha, Hera and Trav, had been halted and destroyed in that sea within a few days. Other similar reports followed and German shipping was almost driven from the Baltic, thereby cutting off an important source of supply with Sweden and Norway, the only neutrals still trading with Germany to any considerable extent. For her part, Germany alleged that several merchant ships torpedoed by the British were sunk without warning and some of the crews killed. London denied the charge and there was none to prove or disprove it.
An Italian destroyer performed a daring feat on the night of May 30, 1916, running into the harbor at Trieste and sinking a large transport believed to have many soldiers aboard. Scarcely a soul was saved, current report stated. The raider crept out to sea again and made good her escape.
BATTLE OF JUTLAND
GREAT naval battle was fought in the North Sea off Jutland,
-where, in the afternoon and evening hours of May 31, 1916, the fleets of England and Germany clashed in what might have been-but was not the most important naval fight in history. Why it missed this ultimate distinction is not altogether clear. Nor is it altogether clear to which side victory leaned. To pronounce a satisfactory judgmenton this point we need far more information than we have at present, not only as to the respective losses of the contending fleets, but as to the objects for which the battle was fought and the degree of success attained in the accomplishment of these objects. The official German report states that the German fleet left port “on a mission to the northward.” No certain evidence is at hand as to the nature of