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But if they have been immune from these constant and manifest dangers, they have had none of their excitements.They have had the temptation to boredom, and the less exciting but always present peril of the dastardly German system of mine-laying in the open sea.Aft flies the well-known White Ensign, the "meteor flag of England" blazing in the corner.Far away on either bow, but dimly discernible on the wide horizon, are the shadows of other smaller ships, the light cruisers, which are moving ahead and on the flanks of the squadron like cavalry covering the advance of an army.Stretcher-men appear on the scene and remove the wounded, but there is more than one serge-clad figure that lies heedless of fire or water, friend or foe.These are they who have fought[14] their last fight and have laid down their lives and all that they had for their country."It is full of great deeds sure to fire the imagination of any boy."—Times. It is a grey morning out on the North Sea, with but little wind."Gives a better and more readable account of our army than any book we can think of."—Graphic. There is no swell, but considerable movement on the surface of the waters, with here and there an occasional tossing of the white manes of the sea-horses.

Look into the next turret and you will see a similar scene, the only difference being that in this case the guns' crews and their officer are marines, wearing red-striped trousers and "Brodrick" caps—the latter not unlike those of the seamen, but with the corps badge in brass on a semicircular scarlet patch in front, instead of a ribband with the ship's name. The clerks and writers are working in their offices, the cooks are busy at their galleys. The admiral is signalling to his squadron to alter course to head off the enemy, and to increase speed by so many revolutions. Her consorts follow in the curve of her foaming wake, and with every big gun trained[11] [12] forward the lithe grey leviathans tear over the watery plain in search of their quarry. Nothing is seen but the scouting cruisers and a minute speck in the remote spaces of the sky, which someone thinks is a sea-plane, but which may well be a grey gull in the middle distance.

Some are writing letters to chums, to sweethearts, and to wives.

Others are killing time with the light literature that has been sent to the ship in bundles by the many friends of the fleet on shore.

In the casemates housing the smaller guns in the superstructures and on the deck below are similar though smaller groups. Men must eat and accounts must be kept though the ship should be blown out of existence in the next ten minutes. Presently, however, a growing darkness along the north-eastern horizon becomes recognizable as smoke—the smoke of many furnaces.

We enter a narrow lift and are shot down to the lower regions, where the sweating stokers handle rake and shovel, the artificers and engine-room staff ply oil-can and spanner, and the engineer officers study gauges and dials of all sorts and kinds. Work is going on that needs constant watching and attention. Five big cruisers, heading north-west." Another Scarborough Raid perhaps. Against its growing blackness one of our distant light cruisers shows for a moment as a white ship. There are more vivid flashes and the "thudding" of her guns grows continuous. We are striking in to the assistance of our scouting cruiser.

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Acting in accordance with instructions from the Lords Commissioners, we have substituted other illustrations for those more recent ships previously chosen to represent the Great War by sea.

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