Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Opening Salvo of the Naval War

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The naval gun and turret above, shown in transit between the Imperial War Museum and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, fired the first shot in anger at sea in the Great War. It is a 4-inch Mk. IV piece capable of firing a 32-lb. shell over five miles. On 4 August 1914 it was mounted on the destroyer RMS Lance, part of a patrol off the Dutch coast that came across the German minesweeper Königin Luise. Failing to escape the speedier vessels, the German ship was scuttled by the crew. However, the next day, a mine the Königin Luise had laid sank the cruiser RMS Amphion, the first British ship to be sunk in the Great War. The war at sea was off and running.

Thanks to Charles Bogart of the Coastal Defense Study Group
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