My Year of the War eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 443 pages of information about My Year of the War.
is no linear promotion indulgent to mediocrity and inferiority which are satisfied to keep step and harassing to those whom nature and application meant to lead.  Armchairs and retirement for those whose inclinations run that way; the captain’s bridge for those who are fit to command.  Officers’ records are the criterion when superiors come to making promotions.  But does not outside influence play a part? you ask.  If professional conscience is not enough to prevent this, another thing appears to be:  that the British nation lives or dies with its navy.  Besides, the British public has said to all and sundry outsiders:  “Hands off the navy!” All honour to the British public, much criticized and often most displeased with its servants and itself, for keeping its eye on that canvas square of cloth!  The language on board was the same as on our ships; the technical phraseology practically the same; we had inherited British traditions.  But a man from Kansas and a man from Dorset live far apart.  If they have a good deal in common they rarely meet to learn that they have.  Our seamen do meet British seamen and share a fraternity which is more than that of the sea.  Close one’s eyes to the difference in uniform, discount the difference in accent, and one imagined that he might be with our North Atlantic fleet.

The same sort of shop talk and banter in the wardroom, which trims and polishes human edges; the same fellowship of a world apart.  Securely ready the British fleet waits.  Enough drill and not too much; occasional visits between ships; books and newspapers and a lighthearted relaxation of scattered conversation in the mess.  One wardroom had a thirty-five-second record for getting past all the pitfalls in the popular “Silver Bullet” game, if I remember correctly.

XXXII Hunting The Submarine

Seaplanes cut practice circles over the fleet and then flew away on their errands, to be lost in the sky beyond the harbour entrance.  With their floats, they were like ducks when they came to rest on the water, sturdy and a little clumsy looking compared to those hawks the army planes, soaring to higher altitudes.

The hawk had a broad, level field for its roost; the duck, bobbing with the waves after it came down, had its wings folded as became a bird at rest, after its engines stopped, and, a dead thing, was lifted on board its floating home with a crane, as cargo is swung into the hold.

On shipboard there must be shipshapeness; and that capacious, one-time popular Atlantic liner had undergone changes to prepare it for its mothering part, with platforms in place of the promenades where people had lounged during the voyage and bombs in place of deck-quoits and dining-saloons turned into workshops.  Of course, one was shown the different sizes and types of bombs.  Aviators exhibit them with the pride of a collector showing his porcelains.  Every time they seem to me to have grown larger and more diabolical.  Where will aerial progress end?  Will the next war be fought by forces that dive and fly like fishes and birds?

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My Year of the War from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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