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The Auxiliary Fleet at Patrol-Work: A Special Drawing

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I t y. — i$i A UNIT OF A VALST NEW FLEET WifICH CAXE INTO BEING WITH THU WAH: A BRITISH PATROL BOAT ABOUT TO QUESTION A SHIP.


Just as a great British Army has been created during the war, so a vast new Fleet has come into being in the form of hundreds of auxiliary ships engaged in patrolling, mnne-sweeping, submarine-chasing, and generally keeping open the gangways of ocean commerce. ” The sea-borne traffic,” writes Mr. Kipling, in his ” Fringes of the Fleet,” ” must continue, and ‘that is being looked after by the lineal descendants of the crews of the long extinct cutters and stoops, and gun-brigs. The hour struck and they reappeared, to the tune of fifty thousand odd men in more than two thousand ‘hips, of which I have seen a few hundred. Words of command may have changed


a little, the tools ae certainly more complex, but the spirit of the sew ews who come to the old job is utterly unchanged. It is the same fierce, hard-living, heavy- handed, very cunning service out of which the Navy as we know it to-day was boren. It is called indifferently the Trawler and Auxiliary Fleet . . . When traffic comes up Channel it must be examined for contraband and other things; and the examining tugs lie out in a blaze of light to remind ships of this. Months ago, when the war was young, the tugs did not know what to look for spedially. Now they do.” Our drawing shows a British patrol-boat preparing to question a suspicious vessel.


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