CORONEL AND THE FALKLANDS
October, November and December, 19 14
Thus came to an end the German cruiser warfare in the outer seas. With the exception of the Karlsruhe, of which nothing had been heard for some time and which we now know was sunk by an internal explosion on November 4, and the Dresden soon to be hunted down, no German ships of war remained on any of the oceans of the world. It had taken four months from the beginning of the war to achieve this result. Its consequences were far-reaching, and affected simultaneously our position in every part of the globe. The strain was everywhere relaxed. All our enterprises, whether of war or commerce, proceeded in every theatre without the slightest hindrance.
WITH FISHER AT THE ADMIRALTY
November and December, 19 14
'. . . . that pale, that white-faced shore,
whose foot spurns back the ocean's roaring tides
That water-walled bulwark, still secure
And confident from foreign purposes.'
King John. Act II, Sc.i.
To add to the distractions of this hard month of November, 19 14, an invasion scare took a firm hold of the military and naval authorities. It was argued by the War Office that the lull on the fighting fronts would enable the Germans to spare large numbers of good troops — 250,000 if necessary — for the invasion of Great Britain. Lord Kitchener directed all defensive preparations to be made, and Lord Fisher threw himself into the task with gusto. Although, as the reader is aware, I was sceptical on this subject, I felt that the precautions were justifiable, and would at any rate add interest to the life of our coast and Home defence forces. I therefore allowed myself to succumb to the suppressed excitement which grew throughout the highest circles, and did my utmost to aid and speed our preparations.