1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dogger Bank

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DOGGER BANK, an extensive shoal in the North Sea, about 60 m. E. of the coast of Northumberland, England. Over its most elevated parts there is a depth of only about six fathoms, but the depth is generally from ten to twenty fathoms. It is well known as a fishing ground. The origin of the name is obscure; but the middle Dutch dogger signifies a trawling vessel, and was formerly applied generally to the two-masted type of vessel employed in the North Sea fisheries, and also to their crews (doggermen) and the fish taken (dogger-fish). Off the south end of the bank an engagement took place between English and Dutch fleets in 1781. On the night of the 21st of October 1904 during the Russo-Japanese War, some British trawlers of the Hull fishing fleet were fired upon by vessels of the Russian Baltic fleet under Admiral Rozhdestvensky on its voyage to the Far East, one trawler being sunk, other boats injured, two men killed and six wounded. This incident created an acute crisis in the relations between Russia and England for several days, the Russian version being that they had seen Japanese torpedo-boats, but on the 28th Mr Balfour, the English prime minister, announced that the tsar had expressed regret and that an international commission would investigate the facts with a view to the punishment of any responsible parties. The terms were settled on 25th November, the commission being composed of five officers (British, Russian, American and French, and one selected by them), to meet in Paris. On the 22nd of December the four original members, Vice-admiral Sir Lewis Beaumont, Vice-admiral Kaznakov (afterwards replaced by Vice-admiral Dubassov), Rear-admiral Davis and Vice-admiral Fournier, met and chose Admiral Baron von Spaun (Austria-Hungary) as the fifth. Their report was issued on the 25th of February 1905. While recognizing that the information received as to a possible attack led the admiral to mistake the trawlers for the enemy, the majority of the commissioners held Rozhdestvensky responsible for the firing and its results, and “being of opinion that there were no torpedo-boats either among the trawlers nor anywhere near” concluded that “the opening of fire was not justifiable,” though they absolved him and his squadron from discredit either to their “military qualities” or their “humanity.” The affair ended in compensation being paid by the Russian government.