Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/147

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141
THE PERIL OF INVASION

the British nation will not be awakened by us—but only by a war upon them. They are at last awakened. I will never seek to recall the past, but my duty is to do my best for my King and my Country."

And so he died—cut off at a moment when he was claiming old friendship of those from India whom he knew so well. The night before he left England to go upon the journey to the front which proved fatal, he wrote me a letter—which I still preserve—deploring the atrocities which the Germans had committed in Belgium.

Ever since the war broke out we have heard of great concentration of troops, and ships intended to carry them, at Wilhelmshaven and Cuxhaven, a strong indication that something in the nature of a raid was in contemplation. It is quite possible that opinion, both in Germany and in this country, has been very profoundly modified by the fate which befell the last baby-killing expedition launched against our eastern coasts, which came to grief through the vigilance of Admiral Beatty. The terrible mauling sustained by the German squadron, the loss of the Blucher and the battering of the Seydlitz and Derffinger, may have done a good deal to drive home into the German mind the conviction that in the face of an unbeaten—and to Germany unbeatable—battle-fleet, the invasion of England would be, at the very best, an undertaking of the most hazardous nature which would be foredoomed to failure and in which the penalty would be annihilation.

Perhaps, however, the enemy are only waiting. We know from German writings that the plans for the invasion of England have usually postulated that our Fleet shall be, for the time being, absent