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[Page 221]

[Text incorporates handwritten corrections by E.A.B.]
they kept up their incessant vigil on the Straits & coast & islands. At times when issuing from under the lea of Tenedos where they sought some shelter they
would steam to the entrance in a howling storm which blotted everything from view a few hounderd yards away. Once in the Channel the four knot current and the east wind would sweep down with such force that they could only maintain their position by steaming ten knots ahead such was the force of the combined elements. Lying in the trough of the waves these small craft would roll and plunge until even the most experienced seamen became sick from sheer exhaustion.

The decks were continously swept by great seas, no one on board could keep dry, and at times the galley fires could not be kept alight. The bitter cold frequently covered the decks and bridge with sheetings of ice and froze stiff the oil skins of the crew. Nevertheless inspite of these awful conditions the Destroyer Flotillas and their gallant crews never for a moment relaxed their grip on the Eastern Mediterranean and on the Dardanelles. Never even in the old days before Brest and Toulon did our officers and men show greater determination or suffer greater hardships.

Last winter our Flotillas were inadequate in numbers and it was impossible to relieve the boats from time to time and send them to sheltered ports. With the coming of the Spring the material conditions somewhat improved with the return of fine weather and bright sunshine, but the work of the Destroyers became harder with the commencement of active operations against the Dardanelles. On February I9th our Fleet which had gradually assembled commenced the bombardment of the forts. No sooner had these outer works been destroyed than the Destroyers and Trawlers moved in and

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