Page 3597


had issued an official statement to that

effect. The Allies indignantly denied the

charge, and contended that it was evidently

made "to forestall neutral and possibly

domestic criticism." They asserted, with

truth, that it was merely another illustration of the German "frightfulness" and

disregard of the laws of civilization.

The sinking of, the Lusitania, which

came about a fortnight after the inauguration of chlorine gas warfare at Ypres,

helped to rouse the slow-going, phlegmatic Briton from his torpor. Yet repeated Zeppelin horrors, defeat at the

Dardanelles, and numerous other disasters

were to be required before the people

were fully awakened to the supreme

crisis-before they realized that this was

not an ordinary war but one into which

they must throw every pound of strength

and ounce of fighting blood in the whole

of their vast Empire.

Two aerial episodes of the period of the

second battle of Ypres are worthy of record.

On April 26th, British airmen bombarded

the German communications and "the

raid on Courtrai (station) unfortunately

cost the nation a very gallant life, but

it will live as one of the most heroic episodes

of the war," said the official "Eyewitness."

"The airman started on the enterprise

alone in a biplane. On arrival at Courtrai

he glided down to a height of 300 feet and

dropped a large bomb on the railway

junction. While he did this he was the

target of hundreds of rifles, of machine

guns, and of anti-aircraft armament, and

was severely wounded in the thigh. Though

he might have saved his life by at once

coming down in the enemy's lines, he

decided to save his machine at all costs,

and made for the British lines. Descending

to a height of only 100 feet in order to

increase his speed, he continued to fly

and was again wounded, this time mortally.

He still flew on, however, and without

coming down at the nearest of our aerodromes went all the way back to his own

base, where he executed a perfect landing

and made his report. He died in the

hospital not long afterward." The official

report did not give this officer's name, but

the obituary columns of the London Times

of April 30 contained the following notice

under "Died of Wounds:"

"Rhodes-Moorhouse.-On Tuesday, the

27th of April, of wounds received while

dropping bombs on Courtrai the day

before, William Barnard Rhodes

Rhodes-Moorhouse, Second Lieutenant,

Royal Flying Corps, aged 27, dear elder

son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Moorhouse

of Parnham House, Dorset, and most loved

husband of Linda Rhodes-Moorhouse."

On the 29th, near Wytschaete, a British

aviator met a German aviator high up

in the air. The Briton fired a whole belt

of ammunition from his machine gun.

The Taube suddenly swerved, righted

itself for a moment, and then, like a

wounded bird, fell tumbling from a height

of thousands of feet straight to the ground.

Lack of ammunition, particularly of

high explosive shells, condemned the British and French on the Western Front to

comparative inaction during the spring

and summer of 1915. Furthermore, Kitchener's new army was not yet ready for

really large tasks, and many months

must elapse before Great Britain could

really throw her whole weight into the war.

The situation was the more serious because

the Germans were enabled to hold the

western lines with a part of their forces,

and to employ vast numbers against the

Russians. The reconquest of Galicia, the

over-running of Poland, and all the great

disasters that befell the Russian armies

in the spring and summer of 1915 were

an indirect result of British military


The British facilities for munition work

were still limited, and even those which

existed had not been employed to the

best purpose. The War Office had failed

to realize the importance of high explosive

shells in the new trench warfare and had

provided too large a proportion of shrapnel,

which was comparatively useless against

troops who were "dug in." This mistake,

a quarrel between Lord Fisher and Winston Churchill in the Admiralty over the

Dardanelles expedition, and various other

causes combined late in May to bring