National Geographic : 1919 Feb
106 THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE o the men are now sent to the battery, making a little stir for the moment. Then quiet falls again. Small patrol S craft can be dimly seen here and there on watch against danger for us. Fifteen minutes more and we see S long, low forms slinking against the dark background of North Sutor, at the entrance to Cromarty. These OO are the destroyers of our escort go ing out to form a screen. o Close following them we count z larger, higher moving shadows one, two, three, four, five ships all there! The heads of the two z columns now reach the buoy at the same minute and the whole squad ron stand on, without pause, to "* gether. Zo Four destroyers are ahead and another group on either side-12 in all. No signals, no lights. So we stand out Moray Firth, through the 4. one-mile-wide channel, which is E . swept every day for mines. c Toward 8 o'clock we pass Pent land Skerries, near John O'Groat's < house, and steer east, and then we see coming out from Scapa Flow four British light cruisers, four bat tle cruisers, with six destroyers, and ' o o last four battleships, with six more " destroyers. They edge off to the southward and eastward, fading aa into the morning haze, to keep be y tween us and possible harm from 04 Germany. It was a force of the ¢ UN same strength that supported our latest excursion in October. On the - second excursion, in June, our own w battleships, under Rear Admiral z- Rodman in the New York, were the "* support, making a proud sight for us, as the great squadron filed out and swept off toward an intercept d g0 ing station. - LAYING THE FIRST MINE Straight over to Norway we go, making Udsire Light toward mid - night; then off to the northwest @ ward. It is a busy night and early morning, keeping the ships in sta tion, going over the mines for final :ouches, watching on every hand for enemy submarines, and getting all 9 clear for our first large operation.