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THE NAVAL REVIEW., Issue 8024, 28 September 1889, Supplement
THE NAVAL REVIEW.
[From Our Special Reporter,]
London, August 10.
“Kaiserwetter,” says the German w hen he wants to express what we call “ Queen’s weather,” and “Kaiserwetter' 1 it was on the Friday morning when the German Emperor reviewed the British fleets in the Solent. In the morning the weather was splendid—a trifle fresh, but all the better for that. In the afternoon a stronger breeze sprang up, but it only served to blow out more bravely the gay show of bunting with which every ship was decked. The Prince of Wales left Portsmouth harbor in the Royal yacht Osborne about half-past two, and proceeded in the direction of the Nab lightship, awaiting there the arrival of the Prince’s nephew, the Emperor of Germany. The Osborne was accompanied by the Trinity yacht Galatea, and by Port Admiral Sir Edward Commerell in the Fire Queen ; but by a special order no notice was taken of His Royal Highness as he steamed along past Southsea beach, which was crowded with spectators. The men-of-war had now slowly swung round on their moorings with the tide until they all headed to the westward, At half-past four a signal was given from the Howe, and each ship hoisted the German ensign at the maintop, for the Imperial squadron had just begun to draw in sight. A seemingly endless confusion of signal flags a few moments later again distinguished the Howe, and the result was that the ships in line to the westward of the Admiral all held themselves in readiness to be manned, and to fire salutes on a given signal. Twenty minutes later the saluting began, and the ships actually were manned. I got a splendid view of the German fleet as it entered the anchorage, for although there was a good deal of smoke, the wind obligingly carried it away, and thus allowed us to see, The Trinity yacht and the afore-mentioned Galatea came first, slowly clearing the way, for the course was crowded to an almost dangerous degree by the yachts and small boats of the locality. The Osborne and the German ship of war, the Hohenzollern, with the Emperor on board, came next. Between the two vessels was an interloping steamer, apparently hailing from the Thames. I could clearly see the Emperor on the bridge of his yacht, with his glass constantly to his eyes. Behind him stood Captain Von Arnim, with a chart of the position of the ships in his hands. To him the Emperor frequently referred, sometimes without removing his glass. The only other occupant of ths bridge was an officer who resembled Count Herbert Bismarck, but who was in naval uniform. After the Hohenzollern there followed in order the ironclads Baden, Oldenburg, and Sachsen, the deck.protected cruiser Irene, the ironclads Kaiser, Preussen, Deutschland, and Friedrich dei Grosse ; and in a second column line ahead, abreast of the first, the despatch vessel’s yacht, Lieten, and Greif, On the bridge of the Irene her captain (Prince Henry of Prussia) was to be seen eagerly examining the powerful fleet which he was passing. The procession moved so slowly that one had plenty of time to mark the details of each ship. The German vessels looked very smart, and were evidently heavily manned; but they seemed showier than, and not so useful as, the majority of ours. The best were undoubtedly the Baden (flagship of Rear-admiral Von Kail) and the Irene. The German ships burnt a coal which produced volumes of brownish-black smoke of the most pungent odor. Our vessels burn only Welsh coal, which is practically smokeless, and so I was able fully to appreciate how valuable Welsh coal might be in war time. The first thing one saw of the German fleet was its smoke. The squadron passed slowly on to its moorings in Osborne Bay, where it saluted the Queen. After the salute the line of vessels began to move slowly up towards Portsmouth, and the English fleet arrived at Osborne Bay, and almost at the foot of the lawn the Hoherss Hern and the other vessels came to a halt, in order that the Prince of Wales might go on board the German yacht and give his Imperial guest a personal greeting. After a brief interval the Royal party landed at the Trinity pier and drove to Osborne House. On the arrival of the Emperor the Queen, with Princess Beatrice, descended the steps and kissed her grandson on each cheek, welcoming him to England. A procession, including all the royalties, formed, and subsequently a reception took place. There was a ball in the evening at Foxton Barracks, to which the German officers were invited. The night closed with sounds of mirth and enjoyment, but the morning well, it was simply horrible. A thick, soupy fog hung over everything. The rain came down in torrents, and the sea was a perfect churning, foam? ing mass of water. The Admiral was equal to the occasion, There was a short hurried conference with the Queen, and the review was postponed till Monday. Crowds of people, however, had come down from London and various parts of the country, and those who did not go back spent a miserable day in Portsmouth. The Emperor went through a sort of informal and abortive attempt at a private inspection of some of the ships, but hurried away to Osborne in the middle of it, pud disappointed several of the officers and men of the others, who were waiting to receive him, but were not even informed by signal that he had abandoped the intention of going on board. Sunday was a fine day, compensating in beautiful weather for the awful storminess of the previous day. The only interesting incident of the day was the inspection of the Immortality by the German Emperor, who made a careful and minute inspection of her. Just as he was paying the Australia the Immortality’s
sister ship signalled for assistance. Two steam tugs were sent her, and it was discovered that she had broken her main feed shaft, and had to ho towed into the dockyard for repairs. The disappointment of Saturday was to a certain extent compensated for on Monday, though the weather was still by no means all that could be desired. A strong wind still blew from the S.W., and there was enough sea on to seriously discompose the minds and stomachs of all but the seasoned sailor. As, however, the German Emperor may be included in this category, he was enabled to fulfil his part of the brilliant function to the satisfaction of all parties concerned, and even with enjoyment apparently to himself. Although the review was somewhat curtailed, it was a sight well worth seeing aud remembering for a lifetime. Indeed, the coup d’cell, as the Royal yacht, preceded and followed by her five consorts, left Osborne Bay and slowly steamed between the lines of mighty battle ships, could not have been surpassed. The Victoria and Albert, with the Imperial and Royal party on board, was piloted by the Admiralty yacht Galatea, and followed by the Emperor’s yacht Hohenzollern, the Alberta, Elfin, and Enchantress. The Emperor stood on the bridge in the full uniform of his newlyaccjuired rank as Admiral of the British fleet, and wearing the Ribbon of the Garter. Behind him were the Prince of Wales, Prince Henry of Prussia, and a brilliant staff. After steaming slowly down the fivemile length of battle-ships, and back again between the outer line and the shore of the Isle of Wight, tho Royal yachts finally anchored opposite the Howe, the flagship of Admiral Sir E. Commerell, V.C., and a levde of the various admirals and captains of the fleet was held on board the Victoria and Albert. The Emperor expressed himself as extremely gratified with all that he had seen, and charmed everyone by his cordial manner, as well as by the keea appreciation he showed of naval affairs. He specially singled out Captain Domville, of the Howe, for as the gallant captain went on to the gangway after the reception, he (the Emperor) stepped up to him and shook hands, with a hearty “ Goodbye, captain.” This is the same officer whose glove he picked up, and handed to him with a smile and a bow, when the captain, in the embarrassment of his first introduction to the Emperor on board the flagship on Sunday, dropped it on the deck. After the reception the procession of royal yachts returned to Osborne Bay, amid a second thunderous salute, about half-past six. The fleet weighed anchor on Tuesday, and separated for the naval manoeuvres. The comments of the Continental Press show that the European Powers are greatly impressed by the recent unparalleled display of England’s naval forces.
THE NAVAL REVIEW., Issue 8024, 28 September 1889, Supplement
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