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Royal Navy

Watercolor of Royal Navy motor launch ML148, by LHS, 1918. The motor launch was a small vessel designed for harbor defense and anti-submarine work. The Elco company built 580 between 1915 and 1918 in three series of different lengths: 1 to 50 (75 ft.), 51 to 550 (86 ft.), and 551 to 580 (80 ft.). The original armament of a 13 pound cannon was later replaced by three depth charges. Signed: L.H.S. 18

Watercolor of Royal Navy motor launch ML148, by LHS, 1918. The motor launch was a small vessel designed for harbor defense and anti-submarine work. The Elco company built 580 between 1915 and 1918 in three series of different lengths: 1 to 50 (75 ft.), 51 to 550 (86 ft.), and 551 to 580 (80 ft.). The original armament of a 13 pound cannon was later replaced by three depth charges. Signed: L.H.S. 18

Image text

Signed: L.H.S. 18

On the launch bow: ML148

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The British Royal Navy had been on maneuvers in the North Sea when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, and stayed at sea rather than returning to port, effectively controlling the North Sea, and barring access to the German High Seas Fleet. With a weaker surface fleet, Germany's threat to Britain's navy and control of the sea was dramatically demonstrated on September 22, 1914, when German submarine U-9 sank three British armored cruisers. The British fleet retired, virtually abandoning the North Sea, allowing German ships to shell towns on the English coast.

Great Britain declared the entire North Sea a military zone as of November 5, 1914, and began implementing a naval blockade of Germany, claiming the right to search neutral ships. Neutral nations such as Netherlands and Sweden, but especially the United States, objected, particularly when Allied ships diverted those of neutral nations to port, rather than searching them on the high seas as international law required. After Germany laid mines around the British Isles, Britain did the same in the North Sea. Britain's diversions became easier to impose when it could offer in return the provision of safe passage along the English coast.

Britain mined and patrolled the English Channel and the northern end of the North Sea, and imposed an increasingly restrictive blockade, stopping and boarding ships, originally for military supplies, but increasingly for anything that could have a military use, which, of course, then as now, covers nearly everything.

Organizations within Royal Navy (1)

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Grand Fleet