The Dover Patrol, which brought together an assortment of vessels ranging from the modern to the antique and included cruisers, monitors, destroyers, trawlers, drifters, yachts and airships, was commanded by a series of radical and polarising personalities and increasingly manned by citizen volunteers. Between 1914 and 1918 the men of the Patrol sought to shut down German access to the Atlantic via the narrows of the English Channel, with the goal of preventing German bound trade going in and U-boats, commerce raiders and warships going out. Their story has rarely been told, but it was the longest, and probably the most arduous, continuous naval campaign of the war, demanding much sacrifice of ships and men. Using first-hand accounts of the participants, the book examines the wide-ranging exploits of the Dover Patrol – from shore bombardment, barrage building and maintenance, anti-submarine work and escort duties to the protection of troops and supplies to the Western Front and ship-to-ship engagements with German forces. It also charts the in-fighting at the Admiralty which led to two changes of command and examines the personalities of the men involved. The author paints a vivid picture of a vital and little known part of the war at sea, bringing its exploits and challenges to life and culminating with the infamous Zeebrugge and Ostend raids.
SECURING THE NARROW SEA The Dover Patrol 1914-1918
The Dover Patrol was a Royal Navy command of the First World War, notable for its involvement in the Zeebrugge Raid on 22 April 1918. It formed a separate unit of the Royal Navy based at Dover and Dunkirk for the duration of the First World War. Its primary task was to prevent enemy German shipping—chiefly submarines—from entering the English Channel en route to the Atlantic Ocean.