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PART 10: June 10, 1915  

Letterstime - Ein Geleitzug - Meeting Engagements, Part XXIX

(Late Afternoon and Evening, June 21, 1915)

---- New York Times (Exclusive to the Times)

1137 Entente Prisoners!
Germans Provide List to Red Cross

"... including the commanding officers of HMAS Sydney, HMAS Melbourne, and HMS Val's Tract. The complete list can be found on A-12, 'Red Cross List.'

"When asked about the fate of the Allied commander, Vice-Admiral Patey, German Commodore von Hoban stated that the list that they had provided included all those who had been rescued by German forces after the battle. The Times contacted the embassies of France and Great Britain, but officials at both embassies declined to comment, as did the senior Entente officer at the hospital. The Canadian embassy released an official statement (complete text on A-14, "Canada") thanking the officers and men of the United States Navy and Coast Guard for their 'efforts in rescuing 228 officers and men following the tragic loss of HMCS Niobe,' sunk by German warships in the great sea battle off New York on June 18. It should be noted that the Red Cross list contains another 168 names identified as crewmen from Niobe, leaving the number of her crew that remain unaccounted for at 315."

---- Wilhelmshaven

The Baron's visit had made it clear that Jeff Lantz had pleased his boss. Jeff, however, had more than one of those.


"Yes," Jeff admitted bravely enough. "Report at noon at ...."

"You were to have 30 days!" She blinked, and blinked again. Rapidly.

"Liebchen ...." The sparkle that was not dew grabbed at him. He extended his good arm to touch the affected cheek.

"You were to have 30 days!"

"It's not Stettin. It's just a desk job. I'm not going anywhere. Promise."

He clasped her then, incongruously pleased at just how he tightly he could do so without much discomfort at all. He eased up a hand to stroke the bright blonde tresses that had so caught his eye not so many years ago.

"We were to have 30 days." Jeff noted the slight but significant wording change, the muting of tone.

"We still will, Liebchen. We still will."

"But why? Why?"

"HE came - personally! - kicked everybody out and asked me." Jeff did not need to identify who "HE" was. "Told me he needed me. ME!"

"Ich auch," she protested into his chest, blushing slightly at the double entendre. Then she remembered again that she'd almost lost him, and moved to eliminate the ambiguity.

---- New York Times (others similar)

Greek Salamis Sails For Philadelphia
Great Crowd Gives Battleship Greater Send Off

"... represents a basic change in the balance of power in the Mediterranean. 'Greece,' His Excellency stated, 'is poised and ready to return to her rightful place in the world family of nations as .... It may be hard for Americans to truly understand what Salamis represents to the people of Greece,' he added, 'but Salamis is more than simply a modern warship. No, she is a pivotal and profound symbol. Consider, for example, the very origin of her name ....' "

---- Bridge of ACR Montana, course 220, speed 6 knots

Once their Greek charge had gotten searoom, she'd slowed to the present bell. Captain Peace did not profess to understand their reasoning, though they had spent some of the time speculating on the matter. His XO, CDR Campbell, had opined that the Greeks may had a deadline to meet of some sort and, once they'd gotten back to near the Three Mile Limit, that they'd met it. As for the deadline itself, and why, well, he had nothing to offer on that. Nor, it seemed, did any of them.

In fact, Peace found himself so frustrated over the matter that he struggled to resist chewing on his pipestem. Just a handful of days ago, he'd felt much the same way. Then, there'd been no logical reason for the Germans to proceed as they had with Strassburg. It had taken the timely arrival of a force with not less than two battlecruisers - a bizarre turn of events, indeed - to have it make any sense at all, and Peace was still not sure that it did.

"There is still a piece missing from this puzzle, XO," Peace commented. "Maybe more than one." It was maddening; that's what it was. Yet, at the same time, invigorating.

"Sir," it was LT Green, "the plot puts them right at the channel mouth one hour before dawn." Just as you'd predicted, Captain, Green did not add.

"Very well," Peace replied. No mystery there. A night transit up the channel would be - especially for an incomplete vessel such as Salamis most clearly was - patently imprudent, so an hour before dawn would enable Salamis to dock about as early as she could reasonably expect. Was that it? Or could there be something important about being at the Delaware bay entrance itself at that specific time?

He scratched his head absently, then reached for his pouch. They weren't hiding anything, that was for sure. Whatever it might be, the Greeks and Germans had gone to great lengths to ensure a total absence of secrecy over this transit. If it was not secrecy, could there be something that the Greeks, or perhaps the Germans, wanted the USN to see there at that time? Could it be that they wanted someone to see the USN there at that point?

---- New York Times (others similar)

Third German Warship Docks
Turns Over 144 More British Wounded

"Tempers appeared somewhat frayed today after the German light cruiser Kolberg docked at the HAPAG Terminal berth that, just moments before, had been vacated by the German cruiser Rostock. Conspicuous on her topsides were 144 more Allied prisoners of war that were promptly marched off and turned over to US Naval authorities. The men were immediately whisked away by waiting ambulances, indicating that their arrival had been expected. According to the Red Cross List (see related story at A-12), even with the addition of those handed over today, it would appear that the great majority of Entente prisoners remain prisoners aboard the German squadron reportedly 50 miles off shore.

"Today's transfer of Entente wounded took place in a far less orderly handover fashion than American authorities apparently had planned. As the German Kolberg was approaching her HAPAG Terminal berth, the Greek dreadnought Salamis was making her grand departure one berth over (see A-1, Salamis). Greek officials and several bus loads of well-wishers ...."

---- New York base hospital

Captain Theargus - "The Senior Entente Officer" - was standing out in the open air at the entrance, awaiting the return of the ambulances with the remaining two score Allied wounded. Truth be told, there had been few enough among the first century or so with wounds that were more than superficial, and the rest were said to be fitter still. Neither he nor any of the others were complaining at the label, however, as soft Yank hospital beds bettered hard Hun battlecruiser decks by no minor margin.

As he watched the return convoy and the escort force of police or military vehicles begin to wind their way slowly up the access road, he could not help but note the arrival of a single military car. Initially, he assigned it no significance. Even when it pulled up right beside him at the entrance, he gave it but little notice. Then the front doors both opened and the Ensign who came out of the passenger's seat hastened to open the rear door. The auto sported no distinguishing placard nor a senior officer's pennant, so that seemed an odd duty for an officer, but it was really the look that the Yank gave him that tipped him off.

The youngster had registered surprise (no problem there) and more than a bit of discomfort at the presence of Theargus, even dismay. Now, the Aussie captain did not recognize the Yank and, thus, definitely doubted that the Yank knew HIM. Thus, though there were definitely some with good reason to react like that, he'd hardly expect this Yank to be among them. As he ran his fingers absently through his red beard, Theargus decided that it had been his attire that had provoked the reaction, for the Aussie was dressed precisely as he'd dearly wished to have been a few hours earlier when he'd faced dame battle axe: in a proper uniform, courtesy of chancellory officialdom.

And so it came as no surprise - he'd already straightened his stance - when a German naval officer emerged, and then another. After all, the Germans had done something not too dissimilar to him but three days before.

It had all the makings of a really awkward moment, the tableau did. The Aussie bulked large in the entranceway, sling or no sling. The slighter, slender Kapitäleutnant turned slowly from the auto to face the other squarely. Time seemed to slow. Ensign Kevin Jones swallowed, convulsively, knowing full well that whatever was about to transpire would be blamed on him, somehow. On the far side of the car, LT Lionel opened his mouth as if to speak only to close it again, and then wince at the slight but audible "click" that resulted. Meanwhile, the enlisted driver dipped his head slightly to better see out through the passenger side windows, his face displaying the frank and open curiosity of the not responsible.

"Good day, Kapitän," Dahm intoned, near the very limit of his English vocabulary. As he spoke, he came to attention and saluted the senior officer. With the Aussie's right arm in the sling, Dahm did not hold the salute.

"Guten Tag, Kapitäleutnant," replied Theargus, nodding in tempo anyway, his face deadpan.

"Good afternoon, Captain," Lionel said. Taking his cue from Dahm, he saluted as he came around the car.

"Lieutenant," answered Theargus, nodding again.

"Sir," said Jones, adding to the rendered salutes total.


Without further ado, the trio went on into the hospital, leaving the Aussie exchanging looks with the spectating driver. After a moment, the enlisted man gave the foreign officer a shrug and put the car in gear. Theargus, his collarbone burning like hell, did not return the shrug, especially since it had seemed to be one of disappointment. Instead, he turned to be better in view of his countrymen, the two-score within the ambulances even then turning into the circle a dozen yards distant.

---- Philadelphia Inquirer

German Liners Depart!
Fanfare includes three bands

"Long a fixture of the skyline, the German liner Vaterland cast off at noon today with a series of thunderous blasts from her great steam whistle, and headed down the channel and out to sea. Nor was she alone. Leaving with her were the three other newly-arrived liners, sister-ship Imperator, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and Kronprinz Wilhelm. They were seen off by a great host of well wishers and officials, including ...."

" 'We just read about them going to be leaving at noon and all,' said Mr. John Grant of Hoboken, New Jersey, 'so I packed up the missus and kids and all and came to watch. Wouldn't have missed it for the world! Them whistles scared little Susie at first, but the rest of my brood said it was more fun than the circus.' "

---- Table Three, Imperator, Grand Ballroom

There were a total of eight at the table, six men and two ladies. Accepting the normal, mixed reactions to their professions, the two reporters and the other men sat down once the ladies had been seated. The folk were not among those they had seen aboard during the transit from New York, so the pair both had reached the tentative conclusion that they had boarded in Philadelphia. Indeed, the greater reaction to Blue's affiliation (Philadelphia Inquirer) over Max's (Sacramento-Union Times and New York Times) seemed to offer support for their conjecture.

"... and when they threw in a cruise - in first class! - to boot for me and the wife, both, well, let me tell you that was a deal I just couldn't pass up ...."

"But," began Max, "aren't you concerned about the risks?"

"Risks? What risks?"

"Good evening, ladies, gentlemen," interrupted their waiter gently. "Have you decided?"

"Dear?" The lady nodded demurely and pointed at a selection.

"Ah, my wife will have the ...."

Blue looked about the room as Hans took their orders. The head table was also seated but, though two waiters stood nearby, neither had yet approached. Instead, both remained a few steps distant, their attention clearly on Herr Ballin, who was speaking. Blue could not help but smile; obviously the HAPAG servers knew whose ship this was. Next, his eyes were drawn to what would have been just a minor fidget by anyone with a form less majestic than Hadi's. This almost drew out another smile; the Ottoman wanted to eat but was trying mightily to face the delay with forbearance. A flicker of motion of the Countess' rich red tresses caught his eye as she turned to make some aside to the young lady seemingly under her wing. He gasped!


---- New York Times

"... reported that the number of patients is threatening to overwhelm both staff and facilities. Care has not suffered, Dr, O'Brien asserted, thanks, to a great extent, to the remarkable response from the community. "It is a testament to the inherent generosity of the American people, and New Yorkers in particular," Dr. O'Brien stated, "that so many have come forward to give so selflessly of their time and energy ...."

---- New York base hospital

Dahm felt thoroughly ashamed now at his earlier reservations. His men, and all the German wounded here, had been so visibly grateful to see him, and to hear news of their ships, their shipmates. The doctor had spoken German and had provided him a small store of analgesics even as he had rewrapped his torso in a much more comfortable pattern. Better, the doctor had demonstrated the method and had taken the time to assure the both of them that Dahm could reproduce it himself.

So, yes, the time had been well spent. Dahm would admit that now, but Kolberg .... He restrained his features as he and LT Lionel followed ENS Kevin Jones through the corridor labyrinth back out of this place. Yes, his (new) command was in the eminently capable hands of the Kommodore, but it was HIS command. And he was not aboard her. Neither was his acting-XO, LT Peter David Diele.

With his mind thus occupied, Dahm had paid no attention to their route when the dull roar brought him back to the there and now. The passageway had an unfamiliar look. From the expression on the face of their American guide, it may have been unfamiliar to him, as well. Certainly, the tableau they came upon was an unexpected one for him, as well as the two Germans.

The arrival of another 144 shipmates just liberated from captivity had roused the Allied patients, filling them with joy, energy, and noise. There already had been too many for any one ward, and now they filled almost an entire wing. The staff had endeavored to keep the new arrivals separate for the decreed 24 hour period as before, but the American hospital was not a German battlecruiser. And the enforcers were not grim Huns with rifles, but pretty young women in pink-striped skirts.

Well, most of them.

Captain Theargus had settled two wards and was enroute to a third when he heard the commotion building ahead of him. His slung arm, various stitches, and a nagging limp slowed him and the women pushing tea caddies or whatever about in the halls hampered him even more. As he finally neared the open double doors from which the din originated, he noted a trio of somewhat familiar bystanders, staring slack-jawed at what transpired within. A few more steps and he became all too well aware of what so transfixed them. He slowed his pace and eased up beside them, shaking his head slightly with a sigh.

"Ach, du lieber Himmel," said Theargus, in a fit of whimsy.

Lionel flinched, though more at a vast and threatening gesture within, than the Aussie's words at his ear.

Dahm flicked his eyes away from the ongoing rampage.

"Good Gott Almighty," he replied, with perhaps a tiny crinkling at the corners of his eyes.

" 'Good Gott,' indeed," the Aussie agreed, and then, with a small but distinct nod, he bravely sortied into the ward to confront Dame Terrilyn once again. At least, he consoled himself, this time he wore more than a borrowed bath robe.

by Jim

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