RMS Campania was a British ocean liner owned by the Cunard Steamship Line Shipping Company, built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company of Govan and launched on Thursday, 8 September 1892. Identical in dimensions and specifications to her sister ship RMS Lucania, Campania was the largest and fastest passenger liner afloat when she entered service in 1893, she crossed the Atlantic in less than six days, on her second voyage in 1893, she won the prestigious Blue Riband held by the Inman Liner SS City of Paris. The following year, Lucania won the Blue Riband and kept the title until 1898 - Campania being the marginally slower of the two sisters. Campania and Lucania were financed by the Admiralty; the deal was that Cunard would receive money from the Government in return for constructing vessels to admiralty specifications and on condition that the vessels go on the naval reserve list to serve as armed merchant cruisers when required by the government. The contracts were awarded to the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, which at the time was one of Britain’s biggest producers of warships.
Plans were soon drawn up for a large, twin-screw steamer powered by triple expansion engines, construction began in 1891, just 43 days after Cunards' order. Campania and Lucania had the largest triple expansion engines fitted to a Cunard ship the largest in the world at the time, rank amongst the largest of the type constructed, they represent the limits of development for this kind of technology, superseded a few years by turbines. The engines were 47 feet in height, reaching from the double-bottom floor of the engine room to the top of the superstructure - over five decks; each engine had five cylinders: each measuring 37 in in diameter. They operated with a stroke of 69 in. Steam was raised from twelve double-end Scotch boilers, each measuring 18 ft in diameter and having eight furnaces. There was one single-ended boiler for auxiliary machinery and one smaller donkey boiler. Boiler pressure was 165 psi, enabling the engines to produce 31,000 ihp, which translated to an average speed of 22 knots, a record speed of 23½ knots.
Normal operating speed for the engines was about 79 rpm. Each engine was located in a separate watertight engine compartment. In the case of a hull breach in that area, only one engine room would be flooded, the ship would still have use of the adjacent engine. In addition to this, Campania had 16 transverse water-tight compartments with water-tight doors that could be manually closed on command from the telegraph on the bridge, she could remain afloat with any two compartments flooded. During Campania's first trips across the Atlantic, hull vibration was noted to be a problem and sea-spray had been a nuisance to passengers in heavy seas; this led to design modifications being made to Lucania, still under construction. The modifications to Lucania proved to be successful, so Cunard decided to make similar modifications to Campania. Campania was returned to the builder's yard and her aft section was strengthened to reduce the vibration, her promenade deck was extended over the forward and aft well-decks.
The sides of the well-decks were enclosed by plating which extended some way along the lower promenade. While the aft well deck was left open from above, the forward well deck and gangway over it were dispensed with completely; the new forward design would be echoed 14 years in the design of the Lusitania and Mauretania. In their day and her sister offered the most luxurious first-class passenger accommodation available. According to maritime historian Basil Greenhill, in his book Merchant Steamships, the interiors of Campania and Lucania represented Victorian opulence at its peak — an expression of a confident and prosperous age that would never be quite repeated on any other ship. Greenhill remarked that vessels' interiors degenerated into "grandiose vulgarity, the classical syntax debased to mere jargon". All the first-class public rooms, the en-suite staterooms of the upper deck, were heavily paneled in oak, satinwood or mahogany. Velvet curtains hung aside the windows and portholes, while the furniture was richly upholstered in matching design.
The predominant style was Art Nouveau, although other styles were in use, such as "French Renaissance", applied to the forward first-class entrance hall, whilst the 1st class smoking room was in "Elizabethan style", comprising heavy oak panels surrounding the first open fireplace to be used aboard a passenger liner. The finest room in the vessels was the first class dining saloon, over 10' high and measuring 98' long by 63' wide. Over the central part of this room was a well that rose through three decks to a skylight, it was done in a style described as "modified Italian style", with the a coffered ceiling in white and gold, supported by ionic pillars. The paneled walls were done in Spanish mahogany, inlaid with ivory and richly carved with pilasters and decorations. In 1901, her sister Lucania became the first Cunard liner to be fitted with a Marconi wireless system, followed a few months by Campania. Shortly after these installations, the two ships made history by exchanging the first wireless-transmitted ice bulletin.
Campania earned one more distinction in the history of wireless communication in 1905, when she became the first liner to have permanent radio connection to coastal stations around the world. From that time on, a sh
James Clayton Barr
James Clayton Barr, CB was a Senior Commodore of the Cunard line. Barr first went to sea in 1877 and served in the South American trade. During the Boer War, he was in command of the Catalonia, requisitioned by the Admiralty and employed as a floating prison camp for captured Boers, he was Master of RMS Carmania from 1905 to 1914. In October 1913, while eastward bound, Barr responded to a distress call from the SS Volturno to pick up survivors. On 7 August 1914, Carmania was commissioned into the Royal Navy as an auxiliary cruiser under the command of Captain Noel Grant, R. N. Captain Barr was retained as navigator and advisor, with the acting rank of Commander, Royal Naval Reserve. On 14 September 1914, while at sea in the South Atlantic, Carmania encountered and sank the German auxiliary cruiser SMS Cap Trafalgar, an armed merchant cruiser of the Imperial German Navy under the command of Korvettenkapitän Julius Wirth; as a result of that successful action, Barr was subsequently invested as a Commander of the Order of the Bath and was Mentioned in Despatches.
Released from the navy on health grounds, he rejoined Cunard as a relief captain and in 1915 and 1916 served as master of the troopships RMS Mauretania and RMS Saxonia. By June 1916 he was master of the RMS Carpathia, he retired from Cunard that year, died on 29 March 1937, at the age of 82. James Clayton Barr grave at Flickr
RMS Queen Mary 2
RMS Queen Mary 2 is a transatlantic ocean liner. She is the largest ocean liner built, having served as the flagship of the Cunard Line since succeeding the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2004; as of 2019, Queen Mary 2 is the only passenger ship operating as an ocean liner. The new ship was named Queen Mary 2 by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 after the first RMS Queen Mary of 1936. Queen Mary was in turn named after Mary of Teck, consort of King George V. With the retirement of Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2008, Queen Mary 2 is the only transatlantic ocean liner in line service between Southampton and New York City, United States, operating for a part of each year; the ship is used for cruising, including an annual world cruise. She was designed by a team of British naval architects led by Stephen Payne, was constructed in France by Chantiers de l'Atlantique. At the time of her construction, Queen Mary 2 held the distinctions of being the longest, at 1,131.99 ft, largest, with a gross tonnage of 148,528 GT, passenger ship built.
She no longer held this distinction after the construction of Royal Caribbean International's 154,407 GT Freedom of the Seas in April 2006, but remains the largest ocean liner built. Queen Mary 2 was intended for routine crossings of the Atlantic Ocean, was therefore designed differently from many other passenger ships; the liner's final cost was $300,000 US per berth. Expenses were increased by the high quality of materials, having been designed as an ocean liner, she required 40% more steel than a standard cruise ship. Queen Mary 2 has a maximum speed of just over 30 knots and a cruising speed of 26 knots, much faster than a contemporary cruise ship. Instead of the diesel-electric configuration found on many ships, Queen Mary 2 uses integrated electric propulsion to achieve her top speed. Diesel engines, augmented by gas turbines, are used to generate electricity for electric motors for propulsion and for on-board use; some of Queen Mary 2's facilities include fifteen restaurants and bars, five swimming pools, a casino, a ballroom, a theatre, the first planetarium at sea.
Queen Mary 2 is the flagship of Cunard Line. The ship was constructed for eventual replacement of the aging Queen Elizabeth 2, the Cunard flagship from 1969 to 2004 and the last major ocean liner built before the construction of Queen Mary 2. Queen Mary 2 had the Royal Mail Ship title conferred on her by Royal Mail when the ship entered service in 2004 on the Southampton to New York route, as a gesture to Cunard's history. Queen Mary 2 is not a steamship like many of her predecessors, but is powered by four diesel engines, with two additional gas turbines used when extra power is required; the spaces for these prime movers are split, controls are backed up, with the intention of preventing a single failure from disabling the ship. Like her predecessor Queen Elizabeth 2 she is built for crossing the Atlantic Ocean, is used for cruising. In the winter season she cruises from New York to the Caribbean on twelve- or thirteen-day tours. Queen Mary 2's 30-knot open ocean speed sets the ship apart from cruise ships, such as MS Oasis of the Seas, which has a service speed of 22.6 knots.
While the hull of a cruise ship will have a block coefficient of 0.73 Queen Mary 2 is more fine-lined, with a block coefficient of 0.61. Cunard completed a design for a new class of 84,000 GT, 2,000 passenger liners on 8 June 1998, but revised them upon comparing those specifications with Carnival Cruise Line's 100,000 GT Destiny-class cruise ships and Royal Caribbean International's 137,276 GT Voyager class. In December 1998, Cunard released details of Project Queen Mary, the project to develop a liner that would complement Queen Elizabeth 2. Harland and Wolff of Northern Ireland, Aker Kværner of Norway, Fincantieri of Italy, Meyer Werft of Germany, Chantiers de l'Atlantique of France were invited to bid on the project; the contract was signed with Chantiers de l'Atlantique, a subsidiary of Alstom, on 6 November 2000. This was the same yard that built Cunard's former rivals, the SS Normandie and SS France of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, her keel was laid down on 4 July 2002, in the construction dock at Saint-Nazaire, with the hull number G32.
3,000 craftsmen spent around eight million working hours on the ship, around 20,000 people were directly or indirectly involved in her design and fitting out. In total, 300,000 pieces of steel were assembled into 94 "blocks" off the dry dock, which were stacked and welded together to complete the hull and superstructure. After floating out on 21 March 2003, the Queen Mary 2 was fitted out in the large fitting out basin, the first ship to use this huge dry dock since the shipyard built large tankers in the 1970s, such as the MV Gastor, her sea trials were conducted during 25–29 September and 7–11 November 2003, between Saint-Nazaire and the offshore islands of Île d'Yeu and Belle-Île. The final stages of construction were marred by a fatal accident on 15 November 2003, when a gangway collapsed under a group of shipyard workers and their relatives, invited to visit the vessel. In total, 32 people were injured and 16 were killed, after a 15-metre fall into the drydock. Construction was completed on schedule.
On 22 December 2003, Queen Mary 2 left Saint-Nazaire and arrived in Southampton
RMS Mauretania (1906)
RMS Mauretania was an ocean liner designed by Leonard Peskett and built by Wigham Richardson and Swan Hunter for the British Cunard Line, launched on the afternoon of 20 September 1906. She was the world's largest ship until the completion of RMS Olympic in 1911. Mauretania became a favourite among her passengers, she captured the Eastbound Blue Riband on her maiden return voyage in December 1907 claimed the Westbound Blue Riband for the fastest transatlantic crossing during her 1909 season. She held both speed records for 20 years; the ship's name was taken from the ancient Roman province of Mauretania on the northwest African coast, not the modern Mauritania to the south. Similar nomenclature was employed by Mauretania's running mate Lusitania, named after the Roman province directly north of Mauretania, across the Strait of Gibraltar in Portugal. Mauretania remained in service until 1934. In 1897 the German liner SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse became the largest and fastest ship in the world.
With a speed of 22 knots, she captured the Blue Riband from Lucania. Germany came to dominate the Atlantic, by 1906 they had five four-funnel superliners in service, four of them owned by North German Lloyd and part of the so-called "Kaiser class". At around the same time the American financier J. P. Morgan's International Mercantile Marine Co. was attempting to monopolise the shipping trade, had acquired Britain's other major transatlantic line, White Star. In the face of these threats the Cunard Line was determined to regain the prestige of dominance in ocean travel not only for the company, but for the United Kingdom. By 1902, Cunard Line and the British government reached an agreement to build two superliners and Mauretania, with a guaranteed service speed of no less than 24 knots; the British government was to loan £2,600,000 for the construction of the ships, at an interest rate of 2.75%, to be paid back over twenty years, with a stipulation that the ships could be converted to armed merchant cruisers if needed.
Further funding was acquired when the Admiralty arranged for Cunard to be paid an additional sum per year to their mail subsidy. Mauretania and Lusitania were both designed by Cunard naval architect Leonard Peskett, with Swan Hunter and John Brown working from plans for an ocean greyhound with a stipulated service speed of twenty-four knots in moderate weather, as per the terms of her mail subsidy contract. Peskett's original configuration for the ships in 1902 was a three-funnel design, when reciprocating engines were destined to be the powerplant. A giant model of the ships appeared in Shipbuilder's magazine in this configuration. Cunard decided to change power plants to Parson's new turbine technology, the ship's design was again modified when Peskett added a fourth funnel to the ship's profile. Construction of the vessel began with the laying of the keel in August 1904. In 1906, Mauretania was launched by the Duchess of Roxburghe. At the time of her launch, she was the largest moving structure built, larger in gross tonnage than Lusitania.
The main visual differences between Mauretania and Lusitania were that Mauretania was five feet longer and had different vents. Mauretania had two extra stages of turbine blades in her forward turbines, making her faster than Lusitania. Mauretania and Lusitania were the only ships with direct-drive steam turbines to hold the Blue Riband. Mauretania's usage of the steam turbine was the largest application yet of the then-new technology, developed by Charles Algernon Parsons. During speed trials, these engines caused significant vibration at high speeds. Mauretania was designed to suit Edwardian tastes; the ship's interior was designed by Harold Peto and her public rooms were fitted out by two notable London design houses – Ch. Mellier & Sons and Turner and Lord, with twenty-eight different types of wood, along with marble and other furnishings such as the stunning octagon table in the smoking room. Wood panelling for her first class public rooms was carved by three hundred craftsmen from Palestine but this seems unlikely and was executed by the yard or subcontracted, as were the majority of the second and third class areas.
The multi-level first-class dining saloon of straw oak was decorated in Francis I style and topped by a large dome skylight. A series of elevators a rare new feature for liners, with grilles composed of the new lightweight aluminum, were installed next to Mauretania's walnut grand staircase. A new feature was the Verandah Café on the boat deck, where passengers were served beverages in a weather-protected environment, although this was enclosed within a year as it proved unrealistic; the White Star Line's Olympic-class vessels were 100 ft longer and wider than Lusitania and Mauretania. This made the White Star vessels about 15,000 gross register tons larger than the Cunard vessels. Both Lusitania and Mauretania were launched and had been in service for several years before Olympic and Britannic were ready for the North Atlantic run. Although faster than the Olympic class would be, the speed and port turnaround times of Cunard's vessels was not sufficient to allow the line to run a weekly two-ship transatlantic service from each side of the Atlantic.
A third ship was needed for a weekly service, in response to White Star's announced plan to build the three Olympic-class ships
SS Servia known as RMS Servia, was a successful transatlantic passenger and mail steamer of revolutionary design, built by J & G Thomson of Clydebank and launched in 1881. She was the first large ocean liner to be built of steel instead of iron, the first Cunard ship to have an electric lighting installation. For these and other reasons, maritime historians consider Servia to be the first "modern" ocean liner. In 1878, Samuel Cunard's British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company was reorganised into limited company and named Cunard; this capitalisation allowed it to use shareholder money to build more expensive ships. A new policy to this end was put into effect by Cunard's new chairman, John Burns, announced in the London Times. Launched on 1 March 1881, Servia was the first of Cunard's new breed of ocean liners, she was the second largest ship in the world at 515 feet long and 52.1 feet wide, surpassed only by Brunel's SS Great Eastern. With her design and construction guided by admirality specifications, Servia had many features that satisfied the requirements for her to be placed high on the admiralty's reserve list of the armed auxiliary cruisers, where she could be called into service in times of war.
It was named after historical English name for country Serbia. Servia’s engine was similar to the one installed on the Guion Line’s crack passenger liner SS Alaska of 1881, it was a triple-crank compound steam engine with one 72 in high-pressure cylinder, two 100 in low-pressure cylinders, a stroke of 6.5 ft. The steam was supplied at 90 lbf by seven Scotch boilers, each of which were 18 ft in diameter and contained six furnaces. Six of these boilers were double-ended, while the seventh was single-ended and contained three furnaces; the power developed was 10,300 ihp. Servia's maximum recorded speed during her trials was 17.85 knots, her average speed during a crossing was around 16 knots. Although Servia did not achieve any speed records, she was a competitive liner that performed well, in 1884 she managed to make a crossing in less than seven days, averaging at 16.7 knots. Servia differed from earlier Atlantic liners in a number of significant ways, but most notably, she was the first liner to specialise in passenger transportation, due to her cargo space being sacrificed for her large power-plant.
This sacrifice was viable because at that time, tramp steamers had taken over much of the freight across the Atlantic, while the demand for passenger transportation had increased. Because of her passenger specialisation, Servia is considered to be first liner of what became known as the Express Transatlantic Service. Servia had a number of innovative technical features which are noteworthy in the history of ocean-going liners; the following list is a summary of those features: Servia was the first major ocean liner to be built of steel, which gave her large hull the advantage of additional strength while at the same time making her lighter. She was the first liner to re-introduce the cellular double-bottom design which Brunel had invented 20 years earlier for the Great Eastern; the double-bottom was 4' 8" deep, could be flooded with 800 tons of water ballast. Because Servia was built to admirality specifications, she incorporated several safety features, the most notable being the sub-division of her hull into 12 transverse water-tight compartments, fitted with water-tight doors.
She could remain afloat with any two of these compartments flooded. The water-tight doors between the boiler and engine room were fail-safe and could be closed from any deck. Servia was the first Cunarder to introduce electric lighting, using Edison's invented incandescent lamp, proven successful on ship usage by its first commercial installation on board the American passenger liner Columbia; the lamps were installed in engineering spaces. Servia was fitted with a new type of compass and deep-sea sounding device. Servia had public rooms of a scale and luxury greater than known. Of the three decks, the upper deck consisted of deck-houses that included a first-class smoking room, a luxuriously fitted ladies drawing room and a music room; the entrance and grand staircase was the largest that had appeared on a liner, was panelled in polished maple and ash. It led down to the a landing on the main deck. Twenty-four first-class state-rooms were situated aft of this landing, while the first-class dining salon was situated forward.
The dining salon could sit 220 of Servia's 480 first-class passengers on five long tables, was richly decorated with carved panels and carpets. In the centre was an open well that rose 17 ft to a skylight. Forward of the dining salon were a further 58 staterooms, followed by crew accommodation areas. On the lower deck was a servants dining room and a further 82 first-class staterooms; the forward section of this deck was reserved for 730 steerage passengers. This section was a large area of about 150 feet long, included a dining area; the berths were grouped into separate male and female areas. With the appearance of the crack Cunard liners RMS Campania and RMS Lucania in 1893, Servia was relegated to intermediate service, she was used to transport troops to South Africa during the Boer war. She was broken up in 1902 by Thos W Ward. Writers Jane Addams and Henry James both sailed on a crossing aboard Servia in August 1883, though it does not appear they met. Edward Pellew, 4th Viscount Exmouth, Vicountess Exmouth sailed aboard the Servia leaving New York City for Liverpool on 1 Octobe
RMS Laconia (1911)
RMS Laconia was a Cunard ocean liner built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, launched on 27 July 1911, with the wife of the U. S. Ambassador Mrs. Whitelaw Reid christening the vessel. Laconia was delivered to the Cunard Line on 12 December 1911, began service on 20 January 1912, she was the first Cunard ship of that name. Laconia was intended for the Liverpool-Boston service with cruising from New York to the Mediterranean off season; the ship was the first British ship and first North Atlantic liner to be equipped with anti-roll tanks. On the outbreak of World War I, Laconia was converted into an armed merchant cruiser in 1914, she was fitted with eight six inch guns and for a time she carried two seaplanes, which were housed on the quarter deck. She was based at Simon's Town, South Africa in the South Atlantic, from which she patrolled the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean until April 1915, she was used as a headquarters ship stationed at Zanzibar and engaged in operations for the capture of Tanga and the colony of German East Africa.
She was employed on patrol duties but on one occasion, was engaged at the bombardment of Tanga. She continued to serve on the East Africa station, made several trips from Durban and Cape Town with troops for the army in British East Africa. The'Laconia' returned home to the UK with a convoy in June 1916, with a large shipment of gold ingots from Cape Town, was paid off at Devonport, she was handed back on 9 September resumed service. On 25 February 1917, she was torpedoed by SM U-50 6 nautical miles northwest by west of Fastnet while returning from the USA to England with 75 passengers and a crew of 217 commanded by Captain Irvine; the first torpedo struck the liner on the starboard side just abaft the engine room, but did not sink her. 20 minutes a second torpedo exploded in the engine room, again on the starboard side, the vessel sank at 10:20 pm. A total of 12 people were killed. Two of the killed passengers were American citizens, Mrs. Mary Hoy and her daughter, Miss Elizabeth Hoy, who were from Chicago.
The death of the Hoys stirred up public opinion in America against the Germans, raised public support for the United States entering the war. Chicago Tribune reporter Floyd Gibbons was aboard Laconia when she was torpedoed and gained fame from his dispatches about the attack, his graphic account of the sinking read to both Houses of Congress and was credited with helping to push the United States into joining the war. In March 2009, it was announced that the wreck of the Laconia was located in November 2008 and claimed by Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. a commercial archaeology company in Tampa, Florida. She was found about 160 nautical miles off of the coast of Ireland. "Britain claims it is the legitimate owner of the wrecks because, under a wartime insurance scheme, it paid the owners of the vessels when they sank, in effect making the remains the property of the taxpayer." The search for the wreck was featured on an episode of Discovery Channel's Treasure Quest titled "The Silver Queen".
Items salvaged were 132 boxes of silver coins worth an estimated £ 3m. One of the artifacts recovered during their investigation of the wreck happened to be the remains of a left shoe that belonged to one of the ship's female passengers. List of ship launches in 1911 List of shipwrecks in 1917 "R. M. S. Laconia I of the Cunard Steamship Line - Ship History and Information". Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives. Ament-Gjenvick Group. Gibbons, Floyd. "The Sinking of the Cunard Line R. M. S. Laconia", and They Thought. Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives. New York: George H. Doran Company. "Inspection Card for Immigrants and Steerage Passengers - 1913". Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives. Ament-Gjenvick Group. "Steamship Ticket - Contract for Passage - Norwegian Immigrant - 1913". Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives. Ament-Gjenvick Group. "The Cunard New Twin-Screw Steamers R. M. S. FRANCONIA and LACONIA". Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives. Ament-Gjenvick Group. Gibbons, Floyd. "The Sinking of the Laconia". In Gibbons, Edward. Your Headline Hunter. Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives.
New York: Exposition Press
The Gallipoli Campaign known as the Dardanelles Campaign, the Battle of Gallipoli or the Battle of Çanakkale, was a campaign of the First World War that took place on the Gallipoli peninsula. The Entente powers and France, sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire by taking control of the straits that provided a supply route to Russia, the third member of the Entente; the invaders launched a naval attack followed by an amphibious landing on the peninsula, to capture the Ottoman capital of Istanbul. The naval attack was repelled and after eight months' fighting, with many casualties on both sides, the land campaign was abandoned and the invasion force was withdrawn, it was a costly and humiliating defeat for the Allies and for the sponsors Winston Churchill. The campaign was a major Ottoman victory in the war. In Turkey, it is regarded as a defining moment in the history of the state, a final surge in the defence of the motherland as the Ottoman Empire retreated. Arabs formed a substantial force in the Gallipoli Peninsula being part of the 72nd and 77th regiments.
According to several sources, Arabs made up two thirds of the 19th Division under Colonel Mustafa Kemal. The struggle formed the basis for the Turkish War of Independence and the declaration of the Republic of Turkey eight years with Kemal, who rose to prominence as a commander at Gallipoli, as president; the campaign is considered to be the beginning of Australian and New Zealand national consciousness. On 27 October 1914, two former German warships, now the Ottoman Yavûz Sultân Selîm and Midilli, still under the command of German officers, conducted the Black Sea Raid, in which they bombarded the Russian port of Odessa and sank several ships. On 31 October, the Ottomans began the Caucasus Campaign against Russia; the British bombarded forts in Gallipoli, invaded Mesopotamia and studied the possibility of forcing the Dardanelles. Before the Dardanelles operation was conceived, the British had planned to conduct an amphibious invasion near Alexandretta on the Mediterranean, an idea presented by Boghos Nubar in 1914.
This plan was developed by the Secretary of State for War, Field Marshal Earl Kitchener to sever the capital from Syria and Egypt. Alexandretta was an area with a Christian population and was the strategic centre of the Empire's railway network—its capture would have cut the empire in two. Vice Admiral Sir Richard Peirse, East Indies Station, ordered Captain Frank Larkin of HMS Doris to Alexandretta on 13 December 1914; the Russian cruiser Askold and the French cruiser Requin were there. Kitchener was working on the plan as late as March 1915 and was the beginning of the British attempt to incite an Arab Revolt; the Alexandretta landing was abandoned because militarily it would have required more resources than France could allocate and politically France did not want the British operating in their sphere of influence, a position to which Britain had agreed in 1912. By late 1914, on the Western Front, the Franco-British counter-offensive of the First Battle of the Marne had ended and the Belgians and French had suffered many casualties in the First Battle of Ypres in Flanders.
The war of manoeuvre had been replaced by trench warfare. The German Empire and Austria-Hungary closed the overland trade routes between Britain and France in the west and Russia in the east; the White Sea in the arctic north and the Sea of Okhotsk in the Far East were icebound in winter and distant from the Eastern Front. While the Ottomans remained neutral, supplies could still be sent to Russia through the Dardanelles but prior to the Ottoman entry into the war, the straits had been closed; the French Minister of Justice, Aristide Briand, proposed in November to attack the Ottoman Empire but this was rejected and an attempt by the British to bribe the Ottomans to join the Allied side failed. That month, Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, proposed a naval attack on the Dardanelles, based in part on erroneous reports of Ottoman troop strength. Churchill wanted to use a large number of obsolete battleships, which could not operate against the German High Seas Fleet, in a Dardanelles operation, with a small occupation force provided by the army.
It was hoped that an attack on the Ottomans would draw Bulgaria and Greece into the war on the Allied side. On 2 January 1915, Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia appealed to Britain for assistance against the Ottomans, who were conducting an offensive in the Caucasus. Planning began for a naval demonstration in the Dardanelles. On 17 February 1915, a British seaplane from HMS Ark Royal flew a reconnaissance sortie over the Straits. Two days the first attack on the Dardanelles began when a strong Anglo-French task force, including the British dreadnought HMS Queen Elizabeth, began a long-range bombardment of Ottoman coastal artillery batteries; the British had intended to use eight aircraft from Ark Royal to spot for the bombardment but harsh conditions rendered all but one of these, a Short Type 136, unserviceable. A period of bad weather slowed the initial phase but by 25 February the outer forts had been reduced and the entrance cleared of mines. After this, Royal Marines were landed to destroy guns at