During World War One British Naval superiority helped them capture German colonies throughout the world. This story tells of one Scarborough sailors experience in China. This appeared in the Scarborough Pictorial on 30th December, 1914.
SCARBRO' SAILOR AT THE FALL OF TSING TSAU - AN INTERESTING STORY - POOR GERMAN MARKSMANSHIP
Walter Pickering, son of Mr and Mrs Pickering, of 9, Nelson-street, appears to be the only Scarborough sailor who was present at the fall of the German stronghold in China - Tsing Tsau. He is on-board HMS Triumph, the only British warship which took part with the Japanese in the operations. Writing to his parents on the day after the fall of the fortress - November 8th - he says:-
"Just a line to let you know I am still alive an kicking, and in the best of health and strength."
"I was surprised to see my picture in the 'Scarborough Pictorial', but I should like the publishers to know that I am not serving on the Merlin, but have been serving on the only British ship that has been in action out in the East. Now I can tell you something that I could not tell you before.
We have defeated the Germans out here . We are the only British ship that has been fighting along with the Japanese at the place known as the Gibraltar of the East - Tsing-Tsau - and have been at it for over four months. But they found us too warm, and the enemy surrendered at 7-00 a.m. yesterday, Saturday, 7th November.
"Have no fear, the Germans are a rotten nation. They CANNOT SHOOT TO KEEP THEMSELVES WARM. But that is a rather good job for us. During the whole of the bombardment we have had only one killed - poor chap, he was a great chum of mine and a gun mate - and two seriously wounded, but they are getting on fine, thank god.
This is good sport, and of course there is plenty of excitement, especially when 12. inch shells are flying all around you. But our chaps have no fear, and do not think of it. I hope the Germans are wiped out - clean off the face of the earth.
Scarborians will be able to thoroughly enter into the spirit of Mr Pickering's reference to 12 inch shells. They know exactly now what it is like to have them 'flying all around.'