World War: AT SEA: Pitched Battle

A speech with the sound of history about it was made before Parliament last week. The First Lord of the Admiralty—the authority on naval affairs who is personally most responsible to Parliament and the people, the receptacle of active Admirals' suggestions and complaints, the focus of naval policy, a man who more than any other knows to what extent Britannia rules the waves at a given moment—rose to report. What he said about merchant shipping was a chilling mouthful.

First Lord Albert Victor Alexander coined a phrase to make vivid a threat:...

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