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This is a dramatic and little-known story of the First World War, when the actions of a few men shaped the fate of nations. By 1914 Germany had ships and sailors scattered across the globe, protecting its overseas colonies and 'showing the flag' of its new Imperial Navy. After war broke out on 4 August there was no hope that they could reach home. Instead, they were ordered to attack Britain's vital trade routes for as long as possible. Under the leadership of a few brilliant, audacious men, they unleashed a series of raids that threatened Britain's war effort and challenged the power and prestige of the Royal Navy.
Rounding up these 'Kaiser's Pirates' became the first priority for Winston Churchill, Britain's First Lord of the Admiralty, and Prince Louis of Battenberg, the First Sea Lord at the outbreak of war, and then Churchill's erstwhile friend and mentor, Admiral 'Jackie' Fisher, who took over as First Sea Lord just before the Battle of Coronel. The next year saw a battle of wits which stretched across the globe, drawing in ships and men from six empires. By the end, the Kaiser's Pirates were no more, and Britain once again ruled the waves.
In telling this incredible story, Nick Hewitt has drawn on the full resources of Imperial War Museums, including photographs and compelling first-hand accounts of the events from the museums' sound archive.
As featured in Military History Monthly and Nuneaton News.
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