The North Sea Patrol

(notes by Alastair Wilson)

Publication

Kipling wrote a series of articles about the Royal Navy, for the Daily Telegraph in November/December 1915, later published as The Fringes of the Fleet. Each was headed by a poem.

The poem

The final article begins with a four verse poem, later entitled ‘The North Sea Patrol’. It describes the job of the smaller destroyers which constituted the backbone of the North Sea patrol.

Verse 3

Who takes in high Dudgeon our life-saving role,
For every one’s grousing at Docking and Dowsing…

These two lines are a clever play on words with the names of shoals and lights on the east coast. There is a Dudgeon shoal off the Humber and the Docking and Dowsing Shoals are off Lincolnshire. Today, their names are well-known in connection with the North Sea gas fields, and they may become better known if, as is proposed, wind farms are built on them.

[A.J.W.]

©Alastair Wilson 2020 All rights reserved