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 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.
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.
©Alastair Wilson 2020 All rights reserved