Book Review-‘Securing the Narrow Sea: The Dover Patrol 1914–1918’ by S. R. Dunn
Older readers may remember a board game called ‘Dover Patrol’ which they played with their friends on the playroom floor in days long past. Each side had a base to protect and a ‘fleet’ to attack the enemy or to defend one’s own ‘waters’. The different units of your ‘fleet’, represented by pieces of pasteboard in a bright metal stand, ranged from a ‘Fleet Flagship’ (a dreadnought and valued at 10 points) down to a ‘Patrol Craft’ (1 point). There were also other assets, a submarine (E3), a seaplane, and a mine. If your reviewer’s memory serves, the mine couldn’t move, but any opposing piece which attacked it, regardless of value, was lost: and the submarine which could move and itself attack an enemy piece had a similar effect.
The game bore small relation to the actual war as it was played out in the waters of the narrow seas between the Thames Estuary and Beachy Head, but it does show that the Dover Patrol – the naval forces that kept open the sea lanes through which much of Britain’s trade continued to ply, and in particular the cross-Channel lines of communication, Dover-Calais and Folkestone-Boulogne – was a household name in Britain throughout the war…