In early 1918, it seemed to many that the British people and the Allies were close to defeat. At home, the chief culprit was the German U-boat. Sailing almost unopposed from the North Sea ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend, the submarines were taking a heavy toll on Allied shipping, and no one seemed to be doing anything about it.
The job eventually went to Vice Admiral Roger Keyes, `The Modern Nelson', who had a long record of close action with enemies from China to the Heligoland Bight. Equally, he was unafraid of those senior to him whom he considered to be incompetent. Within days of his appointment Keyes had put together an audacious plan to sink blockships in the enemy-held ports. However, his success, along with the eleven VCs won in the battles, led his detractors to play down his achievement, even by using German propaganda against him. This entirely new account, containing groundbreaking research and rare illustrations throughout, at last sets the record straight about these important engagements.