Childers became an advocate of Irish Home Rule and he and As a See For me, with the feverish imagination of a child who spent rather too much time in his own head, these maps were a rich source of day-dreams. We want a man like this Kaiser.’ (p. 97). What to do until morning? Davies speaks approvingly of the German Emperor: ‘By Jove! The book has become famous as one of the first flying in a seaplane to the North Sea coast of Germany. Winston Churchill said of Childers after his Just having finished the book, I can see the attraction of heading to the Friesien coast! }. On foot. I decided to find somewhere to wait and, perhaps, doze, then catch the first ferry in the morning. Although the book was not published until 1915 in the United States, Childers in 1903 traveled to the United States, where he met and married Mollie Osgood, daughter of a Boston physician. Eventually I was rewarded with a prospect of shimmering sand and mud stretching out towards a distant Nordsee; invisible, somewhere beyond the haze of the horizon. I walked out into the street quickly before the familiar aroma could wrap its clinging, pleading fingers around me. The book has also fascinated me since childhood in 1960’s Somerset. But, like his other leading character, the unconventional Davies, Erskine Childers was a man not given to doing exactly what was expected of him. tour in his larger yacht, Sunbeam, Childers The tide had turned and I stayed on the beach watching the waters recede. followed the novel religiously. Just been reading Gruff Rhys’s ‘American Interior’ which includes a journey through the state following the route of an early Welsh explorer, John Evans. met and married Mollie Osgood, daughter of a Boston must have been the prototype for Dulcibella) Above all else this landscape gave me a sense of timelessness, a feeling of connection with Erskine Childers and with Davies and Carruthers. spy stories. I wonder, can you help with the identity of the passanger/ ‘my ally’ who helps Carruthers cast the boat off from the tug that had run aground, enabling him to get back to Davies? Please note that the site has had to be restructured and hence external links to specific sections or pages of the site may no longer work. I really couldn’t face going into a bar or checking into a pension. Not sure if I qualify to take part ? The government had a sail training programme for young people, and I applied. Carruthers and Davies return to England and Germany’s plans are revealed to the British Government. For individual posts please use the search facility. It is also a novel in which the nature of the landscape determines the psyche and the actions of its protagonists. Maps of Germany’s East Frisian coastline and sea charts of the channels and sandbanks around the island of Nordeney. The characters of Davies and Carruthers are slowly revealed as the plot of The Riddle of the Sands develops. In all I did three journeys: Limerick to Galway, via Inshore; Ireland (Croshaven) to Plymouth where we took part in the sail training vessels race to La Coruna in Spain; and finally a trip from Croshaven to Portsmouth. From early childhood that book fascinated me, although I didn’t actually read it until I was a teenager. Davies reveals that he wishes to retrace his previous voyage around the sands of the Frisian Islands, where he had been deliberately run aground, and almost killed, by Dollmann, a German salvage operator. All images accessed by courtesy of Creative Commons. His writing is rich in description, conveying in great detail the skills required to sail a small craft. [IMPORTANT: The maps and charts will usually appear in George Tomkyns Chesney’s The Battle of Dorking (1871) was an early example, and the genre reached its peak around the turn of the century, particularly with the writings of William Le Quex, who was vigorously promoted by The Daily Mail. And Rolf. local public library for the full story. var notice = document.getElementById("cptch_time_limit_notice_52"); I admire your attempt to walk to Memmert. })(120000); Robert Erskine Childers And to understand the novel one has to understand its writer. Although the book was not published until 1915 in the United I realised just how foolish the idea had been when I spoke with my hosts that evening; they were horrified at my venture were full of tales of how unwary walkers on the sands had been swept away and drowned. For a start, I couldn’t be bothered making the effort to converse in German and was really not in the mood for easy bar-room bonhomie. Mirael’s Nightmare. +  (p. 307). Working in unison, Davies and Carruthers overcome Dollmann and cause the German invasion plans to be cancelled. And what of Gabriele and Rolf? Track of The Sands. function() { As I walked I felt for the letter in my pocket just as I had a dozen times or more aboard the train. Taken together, Davies and Carruthers can be said to be representative of two key strands of the British national character. Your email address will not be published. in the Royal Navy and served 8 What captured my imagination right from the first were the pen and ink maps that illustrated the text. .0000000000One of the first great spy novels, The Riddle of the Sands is set during the long suspicious years leading up to the First World War. I’d be happy to give more details about the boat and the regime we encountered while sailing her. now mouldering in a Dublin jailyard. Interesting subject and thank you for the blog. was shot by an Irish Free State They attempt to force Dollmann to return to England but he commits suicide, jumping into the sea from the Dulcibella. Dreams involving the sea, sand and swift boats. My friend Lloyd and I are planning to replay the whole book this autumn if possible – and we’re currently producing a series of podcasts discussing the details of the book day by day. Though just a couple of kilometres from the harbour, on the island’s northern side, there was a sandy beach which stretched out for several kilometres in either direction. For further information about the site visit About. search the Globe archives. The cannons on the right side do not work. Hi Bob. trials publicized not only the book but also On that latter trip, I remained on deck for 24 hours, much of the time steering the boat as we sailed up the Solent at night, the captain (Healy) being below doing the chart work and calling out changes of course etc. I thought the film was OK, but just a pale shadow of the book. Voyage of Wonders Map. The Echoing Valley. Invasion-scare fiction both played on and induced apprehension amongst the public and, in some cases, produced hysteria, paranoia and Germanophobia. Very interesting to see your adventure. I have always wanted to buy a shallow draft yacht and explore that landscape (it’s on my bucket list). Dreams involving the sea, sand and swift boats. I’m not sure how it ended up with us. In 1901, two British yachtsmen visiting Germany's Frisian Islands accidentally discover a German plot to invade England. A day-trip to Woking, Weybridge and Shepperton allows us to map out the action of the opening chapters of H. G. Wells’s ’The War of the Worlds’. When living in Ireland during the early 1990’s I visited Kilmainham Gaol where Erskine Childers Yacht Asgard, which he used in the Howth gun running of 1914, was on display.