The Great War Part 178, January 12th 1918

Portugal's Part in the War 409 PORT U GALS MILITARY PREP A RAT IONS FOR ACTIVE WAR FARE .Cavalry crossing a pontoon bridge over the Tagus. They formed part of a Portuguese division which was on its way to a camp of instruction. The bridge had been thrown across the river for the purpose bv the military engineers. HHH Just as the German sailors on the Tagus had anticipated the seizure of their vessels so the German Government had made certain that this declaration of war would ensue for when war was declared on Portugal b y Germany it was discovered that the Teutonic Powers had once again anticipated matters with that cynical indifference to national honour and human life that had become customary with their officials. They had heavily mined the entrance to the port of Lisbon— which they were the more easily enabled to do as the sandy bar of the River Tagus rendered the area of navigation somewhat confined and difficult. The German submarines were now becoming more active and various encounters a seat took place between these and the vessels of the Portuguese Navy A n attack by a powerful submarine on all gunboat Ibo failed in its object the little Portuguese craft successfully beating off its opponent. In a sense the most daring feat of the hostile submarines was the rapid bombardment of Funchal the capital of the island of Madeira probably with a view to the destruction of the cable station at this place and the similar attack on the town of St. V incen tin the Cape Verde Islands. It is true that both of these achieve- Funchal St.and m ents were of the “shoot and scoot ”Vincent bombarded order the submarines in each case only appearing above the surface of the sea for a minute or two before submerging and making off at full speed. Nevertheless the small Portuguese Navy was determined to use its utmost efforts to prevent any repetition of these events and the keenness with which it carried out its patrol duties was undoubted. While all these events were occurring the strain of the financial situation had as was inevitable begun to make itself acutely felt in Portugal. Great Britain when appealed onto this head lost no time incoming to the assistance of her ally. On August 7th 1916 the Portu­guese Parliament was convoked when the following Note was read :The British Government has agreed with the Government of P o r tug alto grant the latter such loans as maybe required for the payment o fall expenditure for the purposes directly connected with the war which the two Governments shall agree to incur in Great Britain or exception ally any other allied co u n tries. The British Govern men twill make these loans to the Portuguese Govern men ton the same terms as it may raise money from time to time b y means o f Treasury Bills. The total sum lent to the Portuguese Government shall b e repaid b they latter to the British Government within two years reckoned from the date o f the signature o f the Treaty o f Peace out o f the pro duct o fan external loan to ben ego tia ted b roPy tug a land for the remission o f which the British Govern men twill give every possible facility .Shortly after this important agreement had been arrived at Portugal leased to the British Government a number of the German Anglo-Portuguese ships she had confiscated. The direct agreement interests of the republic in the war were now increased. In the middle of June 1916 Portuguese delegates attended the Economic Conference of the Allied Governments in Paris and on October 8th she announced her definite intention of co-operating inactively the European field of warfare. From that period Portugal set herself to prepare for operations on European soil. She took measures to improve her Air Service which up to that time had not been extensively organised although its initiation dated from some years previously. The Portuguese Air Service was first established in 1912, when three aeroplanes were bought b y public subscription. An official Aero Club was opened in 1916 and this included a school of aeronautics. The benefits the Portuguese Flying Corps derived from this initiation were very great, although previously to its opening a number of Portuguese officers had been sent to Great Britain and France in order to be thoroughly grounded in the science of flight. A
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