03-Jun 18:00 @LtCarver
Lieutenant Roger Carver
Lt. Roger Carver commanded HMS Thunder Child’s Royal Marine (Light Infantry) detachment during those crucial days in June 1897.
While no individual photograph of Lt. Carver exists, we were able to locate a photograph in “Black and White, November 13th, 1896,” titled the “Portsmouth Division Royal Marine Light Infantry – Winners of the Cup”, with both Lt Carver, and then Colour Sgt Howard in the front row. Lt Carver is on the left, Colour Sgt. Howard on the right. Lt Carver transfered to HMS #ThunderChild 2 months later, where he was joined by Sergeant Howard in March 1897, following the Colour Sergeant’s demotion.
03-Jun 18:01 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver.
I had been called to the bridge by Captain Allenby. Lt. Farmer, our Signals Officer, who had who had spent most of his watch fussing with the new experimental and highly temperamental wireless set that the Admiralty had seen fit to bestow on us, entered the bridge, He clutched a piece of paper like it was Holy Writ. “The falling star landed at Woking.”
“Really, Mr. Farmer,” Captain Allenby chuckled, plainly unimpressed by our new electric age. “…There was word about some loss of life,” added Lt. Farmer hesitantly. Allenby frowned. He opened his mouth but was cut off by a shout from by the lookout, “Captain, flag hoist from Colossus.”
04-Jun 07:00 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 04 June 1897 07:00 GMT
Ship’s company has become more tense since yesterday evening. Mr. Farmer’s wireless continues to bring us frightful news of more falling stars and fighting in Essex with the army having been mobilized.
07-Jun 13:25 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 07 June 1897 13:25 GMT
I raised my glasses and stared wordlessly at the gleaming apparition rising over the town.
It towered above the steeple of the nearby church on three separate but flexible legs, a hooded carapace at its apex. Calmly and deliberately, like a young boy quashing an anthill, it pushed itself into the steeple, sending it clanging to the ground. “What in the hell is that?”
“That, Mr. Carver,” said Captain Allenby, focusing his binoculars, “is the enemy. Sound action stations.”
07-Jun 13:26 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 07 June 1897 13:26 GMT
“Open fire.” The deck shook under my feet as our twin twelve-inch guns in our fore and aft turrets flashed and roared. I watched as the shells exploded around the Martian fighting machine, kicking up plumes off dirt and debris. “Get your shells on target, if you please,” said Allenby, intently watching the shoreline through his glasses from the wing of the bridge.
07-Jun 13:40 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 07 June 1897 13:40 GMT
I looked fore across the bow to where Colossus had taken up position, some 100 yards from us. Our sister ship had swung aimed its main battery ashore and fired on a second Martian fighting machine that appeared in the town. Colossus’ gunners, by chance or design, had straddled the second Martian with their first round, which seemed to get their notice.
07-Jun 13:44 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 07 June 1897 13:44 GMT
“Closer, but not quite,” said the captain, lowering his glasses.
“Look!” shouted Mr. Farmer, pointing.
We turned to watch one of the enemy fighting-machines step out from the town, across the stony beach and wade into the water towards us, as to challenge our position. The small boats that were the harbour scattered in every direction trying to get away. Colossus must’ve seen it too, as we watched it’s the barrels of its main batteries depress further as the turrets swung to get a bearing.
“Hard a port!’ yelled Allenby from the bridge wing. “Now!” He cupped his hands as he rasped into the speaking tube. “All batteries fire.” I felt the Thunder Child lurch suddenly and grabbed a rail with both hands, as the ship struggled to bring the full weight of her broadside to bear on the enemy.
07-Jun 13:55 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 07 June 1897 13:55 GMT
I watched as the Colossus’s broadside erupt in fire and fury. Four twelve-inch shells arched out and struck the lead enemy fighting-machine, causing its carapace to detonate in a ball of fire. A great cheer went up from the bridge as the tripod reeled as if punched in the face and fell back into the water with a splash.
“Now that’s shooting,” smiled Captain Allenby, lowering his glasses.
07-Jun 13:57 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 07 June 1897 13:57 GMT
Our exaltation was short-lived. The surviving fighting-machine rose it is full height and from it rose an almost mournful cry of, “Ulla! Ulla!” that boomed out over voices, drowning us out into shocked silence.
07-Jun 14:02 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 07 June 1897 14:02 GMT
I cursed under my breath as I saw the new fighting-machine on the shoreline. The people left on the nearby pier saw it too; through my glasses I could see them push each other towards the already overcrowded small craft, shoving some hapless individuals into the water, their arms windmilling as they went. The fighting machine extended a long black tube and directed at the masses at the pier.
07-Jun 14:04 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 07 June 1897 14:04 GMT
I could hear the screams of the people crowded on the pier echo across the water as the black smoke fell on them. They cried in terror, trying to escape, some even jumped into the water. As the smoke covered them, their voices began to choke out.
My mouth hung open.
07-Jun 14:06 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 07 June 1897 14:06 GMT
I lowered my binoculars. “It murdered them wholesale.”
“No, Carver,” said Mr. Farmer, bitterly. “That would require an acceptance of equality between us. It’s an extermination. That’s what it is. Like a farmer would poison an infestation of vermin.”
07-Jun 14:07 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 07 June 1897 14:07 GMT
All eyes were on the second now Martian now, as it raised a camera-like apparatus with a circular mirror and directed it towards the victorious Colossus. It flashed and stabbed out, knife-like at the beating heart of the battleship. The Colossus erupted in fire and steam as it was sundered from bow to stern by the invisible blade.
07-Jun 14:09 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 07 June 1897 14:09 GMT
“My God in heaven,” Allenby lowered his glasses as he watched the expanding column of smoke and steam arise from the sinking pyre of the Colossus. He turned back and called out, “All batteries fire! Fire as you bear!” The ship rocked as our main batteries engaged the enemy.
The smoke cleared. To our immense encouragement, we had hit the second fighting-machine, damaging it in its rearmost leg with a glancing blow. It limped away from us, almost painfully pulling its injured leg with the remaining two, towards the safety of its partner, calling out, “Ulla! Ulla!”
07-Jun 14:12 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 07 June 1897 14:12 GMT
We are rapidly closing the range between us and the injured Martian. The captain’s aim had been to destroy it before it could receive aid from its companion advancing from the shoreline. However, that point was already moot: the Martian had already joined its stricken partner. It extended its long black tube and began to produce the same thick, low-hanging black smoke that had exterminated the hapless townsfolk.
07-Jun 14:14 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 07 June 1897 14:14 GMT
For a fleeting instant, I thought the captain mad enough to pierce the black wall of swirling smoke that was drifting towards us with the ship and ram the Martian. But then, I heard him call out from the wing of the bridge, “Hard starboard! All engines full ahead.”
I gripped the railing and exhaled in relief. I heard the clang of the engine telegraph and could feel the ship begin to heel to the right as she began her turn. The smoke would miss us.
07-Jun 14:30 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 07 June 1897 14:30 GMT
We were rapidly retreating from the enemy. There was no putting a brave face on it. I looked at the captain. He stood silently on the bridge looking out to sea, his faced fixed in a frown. Our ship – the Thunder Child – was the pride of the Royal Navy and the Empire. A marvel of the modern age. I looked back at the cloud of black smoke astern us that now smothered the coast. But what could we do against that?
08-Jun 09:19 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines, #Thunder Child, 08 June 1897 09:19 GMT
I joined Farmer on the bridge that morning as we entered the great estuary. Captain Allenby appeared on the bridge briefly. He has remained in his sea cabin for much of our time since the battle. When he does emerge, it seems only to brood.
09-Jun 10:25 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 09 June 1897 10:25 GMT
Thunder Child plowed serenely through the water. Shipping of sort slipped around us. Everything from giant three-funnelled ocean liners to simple fishing smacks jockeyed for position, trying to close into the beach and piers to take off as many of the poor souls as possible who were crowded onshore.
09-Jun 10:27 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 08 June 1897 10:25 GMT
“Flag hoist from the Majestic, sir,” reported the lookout.
I raised my glasses and read the string of signal flags fluttering in the stiff breeze from the flagship’s mast. “Report to the captain at once,” I said to the young midshipman beside me, “It seems we’re being summoned aboard.”
09-Jun 10:41 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 09 June 1897 10:41 GMT
Captain Allenby and I stepped from Thunder Child’s whaleboat onto the first rung of rope ladder that led up to Majestic’s deck, piped aboard by the bosun’s whistle.
09-Jun 10:44 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 09 June 1897 10:44 GMT
…I found it odd. Despite what they had heard, the crew seemed complacent, disciplined, but acting in such a relaxed manner that belied the threat to the whole world. If only they knew…
09-Jun 10:46 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 09 June 1897 10:46 GMT
We were escorted into the wood-panelled sea cabin of Admiral Sir Walter Kerr. He motioned to the two chairs before his mahogany desk. “Sit down gentlemen.” He lit his cigar and puffed on it. “A shame about the Colossus. We could’ve used her.”
“Yes, Admiral,” agreed Allenby, absently.
“…of course, there’s no understating your bravery or that of the crew of Thunder Child,” continued the Admiral. “It’s just these… things…”
“I know sir,” said Allenby “There’s no word to describe them…”
“…but alien,” I found myself piping up suddenly.
09-Jun 10:48 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 09 June 1897 10:48 GMT
“Yes,” Kerr forced a smile. “Quite… alien. Given your experience with the Martians, you’ll stay close in shore, and acting as screen for the civilian shipping,” said Kerr puffing his cigar. ”That is your official role. “
“Unofficially,” said the admiral, “you will screen Her Royal Majesty and members of the royal household. We will be evacuating them to France. You will act as escort to the fast yacht Turbina and see them out of threatened waters.”
“The situation is far worse than the Government has let on,” said Kerr shaking his head gravely, as if reading our shocked expressions. “The monsters will be on us soon. London is about to fall to the Martians. Both the Government and the Royal Family have fled the city.”
“Astounding,” said Allenby. “Things are that bad?”
“Worse,” Kerr snorted. “The Cabinet has retreated to Birmingham; and what’s left of the Army is in retreat. They have been ordered to form a new line along the Thames, and from Moulesford along the GWR line to Bristol but who knows if they can hold.”
The enemy has yet to seize London,” Kerr continued. But with London now cut off to the West and soon likely to the North, it won’t last long.”
“And,” said Kerr with all the studied calm of a man facing his execution, “there have been mutinies on the torpedo-boats of the Thames Squadron.”
“Mutinies?” said Allenby in disbelief.
“Unfortunate business,” Kerr nodded. “We’ve also had instances of the wireless interference you’ve reported. By means of signal triangulation, we have placed its source around Woking. We believe the Martians have established a powerful wireless beacon to guide their cylinders.”
“There’s not more to add,” concluded Kerr. “The Channel Squadron will stand to further out and prevent a Martian crossing of the channel.”
I said nothing. How long would that plan last when the Martians began landing outside Paris and Berlin?
09-Jun 14:12 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 09 June 1897 14:12 GMT
Four sullen men, the highest-ranking a leading seaman sat on the bench, flanked by two of the ship’s Marines.
“It was madness, that’s it what was, ordering us to charge up the river to do what?” He sneered. “We didn’t get more than halfway when we were met by a wall of black smoke and the Heat Ray.”
09-Jun 14:34 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 10 June 1897 16:40 GMT
“The world is coming to an end, and yet this is what we do,” said Farmer, watching the detail slide the wrapped bodies over the side.”
“They mutinied and deserted in the face of the enemy,” was all I could reply.
“Really? I thought better of you, Carver,” Farmer said, and turned on his heel.
10-Jun 16:11 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 10 June 1897 16:11 GMT
Much has been written of the events of this day, particularly by a certain fabulist-turned-historian, who has taken some liberties and omits certain important details. As a witness, I can only provide my first-hand version of events, which saw my world forever change.
10-Jun 16:12 #historian?
Concerning Lt Roger Carver’s description of Wells as a ‘fabulist-turned-historian’. Some of the contempt may be due to Wells’ Socialist ideals which Carver abhorred. In defence of Wells’ own account, Wells himself was not a witness to what occurred, and appears to have relied on his brother recollections @hgwellsbro.
10-Jun 16:13 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 10 June 1897 16:13 GMT
As per Admiral Kerr’s orders, I had taken a small detachment of the ship’s marines ashore to meet the Royal Party at a private pier just outside Bradwell Waterside, where Turbina was tied up, awaiting its passengers. Thunder Child stood patiently offshore, smoke curling up from her stack.
10-Jun 16:15 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 10 June 1897 16:15 GMT
The Martians had swept into London from the southwest, cutting it off from the rest of the country. They drove humanity before them, like lambs to the slaughter. Standing on the pier, we watched a steady stream of humanity clatter by, increasing in size throughout the day. Mr. Farmer would certainly appreciate this.
Some refugees were on foot; many passed us on horseback, bundled into wagons and carriages, and even on bicycles doubtlessly driven by the sounds of artillery in the distance. We drew sullen stares but our line of fixed bayonets and men in khaki had thus far dissuaded anything beyond.
10-Jun 16:35 #The Queen
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines Officer, HMS Thunder Child, 10 June 1897 16:35 GMT
Finally, we heard the clatter of multiple hooves, the whinny of horses, and the rattle of carriage wheels, and the angered calls, of “Make way! Make way!”
Within a few minutes a black carriage with drawn curtains arrived, escorted by a squadron of dusty Horse Guards with carbines hanging from their saddles.
A young Horse Guards lieutenant in his dirty red serge dismounted, hand on his calvary sabre. He marched up to me parade ground style and saluted crisply. “Sir, I transfer my charges into your custody.”
I returned his salute. “Accepted.”
The carriage door slowly opened.
We snapped to attention. A diminutive figure, shrouded in black stepped out, escorted by a pair of ladies in waiting, and a frowning man, presumably her bodyguard. She stopped in front of the lieutenant and took his hand. “Thank you, Lieutenant.”
Thus, in her Diamond Jubilee Year of 1897, Her Majesty Queen Victoria, Empress of India, and Head of the Commonwealth fled England.
10-Jun 16:40 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 10 June 1897 16:40 GMT
We watched Turbina pull away from the pier. As the yacht and its royal passenger moved speedily into the busy estuary under the protective gaze of the Thunder Child, I said to Sergeant Howard, “Get the men on the whaleboat and castoff.”
A sudden shout made me turn around. A Martian tripod towered menacingly above the forest behind us.
“Belay that!” I ordered, with an eye on the looming Martians.
I tossed the mooring rope to the cox’n. “Get that whaleboat away!” Then turning to Howard and the Horse Guards lieutenant. “Get your men to cover!”
10-Jun 16:44 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 10 June 1897 16:44 GMT
Along with the other men, Sergeant Howard, the Horse Guards lieutenant, and I crouched low behind a stone wall. The civilians around us rushed about pell-mell, ignoring our example. I looked over the wall: the three Martians had linked up on the beach.
I watched as the Martians waded into the Blackwater, calling out, Ulla! Ulla!”
The shipping around them tried to scatter. I saw one of the tripods raise a giant leg and step on a fishing smack full of screaming people, driving it underwater.
“Inhuman monsters!” seethed the Lieutenant. He tried to stand up, but Howard and I grabbed him and held him fast.
“Stay down,” I growled. “Are you trying to get us killed?”
“You saw them! If mere men can’t stop them, what hope is there?”
10-Jun 16:53 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 10 June 1897 16:53 GMT
In the mist, the three Martians stood in the middle of the estuary, seemingly transfixed by the sight of the hapless channel ferry, loaded down with terrified passengers. They towered above the little boat as its sidewheels churned and smoke poured from its stack.
10-Jun 16:55 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 10 June 1897 16:55 GMT
“Ulla! Ulla!” The trumpeting Martian chorus overlapped the panicked cries from the passengers on the ferry as the enemy pondered their next victims. The pour souls: they were doomed, and they knew it.
“Look!” shouted Howard.
From out of the fog, came Thunder Child.
10-Jun 16:57 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 10 June 1897 16:57 GMT
Like a knife, Thunder Child’s bow slid into legs of the first tripod, causing it to tumble into the water. Smoke pouring from its stack, the battleship plowed forward into the legs of the second Martian, which scarcely had time to react.
10-Jun 16:58 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 10 June 1897 16:58 GMT
Along with Howard and the young Lieutenant, I got to my feet, open-mouthed. Thunder Child was still afloat, low in water by the bow, with a crumpled Martian tripod laying across her forward decks. The remaining tripod stood a distance away in the fog, as if stunned.
10-Jun 17:00 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 10 June 1897 17:00 GMT
“Good old Thunder Child!” shouted Howard.
“Is anyone still alive on her?” asked the Lieutenant.
Smoke curled from the battleship’s crushed smokestack as it began to move forward. Plainly life remained on her. The last Martian began to move, bringing its Heat Ray to bear.
10-Jun 17:05 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 10 June 1897 17:05 GMT
I felt a sickening lurch in my gut as the Martian fired, causing the length of the ship to erupt into the flame. But it was too late. Carried by momentum, if nothing else and the spite of a dead hand on the helm, Thunder Child barrelled head-long into the tripod’s legs.
The Martian collapsed forward onto Thunder Child as the burning ship swept under its legs. At the same time, an explosion from below decks caused Thunder Child to explode like a bomb, leaving its debris to rain down us.
“The boilers, “said Howard. He quietly crossed himself. “Almost as if she were waiting.”
10-Jun 18:02 #Turbina
From the personal log of Captain Charles Parson, RNR, Commanding HMS Turbina, 10 June 1897, 18:02 GMT:
The coast was behind us in the haze. I became aware of someone clearing her throat behind me on the bridge. I turned around: Her Majesty, Empress of India, Queen Victoria stood before me. “Y-your Majesty?”
“Tell me Captain,” she smiled. “How long would it take us make Aberdeen?”
11-Jun 10:34 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 11 June 1897, 10:34 GMT:
We spent the better part of yesterday and today on the shore waiting. To our dismay, the battleships of the Channel Squadron remained on the horizon, their distant shimmering forms in my binoculars. They sent us no relief, despite our repeated signals.
“Commander,” asked Sergeant Howard, not unkindly. “Orders? Poor old Thunder Child’s gone; there’s no help coming from those blighters.” He nodded out to sea.
I nodded. I had hoped to find survivors from Thunder Child, but it was evident that she was lost with all hands.
Meanwhile my little group of Marines and Horse Guards had grown, picking up stragglers from other regiments. The story these new arrivals told was the same: the wholesale slaughter of humanity. Between myself, Howard, and Lieutenant Mann, we struggled with discipline, but then – “Woking, Sergeant,” I heard myself say.
“Beg pardon, sir?”
“Woking.” The Admiralty had a theory that the enemy has established a wireless beacon there. I intend for us to destroy it.”
Howard raised an eyebrow but nodded. Any order would help. “Right you are, sir.”
12-Jun 13:20 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 12 June 1897, 13:20 GMT:
After Lieutenant Mann ordered his Sergeant to locate mounts for us all, Lieutenant Mann and I spent some time this morning discussing the best route to Woking. Both of us agree we must avoid London at all costs, but north or south?
The route south is shorter and has the advantage of avoiding the front-line. Sergeant Howard is confident of finding some means for us to cross at Tilbury, but without the ferry we will have to leave our mounts behind.
13-Jun 16:58 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 13 June 1897, 16:58 GMT:
We have set off for Woking, intending to cross the Thames at Tilbury. I am in command of a cobbled-together mounted force of 25 men, drawn from the late Thunder Child’s marine detail, Lieutenant Mann’s Horse Guards, and a dozen stragglers from other commands. I plan to travel at night to keep from being discovered.
14-Jun 09:30 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 14 June 1897, 09:30 GMT:
As we cannot travel through London, our line of march to Woking must take us southwest to Tilbury where we must cross the Thames, before swinging northwest. We have thus far avoided the Martians but have seen the destruction that is their signature. With some exceptions, the men are becoming used their horses.
Basildon is in ruins and a measure of how we have fallen. Towards the town centre in front of the blackened wreck of the Town Hall, we came across a pile of bricks on which sat a chair that must have been pulled out of a bank manager’s office and covered in gold paint.
“Here now, that’s mine!” A portly man wearing the remains of a suit approached us. He looked like he’d been in the sun too long. “I’m the Master of Basildon. You report to me.”
“The Master?” I asked bemusedly.
“I’m the duly constituted civil authority hereabouts. I’m giving you an order!”
“I’m sorry, sir,” I smiled. “I don’t think so.” I turned to the column. “Move out!”
“I’m the master!” he shrieked as we rode past. “You lads listen to me!’ he called after us. “I can make Basildon great again!”
We rode on, leaving The Master of Basildon alone.
15-Jun 10:00 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 15 June 1897, 11:00 GMT:
We arrived at Tilbury to find the Ferry tied up at the quay and covered with dead bodies: men, women and children all bundled together. They looked strangely peaceful. Every surface is covered with a fine black dust that clings uneasily to one’s skin.
All the men – Marines, Horse Guards, and infantry – worked as one to quickly remove the bodies before placing them in a single shallow grave. I spoke the simple words of commitment and promised resurrection. Words held back from those who had shot for desertion only 6 days before.
Corporal Markinson, who served in the engine room before transferring to the marines, assures me the ferry should work once we have relit her boiler. With a pump and hose, we’ve cleared much of the black dust off the boat. After the horrors of the past few days, this is welcome news.
16-Jun 09:00 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, #RoyalMarines HMS Thunder Child, 16 June 1897, 09:00 GMT:
Loading the horses onto the ferry took most of the night, and then unloading them in Gravesend the rest of the night. Markinson was as good as his word and the Ferry performed faultlessly. The group appears in good spirits and determined to exact its revenge for those the Martians killed in Tilbury.
17-Jun 11:00 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt. Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 17 June 1897, 11:00 GMT:
Our ranks continue to grow. Outside of Betchworth, resting in a glade, we found a 12-pounder gun, with its horses, limber, and ammunition wagon. According to the gun’s crew they were part of a masked Royal Horse Artillery battery that failed to stop the Martians east of London.
“We managed to save ourselves before the Black Smoke took the horses, sir,” said their sergeant. He seemed embarrassed to be among the living. “We’ve been in concealment ever since.”
“I understand.” I looked them up and down. “Up for a little revenge?”
The artillerymen all nodded grimly.
We continued our ride northwest, skirting around dead London in the moonlight. Passing through a freight yard outside of Dorking, we halted. Ahead stood a Martian silhouetted above the rooftops, scanning the horizon. We all held our breaths until it moved towards the east.
“We must be getting close, sir,” said Sergeant Howard, watching the Martian move into the distance.
“We’ll get our fill of them soon,” I said. “We’ll be in Woking tomorrow.”
Howard nodded. “I’ll see to the men, then.”
18-Jun 09:30 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 18 June 1897, 09:30 GMT:
The sun was well up when we finally entered Ripley, just outside Woking. Our column, now 30 men plus a field gun, moved slowly. Except for a few burnt out buildings, likely from long-forgotten cooking fires, the town was intact. But like everywhere, it was deserted, devoid of life.
“Hold it right there,” rang out a woman’s voice.
“Another master?” asked Lieutenant Mann. “Every town we ride through seems to have one.”
“I have you covered!” A young woman stepped out from the shadows, wearing riding boots. Long dark curls flowered around her head. She levelled a shotgun at us.
“Not a master, Lieutenant Mann,” I smiled at her. “But perhaps a queen?”
“Let us pass,” said Mann. “We have to get to Woking.”
”Woking seems to be a popular destination,” she said with an arch smile. She lowered her weapon, as she surveyed us. “You’re the army or what’s left it?”
“Royal Navy, actually,” I said. “Lieutenant Commander Roger Carver, late HMS Thunder Child, at your service. But the Lieutenant is correct: it is vital we get to Woking.”
“Wait? Thunder Child?” She blinked. “There’s someone you should meet at my grandfather’s workshop.”
18-Jun 10:20 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 18 June 1897, 10:20 GMT:
According to a few rough notes Mr. Farmer scribbled in the Thunder Child’s logbook, the force of the ship’s boilers exploding threw him and the logbook clear of the ship. Despite his grave injuries, he found the ship’s whaleboat adrift. What had happened the cox’n is unclear.
“Amazing,” I said, closing the book. “And on a wild hunch that I was alive and heading towards Woking, Farmer motored up the Thames to meet us.” I turned to Maxim and his granddaughter. “You’ve mentioned that you’ve kept watch on the Martian position. What have you found out?”
“That tower is much more than a beacon, of that I am certain, Mr. Carver,” said Maxim. “Based on my observations, I believe it broadcasts an electromagnetic field protecting the Martians against earthly pathogens. Destroy it, and they will sicken and die within a matter of days.”
I frowned. Maxim’s theory was outlandish. “Poppycock! I refuse to believe how invisible waves can prevent illness and death! It’s nonsense. I can sooner believe in…”
“…Men from Mars, Mr. Carver?” Maxim smiled archly. “The Martians are a more ancient and more advanced race.”
“It’s a given,” I said. “Any race that can cross the gulf of space must be beyond us.”
“In many ways,” said Maxim. “The fighting machines, the Heat Ray: those are obvious examples. They are beyond us as we are the flatworm. Their grasp of the sciences must be equally ahead of us.”
“We are now experimenting with wireless,” continued Maxim. “I can see the day when we will be able to transmit sound and pictures.”
“That’s what Mr. Farmer says.”
“Then why cannot you accept the possibility that the Martians, who are in advance of us, are able to do as I suggest?”
“I’ll suspend my doubt,” I said. I needed Maxim. In retrospect, he was correct, although we still don’t comprehend why. “You plan to destroy the tower, you granddaughter said…”
“Yes,” Maxim nodded. “Together, we might just carry the day! Persephone, show the Commander my machine.”
“Your grandfather is quite the man,” I said as Persephone led me to the back shed.
“Scientist, engineer, inventor, industrialist,” she said taking my hand with a smile, “and designer of the Maxim machine gun.”
I blushed a little as she took my hand. Was Persephone… a suffragette?
“What’s in here?” I asked as Persephone unlocked the padlock on the shed’s double door and begun to swing them open. I helped her push the doors back, revealing something looming in the shadows.
Persephone smiled, taking my hand and squeezing it. “Grandfather’s flying machine!”
19-Jun 11:00 @LtCarver
From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 19 June 1897, 11:00 GMT:
I stood at table with a map of Woking, and the Martian position in the Horsell Common sandpit. Maxim tapped the map with a red grease pencil, drawing a circle around the enemy position. “This is about where I began to feel that odd sensation, I told you about.”
“You’re certain that the tower the Martians built is the cause of it? Lieutenant Mann asked.
“I am,” said Maxim.
“We may not agree on everything,” I said, “but we agree that tower must be destroyed.”
“I’m more concerned about the Black Smoke,” said Sergeant Howard.
“I may have an answer for that,” said Maxim, producing a crude fabric hood with eyeholes made from glass. “Before wireless transmission from Birmingham was cut off due to the tower’s interference, the government broadcast specifications for these masks. I understand your artillery were provided with a set.”
Mann picked up the mask. He shook his head. “This will protect us?”
“I’ve made improvements, including a charcoal filter to increase its effectiveness,” Maxim assured us.
I remembered how the people of Shearness and Tilbury died wholesale from the smoke. “Do we have enough for us all?”
Maxim nodded. “Persephone and some of your men spent a few hours this morning making them.”
“Make sure everyone is issued with one,” I turned to Howard.
“We’ll need something for the horses,” said Lieutenant Mann.
“Persephone’s already thought of that,” Maxim said.
“It’s an adaption of the basic mask,” Persephone said. “It fits quite snugly There’ll be enough.”
Sergeant, how are the men?”
“We now have two Maxim guns with ammunition. The 12-pounder has 20 rounds of high explosive.”
“Be sure to site your artillery piece here,” said Maxim, pointing to where the map indicated a wooded area that overlooked the Martians. “It will be in range there.”
“The men are rested and ready to go,” said Howard. “It’s this business about the flying machine I’m not sure of.”
“Sergeant,” said Maxim, “please be assured my machine will fly. “
“Then tomorrow we attack,” I said. “Action will commence at 0800 with a single green flare.”
I looked over at Farmer asleep on the cot. He stirred gently. I doubt he heard us at all.