Vol. 11 No. 9, September, 2015

While my great uncle, Lt. (jg) George Dole was overseas in command of SC 93, my grandfather Louis and his father George spent summers in Wayne, Maine, at a camp on Androscoggin Lake. He must have been thinking of them when he was off in the war, missing the summer fishing and hunting season.

Although, in September of 1918, he would not have had a great deal of free time to dwell on it. The Otranto Barrage was in full swing, the chasers running from American Bay to the barrage line in shifts, and in between spending scarce free time swimming in the waters of Corfu, gassing up the chasers and working on the engines, and perhaps wishing the food were better.

The photos in The Subchaser Archives tell the story, of him and thousands of others who served on these little boats, hunting enemy submarines.

Lt. Dole passed away on this day in 1928 at Wayne, less than a decade after the war ended, a comparatively young man, only in his early 40s. Maybe his service overseas in part accounted for his short life.

This weekend, on the 87th anniversary of his death, I'm here at the camp, looking out at the lake, noting the signs of fall foliage on the opposite shore, and thinking about what it must have been like to be here in the early 20th century.

Having long since surpassed his years, I feel lucky to be here. The water is warm, the loons are enchanting, and the sunset over the water is spectacular. Tooling around the lake on a little wooden boat got me to thinking that I'm only here because back in 1909 he and his father and brother were tooling around the lake -- I imagine in a canoe -- and picked out this spot as the best place on lake, found the farmer who owned this piece of land, and bought it. You can't do that, nowadays.

Good move, Doles. Since then, another three generations of the family have enjoyed the spot. I hope someone after me will remember him, think about his duties on submarine chasers, working to regain and secure the safety of the seas and giving up several years of his life for his country.

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