One of the early problems that submarine chaser crews had to deal with was the danger of gasoline fires and explosions. Gasoline engines were relatively new for use in naval vessels, and the engines on the chasers were primitive, by modern standards. Chasers ran on open-crankcase Standard Motor Construction Company 220hp engines, and the engine rooms were poorly ventilated. Accumulated fumes presented an explosion hazard.
As the chaser fleets were entering active ASW operations overseas in July, 1918, bulletins were being issued to caution the chaser crews about the dangers.
See the bulletin here.
And as we enter the heat of the summer 99 years later, imagine being in Corfu, Greece, below decks of a 110-foot wooden submarine chaser with three 220hp open-crankcase engines running.
--Todd Woofenden, editor
Added to the Hull Numbers Collection: Submarine chaser SC 315. This is a newspaper file photo of one of the chasers that were sold to France. SC 315 was designated C-19 in the French navy.