On 5 June, 1919, Operations Order No. 1 of the Northern Russia Expedition was issued: A unit of U.S. submarine chasers under the command of Lt. (jg) George S. Dole would be accompanied by HMS Birchol on an expedition to the White Sea.
All vessels were heavily armed and stocked with ammunition, including the gasoline tanker. In a letter home, Lt. Dole writes:
If the ammunition had ever started to shift, well, the expedition would have been off. *
The chasers and tanker traveled along the fjords of Norway. To conserve fuel, and we can assume in part just for the sheer entertainment value, the men on the submarine chasers rigged sails.
Mid-June, they crossed the Arctic Circle, and at Murmansk were joined by USS Yankton, a converted yacht that would serve as the repair ship for the chaser unit and the tanker. On 18 June they entered the White Sea and proceeded to the Dvina River delta, arriving at Archangel.
In the next issue: Operations in the White Sea, and the July 4 celebration at Kego Island; then the assignment to minesweeping operations in the North Sea.
--Todd Woofenden, editor
Added this month:
Photo of subchaser SC 263 added to the Hull Numbers Collection.
See this newly added story of listening for submarines, (third story on the page) from the diary of Boyd A. Propert, SC 322, courtesy of his son, Dave Propert. In case you were thinking the chaser crewmen didn't have any fun, read the diary entry about playing a joke on the Listeners.
Also included is a story the crewman wrote and submitted to The Philadelphia Record, a nice account of what it was like to detect and pursue a submarine.