Vol. 18 No. 12, December 2022

The effort to deploy hundreds of U.S. submarine chasers overseas had not waned when the Armistice was signed on 11 November, 1918. Chasers including SC 165 were en route, and were in fact almost at their assigned ports when the war ended. Those crews certainly celebrated along with those who had spent half a year on the barrage lines, although for the crews who made the overseas journey only to find that they would never chase U-boats, it must have been a let-down.

Submarine chaser SC 165
SC 165 photo, from the log of Ens. Grimes

The personal log of Ens. Joseph Grimes, CO of SC 165, describes this time. During the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, he and his crew experienced similar challenges to what the men on the other chasers to cross had experienced. For example, in addition to suffering foul weather for days at a time in a wooden motorboat, the chasers couldn't carry enough fuel for such a long journey, and had to fuel at sea.

On 4 November, Grimes writes, "Received orders to fuel up at 6:30 tomorrow morning on port side of Arathusa astern of SC 278. This is accomplished by taking a line from ship around base of 3 in. gun and another line through hawse pipe and being towed by the ship, keeping boat sheared off while taking gas through hose. Don't like the job. Last trip 219 blew up while taking on gas. 4 men were killed the remainder badly injured."

His concerns turned out not to be entirely unfounded. The next day he writes, "Went alongside USS Arathusa to get fuel, sea running high. Stern too. In maneuvering to get close enough to pass line, ship's head took a throw on top of a sea, guard on starboard bow came down on lug of Arathusa boat davit, ripping off six feet of guard rail, breaking towing strap, and staving in plank underneath guard. Lines were passed and we took on gas without further damage."

In following days they suffered storms, everything wet above and below decks; then on his tenth day at sea, on 11 November, he received a call from USS Chicago that the Armistice had been signed. SC 165 would not make it to the barrage lines in time to engage in hunts. Even so, they had to be cautious. Grimes writes, "Rec'd by phone from Chicago, following bulletin. Armistice with Germany has been signed. There are numerous submarines still at sea. Take necessary precautions to forestall attack."

Added this month to The Subchaser Archives is a scan of the log of Ens Grimes, grandfather of Rickie Miller, who submitted the scan. See also the image of SC 165 in the Hull Numbers collection (from the inside cover of the log). The log book is worth the read, with many interesting and entertaining stories of the overseas trip and his time ashore, and an account of a fine return journey in early to mid-January, his travels over the next several months, and ending with this:

"I will say in conclusion that I am very much attached to the ship and the crew, and will always look back with pleasant memories to my experience on the 165."

--Todd Woofenden, editor

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