Vol. 19 No. 2, February 2023

We expect cold weather in Maine, but this morning it's -16° F in my town, in what's being described as a fifty-year event. And so I'm reminded of what the subchaser crews experienced in the winter of 1917-1918. As chasers at New London and New York were being prepared for the overseas journey, the temperature dropped, and the harbors froze. 

Subchaser SC 91 in ice

There are a number of good shots of this, including this one of SC 91, a few from the collection of Charles Gaffney, who served on SC 79, submitted some time ago by his son Jim Gunther; and a shot of SC 93 in my book (page 28) when it was anchored off New London in an ice floe.

On what it was like to live aboard a chaser at this time, Ens. Dole, CO of SC 93, writes in a letter home on 30 December 2017:

"I scraped considerable frost off the present "heating" apparatus situated over my bunk so that in case of thaw I would have a dry place to sleep. Every bit of exposed metal painted or unpainted looks like part of an artificial ice plant. Am going to wrap pipes with canvas tonight, also take a shave so the frost will not collect on a week's growth of whiskers."

I hope all who are experiencing this latest arctic cold are finding a way to stay warm.

Todd Woofenden, editor

Fine Print

To receive the Subchaser Archives Notes via email, use the signup form here. The Notes are posted monthly. If you have non-commercial messages (on topic) for the next Subchaser Archives Notes, submit them to the Subchaser Archives Editor.