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.
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