About the Site
This is a site devoted to the early history of submarine chasers, during and in the aftermath of World War I. The foundation of the site is in the form of selections from the G.S. Dole Collection, a large collection of period photos, documents, letters and publications pertaining to WWI subchasers. However the site is the result of a collaborative effort. Many individuals have contributed to the Subchaser Archives, including descendants of subchaser crewmen, historians, scale model makers, and others with an interest in the subject. Their generous contributions keep the site alive and give it a breadth that would otherwise be lacking.
My great uncle, George Stuart Dole, was a subchaser commander in WWI. He served in the Otranto barrage, and later led a unit of subchasers to Archangel, Russia. Lt. Dole was also an Olympic gold medal winner (wrestling, 1908), a Yale graduate, and after the war a professor at Milton Academy in Massachusetts - and in many other ways a talented, complex and altogether fascinating individual. He was also an avid collector of materials during his service on the chasers, and amassed a considerable collection.
In the process of studying this collection and looking for other sources of information on the WWI chasers, I discovered that while there were some web sites with general information on subchasers, most of the sites concentrated on the chasers in WWII. I found precious little on the chasers in WWI.
But I did find that there are other people out there who are interested and deeply engaged in the history of the subchasers. This is good news, for the study of history is most compelling when it is a collaborative endeavor. The slice of history illuminated by the G.S. Dole Collection is considerably deep, the collection including granular information that is probably not available elsewhere. But it is also rather narrow, centering on the history of a couple of subchaser units. It's interesting because it's deep and contains extensive first-hand accounts; it's incomplete and requires the work of others because it's narrow.
As Editor of the Subchaser Archives, my mission is to find the missing pieces, to fill in the story, and to provide a foundation for the long-term study and preservation of the history of the WWI submarine chasers. If you are working on this bit of history, I would love to hear from you. If you have materials -- photos, stories, documents, or anything relevant to the study of WWI subchasers -- let's talk about including your materials in the archives.
Here is the core philosophy of this site:
- None of us owns history. We might have bits and pieces of evidence, but history is, and should be, in the public domain.
- Some of the work on this site is the writing and thoughts of people who have spent a lot of time putting it together. Please give people credit for their work.
It's important to be clear about what is a primary source document and what is secondary, derivative, or speculative. The Document Archives section is for primary source documents only. The other bits - compiled stories, thoughts, rumors and so on - are equally welcome, and have their own place in the site.
If this appeals to you and you have something to offer for the archives, please click the "submissions" link or email me. Thanks!
Todd Woofenden, Editor
The Subchaser Archives