Recently The Subchaser Archives received an interesting set of letters and diaries from a crewman on SC 125, which saw service on the Otranto barrage. Henry Frances Martin Tegler, known as Harry, was a radio electrician on SC 125. He arrived on the barrage in August 1918.
Posted this month is a segment of one of his diaries, a bit of a slice of life for a new radio man. As is typical with these hand-written accounts (much of it probably written on a rolling chaser), the hand writing in places is very hard to make out. Ellipses indicate illegible words or phrases.
Thanks to Ron Hardwick for generously sending these materials to The Subchaser Archives. More of Tegler's Log and photos and other documents from this collection will be posted over time.
--Todd Woofenden, Editor, The Subchaser Archives
An Excerpt from Tegler's Log: the personal diary of radio electrician Henry Tegler
[Editor's Notes: The purpose of the trip Tegler mentions may have been to accompany a gasoline tanker back to Base 25. Notes on the text: (1) Able Unit and Love Unit, of course, refer to Unit A and Unit L. SC 125, on which Tegler served, was a wing boat in Unit A. (2) The radio shack was located right next to the officers' quarters. (3) Tegler attended USN radio electrician school at Harvard.]
Sunday Aug. 25. Up feeling a little better, signed up for church party, shaved, put on clean whites. Mr. Johns came in, called for Tegler, Rigor, Vernon & Morrell to report to 125, 127, 82, 217 immediately after inspection. Stood inspection then ... up, and without a chance to say goodbye to most of the fellows and missing the church party with the others.
I lugged my bag down to the dock, met ... 2nd class Radio of 125 and Rosie of the 127 and Rigor and I with our bags were taken on the wherry to the Able unit (1) and placed aboard about 11 o’clock local time. The first I spied was Jack Pugh who was placed in the Black gang. Schrum handed my bag aboard which I laid aside and proceeded to the pilot house where I greeted ... Wylie, our Exec. & handed him my new orders. He told me to stand by in the shack.
Schrum explained the set and the routine to me, and I asked what questions I could. Then he took me to chow and introduced me to the different fellows around the table, who were to be my shipmates. In the shack I had previously met Kitchin, the other Radio man, who besides Schrum is also a minister’s son. Then I met Ward, GM 2nd, Holmes BM 2nd, Ellis or Hinkie, QM 3rd, Goldey SC 2nd, Keller, Cox., Scanelli, QM 1st Listener, Death as Kitchin is called, Reds Crockett, Listener and at present on mess duty, Shank, Blaikee, S. Crane Morse, QM 3rd. The meal was a fine one. There was fresh meat and fruit for desert besides vegetables. After chow we went back to the shack and stood by in the Radio Room. I got some more explanation.
At 12 GMT, 2 o’clock local, Unit Able, 124 – 125 – 127 and unit Love, 248 – 82 – 217 weighed anchor and shoved off for a trip. It was a beautiful sunshiny day and as calm as can be. On our starboard side are the mountains of Albania looking pretty in the distance with roads winding up the sides. On our port is the mountains of Corfu, so it is true we are going out the north end. I was below when we pulled out but came on deck near sunset. My instructions are to help code and decode, and try a watch for practice, so with Schrum for a while then Kitchin came on watch about 8 o’clock GMT and I talked to him for a while then dozed off till about 1 A.M. when Schrum asked me to take the watch. He had to leave with only 27 V. (dry cells) on the telephone receiver, where 45 is required, so we have to use the detector and the telegraph entirely. Sat thru till 4 o’clock GMT. Occasionally I heard spark signals but couldn’t tune them in fast enough. The captain came down & laid in his bunk. Asked if I was getting anything or if I had heard the cans dropped by one of the other boats. I replied in the negative.
Monday Aug, 26. I felt a little bit sick and during the night as the boat rocked a little, and had to hand Schrum the phones while I passed into the skipper’s toilet (2). At about 4 A.M. I awakened S. and it was about time for mess very shortly. Kitchin came on watch and very shortly afterward land came in sight, which Death said was Gallipoli, Italy. During the night we passed St. Maria di Leucca, which is right on the point of the heel of Italy. The first part of Gallipoli visible was the lighthouse right outside.
The 82 was the first ship in but in her hurry she went ... across a mine field. We docked around 8 o'clock after we had chowed and the ship passed the submarine nets guarding the harbor. We backed in between the other chasers. I was washing clothes when we pulled in so I could go ashore. While seated there somebody yells Hello Tegler, and I looked up to see Elmer Carlhoben, Bristol, Pa ...'s son, with whom I had schooled at Parkway & Harvard (3). He is a seaman on the 217.
Went on the different chasers to see my friends including Dill & Dixon on the 248 and the men who had come with me, and compared notes. Vernon and Warrell had also been sick. After chow - by the way these eats are fine - all hands prepared to go on liberty. While waiting I had a chance to look around me in the harbor. On our port about 100 feet from our mooring is a wall at the end of which is a lighthouse. Along the wall are anchored a number of English ML boats numbered resembling our SC but only about 80 ft. long. They are camouflaged in such a way that it is hard to see in rough weather. They are supposed to be very fast. They are also a number of English & Canadian drifters & trawlers in here, and an occasional French or Italian or Greek cargo boat or warship. ...
New in The Chasers -- Subchaser Crews
Just posted in the Subchaser Crews section is a photograph of radio electrician Harry Tegler, author of the personal journal excerpted above.
New in Chaser Models -- Close Aboard
There are two new posts in the model making Close Aboard section, showing the forward supports and aft supports for the wherry, and some other interesting details. These are from a collection of photographs of SC 45.