September 6, 2008 marks the 80th anniversary of the death of my great uncle, Lt. George S. Dole, who served as CO of submarine chaser SC 93 during the war and as CO of SC 354 after. He died young, only 43 years old.
There is disagreement among family members as to the cause. While some attribute it to complications from a smallpox vaccine, I have found no evidence of that. His father, Rev. George Henry Dole, believed that his time in the frigid waters of the Atlantic in the winter of 1917-1918 had damaged his circulatory system. Then-Ensign Dole spent time in the water at New London, CT, working to free the rudder of stray cables that had entangled it.
Service on a chaser in WWI certainly took its toll on many sailors. Lt. Dole fell ill at the family's summer camp in Maine, and died shortly thereafter. The camp was passed along to my uncle George, George S. Dole's namesake, and now and then I spend a few days there, and think about the twins -- George and Louis Dole -- and how WWI separated them, and perhaps later took one of them.
-- Todd Woofenden, editor