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STEVE ATTWOOD, Warrant Officer Machinist Listings

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On offer is a super relic of World War I naval and maritime history being a long, very interesting and significant 13 pp. letter handwritten by Warrant Officer Machinist Steve Attwood, who had just returned to school from a West Indies cruise aboard the USS KITTERY (AKA-2), to his lady friend, Mildred "Mid" Mighell, Aurora, Illinois, with original postal cover, return address of S. S. Attwood, U.S.N.S.E.S (U.S. Naval Engineering School at Stevens Institute), Hoboken, New Jersey, US 3c Washington postage stamp tied Hoboken, Sep 18 1918, postmark. Here are snippets: "Well here is the old salt back on the job ... went to the [West] Indies ... disappointed... for it was expected to send us all across [to Europe]. One other ship took 3 (one a loud mouthed Jew down around the [Cape] Horn to Chile & they won't be back till Jan 1 ... on Fri Jul 19 & at 4:30 {P.M.] ... got ... notice to be ready to sail at 8:30 next morning. That left rather short time & meant almighty big hustling. We reported Sat. morning ... on board the USS KITTERY at 33rd St., Brooklyn -- me with 2 heavy suitcases, a heavy overcoat & rain coat & a hot day ... we sailed ... for Charleston [South Carolina] ... the engines broke down & ... [U] hugged the engine room rather closely. Then I went into the fire room & shovelled coal & fired (oh, how the sweat did run & the coal dust stick), 'till I burned my neck off on a red hot rod, whereupon I got 3 day layoff to recuperate ... Our next [port] was Santiago, Cuba, which we reached after days of sailing. We make about 10 knots ... All the way down we fired from our 3-4" guns at anything floating, even if it was innocent looking as a barrel, because they [German submarines] hide periscopes sometimes. From Charleston we took down 300 Marines & 20 officers ... Jolly bunch. They were just out of Quantico training school & were sore about being shipped down to the Indies. Don't blame them. We rolled horribly (KITTERY has a big rep for that), but little enjoyed seeing the Marines hug the rail. Had to hold on with 2 hands most of the time. From Santiago to Cape Hatien, Haiti, just looked in harbor & beat it for Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic ... anchored for 2 hours & dropped 1/3 of the Marines, then to Puerto Plata overnight. Palm trees & coconuts & Southern Cross & breezes -- oh, how those trades do blow. Thru the Windy Pasage between ... [Cuba] & Haiti it blows all year around about 75 mile an hour ... Then to Sanchez, D.R., anchor only & unloaded little stuff to lighter. (At Santiago saw San Juan Hill & Moro Castle & 2 guns from Hobson's MERRIMAC sticking in the sand & the Cuban 'Camp Custer' of 25,000 men. Then to San Macharise, D.R. on southern shore of island. Revolution on down there now. It doesn't get in the papers, but is quite as bad as France for the men concerned: 2 officers & 4 men were sliced to ribbons the day before we arrived. Everyone went around with a Colt .45 automatic. It was considered very foolish to anyone to leave the ship unarmed & for the Marines, forbidden. Then to San Domingo City, D.R. This is Columbus' town, where ... he landed twice & where his bones are stored ... 2 day stop here. We took on skins & cow hides & cocoa beans & dropped Marine's stores and Marines all. Then to St. Thomas [U.S. Virgin Islands] ... a beautiful little island, a beautiful harbor & clean, picturesque little town. Hills rise right from the water's edge & are beautiful green. Bluebeard's & Blackbeard's castles adorn prominent nearby hills & we saw Bluebeard's old tower (where he tortured 'em, I guess) ... A splendid type of Negro you find down [there]. They speak either Danish or U.S., and the latter perfectly. They could give us a few grammar lessons to spare. No thick lips or flat noses, but bright eyes & high foreheads & polite manners. They will tell you a fault in their goods long before you would ever notice it. I like the town & people. Then to the isle St. Croix or town of Frederikstad & back to St. Thomas --- dropped some guns at F. & coal at St. Thomas. The ship was coaled in one after[noon] by women. The men shovelled the coal into baskets & lifted onto the women's heads. The latter carried it in to the boat & dumped it ... they each received a Danish penny, or 2 cents. Each basket weights 90# ... San Juan, Porto Rico ... is the seen] N.Y. of the Indies & was a God send to get into, even for one night. No factories [seen] except sugar mill ... back to Porto Plata for a day & then we sailed for N.Y. At San Juan we took in 181 ... Porto Ricans, who had enlisted in the Navy as mess attendants. They quartered them on the deck, with no shelter, waves washing over the deck & the ship rolling 35° once every 4 seconds ... a miserable lot by the time N.Y. was reached. After reaching port, we repaired the main engines for nearly a week without setting foot to dry land. Then late one night back to Hoboken looking for a room & busy as ever again right way the next morning, but some here had some [exciting] experiences. Zimmerman was on the [USS] BUCK. They spotted a sub one morning off France -- thought it was a tanker, but when it opened fire they knew it wasn't. It was nearly 9 miles away, so the BUCK fired a 3 inch gun, which only went 1/2 way. Then the sub throught that was all they had, so in she comes & when she gets about 6 miles away, the BUCK fires a 6" gun & scares 'em off again to 9 miles. The 6's should shoot about 18,000 yards, but go only 16,500, so they fired with the gun raised just as high as possible & by all the gods it hit Mr. Sub just Davy Jones ward of the conning tower. Now that is a very particular spot in Mr. Sub & he became so discouraged that he turned his nose to the sky & slipped slowly out of sight ... whereupon Mr. BUCK continues straight onward ... Dempster ... went on the [USS} WESTBRIDGE ... headed for Brest [France]. Their main turbines went on the bum at 5 P.M. At 6 P.M. the [USS] MONTANA was torpedoed, so they thought they would be torpedoed about daylight ... everyone put on life preservers & all officers their guns & waited ... 'to be torpedoed" ... at 11:58 two torpedoes hit -- 10 feet apart -- right at the junction of the fire & engine rooms (all one) & blew up a great column of fire & water several hundred feet in the air & lifted one lifeboat right over the ship & dropped it in the water. They tore a hold 37 x 17 feet in the side of the ship (imagine that wall of water coming toward you). Immediately the lights went out, there was a great flash & deafening roar & sound of mad, rushing water. Objects (metallic) flew against metal beams & ports, then, suddenly, the whole floor seemed alive with flashing fire -- all the oil tanks seneath blew up, one after the other. The floor plates crumpled & the gratings above came tumbling down ..." Continues, mentioning, by name, several officers who jumped overboard to waiting lifeboats. "They floated 7 hours & ... [MONTANA] failed to sink, as it had flour on board, which buoyed it up. Tugs came in the morning & a destroyer (radioed in when they became disabled. They towed her & the destroyer took the crew in. They found Autosch's body several days later by means of a diving suit. Something had hit him in the skull & his shoulders were burned. The others they didn't find. The boat finally beached & they gave Autosch a military funeral in Brest & buried him there ... Couple of others are missing ... I expect to get my commission, but there are 1-1/2 weeks of classwork & two exams [remaining] ... I only hope they stick me on shore somewhere ... [signed] Steve." HIOSTOPRICAL NOTES: The USS KITTERY was the former German Hamburg-American Line freighter SS PRAESIDENT (3,300 tons), which originally was interned at San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1915. After the U.S. entered World War I on May 17 1917 the ship was seized, refitted at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and commissioned into the U.S. Navy as USS KITTERY (AKA-2) on Jul 6 1918. Home ported at Charleston, South Carolina, KITTERY made monthly runs during the remainder of the war to supply American forces. Overall VG. 
Price: 1255.99 USD
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