1918 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT WWI DIARY HANDWRITTEN BY AN INTREPID SAILOR DETAILING A FRAUGHT FILLED CROSSING OF THE ATLANTIC

By: GEORGE W. OLIPHANT

Price: $2,285.99

Quantity: 1 available


On offer is a super, original ship board manuscript diary handwritten by, as inscribed, 'George W. Oliphant S. S. Moccasin for formerly the German passenger liner "Prinz Joachim." Father: Charles H. Oliphant 169 Danforth St. Portland Maine." George does a great job as a diarist if a little sporadic at times, bringing the action aboard ship to startling reality in his descriptive entries. The page a day style diary has 100 or so entries, most of those dated February 7th through April 26th with few other entries before and after, starts upon enlistment but before he can join he is trying to get some kind of license and having to go through the courts to do so. Likely regarding his rating in the Navy. The diary goes a long way to show the danger and at times dire hours for the ships and men at sea who served in support of the fighting elements and the people suffering the War in Europe. To that end this ship was a refrigerated cargo ship delivering frozen food to Bordeaux France and the very first trip out there is trouble for the crew and ship which while makes for exciting reading the reality for these brave sailors near fatal. Here are some snippets: 1918 "January 18th, Called on Inspectors who agreed to give me my license. My argument evidently worked." "January 30th, Went to New York and enrolled as officer in Naval Reserve as Ensign. Ordered uniform and returned on night train." "February 7th, Called on Mr. _____and with whom had lunch. Advised him that I could not consider Montpelier job without notifying firm. Decided to drop entire matter until my return from war……Took three o'clock for NY. Arriving late. Staid at Saint George Brooklyn…..Reported for duty at 4:30 P.M. at N. A. K. to Captain Beckwith. Moved to Hunt's for night and went to theatre with them where we saw Wm Gillette." "February 16th, Called on Bowman and advised him that for T.'s sake an my families, I would drop the matter (about the license), tho I felt that I should, in justice to myself, clear my name of any imputation of impropriety, in case such an opinion had been given credence by the Bureau owing to Wilson's jealousy and circulation of false stories about my school. Went out with York of Coast Trans. Line with whom I hope to go across…." "February 17th, Called on Capt. Thompson and among other things insisted either that he tell Cap. Beckwith of the status of my license or that I do so. He said I might be disenrolled. I told him that I would prefer to be disenrolled to holding a commission under my misunderstanding as to my qualifications. He finally agreed to tell B. himself tomorrow. I advised him that I intended to carry my appeal to Kedfried (?) which he seemed glad to hear." "February 20th, 9:00 A.M. Reported on board S. S. Moccasin, Captain Powers commanding and then took 24 hours liberty. Went to Anderson and ordered coat. That night with Em. To Kenney's Vaudeville and home to Hunt's at 2 A.M." "February 25th & 26th, Mr. Sullivan Executive officer (Lieut) reported and assigned to me duties of assistant to Executive….Stood 24 hour watch, 12 P.M. S. S. Moccasin went into commission. John A. Meagler (Ensign) reported for duty from USS Jupiter, Trenton N. J." "March 4th, On duty all day rigging booms, etc. etc. 4:10 P.M. Called Police Headquarters reg. theft of pitcher and having found finger prints on saloon rail. Detective appeared an hour later but could do nothing. 8 P.M. Lieut. Goodphile came aboard (finger print expert from Police Headquarters) and "fixed" prints which were to be photographed tomorrow. Stood watch of Meagler from 6-12 midnight (sick). Rain, snow, warm." "March 11th, 9:20 A.M. got under way, 4 tugs assisting for trial trip to adjust compasses, etc. Stood out 5 miles E. of Ambrose Channel L. S. I was on duty on bridge from 9:20 to 4:30 when we docked South side pier 6, Bush G Terminal. Hit telegraph on head first time after watching old man. Evening Murdock and I took in sights. Flying sign "S" and recognition signal." "March 23rd, 1:30 P.M. We left Bush Docks about 9:30 and made way for Ambrose Ch. L. V. the pt. of departure for the convoy to consist of 39 vessels. Formation made at 4 o'clock, beautiful day, cool but clear. 39 vessels in 6 columns stretching for miles with cruiser De Monies in lead of No. 3. Col. and we 2nd in No. 2 Col. Frenchman leading, F'chman dropped out leaving us in lead. Captain gave me 4 to 8 watch, Murdock 1 -4, Hennesey and Ryan 8-12." "March 26th, On duty at 4 A.M. All alone on the bridge of a 7,000 ton ship and the Atlantic for, so far as we could tell, not a ship was near us. Weather cleared and at 5 I discerned two lights one forward, one aft. Whether tramps or neutrals or part of convoy, I could not tell. Called old man. Held course and at 5:30 the clouds lifted and scattered all over horizon, 20 miles away. I picked up 12 ships. A welcome sight. I took my first sight for Longitude and came within 4 miles of old ____." (In the morning 20 ships were with them but they also discovered a leak and had to work hard to repair it. Said it was 15 feet below water line and this is when all the excitement begins.) "March 30th, Water gaining. A seam is also spreading and you hear the water rushing in and falling in that below. An awful sound to one who realizes its seriousness. A storm might prove fatal to the safety of the ship. Captain suggested the Azores as a possibility." EDITOR'S NOTES: The Captain asked him to keep quiet about the seriousness of the leak but it was very distressing and the storm was getting worse. And he's still standing watch alone. They find out in the morning that they are now 3 miles off course and still in danger, he writes: "Wind howling, shrieking, seas up to bridge, 33 feet, not a ship in sight. I went to supper when half way there we took a terrific roll (50 degrees) and I was thrown clear of my chair for 15 feet, hitting the dining table on my back in middle of room. As I passed made a grab for Exec's chair which came up by the roots. I landed on my shoulder beyond the table with another injury than a smashed thumb which the doc. fixed up. Just as I was returning to the bridge, a boy came running up from engine room for doctor….." A 300 pound structure tore loose and flew across the engine room floor hurting several men and one was yelling that all the life boats were breaking loose. One man came near to going overboard. He says, "We worked four hours griping in boats, forty cowards shuddering and praying and 15 men doing the work." He goes on to say that the seas were enormous and towered above the bridge 15 feet. Says, "It was the most awful experience of my life. I have seen storms and seas but none that compared with this." Finally on April 5th the wind dies down and they meet up with their convoy but not before they end up in the "Submarine Zone" with two messages received, "War Warnings." "April 6th, Nothing of note today, tho the constant vigil and increasing strain is telling on everyone. The least bit of good news by wireless and there is good news only by comparison…." "April 7th, The Des Moines still missing and in the heart of danger zone, 300 miles from land. No lights for two nights, no wireless, no news." The next day he gets called to the bridge to send an SOS because the ship Cadillac was torpedoed and needs help. Thirty three ships now remained in the convoy. "April 14th, The Cadillac ___to be one of our own convoy. Tanker, whose position was first in sixth column. She was in sight of Northern ships in convoy when torpedoed and her guns were seen and heard working. 6 P.M. eight more destroyers joined us and by dark there were a total of ten circling around us shooting at their target, suddenly stopping ready to blast off here or there whenever she might detect anything suspicious. They were like bloodhounds, use to the wind, poised, ready to spring, sniffing and listening for prey. Great stuff." The 4 x 6 inch diary is overall G+. HISTORICAL NOTES: "USS Moccasin (ID-1322) was a United States Navy refrigerated cargo ship in commission from 1918-1919. She was the third ship to carry her name. Moccasin was built as the German commercial passenger-cargo ship SS Prinz Joachim in 1903 at Flensburg, Germany, by Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft for the Hamburg America Line. When the United States entered World War I on the side of the Allied in April 1917, the United States Government seized her and placed her under the control of the United States Shipping Board for use during World War I. Renamed SS Moccasin, she entered service as an American civilian cargo ship. Late in 1917, the United States Army chartered her. The U.S. Navy acquired Moccasin at New York City on 19 February 1918 for World War I use as a refrigerated cargo ship. She was assigned the naval registry Identification Number (Id. No.) 1322 and commissioned as USS Moccasin on 26 February 1918. SERVICE HISTORY: Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, Moccasin departed New York City on 14 March 1918 with a convoy for Europe, arriving at Bordeaux, France on 13 April to unload her cargo of frozen food. Moccasin continued to operate as a refrigerator ship, making cross?Atlantic runs to Europe from New York, until she decommissioned on 2 June 1919. She was transferred to the United States Shipping Board the same day. She returned to commercial service as SS Moccasin, later in her career being renamed SS Porto Rico."

Title: 1918 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT WWI DIARY HANDWRITTEN BY AN INTREPID SAILOR DETAILING A FRAUGHT FILLED CROSSING OF THE ATLANTIC

Author Name: GEORGE W. OLIPHANT

Categories: Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 20th Century Manuscript, 20th Century Diary,

Publisher: ASEA ABOARD THE USS MOCCASIN, 1918

Book Condition: Good+

Type: Manuscript

Size: 16mo - over 5¾" - 6¾" tall

Seller ID: 0002343

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