Vol. 5, No. 1, January 2009

I am delighted to be starting the fifth year of The Subchaser Archives Notes.

This past year many new collections were added, thanks to a number of people who submitted images and documents. When I started publishing the monthly newsletter I wondered if there would be sufficient material to keep it going. But instead of running thin on content, it seems that there is always plenty to work with.

This month the main features are a set images from the service of SC 254 and a set of images and documents pertaining to the North Sea Minesweeping Division. Coming up in future months will be more images from the SC 227 collection, additional images from the new SC 254 set, and more.

Happy New Year to everyone, and best wishes for a good year in 2009.

--Todd Woofenden, editor

SC 254: Photos of Interior Spaces

Crew's Quarters

Interior views are always of particular interest, as very few photos of chaser interior spaces exist. Recently posted is a set of four interior views showing the service of SC 254, a chaser that we have seen in other sets already. (See the Freeman Collection and the Unit 21 Collection.)

This set includes a nice engine room photo, and a couple of interesting views of the forward crew's quarters, one of which shows a small heating stove installed in the space. In the winter of 1917-1918, as the chaser crews were training in New London, CT, they suffered through the coldest winter on record. Before more extensive heating apparatus could be installed, these little stoves helped keep the crew's quarters a bit closer to livable.

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North Sea Mine Force items

Boston Mine Monument

Among the later duties of submarine chasers was the work of helping to clear the North Sea of minefields after the war.

The duties of the mine force and later minesweeping force are memorialized by a monument placed in Boston Common, showing a Mark VI mine, one of the American electronically-triggered mines that made the construction of the extensive mine barrage possible.

Just started is a collection of images pertaining to the Boston Mine Memorial, including a photo of the monument from a journal of the minesweeping association, and some documents on the dedication and ceremonies at the monument.

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Aerial Recognition Roundels

Roundel

Frequently there were cooperative efforts among aircraft and antisumbarine vessels in tracking and attacking U-boats. We are used to seeing roundels on aircraft. This collection shows roundels painted on chasers, for the purpose of allowing Allied aircraft to identify them during ASW operations.

In most cases, the roundels were painted on the deck forward of the pilot house, around and over the anchors -- presumably because this area was one of the only spaces not normally occupied by guns, depth charge launchers or other equipment.

New to this collection is a curious photograph, showing a roundel painted on the wherry canvas of a chaser. Not a bad idea!

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