Letters Home: Tobe Weddle Tells of the Trip Across, 1918

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From the July 4, 1918 Skidmore News, page 1:

Weddle Tells of Trip Across

S. S. Des Moines, June 23, 1918.
Dear Folks: — Well back to the States again after a month at sea.

We left New York May 22. We had a convoy of merchant ships for England – most of them were English ships. We went by the Northern route. We were just off the coast of Sweden when we turned back to the States; destroyers took convoy into port.

We sighted no submarines on the trip. This is the seventh trip for the Des Moines without seeing a sub. The Des Moines was the first U. S. naval vessel to go through the war zone after war was declared. It was in Egypt at the the beginning of the war.

Today is Sunday. We are now in Chesapeake Bay. Have been here the last couple of days at gun practice. Most of the crews made four hits out of four shots at 1,800 yards.

When we were off the coast of Sweden, it would get dark at about 10, and about 3 in the morning it would be daylight.

On our way back, we met three large convoys at different times. The U. S. is sure speeding up men and supplies to the other side.

Here’s where I want to say something about the navy. The army seems to get most of the glorification. If it wasn’t for the navy, one ship out of ten would hardly reach the other side. The German submarine commanders know Uncle Sam’s naval gunners can shoot with almost absolute accuracy; they know, when they show themselves, they are taking a long chance. As far as I know, none of our convoys have been bothered, but they don’t fear England’s navy according to the old men on this ship. The English gunners are somewhat bum, besides, Germany hates England to the extent that they take any chance to get one of her ships.

The weather on the trip was fine although real cold when we were farthest north.

I like the work on the ship. There’s plenty of work to keep me busy for 7 hours a day, which is better than idling from the time I start across until I get back to the States.

I will be on this side for nearly a month yet, so you can write me before I leave. Tell all the kids to write while I’m here and also while I’m at sea so I will have a big mail when I get back. The ship’s crew begin to talk about how many letters are waiting for them when we begin to get close to this side.

All we see for a month is water and big fish and now and then a ship.

Well I will close for this time.
With regards to all,

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