A World War I-era Submarine Chaser similar to Submarine Chaser 245.
‘Human nostrils have their limitations’: Why a WWI ship had to retreat from a port visit
By Jonathan Croyle
Tribune News Service via the Stars & Stripes newspaper web site
By the autumn of 1919, the First World War had been over for almost a year.
But that did not mean that the American military was not already thinking about the next struggle. The armed services needed more recruits and the top brass needed to think of new ways to get more men to enlist.
The U.S. Navy had an idea.
Why not send some of the heroic boats of the Great War on tour, stopping at cities and towns to drum up some enthusiasm about enlisting?
To Upstate New York the Navy sent Submarine Chaser 245 a 110-foot long ship under the command of Ensign Martin Weisman.
During the war, the vessel had been attached to the Italian fleet in the Adriatic Sea and was used against the Austrian fleet. It carried three stars on her smokestacks, indicating that her crew had destroyed three submarines during the fighting.
Staffed by a crew of 32 men during the war, the boat had a three-inch gun on its forward deck and in the rear was a “Y” gun, in which charges of TNT were dropped onto enemy submarines.
In July, Submarine Chaser 245 toured Lake Champlain and hundreds of people in Plattsburgh came to see it.
In September, 5,000 people saw it in Schenectady and enjoyed the “moving pictures” that accompanied the ship detailing the use and operation of the vessel and showcasing the daily life of a sailor.
On October 6, the ship arrived in Rome via the Barge Canal with crowds on shore waiting for it. Many toured the vessel to get a “look at the craft that gave a good account of itself during the recent war with Germany.”
Then Submarine Chaser 245 turned its sights for Syracuse, where the ship expected to dock in the heart of downtown, at Clinton Square. It was to be there on October 11 for an undetermined length of time, before it moved west towards Buffalo.
But there was a problem.
Read more: ‘Human nostrils have their limitations’: Why a WWI ship had to retreat from a port visit
WWI stamps get seal of approval from vet’s daughter in Lincoln, NE
By Dennis Buckley
via the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper (NE) web site
Every postage stamp Charlotte Harper affixes to an envelope reminds her of her father’s military service a century ago.
Charlotte Harper, a 93-year-old Lincoln woman and the only surviving child of Martin and Winnie Layton, says the “World War I – Turning the Tide” postal stamps provide fond memories of her father’s service a century ago. DENNIS BUCKLEY PHOTOAnd for someone who’s always felt that wartime veterans never seem to get as much recognition as they deserve, that is a very satisfying feeling indeed.
When the U.S. Postal Service unveiled the “World War I – Turning the Tide” stamps last year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, the stamps tugged at the heartstrings of the 93-year-old Lincoln woman. Charlotte is the lone surviving child of Martin and Winnie Layton of Hastings.
“I’ve never felt that veterans of that war ever got the recognition that they so richly deserved,” said Charlotte. “When I heard these stamps were coming out, I said, ‘Wow … finally, a perk!’ Dad would love these.”
Charlotte Harper has always been proud of her father’s record of service in World War I. But there was always something that dampened her enthusiasm: a feeling that WWI veterans were underappreciated.
Historians agree. They say a majority of the more than 2 million Americans who fought in the war a century ago struggled to readapt to normal life. They returned to a life of Prohibition, complicated social attitudes toward war veterans, and financial struggles. Most received only a few weeks’ wages after returning to home soil.
Martin Layton was always reluctant to share much of his military past with Charlotte and his four other children. Charlotte, now a 93-year-old Lincoln resident and the sole survivor among five daughters born to Martin and Winnie Layton, said her father enlisted at age 19. He served at Fort Preble, Maine, and later with the Battery E 72nd Artillery in Paris.
Grateful for safety
Charlotte was grateful that her father’s military experience allowed him to experience faraway places – and to return home safe and well. Several other members of the Layton family who also served in WWI were not as fortunate.
“Two of Dad’s brothers also served in World War I,” she said. “Uncle John was killed in an armored tank – and is buried in France – and uncle Frank developed malaria while in the service.”
Statisticians report WWI claimed the lives of 117,465 Americans during the roughly one year of involvement.
Martin Layton lived in the Hastings area, working on farms, selling horses, and later working as a gas station attendant for a filling station owned by Terry Carpenter, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a 22-year member of the Nebraska Legislature. Martin Layton died in 1969.
Read more: WWI stamps get seal of approval from vet’s daughter in Lincoln