• U.S. Sailor Journal Details Traveling, Comrades Murder, Baseball Games, Accidents, Social Life

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    Offering the journal of F. WESLEY HERINGTON, U.S. Navy, 1919-1923, 250 pp, 3 3/4 x 6 1/4. 


    Herington was likely a Storekeeper, dedicated to his job aboard the U.S.S. Hale, a brand-new destroyer, which makes it to nearly 40 ports in the Mediterranean, Europe and the United States, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston, as part of a good will cruise.


    An excellent story teller, Herrington began his journal in late 1920. He bought an adding machine in Charleston, SC, “to help out on my work.”  He was also a serious penny pincher and embodied the prejudices of his time, using racist and bigoted terms to refer to African Americans, Italians and Spanish. The journal is full of yarns about boisterous behavior on the ship, baseball games, adventures ashore, geographical descriptions of the areas the ship comes upon and his trials and tribulations with girls.  He also provides details of a Navy comrade being stabbed to death, a major mail robbery and ship accidents.


    The Hale was decommissioned in 1922 and Herington was transferred to the “Lardner,” another new destroyer.  Finally, at the end of the year, he is transferred off the Lardner and left the Navy with hopes of becoming an accountant. Very nicely detailed and easily read.


    “Had a ball party this afternoon and I distinguished myself by dropping a pop fly at first base. It was the last inning with the score tied when every play counts. I had already made a three-bagger and made a score with two stolen bases before, as I feel as if I partially redeemed myself before being condemned. The score of the game was 8 to 7 in our favor...”


    “If the ship was to blow up, they’d dock me the time I was in the air...”


    “The outcome of our ball game on the first [of January]. The Swabs beat the Clinkers by 25 to 4. The only error I made was when batting to dodge too late. Got my base on that so it didn’t matter much. At the beginning of the New Year all the sirens and whistles in the world, I guess, began to celebrate by tooting ‘Happy New Year’ in the dot and dash code...Our whistle was disconnected so they couldn’t waste steam...”


    “A sailor...got stabbed the other night as he was returning to his ship. The man who did it was caught and claims he got the wrong man. I guess he thinks he ought to have another chance to get his revenge but they will end him pretty quickly. The body of the sailor is to be sent to the states.  It’s only another argument against booze. All the rows I’ve seen since I’ve been in the service have been directly or indirectly caused by drink. Even the fellow who was killed was drunk. Of course, a sailor isn’t drunk as long as he can stand up but if the sailor had a clear head, the outcome might have been different...”


    “Out at Salona. The old guide showed us among other things the different tombs used by the wealthy, middle class and poor people. The wealthy had great coffins hewn from solid rock, the middle classes dug a pit and walled it with small stones, the poor people simply buried their dead and covered the graves with stones. A big square head named Anderson went along with us and he couldn’t be told that the city was buried generations ago by landslides and avalanche from the mountains which tower above the ruins...”


    “There is a big investigation going on on the Morris about a mail robbery. All the registered mail bags were cut open. Mail was scattered about the deck of the barge and all the money was missing from the mail. The quarter master and anchor watch will catch the dickens from the old man for being asleep on the job and the old man will catch it from the Navy Department for inefficiency...”


    “...There is an old [Italian] battleship in dock up the road...that has been in dock upside down ever since 1916.  The Leonard de Vinci had a big explosion in the after magazines and blew out plates on both sides of the keel below the water line. The proper thing for a respectable ship to do under the circumstances would be to sink by the Leonardo merely capsized and floated upside down. So they...decided to bring her into dry dock and patch the hull and maybe the darned things would turn upright and float again. They have worked nearly four years and still the job lacks a fair beginning...”


    “Anyway, today, we went up to Wickford Junction after General Diaz, Italy’s representative to the disarmament conference. Coming alongside the dock, we smashed over the propeller guard on the starboard side and damaged the propeller beyond repair. Don’t know where we will go for a new one. Hope to Boston...”


    “...Was a fairly nice day but the drive was peopled with lady detectives and we couldn’t pick up even a school girl. A vaudeville actor who was strolling around put Cal and I made us wise to Miner’s Burlesque Show in the Bronx instead of trying out luck with the ladies. It was positively the best show I have ever seen...”


    “...The other day, though, we went out on a 4-boiler full power run. At least we started to make full power but we came back with the forward fireroom crippled and four men barely escaped being killed. I was down in the listening room working and didn’t know anything about it at all till they secured everything. When that happened, the lights went out and I stuck around thinking they would go again pretty soon. When I came up I found all hands talking about something being wrong. One man had his arm scalded by live steam and was getting it dressed at the sick bay...I couldn’t get a straight story from any of the men so I waited until the Engineer Officer came in and got it straight from him. In these boats, air has to be forced into the firerooms to make a draft through the stacks. One of these big blowers fell through the deck while turning 1300 m.p.h. The blades of the fan flew off and did considerable damages, one cutting through the copper steam lines and finally burying itself in...Another cut through one of the heavy frames in the side of the ship and put a big dent in the side itself...Another one dropped but the steam was secured before it did any damage...”


    Bound in a cloth over boards, backstrip lacking, sewing loose. Text clean and legible.

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