February 15, 2011


Spalato, Dalmatia
July 7, 1919

Dear Father and Mother,

Just finished cleaning up the bridge -- have worked all morning and it's now 2 p.m.

Yesterday was a holiday, being Sunday, but there was no liberty. In the morning we got the skiff and pulled about five miles down the bay (we are now anchored in Castelli Bay about four miles down from Spalato) and we all had our bathing suits on. The water is always warm, even at night. We surely did get blistered, but had a good time and we got pictures, which we will have developed as soon as we find a place to have it done.

In the afternoon we went inland a few miles to some old Roman ruins at Salona. It was a long trip after we went as far as we could in the motor sailer, but I am glad I went along even if there wasn't much to see. Some of the pillars were still standing, and parts of a few buildings were fenced off so they were pretty well preserved, but a lot was just left to face down.

The Serbian soldiers here are stationed in a building built by Napoleon.

Haven't gotten any more letters but the Aaron Ward went to Venice after mail, and is due in today so ought to hear then.

We leave for Venice, Trieste, and Fiume Friday at 6 p.m. for a short trip, then back here to Spalato. This is the base for all American ships in the Adriatic. There is an admiral on the USS Olympia, and we got our orders from him. We have target practice tomorrow and fire torpedoes Wednesday and Thursday for practice.

Whites are the uniform all the time on liberty here, but we don't wear any jumpers [Ed. note: jumpers are the shirts with the square collars worn by sailors] at all aboard ship -- just our undershirts. I took my mattress and blanket and went up on deck and slept last night. Our compartments get pretty hot even though they have ventilators and ports and electric fans.

The destroyers we relieved over here had been here seven months, so we may stay quite a while. I'd just as soon come back now that I've gotten across. The only difference in being over here is that when you get to thinking that we are several thousand miles from home, then it seems like we will never get back.

I have the 8 to 12 tonight, the 8 to 12 in the morning, and then I am off for two days without a watch. I've gotten so used to getting about 5 or 6 hours sleep that I don't try to sleep more than that even when I'm off watch for two nights. We usually sit up after dark and talk a while, and it doesn't get dark til about 9:30, so it's late when we do turn in.

We can't get any news about the Willard-Dempsey fight. I don't see why the admiral won't let news of the U.S. out, but he won't. He receives radio direct from America every night, but no one but his staff gets the news. Now that war is over they ought to loosen up, it seems to me, especially about things that wouldn't make a difference.

Swimming call goes in about 15 minutes so will knock off. We are in the water on an average of three hours a day now, and yesterday we stayed in all morning.

Had a baseball game this p.m. but it fell through, and I'm glad of it for I'm tired and hate to put on my uniform and go over to the grounds.

Will drop a line from Venice if I get ashore there.

Love to all,
Your Son,

(Postmarked Olympia, July 14, 1919)

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