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Papers of Chief Boatswain's Mate John A. Biel,

Finding aid (Word)

Scope and Content Note

These papers relating to the naval service of BMC John A. Biel were transferred to the Archives Branch in 1993. The historical materials span the years 1900 through 1950 with the bulk of the documentation covering the 1900 to 1920 time period. The collection is comprised of biographical data on BMC Biel, official correspondence, printed material, and miscellany.

BMC Biel was born on 9 July 1871. The biographical data includes BMC Biel's enlistment and service record. His service certificate begins in 1890 and continues until his placement on the retirement list in 1922. He served on many ships including U.S. Flagship Kearsarge during the first two years of her service on the North Atlantic Station. He died on 27 December 1950.

The correspondence in the collection relates to his duty stations and includes recommendations that he is competent for the position of Chief Boatswain's Mate. There is also correspondence from 1947 documenting BMC Biel's desire to get his name corrected in the official Navy records. He states that his "right" name is John August Biel and he was born at Hoboken, N.J., on 9 July 1871. When he first enlisted in 1890, the Navy was only taking men 21 years of age and over, so he "stretched" his age three years. The Bureau of Naval Personnel contacted him on 3 November 1947 to let him know that the record was changed to show his correct name and date of birth to be John August Biel, 9 July 1871 instead of August Biel, 9 July 1868.

Printed material includes a pamphlet in German, newspaper clippings, an issue of "The Sapper," Bureau of Navigation Rates of Pay and Allowances for Enlisted Men, and an issue of "The Retired Men's News." There is also a map showing the cruise of te U.S. Atlantic Fleet around the world, ca. 1909.

A piece of fabric from USS Macon life-raft on which nine survivors were saved was transferred to the Curator Branch on 26 May 1999.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Papers of Chief Boatswain's Mate John A. Biel, Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C.

Subject Headings (LCSH)

United States. Navy--History--Sources.
United States. Navy--Pay, allowances, etc.
Louisiana (Ship).


0.25 cubic feet


Published: Fri Jul 30 10:45:17 EDT 2021