Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Notice Posted on U.S.S. Reid by Lieutenant Commander Charles G. Slayton

[Aug. 10, 1917]

     NOTICE—There have been a number of people going to sleep while acting as lookouts. Men on look-out must remember that perhaps the safety of the ship depends on their keeping wide-awake. The submarine that has been operating where we shall patrol is not going to show itself very much, and in order to discover it our lookouts must be strictly on the job.

     Two examples may be given of this same submarine: There have been about 10 vessels sunk by one submarine within a few hundred miles of the Azores, and in several cases victims did not see the submarine at all until too late, probably on account of inefficient lookouts. The steamer Iran was sunk by a torpedo. The crew did not see the submarine until after they had taken to the boats and the ship was sunk. In another case, that of the American bark Christiane, the first intimation was a shell bursting in front of them.

     Now, it is up to us to see that submarine first, then God help him, but if we don’t see him, God help us!

Source Note: George M. Battey, Jr., 70,000 Miles on a Submarine Destroyer or, The Reid Boat in the World War (Atlanta, The Webb & Vary Company, 1919), 41. According to the author, this notice was posted on the bulletin board of Reid on 10 August 1917 after Slayton had met the master of the British steamer Iran and heard about that vessel’s sinking. Reid was then stationed at Ponta Delgada in the Azores, patrolling the waters off the islands for the duration of the war. Ibid., 39

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