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DIARY KEPT BY COAST GUARD SAILOR FROM BROOKLYN, NY
- WWI U.S. well-written Navy sailor’s diary kept by Brooklyn, New York resident Seaman Harry S. Christie aboard his ship, the U.S.S. Algonquin. Christie enlisted in the Navy in 1917. Christie wrote on the first diary page (the diary was published specifically for those serving in the Navy) “Enlisted 4/20/17 in Revenue Cutter Service (U.S. Coast Guard). Examined & took oath same day at Barge Office, Battery, N.Y. City. Reported at Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn. (Fort Trumbull) on 4/23/17.” After training was completed, Christie was with Algonquin which was ordered to tow a tug from Halifax to Europe, still towing the tug. “When about 150 miles from shore, the tug sprung a leak, the weather having been very rough—the sea very heavy. Was obliged to turn back, fearing the tug would founder. A very trying time.” The sailor was a violinist and was asked to play at a dance aboard the flagship “Birmingham.” The day before he reported a mistake caused a number of Italian seamen to die. “Yesterday, an Italian sub, being mistaken for a German, was fired upon in the straits & several of her men killed before the mistake discovered.” The next day he wrote “$1600.00 was donated by the American sailors, to be given to the families of the Italian sailors who were killed.” At one point in Christie’s fascinating account the now veteran writer offers this observation—“Truly there is no glamour attached to warfare. It is all very thrilling to watch the boys march away to the throbbing of guns and the cheers of the populace, but the real thing is continual privation—hardship.” One subsequent night, after Liberty was granted to the crew, Christie described the fighting of drunken sailors. “Reaching the boat landing that night,” he wrote, a disgraceful scene was witnessed. Some of the crew, particularly the black gang, were mad drunk, and a battle royal was in progress..." For more details about this diary, please contact Beltrone & Company.