James R. Driscoll.

The Brighton Boys with the Submarine Fleet online

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Produced by Jim Ludwig

Lieutenant James R. Driscoll


I. Good-by, Brighton
II. Down in a Submarine
III. Sealed Orders
IV. Somewhere in the North Sea
V. The German Raiders
VI. Rammed by a Destroyer
VII. In a Mine Field
VIII. A Rescue
IX. Vive La France!
X. Attacked from the Sky
XI. In the Fog
XII. Yankee Camouflage
XIII. The Survivors
XIV. On the Bottom of the Sea
XV. The Human Torpedo
XVI. In the Wireless Station
XVII. Up from the Depths
XVIII. In the Rat's Nest
XIX. Capturing a U-Boat
XX. The Mother Ship
XXI. Trapped
XXII. Yankee Ingenuity
XXIII. Out of the Net
XXIV. Into Zeebrugge
XXV. Chlorine Gas
XXVI. The Stars and Stripes



"Wanted: young men to enlist in Uncle Sam's submarine fleet for service
in European waters."

The magic words stood out in bold type from the newspaper that Jack
Hammond held spread out over his knees. Underneath the caption ran
a detailed statement setting forth the desire of the United States
Government to recruit at once a great force of young Americans to man
the undersea ships that were to be sent abroad for service against

Stirred by the appeal, Jack snatched the paper closer and read every
word of the advertisement, his eyes dancing with interest.

"Your country needs you _now_!" it ran; and further on:

"The only way to win the war is to carry it right home to the foe!"

Below, in more of the bold type, it concluded:

"Don't delay a moment - -while you hesitate your country waits!"

From beginning to end Jack read the appeal again. Before his eyes
in fancy flashed the picture of a long, lithe steel vessel skimming
the ocean, captain and crew on the lookout for the enemy, the Stars
and Stripes flapping from the tailrail. For an instant he imagined
himself a member of the crew, gazing through the periscope at a
giant German battleship - -yes, firing a torpedo that leaped away to
find its mark against the gray steel hull of the foe!

Up in the dormitories some chap was nimbly fingering "Dixie" on the
mandolin. The strains came down to the youth on the campus through
the giant oak trees that half obscured the facade of "old Brighton."
Over on the athletic field a bunch of freshmen "rookies" of the
school battalion were being put through the manual of arms by an
instructor. Jack could hear the command: "Present arms!"

"I guess that means me," he said to himself. And why not? Hadn't
Joe Little and Harry Corwin and Jimmy Hill left school to join the
aviation service? Weren't Jed Flarris and Phil Martin and a bunch
of Brighton boys in Uncle Sam's navy? And hadn't Herb Whitcomb and
Roy Flynn made history in the first-line trenches? Yes, the boys of
Brighton were doing their bit.

In another moment Jack had crushed the newspaper into his pocket - -his
decision made - -jumped from the bench under the old oak tree and was
speeding across the campus in the direction of the main dormitory
entrance. Without waiting for the elevator he leaped the steps, three
at a time, running up to the third floor, and thence down the corridor
to No. 63 - -his "home," and that of his chum, Ted Wainwright.

Out of breath, he hurled himself into the room. Ted was crouched over
the study table, algebra in front of him, cramming for an examination.

"There you are! Hip, hurrah!" Jack cried excitedly, thrusting the
folded newspaper under Ted's eyes and pointing to the bold typed
appeal for recruits, all the while keeping up a running fire of

Ted was in the midst of a tantalizing equation. He was accustomed,
however, to such invasions on the part of his chum, the two having
lived together now for nearly three school years - -ever since they
had come to Brighton.

Both boys were completing their junior year in the select little
school for which the town of Winchester was famous. They lived
at remote corners of the state and had met during the first week
of their freshman year. They had found themselves together that
first night when the "freshies" were lined up before the gymnasium
to withstand the attack of the "sophs" in the annual fall cane rush.
Together they had fought in that melee, and after it was all over,
anointed each other with liniment and bandaged each other's battle

Jack was a spirited lad, ready always for a fight or a frolic, impetuous
and temperamental; Ted had inherited his father's quiet tastes and
philosophical views of life, looking always before he leaped, cautious
and conservative. So, when Jack came bouncing in, gasping with
excitement, Ted accepted the outburst as "just another one of chum's

"What's all the grand shebang about this time?" he queried, shoving the
algebra aside and taking up the newspaper that had been thrust upon him.

"I'm going - -I'm not going to wait another minute - -all the other
fellows are going - -my grandfather fought through the Civil War - -it's
me for the submarine fleet - -I'm off this very - - -"

But before he could ramble any farther Ted took a hand in the oratory.

"What's the matter, chum? Flunked in anything, or been out to see a
new movie show, have you?"

Jack ran his finger down the newspaper column to the advertisement for

"There you are!" he shouted. "And what's more, I'm going to sign up
this very afternoon. What's the use of waiting any longer? Here's a
great chance to get out with the submarines - -think of it! - -and, gee,
wouldn't that be bully? Look! Look! What do you say, old boy; are
you going with me?"

Jack's enthusiasm "got" Ted. Taking up the newspaper he read every word
of the appeal, slowly, deliberately. Then he looked up at his chum.

"Do you mean it, Jack; are you in earnest?" he asked, after a long pause.

"Never meant anything so much in all my life," was Jack's quick

For an instant the two boys faced each other. Then out shot Ted's hand,
clasping that of his room-mate in a firm grasp.

"Well, chum, I guess we've been pretty good pals now for nearly three
years. You and I have always stuck together. That means that if you
are going in, I'm going too!"

"Great!" bellowed Jack with a whack on the back that made Ted wince.
"Let's beat it quick for the recruiting station. Are you on?"

Hat in hand he bolted for the door, but stopped short as Ted interrupted:

"Don't you think we'd better tell the home folks first?"

The impetuous Jack turned. "I hadn't thought of that."

"Of course we will," answered his chum. "We'll send them a telegram
right away, telling them we are going to enlist tomorrow."

It was agreed, and no sooner said than done.

There was not much sleep in 63 that night. Long after lights were out
the two boys were huddled together in their den, gazing out at the stars
and speculating on the new adventure for which they were heading.

The morning train into Winchester brought among its passengers two very
much perturbed mothers and two rather anxious fathers. The Hammonds
and Wainwrights had met in the spring during commencement week
festivities and had much in common this morning as they came together
in the Winchester terminal. Ted and Jack were at breakfast when word
was brought to them of the presence of their parents in the president's
reception room.

It was a joyful little reunion. Only a few minutes' conversation was
necessary, however, to prove to the parents that each of the boys was
dead in earnest in his announced intention to enlist in the navy.

"I don't suppose there is much to be said here," concluded Ted's
father after listening to the son's impassioned appeal for parental
sanction. "You seem to have decided that you owe allegiance to your
country above all other interests. I shall not interfere. As a matter
of fact, my boy, I'm proud of you, and so - -here's God bless you!"

Jack's father felt the same and so expressed himself. Only the two
little "maters," their eyes dimmed with mist, held back; but they,
too, eventually were won over by the arguments of the eager lads.

It was decided that the party should have dinner together in town
and that in the afternoon the boys would present themselves for
examination at the recruiting station. The remainder of the morning
was spent in packing up belongings in 63 and preparing to vacate
the "dorms." The boys decided to wait until after they had been
accepted before breaking the news to their school chums. Each felt
confident of passing the necessary requirements. They had made
the football team together in their freshman year. Jack had played,
too, on the varsity basket-ball team for two seasons, while Ted
excelled on the track in the sprints.

Dinner over, the entire party repaired to the recruiting station. It
did not take long to get through the formalities there and, needless
to say, each lad passed with flying colors.

"All I want to make sure of," ventured Jack, "is that we get into the
submarine service. I'm strong for that, and so is chum."

There was a twinkle in the eye of Chief Boatswain's Mate Dunn, in charge
of the recruiting station.

"I reckon Uncle Sam might be able to fix it for you," chuckled the
bronzed veteran. "He's fitting out a great submarine fleet to get right
in after the Prussians, and, since you fellows seem so dead set on
getting there, I guess maybe it'll be arranged."

Jack and Ted were in high spirits, and eager to be off for the naval
base at once. Officer Dunn had informed them they might be forwarded
to the nearest navy yard that night with a batch of recruits signed up
during the week. He told them to report back to the recruiting station
at seven o'clock "ready to go."

The boys were anxious, too, to get back to Brighton and break the news.
It was arranged they should spend the dinner hour at the school bidding
farewell and later meet their mothers and fathers at the recruiting

There was a great buzz of excitement in the mess hall at dinner when
the news spread that Jack Hammond and Ted Wainwright had enlisted in
the navy and were soon to leave. As the bell sounded dismissing the
student body from dinner, Cheer Leader Jimmy Deakyne jumped up on a
chair and proposed three cheers for the new recruits. And the cheers
were given amid a wild demonstration.

Out on the campus the boys had to mount the dormitory steps and make
impromptu speeches, and then submit to a general handshaking and
leave-taking all around. "Fair Brighton" was sung, and the familiar
old Brighton yell chorused over and over, with three long 'rahs for
Jack Hammond and three for Ted Wainwright.

"Makes a fellow feel kinda chokey, don't it, chum?" stammered Ted as he
and Jack finally grabbed their bags and edged out through the campus

They turned for another look at old Brighton. The boys were still
assembled on the dormitory steps singing "Fair Brighton." Up in the
dormitory windows lights were twinkling and the hour hand on the chapel
clock was nearing seven.

"Come on, chum, let's hurry," suggested Jack. They walked in silence
for a moment.

"Pretty nice send-off, Jack," sniffed Ted, finally. "We'll not forget
old Brighton in a hurry."

"And you bet we'll do our best for Uncle Sam and make old Brighton proud
of us," added Jack.

At the recruiting station all was lively. The boys were told they must
be at the depot ready to leave on the seven-thirty express. A score or
more lads were waiting for the word to move, some of them taking leave
of their loved ones, others writing postcards home. Ted's folks were
waiting; Jack's came along in a few minutes.

A special car awaited the recruits at the railway terminal. The girls
of the Winchester Home Guard had decked it in flags and bunting and
stored it with sandwiches and fruit. In another ten minutes the
express came hustling in from the west. A shifting engine tugged the
special car over onto the main line, where it was coupled to the
express. All was ready for the train-master's signal to go.

"Good-by, mother; good-by, dad," the boys shouted in unison as the
wheels began to turn and the train drew out of the train shed. A throng
filled the station, and everyone in the crowd seemed to be waving
farewell to some one on the train. The Winchester Harmonic Band had
turned out for the send-off to the town's boys and it was bravely
tooting "Stars and Stripes Forever."

Soon the train was creeping out into the darkness, threading its way
over the maze of switches and leaping out into the cool country air.
All the boys were in high spirits, mingling boisterously in jolly
companionship, the car ringing with their songs and chatter.

Jack and Ted lounged together in their seat, chatting for a while; and
finally, when the tumult had abated and the boys were getting tired,
dozing away into slumber to dream about the new world into which they
were being carried.

Behind them, Winchester and Brighton! Before them, the stirring life of
"jackies" aboard one of Uncle Sam's warships - -bound for the war zone!



Daylight found them rolling through the suburbs of a great city. The
long night ride was nearing an end.

All around them as their train wended its way through the railway yard
were evidences of the unusual activities of war times. Long freight
trains were puffing and chugging on the sidings; the air was black with
smoke, and the tracks filled everywhere with locomotives and moving
rolling stock.

In a few minutes the train slowed down into the railway terminal and
the score or more of "rookies" were soon stretching their legs on the
platform. A detail of blue jackets, spick and span in their natty
uniforms, awaited the party. Jack and Ted stared at the fine looking
escort, thinking what a wonderful thing it would be when they, too,
were decked out ready for service in such fine-looking attire.

They had not long to wait. Breakfast over, the entire party boarded
trolley cars bound for the navy yard. Soon, across the meadows,
loomed the fighting tops of battleships, and in the background the
giant antennae of the navy yard's wireless station.

"Here we are at last, chum!" chortled Ted with a broad grin, as he and
Jack piled out of the car.

Passing the armed sentries at the gate, the party of recruits were
marched first to the commandant's office, where their arrival was
officially reported. After roll call and checking up of the list of
names, the boys were all marched over to the quartermaster's depot to
be fitted for uniforms. Probably the most impressive moment of the
morning to the boys was the ceremony of swearing them into
service - -when they took the oath of allegiance to their country.

Jack and Ted were anxious to get into their uniforms and were afforded
an opportunity very shortly when they were directed aboard the training
ship _Exeter_, where they were to be quartered for a few days until
detailed into service on one of the fighting units in the yard.

The first few days aboard the _Exeter_ passed rapidly, the time being
so filled with drills that the boys had few idle moments. Their
letters home and to their chums at Brighton contained glowing accounts
of the new service into which they had entered.

After a week of it they were standing one afternoon on the forecastle
of the _Exeter_ watching the coaling of a giant dreadnought from an
electric collier when a naval officer, immaculate in white linen and
surrounded by his staff, came aboard. After an exchange of salutes
between the deck officer of the _Exeter_ and the visiting officer, and
a brief chat, the recruits were ordered to fall in. The naval officer
in white stepped forward.

"You boys will be distributed at once among the vessels now in the yard
to make up the necessary complement of crews. The department is very
anxious to put some of you aboard the submarine fleet now fitting out
here, and if there are any in the crowd who would prefer service in the
submarines to any other service you may state your preference."

Jack and Ted stepped forward immediately. Other boys followed suit.
And so it came about that Jack Hammond and Ted Wainwright found
themselves detailed to the U.S. submarine _Dewey_.

A young officer approached and introduced himself. "I am Executive
Officer Binns, of the _Dewey_. If you boys are ready we will go
right aboard. We expect to go down the bay on some maneuvers this
afternoon and want to get you fellows to your places as quickly as

The whole thing was a surprise to Ted and Jack. They had expected to
be kept in the yard a long time, quartered on the training ship. To
get into active service so soon was more than they anticipated.

Marched across the navy yard they soon came in sight of the _Dewey_ - -a
long cigar-shaped castle of steel, sitting low in the water, riding
easy at the end of a tow line near the drydock. Up on the conning
tower a member of the crew was making some adjustment to the periscope
case, while from astern came the hum of motors and the clatter of
machinery that bespoke action within the engine room below.

"Looks like a long narrow turtle with a hump on its back, doesn't it?"
whispered Jack as he and Ted came alongside.

They were passed aboard by the sentry and there on the deck welcomed
by the officers and members of the _Dewey's_ crew. Turned over to big
Bill Witt, one of the crew, they were directed to go below and be
assigned to their quarters.

Down through the hatchway clambered Witt, followed close by Ted and
Jack, and in another moment they found themselves in the engine room.
Electric lights glowed behind wired enclosures. Well aft were the
motors and oil engines, around them switchboards and other electrical
apparatus - -a maze of intricate machinery that filled all the stern
space. The air was hazy and smelled strong of oils and gases. Huge
electric fans swept the foul air along the passageway and up through
the hatchways, while other fans placed near the ventilators distributed
the fresh air as it poured into the vessel, drawn by the suction.

From the engine room the boys walked forward into the control
chamber - -the base of the conning tower - -the very heart and brain of
the undersea ship. Here were the many levers controlling the ballast
tanks, Witt explaining to the boys that the submarine was submerged and
raised again by filling the tanks with water and expelling it again
to rise by blowing it out with compressed air. Here also was the depth
dial and the indicator bands that showed when the ship was going down
or ascending again, the figures being marked off in feet on the dial
just like a clock. Here also was the gyro-compass by which the ship
was steered when submerged; here also the torpedo control by means of
which the torpedoes were discharged in firing. And, yes, here was the
periscope - -the great eye of the submarine - -a long tube running up
through the conning tower twenty feet above the commander's turret of

"Something like the folding telescope we have at home to look at
pictures," mumbled Jack aside to Ted.

To the boys' great delight they were allowed to put their eyes to the
hood and gaze into the periscope. In turn they "took a peep." What
they saw was the forward deck of the _Dewey_, the guns in position,
other vessels moored nearby and the blue expanse of water stretching
out into the harbor and on to the open sea. It was rather an exciting
moment for the two "landlubbers."

Witt next showed them forward through the officers' quarters and the
wireless room into the torpedo compartment. This interested them
greatly. On either side of the vessel, chained to the sides of the
hull on long runners that led up to the firing tubes, were the massive
torpedoes, ready to be pushed forward for insertion in the firing
chambers. Chief Gunner Mowrey was working over one of the breech caps
and turned to meet the new recruits.

"Glad to meet you, mates," was his hearty salutation.

The boys listened attentively while Mowrey was telling Witt of some
great "hits" they had made in practice earlier in the morning. Bill
Witt showed the boys in turn the bunks that folded out of the sides
of the vessel in which the crew slept, the electric stove for cooking
food in the ship's tiny galley, the ballast tanks and the storage
batteries running along the keel of the vessel underneath the steel

Climbing up on deck again through the conning tower, the boys found
themselves out on top of the projection in what Witt explained was the
deck steering station whence the _Dewey_ was navigated when cruising
on the surface. Down on the deck the boys inspected the smart-looking
four-inch guns with which they later were to become better acquainted,
and the trim little anti-aircraft guns to be used in case of attack by
Zeppelins or aeroplanes.

"Keep your eyes and ears wide open all the time; remember what you are
told and you'll soon catch on," Witt told them.

Shortly before noon Lieutenant McClure, commander of the _Dewey_, a
youthful-looking chap who, they learned later, had not been long out
of Annapolis, came aboard. It was soon evident that there was something
doing, for in a few minutes the propeller blades began to churn the
water, and the exhaust of the engines fluttered at the port-holes.
The tow lines ashore were cast off and then very gracefully and almost
noiselessly the _Dewey_ began slipping away from its dock. The head of
the vessel swung around and pointed out the harbor.

"We're off, boy!" exclaimed Jack to his chum. They were, indeed. The
boys were standing in front of the conning tower and, because it was
their first submarine voyage and they had yet to acquire their sea
legs, they kept firm hold on the wire railing that ran the length of
the deck on either side of the vessel. Commander McClure and
Executive Officer Binns were up on the deck steering station behind a
sheath of white canvas directing the movement of the ship.

"This is what I call great!" laughed Ted as the _Dewey_ began to gather
speed and moved out into the bay.

Looking seaward the boys beheld the prow of the submarine splitting the
water clean as a knife, the spray dashing in great white sheets over
the anchor chains. From aft came the steady chug-chug of the engines'
exhaust, to be drowned out at intervals as the swell of water surged
over the port-holes. They seemed to be afloat on a narrow raft
propelled swiftly through the water by some strong and unseen power.

"I say, old boy, this beats drilling out on the campus at Brighton with
the school battalion, eh? what?" exclaimed Jack.

Ted was doing a clog dance on the deck. "I'm just as happy as I can
be," was his gleeful comment.

Very shortly the lighthouse that stood on the cape's end marking the
harbor entrance had been passed and the _Dewey_ was out on the open
sea. Before the boys stretched water - -endless water as far as the
eye carried - -to the far thin line where sky and water met. They were
lost in contemplation of the wonderful view. But their reveries were
suddenly disturbed by a sharp command from Executive Officer Binns:

"All hands below - -we are going to submerge!"

The _Dewey_ was going to dive!



Ted and Jack hastened to follow their comrades down the hatchway. A
sea-gull flapping by squawked shrilly at them as the boys waited their
turn at the ladder. Instinctively they took another look around them
before dipping into the hold of the _Dewey_. They realized that here,
indeed, was the real thrill of submarining. The cap was lowered at
last and secured, and the crew hastened to their posts amid the
artificial light and busy hum of the ship's interior.

Now the Brighton boys were to learn how the _Dewey_ was to be submerged!
For one thing they noted that the oil engines used for surface cruising
were shut off and the locomotion of the vessel switched over to the
electric drive of the storage batteries. But their attention was
directed chiefly to Navigating Officer Binns, who had taken up his
position before a row of levers and water gauges amidships.

"Pump three hundred pounds into No. 1," was the command given by Binns.
One of the levers was thrown over, and immediately could be heard the
swirling of water. The boys were unable to grasp the full meaning of
what was going on until Bill Witt shuffled up and said: "I'll put you
fellows wise to what's going on, if you want me to."

Ted and Jack were glad to know what it was all about and listened

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Online LibraryJames R. DriscollThe Brighton Boys with the Submarine Fleet → online text (page 1 of 11)