Friday, September 2, 2011

USS New Hampshire (BB-25), 1918

QMC J.T. Oliver
Recently a visitor brought by some local photographs, once belonging to QMC (quartermaster, chief petty officer) J.T. Oliver, USN. Chief Oliver had a long Navy career, which naturally led him to Hampton Roads during World War I on board USS New Hampshire (BB-25).

New Hampshire came to Norfolk in February 1917 for overhaul, where she lay when the United States entered World War I. For the next year and a half she trained gunners and engineers in coastal waters, and on September 15, 1918, began the first of two convoy escort missions, guarding transports from New York to a rendezvous point off the French coast. On December 24, she sailed on the first of four voyages bringing veterans home from France to east coast ports.

Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels (with the binoculars up to his eyes) aboard
 New Hampshire during live fire exercises in the Chesapeake Bay, 1918.

Of note in these pictures is the Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels, working for a living. (shown above) Chief Oliver's hand-written caption for the photo states "The Captain and Secretary of the Navy taking time of firing on board USS New Hampshire at US Target Grounds Va. Another image (shown below) shows the ship's Second Division drilling on dry land. The exact location of the drill field is not given. It was possibly taken at Naval Operating Base Hampton Roads (modern day Naval Station Norfolk). But it could have also been taken at St. Helena Naval Training Station, which was next to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in modern day Chesapeake, Virginia. Any guesses as to the structure behind the men are welcome.

New Hampshire's sailors from the ship's Second Division conducting manual-of-arms drills, 1918

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