Spindrift February 9, 2023
President-elect Shirley Lashmett, after locating the bell by George Lesley, gonged us to order to hear and invocation by Dave Schapiro, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance by long time member and Past President Garry TeWinkle. (See attached Directory for his latest contact information.)
Treasurer Bob Wood announced the winner of the American Football League, our own Dave Robins for $150 payoff. The winner of the NFL Championship was our Club who held Ticket #72. The final numbers on our profitability will be revealed after the Super Bowl.
Fortunately, David Robins showed up in a few minutes and offered our club the opportunity to continue with the traditional “Super Bowl Quiz”. These pages, according to Dave do NOT depend on your knowing anything about football, with random questions such as “Eagles will receive the opening kickoff”, which is clearly a 50-50 chance. The winner will receive the prize on the 16th of February. If you did not receive a sheet, email Richard Swinney and he will send you one, and the Treasurer will invoice you as required.
Richard Swinney announced that there will be a Field of Honor workday on Feb 10, at 9AM, and that we have had some success at the last workday, but could have used MORE workers, so please put it on your calendar to help get our flags flawless for the Field of Honor.
Was presented by Chase Wickersham III, a member of the Ameri- can Legion Post 291, which incidentally will celebrate its 100th anniversary this summer near the 4th of July. Chase’s story today was about his Grandfather, Chase Wickersham, shown here as a recruit in the Iowa National Guard. In those days your rank was determined by your popularity, and he was a 2LT.
Before our speaker Chase got into the details of his grandfather’s tale, he gave us some info regarding the situation in Europe. Prior to 1914, the balance of power was shifting to be protected from Germany, forming a powerful group of nations. When the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand occurred, it was the trigger that caused the existing alliances (including France and England) to start a fast-moving war against Germany, Serbia, Russia and the Ottoman Empire. America didn’t want to become involved at all until the “Zimmerman telegram” arrived, which allegedly was a promise Germany would help Mexico take over Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. The apparent reality of this promise caused Woodrow Wilson to ask Congress to declare war on April 6, 1917.
The generals on both sides were resolute in using massive frontal assaults and poison gas, with 70,000 men in one assault. This war had been going for three years, the French had lost 3 million men, and the British 2 million, and they were about to give up. These seems to be no question that the US joining the war was what kept it going.
The U.S. responded very quickly, with conscription of many millions of men. However, the flu pandemic of 1918 was just starting, and this flu hit the young draftees hard, with 20% of the soldiers dying. This resulted in the cancellation of the fourth and last draft. Total flu losses were 63,000 soldiers and 675,000 total. Grandfather Chase was mustered into Federal Service in June 1917 and trained for artillery at Fort Sill. Finally moved by ferry to Hoboken slip in NJ to board the HMS Kashmir on September 23rd.
The British provided 16 ships to send our soldiers to Europe in the convoy he was in, and his convoy lost no ships to submarines, but the conditions were miserable because the waves were so large, many were seasick and others had the flu. During this time during a hurricane, a huge wave causes the Kashmir to hit a larger ship, the Otranto, and 1000 men are forced to move from front to stern during the heavy seas. There was no authorization to stop for survivors. However, the destroyer HMS Mouncey with a crew of 73, sees the collision and the Otranto takes the initiative (even though the bugler plays “abandon ship”) and pulls alongside to get their men to safety during the storm which is causing the Otranto to have their decks even with the Mouncey or 30 feet below. “Jump, men, jump!” Many made it to safety and many did not.
The Captain of the Mouncey, Frances Craven, took great initiative in rescuing many sailors from the Otranto, which subsequently crashed on the rocks, losing more than 500 men. However, the Mouncey rescued dozens to hundreds of servicemen from the Otranto, and Captain Craven was later recognized for his good judgement.
The damaged Kashmir arrived in Glasgow on Oct 7 and 500+ sick men are removed on stretchers along with 18 bodies. After the war ended on Nov 11, the regiment waited until Dec 23 to depart for the US, arriving on Jan 5, 1919. They then went by train to Camp Dodge, Iowa, where they were mustered out of the military.
Summarizing, the convoy system worked well, the Germans lost 198 U-Boats and only 1000 Americans were lost at sea, one of whom was NOT Grandfather Chase Wickersham.
DOOR PRIZES– George Lesley and Michael Call won the door prizes.
Feb 9 - Kim Smith, El Paso, Border Patrol (Ed Kohlmeyer’s Daughter)
Feb 16 - Business Meeting
Feb 23 - Dave Robins: History of Robins Ford
This week’s meeting will be held at the Bahia Corinthian. Lunch will be served at 12:20 p.m. You will be emailed an invitation two days before the meeting. Please notify Richard Swinney by this Wednesday at 2 pm if you are planning on attending.