Been an interesting time.
A couple of days ago, the family of Bob Klock, radioman of the Flier, mailed me their uncle’s letters from WWII (and even before!) detailing his time in the submarine force. It appears that he and Crowley served on the USS S-28 together and bother transferred to the Flier. Even more fascinating, some of these letters from the S-28 are dated before December 7, 1941. I’m reading one right now, dated October 20, 1941:
“I don’t know if I’ll get any leave ot not–I’m trying my best. Maybe around Christmas they’ll give me some. If so, I’ll be home then–but don’t plan on it very much. It is pretty hard to get leave off a submarine because we have so few men.”
How many things will change all too soon for this man. The above letter was sent from San Diego on official S-28 stationary. At that time, she was part of Experimental Group 2. The ones from the S-28 group span 1940-1942. As you get older, the censor marks appear, indicating that “Bud’s” letter was opened, read, and passed as not revealing information that could be too sensitive.
This letter is dated December8, 1942, from the S-18 (so he must have changed submarines between October and December.) Please remember the Bud is his mother’s older son, and she is, from what I can glean from the few letters I’ve fully read, a widow with her Navy son as the family supporter, so if it sounds almost like a letter to a spouse, that is why.
“The world has finally been thrown into a fiery chaos. I know, darling, that I haven’t been a real good son, but, Mom, I’ll write as often as possible now. I know you are going to worry but please try to keep it down to a minimum.
“If, by some misfortune, the West Coast even gets bombed, I wonder if I coudl send Louise [note from me: his girlfriend at this time] home to stay with you. In that way my mind would somewhat be relieved. We are certainly getting along fine these days.
“Hope you aren’t working too hard, but then I guess work will keep one’s mind off of other things. Say hello to Mr. Smith and the gang and tell them we’ll really give them hell. If Bob [note: his younger brother] has to come in tell him to try to get a commission in the army or navy (reserve). I hope he won’t have to, though.
“I don’t know if this letter will reach you because of the censorship but I hope so.
“Now you be a good girl and don’t you dare worry to [sic] much because everything is okay. Don’t believe too much you hear on the radio. Hope you, Bobm and grandma are in the best of health.”
Your Loving Son, Bud.”
This letter was eventually passed by the censor and mailed on December 27. I can only imagine his mother, Violet, was immensely relieved to finally hear from her oldest son.
So sad, reading these letters, knowing that Bud only has a little over two and a half years left. His photo on ussflier.com is one of my favorites. I wonder if that is Louise…
It’s strange, looking at these letters. Klock served on the Argonaut, the S-28,, and the Flier, all of which were eventually lost. He also apparently served on the S-18, which not only survived, but had no casualties.
Back to the deck log of the Flier,
She stayed out to sea with “No Administrative remarks” until October 31, around 4 pm. So I included the Deck Log for October 31 and November 1 in today’s entry.
Deck Log for October 31, 1943. Flier returned from wherever she went and tied up to the dock at Electric Boat.
The Deck Log for November 1, 1943. HERE'S an interesting tidbit! Flier named temporary flagship of Sub Division 162 by Commander Burlingame was the CO of the Sub Division. If you happened to come to the Memorial Service, this little note is even more interesting, because Burlingame, (who looked a lot like the Gordon's Fisherman when at sea) was the commissioning CO of USS Silversides, the submarine that stood for Flier at the ceremony.
So thank you to the Klock family for opening this window into the world of Flier and indeed, the Submarine service of WWII on a personal level. If you are interested in donating material for the eventual exhibit or for future researchers, please contact me a firstname.lastname@example.org We don’t have to keep things permanently. Once these items have been digitized and cataloged, they’ll be returned to the Klock family, and I can do the same for any other Flier (or Silversides) family.