Diary of Benjamin John Jefferson, who enlisted in the U.S. Navy during WW I on June 27, 1917. In December, 1917 he was transferred to the destroyer USS Kimberly where he drilled and trained for duties aboard ship. The USS Kimberly went in commission on April 29, 1918, and Benjamin Jefferson was among the crew of the first deployment. His entries cover some of the stops in England and France, where the destroyer had the function of protecting other ships on the waters between France and England.
The last diary entry relating to Jefferson's World War I tour of duty is for January 4, 1919. After that there are conversion tables, recipes for 'fat liquor' making and other notes on procedures relating to the tanning of animal hides as well as poems. Most of the later entries are undated, the latest date recorded is November 12, 1920.
Excerpts from Diary were provided by the seller: "Wed. May 29 At Sea - Hunting for enemy Subs. They are operating in this locality but are keeping clear of us. Everybody is a little anxious. Thursday May 30 At Sea - 12:30 all hands were roused out of their slumber by general quarters. Sub was sighted 50 yards off our Port Bow. Opened fire, to our surprise the enemy did not return fire or submerge and we soon discovered that instead of an enemy submarine we were firing on an overturned schooner. This was our first big scare. No joke. Oct.13 Spent evening at the club, wild rumors about peace. Oct.14 Went on Patrol duty ashore, one arrest."
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Benjamin J. Jefferson Diary, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William & Mary https://scrcguides.libraries.wm.edu/repositories/2/resources/7506 Accessed January 21, 2021.