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A Diary of
Frank Clement Rice
(written in a Lion Memorandum Book)
Azores – 1918

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Mar 18. Rated bandmaster and put in charge of band detailed for Base 13.
20. Left Newport on Fall River boat for New York.
21. Arrived New York 9.00 A.M. and left N.Y. city 11.00 A.M. for Philadelphia. Arrived Phila at camp at 3.00 P.M. and was assigned to barracks 254. Later shifted them to 241. Later to 240. Again to 227.
May 17. Left Phila at 10.45 P.M. for New London to take transport for Base 13.
18. Arrived at New London 5.20 A.M. Went aboard the U.S.S. Hannibal at 11.00 A.M. and sailed for Bermuda at 12.30 P.M. From New London to Bermuda we were accompanied by 3 French sub. chasers, 24 American chasers, 5 tugs and 1 freighter which came back to the states from Bermuda.
19. Beautiful day. Sighted school of porpoises off starboard beam at 3.30 P.M. At 4.00 sighted 2 whales or black fish off starboard beam. They came up on top of the water, spouted then went under. One of them looked to be about 30 feet in length.
20. Pay day. Received $6.00
22. Cast anchor in Bermuda harbor. about 10.30 A.M. The scenery on the island from the ship was very pretty. All the buildings are snow white and they look nice with the green trees and fields all around them.
23. Coaled ship from 3.30 P.M. to 9.30 P.M. Half the crew had liberty from 1.30 to 5.00 but I didn’t go.
24. Liberty for other half of crew in which I was included, from 1.00 to 5.00 P.M. It was a holiday and nearly all the stores were closed so I could not get any souvenirs. About three fourths of the population are negroes.
25. Shipped anchor and left Bermuda about 2.30 P.M. Fine weather. From Bermuda to the Azores we were accompanied by 24 chasers (American), 4 tugs, 2 converted yachts, 1 tanker, and the scout cruiser Salem.
26. Stood signal watch from 8.00 A.M. to 12.00 noon. At 1.15 saw some flying fish off port beam. They would shoot out of the water close to the ship and fly for several rods a few feet above the water. They were small and did not look to be over 5 or 6 inches in length. At 2.15 we were called to general quarters on a submarine scare. There was also a sub. scare on the 19th between New London and Bermuda. Weather fine.
27. Stood signal watch from 12.00 noon to 4.00 P.M. Weather fine.
28. Target practice from 8.00 A.M. till 12.00 noon with 3 in. and 6 in. guns. When 6 in. gun was fired it broke every glass in the officer of the days cabin. Stood signal watch from 4.00 till 8.00 P.M. Fine weather.
30. Signal watch from 8.00 A.M. to 12.00 noon. Turkey dinner. Stormy and getting rough.
31. Signal watch 12.00 noon till 4.00 P.M. Cold and windy. A littlestormy and rather rough sea.
June.  1. Signal watch from 4.00 to 8.00 P.M. Still cold and windy and a rather sea.
 2. Calmer and warmer.
 3. Signal watch from 12.00 noon till 4.00 P.M. Beautiful day. Calm and moderate weather, with the whole horizon as clear as a bell.
 4. Signal watch from 12 noon till 4.00 P.M. Beautiful day with almost calm sea.
 5. Had fine view of black fish sporting in the water. Some of them right under the bow of the ship. They were about 5 and 6 ft. in length. Some of them would jump out of the water for a distance of 25 or 30 ft. They travel in schools. Stood signal watch from 12.00 noon till 4.00 P.M. Beautiful day. Calm and clear. Pay day.
 6. Sighted land about 8.00 A.M. and believe me it looked good. As we neared land could see the mountain tops above the clouds. Pulled into harbor about 12.00 noon. Cast anchor about 3.00 P.M. Shore liberty at 8.30 till 11.00 An American hydro-aeroplane came out to meet us as we came in.
 7. 11.00 A.M. was called over to headquarters. Came back to ship and made out list of music and instruments needed. Transfered from ship at 6.30 P.M. out to the Marine Camp, which is in an old stone quarry and a fine place for a camp. The birds can be heard singing all around and woods line the camp on two sides. I have a tent all to myself. My men are divided up two to a tent. From New London to Bermuda we set our watches ahead 40 minutes. From Bermuda to Azores we set our watches ahead about 12 min’s a day and on our arrival here we set them ahead 1 hour.
 8. Excused from all duty and had all day to clean up and get things straightened out.
 9. Nothing to do all day but take it easy and eat. On week days reveille is sounded at 6.20 A.M. On Sunday’s at 7.30 A.M.
10. Drilled band on marching from 9 to 10.00 A.M. Called over headquarters to see about getting up an orchestra.
11. Schmidt and Casey took their 1st clarinet lesson. Schmidt bought a Portugese clarinet.
13. Called to headquarters and the interpreter and myself scoured the town looking Thurs. for a violin and some bows but could not find any in any of the stores.
Sat.  15. Went out for a walk through some of the small towns here and talkabout the slums of N.Y. City. I believe the people here have got them beat for filth and poverty. In one house I saw chickens right in the living rooms. I sized up several buildings I thought were stables but when we went by them there were flowers on the shelves which could be seen through the windows. Some of the places have no furniture of any kind and the people squat right on the floor. One of the boys in the band said he saw a donkey in one of the living rooms that he went by. During our walk we had an opportunity to go into one of the old (Dutch windmills) here on the island. They are about 500 years behind the times on the mill question. We also saw a pineapple hot-house. All the pineapples here are raised that way. They have some very nice fruit here in the pineapple line. As we passed along the streets the kids would all ask for "monee". On the whole it is disgusting and our camp is about the only decent place here that I have seen so far.
Sun.  16. Started out for a walk and was overtaken by two men in a cart who asked me to ride. They were farmers and had been in the U.S. about 21 yrs. ago. They were brothers and spoke fairly good english. They used to be firemen on the railroad between New York and Providence for 9 years. I went out to one of their farms where they had several cows and one of them had his son get me some milk fresh from the cow. Gosh! but it tasted good. I guess I drank at least three pints. First time in ten years I guess that I had had fresh milk. They had no barns for their stock. The temperature is so even here the year round that they are not necessary. There are lots of sugar beets here and they make their own sugar in Ponta Delgada. These two men said they were going to sell their farms and go back to the U.S. when the war is over. I walked back in time for "chow".
19. Brought out to camp a piano that the government hired for use in orchestra. Wed. practice work.
23. Went over to Marietta to look at a trombone that belonged to the ship. Had good baseball game in camp between Tonopah and hospital corps. of the camp. Tonopah won 4 to 2.
27. Took the piano back to the store because they placed to high a valuation on it. In Thur. evening went to band concert.
Fri.  28. At about 6.25 A.M. saw one of the most perfect and beautiful rainbows I ever saw in my life.
29. Went over to the 7" gun and saw them fire 6 shots at a target being towed off shore. All six shots hits.
30. Wrote letter to Hatfield and requested him to answer it same day received to see how long it would take to have a letter travel to him and return.
July   3. Got extended liberty till 12 o’clock and took in moving picture show.
 4. Good baseball game in the forenoon between Tonopah and the Marine Aviation Corps.
We had good chicken dinner. After dinner Mackley, Dickenson and myself rented wheels and went for a ride for about three hours.
 6. Went out for a walk in the P.M. and climbed up to the top of a small mountain not far from the camp. I had a fine view of the surrounding country and could see for miles. The country looks like a checker board with its small fields of sugar beets, beans, corn, and ripe grain. There were as many as a thousand head of cattle in sight. Left camp at 2.00 and was back at 6.00 P.M.
 7. At 9 o’clock A.M. two sargents of the Marine Corp and two C.P.O.’s and myself left the camp for Furnac and arrived there at 11. It is supposed to be about 25 miles from camp. The road all the way is very mountainous and the scenes are very interesting and continually changing. Sometimes we were up hundreds of feet above sea level and could see whole towns situated near the shore. Then we would go down grade for several miles and almost down to sea-level. The car would run sometimes for 25 or 30 minutes without using any gasoline. The town of Furnas is entirely surrounded by mountains, in fact it is an old crater. The boiling springs cover about half an acre and believe me they are boiling some. I doubted if the water could be very hot but when I got down and put my finger into it I soon found out that it was just as hot as boiling water in a kettle on the stove. I had a bath in iron water in the bathing pavilion and then we had dinner. After dinner we came back to the gun, then took a trip across the island and back to camp. On this trip we stopped at a place along the road where there isa deep hole that they say contains mad dogs. We threw some stones into it but did not hear anything of the dogs. When you throw a stone into the hole you can count up to twenty before it hits the bottom. They say that the dogs live on the carcasses of dead animals that are thrown into the pit. On our way back from the Furnas we saw hundreds of the people who were going up a certain mountain to talk with God. A girl claimed she had a talk with the Virgin Mary up there who told her that the war would be over in 4 months. So, all the population for miles around were coming to this mountain thinking they would have a talk with or see the Virgin Mary or some other representative of the heavens. The mountain was right near the road and we could see people on the top of the mountain at about 3.30 who were there waiting. Last night the seargent who is on duty up at the gun said the Portugese women around there saw an old woman in the sun, and when he told them that he could not see it, they told him it was because he was not going to heaven. One Marine said he saw it. However, to-night just before sundown there were hundreds of the inhabitants standing on the banks on the west side of the camp and they were all watching the sunset. I don’t know whether they saw anything of the old woman or not, but evidently they expected to see something.
16. Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt visited the camp at about 3.45 this P.M. German submarine sighted off the coast near an incoming Portugese ship but she did no damage.
17. This was a great day in camp for mail arrived about 9.30 P.M. and everybody received a generous number of letters and papers. I received nine letters. 4 from my wife, 2 from my wife of stock company news, 1 from C. L. Glass, 1 from C. W. Savery & Co. and 1 from a friend in Phila. I did not turn in until about 12 o’clock I never was more glad to receive mail in my life than to-day. We are expecting more to-morrow.
18. Went up this morning and called on Mrs & Mr. Sylvia. Mrs. Sylvia does the washing for myself and some of the band. She speaks very good english and so does her husband. She was born in the Sandwich Islands and has lived several years in the U.S. They have a very pretty house and garden.
19. Some more mail came in to-day and I received 4 more letters. One from my wife dated May 23, one from C. L. Glass & Co, one from Royalty Underwriters, Tulsa, Okla. and one from a friend in Phila. There were 43 boats came in the harbor to-day, about 33 sub. chasers and the rest supply ships such as Buffalo, Bridgeport, etc.
20. About 70 marines came marching into camp to-day that came on one of the ships. They were welcomed by the band boys for that relieves them of guard duty. Had a good Baseball game in afternoon, between the Tonopah and Nashville.
21. Another game this morning between Nashville and camp. One in afternoon between Bridgeport and camp.
23. Baseball game between Tonopah and Buffalo. Buffalo won.
24. Another game between Buffalo and Bridgeport. Bridgeport won.
26. Baseball game between Buffalo and Bridgeport. Bridgeport won.
27. Ships that came in on the 19th pulled out this morning for the other side.
28. Took another long walk this afternoon with Mackley. Went out to the Mad-Dog cave but could neither see nor hear anything of any dogs. We investigated the place more thoroughly this time than when I was there on the automobile trip. This time we got right over one side of the pit and could see the sides and bottom. It is a hole in the rock that goes straight down for about 150 ft. It is 75 or 80 ft. in diameter at the top and is funnel shaped about two thirds of the way down, then it flares out the rest of the way and looks as though a cave leads off on two sides. We threw some stones into it and when they would strike near the sides where it looks like a cave we could hear the stones keep on going for some time. It is quite a freak of nature.
29. Received mail to-day. I received two packets of circulars from my wife sent on July 11 and July 15.
Aug.  5. Received pay $39.00. Moved our quarters in camp. Received mail. Received 2 papers and 1 packet of circulars sent July 23rd.
11. Band baseball team played the Supply Office, winning. 16 to 8.
17. Opened up the old recreation tent as a Y.M.C.A.
18. Five ships 1 con. yacht (Niagara) 1 freight ship (James S. Whitney) 1 tug and 2 barges came in to day but they had no mail for camp only 6 or 7 letters.
22. Baseball game between Band and K-1 Band won. 11 to 0. 9 in.
21. 13 of my men and myself marched down to the Aviation camp with some marines in the evening to see a moving picture show. The pictures were fine and seemed like being at home.
24. Baseball game between band and K-1. Band lost 11 to 0. 5 in
25. Baseball game between band and camp marines. Band won 7 to 6. 9 in. P.M. Baseball game between Tonopah and Aviation Camp. Ton. won. 8 to 5. 9 in. This game was the 1st game of the League just found on the island.
28. Received mail.
Sept.  9. Another sub. scare. Two subs reported to be within 25 or 30 miles off the coast. Had the 6" gun manned at 4 o’clock A.M.
10. Portugese steamer reported captured by English for furnishing supplies to a German sub.
11. Another sub reported near by. About 33 marines left camp today for a trip to the Furnas. They were outfitted in heavy marching order and expected to make 16 miles the 1st day. They are to be gone a week.
17. Men arrived back from the hike about 6 P.M. They came the whole distance in one day. About 30 miles. And in heavy marching order at that.
19. Received mail.
21. More mail.
27. More mail. The Chicago and a tanker came in with 4 tugs (American) and 24 sub. chasers (French)
28. There was a small riot in the city. Nearly all the men in camp were called out and rushed to the scene, but were soon recalled. A double guard was put on in camp for the rest of the night but nothing happened. They issued me a "Gat" (Colt 45 automatic) to use in case of trouble.
29. New Hampshire came into port.
30. Ball game between Tonopah and New Hampshire. The New Hampshire won 2 to 1. 10 innings.
Oct  1. Another game between the New Hampshire and Marines. When Marines got 1 score in the lead in the 1st half of the 10th inning the Captain of the New Hampshire team who is a chaplain refused to let them play any more. News were received on his day that Bulgaria had unconditionally surrendered. Later we got news un-officially that there were riots and mutiny in German & Austrian Armies. Received mail in the evening.
10. Received mail.
12. Liberty was extended until 12 o’clock and the whole camp was given special liberty by orders of the Admiral on the strength of a report that Germany had accepted our peace terms. Everything with the Portugese was "Vivo Americano". The city went wild with the joy of the news. Bands paraded the streets and you could hear many different national Airs played as the bands visited the different Consulates. The Star Spangled Banner included.
14. The Prairie and two tugs with 18 sub. chasers came in about 11 o’clock. The Chestnut Hill with another tug and 5 chasers came in about 4.30. Later, another tug and 1 chaser. The Prairie and Chestnut Hill are loaded with supplies for this base. The Chestnut Hill is reported to have our instruments.
15. Got leave to go and explore what is called the Grotto of Rua De Formosa. I guess we went into it about 1/4 mile. Some places it is not over 4 ft. high while in others it is as high as 25 or 30 ft. It seems to be about the same width all along. About 30 ft. They claim you can travel for 6 or 7 miles. It is just like a tunnel it gives a person a queer sensation to be so far underground. There were two Portugese soldiers with us. One of them has spent several years in the U.S. and speaks very good English. We would have gone farther in but we had only one candle and did not want to run chances on being left in the dark and besides, one candle did not give much light. May explore it more thoroughly some day with better lighting facilities. After we got through exploring the tunnel we made a visit to one of the cemetaries. They are very pretty and are a great contrast to the ones in the U.S. They put them entirely in the shade for beauty and care. Also stopped at Supply Office and found out for certain that our instruments were not here.
20. Three ball games in camp today.
23. Received mail in morning. 2 Boston papers, several Newport papers & 1 packet of circulars with a letter from wife and one from Florence. Received more mail in evening. I received letter from wife and an-other Boston paper. Also rating badges. There is a strong belief that our instruments are here. That they came on the ship that brought mail this morning.
28. Had a thunder storm. The first one since we’ve been here. Went up to headquarters after dinner and got some music for band and orch. that had been sent by Miss Sawyer.
29. Received 11 of our instruments in camp. 1 Ep Bass, 1 Baritone, 3 Altoes, 1BBp Bass, 1 cornet. 2 slide trombones, 1 flute & 1 piccolo. Expect the rest of them out tomorrow.
30. Received 1 Bp clarinet and another flute.
31. Received 1 cello and 56 pieces of band music.
Nov.  1. Started to play morning and evening colors. At this time the whole camp was under restriction from liberty on account of the Spanish "flue".
3rd. received 22 instruments, 1 Ep clarinet, 1 music rack & strap for S Drum, 1 triangle, 1 pr. cymbals & case, 2 Bp cornets, 22 National Air books, 1 Bass drum, 3 violins, 4 Bp clarinets.
 4. Played for funeral of a marine from camp who died in the hospital of the Spanish influenza. He was the first victim of the desease in our camp. The band done fine for the short time we had to prepare for it. I acted as the drum major. Also played guard mount.
 8. Received mail.
12. Played a trial concert at headquarters for the Admiral. Did not do so bad. also Played at the aviation in the evening for moving pictures.
13. Played again at aviation for moving pictures.
15. Were going to have moving pictures in camp but the electric current was to weak to run the machine so we all went down to the aviation barracks and they showed the pictures there. Received mail yesterday that was posted as late as Nov. 1st.
19. Saw Jensen and Roder. They are on the Savannah and her band was playing in the band stand in the city.
20. Received mail. Also played for moving pictures down at the aviation barracks.
21. Put in requisition for trom. oil, clarinet oil, reeds, pads, drum heads etc and a list of standard music
24. Admiral shoved off with staff to attend conference in France or England.
26. Rehearsed dance music at the Admirals for a dance to be given on the 29th
27. Took the band over on the Comfort, a hospital ship and played concert from 6.15 P.M. to 7.40 P.M. They are returning to States with wounded soldiers. She had over 400 on board. Some of them had their feet and some their arms shot off. 1 man had lost both legs, one arm and an eye. Some had lost only 1 foot or an arm or hand and they were around on the decks. It makes you think that what Sherman said was right. Was presented with a box of cigars and 2 1lb. boxes of candy in appreciation of our music
28. Had fine Thanksgiving dinner. Played for moving pictures at aviation in evening. About 15 of the band went in swimming.
29. Played for dance at headquarters from 3 to 6.
30. Myself and 7 of my musicians explored the Grotto of Rua Formosa thoroughly. We went all the way through. The other end opens into a field. It is about 3/4 of a mile long I should imagine. It took us just a half hour to go through but it was rough walking. Coming back we explored all the side issues. most of them lead back into the main tunnel.
Dec.  1. Took a walk along the cliff out towards Fiteris. This is some cliff walk. Sometimes you are about 900 ft above the sea on an almost perpendicular cliff. We went down a path from near the highest part that took us right to the shore. Lambert, Ruka, Peck, Holmgren, Sip and Sternimons clumb up the cliff back to the road. I prefered to come back by the path. It took me about 20 minutes to walk back up. Talk about going up the Bunker Hill monument. It would <look> like a toothpick from the top of this cliff. Got back to camp just in time for "chow".
 8. Played up at the Admirals place for dance given by some of the officers. Orchestra
 9. Played on a couple of destroyers in the harbor Half the band was on the Seguerney, the other half on the Little. There were four of them lashed side by side. The other two were the Fairfax & Bell.
10. Went up to the gun this morning to see the Presidents ship (George Washington) and convoy go by. The New Hampshire and seven or eight destroyers was with her. Went by about 9.30 A.M.
13. Played for another dance at headquarters using the orchestra.
15. The Commanding Officer, Haggerty, was put under arrest about 2 o’clock in the morning. He had been drinking and when he came into camp, was going to shoot up six or seven of his sergeants, and one of his lieutenants. They finally got him to bed and Mr. Lockburner the next senior officer present took his guns and knives away from him and placed a guard around his tent, by command of the Detachment Commander. In the afternoon we took another walk out to the Mad Dog hole as it is called.
Jan. 20. Aviation shoved off.
Password 3 rings or knocks

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I tried my best to copy this diary verbatim. There are no ‘typos’ as I ran it through the spell-checker and compared words to the actual text of the diary. I also put no emphasis on his English or education where his words are misspelled or his grammar in error. It was war time and war IS Hell. His penmanship was excellent for any generation and only occasionally blotchy or faint.

His diary also serves to raise several questions (as does anything pertaining to genealogical history). Each to his (or her) own choosing.

As of this transcription, his diary is very close to 80 years old and in remarkably good shape. Thanks mainly to Mom’s having kept it pretty well wrapped up in storage. It is drying out however, and this is why I chose to get the job done. In reading this transcription it does not quite fulfill the wonder and awe of holding the original in ones hands and reading the actual writing of 80 years past. I thank my Mother very much for this treasure as it may never be seen again.


Kenneth James Brooks

May 1, 1997

10 April, 2002

For this Internet posting I have italicized the names of the ships.


Kenneth Brooks said that Frank Clement Rice wrote the diary while in the US Navy in 1918. He was in the Azores at this time. He lived in Newport, retired from the US Navy in Newport.  Worked for the US Post Office in Newport and retired from there.

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