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World War 1 News

Everett Spivey Ship Torpedoed

Everett Spivey of West York was on board the U.S.S. President Lincoln torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine May 31. In a letter to his parents, he writes:

Everything was calm and going pretty nice. At 7:57 AM, we were struck by two torpedoes from a German submarine. At 9:25 AM she was beneath the waves. Before it struck, I was down in one of the lower compartments folding bunk bottoms. So I didnít hear the first one as it was in the forward and the second was underneath my compartment. The bells begin to ring and it didnít take me long to get upon deck and to the life boat that I was suppose to fall into. By that time everyone was busy throwing rafts over board and getting the life rafts ready to let down into the water.

While going up on deck the water was shooting out of one of the hatches and it nearly drowned me when I passed. The steam popping off made it difficult to hear the orders and they were given by hand. When orders were given to abandon the ship, every one began to climb over the sides into the boats and rafts. It was a little hard to untie all the rafts from the ship but it was done calmly and without much excitement. The gun crew stood by the guns but did not get site of the sub and when the water began to run over the sides of the ship they took of in some of the rafts. Out of 603 there were 24 lives lost, three of which were officers and a couple of commissary stewards.

About the middle of the forenoon, the sub appeared on the horizon and everyone became excited and began to cheer, thinking it a rescue boat. They began to get around the guns and we thought they were going to fire on us but instead they were looking for the captain who took off his cap and coat to prevent them from recognizing him. They called one boat along side and took a two stripe officer on board and left.

Again about 3 oíclock PM, they came back but this time didnít say a thing and were still looking for the captain. By sundown we had collected the lifeboats, 12 in number, and a large number of rafts. There were about 35 in each boat and enough rafts for them to pile one on top of the other to make it as comfortable as possible. After dark we used the signal system by means of lights. About the time we got hit and gave the danger signal by blowing the siren, the other ships sure did move out in a hurry to avoid being hit.

The U.S.S. Great Northern which picked us up is almost like a palace. Everyone lost everything except the clothes we had on and was lucky then to have a full suit. Some lost their jumpers and others lost their shoes. I had $40 in the post office, so wasnít as bad off as some.

I can say one thing: I looked death in the face because I didnít know if I would get out dead or alive. We certainly were congratulated by the captain for our fine behavior and discipline.

[Marshall Herald 10 - July - 1918, Submitted by: Cindy McCachern]


Army Attracts Young Men
The new volunteer army, that is to replace the present troops in European service, is proving an attractive proposition to many young men. In the last week the following Clark county men have enlisted at Terre Haute: David R. Brown, Edward Lucas and Frank Orndorff of Casey, Sydney Hawk, of Martinsville, and James Baker, of Marshall; Harlan Burns, of Oliver; Ralph Garver, Martinsville. - Marshall Herald.

Footnote:
Unknown data. This would have been some time prior to April 2, 1930 according to the 1930 census. On it Frank Orndorff is listed as being in the Army in Florida. Article from the scrapbook of George W. Orndorff - Transcribed by Sharon Barhydt




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