Doughboy Center

The Story of the American Expeditionary Forces

U.S. Navy

The Diary of

Seaman 2nd Class
Kenneth A. Holcomb

U.S.S. Hilton

Presented by His Grandson David B. Holcomb

Grandfather - The Sailor

Presented the Great War Society

During a visit to Grandma and Grandpa's home in August of 1981, Grandpa showed me his World War I diary. He told me then that it was not complete and that he always intended to complete it after he returned from the war, but he never did. I read a few entries and told him that it was fabulous. He told me to keep it. I never really read it completely until after he died. If only.......

Grandpa enlisted in the Navy at an age of 16 years and 4 months. He had to get his mother's approval. He told her that if she did not give it, he would run away from home. He entered into the Navy on April 25, 1917. It would be almost 9 months before Grandpa would go aboard ship. He went to training at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. In training he broke his leg. Until he went over seas he was stationed there as a Armed Guard. He served on the U.S.S. Hilton. The U.S.S. Imperator brought him home from Europe. Upon returning from the war, he went back to Belvidere High School and got his high school diploma.

Recuperating at Brooklyn, 1917
I do not believe that as Grandpa was writing the diary he intended to have anyone else read it. They were his "notes" to help him remember his war experience. Thanks to his efforts, his descendants can learn a little about him and the "war to end all wars."

The diary covers the time from January 24 to June 28, 1918. Grandpa was just 17 years old. It ends with increasingly less detail and times being left blank. Could the warnings about possible capture by the enemy, and the information about troop movements falling into enemy hands have kept him from filling out the entries with times? Could this be why he stops making entries? I will never know, but I think it is a strong possibility.

The diary itself measures 5 3/8" by 3 1/4". It has a cover page, an "English - French Vocabulary" section, a section titled "Addresses of Home Friends," a section for "Autographs of Comrades," a section for "Account of Battles Engaged in," a section for "Superior Officers," a French and Great Britain money exchange table, a table on the metric system, and the daily entry section. The rear of the diary has a few wax paper pages, which have some dried pressed flowers in between them. [His ship the Hilton is referred to in navy documents as the U.S.S. Hilton and the U.S.A.C.T.(Armored Cargo Transport?) Hilton.]

What follows is a transcription of the diary. Careful attention was paid to transcribing it exactly the way it appears in the diary. Spelling and punctuation were not corrected and the order of entry was left unchanged. He made entries in pencil and it was sometimes hard to read. He occasionally made errors in dates, but they are easily figured out. The pictures and the miscellaneous items located through out the transcription come from the pictures and the things Grandpa saved from World War I. Great Grandma McDowell gave him a camera when he went off to war. These are the photographs he took.

As you read the diary remember that Dad remembers Grandpa saying that he crossed the English Channel 40 to 50 times during the war. Dad also remembers another interesting story. Grandpa was going into a tattoo parlor to get a tattoo and a First Class Boatswain Mate "threw him the hell out."

David B. Holcomb

Title Page

This book is the property of
Kenneth Alfred Holcomb
Residence Belvidere Illinois
United States of America
Date of enlistment Apr. 25 1917
Enlisted at Rockford Ill. U.S.A.
Arrived at Training Camp at Great Lakes Illinois
Date Apr. 25 1917
Left Training Camp Great Lakes
Date Oct 18 1917
Started for France Sat. 11:00P.M. Jan. 26th '18
Arrived in France Tues. 4:00P.M. Feb. 12th '18
Enlisted in U. S. Navy till I am. of age which will Be Dec. 14th 1921.
In case of accident notify Mother
Mrs. Belle McDowell
634 Whitney St. Belvidere
Illinois U.S.A.

Addresses of Home Friends

Mrs. Ellen Holcomb Tew 1084 East 111th St. Cleveland, Ohio U.S.A. sister

L.H. Holcomb 1020 So. Maine St. Rockford Ill. U.S.A. Brother

B. J. Holcomb Uncle Brodhead Wis. U.S.A.

Mrs. Jennie Williams Glastenbury Conn. U.S.A. Cousin

Mr. A. McDowell Belvidere Ill U.S.A. Father

Note: Mr. Adam McDowell was his stepfather

Thursday Jan 24th 1918
When aboard S.S. Hilton at 4:00 P.M. loaded ammunition aboard (190 rounds 5" 40 cal.) Pretty good ship about 325 feet long & makes about 8 to 10 knots a hour. Stood the 12 to 1:00 oclock watch.

Billet Card U.S.S. Hilton

Friday Jan. 25 1918
Got up at 7:15 & we were under way & out of sight of land. Cleaned up our quarters & ate breakfast at 8:15. Then we loaded ammunition from the deck into the magazines till dinner then till 3:00 P.M. Stood the 1:00 to 2:00 oclock watch.

Saturday Jan. 26th 1918
Got into Newport News about 5:00 P.M. Ship not in condition for sea Officers went ashore to see if they had to sail to (at this point I am unable to figure out what is written for a few words) They came back We started To catch our convoy which we missed by 8 - 10 hours. Stood the 1:00 to 2:00 watch. Saw land the last time 1:45 A.M. Sun Jan 27, 1918

Sunday Jan. 27th 1918
Stood the 9-10 watch in the mourn. Didn't do any thing all day. Saw some porposes in the morn. Storm started to come up in the afternoon I begun to get sick. Stood the 9 --10 watch at night

Monday Jan. 28th 1918
Heavy seas, sick stayed in bunk till 11:00 A.M. then stood the 11:00 to 12:00 watch, then went to bed again pretty sick. All but 6 of gun crew sick Heavy seas still running at 8:45 P.M.

Tuesday Jan 29th 1918
Sea still a little rough. Stood 9 to 10:0oclock watch A.M. Didn't do anything all mourning. Stood the 1 to 2:00 oclock watch P.M. Sea getting rougher toward night but not sea sick.

Wednesday Jan 30th 1918
Stood the 2:00 to 3:00 A.M. Given our stations for when we go thru the war zone & the watches we will have to stand. Didn't do any thing the rest of the day but hang around the deck. Stood the 3:00 to 4:00 P.M. watch.

Thursday Jan 31th 1918
Stood the 4:00 to 5:00 A.M. watch We fired to rest of our target shells in the morn. (7 rounds) Made some pretty good hits. Bought some candy off the Army Q.M. Ate candy the rest of the day Stood the 5:00 to 6:00 P.M. watch

Friday Feb. 1th 1918
Stood the 6 to 7 A.M. watch Best day since we left N.Y.C. Took some pictures Done a little work on one life boat in the afternoon. Had a fight with the Jew. He gave up in the end. Stood the 7 to 8P.M. watch

Saturaday Feb. 2nd 1918
Stood the 8 to 9 A. M. watch. Ate a little breakfast stayed in my bunk till supper then ate a little then went back to bed till the 9 to 10 P.M. watch which I stood. Sea rough & the weather cold.

Sunday Feb 3rd 1918
Stood the 10 to 11 A.M. watch Sea the roughest since we left N.Y.C. Ate my dinner then begun to get sick about 3:00P.M. went to bed and staid ate no supper One of the boys stood my 11 to 12P.M. watch for me.

Monday Feb 4th 1918
Sea still pretty rough. Didn't do anything all mourning. Stood the 12 to 1:00 P.M. oclock watch. An English Packet pass us about 5 miles off our port side about 4:00 P.M. First ship to pass us since we left Newport News

Tuesday Feb. 5th 1918
One of the boys stood my 1:00 to 2:00 A.M. watch for some money he owed me I was a little bit sea sick. Washed some clothes in the mourn. Stood my 2 to 3 P. M. oclock watch. Sea getting rougher so went to bed early

Wednesday Feb. 6th 1918
Stood my 3 to 4 A.M. watch Didn't eat any breakfast but ate a good dinner & supper. Stood my 4 to 5 P.M. watch. Then after supper the Bost-Mate told us of some of his adventures at sea

USS Hilton (Unconfirmed)

Thursday Feb. 7th 1918
Man washed overboard by heavy seas between 3 to A. M. Stood my 5 to 6 A.M. We reached the war zone about 3:00 P.M. Started the the new watchs at 4:00 P.M. Stood my first watch in the war zone from 8 to 10 P.M.

Friday Feb. 8th 1918
Stood my war zone watchs of 2 to 4, 8 to 10, 2 to 4 & 8 to 10 We had fire & boat drill in the afternoon. We wear our life jackets all the time now till we get into port. S.O.S. for the rest of the day

Saturaday Feb. 9th 1918
Stood my 2 to 4, 8 to 10, 2 to 4 & 8 to 10 saw or heard nothing of importance Sea rough all day rained most of the time. Ship started her sig-zag course in the morning

Sunday Feb. 10th 1918
Stood my 2 to 4, 8 to 10, 2 to 4, & 8 to 10 watch saw nothing but a 4 masted ship. Sea not so rough as it was. Sleep inbetween my watchs, nothing happened during the day.

Monday Feb. 11th 1918
Stood 2 to 4 watch then sleep till noon. Then went on watch about 2:00 P.M. a sub was sighted astern of us she chased us a 2 hours then we got away from her. Then about 4:15 P.M. a couple English Patrol Boats came up but they left us. Stood the 12 to 4 & 8 to 12 P.M.

Tuesday Feb. 12th 1918
Stood the 4 to 8 A.M. watch then ate breakfast then went to watch again till noon Sighted a U.S. Destroyer about 9:00 A.M. she convoyed us into Brest. We sighted land about 1:00 P.M. & were anchored about 4:20 P.M. inside the harbor. Stood the 5 to 6 P.M. watch on the magazine.

Wednesday Feb. 13th 1918
Stood the 8 to 9 A.M. magazine watch Chief & four of the crew went ashore in the morning & came back drunk about 6 :30 P.M. The harbor in Brest is large with big cliffs on the sides of the channels is pretty scenry. Stood 11 to 12 P.M. watch.

Thursday Feb 14th 1918
We pulled out of Brest at 2:00 A.M. I went on watch till 4:00 A.M. Went on watch again at 8:00 to 12:00 A.M. Our convoy made up of 12 ships, one U.S. Destroyer an one yatch & three airships. Went one watch at 4:00 P.M. till we anchored in Quiberon Bay at 6:15 P.M. Stood the 9:00 to 10:00 P.M. watch.

Friday Feb. 15th 1918
We pulled out of Quiberon Bay about 3:00 A.M. I went on watch at 4:00 till 8:00 A.M. We were leading ship in the convoy. Nothing happened in the morning I went on watch at 12:00 till 4:00 P.M. We anchored in La Police at 6:15 P.M.

Saturaday Feb. 16th 1918
Pull out of La Pallice in the morning and ran eight mile to the mouth of a river, But could not go up river till high titd, so anchored Saw the Fort were Napolean was keep prisener.

Sunday Feb. 17th 1918
Pulled up the river for about 8 miles to a town by the name of Roachfort. Did not dock. Half of crew went ashore at noon. I stood the 4 to 8 P.M. watch. Saw lot of German presenors at work on the docks.

German Prisoners Mentioned Above
Note "PW" Painted on Prisoner's Back

Monday Feb. 18th 1917[?]
Stood the 4 to 8 A.M. watch Went ashore about 2:30 P.M. Got $2.00 change into French. Walk about the town not much to see, every thing so old. Bought some candy and cake. Hard to make them understand

Tuesday Feb. 19th 1918
Got up about 10:30 A.M. Stood the 12 to 4 P.M. watch at the gangway. We got paid I drew $35.00 I went to bed early but did not get to sleep as the fellows made so much noise coming from Liberty.

Wednesday Feb. 20th 1918
Stood the 12 to 2 A.M. watch. Didn't get up till about 9:00 A.M. Went ashore about 2:00 P.M. I bought a few sovineres. And then monkeyed about the town till after supper then went back to the ship

Thursday Feb. 21th 1918
Stayed aboard and did guard duty.

Friday Feb. 22nd 1918
Went ashore in the afternoon. Stayed till 6 30 P.M. Spent about 9 francs Had a pretty good time.

Satuarday Feb. 23rd 1918
Stayed aboard and stood guard on the docks. The rest of the day was about the same as usual

Sunday Feb. 23rd 1918
Got up about 8:00 A.M. didn't do anything in the morn. We pulled out of Roachefort at about 1:30 P.M. The whole town was down to the river to see us go. Took a couple of pictures of a French dirigible We got into La Rochelle about 6:30 P.M.

French Dirigible

Monday Feb. 25th 1918
Didn't do anything in the morning. When ashore about 1:30 with a couple of the boys we walk around the town which is bigger than Roachfort. We bought some picture of the town and the castle. Got back about 5:00 P.M.

Tuesday Feb 26th 1918
Stayed aboard in the morn. Went ashore in the afternoon met a soldier from Illinois who was at Camp Grant for a while. We hired two bicycles and rode all around the town and to La Pallice & back. Got back to the ship in time for supper.

Wednesday Feb. 27th 1918
Called all hands at 4:00 A.M. to prepare the life boat for sea. Then my crew stood watch till 8:00 A.M. I slept then till dinner then went on watch till 4:00 P.M. We anchor in Quiboron Bay about 4:45 P.M. We were convoyed by two French boats.

Thursday Feb. 28th 1918
Left Quiboron Bay about 3:00 A.M. I stayed on watch till 4:00 A.M. then went on watch again at 8:00 to 12:00 A.M. Then turned in and slept till 4:00 P.M. then went on watch again & the sea was awful rough I was sick. We got to Brest about 9:20 P.M.

Rough Seas for the Hilton

Friday Mar 1st 1918
Stood the 7:00 to 8:00 A.M. magazine watch. Raining in the mourning so I staid inside and watched the boys play poker hung around the deck in the afternoon till supper. Went on watch from 9:00 to 10:00P.M.

Saturday Mar 2nd 1918
Got up for breakfast then sleep till 11:00 then went on watch till 12:00. Ate dinner then went to sleep till 2:00 P.M. Ate supper at 5:00 P.M. Went to bed early Capt. Said we would pull out of Brest tomorrow.

Sunday Mar 3rd 1918
We pulled out of Brest about 2:00 I Went on watch at 4:00 P.M. till 8:00 P.M. There were 22 ships in the convoy not counting the torpedo boats.

Monday Mar 4th 1918
Stood the 12:00 to 4:00 A.M. land in sight went on watch again at 8:00 to 12:00 A.M. We went along the English coast all day Went on watch at 4:00 to 8:00 P.M. We anchored in Barry Roads about 9:00 P.M.

Tuesday Mar 5th 1918
We left Barry roads in the mourning and pulled into Queens Docks at Cardiff Wales in the afternoon My week for mess cook started today. Did not go ashore to day.

Wednesday 6th 1918
Went ashore in the afternoon. Went up town met a couple of girls and went to a movie show after the show we left the girls and went and get our supper. After supper we went to the Empire.

Thursday Mar 7th 1918
Stayed aboard and and mess-cook. Washed some clothes & went to bed early

Friday Mar 8th 1918
Went ashore in the afternoon with Fayner. We went to the movie show. Then we ate our supper. Then went up into the café. Got back to the ship about 2:00 A.M.

Saturday Mar 9th 1918
We left Cardiff in the morning and pulled out to Barry Roads and anchored. We laid here the rest of the day.

Sunday Mar 10th 1918
We got underway about 5:00 A.M. About 12:00 A.M. we got a S.O.S. called from a ship 6 miles ahead she was hit by a torpedo. We could here firing when we got there there was some Eng. Torpedoes boats & Petrol Boats a airship We staid close to the coast but could see the sub when she came up. One ship was sunk & we saw the Petrol boat pick up the life boats. They did not get the sub.

Monday Mar 11th 1918
We were anchored in Penzance Bay when I got up this mourning. We left Penzance's about 6:00 P.M. I stood no watch as I am mess cook so I had all night in.

Some of the Boys

Tuesday Mar 12th 1918
Got into Brest about 11:00 A.M. We laid at anchor all day and no one went ashore.

Wednesday Mar.13th 1918
Did not pull out as I thought we would. Capt, Lt, Sarg & Chief & six men went ashore, they tried to get small store but could not get them. We got paid tonight I only drew $6.00 left the $30.00 ride

Thursday Mar. 14th 1918
We left Brest about 5:30 A.M. We traveled all day and anchored in Quiberon Bay about 7:00 P.M. Not mess cook any more stood the 4:00 to 6:00P.M. watch. Stood Slim Chapin's watch in the afternoon for a dollar.

Friday Mar 15th 1918
We left Quiberon Bay about 4:00 A.M. I stood watch till 8:00 A.M. Went on watch again at 12:00 to 1:00 We got in to La Pallice about 5:00 but turned around and went to the head of the river that goes to Roachefort and anchorded

Saturday Mar. 16th 1918
We started up the river at day light we dock about 10:00 A.M. In the afternoon we started painting on quarters we quit about 3:00 P.M. The Boys went ashore but I staid aboard

Sunday Mar 17th 1918
I staid aboard today as I am on gang way watch from 6:00 P.M. to midnight. There was not much doing the first part of the day.

Monday Mar 18th 1918
I was on gang way watch from 6:00 A.M. till 10:00 A.M. Then we painted the rest of our quarters. I went ashore about 4:00P.M. and got back about 11:00 P.M.

Tuesday Mar 19th 1918
I sleep all morning then went up town, went to the skating rink had a peach of a time came back with an American soldier about 12:30 A.M.

Wednesday Mar 20th 1918
Stayed aboard today They were discharging cargo all day.

Thursday Mar 21th 1918
Went ashore in the evening to the roller skating Rink & had a peach of a time. Got back about 12:00 P.M.

Friday Mar 22nd 1918
stayed aboard today S.O.S. the rest of the day

Saturaday Mar 23rd 1918
We left Roachefort about 1:00 P.M. & got into La - Pallice about 4:00 P.M. and anchored.

Sunday Mar. 24th 1918
We left La Pallice about 7:00 A.M. & got into Quiberon Bay about 8:15 P.M. And anchored for the night.

Monday Mar. 25th 1918
We left Quiberon Bay about 5:00 A.M. & got into Brest about 6:00 P.M. & anchored in the bay.

Tuesday. Mar 26th 1918
We stayed at anchor all day as the Capt. Would not cross the channel with two men sick in bed.

Wednesday Mar 27th 1918
Took the two sick men to the hospital in Brest this morning and we left Brest about 1:30 P.M. for England.

Entire Crew in Life Vests

Thursday Mar 28th 1918
We got into Barry Docks about 6:00 P.M. after a all night and day run.

I forgot to write my diary while at Barry. so I will begin again with to day. We were two weeks and a half at Barry Docks. I had a fine time in Cardiff those two weeks.

We are now been away from Barry Dock one week and we are traveling down the French coast.

Sunday Apr. 21st 1918
We left Brest about 5:30 a m with convoy of 12 ships & a French destroyer & two English Patrol Boats. We got in to Quiberon Bay about 7:00 P.M. & anchored for the night.

Monday Apr. 22nd 1918
We left Quiberon Bay about 2:30 A.M. with convoy & got into La Pallice about 5:00 P.M. & then went over to the head of the river that goes to Roachefort and dropped the hook about 6:00 P.M.

Tuesday Apr. 23rd 1918
Pulled in the hook at 12:30 P.M. and went up the river to Roche-fort & docked by 5:00 P.M. We had Docter's inspection & some went ashore at 7:00 P.M. But I did not go ashore.

Wednesday Apr 24th 1918
Stayed aboard all day & took a bath and went to bed early

Thursday Apr. 25th 1918
Went to La Pallice with Dudley to get mail & went to the Army cantine & bought some candy, gum, cookies & sugar. I got two letters mailed Jan. 24th & 30th We got back about 6:00 P.M.

Friday Apr 26th 1918
Went again to La Pallice with Chapin to get mail but there was none, then we went to the Army cantine and bought some candy, cookies, cherries & sugar. We got back about 6:00P.M.

Saturaday Apr. 27th 1918
Stayed aboard all day. Had an ear ach all night.

Sunday Apr 28th 1918
Stayed aboard all day Wrote two letters home to day an sent them by the Jean as she left for U.S.A. today Went to bed early

With Some of the Petty Officers

Monday Apr. 29th 1918
Went on watch at 10:00AM and was on till 10:00P.M. We pulled out of Rochefort about 1:00P.M. and anchored in La Pallice about 7:00P.M.

Tuesday Apr 30th 1918
We left La Pallice about 8:30A.M. with convoy of 17 ships with three French destroyers and one American destroyer.

Thursday May 2st 1918
There was a 3" 50 cal. Gun brought aboard this morning for the platform forward. We worked all afternoon on the gun chipping paint and clean the gun.

Wednesday May 1st 1918
We got in to Brest at 1:30P.M. and anchored. Chief & Lt. & Serg. went ashore Brest under martial Law on account of the Stevedores on a strike.

Friday May 3rd 1918
We left Brest at 3:00A.M. for Penzance and we got as far as St Ives on the English coast and we got orders to come in to the harbor and drop anchor by 8:00P.M. And recieved orders to go to Liverpool.

Satuarday May 4th 1918
We left St Ives about 6:00A.M. for Milford Haven Wales We went up the English coast as far as Lundy Is. And then cut across to the coast of Wales and anchored at Milford Haven at 5:45P.M.

Sunday May 5th 1918
We left Milford Haven about 12:00P.M. for Liver-pool but only got out 3 or 4 miles out when we were order back as we had no escort so we went back and left again about 3:00P.M. with and English trawler

Monday May 6th 1918
We got in to Liverpool about 11:30A.M. and anchored in the river till 6:30P.M. then we were taken into the docks and were dock by 10:00P.M. I stood the 11:00P.M. till 2:00A.M. watch

Tuesday May 7th 1918
Stood watch from 12:00A.M. till 2:00A.M. then went to bed and got up at 10:30A.M. They mounted the 3" 50 cal. gun forward this morn. Did not do anything this afternoon Washed some clothes after supper

3-inch Gun in Action

Wednesday May 8th 1918
Went to Liverpool this afternoon with Barnet we walk around the city and ate out supper at the "Y" and then went to the Theater then we went to the Hotel for the night.

Thursday May 9th 1918
Got a hair cut in the morning then went back to the ship by noon. Went on watch at 12:00 till 4:00P.M. and from 8:00 to 9:00P.M. Then went to bed.

Friday May 10th 1918
Went on watch at 7:00 till 8:00 then from 8:30A.M. till 10:30A.M. Then went ashore at 1:00P.M. and had a fine time stayed at the "Y" for the night

Saturday May 11th 1918
Got up about 10:00A.M. ate breakfast and then went and bought a new pair of shoes. Had a good time in Liverpool in the afternoon and evening. Stayed at the "Y" at night.

Sunday May 12th 1918
Got up about 10:00A.M. and went back to the ship But Keating said he would stand my watch so I went back to town. Stayed at the "Y" for the night. Had a good time in the evening.

Monday May 13th 1918
Got up about 10:30A.M. and ate my dinner at the "Y" then I went back to the ship. Went to bed about 12:00P.M.

Tuesday May 14th 1918
We left Liverpool about 1:00P.M. escorted by an English destroyer. We shot 4 practice shots with the 3" 50' gun. Went on watch from 4 to 6P.M. and from 8:00P.M. till 12:00P.M.

Wednesday May 15th 1918
Went on watch from 4:00A.M. till 8:00A.M. & 12:00A.M. till 4:00P.M. & from 6 till 8 P.M. There was a ship torpedoed 4 miles ahead of us off Holly Head. The destroyer went back to Liverpool and and English trawel escorted us.

Thursday May 16th 1918
Stood the 12:00 to 4:00A.M. watch & we got into Penzance and droped anchor by 6:30A.M. We layed in the harbor all day. I had the 11:00 to 12:00P.M. magazine watch.

Friday May 17th 1918
We left Penzance about 5:00A.M. with convoy escorted by a destroyer, three trawelers & a dirigible. I was on watch from 5:00A.M. till 8:00A.M. & from 12 to 4P.M. The watch came off about 6P.M. we were anchored in Brest at 7P.M.

Satuarday May 18th 1918
We left Brest at 4:30A.M. with convoy of 8 ships I was on watch from 4 to 8A.M. & 12 to 4P.M. It is a fine day we ate out on deck as they are painting the quarters. We anchored in Quiberon Bay at 7:15P.M.

Sunday May 19th 1918
We left Quiberon Bay at 4:00A.M. I went on watch at 8:00A.M. till 12:00A.M. and washed some clothes in the afternoon then went on watch from4:00P.M. till 6:00P.M. we dropped our pilot in La Pallice then went to the head of the river and anchored

Monday May 20th 1918
Went up the river about noon we got dock about 2:00P.M. then we had to go up to the naval base and do some work for the naval officers in Rockfort. I wrote there letter home I got three letter from mother one from Mabelle, Merrill & Lowell Fair.

May 21st till May 25th 1918
We worked up at the naval office every day I did not go ashore

Sunday May 26th 1918
Went ashore and had a good time went to the roller skating rink and got back to the ship about 11:00P.M.

Monday May 27th 1918
Worked up at the naval office's in the morning. Got a letter from home when we got back to the ship at noon. We drawed some small stores in the afternoon and went ashore with Barnet in the evening had a good time.

Tuesday May 28th 1918
Stayed aboard all day and read. Most of the fellows went ashore.

Wednesday May 29th 1918
Stayed aboard all day

Thursday May 30th 1918
Stayed aboard all day

Friday May 31st 1918
Stayed aboard all day till in the evening I went and got some magazines

Saturaday June 1st 1918
We left Rockefort today and went to La Pallice

Sunday June 2nd 1918
We left LaPallice and anchored in Quiberon Bay to night.

Monday June 3rd 1918
Left Quiberon and anchored in Brest tonight.

Brest France

Tuesday May June 4 1918
Left Brest and anchored in St Ives at 7:00P.M. tonight.

Wednesday May June 5th 1918
Got into Swansea about 9:00P.M. and anchored in the bay.

Went from Swansea back to France but we went to Boradeaux instead of Rockefort

Fri. June 28th 1918
We pulled out of La Pallice about 7:00A.M. and met a convoy of ships from La Verdun We got in to the Bay at Quiberon about

June[July?] 13th 1918
We left Brest about 7:00A.M. and we got into Quiberon Bay at about

At this point the next 52 pages are blank The last page has:

5.00 .03% 560 000 $.0500 END OF ENTRIES


Irene T. Thomas C/O 2 Topay St. Roath Cardiff Wales

[Undecipherable lists of money owed by or to individuals deleted.]

[Apparently, this is a list of the ports visited by the Hilton:]

  • Brest
  • La Pallice
  • La Rochelle
  • Rockefort
  • St Naizar
  • Nantes
  • Bourader
  • Penzance
  • St. Ives
  • Barry Dock
  • Cardiff
  • Millford Haven
  • Liverpool
  • Swansea

Miscellaneous Information

From: Dictionary of American Fighting Ships


Former name retained.

(Str: d. 6.600; l. 313'6"; b. 46'; dr. 20'8"; s. 9 k.; cpl. 65)

Hilton (No. 1574) was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry-dock Co. in 1911 and chartered from A. H. Bull Steamship Co., New York, by the Army in September 1917. A year later she was acquired by the Navy, and commissioned at Cardiff, Wales, on 6 November 1918, Lt. Comdr. Walter L. Farnsworth in command.

Out of Cardiff, Hilton delivered two cargos [sic; cargoes] in France - to Bordeaux early in December and St. Nazaire in January. She returned to Cardiff and went on to Southampton to load, sailing for home 6 March.

Hilton arrived Hampton Roads 27 March and decommissioned there 16 April 1919, being redelivered to her owners.

Transcribed by Yves HUBERT (

Sources and Thanks: All the material presented here is thanks to David Holcomb. MH

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