I was rummaging through some stuff and found my grandfather’s photo albums.
My grandfather, J. Lee Sr., (aka “Jack”) was a Lt. (JG) on board the USS Fanning (DD-37) during the World War I.
Based at Queenstown, Ireland, Fanning and her sister destroyers patrolled the eastern Atlantic, escorting convoys and rescuing survivors of sunken merchantmen.
In the afternoon of 17 November 1917 an alert lookout on board Fanning sighted the periscope of U-58, and the destroyer quickly moved in on the attack. Fanning’s first depth charge pattern scored and as Nicholson (DD-52) joined the action, the submarine broke the surface, her crew pouring out on deck, hands raised in surrender.
Fanning maneuvered to pick up the prisoners as the damaged submarine plunged to the bottom, the first of two U-boats to fall victim to United States Navy destroyers in World War I.
I am rather proud of my grandfather. I never really knew him. He died when I was 6 years old. Needless to say, the military history is precious to me. It is a way of knowing him even though I did not have the chance to do so real life.
There are other tales of “Jack” and I hope to document them later. Interestingly enough, in the photo album were some pictures of my grandfather in Europe. Most interesting to me was this one of him in Venice taken in December of 1919.
My intention is to take a copy of this picture with me when we go to Europe next month.
I want to find that spot and have my own picture taken right there where he is standing (maybe even with a pidgeon on my hand like he has).
I am sure one of the locals will know what and where it is.
It’s my own quest of sorts.
I guess I am bridging the span of time to reach back to the grandfather I never knew.