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Christmas At Sea

Christmas on the USS Diodon
Christmas on the USS Diodon

This is the only photo that falls outside this pages designated time frame for inclusion on this site of 1900 to Dec 31, 1940.

This picture was first posted to the Photo Features about 2010 when I acquired a scrapbook of a Diodon sailor and posted it for Christmas of that year for fellow submarine sailors to relate to.

The reason for doing so is the exception this photo brings to the table. An image like this is very rare and I can think of only one other I have seen that even depicts the Christmas season and that was taken in 1919 aboard the USS S-4 an that only shows a crepe paper bell hanging in the crews berthing.

So, here we are aboard the USS Diodon SS-349 (a Bolao class) WW II built submarine, at the Christmas of 1957 with two unknown men staring into the camera and probably wishing they were home with their families. The tree is probably folding aluminum and has probably one string of lights brought to sea by someone and "drizzled" with some tinsel. There appear to be a number of small Christmas ball decorations also

There very well may be other photos but they have not readily made it to the public domain.

My own personal experience at being to sea aboard the USS Flasher SSN-613 at Christmas time 1967. When we were informed that our patrol was to be extended and we'd probably be at sea over Christmas I saw the crew spontaneously, over the course of a week, construct a Christmas tree out of a broom stick, wire coat hangers and greeny scrubbing pads and the electricians wiring together spare parts to make the lights and then the whole crew making individual decorations and paper chains to hang on the tree. Next presents with homemade wrapping paper began appearing under the tree. We were to enter port on Christmas Eve of that year it turns out but before we did the Captain slowed the boat and called all crew not on watch to the crewsmess to sing a few carols and pass out the presents under tree to their recipients. A most memorable Christmas.

The caption written for this picture follows:
Christmas time on the USS Diodon SS 349 in 1957. A small tree erected in the Control Room to be enjoyed by all the crew as they pass through the space. As we celebrate with family and friends remember that the men and women of our armed services are most likely deployed away from home and longing to be with loved ones. Take some time when you are sitting down to your dinners and opening presents to think about those so far from home and in harm's way. Think of them and send wishes for for their welfare. Remember them out loud to those around you. Merry Christmas to those who celebrate this holiday and greetings of the season to those who do not.

Photo in ther Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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Ric Hedman & David Johnston
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