Sometimes names leap out at you from the pages of history.
While researching another sailor the name of Monk Cline captured my eye. It took me totally by surprise because I wasn't looking for him. But, I knew I knew that name from somewhere. It took a few minutes to track down a hunch of where I had seen it before and I knew there was a photo of him.
In this photo above he a Chief Gunners Mate aboard the USS F-2 working out of the Sub Base at San Pedro, California and it is taken during World War 1. What exact year is unknown.
Sometimes coincidence makes research harder since at this same time there is a Base Ball Player of the same name and the papers are full of him since he died in 1916. I could very well be that Gunners Mate Cline was named for him since he played in the 1870's into the 1890's which could be the era he was born in.
We have been unable to discover when Monk Cline was born or where or who his parents may have been. In actuality very little has been found about him but he not a total mystery.
In 1909 we know he was stationed aboard the USS Hull DD-7 and worked in the boiler room. He could have been aboard for her 1908 cruise to the South Pacific where she took part in various exercises in Hawaiian and Samoan waters. She returned to to San Diego in November of that year.
At the end of June 1909 the Hull was at Mare Island Navy Yard when piping in the boiler room of the hull burst. There were five men in the room, Cline was one of them. As steam rapidly filled the room Cline and Frank McCarty and Bob Denton managed to leave the space but they realized that two men with them had not escaped, B. E. King and J. M. Grover where still in the scalding steam. The trio turned at once and dove back into the steam filled room and carried the injured men out.
All were admitted to the Mare Island Naval Hospital, King and Grover were held for further treatment. Monk Cline, Frank McCarty and Bob Denton were all soon released and returned to the Hull. There was very little damage to the destroyer.
Monk Cline disappears at this point and doesn't come to light for five more years. This time as a Gunners Mate and he is aboard the Submarine USS H-1 in November of 1914. Seems there had been torpedo firing trials that the H-1 was taking part in. Cline was commented on in the newspapers as being a torpedo record holder having secured two direct hits on a target thirty feet long being towed at eight knots. The article alludes to the fact that Cline wasn't doing anything special. He seems to have accomplished this feat of marksmanship before. The torpedoes at this time were point and shoot so being able to lead the target correctly was important.
Again he disappears and this time appears in a photo collection from the grandson of a man who served as a radio operator aboard the USS F-2 in WW I. We know it was during the war since his name, (not Clines), appears on some paperwork in the 1930's from an organization trying to establish a submarine veterans organization call 'Submarine Veterans of the Great War'. Though we have conducted a search no other reference to this organization can be found.
When Monk Cline left the Navy or where he lived or when he died is unknown. But now we know a little something about him.
Photo courtesy of Mike Dilly
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