Memorial Service Program, S-51 Postcard, S-51 Song, and Poem
Picture postcard of the S-51 at sea with her crew on deck.
The Base Newsletter, Vol. 5, No. 1, U.S. Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut, Thursday, October 8, 1925.
This memorial edition of The Base Newsletter includes the S-51 memorial service address and program, a poem titled "Weighing Anchor," and other details.
Newsletter courtesy of Edward McCaffrey.
The S-51 Song
Sinking of the Submarine S-51 was recorded by Al Craver (pseudonym for Vernon Dalhart, aka. Marion T. Slaughter, 1883-1948) on Columbia 15044-D on October 9, 1925.
Many thanks to Daniel Demmons for giving me the recording of Sinking of the Submarine S-51. He and his father found a copy of the old 78 rpm record at a yard sale. The song lyrics are below.
Sinking of the Submarine S-51
'Twas a September night on the cold briny deep,
A great submarine sailed along.
'Twas the S-51 gliding on through the waves,
With a crew that was faithful and strong.
As they sailed on their way, they were thinking of home,
And the loved ones they left on the shore.
Not once did they dream on that last fatal ride,
They'd never be home anymore.
Then out of the night came a great massive ship,
Speeding along through the tide.
Then she struck with a crash, and the S-51
Was sunk with a hole in her side.
Her brave crew was trapped with no chance for their lives,
As they sunk to the cold ocean bed.
Only three men were saved from a deep ocean grave,
While the rest of them lay cold and dead.
Then the great rescue ships they were rushed from the port,
They worked night and day all in vain.
For the great submarine had been laid to her rest,
And her brave crew will never sail again.
There's a lesson to learn from this story so sad:
We know not what fate may befall.
And we should be right with our Maker above,
For we cannot tell when He'll call.
the S-51 Poem
The following poem was contributed by Arthur E. Haynes in memory of his father, Harold F. Haynes, EM3c, USN. His father was stationed in New London, CT in 1925 and was on the S-8. This poem was found in his scrapbook.
The S-51 by Minna Irving
The war-god slept, and the moon was bright
On a sea of silver sheen,
When six and thirty Navy men
Took out a submarine-
They tuned her up for a practice drill,
But before the night was done
But three were left to tell the tale
0f the loss of the 51.
It was written down in the log of fate
That the City of Rome should pass,
And crush the shell of the speeding sub
As a stone will shatter glass.
She sank to rest where the starfish bide,
And weeping mermaids spun
Green shrouds of the sea weed's silken strands
For the dead of the 51.
No eye was there in that tragic hour
To pierce the watery gloom,
And see within the darkened walls
0f the craft that was a tomb,
But we know that they died as heroes die,
And their gallant souls have won
A place with Lawrence and Hull and Jones-
The crew of the 51.
In times of peace when the ocean lanes
To the fleets of the world were free,
She met the death of a fighting ship
On her own familiar sea.
The breach in her side was made by chance
And not by a foeman's gun,
But they died for their country just the same-
The men of the 51.