Donald B. Nobles Letters, 1946-1949: Finding Aid
Published in February 2022
- Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
- Publisher Address:
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
- Call number: MS 34
- Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
- Title: Donald B. Nobles Letters
- Dates: 1946-1949
- Size: 0.2 linear feet
- Container Summary: 11 folders
- Creator: Nobles, Donald B.
- Language(s) of material: English
- Abstract: Donald B. Nobles was an enlisted submariner in the United States Navy during and after World War II. The Donald B. Nobles Letters span from 1946 until early 1949. The letters are the product of Nobles' service as a submariner aboard U.S.S. Boarfish during her western Pacific cruise to China, participation in Operation Blue Nose to dive below the Arctic polar ice cap, and transfer to the Republic of Turkey.
Biography of Donald B. Nobles
Donald B. Nobles was a Fire Controlman (Submarine) in the United States Navy during and after World War II. During the latter part of World War II, he served aboard U.S.S. Pipefish (Submarine: SS-388), reporting aboard as a Fire Controlman (Submarine) Second Class on April 15, 1945. By 1946, he was assigned to U.S.S. Boarfish (Submarine: SS-327) as a Fire Controlman (Submarine) First Class, initially serving aboard that vessel during her western Pacific cruise of 1946, with calls at Midway, Marcus Island, Okinawa, Tsingtao, China, and Guam. In 1947, Nobles took part in Boarfish's historic dives below the polar ice cap as part of Operation Blue Nose. He was then assigned to the American Mission for Aid to Turkey as part of the U.S. Submarine Instruction Unit in 1948, which transferred Boarfish and several other American submarines to the Turkish Navy and trained the Turkish crews in submarine handling and tactics.
Description of Contents
The Donald B. Nobles Letters, comprising 0.2 linear feet of documentation, span from 1946 until early 1949. The letters are the product of Nobles' service as a submariner aboard U.S.S. Boarfish during her western Pacific cruise to China, participation in Operation Blue Nose to dive below the Arctic polar ice cap, and transfer to the Republic of Turkey.
The Nobles Letters are arranged chronologically into a single series with no subdivisions. The letters, written by Nobles while serving as an enlisted sailor aboard U.S.S. Boarfish, are addressed to his wife, Grace Nobles and, later co-addressed to his son, Donnie. The bulk of each letter is typically devoted to expressions of affection for and inquiries as to the well-being of Nobles' wife and son, as well as discussions of the emotional difficulties of being separated while deployed, difficulties in securing housing, Grace Nobles' second pregnancy, issues arising from delays in pay, and updates on other members of the Nobles' extended family.
As small percentage of each letter also typically discusses the Boarfish's operations and Nobles' work in fire control. Letters from Nobles' cruise to the western Pacific offer references to Boarfish's ports of call and brief descriptions of Tsingtao, China. In his letters written during Operation Blue Nose, Nobles discusses ports of call in Alaska and Boarfish's arrival in the ice fields above Alaska, but does not directly discuss the submarine's dives under the polar ice. The letters written during the eight month long process of transferring the Boarfish to the Turkish Navy include brief descriptions of the American training program for the new Turkish submarine crews, construction of an American naval base at Gölcük, and shore leave experiences in Izmir and Istanbul.
The Donald B. Nobles Letters are arranged chronologically.
Access and Use
Access is unrestricted.
Copyright and Permission
The Donald B. Nobles Letters are the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.
Acquisition and Appraisal
Provenance and Acquisition
Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum Rare Manuscripts and Archives in September 2007. Accession No. 07-22.
Related Archival Material
Additional material pertaining to the Navy career of Donald B. Nobles should be available in his military personnel jacket at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. World War II era logbooks for U.S.S. Boarfish are available in Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941 - 1983, Record Group 24: Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel.
Materials Cataloged Separately
No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.
Processing and Other Information
Dates and geographic locations for Nobles' letters from 1946 and 1947 were obtained from the collection's original folders.
Donald B. Nobles Letters, MS 34
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note:
Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, 1/1/1939 - 1/1/1949. Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel RG 24, National Archives and Records Administration.
Walker, Mary P. "Boarfish (SS-327)." Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington: Naval History and Heritage Command, 2006, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/b/boarfish-i.html.
This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in February 2022. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in February 2022.
Name and Subject Terms
- Boarfish (Submarine : SS-327)
- Military assistance, American -- Turkey
- Military dependents -- United States
- Nobles, Donald B.
- Sailors -- United States -- Family relationships
- Submarines (Ships) -- United States
- United States -- Foreign relations -- Turkey
Donald B. Nobles Letters, 1947
U.S.S. Boarfish - Arctic - Under Ice: Includes references to arrival in Adak en route to the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska, plans to stop at the Pribilof Islands before diving below the ice sheet, return to Kodiak after operations at the ice fields, drawing pay, and brief descriptions of Kodiak and Juneau.
Donald B. Nobles Letters, 1948 March
U.S.S. Boarfish - Turkey: Includes references to the submarine's layover in San Juan, transit from San Diego to New London via the Panama Canal, using a Momsen lung in the diving tank, and news that the submarine's crew will remain in Turkey for one year as part of the Boarfish's transfer to the Turkish Navy.
Donald B. Nobles Letters, 1948 April-May
U.S.S. Boarfish - Turkey: Includes references to attempts to arrange transportation for Grace Nobles, official assignment to the mission to turn over American submarines to Turkey, transit from New London to Malta, arrival at the port of Argostoli, descriptions of Izmir, probable reduction of the Turkish mission to five months, initial training of Turkish submariners, the May 23 transfer ceremony of the submarines to Turkey, life aboard the Turkish ship Tirhan, and perceived resentment by the Turks over the American presence on-board.
Donald B. Nobles Letters, 1948 August-September
U.S.S. Boarfish - Turkey: Includes references to the Navy pay system, training setbacks with the Turkish submariners, inter-service baseball games in Istanbul, submarine battle tactic training, the impending birth of the Nobles' second child, injuries sustained to the Turkish trainees during gunnery drills, staffing levels at the completed American naval base, and QM1 C. H. Smitter of U.S.S. Amberjack.
Donald B. Nobles Letters, 1948 October-November
U.S.S. Boarfish - Turkey: Includes references to simulated war patrols in the Black Sea, celebrations of Eid al-Adha, the birth of the Nobles' daughter, completion of training operations in Turkey, and impending return to the United States aboard U.S.S. Grand Canyon.