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Richard Leo Diary, 1917-1918: Finding Aid

Published in August 2013

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
  • Call number: MS 361
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Richard Leo Diary
  • Dates: 1917-1918
  • Size: 0.06 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 2 folders
  • Creator: Leo, Richard
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Richard Leo was a baker in the United States Navy. The Richard Leo Diary spans Leo's time aboard the U.S.S. Florida (Battleship: BB-30), from 23 November 1917 to 16 June 1918, while Florida was assigned to the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow during World War I.

Biography of Richard Leo

Richard Leo, an enlisted man in the U.S. Navy, served as a baker aboard the U.S.S. Florida (Battleship: BB-30) during the First World War.

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Description of Contents

The diary of Richard Leo spans his time aboard the U.S.S. Florida (Battleship: BB-30), from 23 November 1917 to 16 June 1918. During this period, the Florida, a member of Battleship Division Nine, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, departed the United States, crossed the Atlantic through a major storm, and sailed to Scapa Flow. There Division Nine joined the British Grand Fleet to become its Sixth Battle Squadron. While assigned to the Grand Fleet, the Florida performed convoy duties, encountered German submarines and rescued a downed flier.

Included with the diary are a Sixth Battle Squadron boxing program, entries from the "Old German Soldier's Almanac" from Life, and the roster of ships of the Grand Fleet.

In his generally brief entries, Leo notes routine events, such as coaling, watch duty, paydays, inspections, target practice, and baking duties, as well as more significant wartime events of the Florida, such as the sinking of a German submarine (February 1, 1918), coming under attack by a German submarine (February 8, 1918), the sinking of another German submarine (April 24, 1918), a plane crash and subsequent rescue in the Forth River at Rosyth (May 3, 1918), and the Florida's drydocking at Newcastle (May 10, 1918). His diary also records his leaves, including liberties in Edinburgh (December 28, 1917), Newcastle (May 11, 1918), and in London during which he witnessed an air raid and an aerial battle (May 17-21, 1918).

During its time assigned to the British Grand Fleet, the Florida, with Leo aboard, was largely assigned to duties in Scapa Flow and the Forth River near Rosyth, Scotland. Florida's other anchorages and duty stations included: Forth River at Edinburgh, Scotland (December 25, 1917); Shetland Islands, Scotland (February, 13, 1918); North Sea patrol (April 17, 1918); steaming with the Grand Fleet (April 24, 1918); and Newcastle upon Tyne (May 10, 1918).

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The entries within the Richard Leo Diary are arranged chronologically.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Richard Leo Diary is 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.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum Rare Books and Manuscripts in September 2001. Accession No. 01-34.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Richard Leo's military personnel file may be available at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Richard Leo Diary, MS 361

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 2003. Finding aid written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 2003 and edited by David D'Onofrio in August 2013.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Florida (Battleship : BB-30)
  • Leo, Richard
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Naval operations, American
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Naval operations, British
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Personal narrative, American

Genre Terms

  • Diaries
  • Manuscripts
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Richard Leo Diary, 1917-1918

Box 1 Folder 2

Enclosures, 1918

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