Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Nimitz Library
Nimitz Library

Frank C. Fechteler War Diary, 1917-1918: Finding Aid

Published in November 2018

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 473
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Frank C. Fechteler War Diary
  • Dates: 1917-1918
  • Size: 0.1 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 folder containing 1 volume
  • Creator: Fechteler, Frank C., 1897-1922
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Frank C. Fechteler was an officer and early aviator in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1918. The Frank C. Fechteler War Diary spans from August 1, 1917 until November 30, 1918. The diary chronicles the World War I service of U.S.S. Paducah, escorting convoys to North Africa, Italy, the Azores, and Madeira from her home port at Gibraltar.

Biography of Frank Fechteler

Frank Caspar Fechteler, son of Rear Admiral Augustus Francis Fechteler, was born in San Rafael, California on July 8, 1897. Admitted to the United States Naval Academy on June 10, 1914 from California, Fechteler graduated early on June 28, 1917, along with the rest of the Class of 1918, due to the exigencies of World War I. During the War, he was attached to U.S.S. Paducah (Gunboat No. 18), performing escort duty out of Gibraltar. After separating from U.S.S. Paducah in August 1919, Fechteler was attached to U.S.S. New Mexico (Battleship: BB-40) until April 1920. In November of that year, he was attached to the Naval Aviation Training Detachment at Arcadia, Florida, after which he was transferred to the Langley Aviation Detachment at Hampton Roads in September 1921. Frank Caspar Fechteler died on September 18, 1922 in an airplane crash.

Back to Top

Description of Contents

The Frank C. Fechteler War Diary, comprising a single volume, spans from August 1, 1917 until November 30, 1918. The diary chronicles the World War I service of U.S.S. Paducah, escorting convoys to North Africa, Italy, the Azores, and Madeira from her home port at Gibraltar.

The Frank Fechteler War Diary of the U.S.S. Paducah is arranged chronologically into sixteen subsections. Each subsection of the diary, typically between six and eight pages in length, opens with a list of U.S.S. Paducah's officers and closes with the approval of the ship's commanding officer, Hilary H. Royall. Typical entries record personnel movements, ship's position, names of fellow convoy escort ships, convoy size, and the time and place of convoy embarkation. Notable individual entries include the conviction of a member of the Paducah's crew for possessing stolen goods (December 10, 1917); a report of a possible submarine sighting (February 18, 1918); the shelling of the Italian ship Alessandra by a submarine (March 21, 1918); the torpedoing and sinking of S.S. Dronning Maud by a submarine during one of U.S.S. Paducah's convoys (April 22 and 25, 1918); the torpedoing of the steamer War Arabis and U.S.S. Paducah's attempts to hunt the attacking submarine (September 9-10 and 14, 1918); sinking the burning steamer Baywest for target practice (September 10 and 14, 1918); explosions and fires aboard S.S. Westoil (October 18-19, 1918); and the signing of the Armistice (November 11, 1918).

Back to Top


The Frank C. Fechteler War Diary comprises a single volume. Its contents are arranged chronologically.

Back to Top

Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Frank C. Fechteler War 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.

Back to Top

Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift in February 1929. Accession No. 68660.

Back to Top

Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Frank C. Fechteler in this repository may be found in his Midshipman Personnel Jacket.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.

Back to Top

Processing and Other Information

The Frank C. Fechteler War Diary was originally cataloged as a book in the Library's general collection.


Bound in buckram prior to transfer to Special Collections & Archives.

Preferred Citation

Frank C. Fechteler War Diary, MS 473

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note:

Fechteler, Frank C. Midshipman Personnel Jacket, Office of the Registrar, RG 405, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1918-1923.

United States Naval Academy. Annual Register of the United States Naval Academy. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1914.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in November 2018. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in November 2018.

Back to Top

Subject Headings

These materials have been indexed in the Naval Academy Library online catalog using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.

Name and Subject Terms

  • Fechteler, Frank C., 1897-1922
  • Naval convoys
  • Paducah (Gunboat)
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Naval operations, American
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Naval operations -- Submarine

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Ships' logs
Back to Top

Contents List

Box  1 Folder  1

Frank C. Fechteler War Diary, 1917 August 1-1918 November 30

Back to Top