U-111 was laid down 5 May 1916 at Vegesack, Germany, by Bremer Vulcan under subcontract to the Germaniawerft in Kiel and launched on 5 September 1917. She was completed by Germaniawerft in Kiel, and commissioned in the Imperial German Navy on 30 December 1917, Kapitnleutnant Hans Beyersdorff in command.
After completing her shakedown cruise on 17 March 1918, she was posted to the IV U-Flottille, Hochseeflotte (Fourth Submarine Flotilla, High Seas Fleet). She departed Heligoland, a fortified island and naval base located well inside the German Bight, on 25 March. After the outward voyage, which took her around the Orkney Islands, west of the Hebrides Islands, and south along the western coast of Ireland, she arrived in her patrol area near St. George's Channel during the first week in April. On the 7th, she sighted her first target, the 2,346-ton British steamer SS Boscastle. The submarine made a surface torpedo attack and sank the ship with a single torpedo. Boscastle, however, proved to be her only victim during this first cruise. She operated in the vicinity of St. George's Channel for another five days without encountering further shipping and then began the voyage home to Germany. After backtracking along the route she had taken on the outward voyage, U-111 returned to Germany at Emden on 24 April 1918.
A month and three days later, the U-boat exited the Ems estuary to begin her second cruise to raid Allied merchantmen. From the Ems, she headed through the North Sea, and on 28 May, her second day out, she came upon a small Danish steamer, the 393-ton SS Dronning Margrethe. Declining to waste a valuable torpedo on such small game, U-111 brought her deck guns to bear and sank the Dane with gunfire. From the North Sea, she followed substantially the same route as on her initial voyage, reaching St. George's Channel early in June. After an unsuccessful patrol off the entrances to St. George's and the English Channels, the U-boat retired from the area and again retraced her outward route. On 22 June just outside the Skaggerak, during the last leg of her homeward voyage, the submarine encountered a Norwegian sailing vessel laden with timber for English mines. Once again, she scorned the use of a torpedo in favor of her 4.1-inch and 3.4-inch deck guns and riddled the 272-ton SS Rana with gunfire. Leaving that ship sinking, U-111 headed south through the North Sea for Wilhelmshaven, where she arrived on 26 June.
U-111's third and final combat cruise proved to be the least successful of all. She departed Wilhelmshaven on 25 August, transited the Kiel Canal, and headed north through the Baltic Sea around Denmark to debouch into the North Sea by way of the Skaggerak. She then rounded the Orkneys and the Hebrides and headed south along the west coast of Ireland. The U-boat then transited St. George's Channel and entered the Irish Sea. Stormy weather and heavy seas plagued her throughout the cruise, and she appears to have encountered no Allied shipping. She followed the same route back to Germany and concluded her last patrol at Emden on 30 September 1918.
Apparently, U-111 remained in port at Emden through the cessation of hostilities on 11 November. Nine days after the armistice, she was surrendered to the Allies and interned at Harwich, England. When the United States Navy expressed an interest in acquiring several of the latest types of U-boats, the Allies allocated six boats; U-117, U-140, UB-148, UB-88, UC-97, and U-164 to the United States on condition that they be destroyed within a year of the transfer. In March 1919, 12 officers and 120 enlisted men arrived in England to ferry the six submarines back to the United States. The crew assigned to U-164 found the submarine in such atrocious condition that it was impossible to ready her for the Victory Bond drive, the main reason for which she had been acquired. For that reason, American authorities in England arranged to secure the substitution of U-111 for the cannibalized and dilapidated U-164. Soon thereafter, she was placed in commission in the United States Navy with Lt. Comdr. Freeland A. Daubin in command.
U-111 after her surrender in England
Since she had been substituted for U-164 at the very last minute, U-111 did not put to sea on 3 April with the rest of the Ex-German Submarine Expeditionary Force escorted by the USS Bushnell (Submarine Tender No. 2). She remained in Harwich for an additional four days while her crew conducted a crash familiarization course and completed last-minute repairs. Finally, on 7 April, she steamed out of Harwich and stood down the English Channel. Rather than follow the route taken by the other U-boats via the Azores and Bermuda, U-111's commanding officer sought to make up the time he had lost by heading directly across the Atlantic via a great circle route. Fog, gales, and heavy seas harassed the U-boat all the way across the ocean. On one occasion, she came near sinking when she began filling with water because of an open sea-cock. However, one of her crewmen crawled under her engines and into the slimy dark water to find and close the offending apparatus. In spite of adversity, U-111 made her passage successfully and moored in New York on 19 April, in plenty of time to carry out her tasks in the Victory Bond campaign.
At New York, swarms of tourists, reporters, and photographers roamed throughout the submarine. Navy technicians and civilian shipbuilders also came to try to learn everything they could about German submarine construction in the brief time before U-111 departed New York for visits to various ports on the Victory bond circuit. For the bond drive, the coasts of the United States and the country's major waterways were divided into five different regions, one for each of the captured U-boats except U-140.
U-111 visited ports along the New England coast and received visitors in conjunction with the sales campaign. The submarine completed her assigned itinerary late in the summer of 1919. Following that, she and UB-148 were subjected to an extensive series of performance tests before being laid up at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. During the summer of 1921, she returned to sea for another series of tests, this time as a target for gunnery and aerial bombardment tests. As a result of those experiments, her battered hulk went to the bottom of the ocean in deep water off Cape Charles, Virginia in July of 1921.
U-111 as she looked during her Victory Loan Tours.
Barton County, Missouri has given birth to several of America’s notable figures. Among them are the likes of the famous lawman Wyatt Earp who held his first elected law enforcement office in the city of Lamar and Wyatt’s first wife Urilla Sutherland Earp is buried in a Cemetery in Barton County, and a United States President, Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar on May 8, 1884, and also three United States Navy Admirals who all served during WWI and WWII.
Among the three Admirals was Freeland Allyn Daubin born to Malcolm C. and Ella L. Daubin in Lamar, Missouri on 6 February 1886. Freeland’s father was born in January of 1852 in Arkansas or Texas and was in June of 1900 working as a coal miner in Barton County, Missouri. Malcolm and Ella were married about 1874 and as recorded on the 1900 Federal Census had 11 children together, of which 5 were living as of June 7, 1900. The family then consisted of daughters Getrude and Daisy, 21 and 19 years old and both were school-teachers, another daughter named Mory was 17 and still in school. Sons Freeland A. aged 15 and youngest was 6-year old Geunfred both in school. The Daubin family also had a servant living in the home and her name was Mary Cockle aged 20 years and was from Missouri.
Freeland worked hard and was a fine student and at an unknown date may have been appointed to the United States Military Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. The first recorded mention of Freeland’s Military career is on the 1910 Federal Census where he is listed as a Midshipman aboard the Cruiser USS North Carolina. It is not known for sure but he may have been in the navy during the Spanish -American War as there is a notation on the 1930 Federal Census suggesting that he served in both the SP (Spanish-American) and WW (World War [I]).
Sometime between 1910 and 1915 Freeland met and fell in love and married Elizabeth Scott, who was born on 27 November 1888. On April 13, 1914 the navy’s largest submarine’s keel was laid down at the Fore River Shipbuilding yards in Quincy, MA. When the USS L-1 (SS-40) was launched on 20 January 1915, Mrs. Elizabeth Scott Daubin was chosen to christen the L-1 and her husband Lt. jg Freeland A. Daubin was her first commander. At the time the submarine was the largest in the United States fleet. Lt. jg Daubin took the L-1 after her trials to duties with the Atlantic Submarine Flotilla along the East Coast from New England to Florida where they developed and tested new techniques of undersea warfare.
During WWI years, Daubin rose through the ranks of the navy and in 1919 was now a Lt. Commander. In March of 1919 the U.S. Navy was given six German U-boats that had surrendered to the British fleet after the war. Lt. Comdr. Daubin and 11 other officers and 120 enlisted men were selected to go to England and bring these six Ex-German U-boats back to American shores. Daubin and his crew were given the U-164 but it was found to be in such a un-sea worthy shape and would not be safe to sail her. So they were given another replacement U-boat. They found the U-111 a much more sea worthy boat and being that they were given this boat at such a late date did not sail with the other 5 U-boats. They stayed in Harwich, England another four days learning how to operate the ship. On April 7, 1919 Daubin took the U-111 to sea where he took the direct route across the Atlantic via the Great Circle Route. Fog, gales, and heavy seas harassed Daubin and his crew all the way across the ocean. On one occasion, she came near sinking when she began filling with water because of an open seacock. However, one of her crewmen crawled under her engines and into the slimy dark water to find and close the offending apparatus. In spite of adversity, U-111 made her passage successfully and moored in New York on 19 April, in plenty of time to carry out her tasks in the Victory Bond campaign. At New York, swarms of tourists, reporters, and photographers roamed throughout the submarine. Navy technicians and civilian shipbuilders also came to try to learn everything they could about German submarine construction in the brief time before U-111 departed New York for visits to various ports on the Victory bond circuit. For the bond drive, the coasts of the United States and the country's major waterways were divided into five different regions, one for each of the captured U-boats except U-140. U-111 visited ports along the New England coast and received visitors in conjunction with the sales campaign. The submarine completed her assigned itinerary late in the summer of 1919.
By 1940 Daubin was now a Captain and was now in the Destroyer fleet. Captain Daubin in 1940 was in command of Destroyer Squadron Six aboard his flagship the USS Balch (DD-363), skippered by Cmdr. L. R. Austin. Destroyer Squadron Six consisted of Destroyer Divisions 11 and 12 in which there were 9 total ships.
The organization of the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets as of October 1, 1941 included a listing of commanding officers along with their signal numbers indicating where they stood on the permanent list of line officers. On this list was Captain Freeland A. Daubin and his signal number was 259 being 53rd on the list. He now was back in the Submarine force assigned to Submarine Squadron Four/Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor (P) as it’s commanding officer.
Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Captain Freeland Daubin, fearing that some of his submariners might come down with appendicitis at sea, had proposed that all men in Squadron Four have their appendices removed. At the time, the idea seemed absurd but considering the large number of appendicitis attacks that had occurred during the war, some with near fatal consequences, the idea, in retrospect, did have some merit. One such case that may have been on Captain Daubin’s mind that may have influenced him happened on the USS Silversides (SS-236). While far out at sea on the night of Christmas Eve 1942, during her 4th war patrol, the Silversides (SS-236) pharmacist's mate, Thomas Moore, performed a successful emergency appendectomy on Seaman George Platter. Entrusted with the submarine's only camera, a Kodak Medalist, Lt. Robert K. R. Worthington recorded this event on film. Of the three appendectomies performed at sea on board U.S. submarines during World War II, the Silversides was the only one to be photographed. The appendectomy was performed at a depth of 150 feet and took about four hours but was successful. George Platter was standing watches again six days later and lived to a ripe old age.
As her husband was at sea during the war Mrs. Daubin was busy back home with the war effort. On March 7, 1943 she Christened the new submarine USS Bonefish (SS-223) at the Electric Boat Company in Groton, CT. The Bonefish would go on to sink 31 enemy ships for a total tonnage of 158,500 and damaged another 7 ships of 42,000 tons before she herself was sunk on 18 June 1945 near Toyama Wan. Her entire crew of 85 brave men went down with her that day.
By March of 1942 Daubin had obtained the rank of Rear Admiral and was Commander of the Atlantic Fleet Submarines. On June 30, 1944 RADM Daubin presented the Silver Star at Groton, CT to Chief Machinist Mate Edward L. Gilman for gallantry and Heroism during a recent campaign.
On December 3, 1944 the Chapel on the Thames was dedicated on the U. S. Naval Submarine Base, New London, CT. The Chapel on the Thames was conceived and constructed as a memorial to the submariners, officers and men, who lost their lives in the service of their country during the Second World War. Rear Admiral F. A. Daubin, USN, formerly Commander of the Submarines of the Atlantic Fleet did much of the original thought and planning in this connection. In a special ceremony on Sunday, November 11, 1945, at which Admiral Daubin was the principal speaker, these windows were dedicated "to the submarine officers and men who lost their lives in the service of their country and to their mothers, wives, and families."
RADM Daubin was the Commander Submarines Atlantic from March 1942 through November of 1944. Shortly after relinquishing Command he was awarded, in December of 1944, the Distinguished Service Medal for “Outstanding contributions to the high degree of submarine efficiency.”
Willis F. Cottrell, Motor Machinist’s Mate, First Class son of Mr. And Mrs. Taylor Cottrell, Park Street, Housatonic, receives commendation ribbon at New London, CT, “For meritorious service as the member of a crew during a war patrol of a United States submarine.” Rear Admiral Freeland A. Daubin, Commander Submarines, Atlantic Fleet made the presentation during ceremony.
After his duties as commander Submarines of the Atlantic Fleet RADM Daubin was assigned as Commander of the Brooklyn Navy Yard a position he held from 5 December 1944 through 25 November 1945. On January 8, 1945 RADM Daubin commissioned into the navy the destroyer escort USS Cross, so named for Lt. Frederick Cross Jr. Lt. Cross was killed in action as a pilot of a Navy Bomber in action against a German U-boat. On October 27, 1945 two Barton County, Missouri men stood together on the platform erected at the Brooklyn Navy Yard as Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt looked on. The two men, President Harry S. Truman and RADM Freeland A. Daubin were commissioning the new aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt.
After the war was over RADM Daubin retired from active service with the navy and settler down with his wife near San Diego, California. On January 26, 1958 Daubin’s command of the U-111 during 1919 was featured on a local TV station KODE-TV in a program called "Navy Log." The episode was entitled "American U-boat 111."
Together Freeland and his wife Elizabeth had one son named Freeland Allyn Daubin Jr. born 25 November 1913. Young Freeland Jr. himself would follow his father into military life and would make his own mark in military history. Young Freeland joined the Army and was an officer in the Tank Corps.
In 1942, 2nd Lt. Freeland A. Daubin Jr. was in North Africa with the 1st Division. The M3 tank, workhorse of the 1st Division, was an ugly thing. Its top turret always reminded 2d Lt. Freeland A. Daubin, Jr., of a hatbox about to fall off a closet shelf. The inside space was cramped, and a tank commander going into battle had to keep the overhead hatch open if he wanted to see anything. The crews liked their unlovely beasts anyway. The M3 was fast, and its 37-mm cannon packed plenty of wallop; so did the antiaircraft machine gun. They would be needed, for Daubin’s battalion was going into Tunisia alone. There was no artillery support and no infantry alongside.
The experience of 2nd Lt. Freeland A. Daubin, commander of Company A in the 1st Battalion of the 1st Armored Division, was a vivid demonstration of the M3’s weaknesses. Shortly after it landed in North Africa in 1942, Daubin’s company was attacked by German Mark IV tanks, which carried 75-mm guns. Dueling a Mark IV head to head, Daubin made seventeen consecutive hits with his 37mm gun. They chipped some paint from the German’s frontal armor. The German commander waited until he was only thirty yards away, and blew Daubin out of his turret with a single shot. Later, in an ambulance headed for the rear, Daubin found himself lying next to a wounded German, who confidently predicted that Germany would win the war. Lt. Daubin asked the German why and the German answered, "Because the Americans built such awful tanks."
Lt. Daubin survived and would go on to be in another war this time in Korea. Still with the Armored units, Daubin Jr. now a major was in the 7th CAV Regiment in the 1st CAV Division and sent to Korea. On August 9, 1950 Major Daubin was seriously wounded in a missile attack. He was sent home to recover and was separated from the Army on September 14, 1950 due to his wounds. He did recover and moved to the Clackamas, Oregon area and passed away on 22 April 1973 in San Diego, California.
Major Freeland A. Daubin Jr. is buried at the Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery in California along with his father RADM Freeland A. Daubin Sr, who died on 24 October 1959 and his mother Elizabeth Scott Daubin who passed away on 28 October 1955.