Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican, January 10, 1919, page 4:
HAD CHRISTMAS AT SEA
Letter is Received From Ensign Sanford Lawton
Mr and Mrs W. C. Lawton of Crescent road received an interesting letter Wednesday from their son, Ensign Sanford Lawton, commander of a submarine chaser. The letter was written from Ponta Delgada, Azores, December 28. He says:--
"We have been here just two days and sail December 5 for St Thomas in the Dutch West Indies. Christmas day spent at sea in a heavy storm with barometer steadily falling, and seas sweeping over the decks, in not exactly the environment one would pick for bright, cosy Christmas. But the Red Cross gave us packages for each of the crew. They were handed out on the morning watch by the colored man in the guise of Santa Claus. He dug his costume out of a rag-bag in the engine room. Each package contained cigarets, pipe and tobacco, chewing gum, sweet chocolate and matches; they surely were enjoyed and appreciated. I had a good Christmas dinner in the cabin--roast turkey, creamed corn and all the other fixings. After coffee, read chapter and tumbled into bed with my clothes on for a little sleep before going on for my night's watch.
"At 7 one of the chasers asked permission of the flagship to give a concert over the wireless telephones, and they played their phonographs for the entire fleet, as we steamed along in the darkness. That lasted about an hour, when the Algonquin got permission to have their band of four pieces play over the telephone. It was quite good. All of the latest music from the states was played over the wireless. After the concerts one of the chasers and one of the larger ships got permission to light up huge electric Christmas trees on their masts, quite an imposing spectacle. We got a wireless word of greeting from the force commander of the Atlantic fleet. Probably the lucky duck was at the time setting in an immense chair in front of a huge meal in some New York hotel. Our trip to St Thomas, including slowing down for fuel, will take 15 days, and from there we go to Charlestown."