Spring 2018 

In this issue
Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 guided the Mayflower II
Bronze LV-112 memorial plaque found after missing for 43 years
Enduring New England's nor'easters
USLM educational outreach
Volunteers donate boat models
USCG reference materials donated to USLM
USLM and USCG, explore creating lightship exhibit at Boston Light
What is Ramsey's Ghost?
Become a USLM member today


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Visit Nantucket Lightship/LV-112

Saturday, April 28
10am to 4pm

The lightship is open on Saturdays from April to October, with special tours also available on other days throughout the year by appointment.
For more information, please email  the USLM by

lighthouse lovers!

If you love lighthouses and want to learn about these guiding lights and navigational aids all over the world, then The Lighthouse Directory is the website for you. It provides an astounding amount of information, linking to more than 17,200 of the world's lighthouses. Russ Rowlett, Adjunct Professor of Mathematics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, compiled the directory with the assistance of hundreds of lighthouse fans around the world who have enriched this site with their own information and suggestions. For a long time, Rowlett tried to maintain a list of lighthouses from his many friends and contacts, but it had grown too long (and too out of date) to display on the comprehensive site. Rowlett offers special thanks to Michel Forand for his suggestions and editing, touching essentially every page of the directory, and Jeremy D'Entremont, Ted Sarah and Klaus Huelse, each contributing in vital ways.

  The Maine
Lighthouse Museum

Another unique educational resource for U.S. Lighthouse history, Lifesaving and Lightship Services is the Maine Lighthouse Museum (MLM), located in Rockland, Maine, the heart of the Midcoast. Last October, the U.S. Lightship Museum presented a PowerPoint presentation at the MLM about U.S. lightships and Nantucket/LV-112.

The mission of the Maine Lighthouse Museum is to educate the public regarding the longstanding traditions, heroism and progress of America's Lighthouse and Lifesaving Services and the U.S. Coast Guard through the conservation and interpretation of the nation's most significant collection of lighthouse and lifesaving artifacts. From sparkling lenses to heartwarming stories of the keepers and their families, the Maine Lighthouse Museum is truly America's lighthouse museum. For more information, log on to the Maine Lighthouse Museum or call 207.594.3301.  
We salute our donors
American Express
Amex Industrial Services, Inc.
Association of Public Safety Communications Officials - Atlantic Chapter

BAE Systems
Bluefin Robotics

Boston Forge & Welding Corp. 
Boston Harbor
Shipyard & Marina
The Boston Foundation
ThreeBees Fund
Burnham Associates, Inc.
Burnham Marine

California Public Safety Radio Association 

  Cameron International Corporation
Charitable Adult Rides and
Services, Inc.
C/J Towing & Recovery
Claflin & Son
Nautical Antiques
Crandall Dry Dock Engineers
Capt. Robertson P. Dinsmore Fund

Donahue, Tucker &
Ciandella, PLLC 
East Boston Foundation
Eastern Bank Charitable
Egan Maritime Institute,
Nantucket Shipwreck &
Lifesaving Museum
Fitzgerald Shipyard
Foss Maritime
Friends of the
Boston Harbor Islands
H&H Propeller, Inc.
J. Hewitt Marine
Electrical Services 
Kelly Automotive Group   
H.F. Lenfest Fund
The Lightship Group, LLC
McAllister Towing &
Transportation Co.
Joe and Pepette Mongrain

National Trust for    
Historic Preservation
New England 
Lighthouse Lovers 

New London Maritime Society and Custom House Maritime Museum 
The Sail Loft, LLC, Nantucket
Industrial Marine Coatings Division
T & M Services

  Town of Oyster Bay, 
Long Island, NY

  U.S. Coast Guard Lightship Sailors Association 

  West Marine     
U.S. Lighthouse Society 

  USLM Members  

Verizon Foundation
Zuni Maritime Foundation
USS Zuni / USCG Tamaroa  

  Individual Donors
USLM is a member
of the following organizations

HNSA Logo      
The flag of the United States Lighthouse Service

Teach children about lightships with the book
Editorial From School  
Library Journal 

Kindergarten-Grade 2: Lightships were anchored where lighthouses could not be built. They protected our ocean harbors as well as points along the Great Lakes. The last one ( Nantucket/LV-613 ) was decommissioned in 1983, so this fascinating picture book is a piece of nautical history. Brian Floca's watercolor drawings depict daily life aboard one of these vessels, cooking, sleeping, working, all the while rolling with the rhythm of the waves. Many hazards were involved. Big ships came too close, anchors lost their mooring, and weather caused many problems. But when the fog rolled in, the lightship sprang into action. Lights flashed and horns sounded, allowing ship traffic to make it "through fog and night, past rocks and shoals, past reefs and wrecks, past danger." The drawings are very detailed. Some pages are collages of small scenes. Many are full spreads. The sailors' facial expressions are amusing to watch, and the resident cat appears on almost every page. The front and back endpapers show a cutaway view of one of the vessels. This fascinating, little-known slice of history should prove interesting to every child who loves big boats.
-- Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI  (review originally published by Reed Business Information, Inc.) 

The book Lightship , by Brian Floca, can be purchased on Amazon.com . For more information about lightships, click on Brian Floca's blog .

For more information about the U.S. Coast Guard Lightship Sailors Association and the U.S. Lightship Service, click on logo

Lead, Kindly Light
By John Henry Newman

"Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th'encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!
Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,
Home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life."

Note: "Lead Kindly Light" was a poem originally written by John Henry Newman (1801-1890), who was 33 years old when he found himself on a boat from the Sicilian city of Palermo to Marseille, France. Newman, who was recovering after being dangerously ill with a fever, was on the boat to return to his native England when he penned the lyrics to "Lead, Kindly Light." The context that Newman was recovering from a frightening illness in the middle of the sea gives insight to the lyrics.
Photo above: Pigeon Point Lighthouse in California, by  Darvin Atkeson

Poem posted on
LV-112 while in service on Nantucket Shoals Lightship Station

"When a sailor gets to thinking
He is one of the best
Let him ship out on a lightship
And take the acid test.
And if he feels like bragging
I don't think that all of his tales
Will be of deep sea sailing
But of the ship that never

Poem provided by Peter Brunk,
USCG-Ret., Commanding Officer,
Nantucket/LV-112, 1970-71, who serves on the USLM Board of Directors

This comprehensive New England shipwreck website is a helpful resource for SCUBA divers, maritime history researchers and enthusiasts. The site includes many photographs, charts, reference documents and history about many shipwrecks located in New England waters. For more information,
The Sinking of the U-853
by Capt. William Palmer
When the German enemy submarine U-853 entered U.S. waters off Portland, Maine in 1945, it torpedoed and sank the USS Eagle-56. Nantucket/LV-112, converted to an examination vessel, USS Nantucket (1942-45) during WWII, helped save the crew of the USS Eagle-56This is a book about the  U-853 story, researched and written by Capt. Bill Palmer , a long-time shipwreck researcher, diver and preservationist.
Description of book: "Out in the cold Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Rhode Island, lies the remains of what was once a feared and mighty hunter. It's not a fish or shark, for that matter it is not even a marine creature. It's what men feared the most when they went to sea aboard their vessel back during the World War II years. It's a German submarine called a U-Boat. The U-853 was the last German submarine sunk in World War II. She was sunk with all hands just minutes before World War II ended. The once mighty hunter feared by all who put to sea, now lies in 130 feet of water off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, her grave marked only by a circle on the nautical charts, DANGER Unexploded Depth Charges, May 1945."
Capt. Palmer has been running a charter boat for wreck-diving, shark-fishing and shark-cage-diving off the coast of Rhode Island and Connecticut for 40 years.

German U-boat attack off Portland, Maine, during WWII, involving
LV-112 (USS Nantucket)
This book is the story of a small U.S. sub-chaser, the Eagle 56, caught in the crosshairs of a German U-boat, the  U-853, whose brazen commander doomed his own crew in a desperate, last-ditch attempt to record final kills before his country's imminent defeat a few weeks later in May. And it is the account of how one man, Paul M. Lawton, embarked on an unrelenting quest for the truth and changed naval history.
For more information, log onto: " Due to Enemy Action "

"In February of 1952, one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast struck New England, damaging an oil tanker off the coast of Cape Cod and literally ripping it in half. On a small lifeboat faced with frigid temperatures and 70-foot high waves, four members of the U.S. Coast Guard (Bernie Webber and three other crewmen) set out to rescue the more than 30 stranded sailors trapped aboard the rapidly sinking vessel. 'The Finest Hours' is the story of their heroic mission, which is still considered the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history." 
(Michelle McCue, 9/9/14)

Bernie Webber (later served on Nantucket/LV-112, 1958-60) and the three other crewmen were awarded the coveted USCG Gold Lifesaving Medal for their heroism in what is considered by maritime historians to be "the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history." Mr. Webber, who was a member of the USCG Lightship Sailors Association, was extremely helpful in assisting the USLM-Nantucket/LV-112 compile research information and historic documents about LV-112. He was a pleasure and honor to work with. Bernie passed away in January 2009. He was considered "A Real American Hero" and is dearly missed.

To learn more about  
lighthouse news, click on
Lighthouse Digest 

Explore the oceans in depth and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution with
Oceanus magazine  
Oceanus explores the oceans in depth, highlighting the research and researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in news, features and interviews written by magazine staff, with full-color photographs and illustrations. Each issue covers a wide spectrum of oceanography, spanning coastal research, marine life, deep-ocean exploration and the ocean's role in climate, as well as ocean technology and policy. To learn more, click on magazine cover above.

Lightships, Lighthouses & Lifeboat Stations:
A Memoir and History

Lightships, Lighthouses & Lifeboat Stations is part history book, part memoir, written by Bernie Webber, recipient of the Coast Guard's highest award, the Gold Life-saving Medal, and hero of the Disney movie The Finest Hours. While the public will recognize Webber's name from the movie and the bestselling book by the same name, few people know that during his lengthy Coast Guard career he served on lightships (ships anchored in dangerous areas to warn other vessels of hazards) in addition to lifeboat stations (small boat rescue stations) and lighthouses. Webber poses the following question: "How did the lightship men cope with the isolation, constant loneliness, boredom, fear, or just sheer terror? All were part of life on board a lightship. Rough seas tossed the ship about, rearing up and down on the anchor chain. This was a world of isolation, noise from operating machinery, and blasts from the powerful foghorn that went on for hours, sometimes days, at a time." Webber answers that question in this book, drawing on a combination of personal experience and meticulous historical research. Discussions of men going mad, lightships being run down by larger ships, anchor chains breaking, and lightships cast upon shoals are offset by humorous stories and the author's reflections on his best days at sea. Fourteen historic photos are included, as well as a foreword by Michael Tougias.(reprinted from Amazon).

Help support the restoration of LV-112 by donating your old car and receive a tax deduction
How it works
We have teamed with Charitable Auto Resources, Inc. (CARS), to accept vehicle donations across the United States. Once  you contact our customer service representative about making a donation, everything will be taken care of, including a receipt for your tax records. Sale proceeds will be donated to the USLM in your name. Donating your vehicle to the U.S. Lightship Museum is as easy as calling our representative toll-free at 855-500-7433.  For more information, click here.
The Lightships
of Cape Cod

Authored by Frederic L. Thompson, 1996, 2nd printing, 112 pages, soft wrap. Signed by the author. Illustrated with over 93 beautifully detailed photographs. Much sought-after, this scarce volume chronicles the history of the lightships in this vital area. Wonderfully detailed black-and-white photographs enhance the author's vivid description of the history and life aboard these vessels. One of the only volumes ever written exclusively on this subject, this fine work will make a fine addition to any library. Price: $14.95 plus shipping ($5.95), total: $20.90. May be purchased online
 from the USLM; just click on "Donate" button in this newsletter and add a notation in the area provided. Or mail a check or money order addressed to: U.S. Lightship Museum, PO Box 454, Amesbury, MA 10913

U.S. Lightship Museums










A crew member rings the bell on the foredeck of Nantucket New South Shoal No. 1 during low-visibility storm conditions. The i llustration is from "Life on the South Shoal Lightship" by Gustov Kobbe, Century Magazine, August 1891
Kenrick A. Claflin & Son Nautical Antiques
Click on the website link above to see nautical artifacts available at Kenrick A. Claflin & Son Nautical Antiques, which has donated publications to the USLM.

[Note: To see entire eNews, click link above newsletter]

Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 guided the Mayflower II

Nantucket/LV-112 guided the Mayflower II  safely around Nantucket Shoals in 1957 on her maiden voyage from Great Britain to the United States. Photo: Digital Commonwealth

Mayflower II   is a replica of the 17th-century ship Mayflower , celebrated for transporting the Pilgrims to the New World  from England . The replica, built in England during 1955-56, was a collaboration between Englishman Warwick Charlton  and Plimoth Plantation  in Plymouth, MA. The ship utilized hand-crafted construction by English shipbuilders using traditional methods. Mayflower II sailed from Plymouth,  England,  on April 20, 1957, virtually recreating the original voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. It  arrived in the United States on July 1, 1957. Mayflower II's  homeport is Plymouth Harbor, MA, and the ship is generally is open to the public for tours. However, the historic vessel is presently undergoing a multi-year restoration at Mystic Seaport, scheduled for completion in 2019, in time to celebrate the  400th anniversary in 2020 of the voyage of the  Mayflower  and the founding of Plimouth Colony.
Mayflower II at her state pier berth, Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts

The Mayflower II was built at the Upham Shipyard in Brixham  and financed by private donations in England and the Plimouth Plantation. It was built as a gift of friendship, representing the alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States for collaboration during WWII. The ship is considered a faithful replica, with a few added details (electric lights, etc.). Coincidentally, Nantucket/LV-112's construction in 1936 was also paid for by the United Kingdom as a result of Nantucket/LV-117's tragic sinking by the RMS Olympic in 1934.

The original Mayflower departed from Plymouth, England, September 6, 1620. The voyage itself across the Atlantic Ocean took 66 days, until Cape Cod was sighted on November 9, 1620. The Pilgrims intended to land in northern Virginia, which at the time included the region as far north as the Hudson River, NY.

Mayflower at Sea. Painting by Gilbert Margeson

After 66 days at sea, suffering from constant seasickness and encountering many Atlantic storms and treacherous seas, the pilgrims were relieved to see land, according to William Bradford in his manuscript Of Plymouth Plantation:

"...after long beating at sea they fell with that land which is called Cape Cod: they were not a little joyful! After some deliberation amongst themselves and with the master of the ship, they resolved to sail southward to find someplace about Hudson's river for their habitation. But after they had sailed that course about half a day, they fell amongst dangerous shoals [referring to Nantucket Shoals] and roaring breakers, and resolved to bear up again for the Cape, and thought themselves happy to get out of those dangers before night overtook them. Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof."

With winter approaching and a short supply of food and drink, they decided to go no further and dropped anchor off the coast of Cape Cod in Provincetown harbor. The Pilgrims would spend the next month and a half exploring Cape Cod, trying to decide where they would build their plantation. On December 25, 1620, they finally decided upon Plymouth.

Mayflower's  End" painting by Mike Haywood

No one knows for sure  what happened  to the original 
Mayflower . In 1621 she returned to England. The last record of the  ship  was an assessment of her value in 1624 and described as being "in ruinis" [sic]. After that, it is suspected that she was scrapped and disappeared from maritime records.
Bronze LV-112 memorial plaque found after missing for 43 years

USLHS officer adjusts the radio direction finder in the  LV-112 pilothouse in 1936. The memorial plaque is mounted on the aft bulkhead, slightly obscured behind the radio direction finder (top)

A memorial plaque that once was mounted in LV-112 has been found. This plaque, commemorating the July 26, 1936, death of Edwin Thompson Ramsdell, a Boston Post aerial news photographer, in a plane crash near LV-112, had originally been mounted in LV-112's pilothouse. Coincidently, 20 years to the day, the SS Andrea Doria also sank in the vicinity of Nantucket/LV-112. Both the memorial plaque and the LV-112 builder's plaque had been missing from LV-112 since 1975. The whereabouts of the two plaques' were discovered by USLM volunteer Loren Peters, who traveled to the USCG Historian's office in Washington, D.C., to conduct research. He located a news article that led the USLM to the plaques.

In early 2018, the USLM was contacted by Lisa Lazarus, director of the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum (NS&LM), to inform us that the Ramsdell plaque had been located. It will be remounted in LV-112's pilothouse. (The builder's plaque, discovered two years ago in storage at the NS&LM, has already been installed in the galley, its original location.) The following is the story of the plane crash:

"Off Nantucket, Massachusetts - July 26,1936"
Edwin (Eddie) T. Ramsdell with his aerial camera, 1935. Photo: Digital Commonwealth

New England Aviation History
Jan. 12, 2016
By Jim Ignasher

"On July 26, 1936, a ten-passenger, high-wing, Bellanca Airbus, flew out over the Atlantic Ocean to intercept the R.M.S. Queen Mary  which was inbound to New York. The plane carried nine men aboard, most of them press photographers looking to get aerial pictures of the ship. The plane intercepted the ship five miles east of the Nantucket Lightship anchored off the coast of Nantucket Island. As the aircraft circled low around the liner's stern, it abruptly crashed into the sea. The merchant freighter S.S. Exermont  was following not far behind the Queen Mary  and stopped to effect rescue operations. All nine passengers and crew of the Airbus were taken aboard the Exermont . One passenger, Edwin T. Ramsdell, 46, a photographer for the Boston Post , was severely injured when brought aboard, and died shortly afterwards. The others were treated for shock and lesser injuries.

RMS Queen Mary, c. 1936

"A U.S. Coast Guard plane arrived and offered to take the survivors to land via the aircraft, but all opted to stay aboard the Exermont . The cause of the accident was determined to be the powerful downdraft created at the stern of the ship, as the ocean liner sped across the water. In memory to the loss of Mr. Ramsdell, the Edwin T. Ramsdell Memorial Trophy was established, and is awarded every year to press photographers." 

Capt. Wincapaw, flying a Bellanca Airbus over Boston Light as The Flying Santa, drops gift packages to the light keeper and his family in 1935. The W. S. Quimby Co. of Boston, owner of La Touraine Coffee Co., was a major sponsor of the program.
Photo: Friends of The Flying Santa

Capt. William Wincapaw

Connection to
The Flying Santa Program
Another interesting footnote to the story of the plane crash is that Capt. William Wincapaw, the surviving pilot of the photographer's aircraft, founded "The Flying Santa" program, December, 25, 1929, delivering gifts by air to New England coastal lighthouses, lifesaving stations and lightships. The Flying Santa dropped gift packages, as described in the book  A Lighthouse Family by Harold B. Jennings: "The plane then flew over the lightships with a long rope dragging and aimed to hit the cable that goes from the top of the mast to the bow, letting it spin around the "forward stay" until the package would slide down to the deck." This was Capt. Wincapaw's way of expressing his appreciation to the light keepers for helping guide his aircraft during commercial flights along the coast.  His appreciation of the keepers, and their dedication to keeping these lights well lit and their surrounding waters safe, grew each time he found himself making a flight in the worst of weather. When he was out and about, the keepers would keep a watchful eye out for his plane.

To this day, The Flying Santa program, its remarkable history and charitable efforts live on. For more information about the Flying Santa program and its history,  click here .
Enduring the onslaught of
New England's March nor'easters

During our region's third nor'easter in less than three weeks in March 2018,
LV-112 virtually blends into the white-out of blizzard conditions that occurred in Boston Harbor, where she is berthed. Wind gusts were clocked as high as 75 mph during the storms. It's not uncommon for seas to reach over several feet on the inner harbor during storms. Not a problem for 
LV-112, because in years past, she endured many storms, 70-foot seas and over 110 mph winds while anchored at sea 100 miles from the U.S. mainland during her 39-year service as a floating lighthouse. During the height of the recent storms in Boston, volunteers checked on LV-112's dock lines and made sure the rolling gangway was cleared of destructive ice damns

Left to right: Volunteers Capt. John Rogers, Charlie Carr and Phil Gutowskion on LV-112's foredeck during the storm, making sure all is secure and safe
USLM educational outreach

East Boston students get a history lesson, accompanied with background music by their teacher on LV-112's foredeck

A significant portion of the USLM's education initiative is outreach to schools, local/national maritime organizations and public institutions. Subject matter primarily focuses on maritime history, e.g., lighthouse and lightship service, Nantucket/LV-112 and oceanic commerce. Topics also include oceanographic, nautical and environmental sciences.

Instructor John Rogers helps students prepare a plankton tow net for deployment in Boston Harbor off  

At a traveling exhibit displayed by the USLM in a public library, a mother and her son examine a  
Nantucket/LV-112 historic artifact and information about oceanographic research conducted on LV-112 when it was a commissioned USCG lightship. The exhibit includes artifacts from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which was part of the research and reporting program

This spring, Robert Mannino, Jr., president of the USLM, will be giving presentations about the "History of the U.S. Lightship Service 1820-1985" and Nantucket/LV-112, at the flowing organizations:

Beacon Hill Village: Monday, March 26, 5:30-7pm, titled "Conversations With...Robert Mannino," King's Chapel Parish House, 64 Beacon St., Boston, MA. Light hors d'oeuvres and wine served at 5:30pm; program begins at 6pm. BHV/BHS members: Free. Guests of members and prospective members: $20. For more information, click here.
Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands: Annual Meeting, May 6, 12pm at the MWRA, Deer Island, Historic Pump House Visitor Center. A tour of the MWRA facility will be 12-2pm. The meeting and presentation starts at 2pm. Admission is free. RSVP required by May 3.  Click here to register.

2018 International Lighthouse Conference: Michigan Lighthouse Alliance, May 20-22, the historic Grand Hotel, Mackinaw Island, Michigan. The conference starts with a narrated tour of Michigan lighthouses on Lake Huron, onboard Shepler's Ferry. Presentations and discussion groups relevant to organizations or individuals involved in restoration and preservation of a lighthouse, considering acquiring one, or those connected to government agencies, publishers, museums, state, provincial or national lighthouse organizations, are encouraged to attend! For more information, click here.

Donor/volunteer spotlight:
Volunteers working together, 
building and donating ship models

Capt. Robertson Dinsmore (USCG, USMS, Ret.) with 
LV-112 model in 
Nantucket/LV-112 galley

Volunteer Al Lunn cutting wood replacement sections for a preservation project in Woods Hole Historical Museum's boat restoration shop. Photo: Falmouth Magazine

Ship models are very helpful for displays in traveling exhibits and making presentations to the public. The USLM expresses its gratitude to Capt. Robertson "Bob" Dinsmore, also serving on the USLM Board of Directors, who has donated a total of four ship models to the U.S. Lightship Museum. Joining a model of Nantucket/LV-112, which he donated in the past, are three new ship models: USS Nantucket, LV-1 and USS Eagle-56. LV-112 is available as a standard kit from BlueJacket Shipcrafters. The USS Nantucket was modified and custom-built from a standard LV-112 kit. The LV-1 and USS Eagle-56 models were built from scratch by volunteer Alan Lunn, assisted by Capt. Dinsmore. We thank Al for all the time and effort he contributed in helping construct the scale models.

Capt. Dinsmore has an impressive career, serving in the U.S. Coast Guard for 28 years and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for 30 years. To learn more about Capt. Dinsmore's career serving his country, click here.

USS Nantucket (Examination Vessel, 1942-45), modified from scale model LV-112 BlueJacket Shipcrafters kit

Nantucket/LV-1, custom-built scale model. The original 
LV-1 was a wood-constructed ship, built in 1855 in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine

USS Eagle-56 custom-built scale model. The original 
Eagle-56 was built by the Ford Motor Co. in 1919 for the U.S. Navy. On April 23, 1945, the 
Eagle-56 was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat,  U-853, 
off Portland, ME. Nantucket/LV-112 which had been converted to an examination vessel and renamed 
USS Nantucket, had been assigned to patrol the entrance of Portland Harbor during WWII and helped save crewmembers from the
Eagle-56. The sinking of the 
Eagle-56 and the loss of its 49 crewmembers was the largest loss of life suffered by the U.S. Navy off the U.S. east coast during the war. Only 13 crewmembers survived.

Alan Lunn is a volunteer who helps restore full-sized vintage boats in a Saturday group at the Woods Hole Historical Museum's Boat Restoration Program. The boat shop members, some retired, some not, all with a passion for repairing boats, gather on Saturdays to work on boats that have been donated to the museum. When the boats are sold, the proceeds benefit the museum. Al Lunn has been building and restoring boats for 60 years. He started building boats in high school in 1946 and had his own shop, Lunn's Boat Shop, on Great Harbor in Woods Hole for decades. He has built a lot of boats and has built models of historic boats.

Both Bob Dinsmore and Al Lunn live in Falmouth, MA. We sincerely thank them both for all they do to help preserve our nation's maritime heritage, for all to learn from and enjoy.
Reference materials about U.S. lighthouses, USCG cutters and craft
donated to USLM

Rear Admiral Daniel R. May (USCG, Ret.)

Rear Adm. Daniel R. May (USCG Ret.) recently donated his personal reference materials that he acquired and used during his service in the U.S. Coast Guard. The materials include books and other publications about lighthouses and lightships, USCG cutters and craft, and lighthouse construction plans. These reference materials are a valuable resource for researching U.S. lighthouses and other navigational aid history.

Some of the many reference publications that Dan May donated to the USLM 

Rear Admiral Daniel May is a graduate of the USCG Coast Academy, majoring in ocean engineering. He served in a wide variety of operational, engineering and staff positions throughout his 33-year active duty career. Of the many high-profile projects in which he was involved, he served as the project engineer for several major lighthouse preservation projects. These included the relocation of Block Island Southeast Light, the first move of a major lighthouse structure within the United States; the relocation of Highland Light (Cape Cod Light); and the design and construction of a 5,000-ton revetment  to protect Montauk Light on Long Island. Click here to learn more about Dan's USCG background.

Upon retiring from the USCG, Dan served as chairman of the Custom House Maritime Museum Board of Directors in Newburyport, MA. Presently, he is Academy Director at the MPTC, Police Academy-Reading, a state of Massachusetts facility that trains police recruits to serve in law enforcement in municipalities, environmental law enforcement and as UMass police officers. Thank you, Dan, for your USCG service and your generous donation to the USLM.
USLM and USCG explore creating lightship exhibit at Boston Light

Boston Light, Little Brewster Island. Photo: Armand Hebert 

Lightship mushroom anchor and Nun Buoy, behind anchor at Boston Light

USLHS Lightship anchor, c. 1920, showing the typical size of 7,500-pound anchor, compared to a 6-foot-tall person. Credit: U.S. Lighthouse Society

The USLM and the USCG are exploring the opportunity to create a unique exhibit. It involves a 7,500-pound lightship mushroom anchor, currently located at historic Boston Light  on Little Brewster Island in Boston's outer harbor. The anchor is placed upright on a grassy area in front of the famed lighthouse structure. Presently, the mushroom anchor is being  used as a seat for  visitors, and there is no explanation of its purpose or origin. Close by, lying  on its side, is another historical  artifact: a 
100- year-old riveted, steel Nun Buoy, 
with no exhibit signage.

Sally Snowman, a member of the USCG Auxiliary and keeper of Boston Light, and Robert Mannino, Jr., the USLM president, have been working together on a proposal to create exhibit graphics and signage. Sally is also the first woman light keeper in Boston's Light's long and illustrious history. Boston Light is the last permanently manned Coast Guard lighthouse in the United States. The closest lightship station to Boston Harbor was Boston Lightship anchored in 84 feet of water 6ΒΌ miles east-southeast from Boston Light. The Boston Lightship Station was established in 1894 and discontinued in 1975.

Boston Lightship/LV-54 on station, c. 1894

The exhibit graphics would explain the history of the mushroom anchor as pertaining to its use on lightships. The Nun Buoy would also be included as part of the exhibit. Tours are available of Boston Light on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between June 16 and October 1. For more information about the tour schedule, click here.

Presently, there is no USCG or National Park Service funding to create the exhibit. Private funding may be the only alternative to initiate the project on a timely basis.
What is Ramsey's Ghost? Nantucket/LV-112 folklore

A photographic rendition of "Ramsey's Ghost," as Eddie Ramsdell's ghostly apparition may have appeared to the crew onboard LV-112 in the 1970s

If you believe in ghosts, spirits and pseudoscience , you may like this. As told by Peter Brunk ( USCG  Ret), a member of the USLM's Board of Directors, while assigned to LV-112 as Commanding Officer from 1970-71, there were reports from the crew of a number of unusual, strange and unexplained occurrences on the isolated lightship while anchored on Nantucket Shoals Lightship Station. There was no explanation for bizarre noises, doors closing or items being moved. Harkening back to the death of Edwin T. Ramsdell, who perished in the 1936 plane crash near Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 (see "memorial plaque" article above), some of the crew, who experienced the ghostly apparition's mischief, speculated it was the spirit of Eddie Ramsdell and nicknamed it "Ramsey's Ghost." This spring, when the USLM reinstalls the memorial plaque on Nantucket/LV-112, will the ghost return? Stay tuned...
Become a USLM member today
For a gift of $1,000 or more, donors will receive a limited-edition, fine-art print of the SS United States passing Nantucket/LV-112, signed by marine artist Gerald Levey
Discover the value-added membership benefits when you become a member of the U.S. Lightship Museum (USLM). The USLM is a member of the Council of American Maritime Museums (CAMM). All USLM members will be granted reciprocal privileges (free admission) at participating CAMM institutions. For more information about the benefits and the USLM Membership program, click on USLM Membership.

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The United States Lightship Museum 

The U.S. Lightship Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the rescue and preservation of Nantucket Lightship/LV-112, a National Historic Landmark and a National Treasure. LV-112 is a museum and floating learning center, open to the general public -- a place for people of all ages to learn about our nation's seafaring history and the technologies that advanced the nautical and marine sciences.