Thursday, December 9, 2010

USS Grouse – Navy Minesweeper wrecked off Rockport in 1963

There are loads of shipwrecks around here. This one happened right off the town I live in, what made it special is that for the longest time you could see part of it.

The Grouse was one of thousands of wooden minesweepers launched for service during World War II in the Pacific, doing minesweeping, convoy escort and shore bombardment duties.

USS Grouse in better times:

While on a training mission, Grouse went aground off Rockport, Massachusetts, on the night of 21 September 1963. The incident occurred near high water. As the tide fell, she was high and dry. Initial attempts to free the vessel with the rising tide proved futile and all but a skeleton crew were removed. But by the next day, 30 mile per hour winds and big seas forced a helicopter evacuation of the remaining 11 crewmen.

Salvage operations from directed from the tug Keywadin, which came up from Boston soon after the incident. As the weather improved, Naval tugs attempted to pull her off the rocks. But time after time the towlines parted or the New England weather again did its thing and interrupted salvage operations. A few days later, the last remaining salvage crewman was removed by helicopter as a big swell thwarted the Navy's effors.

There were no injuries to the crew. Grouse was destroyed by explosives a week later, and her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register the same day! I guess they were happy to see the old boat go.

For years you could see what folks here called the engine room of the grouse, but since about the 80’s that has been washed away buy nor’easter after nor’easter. I wonder if the diving's any good?

These are the Dry Salvages/Little Salvages (what is the official name anyway?) pretty form a distance today they smell real bad when you get close. Strong currents too:

Just another real useful tidbit.