Lost with all hands. The Vineyard Lightship

A forum to discuss Life Saving Stations and Lightships.

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Postby island » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:21 pm

Lightship duty was not only tedious and but it was hazardous. At least forty-five lightship men lost there lives during the years of the Light House Service and Coast Guard. In 1944 with the approach of a major hurricane the request by the officer-in-charge of the Vinyard Lightship to leave the station and take the ship to shelter was denied. Hours later during the height of the storm the light went out and flares were seen by people on shore. The lightship was lost with all 12 hands.

A lady today Seamond (Ponsart) Roberts who was once a young girl living on a lighthouse is an eyewitness to the death of the Vineyard Lightship.

"As a young girl I grew up on Cuttyhunk Island at the lighthouse where my father was the keeper. We could see the Vineyard Lightship from our place. It went down during the 1944 hurricane off the island of Cuttyhunk. My father and I were in the Cuttyhunk Light tower, vainly trying all night to keep the light going and were watching between gusts of storm, the lights on the lightship. I was about five years old then and my "duty" that night was running errands up and down the stairs, getting Dad coffee and new mantles and rags to dry up the tower (which was drenched), helping with the air vents and such. As I was always Dad's little helper, I was right there beside him."

"I was beside him when we saw the lights of the lightship disappear and we knew that the brave men in their iron ship were gone. They were all my "uncles" as they would stay with us at our house between crew changes. It was a horrible, horrible feeling that I have as an aching memory to this day."
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