A PICTORIAL HISTORY
|Her Destiny Awaits:||Description; unless otherwise noted, photos are courtesy of Jay McCarthy.|
"Light Vessel No. 78, 7th June '04."; LV 78
under construction at the New York Shipbuilding Company's yard in Camden,
New Jersey on 7 June 1904.
7 June 1904; N.Y. Shipbuilding Company photo; negative no. 919.
No caption/photo number; date/photographer
unknown. LV 78, circa 1910.
U.S. Lighthouse Service photo.
"Relief L.S. #78, 14 July 1936; 38' buoy boat in
foreground."; no photo number; photographer unknown.
U.S. Lighthouse Service photo.
"This photo was taken while we were on Ambrose
Station in the spring of 1958. The three crewmen on deck are (to the best
of my recollection), L-R: Ray Durbano, Bud Fairfull & Jay McCarthy (standing
on something ?) looking at the USCG plane taking the photo."
U.S. Coast Guard photo; Photo No. 3CGD-02125603; photographer unknown.
|"Full broadside view of the ship in color."|
|"The . . .[next] three pics. are of the interiors of the wheel house and aft deck (radio beacon) house. Both were WOODEN structures, again standard 1904 issue, with NO insulation. . .[This photo shows the] wheel house with view of the beautiful wooden when and wood compass stand (mahogany, I think) . . .observe the radiator running horizontally below the port holes, they didn't put out much heat. I sued to lean up against the radiator while standing the midnight watch. The cold winter winds would blow right through the wooden bulkheads. Whenever I get cold, I think it was never as cold as standing a winter mid watch on the old Relief 78/505."|
|"Wheel house . . . wheel, radio and log station. . .note the wooden planking on the overhead and aft bulkhead."|
|"Aft deck house, view of radio room . . . note the WOOD planking on overhead and bulkheads. This planking went through to the outside, in other words, this planking was both the interior and exterior bulkhead. No insulation."|
|"Windlass room . . . below deck, in bow and just forward of the mess deck. Note, anchor chain on the lower left was for the spare / emergency anchor . . . anchor chain on the right was for the main (5,000 lb. mushroom) anchor."|
|"These [next] three pics. are views from the forward stick (mast) . . . don't remember when or what station we were on, when I took them. Back then, I (we) used to climb aloft all the time for various maintenance tasks and we used to hand in a bosun's chair while painting the masts. There is no way I would climb aloft today. I own a one-story house and don't even like to climb up on my roof! [This is the view] of rear lantern from forward stick."|
"[From the top of the forward stick, this is
the] view of bow from forward stick."
Note the spare mushroom anchor secured to starboard.
|"[From the top of the forward stick, this is the view of the] stern."|
"Easter Sunday, 1957, Relief 78/505, being
assisted by 110' USCG tug through 'Hell Gate' on East River, NYC, returning
from relieving Cornfield Point Lightship Station, off Old Saybrook, CT, to
USCG Base St. George, Staten Island, NY. L-R, W.A. Weeks, CHBOSN-W1, OinC,
Lee Burbage, BM1, & J.P. Smith, CS2."
"'Hell Gate' is where the Harlem and East Rivers meet, causing waters so turbulent, that the 'Old Relief 78/505' didn't have enough power to get through on her own, thus the USCG tugboat assistance. These pictures were given to me by Lee Burbage, and were taken a week before I reported aboard the Relief . . . The pictures were taken by Seaman Stanley G. Grober, of Long Island, NY. Stanley was a photography buff. While the rest of us at that time used box / point & shoot cameras, Stanley used a 35MM camera with varying setting & used a light meter . . . Stanley left the ship sometime in late '57 or early '58."
|"Some of the crew members posed for this picture in the bow. As the ship continued the trip down the East River, NYC, on their return to Base St. George, SINY. . .Easter Sunday, 1957 . . . Standing, L-R, J.P. Smith & Edmund (Lee) Burbage; Kneeling, L-R, Frank Baglio, J.A. Flores, & Jose Robles."|
|"The Relief 78/505 while in Brewers Shipyard Dry Dock #5, Staten Island, NY, August, 1957. If memories serve me correctly (46 years), I recall, that while the hull was being sand blasted, a penetration was made below the engine room. That damaged plate was replaced. The Relief 78/505, built in 1904, used the same type steel (processing) that was used on the Titanic. Steel today is processed much differently, resulting in a much stronger steel. I have often wondered, if there was more damage to the hull, as a result of the  collision, than the Navy diver, performing the 'Post Collision Damage Survey' was able to see!"|
|"The Relief 78/505 while in Brewers Shipyard Dry Dock #5, Staten Island, NY, August, 1957. "|
|"Christmas Day 1957 activities . . . Fishing, probably like a lot of lightship sailors, I did enough fishing aboard to last me a lifetime. L-R, Bud Fairfull, Jay McCarthy, & Lee Burbage."|
|"Christmas Day 1957 activities . . . Hanging our on the mess deck, waiting for Christmas dinner . . . Note the standard 1904 issue wooden louvered compartment door (great for water tight compartments), behind that skinny kid on the right. L-R, Dalomba, Ray Durbano, & Jay McCarthy. On a lightship, the OinC was normally a CWO, the XO a BMC, and we had an ENC. These gentlemen normally ate their meals in the ward room, located in the stern of the ship. The remainder of the crew ate in the mess deck, located amidships. On Christmas Day, 1957, only the XO, Louis C. Carter, BMC, was aboard. For most of the (young) crew aboard that day, it was not only our first Christmas at sea, but also, our first Christmas away from home. Chief Carter's decision to come forward from the ward room, and share Christmas dinner with the crew on the mess deck, was most appreciated by his young crew."|
|"Winter on Scotland Station, February '58; Since Scotland Station was closer in to shore, we used to get a lot of 'ice floes' drifting (banging off the sides of the ship at night) past the ship. Hope you can see the New Jersey coast in the pic, barely visible at the top of the floes."|
|"Winter, motor whaleboat, weekly transfer to buoy tender, Scotland Station, February '58; Looking at this picture reminded me of winter at sea . . . handling the 'falls' in ice cold weather, going through the process of launching and recovering the small boat, with ice on the lines, ice underfoot, ice cold winds and worth every minute of it for liberty, fresh food and mail. Ahh, memories. PS: Skipper was very tolerant, that's a white 'USA Drinking Team' sweatshirt, with hood, that I'm wearing under my foul weather jacket. Wouldn't get away with that on a bigger ship. View, bow to stern, Bobby Pierce; G.R. Brower, CHBOSN W-1, OinC, & Jay McCarthy."|
|"Ward Room, Overfalls Station, March, 1958, L-R Louis C. Carter, BMC, Raymond L. Thrush, ENC. BMC Carter was a great chief, tough but fair. He also had a soft side . . . What he did for us young guys (providing a touch of home), away from home and at sea at Christmas for the first time, was really a great gesture. I think he would be proud to know that his act of kindness to the crew (including us young guys), would be shared with so many others, all these years later."|
|"Mess Deck Card Game: Overfalls Station, March 1958; Almost every night you would find a card game on the mess deck. Of course, no money was exchanged, it just helped to pass the time. Good memories! L-R, R. T. Boismeno, Ogdensburg, NY; Edward J. Brown, Philadelphia, PA (?); Raymond F. D'urbano, Rochester, NY; Bobby R. Pierce, Franklin, VA; Ralph E. (Buc) Fairfull, Long Island, NY."|
|"July 1958, Relieving Scotland Lightship LV 87/512, on Scotland Station off Sandy Hook, NJ. Lowering the small boat, the purpose was for the weekly transfer of compensatory leave crew, mail, supplies and fresh food to / from USCG buoy tender Arbutus (W-203)."|
|"July 1958, Relieving Scotland Lightship LV 87/512, on Scotland Station off Sandy Hook, NJ . . . Small boat from the Relief LV78/505, alongside the buoy tender Arbutus (W-203). The following would be normal procedures that would occur when the buoy tender would come up astern of the lightship . . . The lightship crew would throw a heaving line over to the buoy tender, and then pull a line back, which would be used to secure the buoy tender off the stern of the lightship. The lightship crew would then throw another heaving line over to the buoy tender, and a water hose would be pulled over to the lightship. This hose would be connected to a fitting for the water tank, and then the buoy tender would pump fresh water to the lightship. Only after these tasks were accomplished, would the small boat be lowered."|
|"Winter 1958, Relieving Ambrose lightship WAL-613, on Ambrose Channel Lightship Station, outer New York harbor. The crew posed for a picture before lowering the small boat behind them and at deck level. The purpose was for the weekly transfer of compensatory leave crew, mail, supplies, and fresh food to / from USCGC buoy tender Arbutus (W-203). Note the men with the life jackets on, were the ones manning the small boat on this trip."|
|"Winter, January 1959, [this photo] gives a partial view of the ship's bell. I often regretted never taking a full view picture of the bell, with 'USLHS LV 78' engraved on it. While aboard, we never referred to the ship as LV 78 (USLHS designation), we always used the official U.S. Coast Guard designation, WAL 505."|
|"Winter, January 1959, [this photo] shows the small boat (motor whale boat). We had just gone through a very bad storm, followed by snow, around Christmas of '58, and the canvas cover on the boat was torn & shredded during the storm. Thus, no cover on the boat."|
|"Winter, January 1959, scenes while on Ambrose Station, [this photo] shows the snow and fairly rough seas we were still experiencing, deck view of aft deck house (radio beacon room)."|
|"Winter, January 1959, scenes while on Ambrose Station, [this photo] shows the snow and fairly rough seas we were still experiencing, deck view of stern area."|
"Relieving Overfalls Lightship WLV 605, on
Overfalls Station, off Lewes, Delaware during 1959. Overfalls was similar
to Cornfield Point Lightship Station, as both were serviced by an
83-footer. Buoy tender came out only when we needed fresh water. All other
tasks (liberty parties, supplies, food, and mail) were handled by the
83-footer. Overfalls Lightship Station was off Lewes, Delaware, however the
83-fotter took us into Cape May, NJ, Training Center for liberty."
"February 1959, CGC 83464 approaching Relief, on Overfalls Station, Lewes, Delaware."
|"Deck view of bow area, Overfalls Station, February, 1959, Jay McCarthy making monkeys fist for heaving line."|
|"CGC 83464 pulling alongside Relief, L-R, Boismeno, Brown, Carter & Fairfull."|
|"CGC 83464 pulling away from Relief, with compensatory leave crew aboard."|
|"Relief viewed from deck of CGC 83464."|
"CGC 83464 heading into Cape May, NJ, Relief
Lightship in background."
This is the final photograph Jay McCarthy provided us that illustrated his career on board the LV-78 / WAL-505. He completed his tour on 23 April 1959 and then, having completed his two year active duty tour, returned to his inactive reserve status and was honorably discharged on 23 February 1963, thus fulfilling his eight-year service obligation. He went on to a 35 year career with the "old" Bell system.
Although Jay McCarthy transferred off LV-78 on
23 April 1959 and so was not on board the lightship when she was rammed and
sunk while on station in 1960, he did provide the following photograph of
the survivors of that collision and sinking. He noted:
"On 24 June 1960, at approximately 0411, the freighter SS Green Bay, outbound from New York Harbor in dense fog and zero visibility, collided with the USCG Lightship RELIEF LV-78 / WAL-505 on Ambrose Channel Lightship Station (relieving Ambrose Lightship WLV-613). Relief 78/505 was rammed amidships on the starboard side, resulting in a jagged hole at least two feet wide, extending from the weather deck & narrowing downward towards the keel. The foghorn, mast light & radio beacon on the Relief 78/505 were all on & operating properly. The Relief 78/505 sank on station approximately ten minutes later. No lives were lost, as all nine crewmen abandoned ship in an inflatable life raft. The small boat was on the starboard side & could not be used. Relief 78/505 is currently sitting upright and intact in approximately 100 feet of water, one mile east of the Ambrose Channel Light Tower.
[The] . . . photo of the survivors, taken later that day at USCG Base St. George, Staten Island, NY, the home towns noted, are as of the date of 24 June 1960."
Same photo of above, without the handwritten
names. McCarthy noted:
To Ambrose Channel Lightship Station History
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