NOTE: This web page comes to us complements of Dave Riley. Dave is an extraordinary web master and has been VERY active and is a driving force in NMF Radio.
Thanks to Dave Murphy, crewmember 1946-48 who provides some memories and pictures of the Stonehorse, an iron ship built in 1892. The Stonehorse #53 was in service at Nantucket Sound from 1934 to 1951 near the southern end of Monomoy Island near the 'Handkerchief' and 'Pollock Rip' lightships.
LV 53 / WAL 501
' Formally known as Shovelful '
Shown on station in Nantucket
In 1939 the U.S. Lighthouse Service responsibilities were transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard
Motor Machinist Mate Dave Murphy was aboard the StoneHorse in 1947. Dave and the crew would motor ashore to Harwichport for supplies at Eldredge's Market and mail plus exchange four crew at a time. Rounding the point at Monomoy they woud DR a course to port. Fishing at the lightship consisted mainly of sand sharks so another type of fishing became popular. At night when the radio waves bounced off the ionosphere the crew would make contact with other Coast Guard Vessels around the world. The best catch was an Ice Breaker in the Antarctic.
Use of a 26 foot launch or a 16 foot dory would make for some fine striper fishing on the other side of Monomoy during Spring, Summer and Fall. One December 22nd while returning to the ship with mail and Christmas groceries they met with a nor'easter and ended up riding a swell over the dunes right into the small pond ( Powderhole ) where they secured the boat and spent 5 days in the lookout station just staying warm and dry. They eventually enjoyed a belated Christmas dinner aboard the ship.
By Rick Bennett
First and foremost, he sailed Stonehorse. I first met this man while stationed at Scituate station between 1973 and 1976 and we hit it off fairly well when he found out I had just been transferred there from the Portland LS. During these years, Dave sat in the communications center assisting any and all watch standers, and stood his own watches for the station, his knowledge of the waters off this area was and probably still is second to none. At night he would listen to the stations radio traffic, and when we were out on searches he would gather up some food, ham sandwiches, soda and the like and drive on down to Green Harbor waiting for the small boat to enter the harbor. He would walk out to the pier and hold out that bag of provisions not just a few times, but each and every time.... his memory on all the things of the past is still as sharp as a whip, and he still holds a few stories from the Stonehorse if we could just get them recorded for transcription to pc.
There was never another man to do so much for a group of people as Dave Murphy 'Murph'. He once took our coxswain home to shower after clearing lines out of the screws so he did not have salt rash at the end of the night. He helped some of the single men find places to rent so they did not have to live in a berthing area. And he managed to get a ride, see he can no longer drive, to come to Quincy to be with a group of people bound only by the fact that they all rode it out on the red ships. Dave Murphy was a sailor and shall be till he is gone.....Oh yeah, one other thing.... did you see him on the main deck of the Nan-1 last August....he was there. Back on a red boat once again. Want to know more, ask Doug Bingham.... they know each other well also..... funny, Dave seems to find out everything... has no computer but finds out about the reunion, known Doug, and many others.... Rick...
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