World War II Comes to Chebeague (2008-2009)

WORLD WAR II ARRIVES IN CASCO BAY

On a winter visit three weeks after Pearl Harbor John described the scene: 

“The United States is now, formally, at war with Japan, Germany and Italy. Portland, being a base for the Northern Atlantic Fleet as well as an important shipbuilding center, is a key point in our nation’s defense. On the way down with Earl (Stockbridge) on the Gurnet, my eyes and ears observe: Bath-Todd Co. at S. Portland; the great new shipyard to the west of the breakwater, soon to be torn down; the patrol boats in Portland Harbor, ready to stop or fire on any small boat; the great tanks floating the submarine net clear across Hussey’s Sound. Two patrol boats, about 80’ long, stand by this net day and night, guarding the very small opening. Also in Hussey’s they have a giant driller, which is drilling holes in the ledge a few hundred yards east of Pumpkin Knob.

“The inner Bay (Diamond, Long and Chebeague Island) is where all the Navy boats go, very few there today, but vessels of all kinds, including submarines, come in there. 37 at once, somebody said. 4 Navy PBY flying boats came in as we were passing. Every small boat is greatly restricted. No one may go after dark. In the daytime they can only stay inside, as Hussey’s and Broad Sounds are mined (outside). All boat owners were fingerprinted, and captain has to carry an identification tag with his picture. Fanny says at night they have heard sounds of heavy gunfire offshore; and the inspection boat comes around shining a light on her house.”

-Moulton diary, 12/26/41