1943Twenty-three of the largest fishing draggers and trawlers were sold or leased to the United States Navy.Economy and Industry, Government and Public Service, Maritime & Fishing Industry, Military

Trawler deck at the Atlantic Supply Wharf, January 14, 1943. Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Photo 11743
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Within months of the U.S. entering World War II in December 1941, German submarines were regularly torpedoing American supply ships en route to Europe. By June 1942, over 100 merchant vessels had been sunk off the East Coast. Because the Navy and Coast Guard had deployed their limited number of ships to protect cross-Atlantic convoys, coastal defenses were shored up by requisitioning fishing vessels and yachts as spotter boats and even for offensive duty with depth charges, large caliber guns, and minesweepers. Two of Gloucester’s largest, sturdiest trawlers were armed with advanced communications and 50-caliber machine guns in the first wave of requisitions. By mid-1943, Gloucester had supplied the Navy with 23 boats. Five more would have been acquired if the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture hadn’t pleaded to allow them to keep fishing in order to supply the military and civilian populace with food.

Eldridge, David S."Gloucester FIshing in World War II," The American Neptune, Col. XXVII, No. 3, July 1967, Oaks, Martha. The Gloucester Fishermen’s Institute, 1891-1991 : “A Social Center for Men of the Sea.” Gloucester Fishermen’s Institute, 1991.
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