Since 1907 Chelsea Clock has been the trusted time-keeper of the Navy. However as soon as our clocks go away our manufacturing facility door, we by no means know what adventures await. It wasn’t till after the discharge of Disney’s The Most interesting Hours that we discovered that one in all our Naval clocks had been aboard the shipwrecked SS Pendleton (the story of the crew’s heroic rescue by the Chatham Coastguard unfolds within the movie). What’s extra, it had virtually been in our personal yard — on the Orleans Historic Society Museum — for the previous 34 years. Additionally maintained by the Society & Museum is the rescue boat featured within the movie — which efficiently carried out “the best small-boat rescue within the historical past of the Coast Guard” — the 12-man CG36500. This summer time the society welcomes visitors to tour the boat that defied all odds and safely introduced 32 Pendleton survivors to shore in one of many worst storms in Coast Guard historical past.
We caught up with the Orleans Historic Society board of administrators to speak concerning the clock’s storied previous and what’s in retailer for the little rescue boat that would.
Chelsea Clock:What are you able to inform us concerning the Pendleton’s clock and the way it was secured?
Richard Ryder: The clock is a WWII Navy deck clock that got here from the strict of the tanker. It retains excellent time. It was taken off the ship a couple of days later after the rescue — as soon as the ocean subsided — by some Chatham males, who turned referred to as “the Chatham Pirates.” They went out to the strict with my dad on his fishing boat, known as “Alice and Nancy.” The Jacob’s ladder was nonetheless hanging off the Pendleton they usually used it to get onto the ship to see what they might seize. Different objects retrieved had been a typewriter, a bilge pump from one of many ship’s lifeboats, the crimson jib from the lifeboat, in addition to a lifeboat’s mast and a few oars. The ship was deserted so it was truthful recreation. All people would have beloved to have a clock like that, they had been very well-known — waterproof — they will need to have carried it down the Jacob’s ladder.
Jay Scradel: As a result of it was the ship’s clock it was such an vital merchandise to Bernie [Webber, chief rescuer and main character in The Finest Hours]. He wished to go aboard the Pendleton to see what may need been there however since he was within the Coast Guard, he may have been courtroom marshaled had he gone again. When it was given to him he was very honored by it and he talks about this within the epilogue in his guide, Chatham: The Lifeboat Males.
RR: Let me offer you an concept of how vital this clock may need been: In 1917 my grandfather purchased his first clock — a pocket watch — and it was pretty costly for him to try this. Once I graduated highschool in 1957, that was the primary time I received a clock. A ships clock of this magnitude? That was actually one thing particular. Ships of this kind didn’t come ashore on the Cape. This deck clock, you possibly can dunk it within the water!
CC: In 1982 Bernie Webber offered the Orleans Historic Society with the clock with a purpose to commemorate your restoration of the CG36500, the boat that Webber and his crew used to rescue the Pendleton survivors — proper?
RR: Sure. He made a tape to the president of the Historic Society and his speech has been printed within the pages of his guide, Chatham: The Lifeboat Males.
CC: What does it take to take care of a rescue boat like this?
JS: As a result of it’s a wood boat it wants fixed care and a focus. She’s 70 years previous this 12 months and wishes fixed upkeep to maintain her pristine and afloat. It’s a unending effort for us. With the discharge of the film and extra publicity we’ve garnered primarily based on the historical past of the boat, we’re anticipating a reasonably good summer time season. Guests will come out to see the boat, take some quick cruises maybe — all that requires time and a focus and so the boat must be in excellent order.
RR: After this previous summer time we had $18 thousand in restore work performed on the higher stern of the hull, and we all know that there’ll be issues down the street that may must be repaired. The hull itself is just about authentic. The engine was in-built 1948, who is aware of how lengthy it’s gonna final — there’ll at all times one thing.
To see the SS Pendleton Chelsea Clock and the restored CG36500, go to the Orleans Historic Society throughout hours of operation.
To make a donation to help the continuing upkeep of the CG36500, please go to the Orleans Historic Society web site and click on “Donate.”
Learn extra about Chelsea Clock’s historical past aboard Naval ships right here, and stay tuned for a dialog with Matt Fitzgerald, grandson ofJohn J. Fitzgerald, the Captain of the SS Pendleton.