The Friends of Albacore commissioned the Perry Brothers Monument Company of Concord, NH to prepare a monument to honor the first submarine Albacore. Although the Submarine Veterans of WW II organization had assigned the SS 218 to the state of Oregon as their “lost boat”, the Friends felt that it was fitting to also recognize her service here at Albacore Park.
At the same time, we asked Perry Brothers to create a granite bench to be placed near the Albacore. This bench would honor the memory of Joseph “Joe” Sawtelle, one of the prime movers responsible for persuading the Navy to release the Albacore from the Philadelphia Navy Yard and into the care of a group of citizens interested in bringing the historic vessel home to Portsmouth.
It took the crew from Perry Brothers two trips to get everything in place. Rainy weather was a major factor in forcing a second day’s effort as soggy ground conditions limited access to the work sites on the first day.
Looking north from the Visitor’s Center, you can see two benches grouped either side of a small stone marker. They are located just aft of and across from the sail, the site where many of the 2006 reunion functions were held under tents.
This trio sits facing Albacore’s sail. In the summer, several nearby leafy trees provide shade.
The bench on the left is a gift of the Portsmouth Naval Historical Foundation. The Shipyard Museum and Foundation works closely with Albacore Park through donations and assistance. The Foundation has been responsible for installing the five monuments in the Memorial Garden. This bench was realigned when the stone marker and new Sawtelle bench were added.
The Portsmouth Naval Historical Foundation bench was dedicated in memory of the individuals whose names appear on the bench. They were officers or members of the Board of Directors of the Foundation and were long time volunteers at the Shipyard Museum. Cdr. Oscar Schmidt served on the U-2513 following its turnover to the US Navy at the end of WWII, Lt. Jim Degnan served on the USS Piper (SS 409), John Cowan was a MM1 (SS) on the Sea Devil (SS 400) and Jerome Monaghan was a CWO 4 deep sea diver.
The stone marker between the benches was originally located inside the fence that surrounds Albacore. Erosion threatened the stability of the marker and it was moved to this more secure location.
The May 4, 1985 date inscribed on the marker commemorates the day Albacore began its journey from the Piscataqua River to its current location. It wasn’t until nearly 5 months later that the journey ended.