Friday, June 30, 2023

The Sad Story of USS S-4 Navy Submarine & US Coast Guard Destroyer Paulding

On December 17, 1927 the USS S-4 (SS-109) Submarine was doing some test runs off the coast of Provincetown, MA. The US Coast Guard Destroyer Paulding was patrolling the coast looking for rum runners. They both did not know that were in the same area.

Frantic attempts were made to avoid the collision but it happened and the S-4 went to the bottom of the sea in 110 feet of water. By the time the navy could get divers down to the wreck they could only hear the six souls that were trapped in the torpedo room. They tried to figure out a way to get the men out by sending divers down.  They tapped on the side of the sub in morse code to communicate. Four days later all forty men aboard the S-4 were dead.

One of the souls on board was Lowell native and Motor Machinist John J Fennell of 557 Chelmsford Street. He was born November 29, 1903 in Lowell and died on December 17, 1927. He was the son of William Fennell and Bridget Butler. Three months later they recovered the submarine and his body was sent to Lowell for a military funeral. He is buried in Saint Patrick's Cemetery.

The S-4 was salvaged by the US Navy and used in Navy rescue missions. By lessons learned in the S-4 diaster the Navy created a diving bell called the McCann rescue chamber. Numerous navy personel were saved from the same fate of the men on the S-4.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Greater Lowell Normandy Honor Roll

On June 6th the United States participated in the Allied invasion of Europe at Normandy Beach. Much preperations were made and Greater Lowell was very involved. Some of our local men went early making preperations by bombing positions in France. Some came on parachutes and many more came by the beach. Others died in further operations in France.

The Normandy Cemetery in Colleville-Sur-Mur, is a beautiful peaceful place today. It is the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. It is 172.5 acres and contains 9,386 graves and 1,557 names of the missing. Resting there are many greater Lowell heros. We honor them and remember them today.

This link will take you to a virtual cemetery on Find A Grave that lists all the greater Lowell men buried at the Normandy Cemetery or listed on the walls of the missing.

Greater Lowell - Normandy Roll of Honor: a Virtual Cemetery - Find a Grave

We remember their heroism and their sacrafice.