U.S. Coast Guard Lightships

& Those of the U.S. Lighthouse Service


 

VESSEL DESIGNATION: LV 103/WAL 526

A photo of Light Vessel Number 103

(LV-103 relieving LV-95 on station Milwaukee, circa 1922 )


YEAR BUILT: 1920

BUILT AT: Morris Heights (NY)

APPROPRIATION: ?

BUILDER: Consolidated Shipbuilding Co

CONTRACT PRICE: $161,074

SISTER VESSELS: None

DESIGN: Steam screw; steel hull; tubular lantern mast forward, small jigger mast aft; steel pilothouse at foot of lantern mast; smokestack amidships

LENGTH: 96'5" (loa); BEAM: 24'0"; DRAFT: 9'6"; TONNAGE: 310 displ (fresh water)

PROPULSION: Steam - one compound reciprocating engine, 175 IHP; 2 coal fired Scotch boilers

ILLUMINATING APPARATUS: One acetylene lens lantern, 300mm

FOG SIGNAL: 10" steam whistle; hand operated bell


CONSTRUCTION NOTES - MODIFICATIONS - EQUIPMENT CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS:
1920: Dec 3/4, sea trials and conditional acceptance-
1921: Jun 9, delivered to 12th District Hq, Milwaukee-
1924: Submarine bell signal installed; discontinued 1931-
1927: Illuminant changed from acetylene to electricity-
1933: Fog signal changed to steam diaphragm horn (17" Leslie typhon)-
1934: Radiobeacon installed-
1934: Illuminating apparatus changed back to acetylene operation-
1935: Radiobeacon synchronized with fog signal for distance finding-
193?: Illuminating apparatus converted to duplex electric 375mm lens lantern, 15, 000cp-
1948: Repowered with twin in-line GM 671 diesels 34011?, max speed 9 knots-
1958: Crewman Robert G. Gullickson, a Seaman (BM Striker), drowned while trying to save a fellow crewman, CS1 Vincent Disch, after their small boat was swamped.***
1962: USCG lists F2T air diaphone, CR103 radar, other characteristics as above- 
Radio and visual call sign NMGS (1940-1970)

STATION ASSIGNMENTS:
1921-1923: Relief
1924-1926: Grays Reef (MI)
1927-1928: Relief (12th District)
1929: Grays Reef (MI)
1929-1933: Relief (12th District)
1934-1935: North Manitou Shoal (MI)
1935: Relief (11th District)
1936-1970: Lake Huron (MI)

(Hull color changed from red to black - 1936)
(1942-1945: During WWII remained assigned to Lake Huron station)


HISTORICAL NOTES: 
1920: Dec 3/4 sea trials completed in New York, conditionally accepted-
1921: steamed to Maine, picked up by HIBISCUS May 18 and towed (with LV 99) to St Lawrence River entrance; both lightships then steamed to Ogdensburg NY, met by CROCUS and escorted to Detroit, LV 103 then steamed to Milwaukee arriving Jun 9 and assigned Relief duty-
1936: Hull color changed from red to black when placed on Huron station.- 
From 1945 onward, this was the only black lightship in service.

RETIRED FROM LIGHTSHIP DUTY: 1970; AGE: 50

SUBSEQUENT DISPOSITION: Decommissioned Aug 25, 1970; donated to the town of Port Huron (MI), Port Huron Marine Museum; marked HURON; dry berthed and on display in park; she is open for tours on Fridays from 1:00 to 8:00 p.m. (May 17-September 27) and daily from 1:00 to 4:30 pm in the summer.  For more information call them at: (810) 982-0891 or visit their website at www.phmuseum.org.  She is the last surviving lightship on the Great Lakes.


COMMANDING OFFICERS: LV 103 / WAL 526
1920-?: Hiram S Hill, Master

4/25/46-7/31/46: LTJG Lawrence A. Donovan, CO

9/15/47-9/1/48: BMC Lawrence A. Donovan, OIC**

1957-1958: BMC Milo V. Collins, OIC*
1958-1959: BMC McDonald, OIC (Former Lighthouse Service employee)*
1959-?: BMC William Buxton, OIC*
1962: BMC Leon DeRosia, OIC


*Former crewman Neil C. Hamilton provided this information.
**John T. Donovan, the son of LTJG/BMC Lawrence Donovan provided this information.
***Former crewman Neil Hamilton provided this information.  He noted: "I aided in Disch's rescue and further, Gullickson had volunteered to take my place as the crewmember of the small boat that morning she sank and he lost his life."


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Last Modified 9/6/2013