Do you know the sad tale of the Snoopy?

According to The Fishermen’s Voice, the Snoopy was a wooden scallop dragger whose home port was Portland, Maine.  In May of 1965, while dragging for scallops off the coast of North Carolina, she was sunk by a German torpedo.

Here’s the part where you think we are confused about the dates.  We aren’t.  The tragic incident did happen in 1965, just about twenty years after the conclusion of World War II.  Sadly, during any major conflict, unexploded ordnance is often left behind by the combatants.  Landmines, bombs, buckets of bullets, cannon shells…  And, torpedoes.  That particular spot off the United States coast was referred to as “torpedo alley”, as it was a common hunting ground for German subs during both world wars.

One night, just after 9 PM, the crew of the Snoopy, one of about 40 scallop vessels in the area that night, pulled in their nets.  Looking at the catch, they noticed something that did not belong: a German G7e torpedo!

The weapon was massive.  That particular type of torpedo was over 20 feet long and it weighed in at over 3,500 pounds.  Despite the potential danger of bringing an unexploded torpedo aboard, the crew made the decision not to just cut it loose.  They feared that some other fishing crew would discover it and that it would explode, injuring or killing many people.  y did not want to just cut it free over concerns someone else would find it and be sunk by it.  They made several attempts at bringing the torpedo aboard.  On the third try, a swell hit the boat, causing it to roll.  When it did, the torpedo struck the railing and exploded.  The ship was completely destroyed in the blast.

Killed in the explosion were Captain Doody, Donald Williams, Francis Blastow, Daniel Broy and Raymond Hanson and Bertram Norton, whose body was recovered.  Surprisingly, there were four survivors of the sinking.  The survivors were mate Peter Leavitt, ship’s cook Harold Martin, and deckhands Richard Lindahl & Leland French.

In 2016, NOAA proposed making those offshore wrecks, some of which date back to the Civil War, a marine sanctuary.

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