By Al Readdy

A former crewmember tells us a little about the "Match Box" Fleet......

The CG 83503 was one of about 230 83 footers built during WW II for coastal patrol along the US coast. The CG 83503 was delivered in November 1943. It was assigned to the 12th Fleet.

The picture was taken by Al Readdy about 1951/52 at its berth at the steamship dock on Nantucket Island.

Prior to June 1944 , the need to rescue people in the water during the Normandy Invasion (D-DAY) was recognized and sixty 83 footers were secretly dispatched to New York where they were loaded on ships for Poole, England. These sixty boats formed the USCG RESCUE FLOTILLA NO 1 (nick named the match box fleet). The CG 83503 was designated CG 55. It has been reported that this Flotilla rescued over 2,000 people during the invasion.

The CG 83503 was assigned to Nantucket for Search and Rescue during the 1950's and was berthed at the steamship wharf. The crew of eight lived aboard. During 1951/1952 the 503 was retrofitted for ASW and the crew increased to eleven.

The CG 83503 was decommissioned December 29, 1960 and sold August 21, 1962.


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