The mystery on the disappearance of the PT-59, a ship helmed by J. F. Kennedy, finally be solved ?

Prior to becoming president of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy held the function of commander of a patrol boat during the Second World War. His first

The mystery on the disappearance of the PT-59, a ship helmed by J. F. Kennedy, finally be solved ?

Prior to becoming president of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy held the function of commander of a patrol boat during the Second World War. His first ship, PT-109, was destroyed in a collision with a japanese destroyer. The second, the PT-59, survived the war, before disappearing in the 70s in the waters of Manhattan...

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Until the end of the month of may last, when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), in charge of public transport in New York, has, according to information from the New York Times, emerged from the waters a strange carcass of a boat in the Harlem river, .

The company cleaned the area to build a dam to $ 610 million, which is supposed to protect the coast of a possible hurricane after the flooding caused by hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The PT-59 in the Solomon islands during the Second world War. Photoquest via

once rescued, the wreck - a few planks of wood probably from the hull - has been submitted to the analysis of a team of archaeologists and historians. According to them, these could well belong to the patrol boat PT-59, which Kennedy commanded from September to November 1943, during its passage in the United States Navy. "A supplementary chapter unknown" in the life of JFK, overshadowed by his adventures on the PT-109, " says William Doyle, author of a biography on the former president.

patrol boat to fishing boat

PT-109 sank in 1943 after being rammed by a japanese destroyer in the waters of the Pacific. Kennedy managed to save his crew, which earned him to be awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his conduct extremely heroic".

Recounted in an article in the New Yorker , this episode has participated in building the reputation of war hero john f. Kennedy, and then to elect him to the highest offices of the country.

Kennedy saved his crew after the sinking in August 1943 the patrol ship PT-109, he was the commander. Everett/CSU/Bridgeman images

As for the PT-59, JFK used it to attack several ships of the japanese war and even managed to rescue a crew of ten men of the u.s. Navy.

At the end of the war, the PT-59 is sold, its machine guns removed and its engines replaced by diesel engines more economical to make it a fishing boat. First renamed Sun Tan and Sea Queen V, the boat was purchased in 1970 for the modest sum of 1000 dollars per an English teacher by the name of Redmond Burke.

Damaged by a fire, the boat turns in a barge under the hands of the teacher, which was moored in a dock-abandoned Harlem river.

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He lives there for several years, unaware of the illustrious history of the houseboat. "This was an adventure for me," said the former professor, now 80 years old, the New York Times. "An adventure between me, the rats and the few dead bodies that came floating". One of his students, who was doing research on the PT-109, inform them of the celebrity status of the boat. Redmond Burke will next try to sell it to a collector of the archives of JFK, but the agreement could not be reached.

An identity to be confirmed

He finally gives up in the middle of the years 70, leaving him sinking to the bottom of the river. The biographer William Doyle had already expressed, in 2017 the desire to organize excavations in the river in order to find the PT-59, after having himself collected a sample of the wood of the wreck. A laboratory analysis had allowed him to assert that it corresponded to a type of wood used to build the PT-59.

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beyond the testimony of Redmond Burke and the discovery by William Doyle, no other element allows for the time to confirm that it is indeed the PT-59 from JFK. The identity of the ship could, however, be certified if a piece composed of a marking of naval were to be found on the wreck.

while waiting to learn more about the mysterious craft, the leaders of the MTA to negotiate a possible acquisition of the remains of the ship with the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston and the maritime museum Battleship Cove in Fall River (Massachusetts).

SEE ALSO How Jackie Kennedy has orchestrated the legend of JFK

Updated Date: 16 June 2020, 04:47

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