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A chief, or sachem, of the Kennebec tribe who resided at Norridgewock, on the Kennebec River in what is now the state of Maine. Although Bomazeen signed a treaty with the English in 1693, he was captured at Pemaquid, Maine, by them under a flag of truce in 1694. Upon his release from confinement in Boston, Mass., he declared war and raided the Massachusetts settlements of Chelmsford, Sudbury, and others, in 1706, and Saco, Maine, in 1710. Although he signed a treaty of peace at Portsmouth, N.H., on 13 July 1713, he was slain by a party of soldiers under a Capt. Moulton in 1724 near Taconnet, Maine.

(YT 238: tonnage 426 (gross), 200 (net); length 142'0"; beam 27'7"; depth 14'8"; complement (merchant) 17; armament 2 .50 caliber machine guns)

The steel-hulled icebreaking steam tug Bathgate – built for the Emergency Fleet Corp. in 1919 by Kyle & Purdy, City Island, N.Y. – was inspected within the Third Naval District on 15 July 1919, prior to her completion, for possible service as a tug. Although assigned the identification number (Id.No.) 4146, Bathgate was not acquired by the Navy at that time, and she was delivered for civilian use in September 1919.

Photo of the Bathgate Bathgate about the time of her completion in 1919, when the Navy first contem-plated her as a potential addition to the fleet. (“SP Card” File, Ships History Files, Naval History and Heritage Command)
U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships Photograph 19-LCM-27253
In this stark, back-lit photograph taken on a moderately cold day, Bomazeen undergoes conversion at the Marine Basin Iron Works’ yard, Brooklyn, N.Y., 20 January 1942. Workmen can be seen painting the ship’s stack. Note error in caption: the ship was not unnamed, but was in fact Bomazeen (YT 238), not YT 238, ex-Bomazeen. (U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships Photograph 19-LCM-27253, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Branch, College Park, Md.)
U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-222614
As seen from an airship from ZP 14, Bomazeen steers course 085º on 16 March 1944 at 36º52'N, 75º12'E, two months before she was reclassified as a large harbor tug. She is towing (out of sight to the left) the cargo-laden open lighter YC 286. A man can be seen on the starboard bridge wing eyeing the airship through binoculars, while a sailor stands beside the deckhouse shading his eyes from the sun. (U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-222614, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Branch, College Park, Md.)

A world war looming on the horizon, though, prompted the Navy to once more evaluate Bathgate which, at that point, was being operated by the Meseck Towing Company of New York. On 8 November 1941, Rear Adm. Royal E. Ingersoll, Acting Chief of Naval Operations, having been “advised unofficially and in advance by the U.S. Maritime Commission” that Bathgate had been recently acquired by the latter agency and “will be available for transfer to the Navy Department if requested,” asked that the Chief of the Bureau of Ships (BuShips) “proceed with the necessary negotiations to effect the transfer of this tug to the custody of the U.S. Navy.” Consequently, having learned that the Maritime Commission was overhauling Bathgate at Marvel’s Shipyard, Newburgh, N.Y., BuShips contacted the Maritime Commission soon thereafter. “As the Navy has urgent need for a vessel of this type,” a BuShips’ representative wrote, “it is requested that the Maritime Commission arrange to transfer the Bathgate to the Navy at the earliest practicable date, delivery to be made to the Commandant, Third Naval District.” Acquired by the Navy, earmarked for service as a harbor tug (YT), Bathgate underwent conversion at Marine Basin Iron Works, Brooklyn, N.Y.  Renamed Bomazeen on 9 January 1942 and designated as YT 238, she was placed in service on 4 February 1942, 37-year old Lt. Paul L. Drouin, D-M, USNR, officer-in-charge.

After initial service at New York and in the First Naval District, Bomazeen reported for duty in the Fifth Naval District on 9 October 1942 and, but for some temporary duty at the Washington Navy Yard, remained there through the end of the war in Europe. One of the highlights of her service in the Fifth Naval District occurred in the aftermath of the collision of the tanker Montana and the freighter John Morgan in Hampton Roads during the mid watch on 1 June 1943. Intensive fire-fighting efforts ensued to save the former (the latter had exploded and sunk) that eventually overcame the flames by the end of the first dog watch on 2 June. Bomazeen and the civilian-manned salvage vessel Warbler (ARS 11) reached the scene on 6 June and began towing Montana. They arrived at Lynnhaven Roads, Va., the next day.

Bomazeen – reclassified as a large harbor tug on 15 May 1944 and redesignated as YTB 238 – was reassigned to the Eleventh Naval District in mid-1945. She departed the Submarine Base at NOB Norfolk at 1430 on 20 July 1945 with the covered lighter YF 904 in tow, bound for Tampa, Fla., on the first leg of her voyage to her new station. Pausing to fuel at Tampa (27-30 July) as well as to pick up a second tow, YF 908, the tug sailed during the afternoon of 30 July. Bomazeen fueled at Cienfuegos, Cuba, during her visit to that port (4-6 August), then reached Coco Solo, Canal Zone, during the afternoon watch on 11 August.  She fueled at Colon on the 14th, then transited the Panama Canal on 16 August. She departed Balboa with her tows on 20 August, bound for California.

Bomazeen and her two charges reached San Diego on 9 September 1945, the tug proceeding at various speeds from the forenoon watch onward due to “visibility conditions.” Wenonah (YTB 148) brought a pilot out to the newly arrived ship, who brought Bomazeen into San Diego harbor, where she moored a quarter of an hour before the end of the first watch, her voyage from Norfolk completed. The next day [10 September], the tug got underway for San Pedro.  Pausing to anchor in Los Angeles harbor for less than 30 minutes the following morning [11 September], Bomazeen reached the Wilmington Shipyard at San Pedro soon thereafter, mooring alongside Pier 200A at 1240. Shifting to Terminal Island on 17 October, the tug remained there, undergoing inactivation, into late November 1945.

Placed out of service on 29 November 1945 at Terminal Island, San Pedro, Bomazeen was stricken from the Navy list on 19 December 1945, and turned over to the War Shipping Administration on 17 March 1947 for disposal.  Renamed Sea Duke by 1948, she operated with the Shipowners & Merchants Tugboat Co., homeported at San Francisco, through 1952. She was scrapped in 1953.

 Robert J. Cressman