Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • World War I 1917-1918
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James Woolley (Tug)

1918–1936

The Navy retained the name carried by this vessel at the time of her acquisition.

(Tug: tonnage 92 (gross registered); length 80'9"; beam 21'0"; draft 8'6½", depth 9'10"; complement 11)

James Woolley, a wooden-hull single-screw tug completed in 1899 at East Boston, Mass., by the Atlantic Works, was purchased in 1918 from the Commercial Wharf Towboat Co., and assigned to the First Naval District. Commissioned on 18 June 1918, James Woolley operated in the waters of that district for the duration of her U.S. Navy service, providing tug and tow services and pilot assistance. During that time, she was classified as a harbor tug, YT-45, on 17 July 1920.


James Woolley underway off the Portsmouth [N.H.] Navy Yard, 22 September 1926. Note the ladder secured in a vertical position on the starboard side – to allow easier access to ships with higher freeboard. Close investigation of this image shows the ship’s name board above the pilot house showing the full name JAMES WOOLLEY. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 52174)
Caption: James Woolley underway off the Portsmouth [N.H.] Navy Yard, 22 September 1926. Note the ladder secured in a vertical position on the starboard side – to allow easier access to ships with higher freeboard. Close investigation of this image shows the ship’s name board above the pilot house showing the full name JAMES WOOLLEY. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 52174)

Decommissioned on 11 April 1932, James Woolley was stricken from the Navy Register on 22 July 1936.

Six months later, on 22 December 1936, three days before Christmas, Hall Tug & Barge Corp. of Boston acquired James Woolley. The sturdy little tug retained her name but changed hands four times in succeeding years: Reid’s Shipyard, Boston (1953), Boston Sand & Gravel Co. (1957), John S. Bottomly, Boston (1963), and Arthur J. Fournier, Somerville, Mass. (1964). She remained active into the mid-1960s.

Robert J. Cressman
28 September 2020

Published: Mon Sep 28 13:40:47 EDT 2020