Navy Enlisted F/V Superior for War Duty in 1942 From Bill Hubbard

Here’s a short piece for GMG that should have inerest for some Glouceser and Essex Families.  I’ve written in the past about my grandfather’s dragger "Superior" and her WW-II enlistment by the Navy.  Now, I’ve dinally documented that service but, found out that my uncle, Capt. Ronald Dahlmer was also enlisted and served as her skipper while in navy serevice.  The story is attached and so is a picture of Superior the way she looked in 1942.
Note I have copywrighted the article as it will be included it in a short book I’m writing.  I hereby give you and Good Morning Gloucester permission to publish it in whole or in part.
Bill Hubbard
William D. Hubbard

Navy Enlisted F/V Superior for War Duty in 1942
And Enlisted Ronald G. Dahlmer to Skipper Her

Superior with whaleback bow

Early in WW-2 the navy faced a bleak future with many German Submarines lurking off our Atlantic Coast and few vessels and aircraft to combat them.  One stop-gap measure was to enlist small coastal craft and fit them with light armament and powerful radios to patrol for and report enemy subs.  Nearly 300 such vessels were enlisted from their owners, refitted for naval or coast guard service and sent on patrol.

The 110’ Dragger Superior was owned by my grandfather Capt. John A. Dahlmer and skippered by my uncle Capt. Ronald G.Dahlmer, two of the Gloucester’s  Michigan Bears  She was one of 12 Essex-built craft enlisted by the Navy in 1942 and converted for naval service at the US Naval Dry Dock in South Boston, Mass.  Armed with 3 single 20mm guns, she was placed into service as YP-433.

Capt. Ronald G. Dahlmer enlisted in the navy on the Forth of July, 1942.  Because of his long experience and having the perquisite Coast Guard licenses, he enlisted at the rank of Chief Boatswain’s Mate and assigned to Superior, YP-433.  On 10 Dec.1943, while Captain of YP-433, Ronald was promoted to Chief Master Boatswain(AA)M2.

Superior served until 1945 when she was returned to Gloucester and the Dahlmer family.
Her first duty had been Anti-Submarine Patrol and later she delivered gasoline, food and other supplies to US and allied weather stations in Newfoundland and Greenland.

Superior was built in 1932 at the Story Shipyard in Essex.  Her keel was the last laid down by noted shipwright Arthur D. Story.  There were at least eleven other vessels built in Essex at either the Story or James shipyards that were familiar in Gloucester and also taken by the navy in 1942.  They included:  Antares, Raymonde, St. Anthony, Therese M. Boudreau, Elivra Gaspat, Edith L. Boudreau, Donald Arsenault, Rainbow, Babe Sears, Alvin T. Fuller and Ronald And Mary.   All were returned to their owners in 1945 or 1946 except Raymonde which the navy sold and the Donald Amerault which was sunk by submarine gunfire off Ft. Lauderdale Florida while on patrol.


  • Thanks for the interesting article. I think you may want to check the meaning of perquisite as used in the third paragraph.


  • Thanks, Greg. I meant to write prerequisite


  • Bill,

    I’m a Gloucester boy and am writing a book about Coastal Defense from Pearl Harbor to the fall of 1943. Please contact me at I’d be interested in additional info. Thanks – Don


  • Dr.MacCuish,
    I’ll be in tourch via email. Thanks for your interest.


  • Bill,
    My father was skipper of the YP-446, originally the Alvan T. Fuller, so your uncle and my father were sailing on sister ships (while they lasted) during part of WWII. I’m reading the logbooks from that time and see that the YP-443 and the YP-433 were occasionally docked alongside one another in the winter of 1942-43 at the Ambrose Section Base, Tompkinsville, Staten Island, New York. The YP-446 was taken out of service in Boston on March 19, 1943. The records I have report she was returned to her owners – the Pioneer Vessel Corporation – through J. Williams Darcy, Secretary, on May 18, 1943, and that the owner was paid $15,000 for the cost of refitting the ship for fishing operations.
    I’m writing a narrative about my father’s WWII years and have surmised that his months patrolling the Atlantic n the YP-446 were at least as harrowing as those he spent in the Pacific – even more harrowing in some respects. Thanks for posting what you know about the YP-433. If you’d like to talk more about this, I’m at
    Anne Wheelock (Boston, MA)


  • Whoops! I made a mistake in my post.
    My information refers to the YP-443, not the YP-433.
    I apologize.


  • my dad geral f goodwin told me that he had captained this trawler at some time. it was before 1948 does anyone know/


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