WWII Navy ship’s bell mystery and news from Capt Lester S Wass American Legion Post 3
Commander Mark Nestor welcomed the city’s Tourism Commission to the Capt. Lester S Wass American Legion Post 3, Gloucester, MA. Gloucester Congressman A. Piatt Andrew (1873-1936) founded the American Field Service and was instrumental in forming the National American Legion at this post. It’s the third oldest in the country, and its 100th anniversary in 2019 is fast approaching.
The Legion has a new website http://www.post3.org/
It was pushed along by the requests for an on line drive to support legionnaires suffering as a result of recent hurricane Harvey/Irma.
The building and legion accommodate thousands of visitors annually. The building itself was constructed ca.1844 and is one of the greatest examples of residents crowd sourcing together to purchase a municipal building. The architecture serves an enduring patriotic role: first as a Town Hall, then school, and since WW1 the Legion Post 3.
Nestor expressed gratitude for the city. This past summer they restored the wood floors, which brightened the space from the everyday black/brown grime of the past 20 years. They’ve greatly improved the space and display. A museum mount for the handwritten contemporaneous Official City Clerk copy of the WW1 army and navy register is a high light. A writer has already relied on it for original research.
The Legion is open to the community and rented for private events. There is a private recreation room for veterans which is under renovation. Upkeep and care of the building is ongoing.
CAN YOU HELP SOLVE THE WW II SHIP’s BELL MYSTERY?
Can you help identify the WWII naval vessel? The bell belonged to Reverend John J. Sheehan who was a Navy Chaplain. “It’s believed the bell was from the vessel he served on, but the ship remains unknown.” Sheehan’s cousin donated the ship bell to the Post. From the Legion’s plaque:
“After World War I, Reverend Sheehan served as Director at Camp Stella Maris for more than 40 years. It was a summer camp for youth located in West Gloucester. Its name is inscribed on the bell. Reverend Sheehan was also the National Chaplain for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He also served as Pastor in a number of Catholic parishes on the north shore. The bell was dedicated to a Stephen Chamberlin. Stephen Chamberlin was a Ret. Lieutenant General who served in the army during WWII and was the Asst. Chief of Staff,G-3 in General Douglas Macarthur’s General Headquarters in the southwest Pacific area. His relationship to Reverend Sheehan is unknown.”
The commemorative coin celebrating the Capt Lester S Wass Post No. 3 100th anniversary and the Cape Ann Veterans Services coin are for sale.
Adam Curcuru, Director Cape Ann Veterans Services, attended the meeting and remarked how great it was “to see our Veterans organizations being utilized to support our great communities.”