New London to Host Dedication of USS Thresher Memorial

Photo NH-97544 – USS Thresher (SSN-593), underway, July 1961. Photo/U.S. Navy
Photo NH-97544 – USS Thresher (SSN-593), underway, July 1961. Photo/U.S. Navy

On November 29, 2014, from 1:00 to 3:00, the New London Public Library will host a dedication of a memorial in honor of the crew of the USS Thresher (SSN 593), which was lost at sea with 129 crewmembers on April 10, 1963.

The City Council voted unanimously to work with the William Meredith Foundation, the Disabled American Veterans, and other community sponsors to establish this memorial in New London City Hall when a scheduled refurbishment has been completed. Though initiated by the City Council, this memorial has been totally funded by foundation sponsorship and private donations.

On April 10, 1963, the Thresher sank about 220 miles east of Boston after leaving the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine for deep-diving tests. All 129 men—16 officers, 96 enlisted men and 17 civilian technicians—on board died. Among the 129 men lost were residents of New London, Groton, Norwich, Gales Ferry, Mystic, Uncasville, and Jewett City.

The memorial will feature 3 commissioned etchings by renowned artist Stoimen Stoilov, as well as William Meredith’s masterpiece poem, “The Wreck of the Thresher.” The New London High School JROTC color guard will open the ceremony after which the art works will be unveiled and presentations made by military, government and foundation representatives, including Congressman Courtney, Mayor Finizio, Councilman Passero, Command Masterchief Gladu for Naval Submarine Base New London as well as Navy representatives from New Hampshire. Family members of the lost crewmembers will be honored guests. The program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the event.