September 5, 2019
Needham Free Public Library
1139 Highland Avenue
Needham, MA 02494
Bob Begin—The Rescue Of The Squalus
Thursday, September 5, 2019
On the morning of May 23, 1939, the new submarine Squalus, was preparing for a
test dive off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Captain Oliver Naquin expected this to be a routine dive, returning to Portsmouth within a few hours. At 8:30 a.m. the order “Rig For Dive” was given, and the Squalus slipped below
the surface. Within moments, what should have been a routine event turned into an out-of-control crisis as the boat started to sink rapidly by the stern. With no power, heat, or communications, a limited supply of breathable air, and the realization that, as of 1939, there had never been a successful rescue of men from a stranded submarine, the crew knew their situation was desperate. The story of how the Squalus was found, the extensive number of dives needed for the the safe retrieval of 33 men, and her ultimate salvage from the bottom reflect courage, dedication, and lessons learned for future rescues.
This is sponsored by the Library Foundation of Needham.