September 26, 2019

Grant Gately Square

At the corner of Massachusetts Ave and Huntington Ave is Grant Gately Square. This is named after ENSIGN Grant Gately who died onboard the U.S.S Ticonderoga in 1918.

U.S.S Ticonderoga on September 29, 1918

This is a brief version of the story told by George S. Tapley who was the chief quartermaster on the U.S.S Ticonderoga:

On the night of September 29, the U.S.S Ticonderoga was under attack by a German submarine. The submarine was about a mile away. The men on the U.S.S Ticonderoga fought back until the submarine took out all the long-range fighting guns. The boat started to sink from a direct torpedo hit by the German submarine.

As the boat was sinking, some of the men manage to get on a small raft. Another small boat came by and those that weren't injured managed to swim to the other boat. However, A storm was brewing and it was impacting the ability for the raft to stay with the boat and get the injured passengers.

Grant had the opportunity to get on the small boat - as he was an uninjured ranking officer. He decided to stay with three injured men on the raft.

The small boat made many attempts to get the men off of the raft but due to the storm and night, they were unable to get close. The boat drifted nearby hoping the morning light would make it easy to find the raft and the other seamen. At the first light, they looked around and never saw the raft. The boat drifted for about five days before being rescued by the British.

Ten officers and 102 men were lost that night.

Grant Square
The tablet on the Symphony Hall building - it is 98 years old.

Things I learned

He died in battle on September 30, 1918 - 42 days before the end of World War One.

The square was dedicated on November 28, 1920.

The tablet that is on the Symphony Hall was placed on November 21, 1921.

Grant Gately lived at 176 Huntington Ave, which is next to the Midtown Hotel - right down the street. (You can almost see the tablet from 176 Huntington Ave.)

Grant Gately body was never found, and still classified as Missing In Action. His name is on the Tablets of the Missing Suresnes American Cemetery in Suresnes, France.

The U.S.S Ticonderoga was once a German steamer name Camilla Rickmers.

It dropped behind her convoy because of engine trouble.

In 1920, there were 5 squares named after World War One heros:

  • Grant G Gately Sq - Corner of Massachusetts Ave and Huntington Ave.
  • James M. Hines Sq, - Corner of Cedar St and Center St.
  • James J. Murphy Sq, - Corner of Roxbury St and Guild Row.
  • Morris Friedman Sq. - Copeland St and Waverly St.
  • James H. Coyle Sq. - Corner of Washington and Market St.

Boston Globe Interview - February 1919

When he was in Boston during a schedule leave in February 1918, he did an interview with the Boston Globe. According to the Boston Globe story, he said: "all that stood between himself and happiness in France was the longing for a plate of beans."

In the interview he also mentioned that he didn't always wear a life preserver. "We are not always thinking about the submarines. Our Daily work keeps our min pretty well occupied - you are giving yourself a little of the percentage if you keep one on."

The Globe story ends with "Gately expects to make another trip soon. He is very fond of the sea He is a bit of an adventurer, and figures that there is only one thing to do when a sub take a shot at you an that is keep your "bean."

Plaque Saying

Grant Gately Square
Named in Honor of
Grant Gately, Ensign USN
Born in Boston, September 27, 1894
Died Heroically When U.S.S Ticonderoga
was sunk in mid-ocean by a German Submarine
September 30, 1918
He Yield his Allotted place in a lifeboat
that a Comrade might be saved
Placed by
Back Bay Post 117 The American Legion
MCMXXI

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