The Ocean Township Historical Museum is sponsoring a speaker event for “A History of Submarine Warfare Along the Jersey Shore” Tues., March 14 at 7:15 p.m.
The event will take place at the Ocean Township Board of Education Offices (Old Oakhurst School), Auditorium, 163 Monmouth Road, Oakhurst.
In their book, A History of Submarine Warfare Along the Jersey Shore, co-authors Joe Bilby and Harry Ziegler document this surprising piece of maritime history. Their findings trace the state’s connections to submarine warfare back to 1776, the year the first (and not very successful) American submarine sank in the Hudson River off Fort Lee.
The connections continue with the story of Paterson resident John Holland (1841-1914), the self-taught engineer credited with inventing the first truly viable submarine. He ran his experiments in the Passaic River.
Most fascinating perhaps are the stories of German U-boats planting mines and sinking ships off the Jersey coast during the World Wars. On “Black Sunday,” June 2 , 1918, the German sub U-151 stopped, evacuated, and sank six commercial ships along our shore. Twenty-four years later, in the early months of our involvement in World War II, German subs were back, destroying merchant ships traveling along our coast.
The public is invited to see the images and hear the full story. Speaker Joe Bilby, a Newark native, Vietnam veteran, and current Historian for the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey, has written over four hundred articles and nineteen books on New Jersey and military history. Over the years, he has generously shared his expertise and personal collection of photographs and memorabilia with our Museum.
A book signing follows the talk. And a very brief general meeting—just long enough for the election of Museum officers—opens the evening.
The speaker event is open to the public, free of charge. Donations are appreciated. Refreshments are served. The museum members also collect and welcome nonperishable items for the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
For more information, please call 732-531-2136.