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Motor Torpedo Boat Photo Archive


78' Higgins Motor Torpedo Boat:

  • Laid down 3 May 1945 by Higgins Industries, New Orleans, LA
  • Launched 23 June 1945
  • Completed 26 October 1945
  • Reclassified as a Small Boat 16 November 1945
  • After the war ended PT-796 was used in the Key West/Miami area for experimental purposes
  • The "Tail Ender" was retired from service in the late 1950s
  • On 14 August 1976, PT-796 came to Battleship Cove. "It's a great day for me and all PT boaters," the bosun's voice rang out. James M. "Boats" Newberry, then president of PT Boats, Inc. and once chief
    bosun of MTBRon 9, spoke to a crowd of thousands assembled to welcome our Higgins to Battleship Cove. PT-796 had traveled from Pensacola, FL to Memphis, TN on her own bottom after the Navy turned her over to Mr. Newberry in 1970. She rested on an island in the Mississippi River at Memphis until city fathers decided they'd rather not have a PT Boat museum. She went overland to Deltaville, Virginia by truck. There she underwent restorative work before being towed to Fall River, Massachusetts. After thousands of miles in the water, our Higgins was hauled out, placed on a concrete pad for several years and then moved under the protection of a Quonset and is presently on display at Battleship Cove Naval Museum Fall River, Massachusetts.


  • Displacement 48 t.
  • Length 78'
  • Beam 20' 8"
  • Draft 4'
  • Speed 41 kts.
  • Complement 11
  • Armament: One 40mm mount, four 21" torpedoes, two twin .50 cal. machine guns, one 37mm mount, eight Mk 6-300lb. depth charges and two 20mm mount
  • Propulsion: Three 1,500shp Packard W-14 M2500 gasoline engines, three shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    PT-796 68k "Tail Ender"
    PT-796 125k 20 January 1961
    Washington, DC
    Painted as PT-109 for President John F. Kennedy's inauguration parade. It is seen here passing the reviewing stand
    PT-796 107k 15 July 1970
    Memphis, TN
    Photo caption:

    PT-796, last PT still in operation churns up the Wolf River at Memphis Tuesday [14 July], following a trip up the Mississippi from New Orleans. Donated by the Navy, the boat will become part of a PT boat museum in Memphis. Tied atop her mast is a broom, symbol of mission accomplished
    Associated press Wirephoto res31920mbr
    Joe Radigan
    PT-796 56k At Battleship Cove Naval Museum, Fall River, MA
    Photo courtesy of USS Massachusetts Memorial Committee, 1985
    Robert Hurst
    PT-796 137k At Battleship Cove Naval Museum, Fall River, MA

    There is no DANFS history available for PT-796
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Historic Naval Ships Association
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    This page created by Joseph M. Radigan and maintained by Tom Bateman
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