The Melville area of Portsmouth is the home of a marina now, but it played a vital role in the war effort during World War II.  In November of 1945 the PT base at Melville was de-commissioned, but by then it had trained approximately 2,500 officers and 20,000 men for duty on Patrol Torpedo boats. The base was known as the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Training Center at Melville.   The small but fast PT boats saw duty in the Pacific against the Japanese and were used in the Atlantic and Mediterranean as well.

The training base at Melville was commissioned in the spring of 1942.  Approximately 45 different squadrons of PT boats were trained at Melville which was the only training facility for the PT boats.  Captain William C. Speech was the commanding officer of Melville.  The training period consisted of a three month course with one of those months onboard a PT Boat.

John F. Kennedy was one of those trained at Melville.  On September 27, 1942, Kennedy entered the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Training Center.  He was promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) during the training.   He completed his training there on December 2 and he took over command of a torpedo boat in early 1943.  He ended up in the Pacific and the story of the sinking of PT 109 and Kennedy’s rescue of a crew member became famous when Kennedy ran for President.

The PT crews received a number of commendations for heroism and the small but swift PT boat was recognized for its value in the war effort.

Melville has been the site of other Navy operations.  During the Civil War it was the location of Lovell Hospital.  In the 1890s it was known as the Bradford Coaling Station were coal was stored until it was loaded onto ships.  Later on it was converted to a fuel depot.  In its earlier days, the Melville area was known as Portsmouth Grove.  It was the site of a recreational park with games ( ten pin bowling) and rides (like a merry go round). There was a dock for the steam ships to bring customers for a day of fun and recreation.

Today Melville is used as a recreational area.


Melville Marina