The Boat That Won WWII – Higgins Boat

WWII Higgins Boat

Rare WWII boat leaves Keys! Two days ago I received an email from one of our valued readers informing me that this treasured WWII icon is now gone. I can ONLY hope that it went to a museum or collector to be restored and put on display and NOT to the scrap heap. This is a tribute to that WWII HERO and to the fact that nothing stays the same… not even in the Keys. Now get out there and enjoy other blog subjects before they too are gone. Here’s my tribute blast from the past blog:

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What in the world is a Higgins Boat? For those of you who’ve seen the movie ‘Saving Private Ryan’ you may recall the opening minutes where the army troops are on a landing craft approaching the beach on D-Day as the very graphic lead starts flying in as the front ramp falls to the shore. That my friend is a Higgins boat!

The Higgins Boat has a flat bottom and is made of both plywood & metal plating to protect the troops. Over 20,000 of the thirty-six foot Higgins Boats were made. This wartime hero also came in the lesser made but larger versions of 56’, 70’ and 78’ landing crafts (only 199 of the latter were ever made). Original Higgins Boats used by our British allies were flawed having no front ramp. With no ramp, the oven laden soldiers were forced to bail over the sides with many drowning under the weight of the very equipment that was supposed to keep them alive. The front landing ramp concept was stolen from the design of an existing Japanese barge.

“Andrew Higgins is the man who won the war for us.” -said President Dwight D. Eisenhower 1964. There’s a memorial for the WWII famous Higgins Boat in Columbus, Nebraska which is the hometown of inventor Andrew Jackson Higgins. It looks like a D-Day memorial with an all metal Higgins Boat, ramp down and three soldiers with weapons ready, charging onto a beach.

I found this former World War II HERO jewel of a gem in a JUNK YARD of all places at Mile Marker 9.3 bayside on US-1 just north of Key West. I’d love to see one our readers take charge and turn this rusting junk yard relic into a restored masterpiece in its rightful time-honored position in a museum or military display for all to see and enjoy!

21 Comments

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21 responses to “The Boat That Won WWII – Higgins Boat

  1. Great feature. I don’t suppose this craft is still in the same junk yard and up for sale?

    • As a matter of fact it is both still there and for sale! I passed it yesterday as I drove down from Miami to Key West for New Years Eve. As being for sale, when I took the photo the employee at the salvage yard said it was for sale and asked if I was interested in buying it. Let me know if you need more information on where to find it, I’ll be more than happy to help you in any way I can. I’d love to see it end up in some sort of a display or museum. Art

  2. is it still for sale? 🙂 I live in scotland and do second world war re-enacting of the 2nd Ranger Battalion and unlike many other groups all out kit is original and I even have an original diamond patch! I am very curious in this! 🙂

    Scott

    • Hello Scott from Scotland, Thanks for reading and commenting on the Higgins Boat Blog. It was still there about one month ago as I drove by. I’ll be going down again this Friday thru Sunday and I’ll let you know once I return. I’d love to see that end up having a proper home where it could be admired and respected as it should be instead of rusting away in a junkyard.
      Thanks,
      Mr. 365 Days

    • Scott, I almost forgot… what part of Scotland do you live? I just returned from Lockerbee & Edinburgh, I remember Princess Street was all torn up with them laying tracks for some sort of tram or trolly system in Edinburgh.
      Mr. 365 Days

  3. Ron

    Is it still for sale? Very interested! Ron@wefings.com

  4. Hello,
    I am with an association called Freedom Vehicles. We use military items such as trucks, uniforms, gear, tents, and other such things to promote patriotism. We do this because we as Americans are forgetting what it takes and what it is to be free. If you would like to you could donate to us. You may donate in the form of money, vehicles, uniforms or other such things.
    I would love it if you could tell me How much it is and if it is still for sale. We would use this item much. In displays and probably if we could do a good restoration on it we could give rides in it to show people what the conditions were like. Email me back if you can help me.
    Feel free to look at our website to see more of what we do what we have done and what we plan to do. You may visit our website at:
    http://www.freedomvehicles.org/

    Thank you for reading this
    Freedom Vehicles

    • Ron Copeland

      I contacted them in the Higgins boat is gone.

      >

      • Oh my, after all of those years. I was going down there on New Years to check it out for another reader. Did they say if it went to a WWII collector?

      • Ron Copeland

        No he didn’t say. He told me about 2 more that were in use (1 delivers materials and workers to an island daily and the other is sitting in the water) and who to contact. These crafts were from a later era, however, probably Korean War. He believes the other one was also.

        >

      • Ron Copeland

        I called the local Advance auto parts and they gave me his number.

        >

      • Ron, I wanted to let you know that I ran a tribute blog today and mentioned that a valued reader had informed us of its departure. Thanks so very much for reading our blogs and informing us. Mr. 365 Days

    • I received an email two days ago informing me that the Higgins Boat is now gone. I hope it was you or another collector/museum that ended up with it. If so, please let me know. Thanks, Mr. 365 Days

  5. on a higgins boat…converted and with a bow now–but original navy buddha engine–

  6. I live on a higgins boat-is the first line of my previous comment…

  7. johncutler121

    Please check out this tribute I created for my departed grandfather: Diary of a Higgins Boat Sailor in the Pacific http://www.bigjohnsadventuresintravel.com/diary-of-a-higgins-boat-sailor-in-the-pacific/

  8. How LONG COULD SOLDIERS TRAVEL IN THE HIGGINS BOAT? hopefully NOT OVER NIGHT, So WHERE WERE THE MEN WHEN THEY LOADED THEM IN THE BOATS?

    • Hello Sue,
      The Higgins boats were meant to be used from Ship-To-Shore navigating in shallower water since the bottom of the boats were flat. The solders are staged ready for loading on the Higgins boats from larger transport ships several miles off shore normally out of the range of the enemies oceanfront artillery.

      Thanks for reading our blog.
      Mr. 365 Days

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