Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Trawler Search Reveals Loss of Harwich Dragger

Boston Globe Jan 13, 1947

The search for the missing Boston trawler Belle continued by air and sea today, as the Coast Guard reported that another fishing vessel, the 33-foot dragger Minnie M. of Harwich had sunk with two lives feared lost.

The sunken hull of the Minnie M. was located this morning, a mile from the Monomoy Point Coast Guard station and a quarter of a mile offshore. There was little hope for the lives of her crewmen, Leon N. Long and Clyde Eldridge of Chatham, although both were strong swimmers and might have reached shore.

Five huge Coast Guard search planes were scanning 50,000 square miles of sea southeast of Boston today on the theory that the 113-foot steel-hulled Belle had become disabled and drifted far south of her course. One of the planes was diverted to Harwichport temporarily to assist in attempting to locate any trace of the Minnie M.'s men.

The Belle's position was last reported Thursday, when skipper Peter Linehan of Houghs Neck radioed that she was 100 miles east of Boston, headed home from the Grand Banks with 60,000 pounds of cod.

Her owners, the Standard Fish Company of 143 Atlantic Ave., Boston, believe that her engine was disabled and her ice-encrusted radio antenna torn down by the storms which have raged offshore since her disappearance. It was revealed today that the ship carried no radioman to repair a damaged set.

Yesterday's Coast Guard search covered more than 10,000 square miles of sea, east and north of Boston. All planes were radar equipped and the entire area was scanned. However, there was a strong likelihood that the 50-mile northwest wind had driven the Belle southward.

Today's weather was perfect for searching, with good visibility and only moderate northerly winds.

The Coast Guard was broadcasting continually to all ships at sea, asking them to watch for the missing trawler. In the hope that the Belle's receving radio was still operative, the air-sea rescue unit sent out frequent messages, urging the missing ship to fasten a sheet to her rigging, so she could be distinguished from scores of other trawlers at sea.

Crew members, in addition to Capt. Linehan, were Edward. A. Trott, 111 Inman St., Cambridge, second engineer; Edward Dunn, 101 Sydney St., Dorchester, mate; Howard R. Strum, 25 Pearl Terrace, Cambridge; Patrick Jackman, 27 Folsom St., Dorchester; John McCue, 143 Bowdoin ST., Dorchester, Abbot Place, 8 Center ST., Goucester, Leonard FOote, 19 Burget Ave., Medford; Gerald Maloney, 3 Chauncey St., Cambridge; STephen Dunn, 14 HIghland St., Roxbury; Martin Armstrong, 4 Cross St., Dorchester; William Squires, 35 K St., South Boston, John Russell, Patrick J. Aylward, Thomas Rossiter and Edward Ernst, all of Gloucester.

Dragger Sank off Monomoy

The Harwichport dragger Minnie M. put to sea yesterday, seeking mussels for sale to New York fishermen as bait. She was reported missing when she failed to return last night. Early this morning, a motor lifeboat from the Coast Guard's Chatham station sighter her mast protruding from the water at Monomoy Point.

Because the dragger was only a quarter of a mile offshore, it was believed her skipper, Leon N. Long had made an attemtp tp beach her after she had sprung a leak. The boat was 30 years old, but in good condition. She had no tender. She was owned by Peter Gillingham of Brewster.

Both crewmen are married. Long who is 57, has five children. Eldrige is 38 and has three children.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Canadian Cutter Joins Search for Missing Trawler

Boston Globe Jan 14, 1947

Heavy weather forced suspension of the air search for the missing Boston trawler Belle tiday, but the Coast Guard cutter Bibb and the Canadian cutter MacBrien continued to scan the seas for the 113-foot fishermen which was four days overdue.

Yesterday's 50,000 square-mile sweep of waters southeast of Boston completed an air search of all areas in which the Belle might be operating or into which she might have drifted.

Despite lowering visibility and increasing winds today, Coast Guardsmen, owners of the trawler and families of the 17 crew members remained optimistic. The Belle is a stout, steel-hulled ship, believed capable of withstanding worse weather than that of the last few days.

The only grim note was injected by a man who formerly captained a craft of the same type. "They're new and they sailed beautifully during the Summer", this man said. "But they look a little top-heavy to me. When winter came I decided to take a vacation. I didn't like the idea of what might happen when ice packed on that superstrucure and threw off the balance."

Plans called for renewal of the air search as soon as the weather improved. The Navy has volunteered "any number" of planes, to assist the five Coast Guard craft which took part in yesterday's sweep.

The cutter Bibb was intercepted and assigned to the search while she was en route to Boston from a northern weather patrol station. Canadian Northwest Mounted Police volunteered the services of the MacBrien, reporting that ship was already patrolling the Brown's Bank area.

The Belle is owned by the Standard Fish Company of Atlantic Ave., Boston, and captained by Pete Linehan of Houghs Neck.

Thick Weather Today May Block Search for Trawler, 17 Men

Boston Globe Jan 14, 1947

As thick weather closed in over the North Atlantic last night, threatening to cancel another search by planes today for the Boston trawler Belle, two cutters were pressed into the four-day hunt for the missing vessel and her crew of 17.

Five Coast Guard planes flew in at dusk from a 400-mile sweep of the ocean southeast of Cape Ann without sighting the 113-foot fisherman, overdue from the Grand Banks and disabled.

While planes flew a hunt for the Belle, the Coast Guard cutter Algonquin raced from Portland, Me., to the Gloucester dragger Curlew drifting in high breaking seas 165 miles east by south of Gloucester with a cracked propeller shaft.

The skipper of the Belle, Capt. Peter Linehan of Houghs Neck, radioed last Thursday he was 100 miles east of Boston heading home with 60,000 pounds of cod. No further radio contact has been made with the trawler, and Coast Guard Air-Sea-Rescue headquarters at Boston last night believed the vessel's diesel engines as well as her radio had broken down.

The Coast Guard readied three planes to take of today from Salem and Qunoset, R.I., for a "ladder launch" to the southeast of the area swept yesterday and Saturday.

The air sweep will extend from Cashes Ledge off Cape Ann to between 150 and 175 miles off the New Jersey coast, and will complete full coverage of the ocean area between the Grand Banks and Georges.

New England State Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police report no trace of the Belle in ports of refuge harbors from New York to Nova Scotia. All ships off the Atlantic Coast have been alerted to watrch for the trawler.

Weather Blocks Air Search for Boston Trawler

Boston Globe Jan. 15, 1947

Search for the missing Boston trawler Belle and her crew of 17 Greater Boston men was retarded for a second straight day as new storms churned the North Atlantic and waters off New England today.

Coast Guard and Navy planes stood ready to take off if the fog lifted and winds abated, but there was little likelihood of improvement in conditions before nightfall.

Meanwhile, the Navy tug Nipmuc, the Coast Guard cutter Ingham and the Canadian tug Foundation Franklin sped to the assistance of the crippled 7163-ton Canadian freighter Tecumseh Park, being pounded by terrific waves 840 miles east of Halifax. According to the Associated Press the ship radioed she was making five knots in heavy seas. The United States Army transport Gen. M.L. Hersey was standing by the Tecumseh Park, which had sent out two SOS calls.

Nine Big Navy Planes to Hunt for Trawler

Boston Globe Jan 16, 1947

Nine big naval observatrion planes have been ordered to stand by at Quonset Base in Rhode Island and, with clear weather, to search for the Boston trawler Belle, the 1st Naval District announced today.

The Coaat Guard, meanwhile, is pressing a request to high naval command of ra naval aircraft carrier based at Newport, R.I., also to take part in the search for the trawler, missing since Jan. 9 with a crew of 17 men.

It was reported to the Coast Guard by the Navy that the single place fighter planes of the aircraft carrier would not be as practical in the search as the observationplanes which carry specially trained observers.

At Quonset VX-4 Squadron has been ordered to the alert and have made their planes ready for the break in the clouds. It is forecast that a break in the weather may come tonight or tomorrow morning and, if so, the planes will go out to sea. The planes are the PB I-WS type which have an extraordinary long range and carry the latest radar devices.

Coast Guard planes which have already covered 6000 miles in the search also await clear weather to continue the search.

Since Jan. 9 when a radio was received that she was battling high seas in a storm 140 miles from Boston, the Belle has been missing. A report today from the Coast Guard cutter Bibb, returning to Boston from her weather station, reported no sign of the missing Belle.

Planes to Use Radar in Hunt for Missing Trawler

Boston Daily Globe Jan 16, 1947

With the search for the trawler Belle hampered by murky weather, the fate of the Boston fishing vessel which has been missing with a crew of 17 and 60,000 pounds of fish since Jan. 9, remained a mystery today.

While the wives and 24 children of six members of the Greater Boston crew hopefully maintain their long vigil, Coast Guard planes which covered 6000 miles in search of the missing 131-foot trawler before nasty weather set in, today prepared to renew the quest with radar-equipped Navy aircraft as soon as the ceiling clears.

The missing ship, last heard from Jan. 9, when her captain radioed that her engines were disabled and that she was at the mercy of the sea 100 miles east of Boston, is believed vy the Coast Guard to hve been swept far off that position by foul weather.

Waterfront sources, however, said the sturdy craft should have little trouble remaining afloat, but expressed some concern over the weight of ice that might cake the ship as a result of the weather.

Meanwhile United STates and Canadian Coast Guard cutters continue to hunt for the vessel, which has been at sea since Dec. 31. She was bound for Boston from the fishing banks when she became disabled.

The Belle was provisioned with a month's supply of food and water when she sailed.

This morning while nearing Boston, the Cosat Guard cutter Bibb, returning from weather station duty in the North Atlantic, radioed that it had been unable to locate the Belle in areas searched during the return trip.

Bombers Search Sea for Boston Trawler as Skies Clear Again

Boston Globe Jan. 17, 1947

With the advent of the first fair weather in three days, Navy and Coast Guard airfields ordered several bombers into the air today to search for the Boston trawler Belle, missing at sea since Jan. 9 with a crew of 17 Greater Boston men.

Included in the group of Coast Guard and Navy bombers, placed at Coast Guard disposal for the search, are three radar-equipped Flying Fortresses from the Naval Air Station at Quonset, R.I.

Other planes aiding in the search for the stricken vessel, which was 100 miles east of Boston when her skipper, Capt. Peter Linehan of Quincy, radioed a week ago last night that her engine was disabled and she was drifting, are two Coast Guard Catalinas and two F-17's from Floyd Bennett Field, N.Y; one Coast Guard Mariner Patrol bomber from the Salem Air-Sea Rescue Station; and a third Catlina bomber from the Quonset, R.I. base.

In the belief that strong northwest winds may have blown the missing vessel far off the position where she was last heard from, the planes will make an intensive search of an area of 45,000 square miles -- within a line running from the southern tip of Nova Scotia 250 miles to the south and then 250 miles west.

The 113-foot steel vessel, which was launched last May, was returning from Nova Scotia fishing banks with its catch when disabled. She was provisioned with a month's supply of food and water.

Tensely awaiting word of the whereabouts of the Belle, ownded by Standard Fisheries of Boston, are the wives and 24 children of six of her crew members.