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.

Search by Planes Fails to Reveal Missing Trawler

Boston Globe Jan. 18, 1947

An all-day search under very favorable flying conditions by three Navy and five Coast Guard planes yesterday failed to reveal any trace of the missing trawler Belle. The same number of planes will be sent aloft today to continue the search which has now occupied a full week.

No word has been heard from the trawler since Jan. 9, when she radioed she would arrive the following day. The trawler is skippered by Peter Linehan of Houghs Neck and a crew of 16 men. She is owned by the Standard Fish Company, 146 Atlantic Ave.

Yesterday the search covered nearly 50,000 square miles and included most of the nearby fishing grounds from Georges Bank, south of Cape Cod, to the northernmost tip of Browns Bank and over 300 miles to sea.

Planes Abandon Hunt for Missing Trawler

Boston Globe Jan. 19, 1947

Five Coast Guard and Navy planes abandoned the eight dat hunt for the missing Boston trawler Belle at sundown last night without finding a trace of the vessel last heard from 10 days ago.

The area searched extended from the Grand Banks to the New Jersey Coast. Coast Guard headquarters declared the search would continue but pointed out that if the vesse; os sto;; afloat it has drifted beyond New England waters.

The fishing vessel was last heard from Jan. 9, when the captain, Peter Linehan, of Houghs Neck, radioed the owners, the Standard Fish Company, of Atlantic Ave. the he was heading for port with a cargo of 60,000 pounds of cod. The vessel carries a crew of 16 Boston and Gloucester men.

Trawler, 17 Men Given Up as Lost by Coast Guard

Boston Globe Jan. 21, 1947

Organized search for the Boston trawler Belle, missing for 10 days with her crew of 17 men, was abandoned yesterday by the Coast Guard.

Air-Sea-Rescue heafquarters in Boston said that a description of the 113-foot vessel would be broadcast twice a day for the next week. All ships at sea which sight the Boston fisherman or her wreckage are asked to radio immediately.

The Belle, a new, steel-hulled vessel, was last heard from Jan. 9 when her skpper, Capt. Peter Linehan of Hough's Neck, radioed he was 100 miles east of Boston and coming home with 60,000 pounds of cod from the Grand Banks.

At Boston, fellow fishermen believe the vessel became top heavy with ice and rolled over and sank in the high seas and strong windsa which have swept the North Atlantic since the Belle was last reported.

Mrs. Mildred Howlett, sister of Stephen Dunn, 36, of 47 Roxbury St., came to Boston to claim her brother's belongings. She said she remembered "only too well of the two weeks she had spent with him in July that it would be the last time she would ever see him again."

Lost FIshermen's Kin to Get $200 Each

Boston Globe Jan. 22, 1947

Families of the 17 men presumed lost with the Boston trawler Belle will receive the usual $200 death benefit from the treasury of the Atlantic Fishermen's Union, it was learned today.

According to union spokesmen there is little likelihood that they will receive anything from the fund provided for in the union-company contract of last September, under which 1 percent of each fisherman's pay is witheld by his company and paid over to the union. The union has had fund matters under onsideration at the meetings, and has been investigating the possibilities of insurance plans, but no decision has been reached.

The fund has only about $17,000 accumulated at this time and it is generally felt that is should accumulate to a considerably larger sum beofre dispositions from it can be made, it was said.

Seen Wrecked Off Cape Cod

Boston Globe Feb 3, 1947
First clue to the fate of the Boston trawler Belle and her crew of 17, last heard from on Jan. 9, was reported yesterday when the captain of another Boston fishing vessel landed and said he had seen the Belle's staved-in lifeboat 35 miles southeast of Highland Light, Cape Cod.

Captain Walter E. Beatteay of Concord, skipper of the Pan Trades Andros, reported he sighted the white double-ended lifeboat floating on her side at 8:30 Staurday night while homeward-bound from Georges Bank.

"I had come on deck and was standing outside the galley when I saw the lifeboat float by on our starboard side. We had our floodlights on and I could make out the letters on one side."

"I first thought it was a letter and two 7's. Then I realized the 7's were L's upside down. I just froze in my tracks. Then I leaped for the wheelhouse to stop us, and I don't think I touched a rung of the ladder."

Capt. Beatteay said he searched the area for two hours, but failed ot sight the boat again. He said he immediately called the Coast Guard and got a Loran fix on the spot, where the water is 105 fathoms in depth.

"It was the Belle's lifeboat, all right," he said. "She was partly staved in on one end, but with her air tanks was floating on one side with th e gunwale facing us. She was white, and her gray canvas boat cover was adrift at one end."

May Have Struck Lifeboat

Capt. Beatteay added he feared his vessel may have struck the lifeboat and further damaged it. He said members of the watch thought they felt the bow bump something. There was no evidence of men having been in the boat, he said.

A Coast Guard plane from the Quonset Naval Air Station searched the area reported by Capt. Beatteay, but was forced to return at noon because of poor visibility. Another air search will be made today.

Capt. Beatteay said he believed the lifeboat broke loose when, the steel-hulled Belle became top-heavy with ice and "tumbled over." He added it may have broken loose after the vessel sank.

"I think the Belle went down off Cashes Ledge," he said. She was driving home for the market and icing fast. We were hove to in that gale."

On Thursday Jan. 9, Capt. Peter Linehan of Houghs Neck. skipper of the Belle, radioed he was 100 miles east of Boston and headed home with 60,000 pounds of cod. Saturday, when the vessel failed to arrive, a search by sea and air was begun. Three weeks later it was abandoned without a treace of the Belle being found.

Skipper of Sister Ship of Belle Says Ballast Aided Performance

Boston Globe Feb. 14, 1947 Capt. Patrick McHugh of Dorchester, skipper of the trawler Josephine Ess, sister ship of the missing Boston trawler Belle, told the government inquiry yesterday into the disappearance that his vessel behaved very well at sea recently, especially since 14 tons of ballast had been added. He revealed that last December, in a 60-mile scale, the vessel "laid over" quite far and was slow to recover its balance. Capt. McHugh said he believed that all fishing vessels should be government inspected beofre they were allowed to sail. ALso heard yesterday, the fifth and last day of the inquiry, was Chief Engineer Norman Blaisdell, of the Maggie & Pat II. The information and opinions gathered in the five days of inquiry will be forwarded to Washington to the chief of the Merchant Marine Inspection Service. Capt. Charles M. Lyons, supervising Marine inspector of the United States Coast Guard, Com. Fred S. Walker and Lt. Com. James Brady heard the testimony. The inquiry was ordered after the Belle failed to arrive in port last Jan. 10 after radioing the previous day she was bound for home with 60,000 pounds of fish. Lost with the vessel were 17 Boston and Gloucester men.

Families Of 16 Fishermen Lost At Sea To Share $125,000

Boston Globe Mar. 6, 1950

A total of $125,000 will be paid to families of 16 fishermen who lost their lives when the trawler Belle went down, the Federal court decreed today. The trawler Belle was lost Jam/ 9th or 10th, 1947 off Boston Harbor.

C. Louis Eisenberg and that Trawler Belle Inc. , had filed a petition in court for exoneration of liability and Lawrence M. Levinson was appointed as commisioner to make awards.

Levinson reported that the petition had made an offer of $125,000 which was agreeable to the claimants and approved by the court as fair and reasonable.

It was determined that the pecuniary loss to the families of the survivors totals $431,000, but when the Federal court issues its final decree for payment the commissioner will make awards pro rate, less expenses and commissioner's fee.

Pecuniary losses were announced as follows: Family of the ship's captain, Peter Linehan, Quincy, $57,850; Mrs. Violette Jackman, widow of Patrick F. Jackman, Folsom St., Dorchester, $42,750; Mrs. Gertude Dunn of Sydney St., Dorchester, widow of chief mate Edward M. Dunn, $49,850; Mrs. Isabel Foote Gray, Medford, widow of Leonard B. Foote, $37,550; Mrs. Bridget A. Maloney, Chauncey St., Cambridge, widow of Gerald Maloney, $38,450.

Mrs. Helen Armstrong, Sea St., Quincy, widow of Martin Armstrong, $32,450; Mrs. Mary A. Pelletier, Playstead Road, Newton, sister of Patrick J. Aylward, $2550; Mrs. Alice Stanwood, widow of Edward Ernst, $17,950; Daniel McCUe, Bowdoin Ave., Dorchester, father of John McCue, $7150; Mrs. Dorothy Place, Gloucester, widow of Abbot Place, $55,850; Mrs. Esther Rossiter, Gloucester, widow of Thomas J. Rossiter, $31,750; Paul Squires, son of Wiliam S. Squires, $11,850; Mrs. Edith Trott, widow of Edward A. Trott, $23,650.

Commissioner Levinson also awarded $9150 to the estate of John Rosell, Boston; $1150 to the estate of Stephen Dunn, Boston, and $1150 to the estate of Howard Strum of New York.

CLaims were made under the Jones Act and the Death on High Seas Act.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Fishing Industry Gives $15,500 to Trawler Belle Fund

Boston Globe Mar 1947

A total of $15,500 has been collected in the fishing industry for distribution to 45 dependents of the 17 men who perished when the Boston trawler Belle foundered 100 miles east of Boston last January. Thomas A. Fulham, president of the Massachusetts Fisheries Association, has presented a check for that amount to John F. Dolan, chairman of the Belle fund.

The money will be apportioned in accordance with the size and needs of the various families, and payments will begin at once. There are 45 children in the families left fatherless by the disaster. The collection will supplement the fund gathered by the Atlantic Fishermen's Union last month, which totaled nearly $7000.

Last heard of the trawler Belle with a crew of 17 men was on January 9, when she radioed she was cominfrom the fishing banks and failed to show up and which started an extensive search for over two weeks by plane and cutter.

$15,500 to Aid Families of Trawler Belle Crew


Boston Globe May 1947

A check for $15,500 to aid families of the trawler Belle sunk in January was turned over to Chairman John F. Dolan, right, by Thomas A. Fulham, left, while John N. Fulham looked on. The money was raised among dealers and boat owners at the Fish Pier.

A check for $15,500 collected among dealers and boat owners at the Fish Pier, affiliated with the Massachusetts Fisheries Association and the Federated Fishing Boats of New England and New York, for the families of the fishermen who perished in the sinking of the Boston Trawler Belle was presented yesterday by Thomas A. Fulham, president of the association, to John F. Dolan, chariman of the committee in charge. The presentation took place in the office of Thomas D. Rice, executive secretary of the association.

The money will be apportioned in accordance with the size and needs of the various families, payments to begin at once. There are 45 children in the families left fatherless by the disaster.

The "Trawler Belle Fund" was collected without any special drive, and added to relief furnished by the Atlantic Fisherman's Union and other agencies, will assure protection over a considerable period for the families of the lost fishermen.

Boston Globe January 11, 1947

Boston Trawler With 17 Men Day Overdue
The new Boston fishing trawler Belle, with Capt. Peter Linehan, 16 men and 60,000 pounds of fish aboard, today was reported overdue here since 1 p.m. yesterday. Last word over her radio telephone, which may have been damaged by ice formation, was Thursday afternoon. The Coast Guard has sent a PBY plane from Squantum Naval Air Station to search for the overdue vessel.

All ships in the area where the 113-foot trawler last was heard from are battling winds of from 40 to 50 miles an hour velocity and smashing seas. The Belle had been fishing at Grand Banks, off Nova Scotia. Capt. Linehan's home is at 71 Charles St., at Hough's Neck.

The Coast Guard sent a "blind" broadcast to the Belle, in case her radio receiving apparatus is functioning, asking her skipper to fly a sheet from the rigging for identification. A broadcast to all ships at sea to keep a sharp lookout for the vessel also was sent out.

A list of crew members was furnished by the Standard Fish Company, owner of the Belle. It includes Edward Dun, 101 Sydney St., Dorchester, mate; Edward A. Scott, chief engineer; Iver Persson, 141 Prospect St., Cambridge, second engineer; John Rosell, cook; Howard R. Strum, 25 Pearl Ter., Cambridge; Patrick Jackman, 27 Folsom St., Dorchester; Thomas Rossiter, 17 Maplewood St., Gloucester, John McCue, 143 Bowdoins St., Dorchester; Leonard F. Foote, 19 Burget Ave., Medford; Gerald Maloney, 3 Chauncey St., Cambridge; Abbott Place, Edward Ernst, Patrick J.Aylward, Stephen Dunn, Martin Armstrong and William Squires.

Meanwhile the Coast Guard buoy tender Cactus is slowly making headway toward New Bedford with the disabled dragger Katy D., which lost her propeller last Tuesday night. Conditions last night were such that the Cactus had to head in the direction of Rockland, Me., in order to make any progress against the wind and sea.

The Belle

In Loving Memory of Edward Ernst

This blog site is dedicated to collecting information on the fishing trawler the Belle, that was lost at sea January 9th, 1947 with 17 crew members on board. Any information you may have, please add.
If you are relatives of any of the crew members, we truly want to hear from you on any information and memories of your loved ones.
The men who lost their lives on the Belle, should never be forgotten.
On December 31st, 1946, our ancestor, Edward Ernst (shown below), along with 16 other crew members, set out for Grand Banks, Nova Scotia on a fishing trawler named the Belle. The Belle was a new 113 foot long vessel with a steel hull, owned by Standard Fish
On January 9th, 1947, loaded with 60,000 pounds of cod, a radio distress call was put in by the Belle, caught in an ice storm 100 miles East of Boston on the return home.
The Belle and the men on board were never found despite searches.
Those who perished at sea are:
Captain Peter Linehan
Chief Engineer Iver Persson
Second Engineer John Rosell
Cook Howard R. Strum
Patrick Jackman
Edward Dunn
Edward A. Trott
Thomas Rossiter
John McCue
Leonard F. Foote
Gerald Maloney
Edward Ernst
Stephen Dunn
Martin Armstrong
William Squires
Patrick Aylward
Abbott Place