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.

1 comment:

gracieswan said...

My Dad told me about the Belle. She went down the year I was born and my dad, a fisherman at Commonwealth Fish Pier in Boston, knew some of the men aboard, though I know none of them by name. This loss haunted him.

He died five years ago, at the age of 89. I'm sorry for your loss of family in such a sad, difficult way.

Helen O'Neil