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The Exeter


Rescue Entire Crew of Ill-fated Trawler
Members of Exeter on Board Cutter Bound for Boston—
Craft Caught Fire and Sank Several Hours Later

After drifting helplessly in tow dories in a thick fog, the nine members of the crew of the 93-foot baby beam trawler, Exeter, Capt. Vernon J. Nickerson, were rescued by the crew of the Boston beam trawler Illinois, near the spot, 50 miles south of Cape Sable where the ship had burst into flames.

The Exeter valued at $50,000 sunk to the ocean’s bottom at 11 o’clock last night, while her crew was picked up at 4.30 yesterday afternoon, six hours after first word was flashed from her radio to the Marshfield radio telephone station, that the vessel was sinking. The Coast Guard cutter Algonquin took the men off the Illinois at 6.30, and later transferred them to the cutter Cayuga which proceeded to Boston to land the men this forenoon at the Boston Fish Pier.

The fire started in the engine room of the ship, but no cause was revealed as to the origin. First reports of the near-tragedy had stated another vessel had collided with the Exeter, but this was later found to be untrue. The dense fog hampered rescue vessels from arriving earlier to the rescue.

The local beam trawler Gemma, owned by the John Chisholm Fisheries of this city; the Boston beam trawlers Thomas Whalen and Hekla, and the Canadian steamship Lady Rodney had all picked up the Exeter skipper’s message for help, and notified the Coast Guard at Boston that they were proceeding to the scene, being close by. The Hekla was reported nearest at the time. The cutters Algonquin and the local patrol boat Harriet Lane, Chief Boatswain Charles M. Fedderson, also made for the locale, being about 40 miles away at the time on patrol.

The rescued crew included Capt. Nickerson, Mate Robie Conrad, Chief Engineer Forman Spinney, this city; Sec. Engineer Woodrow Wilson, Cook George I. Hopkins, Andrew Fogarty, Robert Dahl, John Murphy and Samuel Steele, all of Greater Boston. Steele was substituting for William Burke on this voyage.


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