Out of Gloucester


 

January 21, 1941

18 Fishermen Meet Tragic Death
Five Survive Sinking of Dory Haddocker Mary E. O'Hara Which Rammed Barge in Boston Harbor

Dropping one by one from the icy rigging of their sinking vessel or drowned as they attempted to fight their way from their bunks below decks, eighteen fishermen lost their lives today in a sea tragedy within 45 minutes of Boston Fish Pier.   Five of the mates were saved

Within the outer harbor and inward-bound with a cargo of 50,000 mixed fish, the Boston dory trawler Mary E. O'Hara attempted to avoid a crash with a coal-laden barge from Philadelphia in tow of the sea-going tug Montrose. The helmsman of the fisherman succeeded, but the next minute he rammed the starboard quarter aft of the barge, Winifred Sheridan, also coal-laden from Philadelphia, which the Montrose had just anchored and which survivors said was riding without lights.

Captain Fred Wilson of the Mary E. O'Hara, with his vessel sinking fast, attempted to run his ice-encased vessel for nearby Finn's ledge and those on deck and those who succeeded in getting out of the cabins climbed the two masts.  A majority had neither coats or hats or mittens.  As their hands and arms began to freeze they wrapped the frozen members around the rigging.  They chorused prayers, said farewells to their mates dropping from the icy rigging and yelled for aid.

Eight hours after the tragedy bodies of the victims had not been recovered and two divers aboard one of many rescue craft went below.  Those who fled to the masts saw ships pass but were unable to attract their attention until after dawn when the beam trawler North Star discovered their plight.

The fishermen tried to launch dories.  The small craft were frozen to the decks.  The fishermen tried to break through the ice with axes but it was impossible.  With the decks under water they fled to the masts.

Scene of the shipwreck is three miles off Winthrop.  Scores of craft raced to the scene but found only four feet of the main mast of the Mary E. O'Hara above the water.  Meanwhile the North Star was bringing the five survivors.  All in critical condition with frozen hands and legs, into Fish pier for quick transfer to City hospital.  The rescued were Gabriel Welsh, of East Boston, Frank Silva, of South Boston,  Stanley Conrad, of Cambridge, formerly of Lunenburg County, Cecil Crowell, of Port Latour,  Shelburne County, N. S., and Cecil Larkin of East Pubnico, N. S.  From the five survivors the death list was obtained as follows:

Capt. Fred Wilson, of Somerville, formerly of Lower Pubnico, N. S.
Thomas I. Moulton, cook, 48, formerly of Newfoundland, left widow and five children
Morris (or Joseph) Miller, engineer, of Boston, formerly of Shelburne County
Edgar Veno, 54, of Gloucester, formerly of Yarmouth, left widow and eight children
John Sheen, 42, of Gloucester, a native of Bay of Bulls, N. F., left widow and one two year old son
James Wheeler, of East Boston
Edward (or Cornelius) Murphy, Cambridge, formerly of Pubnico, N. S.
Clayton Hines, of Melrose, formerly of Argyle, N. S.
Cyril Oxner, purser, of Boston
Antonio Valentine, of Provincetown
Joseph Santos, of East Boston
Fred Conrad, of South Boston, formerly of Lunenburg County
Arnold (or Joseph) Holmes, Roxbury, formerly of Sandy Point, N. S.
Gilford Smith, of Roxbury
George Edward, of Somerville
Andrew Fay, 50, of Gloucester, widower, left two grown children in Sandy Point, Nova Scotia
Monte LeBlanc, age 60, of East Boston, formerly of Abrams River, N. S.
Henry Joseph, of Boston

 

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