In 1918, John William La Fosse returned home from the Great War and resumed his life as a fisherman. He worked on several vessels before perusing his own command, which he achieved in 1926 with the 49-foot M.V. Danny Goodwin, owned by local merchants in Rencontre West (“M.V. Danny Goodwin”).
Originally built in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia in 1907, the Danny Goodwin had been a fishing vessel for all of its nineteen years (“M.V. Danny Goodwin”). It is thus unsurprising that in the autumn of 1926 the owners decided to do some work on the vessel, installing new steeled frames between the original sawed wood ones (“M.V. Danny Goodwin”). The ship then recommenced fishing on the Western Shore.
December 6, 1926 began for the Danny Goodwin as any other day: with more fishing. Although the day started out clear, by the afternoon the wind grew stronger and it started to snow heavily (“M.V. Danny Goodwin”). As the weather worsened, the rest of the fishing fleet decided to return to the safety of Rose Blanche. They left the Danny Goodwin as was she had only two of her three dories aboard; the third was assumed to be out fishing still (“M.V. Danny Goodwin”).
The winds became stronger, as did the seas but the Danny Goodwin did not return to port. It was hoped that she had sought shelter at another harbour, but fears grew the next day when there was still no sign of the vessel or her crew of six (“M.V. Danny Goodwin”). The only clues were the trawl buoy, anchor, and several hooks of trawl that were found near Danny Goodwin’s last known location (“M.V. Danny Goodwin”).
Four days later, the following message was received by the Deputy Minister of Customs from the Collector at Rose Blanche: “Fishing schooner Dannie [sic] Goodwin missing from here since Monday. Can get no report of her along the coast. Crew consists of six men all from Rencontre and vicinity. All hopes abandoned for their safety” (The Daily News, December 10, 1926:3).
Although the fate of the Danny Goodwin remains a mystery, some local fishermen have a theory:
They believe that the repair work conducted in the fall was a major factor. They felt that the newly installed frames were much stronger than the original frames, therefore when the boat started to experience bad weather, the new frames forced the planking away from the old frames. This resulted in her seams opening up, taking on water and sinking (“M.V. Danny Goodwin”).
Six men were lost with the ship. From New Harbour: John William La Fosse, Frank Cox, and Benjamin Parsons. From Rencontre West: Joseph Harris, George Marks, and James Marks (“M.V. Danny Goodwin”).
“Hope Abandoned for Western Vessel” The Daily News, December 10, 1926, p. 3.
“M.V. Danny Goodwin” Rose Blanche Lighthouse. Retrieved July 22, 2011, from http://roseBlancheelighthouse.ca/DannyGoodwin.asp.
Tags: 1926 Danny Goodwin