Earhart Project Research Bulletin #9
Fred Noonan, Sea Captain
This summary of Fred Noonan’s seafaring career was compiled by Jerry Hamilton, TIGHAR member #2128, from primary source official documents. Where the information presented below differs from that presented in various books about Amelia Earhart – including basic facts such as Noonan's birthdate and the spelling of his first name – the books are wrong. As far as we know, this is the first time anywhere that this information and the photos included here have been assembled and presented in a public forum.

Birth Date

Frederick Joseph Noonan, born April 4, 1893 in Cook County, Illinois.

Physical Description

Height – Six feet and one-quarter inch. Eyes – blue Hair – auburn Weight – 163 lbs (1917) Complexion – ruddy

Special Characteristics

Scar at base of left thumb. Protrusion on forehead over right eye.


Summer – FN said he “left school in summer of 1905 and went to Seattle, Washington.”

190? Bark Hecla – Shipped to West Coast S.A. (probably South America) as ordinary seaman.
1910 Bark Crompton – June 22-Nov. 23. Shipped to Ireland from Seattle. Rated AB. McVicker Marshall, Liverpool owners.
1910 & 11 Custodian – Dec. 16-April 28. Rated AB. Harrison Line, Liverpool owners.
1911 Musician – May 1-July 12. Rated AB and QM. Harrison Line, Liverpool owners.
1911 & 12 Barkentine Aurora – Aug. 8-April 21. Shipped to West Coast S.A. from Port Townsend, Washington (an American ship). Rated AB. Charles Nelson, San Francisco owners.
Schooner J. W. Clise – Shipped on American schooner from Port Townsend to Chile.
1913 Bark Islamount – April 30-Nov.19. Shipped on Liverpoll [sic] bark from Callao, Peru to Antwerp. Rated AB. Robert Thomas, Liverpool owners.
1913 & 14 British Steamer Corinthian – Dec.11-July 2. Shipped from London to Canada. Rated QM and B’Mate. Allan Line, Glasgow owners.
Competitor – Shipped from Montreal to Cardiff, Wales.
1914 & 15 Haydn – Nov.14-April 15. Shipped from Cardiff to Singapore. Rated AB. Unknown owners, Whitby England.
1915 Sicilian– April.18-June 20. Rated QM and B’Mate. Allan Line, Glasglow owners.
Roturua – June 22-Oct. 18. Rated QM. New Zealand Shipping Company, owners.
SS Pannonia – Nov. 2-Dec. 20. Rated B'Mate. Cunard Line.
1916 Bark Timandia – Jan. 14-July 6. American ship from Boston to “Buenas Ayres.” Rated AB. Boston Lumber Co.
British steamer Carracas – July 12-Dec. 9. From New York to Valparaiso. Rated 3rd Mate. WR Grace & Co.
SS New York – Shipped on American ship from NY to Liverpool.
Fred Noonan, 1917



These photos come from an application Fred Noonan filled out for his Seaman’s Certificate of American Citizenship dated 20 January 1917.

1917 January 14 – Arrived at NY on the New York. “Sail on Br. Vessel for France on Monday or Tuesday next. Don’t know the name of vessel. Am shipping with Dunphy Keegan, shipping agents.
January 20 – Description Of Applicant form. Provides physical description of Fred and is sworn to by William King of Waco, TX. who also says he knew FN for 2 years.
January 20 – Duplicate application for Seaman’s Certification Of American Citizenship (#730). Addressed to Collector Of Customs, Port of NY. Says he has been employed as seaman since 1905.
Bark Rhine – Jan. 31-Dec. 27. Rated AB. Boston Lumber Co.
1918 January 3 – Notarized document from NY. Fred attests his residence (25 South St, NY) and birth date/place. He further swears that he was issued a Certificate of American Citizenship, serial No. 730, which has been lost. The details are stated as, “On or about the 22nd day of January 1917 I signed on the S/S Cairnhill and was on board two days. When the S/S Cairnhill sailed I was on shore and missed the ship. On her voyage to Europe she was torpedoed and sank and every thing was lost including my passport.” He further asks for a duplicate certificate.
January 3 – Issued Seaman’s Certificate (#44386) Of American Citizenship (Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Navigation) to replace original lost on torpedoed vessel.
Bark Launberga – Jan. 16-Sept. 13. Rated 2nd Mate. American Union Line, NY. (His record said 1/16/16 ?)
1919 Bark Ben More – Sept. 17-Dec. 17. Rated Bosun. Unknown, NY.
Fred has become respectable – note the tie. From Seaman’s Certificate of American Citizenship, dated October 8, 1920.
1920 Western (?) Star – March 27-July 6. Rated AB. USSB.
Sallust – July 16-Oct. 2. Rated Bosun. Lamport & Holt.
SS Freeport Sulphur #6 – Oct.10-Oct. 27. Rated Bosun. Freeport Sulphur Company, owners.
1920 & 21 West Hampton – Nov. 2-Mar. 2. Rated Bosun. USSB, owners.
Feb. 15 – Issued license #26862, Class 2nd Mate from Galveston, TX.
March 21 – Application for officer’s berth by FN. Current position given as 2nd Mate aboard Lake Otsquago. Residence listed as 1821 Avenue E, Galveston, TX. Currently holding 2nd Mate Ocean certificate dated 2/15/21, never suspended. Apprenticed with Sail & Steam line. Last position held was Boatswain with West Hampton (USSB owners). Left due to vessel being laid up. Sea service particulars attached.
Lake Otsquago – March 21-June 10. Rated 2nd Mate. United States Shipping Board, Ward Line.
Covena – Aug. 6-Oct. 17. Rated 2nd Mate. USSB, Lykes Brothers.
Lake Falama – Oct. 18-Nov. 10. Rated 3rd Mate. USSB, Ward Line.
1922 & 23 West Cheswald – Mar. 6-Mar. 31. Rated 3rd Mate. USSB, Mississippi Shipping Company.
West Kasson – April 2-June 5. Rated 3rd Mate. USSB, Miss. SC.
Eastern Victor – June 10-Nov. 27. Rated 2nd Mate. USSB, Miss. SC.
Nov. 12 – Issued license #31266, Class Chief Mate from Galveston, TX.
December 11 – Official review of “F. J. Noonan, 1st Mate Officer, aboard SS Eastern Victor”. Report dated 11/23/1923 and submitted by H S Chase. Noonan ability rated Bright American Seaman. Ship rated Good. Form indicates ratings choices are good, fair, or poor. Made in Philadelphia.
1924 Carplaka – Feb. 20-Oct. 14. Rated 3rd Mate. USSB, Miss. SC.
1924 & 26 Lorraine Cross – Oct. 15-May 29. Rated 2nd Mate. USSB, Miss. SC.
December 30, 1924 – Official review of “F. Noonan, 3rd Mate Officer, aboard SS Carplaka.” Report dated 10/24/1924 and submitted by J F Paige (Manager, Operating Dept.). Noonan ability rated Good – American. Ship rated Good. Form indicates ratings choices are good, fair, or poor. Made in New Orleans?
Jan. 26, 1926 – Issued license #99065, Class Master from New Orleans, LA.
1926 & 27 Carplaka – May 30-Sept. 23. Rated Chief Mate. USSB, Miss. SC.
1927 & 28 Irona – Oct. 7-May 25. Rated 3rd Mate. United Fruit Company.
USSB Reserve Fleet – May 28-Nov. 3. Rated Assistant Shipkeeper.
West Segovia – Nov. 30-?. Rated Chief Mate. USSB, Miss. SC.
1931 Feb. 13 – Issued license #121190, Class Master any ocean from New Orleans, LA.

NOTE: Much of the maritime history is from a personnel service records file for “Subject, Noonan, Frederick Jos., Deck Officer.” File number 3-A-1, from the US Shipping Board, Emergency Fleet Corporation, Operating Department Division. This file and related information came from the National Archives.

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