by Jerry Hamilton
|Fred Noonan was born seven years before the start of the twentieth century. By the time he became Amelia Earhart’s navigator, he was embarked on a second career at the age of 44 and had become one of the leading, if not the foremost, pioneering aerial navigators of his day. This tall, slender, six footer spent about twenty years as a merchant seaman, starting as an able bodied crew member before the mast, surviving World War I, and working his way up to Master of ocean going steamships. He left the oceans for the skies when he became an air navigator with Pan American in Miami and eventually moved to the west coast in 1935 to pioneer the Manila Clipper transpacific route. He left Pan American after seven years and joined Amelia Earhart for her around-the-world flight. At the time he joined Earhart he was not only changing jobs, but his personal life as well. He had divorced his first wife and then remarried only a few months before the start of the fatal world flight.|
He came into the world on April 4, 1893 as Frederick Joseph Noonan and was baptized into the Catholic religion, and his Southside Chicago Irish community, a few weeks later on the 23rd of April.1 St. Rose of Lima, his baptismal parish, had been founded to serve 60 Irish families living west of the Union Stock Yards in the old Town of Lake; an area of Southside Chicago also referred to as Back of the Yards. The parish was dedicated July 8, 1883.2 In the year previous to the parish’s establishment, Fred’s father, Joseph T. Noonan, arrived in the community at 21 years of age. He was born in Maine of Irish parents.3 Fred’s mother, Catharine, who was two years younger than Joseph,4 came to Cook county the same year as her husband to be. She had immigrated from England with her family, the Richard Egans.5
Joseph, his father, and the Egan family lived in a number of different Cook county residences before Fred’s birth, although no record has been found of Joseph’s and Catherine’s marriage. Little is known about Fred's early life. No information on other siblings has been uncovered suggesting that he was an only child. However, his childhood must have been dramatically affected by the tragic death of his mother, which occurred just two months before his fourth birthday in 1897. She died of pulmonary tuberculosis at St. Elizabeth's hospital.6 In that same year, both his father Joseph and Richard Egan, his father-in-law, are recorded as sharing the same residence according to the Chicago city directory. They also shared the same home in 1893, the year Fred was born. This information indicates Fred spent his earliest years in the company of an extended family including his maternal grandparents, at least until his mother’s death.
In 1900 Noonan’s father is listed in the census as living alone in a boarding house. No census record of Fred exists. Also in the early 1900s, school records list Fred as having attended three different elementary schools with three different home addresses and a different guardian of record each year.7 This may indicate that after his mother’s death he was bounced around among various relations or, perhaps, was in some type of foster care. No information has been found regarding any aunts and uncles from his mother’s family who may also have lived in the same Southside Irish community and who could have taken him in.
Fred said he “left school in summer of 1905 and went to Seattle, Washington.”8 It is more likely that he left for the west coast in 1906, however, as school records indicate that he entered Chicago’s Dore elementary school in September 1905. It is not clear how he got to Seattle, why he went, or who he went with. It is, however, very clear that he shipped aboard the British sailing bark Crompton on June 20 1910.9 He is listed on the crew manifest as being an 18 year old (only a slight exaggeration) USA citizen from Illinois. This was probably the second time he shipped out as a sailor because his merchant marine records list the bark Hecla as his first vessel.
Noonan’s career as a merchant seaman is documented by US Shipping Board, Emergency Fleet Corporation records.10 The USSB was an emergency agency organized in 1917 to regulate maritime commerce and develop a naval auxiliary and merchant marine. It was eventually consolidated into the Shipping Service in 1934. Much of the information in the records came from Noonan himself, and consists primarily of listings of ship assignments.
He was an active sailor from 1910 until 1929. However, not a lot of detail is known about his merchant marine life beyond his ship assignments (see Maritime History). He began his sea service on a sailing ship and listed nine windjammers to which he was assigned during the earlier years of his ocean going career. Fred traveled the world as an itinerant seaman during the first half of his merchant marine service and then essentially settled down in New Orleans about 1922. He originally shipped out from Seattle in 1910 and there is no address listed for him until 1917, possibly because no records were kept. At that point, and for the subsequent three years, he had residences in New York City. In 1921 he lived in Galveston, Texas and a year later he had a home on Claiborne Street in New Orleans.
During WWI he apparently shipped aboard a few munitions ships going from New York to Liverpool. In fact, he just missed losing his life on one. As he says, “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 everything was lost including my passport.” His application provides a physical description. Fred stood a tall, slim 6′1/4″, had blue eyes, auburn hair, and a ruddy complexion. In addition, he had a scar at the base of his left thumb and “protrusion on forehead over right eye.” The bump on his forehead is confirmed by later pictures of Fred with Amelia Earhart.
During his merchant marine career Noonan progressed steadily from an able bodied seamen before the mast to captain of large ocean going steamships. First rated Quartermaster in 1911, then Bosun’s Mate in 1913, he rose to Bosun in 1919. He applied for an officer’s berth and became a Second Mate in 1921, a Chief Mate in 1923, and received his first Master’s license January 26, 1926. Even after making the transition to an aviation career, he retained his captain’s papers. His last license was issued to him at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, California, where he originally lived while pioneering the Manila Clipper route for Pan Am. It is dated February 5, 1936 and is an unrestricted Master's license for “Master, steam and motor, any gross tonnage – any ocean and 1st Class Pilot upon Mississippi river from Southport, LA to the sea; also Industrial canal from Mississippi river to Lake Pontchartrain, LA.”
On July 11, 1927, the world sailor dramatically changed his life. He married Miss Josie M. Sullivan.11 The marriage ceremony, conducted by Father O’Reilly of Saint Peter’s Catholic church in Jackson, Mississippi, took place at high noon. The happy couple left by car for the Gulf coast and had planned to honeymoon in Cuba.12 At the time Fred was 34 and Josie 26 years old.
Josie was employed as a secretary and had lived in New Orleans for about four years.13 She moved there with her mother from Savannah after her father died. According to a friend of Noonan, “he met her, he told me, at a dancing school show.”14 After their marriage, Josie continued as a stenographer with the Portland Cement Association and Fred worked for the Mississippi Shipping Company on various vessels and also as an assistant ship keeper for their reserve fleet.
Sometime around the beginning of 1930, while living in New Orleans, Fred made another major change in his life. On January 5, while registering to vote in ward 4 of precinct 11, he gave his occupation as “aviator.” This may have been slightly premature because he wasn’t issued his pilot’s certificate until January 23. At that time he was issued a “limited commercial pilot certificate #11833 with ratings airplane single engine land” from the Airman Certification Branch of the FAA.15 Obtaining his pilot’s license had required 50 total hours flight time at Menefee air field and allowed him to carry passengers for hire within a 10 mile radius of the airport. His intention, however, may never have been focused on piloting. His next door neighbor recalled, “I remember when he quit the sea because he wanted to take up aviation, not necessarily as a pilot, but in a navigating capacity.”16 In the years that followed, Fred became one of a handful of pioneers in long distance aerial navigation and achieved a reputation as one of the best.
In mid-1930 he began his aviation career with the New York, Rio & Buenos Aires Line.17 Not long after he started with his new employer, Pan American Airways (PAA) acquired the company. By October of the same year Noonan had been transferred from Miami to become Field Manager in Haiti. Pan Am established its facility there in Port Au Prince in January of 1929.18
Fred remained in Port Au Prince until March, 1933. At that time W.G. Eldridge replaced him as airport manager. Noonan came back to Miami in a continuation of his Pan Am career. He is reputed to have been an air navigation instructor, maybe even the head of PAA’s navigation section. However, there is no definitive information on his exact role while in Miami. He is listed as an “instr. Pan Am Airways” (1934) in the Miami city directory. He made an inspection trip to Santiago, Cuba, in April of 1934 as an Assistant Airport Manager19 and is also listed in the 1935 Miami city directory as “Asst. Mgr.” Perhaps he came back to Miami primarily as a navigation instructor and the assistant airport manager duties were subsequently added to his responsibilities.
At 2 p.m. on March 31, 1935, the four-engine, flying boat China Clipper made its first landing in San Francisco Bay. It had arrived at its new home on the island of Alameda with Fred Noonan on board as the navigation officer. This was the first of the variously named Clipper airplanes and crew to arrive on the west coast for PAA. The China Clipper had started its flight in Miami on the 27th, stopped at Acapulco and San Diego, and taken a side trip to San Pedro in Southern California on its way to the new base.20 After arriving in Alameda little time was lost in developing and testing the flight route to Manila. During the first two weeks of April the crew conducted local test hops, including one of about one thousand miles out and back to Trinidad Head.21 This was all in preparation for and anticipation of attempting the first leg of the Manila route to Hawaii.
Between the 16th and 22nd of April, the China Clipper made its historic first trip to Honolulu and back. The first step to Manila had been successfully completed. A few weeks after this flight, Noonan provided a detailed look at his navigation procedures in a letter written to Lt. Commander P.V.H. Weems,22 replying to a congratulatory letter he had received earlier in the month. Weems was a naval officer who had been a navigation instructor at the Naval Academy and had written one of the earliest air navigation books in 1931 (Air Navigation, McGraw-Hill). He later retired to establish a school for air navigation, the Weems System Of Navigation. Weems was instrumental in making navigation from an airplane easier by simplifying the calculations required for celestial navigation and inventing some easier to use tools. He also contributed substantially to increasing its accuracy through his involvement in the development of the “second setting” watch, the first timepiece which could accurately be set to the nearest second. Weems was a friend and navigation advisor to many long distance flyers of the time, including Admiral Richard Byrd and Charles Lindbergh. Fred thought very highly of Weems, saying in his letter, “Having long considered you the foremost authority on the subject of aerial navigation,” and had a continuing correspondence with him. He also carried one of the second setting watches.
In his letter, Noonan explained to Weems that the navigation equipment he used was of his own choosing, based on his previous experience and the specific tasks required. He mentioned that he used general, coastal, and harbor marine charts; aviation strip charts of the California coast; VP-3 and VP-4 aircraft plotting sheets; a Longines Civil Time chronometer and a Longines second-setting watch set to G.C.T.; two sextants (Pioneer bubble octant and mariner’s sextant as a “preventer”), Captain Field’s improved type parallel rulers; and a Dalton Mark VII navigational computer.
He further indicated that the actual navigation, “was comparable with such as would be practiced afloat – fixes were determined entirely by stellar observations at night. These fixes were more reliable than would be possible by crossing a line of position with a D.F. bearing, due to the amount of error which would be introduced by even a small angular error in the long range D.F. bearings. By day, having only the single heavenly body for determination of lines of position, we did cross the bearings. However, during daylight hours we were nearer the radio stations and consequently the error introduced was generally considerably reduced.” He said his accuracy was, “very gratifying” at within ten miles. He felt the greatest problem was determining the drift angle of their course. While water flares were useful when the ocean surface was visible, a lot of the flight was above solid cloud cover. He concluded the letter by saying he had used the Greenwich Hour Angle exclusively since first published in the Air Almanac and also uses Dreisonstok exclusively for computing his observations.
After the Honolulu flight, preparation for the next Manila route test leg included eight local hops. During this time Fred taught other navigators for the Clipper service. He is listed as “navigational instructor” on a number of local flights. In the latter part of June, 1935, the second leg of the Manila route (Alameda to Honolulu to Midway) was successfully flown. The next survey flight, out to Wake and back, was completed in August. The trial route out to Guam, the fourth and final island stepping stone to Manila, was accomplished in October.
After seven months of preparation the big day came on November 22, 1935. The first scheduled flight to Manila began when the China Clipper lifted off from the San Francisco Bay at 3:47 pm.23 This was the inaugural flight for what would become routine, once a week transpacific service. The flight left Alameda with Noonan as the navigation officer, Captain Edwin Musik in command, and a crew of seven. They reached Manila on Friday, Nov. 29th. The China Clipper triumphantly concluded the first transpacific airline service by returning to its Alameda base in time for the holidays, arriving on December 6th. Fred was welcomed back by his wife, Josie, who was waiting dockside after having earlier joined him on the west coast.
During 1936 Noonan flew the Manila Clipper route seven times, at least once on each of the Clipper airplanes – China Clipper, Hawaiian Clipper, and Philippine Clipper. On one flight, in March of 1936, he got off in Hawaii on the outbound route and re-boarded the Clipper on its way back through Honolulu. This gave him about three weeks in the islands, possibly for a well earned vacation. The last Manila flight he navigated was on the Philippine Clipper. It left and returned on the same one year anniversary dates as the inaugural flight he was a part of the previous year.24
|Around the World|
The start of the new year heralded new beginnings for Noonan and his life became rather hectic amid some dramatic changes. First, he left Pan American Airways. Three Clippers had been put into service and they were flying weekly schedules to Manila. The chief pilot, Edwin Musick, realized the constant long distance, over water flying was taking a physical and mental toll on the crews. The Manila trip was 12 days of flying without proper rest intervals and the pilots were averaging many more hours per month than the limits established by Department of Commerce regulations. Flight surgeon examinations before and after each trip found some dangerous levels of fatigue. The strain also led to some growing unrest among the junior pilots. They contended that the work was far more difficult than that of other airlines and also voiced concerns over compensation and promotion issues. Musick tried to get PAA management to recognize and respond to the pilot complaints; however, his entreaties made no headway with the company. Musick attempted to explain the situation back to the crews by saying they needed to be patient until Pan American could straighten out some things in Alaska, China and South America. Fred Noonan responded by resigning immediately. He felt they had lived on promises for a year and he was through with doing it any more.25
After quitting his job, he spent ten days during the latter part of February and the first week in March in El Paso, Texas, to establish residence so he could obtain a divorce from Josie. He stayed at the Hilton Hotel and filed the divorce papers in Juarez, Mexico on March 3rd.26 On March 13th he was announced, unexpectedly, as an additional crewman for Earhart's world flight. Although no formal statement was made, Harry Manning told the press that, “Noonan’s going along with us as far as Howland.”27 On March 17th Fred’s divorce was granted. On the same day he also began the around-the-world flight with Amelia when her Electra lifted off a wet Oakland runway and turned to follow the course he set for Hawaii.
This 1500 mile first step around the world included Amelia as pilot, Paul Mantz as advisor, Harry Manning as radio operator, and Noonan as navigator. Although they had a couple of mechanical malfunctions, it proved a generally smooth shake down leg for the many hours of flying to come, especially from a navigation perspective. Noonan’s efforts had them arriving exactly where they wanted to be just as there was enough light to adequately see. He had slowed their airspeed enroute to time their arrival with daybreak. And he had used a DF steer from the Makapuu low-frequency radio beacon, asking Amelia to keep it ten degrees off the right side of the nose, to accurately position them. The Lockheed touched down on Wheeler field in the very early morning after nearly 16 hours in the air.
Two days later at 5:40 am, with Manning in the cockpit and Fred Noonan in back, Earhart pushed the throttles wide open to begin the next leg of the world flight to Howland island, the longest over-water distance. The original plan was for Noonan to get off in Howland and return to the States on the Coast Guard cutter Shoshone. Harry Manning was going to go further into the trip and get off at Darwin, Australia. Amelia would then continue the rest of the flight around the world on her own. However, a day earlier, Earhart had asked Fred to go at least as far as Darwin, and possibly all the way around the world with her. Noonan had agreed.28
Unfortunately, during the take off run Amelia lost control of the big twin Lockheed, collapsing one gear, and substantially damaging the plane. No one was hurt and Noonan was apparently unfazed by the crack up. Amelia said, “... when the first men reached the plane and opened the door they found Fred methodically folding up his charts. He says that when I fly again he is ready to go along.”29 Noonan, in his account, said “I was sitting in the back of the plane among my navigating instruments. I immediately sensed something was wrong. However, she succeeded in bringing the plane to a halt so perfectly and so smoothly, I was hardly jarred at all. She certainly has plenty of courage.”30
During the late evening of the same day as the accident, Amelia and her three crew members boarded the SS Malolo and sailed back to Los Angeles where they disembarked on March 25th. The plane followed later, was unloaded at the San Pedro docks on April 3rd and taken to Lockheed’s Burbank plant, where it had been originally designed and manufactured, to be repaired. After Fred got to the Los Angeles area on Thursday, the new lady in his life, Mary Beatrice Martinelli (generally known as Bea), drove down from the San Francisco area to meet him. He had, reportedly, met her in Oakland where she had a hair salon when he was employed with Pan American. Without any fanfare they drove to Yuma, Arizona, and got married on Saturday, March 27th.31 The next day Amelia Earhart announced from LA that Noonan would be her navigator, and sole companion, for the entire world flight which she hoped to get underway again on the first of May.
A week later on Sunday in Fresno, about 200 miles north of L.A. while probably on their way back from visiting Bea's relatives in Modesto, Fred Noonan crossed into the on-coming lane of traffic and collided with another car. His wife sustained “extensive” cuts on her knee and others to her scalp. The family in the other car was treated for minor bruises. Fred was cited for “driving in the wrong lane.”32
For the next attempt at the world flight Amelia decided to keep everything very low key. The day the repaired airplane was delivered to her, May 20th, she flew up to Oakland, stopped for a short while, and then returned to Burbank. Her takeoff from Oakland was the unannounced start of the world flight. The next day she took off from Burbank with Fred Noonan, her husband George Putnam, and her mechanic Bo McKneely on board. They headed for Miami, Noonan’s old PAA base of operations, and the announced beginning of the world attempt. The flight to the east coast was the shakedown of the newly repaired Lockheed. They stopped first at Tucson, Arizona and then at Shushan airport in New Orleans. On the way to Miami from New Orleans Fred did some very precise over-water dead reckoning navigation, missing his arrival point by less than three miles after a trip of about 450 miles.33
On May 29th in Miami, Earhart officially announced that the world flight would continue from there on an eastward global circumnavigation and would terminate back in Oakland which she considered the official starting point. She said, “In the middle of March last, I started westward from Oakland, California, on what was to be a round the world flight as near the equator as possible. That attempt ended after a 2400 mile trip across the Pacific with an accident at Honolulu. Now, 70 days later my Electra is fit once more to fly and she and I hope to cover 28,000 miles as originally planned – but heading into dawns instead of sunsets and ending our flight at Oakland.”34 The next leg of the journey would be from Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico. It started when the big Lockheed lifted off the runway of Miami Municipal Airport, at around 6am the morning of June 1st, and headed southeast.
In Lae, New Guinea, at the end of June after successfully completing most of the world flight, Amelia and Fred had just two more stops to go before the final one in Oakland, California – first to Howland island and then Hawaii. The flight to Howland, a mere speck in the Pacific, depended heavily on Fred’s navigation which required an accurate time check from a radio station. Late in the evening of July 1st, after a number of unsuccessful attempts over the previous two days, Fred was finally able to set his watch. It was three seconds slow both then and the next morning at 8am in a final time check with a Saigon radio station.35 They were ready to go. At 10am, with a maximum load of fuel to cover the 2,556 miles to Howland, Amelia and Fred took off on their final flight. After being airborne for about 20 hours, the last transmission ever heard from them was recorded by the Coast Guard ship Itasca, which was awaiting their arrival:
EARHART TO ITASCA: WE ARE ON THE LINE 157 337. WE WILL REPEAT THIS MESSAGE WE WILL REPEAT THIS ON 6210 KCS; WAIT; SIGNALS HEARD ON 3105 KHZ WITH VOICE AND SIGNAL STRENGTH 5. QUESTIONABLE EARHART TRANSMISSION: WE ARE RUNNING ON NORTH AND SOUTH LINE.36The next day amid packing cases containing part of their household effects, Mary Bea, Fred’s wife of three months said, “Fred had had several good business offers and we planned to make our home in southern California which we both love so well. It seems I’ve hardly seen him since we married. He was only back from the first flight a little while and then he was off on this one.”37
On July 6th in Oakland, Mary Bea received a letter which Fred had sent from Bandoeng, Java. In it he said, “Amelia is a grand person for such a trip. She is the only woman flier I would care to make such a trip with because, in addition to being a fine companion, she can take hardships as well as a man – and work like one.”38
|1||Archdiocese of Chicago, letter to JLH. Back.|
|2||Harry Koenig, A History Of The Parishes Of The Archdiocese Of Chicago (1980). Back.|
|3||Cook county voter record. Back.|
|4||Birth record, Essex county, UK. Back.|
|5||Cook county voter record. Back.|
|6||Cook county death report. Back.|
|7||Chicago Public Schools, school register records. Back.|
|8||U.S. Shipping Board, Emergency Fleet Corporation, File #3-A-1 (National Archives). Back.|
|9||UK crew record. Back.|
|10||U.S. Shipping Board.Back.|
|11||Mississippi marriage record. Back.|
|12||Daily Clarion Ledger, Jackson, MS. (July 12, 1927). Back.|
|13||New Orleans city directory. Back.|
|14||New Orleans Times-Picayune (July 6, 1937). Back.|
|15||FAA record. Back.|
|16||Times-Picayune (July 6, 1937). Back.|
|17||Elgin and Marie Long, Amelia Earhart, The Mystery Solved (1999): 179. Back.|
|18||PAAWays magazine (Oct. 8, 1930). Back.|
|19||PAAWays magazine (April, 1934). Back.|
|20||Oakland Tribune (April 1, 1935). Back.|
|21||PAA archives, University of Miami. Back.|
|22||Popular Aviation (May, 1938). Back.|
|23||Oakland Tribune (Nov. 23, 1935). Back.|
|24||PAA archives. Back.|
|25||William Grooch, From Crate To Clipper (1939): 213, 214. Back.|
|26||Oakland Tribune (March 16, 1937). Back.|
|27||Oakland Tribune (Mar. 13, 1937). Back.|
|28||Noonan telegram to Mrs. Martinelli (Long, Mystery Solved) 96. Back.|
|29||Oakland Tribune (Mar. 21, 1937). Back.|
|30||Oakland Tribune (March 21, 1937). Back.|
|31||Marriage certificate, Yuma county, Arizona. Back.|
|32||Oakland Tribune (April 5, 1937). Back.|
|33||Long: 179. Back.|
|34||Oakland Tribune (May 30, 1937). Back.|
|35||Eric Chater letter to Griffin (July 25, 1937). Back.|
|36||Itasca logs (Earhart Project Research Library, Vol. 1, TIGHAR). Back.|
|37||Oakland Tribune (July 3, 1937). Back.|
Oakland Tribune (July 7, 1937). Back.
|Noonan’s Maritime History|
Frederick Joseph Noonan, born April 4, 1893 in Cook County, Illinois.
Height - Six feet and one-quarter inch.
Eyes - blue
Hair - auburn
Weight - 163 lbs (1917)
Complexion - ruddy
Scar at base of left thumb. Protrusion on forehead over right eye.
|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.|
|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.
|1920||Western (?) Star||March 27 - July 6. Rated AB. USSB.|
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.|
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 Seamen. 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. This file from US Shipping Board, Emergency Fleet Corporation, Operating Department Division. This file and related information came from the National Archives.|