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August 19, 2013

'Down to the sea in ships'

Annual service honors all of Gloucester's lost fishermen

Over nearly four centuries, more than 5,000 Gloucester fishermen have gone “down to the sea in ships,” as inscriptions on both the Man at the Wheel statue and the Fishermen’s Memorial Cenotaph note.

And Saturday marked the annual procession and memorial service to offer special remembrances to them all.

The annual event, coordinated by Gloucester fishing families, included the laying of oars at the Fishermen’s Memorial and the casting of flowers of remembrance into the waters off the memorial itself along Stacy Boulevard.

And there were reminders that the dangers and tragedies long associated with Gloucester’s commercial fishing industry are hardly limited to the past; the port’s latest losses at sea came just last December, when the Foxy Lady II went down with two men aboard — Capt. Wallace “Chubby” Gray II, 26, and crew member Wayne Young, 50. Both men lived in Deer Isle, Maine, but had extensive ties to Gloucester and the boat fished out of Gloucester as its home port.

The Fishermen’s Memorial Cenotaph, updated in the summer of 2012, lists 5,384 names of Gloucester-based fishermen who have died at sea.

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