James Ledwell, 20, of Fairhaven, was the son of Francis J. and the late Mrs. Ledwell. He had been fishing for four years or since he was 16 years old and started in the industry aboard his father's boat. His father was fishing aboard the Solveig J, and James's brother, Francis Jr., of Fairhaven, was also engaged in fishing. He shipped aboard several boats out of this port.
Mr. Ledwell was born in Nantucket but moved to Boston with his family as a boy. After seven years' residence there, the family returned here and James had made his home in Fairhaven since. He was educated in Fairhaven schools and was a communicant of St. Joseph Church, Fairhaven.
Other members of the Ledwell family included another son, Paul, in the Navy, and three daughters, Mrs. William Hargraves of 84 Rodney Street, New Bedford, Mrs. Eileen Reed of Worcester, and Miss Marjorie of Fairhaven.
The Theresa A., an aircraft rescue boat converted for use as a fishing vessel, left Fairhaven on September 9, 1950, and was last sighted fishing on Georges Bank. On September 12, the ship sent two radio messages: first a distress signal and then a message that the crew was abandoning ship. The weather was extremely bad, with heavy seas and winds of roughly 55 miles per hour. The Coast Guard launched a sea and air search, joined by several merchant vessels. The search continued until September 16, but no trace of the ship or its crew was found.
The only body recovered was that of Ernest Rich, who was found in October floating off Seal Island in Penobscot Bay.