Adrian Lonsdale

Adrian Lonsdale, 89, of Mattapoisett, died Monday, April 24, 2017 after a period of declining health. He was the husband of Jane (Swett) Lonsdale and the son of the late Carl A. and Helen J. (Burdick) Lonsdale.

Adrian entered the US Coast Guard Academy in 1945, and met Jane, an undergraduate at Connecticut College while they were enrolled in school in New London, CT. They would have observed their 67th wedding anniversary in June.

Adrian was born in Port Angeles, Washington and first came to this area in 1966 to command the Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant, then stationed in New Bedford.

He served with both the US Merchant Marines and the US Coast Guard. He rose to the rank of USCG Captain. In Vietnam, he served as the Task Group Commander of the 4th coastal zone from March 1968 to April 1969. He commanded 900 men near the Cambodian border manning both swift boats and coast guard cutters and patrols. He served as captain of four different Coast Guard cutters. He was a third-generation coastguardsman.  His father and grandfather served as Coast Guard officers in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and in Alaska. He was awarded a Legion of Merit Medal  with combat “V” and the Bronze Star Medal with combat “V” for exceptional service.

After retiring in 1978, Adrian founded Northeast Maritime, a Coast Guard Merchant Marine License prep school in New Bedford.  He also sailed in mate positions on transatlantic container ships, was captain of a coastal tanker and finished his seagoing career as relief captain of the University of Rhode Island Research Ship Endeavor. He also testified as a maritime expert in numerous court cases.

A prolific writer, he coauthored two books:  A Guide to Sunken Ships in American Waters and Voyager Beware. He had numerous articles and stories published in national publications such as True Boating, Motor Boating, Popular Boating, Sea Frontiers, National Fisherman, Naval Institute Proceedings, and Sea Classics.  In 2012, he authored Scotch and Water, a fictional novel account based on the exploits of his grandfather during the sea phase of the enforcement of the National Prohibition Act.

Survivors include his wife, Jane (Swett) Lonsdale of Mattapoisett; and his children, Darcy Lonsdale of Northport, NY; Karl Lonsdale and his wife Siriwan of Tampa, FL, and Ross Lonsdale and his wife Maureen of Cape Elizabeth, ME; 7 grandchildren; 2 great grandchildren; 6 nephews and 2 nieces.  He was the brother of the late Lucille Watts.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 17, 2017 in St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, 124 Front St., Marion. Adrian’s cremated remains will be buried at sea.  Donations in his memory may be made to the USO, P.O. Box 96860, Washington, D.C. 20077-7677 or to St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 545, Marion, MA 02738.

Arrangements are by the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, 2599 Cranberry Hwy., Wareham. For more info and online guestbook, visit:

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