The project remembers that it used files in the File/Open Recent Files but there is no trace of the timeline
Recent files is a program setting and has nothing to do with the project itself. Other than that I don't think you will have any luck recovering anything - working directly off USB sticks just is not reliable and as per your description, the stick seems defective or at least heavily fragmented, hence the data loss. Unless you have an auto-save version somewhere or explicitly saved a backup copy to your internal drives, there wil lbe nothing there.
Thanks for your reply.
It seems I did not make myself clear. I was not using a USB stick drive. I was using an external hard drive which was connected by an USB connection. I have two external hard drives which I use. One is a normal external hard drive with an USB connection. The other hard drive is a USB docking station into which I can put various hard drives.
You mention the possibility of an autosave version. Do you know where these might be found? I have looked and there is no obvious location.
I have never lost _all_ files in a video editing project.
I checked and I did not have AE After
Effects auto-save turned out.
It seems that I am well and truly hosed. All I have is the final rendering...which was not bad...but needed more tweaking. I intended to do that in a short while at work today.
Oh well, starting over with a new project won't take as long to do.