Shipwreck 's of The Great Northern Peninsula
To sail, to North America, the sailors had to find the shortest routes possible. St. Brendan had a
ship madeof Ox hides; the Norse had their open Knarr's and the French and English had ships
without keels. At first it was 'hop_skotching' from one small Island to another, then from Ventura,
Ireland to Cape Bauld, New Founde Lande.
There are many, many tales of adventures and despair between the seas and the rugged coast
of Newfoundland . Our welcoming, far flung rocky arms reach out and give comfort to the traveler
or crush the baroque's that they sail in.
In 1948, I discovered that the strange boat pulled up in the beach at Noddy Bay was called a
'lifeboat'. It came from the Langleecraig that was wrecked on Great Sacred Island in November
14 ,1947. The 'youngster's' of Noddy Bay ate sea biscuits for years after. We would visit Aunt
Blanche Bartlett's house and she would immediately, hurry into the 'pantry', and come rushing
out with a mirrored, tin square can. Pulling of the top she would hand each of us a biscuit.
Cautioning us not to eat it, until a large dollop of cows_cream was applied and dribbled with
It is ancient lore to us Northerner's that after Sir Humphrey Gilbert (1583) made New Founde
Lande a colony of England, he set_sail for home on the Golden Hind. The Squirrel was the
'knockabout' , it being a small ship. Because of foul weather the fleet had to find safe harbor at
St. Catherine's Haven ( Catalina/Port Union). Unfortunately, Sir Humphrey found Gold Mine Cove
and filled the Squirrel with the shiny Stuff ( fools_gold) that he found ebbed into the rocks and
littering the shore... In his greed, did not return to the Golden Hind , the command ship, but
stayed with the tiny Squirrel. The old fishermen of the 'twine loft' believed that the bits of planking,
with brass dowels being pulled of the bottom of Quirpon Harbor, are bits of the Squirrel. Wm. T. QBartlett 2002
The list.... (Continually updated)
1842 July ,15 Traveler _brig, Lyle master, wrecked in the Straits of Belle
Isle. The captain, one boy and a seaman dro
1877 August, 31 Marion _756 ton bargue from Newcastle, grounded in Norman Bay,
Straits of Belle Isle, about mile from the lighthouse. She was stripped by wreckers who forced
themselves on board the ship, despite protest from the Captain. Captain sold stripped hull to
lighthouse keeper for $70.00.
1881 Nov., 22 Romeo _schooner wrecked at Flowers Cove
1894 June, 13 Mary Jane _A Harbour Grace schooner on a voyage to Labrador, was
cut down by another schooner entering St. Anthony Harbour.
1895 July, 15 SS Mexico _British cargo ship wrecked nearBelle Isle lighthouse.
Carried a general cargo.
1899 Sept. 29 Scotsman Dominion liner went ashore in the Straits of Belle Isle.
Carrying a cargo valued at $500.00. Montreal owner sent a salvage ship, Ranger to salvage the
cargo. The Captain asked for a guard on ship until salvage ship arrived.
1906 August 1 Stella B. Bishop and Monroe schooner reported lost, when she hit
an iceberg in the Straits of Belle Isle.
1917 March 15 Thracier Steamer belonging to the Cunard Lines sunk by German
U_boat, 20 miles NNE of Belle Isle.
1917 March 15 Primaire Steamer of French Registry sunk by German U_boat,
21 miles South East of Belle Isle. 11 crew members died.
1917 March 25 Bayard SS Steamer sunk by German U_boats, 20 miles NNW off
Belle Isle. Five crew members killed.
1931 March 15 SS Viking The ship was complete built off wood his she was
among the "wooden walls" and was engaged into the seal fishery for many years, from 1904 to
1931. In 1909, when commanded by Captain William Bartlett Sr , she had her record voyage
23,754 seals. Her total for the years at the seal fisheries was 270, 331.
"At nine o'clock, Sunday night, March 15th 1931 an explosion occurred on board the SS Viking ,
when she was about eight miles east of the Horse Islands , White Bay . The steamer caught fire
and sank, 27 of the 147 persons on board lost their lives." [Chafes Sealing statistics, 1931]
1940 December 8th. SS Beothic (No.2) The SS Beothic No. 2 (1,078 tons) was engaged in
the seal fishery for the first time in 1926. The Beothic was formerly the Lake Como which ran in
the American fruit trade and was purchased by Job Brothers, in 1925. She was sent to Glasgow,
Scotland for major refit to her hull so that she could contend with the heavy ice.She arrived at St.
John's from Scotland on January 4th., 1926. An article in the Newfoundland Quarterly, April, 1926,
with a picture of the Beothic entering St. john's April 3rd. 1926, on return from her first voyage, it
"Our readers will notice on her afterdeck the little "Baby Avro" Aeroplane, which is the actual
machine that accompanied Sir Ernest Shackelton on one of his Antarctic expeditions. . this little
plane under the charge of her intrepid pilots Mr. C.S. Caldwell , during the past two years, and
Flight Commander Grandy, a Newfoundlander, the previous year, has done excellent work in
assisting Captains to locate the patches of seals."
The SS Beothic No.2 was engaged in the seal fishery for fifteen years . Her record year was 1934,
when under the command of Captain Abram Kean Sr , she brought in 48,701 seals. In 1926 under
Captain George Barber her catch was 48,421. Her total for the years was 389,664.
All of her Captains were from Bonavista Bay north:
Captain George Barbour 1926_28
Captain Peter Carter 1929_31
Captain William Windsor 1932_?
Captain Jacob Kean 1933_?
Captain Abram Kean Sr 1934_1936
Captain Sidney Hill 1937_1939
Captain Stanley Barbor 1940
On December 08, 1940 , the SS Beothic ran aground two miles from Griquet in the Straits of
Belle Isle, and became a total loss.
1942 August 27 Chatam American transport carrying troops. Torpedoed , in the
Straits of Belle Isle by German U_boat 715.
1942 August 28 Arlyan Steamer sunk in the Straits of Belle Isle by German
1962 May 06 Quest Norwegian sealing schooner sunk by ice north of Belle
MORE SHIP WRECKS ON THE TIP:
Ronald Burry Schooner, Wesley Pittman , master, wrecked in the Straits of Belle Isle, Nov
19th, 1934, crew saved.
Sampson English Fishing vessel lost in the Straits of Belle Isle, July 1, 1527. This was
the first offical report of a shipwreck in Newfoundland waters.
Nelson Schooner wrecked in gale at Sacred Island, near Quirpon, October 20, 1939,
2 men drowned.
Maggie & Eric Garnish Schooner, Grandy, Master, wrecked in the Straits of Belle Isle, June
Eastwood Motor vessel bound for Sydney in ballast wrecked on Eddie’s Cove Point ,
Straits of Belle Isle. September 19, 1936.
All articles are from my Personal Journals and unfortunately 40_years ago, I knew nothing about
references. I will include all references that I have available. All expressions are based on my
opinions. My wish is to introduce individuals to our historical and cultural traditions, from the
view point of a native Newfoundlander who's ancestors were here for over 300 years.
Wm. T. Quinton-Bartlett -2002