Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 31 > Page 12 - Wreck of the 'Marshall Frank'

Page 12 - Wreck of the 'Marshall Frank'

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1982/6/1 (538 reads)

Now if it was the Big Breaker, they cer? tainly wouldn't have landed the next day. There's no way they'd have landed there. And she was heading west, you know. She was loaded with fish--all kinds of codfish in her. When she hit, everybody abandoned the boat but those 5--they wouldn't leave. The rest left. But after they left the boat, those fellows start hollering. They changed their mind. There must have been awful con? fusion in the first-place, when they wouldn't go with the captain and the mate and the rest of them, you know. And the weather wasn't bad. And when they left (the last 5 men), I suppose they made for shore. Well, there's no damn way they'd get to shore, right there, in the dory. Too rough. Malcolm: The ones that survived, they went out to sea. They didn't land. They went out in the dories and stayed out on the ocean till daylight. Dan Norman: They went out to sea. The weather was all right. Nothing wrong with the weather, on? ly there was a roll on--but they went out to sea and they waited for daylight. Why come ashore in the night? And the sea so smooth, no bad sea. Big double dories. She was, I suppose, one of the last schoon? ers- -she was a genuine schooner, just like the Bluenose. On the same model exactly. She had been just refitted. She was on a maiden voyage after a refit. (And they had been fishing.) Oh, yeah. But I'm after for? getting where were they heading for--Lunen? burg or somewheres. They were heading west, wherever they were heading. They were all Newfoundlanders. I heard from a fellow, Gerald Beaton from Sydney--he went on a cruise with this fellow that built a ce? ment boat. It was years after the wreck-- maybe it was 5 or 6 years ago. They went over to St. Pierre and they went to New? foundland. And they went into this port, and there was a graveyard there. And Ger? ald was interested in that, see what kind of names were in it, you know. And here there's names for I don't know how many off of the Marshall Frank--buried there. And on the tombstone there, where they got shipwrecked at Framboise, Cape Breton. Captain Abe Miles of the Marshall Frank (from a Cape Breton Post interview, 1949): I knew there was no hope for the ship and to tell the truth I felt there was no hope of getting ourselves to safety. The boys didn't want to take to the dories. They said there wasn't a chance and they wanted to stay and die on the ship. I told them I was going over the side. I got into a dory with two crewmen. Then the crew de? cided to follow. We were a quarter of a mile from shore. The coast is very rocky there. We abandoned ship in 10 minutes about 4 a.m. and there was no hope of getting in to the coast then. I had to lead the way and get soundings and then call the men to follow me. I left with two men in one dory. The deck was covered with ice making it very slippery. Water was pour? ing into the cabin when we went over the side. The bottom was torn out amidships. The men lost were the last five on the ship --they refused to come off. They figured their chances were nil and they wanted to stay with her. Later we saw them getting in? to a dory and that was the last time we saw them. We were all soaked and we rowed out to sea for 6 miles to wait for daybreak and try to get into land. It's ironic that we were only a quarter of a mile from land but had to turn for the open sea to survive. The five dories were in a line. We waited for the sixth dory but it never came. We kept up the conversation as the five dories huddled together waiting for dawn. We never bothered with lifebelts. We were scared to move because of the big breakers. We were bouncing around in black fog like rubber balls. When we got in, the first dory turned over and the men had to wade to shore. The other dories struck the shore side on and there was no difficulty reaching the beach. MARSHALL FRANK on the rocks, and her survi vors at the Belmont Hotel in North Sydney. (12) Bird Island Tours CAMPING and CABINS A 2 1/2 hour cruise fro. MOUNTAIN VIEW BY THE SEA 4 miles off Trans-Canada Highway at Big Bras d'Or (902)674-2384
Cape Breton's Magazine
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