Page 46 - Procedure Report of Bodies Brought to Port-aux-Basques from the Ill-Fated Vessel S.S. Caribou
ISSUE : Issue 46
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/8/1
Procedure Report of Bodies Brought to Port-aux-Basques from the lll-Fated Vessel S.S. Caribou Wednesday October 14, 1942. Arriving at the dock to take up usual duties of Embarkation of troops, Sgt. Woodley and myself were informed by Mr. George, the local agent of the Nfld. R.R. that the S.S. "CARIBOU" was in trouble about 20 miles South West of Channel Head. Action Taken after Report Received. Immediately af? ter report was heard Mr. George chartered every a- vailable boat in the Port Aux Basques Harbor, to? talling 3 fishing schooners. Phoning Grand Bay he secured the services of three more and the same at Isle Aux Morte, making a total of nine. Departure of Rescue Vessels. As the first schooner pulled alongside the jetty I asked the Skipper if he would permit me to accompany him and his crew in the search. Permission granted, I then told Mr. George to ask the other vessels to keep a sharp lookout for Aircraft, which I felt sure would be despatched to aid us in the search for the wreck? age. The course given the Skippers of the search? ing vessels was South West from Channel Head ap? proximately 20 miles. Report Regarding Search. The three vessels leaving from Port Aux Basques left within ten minutes of each other, and upon reaching open water, they spread out in a fan position. The sea was very rough, but every vessel had every inch of canvas flying, plus gasoline engines. The Skipper of the vessel I was aboard judged our speed to be between six and seven knots, and that we should reach the point of the accident in about three and a half hours. After about two hours sailing, a plane was spotted about three miles off our Starboard side, and all it did was bank and fly off. But feelings were elated to see it on the scene. But our elated feelings were short-lived when the plane changed direction and flew towards the Nfld. shore, and passed from view. This happened once again during the day, and that is the extent of aircraft sighted that day. When the Skipper judged he had covered a distance of about 25 miles he gave in- s-tructions to tack, and after keeping this up for five or six miles he gave instructions to a heavy- hearted crew to head back to Port, as his vessel was old and he did not want to be at sea after dark. Our mission of mercy had failed. The vessel arrived back at Port Aux Basques at J.730 hrs, fol? lowed by the other vessels. Bell Buoy Restaurant Seafood * Steaks * Poultry * Sandwiches Fully Licensed * Luncheon & Children's Menus Baddeck, N. a 295-2581 Scene at Port Aux Basques upon return of Vessels. The people of Port Aux Basques, hearing the news, had rallied in great style to be ready to meet an emergency that the boats might have brought in. A small-sized hospital had been set up in the Cus? toms Office. Mr. R. Hanson of the Cape Construc? tion Co. had 15 stretchers made. The store mer? chants had removed all the warm clothing from their shelves and taken to the wharf. Berths a- board the train that was waiting to meet the "CAR? IBOU" had been made up for immediate use. Dr. Par? sons and three local nurses were standing by. At 1400 hrs three more Doctors and two""more nurses ar? rived by freight train from Stephenville to assist. Capt. Bonner and wife who are in charge of the Sal? vation Army Hostel had pots of hot soup and coffee ready and also suppers ready for the crews assist? ing in the search. The work of these two people all through the disaster is to be remembered by the people of Port Aux Basques for ever. 2200 hrs Wednesday October 14th, 1942. The three vessels of Grand Bay and Isle Aux Morte were at last heard from. Grand Bay phoned Mr. George and asked him to send over a Doctor and Sgt. Forward of the Rangers as they had two bodies aboard their vessels. Mr. George, Sgt. Forward and myself has? tened to the scene at once. My purpose--in case of any of the bodies being Service Personnel. Upon ar? riving we were shown the bodies, one male and one female. The male body was identified as being that of L. Carter, an assistant Steward of the S.S. "CARIBOU." The female body could not be identified. After examining the bodies at Grand Bay we were in? formed that one of the Isle Aux Morte vessels had recovered two bodies and had proceeded direct to Port Aux Basques. Upon arriving back at Port Aux Basques we were informed that the two bodies were both female, one beim, identified as Miss Fitzpat- rick, the Stewardess (f the S.S. "CARIBOU," and one unidentified. Bei g women, I did not bother to view the bodies. This was all the bodies recovered on this date. These b( dies were picked up within a half mile radius, 15 riles due west of Grand Bay. This information was vather a shock, as this placed the boats that had left Port Aux Basques a- bout 20 to 25 miles a' ay from the scene of the ac- Auto Decor & Protection Specialists Custom & Factory Pinstripes Sunroofs Our Specialty - 20% Off Ask for Garth Wilson 250 Kings Road, Sydney 539-3915 Trim Lme Design ). Weic JL' ANNIVERSARY Welcome to our Cape Breton Shopping Plaza - Sydney River Mayflower Mall - Grand Lake Road, Sydney (46) year of savings for you Port Hawkesbury Shopping Centre
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