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Around the coast of Newfoundland, brave fishermen reside,
Who spend much time upon the sea, subsistence to provide;
But often times a gale swaps down, brings havoc to our shore,
Bereaves our homes of loved ones, makes many hearts feel sore.
On the eighteenth of September at ten o'clock that night,
The elements of nature broke forth with fearful might;
Everything was in commotion by the bursting of the gale,
Which brought distress to many hearts and caused many a wail.
Many happy ones returned home back from the Labrador,
They prosecute the fisheries, oft-times have done before;
With loaded schooners full of fish, the commerce of our land,
How glad we were to greet them and shake them by the hand.
But on this memorable night around Bonavista shore,
The destruction of the elements the like unknown before;
Here many a fine and sporting craft this time did meet its doom,
Some with their summer's catch on board lately arrived at home.
The fishing schooner Harold F. became a total wreck;
The Olive Branch and Planet too were smashed from keel to deck.
The foreign going Reliance to the waters edge cut down;
And many of our small fishing boats next morning were not found.
It was not on the sea alone but on the land as well,
The gale caused much destruction, it's hard for one to tell;
How many of our small fishing boats were smashed upon the shore,
And down went flakes and stages which caused a great uproar.
Out by the old familiar spot well known as Squarrey Head,
Where foreign ships do anchor out by the old boatstead;
To take the produce of our land unto some foreign shore,
With skillful navigators and daring sailor men.
On Tuesday eve at three o'clock, a vessel hove in sight,
Which proved to be a Norwegian sloop which anchored in our bight.
The Snorre was the vessel's name, she was chartered by J. Ryan;
A brand new ship on her first trip to stay here for a time.
Ah! Little did these seamen think on reaching port that night,
With happy hearts and merry jests, their spirits gay and light;
Thinking of their beloved at home, those noble seamen brave,
That soon two of their number would meet a watery grave.
On Wednesday night at ten o'clock the Snorre burst her chains,
Through foaming seas was swept away in darkness and in rain.
Rockets were fired into the air, a signal of distress;
Their blooming shots flashed o'er the sea, 'Help' that was their request.
A group of men stood on the bank they all seemed stricken dumb.
They all stood up like statues, like men that had no tongues.
Until out stepped Ford among the crowd and tears stood in his eyes;
'My God,' he shouts, 'can nought be done to save those sailor boys.'
A rope he grasped into his hand followed by three more men,
And rushed toward the stranded with shouts, 'We must save them.'
Out, out into the raging sea those heroes quickly went,
To save those drowning seamen, it was their whole intent.
A rope Littles threw across the wreck which men held fast on shore;
Until one by one they passed o'er it 'til the saved ones numbered four.
But oh, alas, unfortunately two sank beneath the waves;
Fate had its way and doomed those boys to meet a watery grave.
One of the two ill-fated lads was thirteen years of age,
Who left his home in Norway on the Snorre did engage.
Methinks I see the mother now as she bade her lad good-bye;
As he took her hand on leaving home saying, 'Mother, don't you cry.'
The tears streamed down that mother's cheek as she held him by the hand,
Saying, 'Now, my boy, be always true and do the best you can;
May God protect you on this voyage, His blessings follow thee,
And keep thee from all dangers that do attend the sea.
The other lad was older and shipped as A & B,
Who supported his aged parents by his earnings made at sea.
Oh, little did these parents think as they bade the lad good-bye,
How soon the news would reach them of the drowning of their boy.
All praise to Bonavista sons for saving these four men,
To brothers Ford, Littles and Paul, all praise be given them.
May this brave act go down for years, may it resounded be,
How brothers Ford, Littles and Paul saved four lives from the sea.
See more songs about Newfoundland and Labrador shipwrecks.