Trinity Bay Disaster (Joe West)
See also: The Trinity Bay Disaster
(Clarence Dewling)

Back in eighteen ninety-two,
there was a story to unfold:
The Trinity Bay disaster
and the men caught in the cold;
From mid-week on till friday
there were several seals brought in,
Rumors of the herds out there,
excitement stirred within.

Early saturday morning,
with the sky so clear and fair,
Everything seemed favourable
for a successful day out there;
Hunters came from Green Bay,
around to Irelands Eye,
Robin Hood to Salmon Cove,
English Harbour heard the cry.

Some men came from Trouty,
Bonaventure and Thoroughfare,
Boats were on the water,
Deer Harbour's men were there;
Some folks were mighty anxious,
many were not equipped,
Not much food or clothing,
it seemed a real short trip.

The breeze was blowing gently,
the sea was smooth and calm,
The echo of a gunshot
heard early in the morn;
It looked to be a great day
as families waved goodbye,
And wished their loved ones great success,
not a teardrop in the eye.

Seals were falling everywhere,
there'd be food to put in store,
Ice pans floating in the bay,
and not one thought of shore;
A little after mid-morn,
at about ten forty-five,
Waves whipped at the dory's,
men feared they might capsize.

The wind gained speed, t'was mighty cold,
the boats began to drift,
Horse Chops wasn't far away,
but the sea would not forgive;
Fear spread fast throughout the boats,
men grabbed for every oar,
It was a matter of survival,
they had to make the shore.

Water sprayed on everyone,
freezing as it fell,
The skippers knew this one was bad,
it wasn't hard to tell;
Broken oars and panic,
some men even cried,
One fell from exhaustion,
and shortly after died.

Fearing the boat was going to swamp,
and all souls might be lost,
They committed the body to the sea
and the angry waves that tossed;
Four hours had passed as the nor'easter blew,
the second man had died,
He was the brother of the first
that was committed o'er the side.

The angry sea was foaming,
the gale was blowing strong,
The Horse Chops lay straight ahead,
but it seemed so very long;
After five long hours some reached the land,
a pitiful site to see,
Bob Bannister could not get up,
he stayed on hands and knees.

The last thing he uttered
before he was to fall,
With tears in his eyes and a frozen face,
he cried, "God bless us all!"
Two hundred men were caught in the storm,
where thirteen of them died,
Eleven men still missing
not a chance they could survive/

This is a song that must be sung,
The Brave Men Of The Sea,
Trying to make a living
for a family they must feed;
Newfoundlanders know the danger,
they live it all the while,
And when they head on out to sea
they always leave a smile.

To say you're from the Rock
is an honour to behold,
Where pride and friendship are joined as one,
and every heart is gold;
The sea can give you everything
and as fast take it away,
God bless the grieving families
that live in Trinity Bay.

####.... Joe West ©2009. Performance rights administered by SOCAN. All rights reserved ....####

See more songs by Joe West.

Another version of The Trinity Bay Disaster was composed by Clarence Dewling and was performed publicly for the first time on July 1, 1999, at the opening of the Trinity Pageant, a play depicting the history of the Trinity area.


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