#03399
Diary Of One Now Dead (Ellis Coles) video
#2136: YouTube video by NLTreasure
©2012 ~ Used with permission ~

He throttled her up at Greenland,
Quickly towards heaven she did soar,
That Yankee B26,
En route to Goose Bay, Labrador,
Not knowing it would be the last time
They would fly together in the blue,
And the Saglek would be the fate
For that bomber and her crew.

By the thirtieth of November,
It was in the year of forty-two,
She struck a storm of heavy cloud,
And right away that Yankee pilot knew,
To navigate the winter storm far up north
Sometimes the chips are down,
So he altered course and flew due south,
Saying, "Boys, we'll have to go around."

Many miles later, far out to sea,
He turned that bird around,
Josephson he set a course,
Once more for Goose Bay they were bound;
They made contact with Goose Bay
Just minutes before the radio went dead,
"We'll have to fly by compass now,"
The navigator to that pilot said.

They struck the coast of Labrador,
Just where there seemed to be some doubt,
They flew due north 'cause somehow figured
They were flying too far south;
But they figured wrong 'cause some miles later,
Farther down that coast they somehow found,
They were flying too far north,
And once again they turned that bird around.

Then the engine started missin',
As the gauges read completely out of fuel,
"Find a valley quickly, we must take her down,
That's all there's left to do."
Well, she crashed between the mountains,
Came to rest among great boulders still intact;
Guess her last flight had ended,
Among the barren hills of Saglek.

In the crash just badly shaken,
With minor cuts, but everyone alright,
They ate up some full rations,
And prepared to lie down for the night;
Then Josephson he stepped outside,
When he saw that star his sexton came in use,
And soon it was decided,
He was four hundred miles north of Goose.

From that same star decided that,
The little town of Hebron was nearby,
But they never tried to reach it,
I guess we'll always have to wonder why;
But they stayed inside and waited,
While being cold and hungry all in vain,
Waitin' for the sound of the engine
Of the plane that never came.

Just you fancy livin' in
The belly of a plane, forty below,
And every morn waking with
Your blankets cold, frozen, white with snow;
With not a stick of wood,
Just the rocky barren hills of a frozen land,
And your only source of heat
Was the heat of burning gas in old tin cans.

One day they came upon a plan,
A plan they thought would work without a doubt,
Jansen, Golm and Josephson
Would take a rubber boat and row south;
Two days before Christmas,
They dropped that rubber boat into the bay,
"We'll send back help when we arrive,"
Said goodbye and slowly rowed away.

Now, men will always gamble,
With women, cards and money evermore,
But no man there to gamble in,
An open open boat off Northern Labrador;
Outta total desperation they gambled
With their lives and hoped to win,
But the odds was stacked against them,
These three brave men was never seen again.

And back in Saglek,
In the belly of the plane, life went on,
Gettin' weaker, weather colder,
Soon December month had passed and gone;
And January only brought more days
Of cold, hunger and despair,
Their spirits low, their hopes were gone,
The will to live no longer there.

In the first month on the seventeenth,
They shared a cup of soup - their very last,
Their food all gone, and not too strong,
They knew right then that life was slipping fast;
For days they lay in slumber,
Just bundled there together near the end,
And on the third day, second month,
He wrote into his diary once again:

"We're growin' weak and tired,
But we pray to God we last a few more days,
But our hopes are gettin' weaker,
We just saw young Weyrauch slip away."
These were the last words written,
And in my mind they help to take us back,
To the night that Jesus called them home,
From that frozen hell called Saglek.

'Twas early in the month of March,
Several Eskimos on dog and sleigh,
Went down between the mountains
To hunt for fur and food in St. John's Bay;
Early in their journey,
Barely thirty miles they had gone,
When they found four frozen bodies
Just three and one-half hours from Hebron.

Now this story is not fiction,
To bring the facts to you I've really tried,
'Cause I'm here now in Saglek -
Very spot where these men crashed and died;
And in my hand I'm holdin',
The diary that many times I've read,
I guess the cover says it all:
The Diary Of One Now Dead.

Uh-hmmmmm, uh-hmmmm-mmmm.

####.... Ellis Coles ....####
Recorded by Ellis Coles (All The Best, trk#3, 1995 Cassette, distributed by Winelco).

See more songs by Ellis & Wince Coles.

From Inside Newfoundland And Labrador Archeology - In 1942 the United States had an airbase at Narsarsuaq, Greenland. On 10 December 1942 a crew of seven men on board the Times A Wastin', a Martin B-26 Marauder Medium Bomber of the 440 Squadron, 319 Bomb Group, departed Narsarsuaq on their way back to the United States via Goose Bay, Labrador. The crew of the B-26 were pilot First Lieutenant Grover Cleveland Hodge, Jr, co-pilot Second Lieutenant Paul Jansen, navigator/bombardier Second Lieutenant Emmanuel J Josephson, radio operator, Technical Sergeant Charles F Nolan and gunners Sergeant Russell Reyrauch, Corporal James J Mangini and Corporal Frank J Golm.

For More Information See: The Saglek Saga, A Crash In The Wilderness, circa 1942 - A True Story Of The Determination To Survive by Larry S Wilson.



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