SS Florizel: Difference between revisions

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'''SS ''Florizel''''', a passenger liner, was the flagship of the [[Bowring Brothers]]' Red Cross Line of steamships and one of the first ships in the world specifically designed to navigate icy waters.<ref name="encyclopedia">''[[Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador]]'', ISBN 0-9693422-1-7.</ref> During its last voyage, from [[St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador|St. John's]] to [[City of Halifax|Halifax]] and on to [[New York]], it sunk after striking a reef at Horn Head Point ({{coord|46|50|56|N|52|56|20|W|}}), [[Cape Race]] near [[Cappahayden, Newfoundland and Labrador|Cappahayden]], [[Dominion of Newfoundland|Newfoundland]], [[Canada]], with the loss of 173 including [[Betty Munn]], a three-year-old girl, in whose memory a statue of [[Peter Pan]] was erected at [[Bowring Park, St. John's|Bowring Park]] in St. John's.
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'''SS ''Florizel''''', a passenger liner, was the fagship of the [[Bowring Brothers]]' Red Cross Line of steamships and one of the first ships in the world specifically designed to navigate icy waters.<ref name="encyclopedia">''[[Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador]]'', ISBN 0-9693422-1-7.</ref> During its last voyage, from [[St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador|St. John's]] to [[City of Halifax|Halifax]] and on to [[New York]], it sunk after striking a reef at Horn Head Point ({{coord|46|50|56|N|52|56|20|W|}}), [[Cape Race]] near [[Cappahayden, Newfoundland and Labrador|Cappahayden]], [[Dominion of Newfoundland|Newfoundland]], [[Canada]], with the loss of 173 including [[Betty Munn]], a three-year-old girl, in whose memory a statue of [[Peter Pan]] was erected at [[Bowring Park, St. John's|Bowring Park]] in St. John's.
   
 
The sinking of the ''Florizel'' and the tragic loss of life, compounded by the controversy surrounding her ill-fated voyage was the subject of a book by [[Cassie Brown]] entitled ''A Winter's Tale - The Wreck of the Florizel'', ISBN 0-9698767-4-2.
 
The sinking of the ''Florizel'' and the tragic loss of life, compounded by the controversy surrounding her ill-fated voyage was the subject of a book by [[Cassie Brown]] entitled ''A Winter's Tale - The Wreck of the Florizel'', ISBN 0-9698767-4-2.

Revision as of 19:50, 19 December 2008

Career
Built by: C. O'Connell & Company Ltd.
at Glasgow
Commissioned: 1909
Classification: Passenger Liner
Home Port: St. John's, Newfoundland
Fate: Sunk after striking reef at Cappahayden, Newfoundland 23 February 1918
General characteristics
Displacement: 1,980 tons net
3,081 tons gross
Length: 305.5 ft.
Deep: 29.6 ft.
Beam: 43.1 ft.
Propulsion: Steel Screw Steamer
Speed: 12 Knots
Safety Equipment: submarine signaling apparatus and wireless
Capacity: 145 First Class
36 Second Class
Complement:  ?
Construction: Steel
Named After: Shakespearean character of the winters tale

SS Florizel, a passenger liner, was the fagship of the Bowring Brothers' Red Cross Line of steamships and one of the first ships in the world specifically designed to navigate icy waters.[1] During its last voyage, from St. John's to Halifax and on to New York, it sunk after striking a reef at Horn Head Point (46°50′56″N 52°56′20″W / 46.84889°N 52.93889°W / 46.84889; -52.93889), Cape Race near Cappahayden, Newfoundland, Canada, with the loss of 173 including Betty Munn, a three-year-old girl, in whose memory a statue of Peter Pan was erected at Bowring Park in St. John's.

The sinking of the Florizel and the tragic loss of life, compounded by the controversy surrounding her ill-fated voyage was the subject of a book by Cassie Brown entitled A Winter's Tale - The Wreck of the Florizel, ISBN 0-9698767-4-2.

History

The Florizel was primarily a passenger liner, built for the Bowring Brothers to replace an earlier ship, the SS Silvia, which had been lost at sea. Built of steel, it was one of the first ships in the world to be specifically designed to navigate the icy waters around Newfoundland and Labrador. The vessel was modified each spring to participate in the annual seal hunt off the coast of Newfoundland. Often captained by Captain Abram Kean, she broke many records on her numerous voyages to the seal hunt. [2]

The Florizel was also used as a transport vessel during World War I. In October 1914 it carried the first 500 volunteers of the Newfoundland Regiment, the Blue Puttees, to Europe.

Bowring Brothers were the operators for the New York, Newfoundland and Halifax Steamship Company, Limited. At the time of the Florizel's construction it was considered a luxury liner; it had room for 145 first-class accommodations.

The Bowring fleet of ships of that era were given names from Shakespearean plays: the Florizel was named after young Prince Florizel in The Winter's Tale.

Last Voyage

The Florizel left St. John's on 23 February 1918, for Halifax and then on to New York, with 78 passengers and 66 crew. Among the passengers were many prominent St. John's businessmen. Shortly after the vessel left port the weather turned nasty and after nine hours of steaming southward the captain, William Martin, assumed that he had rounded Cape Race and consequentially turned westward. However, because of the gale force winds the Florizel had actually traveled just 45 miles and was well short of the Cape. The sea crashing against the rocks at Horn Head Point was white with froth and Captain Martin mistook it for ice and eventually crashed full speed into the rocks. Most of the passengers and crew that survived the initial crash found shelter in the Marconi Shack, the least damaged portion of the ship.

The rescue

An SOS was sent out and received by the Admiralty wireless station located at Mount Pearl.[3] By the evening of the 24th the first rescue ships had arrived to no sign of life. The weather had abated somewhat when light was spotted and a rescue attempt was carried out after the storm had calmed. Of the 138 passengers, 44 had survived the initial crash and after 27 hours, the ship struck ground and the last of the passengers and crew were rescued. Medals of bravery were awarded to several crew members of the Briton by the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII, while he was in St. John's in 1919.

The investigation

Captain Martin, who had survived the tragedy, was held responsible for the disaster, because of the lack of soundings taken during the course of the voyage. His certificate was suspended for twenty-one months. It was not until later that Captain Martin was found not to have been at fault. The Chief Engineer, J.V. Reader, had reduced the speed of the vessel as soon as she left port, bypassing the captain's orders to proceed at full speed. This action had caused the ship to make less distance than had been thought. The reason cited for Reader's action was to prolong the trip to Halifax such that the vessel would have to dock overnight and allow Reader time to visit his family while there. [1]

Lost passengers of historical importance

  • Patrick Laracy, owner of the Crescent theater in St. John's.
  • Betty Munn, granddaughter of Sir Edgar Bowring (founder of Bowring Brothers).
  • James H. Baggs(40),curling, Bay Of Island

Passengers Perished

First Class
  1. F.C. Smythe, 44
  2. Jas. H. Baggs
  3. William Butler
  4. W.F. Butler
  5. Mrs. W.F. Butler
  6. Patrick Laracy
  7. Edgar Froude
  8. James McCoubrey, 40
  9. Robert Wright, 40
  10. James Miller, 28
  11. James Daley, 45
  12. Miss Annie Dalton
  13. Miss M. Barrett
  14. Thomas McNeil
  15. Frank Chow
  16. Fred Snow
  17. Edward Berteau
  18. Jack C. Parsons
  19. Newman Sellars, 21
  20. Gor Massie
  21. Mrs Massie
  22. Miss Massie
  23. William E Bishop
  24. Chas H. Miller, 45
  25. G.P. Belleveau
  26. George Moulton
  27. Master Moulton
  28. F. Gerald P. St. John
  29. William Moore
  30. Michael Connolly
  31. John Connolly
  32. George Parmiter, 25
  33. Capt. Jos Kean, 44
  34. John S Munn, 37
  35. Wm. Earle
  36. Michael O’Driscoll
  37. Miss B. Beaumont
  38. Miss Munn 3 1/2
  39. Miss Trechard
Second Class
  1. Jos. Maloney
  2. Mrs Maloney
  3. Miss Maloney, 28
  4. P.J. Fitzpatrick
  5. A. Power
  6. John Costello
  7. Wm. Guzzwell
  8. Miss Eliz Pelley
  9. Peter Gullfoyle
  10. Edward Greening
  11. George Long
  12. R.J. Fowler
  13. Geo. Puddister, 41
  14. Mrs. John Lynch, 54
  15. W. Richard, 26
  16. Leonard Nicholle
  17. Jas. Crockwell, 50
  18. Herbert Pearcey, 28
  19. Jas. Bartlett, 43
  20. Chas Howell
  21. J. Forrest
  22. Mr. Stevens

Officers and Crew Perished

  1. John R. King, Second Officer, Arichat, N.S.
  2. J.V. Reader, Chief Engineer, Halifax, N.S., 45
  3. Charles Snow, Second Stewart, St. John’s
  4. Miss Margaret Keho, Stewardess, St. John’s
  5. Fred Guthrie, Second Cook, Liverpool
  6. J McKinnon, Baker, Glasgow
  7. Ramon Rez, Messroom Stewart, Spain.
  8. P. Lynch, Waiter, St. John’s
  9. Gordon Ivany, Waiter, St. John’s
  10. Austin Whitten, Waiter, St John’s
  11. Stan Squires, Waiter, St. John’s
  12. Stan Foley, Waiter, Grey Islands
  13. M.L. Dunphy, Waiter, St. John’s
  14. Thomas Hennebury, Oiler, St. John’s
  15. A Moody, Butcher, New Hampshire
  16. Geo Crocker, Sailor, St. John’s
  17. Wm. Walter, Sailor, Trinity
  18. Chas Bailey, Sailor, Port Rexton
  19. John Power, Sailor, Paradise, P.B.

Passengers Saved

  1. A. Ledingham
  2. Ralph Burnham
  3. Joseph Stockley
  4. Major Sullivan
  5. John J. Cleary
  6. William Parmiter
  7. J. P. Kieley
  8. Wm. Dodd
  9. W. N. Dauphinee
  10. Arch Gardiner
  11. A. G. Fagan
  12. D. Griffiths
  13. Miss Cantwell
  14. Miss Denief
  15. Thomas Whelan
  16. G. M Mullowney
  17. J. G. Sparrow

Officers and Crew Saved

  1. Captain Wm. Martin
  2. Chief Officer James
  3. 3rd Officer Philip Jackman
  4. 2nd Engineer T. Lumsden
  5. 3rd Engineer E. Collier
  6. 4th Engineer H. Taylor
  7. Marconi Operator C. Carter
  8. Asst. Marconi Operator B. J. Murphy
  9. Bosun Michael Power
  10. Carpenter Jacob Pinsent
  11. John Johnson, Pantry Waiter
  12. James Dwyer, Waiter
  13. Jos. Moore, Cook
  14. Fred Roberts, Waiter
  15. Edward Timmons, Oiler
  16. John Davis, Oiler
  17. A Hatchard, Sailor
  18. Hy. Dodd, Waiter
  19. Alex Fleet, Waiter
  20. W. Dooley, Sailor
  21. Joseph Burry, Sailor
  22. Thomas Greene, Sailor
  23. George Curtis, Gunner
  24. Henry Snow, Waiter
  25. Charles Reelis, Waiter
  26. Jose Fernandez, Fireman
  27. Wm. Molloy, Sailor.[4]

Survivors of historical importance

Bodies Not Recovered

  • Francisco Fornas, fireman, Spain.
  • Edward Greening, Bonavista.
  • Charles Howell, Trinity.
  • Gordon Ivany, St. John's.
  • Clarence E. Moulton, St. John's.
  • Leonard Nicholl, St. John's.

RECIPIENTS OF THE ROYAL HUMANE SOCIETY MEDAL FOR BRAVERY AT SEA

The S.S. Gordon C

  • Captain E. C. Perry
  • Chief Engineer Robert Pierson
  • Seaman Joseph Budden

The S.S. Hawk

  • Captain Martin Dalton, R.N.R.
  • Seaman Daniel Ralph, R.N.R.
  • Seaman Michael Whelan, R.N.R.

These men, along with H. Clouter, C. W. Penny, R.N.R., Adolf "Dolf" Morey, R.N.R., G. Westcott, R. Pierson, and J. Budden, also received the Board of Trade Medal for Gallantry in Saving Life at Sea (Sea Gallantry Medal or S.G.M).[5]

References

  1. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, ISBN 0-9693422-1-7.
  2. ^ Paul O'Neill, The Oldest City: The Story of St. John's, Newfoundland, 2003, ISBN 0-9730271-2-6.
  3. ^ Exhibit at Admiralty House
  4. ^ St. John's Daily News, 22 February 1918.
  5. ^ Chapter XIX of Awards of Board of Trade Medals for Gallantry in Saving Life at Sea, original available at the Royal Humane Society in London

External links