1944 Mollie

The Mollie sank near Grates Cove, NL, en route from St. John’s to Carmanville. A passenger plus all five crew perished: Captain Ross Chaulk (26), mate James Ellsworth (26, single), John F. Goodyear (61) and his two sons, Reginald Goodyear (32, single) and Charles Goodyear (26, single), along with passenger Otto Hicks (age unknown, widower with one child). All were from Carmanville except Hicks, who was from Musgrave Harbour.

Somewhat atypically, the historical record documents the 13 crews — each containing between two and five men — that went in search of those lost from the Mollie.

The four songs about the Mollie are also somewhat unusual. First, it’s unusual to have so many songs about a single shipwreck, particularly given that they all appear to have been composed close to the time of the wreck and by members of the affected communities. Although there are large numbers of songs associated with more recent disasters, it seems that most pre-1950s disasters are rarely known to have more than one or two affiliated songs and they also tend to be told from the perspective of an unnamed omniscient narrator who cannot be directly linked (or unlinked) to the disaster. Even more unusual is the fact that three of the four songs spend considerable time describing the retrieval of the bodies and their return to Carmanville. Although there are other disaster songs that document rescue efforts, the descriptions in these songs are far lengthier than those in just about in any other disaster song in this collection. That there are three songs that do this about the same disaster makes it all the more unusual while underscoring the significance of this action.

For more information about the Mollie, see:

Abbott, Roland W. 1987. “The Loss of the Mollie.” The Three Seas. St. John’s, NL: Robinson- Blackmore Printing and Publishing Limited, pp.68, 71, 73.


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