Loss of the Sir Echo



In the sea-port of Woods Harbour, on a warm September Day
The sword fishing boat Sir Echo went forth and sailed away,
It contained a crew of five, a family all but one
And they were gay and happy, their journey had just begun.

They reached their destination, upon the ocean blue
And with their fishing tackle, they were a busy crew,
The days passed by, all went well, sword-fish swam in numbers
The crew were tired when night grew on, and retired in peaceful slumber.

When they awoke next morning, dark clouds hung overhead
Their radio reported a hurricane ahead,
As night drew on the storm grew worse, there was darkness all about
And they cried and prayed for help, no-one but God would hear them shout.

The other ships around them headed out for home
But the little ship Sir Echo, was tossed upon the foam,
All night long the angry waves lashed hard against the boat
Then the staunch little craft Sir Echo, capsized and went afloat.

For days they drifted on the sea, no hope for them was found
Till at last a fishing craft saw them floating ‘round,
They towed her to Meteghan where hundreds lined the shore
To witness this tragedy which will be remembered ever-more.

Pumps were used to bail her out and as men laboured on
They found two bodies down below with rubbish all around,
Captain Gorham and his eldest son were all that would be found
The others having met their fate in the ocean drown.

They will forever be remembered by loved ones left behind
And those dear souls who was lost at sea will meet again some time,
So let this be a lesson for those who sail the sea
To heed God’s word and be prepared, for all eternity.

16 responses to “Loss of the Sir Echo”

  1. Robin L. Ross says:

    Glad I came across this. My grandfather (Robert Symonds)was one of the men that was lost on “The Sir Echo”. My grandmother lost her husband, Robert and brother, Sheldon and her two nephews. My father was to go out fishing with them on that trip but for whatever reason went on another one of the boats that made it back home. There is a book and a poem written about “The Sir Echo”. I lived in the small fishing village of Wood’s Harbour and you get to know all the men and there families of these sea disasters….”The Sir Echo, “Colville Bay” and the “Miss Ally”. Thanks for writing this song.

  2. Heather Sparling says:

    Thanks for writing, Robin. What a tragic story for your grandmother. Do you know the name of the book about *The Sir Echo*? Other site visitors might be interested in reading it.

  3. Bill Kenney says:

    I Remember it well,they were my neighbor,s Crowell was my friend ,he was only 16

  4. Heather Sparling says:

    It’s sad but helpful to learn about the friends and families of disaster victims. It helps to give disasters a human face.

  5. Pam Fevens-Nickerson says:

    My uncle Earle Nickerson was one of the crew. My mom, his sister told me the boat was headed back home when they stopped to help another boat, got them on their way and were not heard from again until found days later,such a tragic loss. let’s remember the one’s that didn’t make it home

  6. Heather Sparling says:

    I found a sad but very interesting newspaper column by Laurent d’Entremont detailing a history of shipwrecks in the Woods Harbour area. It’s a long history! http://www.obj.ca/Opinion/Columnists/2013-03-16/article-3196804/The-unforgiving-sea/1

    It is so heartbreaking to think of the people who were and are left to grieve their family members. Tragic losses for sure.

  7. mary lee doucette says:

    Would love to read the book if anyone knows where i can buy a copy

  8. mary lee doucette says:

    I was born on The Hawk so am familiar with the area,& of course the disasters that have happened over the years , especially Miss Ally (Katlin was my cousins grandson), I vaguely remember the boats lost out of Lockport in the early 60’s , can’t remember their names,

  9. Bonita Slevin says:

    I was 11 years old when this happened and I remember it so well also. My dad Sylvester Goreham and brother Evan was out in that hurricane and my Uncle Clifford Nickerson and I believe Uncle Chesley might have been with him too. I remember of Mom going to the porch window and kept looking towards the shore to see if any boats were coming in, even after dark she was there. She was so worried. Dad came in the next morning and we were so happy. It was very sad when the Sir Echo did not return. Everyone was looking for them to no avail. That was a sad thing for the families and the community, and there have been boats lost with all on board these later years from here too. Life on the sea is very dangerous sometimes. Have to give all fishermen credit as they still go out to the sea to fish regardless of all the dangers.

  10. Heather Sparling says:

    You are so right about the dangers of a life at sea, as the many songs in this collection attest! Thank you for sharing your personal recollections of the fatal hurricane.

  11. I was born in St. Jones Within, Trinity Bay, NL in 1947. In 1951 my fisherman father (Eli) acquired a 50′ Cape Island longliner named “Miss Osbourne”. He fished her until he sold her in 1956 when we moved to St. John’s. So from ’51 to ’56 I remember the Miss Osbourne very well. I played on her deck in the summers & skated around her bow in the winters when she was idle tied to the wharf. Growing up around fishing & boats I knew (at my tender age) this boat was different than any other boat in NL. I thought this was the most beautiful thing afloat. The Miss Osbourne was the repaired Sir Echo.

  12. Gregg Perry says:

    his wife was aunt susana we called her aunt nanna as she raised twin girls and a son . She was very relegion woman and which go her throught Signed G.Perry Retired PO1 Navy

  13. Bonita Ledrue Slevin says:

    Susanna raised two sons and two girls.. Crowell, Aubrey and Martha and Marsha.

    • Heather Sparling says:

      Thanks for providing that information! I know that some people use this site for genealogical research, so I’m sure this will help.

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