The Wreck of the SS Ethie

A version of this song by Graham Wells can be heard here.

The Wreck of the SS Ethie



1 Come all you true countrymen, come listen to me.
A story I’ll tell you of the S. S. Ethie,
She being the steamboat employed on our shore,
To carry freight, mail, and passengers down on the Labrador.

2 On the tenth of December, as you all well may know,
In the year nineteen nineteen, on her last trip did go;
Where she leaved Daniel’s Harbour about four P. M.,
With a strong breeze from the south’ard, for Cow Head did

3 The glass indicated a wild raging storm,
And about nine o’clock the storm did come on.
With the ship’s husband on board, the crew had no fear;
Captain English gave orders straight for Bonne Bay to steer.

4 At first to the storm the brave ship gave no heed,
Until at length it was found she was fast losing speed,
And the great waves all round her like great mountains did rise,
And the crew all stood staring with fear in their eyes.

5 The orders went round to preserve for their life,
For the ship she is doomed and it’s perish we might;
But still there is hope; there is one brave man on board
Who says he can guide her safely on to the shore.

6 Walter Young been our purser, as you may understand,
Volunteered for to guide her safely in to the land;
John Gullage, our first mate, bravely stood to the wheel;
Captain English gave orders and all worked with a will.

7 Up off Martin’s Point about one o’clock,
Through bravery and courage, she escaped every rock,
And the people on the shore saw the ship in distress;
All rushed to the spot for to help do their best.

8 And then we were landed in a rude boatswain’s chair,
Taken in by the people and treated with care;
We stayed on the point until the storm it was o’er,
And the brave little Ethielay standing on shore.

9 O, what of the fright, the exhaustion and cold,
The depth of my story will never be told!
And all you brave fellows gets shipwrecked on the sea,
You think of the fate of the S. S. Ethie.

Citaiton: Greenleaf, Elisabeth Bristol, Ballads and Sea Songs of Newfoundland, p.277-278.

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