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Wreck of the S.S. Ethie

The Evening Herald did not make reference to a dog in its reporting of the rescue. Excerpts from the Evening Herald, December 17, 1919:

...The particulars to hand so far concerning the loss of the S.S. Ethie go to show that one of the worst marine tragedies in the history of of [sic] the country was averted only by the coolness and undaunted courage of Captain Edward English and the devotion of duty of his heroic crew...
Having rounded the headland he put the ship before the gale and dashed into the little cove named Martin's Point, putting her head on into the rocky shore. The ship struck with terrific force, settled for a minute or two, and the sea made a clean breach over her stern, sweeping the full length of ship and the next instant she was lifted bodily and carried the length of herself shoreward, listing heavily to portside and lay solidly wedged amongst the rocks...

Capt. English conferred with his crew as to what could next be done and volunteers were forthcoming to make the attempt to reach the shore with a line. This was, fortunately, not necessary as the residents of a settlement nearby, who saw the ship go ashore, hurried to the scene and appeared on shore inside the ship signifying their readiness to assist. Lines attached to empty kegs were put out and these driving quickly ashore the men on land secured the ropes, and by this means a cable was hauled from the ship, and fastened to the cliff above. The a boatswain's chair was rigged and the work of rescue was begun. Women and children were one by one placed in this chair and safely transferred to the shore by the united efforts and daring of the seamen and residents. The male passengers followed and finally

The S.S. Ethie
The S.S. Ethie, as painted by Robin Cook

the crew, the Captain being the last to take his place in the life saving chair to be hauled ashore.
One child, two years old, was placed in a mailbag, and taken in the arms of one of the male passengers and safely landed and the child shows no ill effects of the ordeal...

(As quoted in William Connors, 2002, By the Next Boat. Johnson Family Foundation.)

The Western Star reported about the dog in the December 17, 1919 edition:
"A line was fired from the ship, but got caught up amongst the boulders, so the people of Martin Point sent out one of their dogs, a very sagacious animal, to bring it ashore."

The report in the Evening Telegram on January 8, 1920, also claimed a role for the Newfoundland dog (note, however, the differences in its account from the other two).
"A rope was fastened to a life buoy and sent ashore. The sea was so rough, however, that those on the beach could not reach it. Time and again they tried and failed. Presently, however, a well-trained water dog dashed out into the waves, seized the buoy in its teeth and finally struggled ashore with it. This wonderfully sagacious animal is owned by Rueben Decker, of Martin Point, near where the Ethie now lies."

Newfoundland Dog
Above is a modern day Newfoundland Dog who has been trained in water rescue. Such work comes naturally to this wonderful breed.

The Newfoundland dog at the scene of the Ethie wreck was immortalized in verse.

Click here to read Carlo by the poet E. J. Pratt

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