The SS Caribou (Traditional)

See also: The SS Caribou (Herridge/Wall)

And also: The Caribou (MacEdward Leach)

And also: Fate Of The Caribou (Barry Davis)

The moon was bright one starry night
forgotten never shall be,
And the lighthouse beam over the ocean
gleamed as we set out to sea;
The little lights on the waterfront
soon disappeared from view,
As we sailed away from that quiet bay
on the steamship Caribou.

The Caribou was a passenger ship,
two thousand tons and more,
The crew were men from Newfoundland,
mostly from the Western Shore;
On the 14th of October,
in nineteen forty-two,
An enemy sub in the Cabot Straits
sank the steamship Caribou.

For many years that gallant ship,
Ben Taverner in command,
Sailed from a Cape Breton port
to the shores of Newfoundland;
Stanley Taverner, the captain's son,
was first mate on the ship,
When she sailed away from Sydney
on that last disastrous trip.

We walked on deck, my friend and I,
around to the starboard side,
We chatted as we strolled along
to where the boats were tied;
An uneasy warning filled my mind,
I said to my comrade,
"I'm afraid tonight a submarine
will attack the Caribou."

I have worked where danger lurks
down in those coal mines deep,
And yet that night my troubled mind
disturbed me in my sleep;
"If we're attacked tonight," I said,
"Dear Lord, what shall we do
To save the women and children
on the steamship Caribou?"

We were near the shores of Newfoundland
when the Caribou was hit,
And everything on the starboard side
was smashed and torn to bits;
Oh God, it was a fearful, terrible thing,
I'll never forget the sight,
Of people struggling for their lives
that dreadful autumn night.

There were people clinging to the rafts,
their belts kept them afloat,
While the sinking of the Caribou
upset the crowded boats;
They were tossed into the chilly seas
all bruised and numb with cold,
And struggling, the drifting boat
they managed to catch hold.

It's always dark before the dawn,
the hours seemed long to me,
Before the sun dispelled the mist
and shone out o'er the sea;
One hundred and thirty-seven souls
were lost that dreadful night,
And were at rest beneath the waves
before the morning light.

All through those long and weary hours
a woman clung to me,
While I held to the drifting boat
at the mercy of the sea;
Before the airships circled 'round
and a steamer reached our side,
The woman I had tried to save
from exhaustion and cold she died.

Jim Prosper was the second mate
on the steamship Caribou,
The third mate Harold Taverner,
son of the captain, too;
When the submarine attacked the ship,
and she saw beneath the tide,
The sons of Captain Taverner
with their gallant father died.

Tonight, thank God, I'm safe at home
from the perils of the sea,
But the dreadful drama I lived through
will all times a memory be;
My deepest heartfelt sympathy
goes out this night to you,
Whose hearts are saddened by the loss
of the steamship Caribou.

Proudly today do I tribute pay
to my own dear native land,
For the heroes of that dreadful night
were men from Newfoundland;
Brave in the hour of danger,
to the code of the ocean true,
They died with Captain Taverner
on the steamship Caribou.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland song ....####

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GEST Songs Of
Newfoundland And Labrador

(AD 1628 through 2020)


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