The Flemings Of Torbay (Johnny Burke)
score, MIDI

See also: The Flemmings Of Torbay (James Murphy)

And also: The Fishermen Of Newfoundland
(Johnny Burke)
(The Good Ship Jublilee)

sheet music


The thrilling news we heard last week
is in our memories yet,
Two fishermen from Newfoundland
saved from the jaws of death;
Two fine young men born in Torbay
who went adrift at sea,
On the eighteenth day of April
from the schooner Jubilee.

They left to prosecute their voyage
near the Grand Banks' stormy shore,
Where many's the hardy fisherman
was never heard of more;
For six long days in storms at sea,
those hardy fellows stood,
Fatigued, footsore, and hungry,
no water or no food.

Tossed on the seas all those long days
while bitter was each night,
No friend to speak a kindly word,
no sail to heave in sight;
At last a vessel hove in sight
and saw the floating speck,
The Jessie Maurice was her name,
coal laden from Quebec.

Our wheelsman, well-trained,
he espied clear through the misty haze,
Those poor exhausted fishermen
adrift so many days;
Our captain, a kind-hearted man,
had just come on the deck,
Then orders gave to hard aport
and shaped her for the wreck.

Two hours or more while the winds did roar
the Jessie sailed around,
To see if any tidings of
the dory could be found;
The crew was stationed on the bow
all anxious her to hail,
When the captain spied her in the fog
just aft the water rail.

Our brave commander right away
the order gave to launch,
The jolly boats that hung astern
of good old oak so staunch;
Two brave old seamen manned the oars
and at the word to go,
The captain standing in the bow
to take the boat in tow.

The captain gripped the painter
for to bring her to the barque,
While those on board were still as death,
their features cold and dark;
A sling was then made fast below
in which those men to place,
While tender-hearted mariners
they worked with noble faith.

No sign of life was in those men
as they were placed in bed,
But still our captain held out hope
the vital spark not fled;
He watched for days and sleepless
nights to bring those men around,
And on the second day discerned
but just a feeble sound.

The first to speak was Peter,
the eldest of the two,
He told the captain who they were,
a part of the Jubilee's crew;
And how in April on the Banks
they chanced to drift astray,
And lay exposed in an open boat
for six long stormy days.

Our captain then our stuns'l set
and shaped her for Quebec,
He took on board the dory
and all left of the wreck;
He watched those men with a mother's care
while in their berth they lay,
And saved the lives of two poor boys
once more to see Torbay.

God bless the Jessie's gallant crew,
likewise their captain bold,
Their names should be recorded
into letters of bright gold;
And send them peace and happiness
in every port they lay,
The plucky boys that saved the life
of the Flemings of Torbay.

####.... Johnny Burke of St John's, NL [1851-1930] published in a 1940 broadside [Laws D23] Native American Balladry (G Malcolm Laws, 1950/1964) ....####

See more Johnny Burke songs.

Collected from a recitation by Charles Dawe [1875-1957] of Flatrock, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada, ©2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Two variants were also collected by Kenneth Peacock, one in 1952 from Gordon Willis [1911-2001] of St John's, NL, and another in 1959 from George William Decker [1878-1962] of Rocky Harbour, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.912-915, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was also collected in 1950 from Gordon Connely of Glen Haven by Helen Creighton [1899-1989] and published in Maritime Folk Songs, (Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1962).

An early variant was sung in 1920 by Daniel W Endacott [1875-1940] of Sally's Cove, NL, and published as #141 on pp.285-287 as The Fishermen Of Newfoundland or The Good Ship Jublilee in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland, by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, PA, 1968).

Also printed as The Fishermen Of Newfoundland (The Good Ship Jubilee) and published on pp.50-51 of Old Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland, 2nd Ed, 1940, printed by the publishers of The Family Fireside for Gerald S Doyle, St John's.

A variant was printed in St John's in 1905 as The Flemmings Of Torbay on pp.14-16 of Murphy's Sealers' Song Book published by James Murphy [1867-1931].

Note: The Halifax Evening Mercury reported this event on May 31, 1888. The legs of both men were amputated in Quebec.

Additional notes excerpted from Off The Banks, Tales Of Heroism, Suffering And Peril by Patrick McGrath published in Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly and on page 2 in Issue 7872 of the newspaper, The Star, Christchurch, NZ, 28 November, 1903:
The trawler Jubilee left St John's on April 10, 1888. Peter Fleming was 43 years old with 9 years experience in bank fishing. Edward was 37 and on his first trip to the banks. Eight days later, while Peter and Edward were at the trawl, a sudden fog shut out the vessel. They were rescued by the barque Jessie Morris, built in 1872 in Halifax, NS, under command of Captain Farley[sic]. It was laden with coal for Quebec from North Shields, a town on the north bank of the River Tyne, in the metropolitan borough of North Tyneside, North East England. On June 1, the Fleming brothers had both feet amputated some inches above the ankle at the Marine Hospital in Quebec. Public subscription was set to provide them with artificial limbs, and they both became farmers after their ordeal.


Index Page
GEST Songs Of
Newfoundland And Labrador

(AD 1628 through 2020)


~ Copyright Info ~

~ Privacy Policy ~

Pro-Sitemaps details created:
1 January 2022, 12:53
Processing time: 0:25:28s
Pages indexed: 4030
Images sitemap: 198
Video sitemap: 2774
Broken Links - None

Email the Webmaster: gdgest@yahoo.ca