The Loss Of The Regalis (Kenneth Peacock)

See also: Regalis (MacEdward Leach)

You hearty sons from Newfoundland
That fear no storm or sea,
Come harken for a moment,
Attention give to me.

While I'll explain in language plain,
That fills us with dismay;
How the Regalis she got lost,
In Petty Harbour Bay.

On Sunday morn with happy hearts,
And calm and cheerful smile;
We cast our lines and got up steam,
And steered from old Belle Isle.

And as we steamed up near Cape Race,
It blew a heavy breeze;
Her main-shaft broke and leaved her,
Disabled on the sea.

Word to the Cape was quick dispatched,
And sent without delay:
"Some helpless ship lay moorèd,
Disabled in the bay."

Tug John Green then got up steam,
And for the ship did go;
He got on board of us, sir,
The Regalis for to tow.

He towed her in about a mile,
While wind and seas did roar;
And soon her tow-line parted,
And she drift' towards the shore.

The lookout on the tug John Green,
And those on board did shout;
The port light on the Regalis,
Did suddenly go out.

Tug John Green for many an hour,
The bay did cruise all 'round;
But no sign of the Regalis,
Could anywhere be found.

And when that he bore up for home,
He seen it was no use;
The dangers of the tug being swamped,
She then gave up her cruise.

To carry the sad and gloomy news,
To friends in St John's town;
Our Captain Taylor and his crew,
On Sunday night went down.

May God the ruler of the wind,
The tempest and the deep;
Give light unto those hearts we love,
Their widows left in grief!

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

Collected in 1958 by Kenneth Peacock from Levi Everett Bennett [b.1899] of St Paul's, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.956-957, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was collected in 1951 from Mrs Frank Molloy of St Shott's, NL, and published as Regalis in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada, ©2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

MacEdward Leach collected another variant and published it as #74, The Loss Of The Regulus, in Folk Ballads And Songs Of The Lower Labrador Coast by the National Museum of Canada (Ottawa, 1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

According to the Northern Shipwrecks Database the SS Regulus was en route to Sydney, NS, from Wabana (Bell Island) and was lost on October 23, 1910, when the tow line broke from the tug boat John Green.

On November 26, 1910, the Twillingate Sun and Northern Weekly Advertiser published a statement dated November 7th, 1910, made to the Court of Enquiry by Emmanuel Collins of Flat Island, NL, captain of the schooner Eliza. Captain Collins was the man who boarded the Regulus off Bay Bulls and carried the "Word to the Cape" which was a telegraph message sent to Harvey & Company:

"At 10 AM we were off Bay Bulls when we noticed a steamer coming up behind us, and when she was about two miles from us, she gave three short blasts and hoisted two flags to mainmast head, lowered them, and hoisted them again half mast. We knew she was in distress and we bore back toward her, and when near, saw it was the SS Regulus. She was then about four miles SSE from Eastern Head of Bay Bulls and heading towards the land. We ran on the lee side and asked the Captain if we could do anything for him, and he told us to come on board. We launched a dory, went on board. The Captain then said "Well boys I am in a fix; our main shaft is broken and I cannot see, think, or understand what made it break today.

"My men report that the crew of the SS Regulus told them that the ship was going about ten knots when shaft broke, and that when you could count two, there was three feet of water in the hold. They also said they could not think what made the shaft break, as it was a new one."

From a post by Doreen Anderson at the Ancestry Message Boards:
"I know quite a bit about this wreck. The ship was carrying a load of coal. They were caught in a south-east storm and lost steering off Shoal Bay. They anchored and were holding well; however, they requested a tow as they were concerned the anchors would not hold all night. The tug from St John's managed to successfully secure a tow line to the Regulus; however, the line snapped and the Regulus drifted into the breakers south of Motion Head and smashed on the shoals. There were rumours that both vessels were being pushed into the breakers and the tug captain ordered the line to be cut. It is plausible as the tow line was apparently brand new and should have easily handled the strain."

See more NL shipwreck songs.


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