The Loss Of The Barbara Ann Ronney
(The Loss Of The Barbara & Ronnie)

In summertime, in summertime,
How gently winds can blow
When the boats from Glace Bay harbour
To the fishing grounds does go;
There's boats in port from Newfoundland,
Main-à-Dieu and Scatarie,
For to those friendly fishermen
Cape Breton ports are free.

It was in the spring of fifty-one,
Walter Bond was in command
Of the sturdy Barbara Ann Ronney
From Petites in Newfoundland;
Five sharemen were on board of the boat
And fished out from the bay,
And when the season ended,
They prepared to sail away.

Six men were on the boat that day
With Captain Walter Bond,
Charlie and Kenneth Courtney
From Petites they do belong;
Ward Major and Richard Goss
Were from the valleys too,
And Russell Ballard from Grand Bruit
Were the members of the crew.

Tom Bennett said to Captain Bond,
"I'll come on board and stay,
We shall go home together
And spend our Christmas day."
And while they put their freight on board
Their thoughts went over the foam,
For deep in every sailor's heart
There lies the love of home.

"A merry merry Christmas, b'ys,
And a happy New Year" -
As they gaily waved to friends on shore
As they passed the Glace Bay pier;
"A merry Christmas to you all,
We'll be back again in May."
They loaded the Barbara Ann Ronney,
From the harbour sailed away.

The seagulls circled overhead,
And the skies were dull and gray,
The radio foretold a storm
This chill December's day;
And friends along the waterfront
Can fully understand
Why the boat went into Ingonish
On 'er way to Newfoundland.

"Oh, Mother dear," the children cried,
"Where is our father's boat?
He said that he was coming home
The last time that he wrote."
Grief-stricken was the mother's heart,
The father and his crew,
For they're cradled in their ocean beds
Beneath the ocean blue.

In wintertime, in wintertime,
How fiercely winds can blow,
When the heavy seas will lash the shores
As many poor sailors know;
On the eighteenth day of December
The winter hurricane blew,
And we all feared for the safety
Of the captain and his crew.

Oh, many are the secrets
That are hidden by the sea,
And men entrusted by her crew
She guards most tenderly;
It's only the stars that shine above
And the restless ocean know
Where the Barbara Ann Ronney foundered
When those winter winds did blow,

####.... Author unknown. Original Newfoundland ballad composed in Petites, NL, c.1955, according to the singer, Kenneth Pink ....####
Collected in 1959 by Kenneth Peacock from Kenneth Pink [1938-?] of Rose Blanche, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.937-938, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that Main-à-Dieu, Scatarie, and Ingonish are on the east coast of Cape Breton Island, NS, and Petites and Grand Bruit are on the south coast of Newfoundland. He also stated: "As I was unable to travel to Petites to check out the personal names (including the name of the boat), I have written them as they were pronounced."

According to the Northern Shipwrecks Database and Clarence Vautier Jr and Marina Bateman of LaPoile, NL, the correct name of the 46 foot fishing skiff in this song is MV Barbara & Ronnie, built in 1944 in North Bay, La Poile, NL, by Edward and Ernest Farrell. She was presumed lost in Glace Bay, NL, on December 18, 1951. The names of the six crew members and one passenger were reported as: Captain Walter Bond, 37; Russell Billard, 22; Richard Gosse, 18; Kenneth Courtney, 27; Charlie Courtney, 19; Ward Mauger, 24; and Thomas Bennett, 33.

From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Shareman - member of a fishing crew who receives a stipulated proportion of the profits of a voyage rather than wages.

See more NL shipwreck songs.


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