The August Gale (Bill Wilson)

See also: Forty Fishermen (MacEdward Leach)

On the twenty-fifth of August
the gale began to rise,
It left so many orphans
and took so many lives;
Leaving their friends and loved ones,
their homes to see no more,
The ocean waves did roll that day
like they never done before.

The wind it blew a fearful force
and no let up that day,
The boats were anchored on the grounds
around Placentia Bay;
When empty boats turned bottom up,
and not a soul was saved,
Some forty fishermen or more
did meet a watery grave.

John Follett in his little boat,
about ten tons or more,
Was anchored on the fishing grounds,
'bout 12 miles from the shore;
And when the gale began to rise,
he made a run for the nearest port,
But a heavy sea rolled over them,
capsized their little boat.

John Follett and one of his sons
clung to the wreck that day,
For eighteen miles they drifted,
exposed to wind and sea;
God spared the lives of those poor boys
to tell the mournful tale,
But his eldest son got drowned
in that great August gale.

Danny Cheeseman from Rushoon
also went down that day,
The boat was met with her two spars gone,
'bout half ways in the bay;
To think on what they suffered,
a stone would heave a sigh,
There was three men clinging to the wreck,
when Harris passed her by.

He tried his best to save them,
but his boat she did mistay,
And with aching hearts,
they were forced to part,
and run before the sea;
He done his best endeavour
to see what he could do,
May the Lord have mercy on the souls
of Dan Cheeseman and his crew.

Another schooner, branded new,
built up in Mortier Bay,
Commanded by John Laughlin,
from Red Harbour sailed away;
Since he was anchored on Cape Pine,
to the westward of the light,
He had a dory gone astray
that dark and stormy night.

The Annie from Fox Harbour,
also went down that day,
With seven hearty fishermen,
no more to plough the sea;
And all of them being married men,
which made the loss run high,
Excepting one, the skipper's son,
he was a single b'y.

There's six young widows left to mourn,
I know them all quite well,
With children small, no help at all,
for to bear their troubles well;
If God himself will lend a hand,
look down on them I hope,
May the Lord have mercy on their souls,
it was an awful stroke.

####.... William (Bill) R Wilson [1931-1993] of Little Meerasheen, Placentia Bay, NL. Published for the 1980 Merasheen Reunion in Placentia Bay, NL, by Loyola Pomroy and Bill Wilson of Meerasheen, Placentia Bay, NL ....####
A variant was collected in 1976 from Raymond (Ray) Hepditch [1936-?] and others of South East Bight, Placentia West, NL, by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best and published as #5A in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.9-10, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press ©1985/2003).

See more Lehr and Best songs.

Note: Other songs at GEST about the Newfoundland gale of August 25, 1935, include: Forty Fishermen and The Song For The Annie Young.


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