The Loss Of The Guernsey (MacEdward Leach)

In nineteen hundred and thirty four,
December, the fourth day,
The ill-fated schooner, Guernsey,
From Trepassey sailed away;
With fish and oil on board of her,
As she sailed down for the shore,
Commanded by Thomas Devereaux
Who will never be seen no more.

The wind came from the west nor'west
And blowing very light,
Which caused this little schooner
For to be out all night;
If it had to blow a fresher breeze,
This sad tale I would not tell,
She might by chance have made Fermeuse
And anchored safe as well.

But she ploughed slowly on her way,
The wind still holding light,
She was somewhere off of Chance Cove
At the hour of midnight;
The wind came from the east southeast
And violent it did blow,
And then to make the matter worse
The sky fell thick with snow.

Some think she'd run for Ferryland
That dark and stormy night,
All hands were at their station
In hopes to see the light;
But suddenly it came to grief,
They think she struck the shore,
Three smart young men from Trepassey
Will see their homes no more.

It was early the next morning
When daylight came around,
The wreckage of the Guernsey
In Calvert it was found;
Some think she struck Stone Island
But this I cannot say,
It is a mystery will remain unsolved
Until the judgement day.

Before I'll go any farther,
Those names I'll tell to you,
There was Master Thomas Devereaux
And his brother Laurence, too;
Mike Curtis, their first cousin,
A lad most smart and brave,
Three smart young men from Trepassey
Did meet a watery grave.

When the Devereaux boys they left,
Their homes no more for to return,
They left a loving brother
And two sisters for to mourn;
Mike Curtis being the other member
Of the ill-fated Guernsey's crew,
Left a brother and a sister
And an old agéd mother, too.

Oh, God, the ruler of the sea
And the saviour of mankind,
Which leads the dreadful sorrow
Of the dear ones left behind;
Your heart would melt with pity
If you heard their mournful cry,
And in their sad bewailments
With them we'll sympathize.

Come all ye people, please,
Offer up a prayer for those poor b'ys,
Whose bodies are still rolling
Beneath the ocean tide;
We will meet again on judgement day,
For that is truly said,
When the ocean will give up its prey
And the grave give up its dead.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland shipwreck ballad ....####

Collected in 1951 from Michael J (Mike) Walsh [1916-1999] of Fermeuse, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada, ©2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

The commander of the schooner Guernsey was Thomas Devereaux [1891-1934]. The other lost crew members were Thomas' brother Laurence Devereaux [1893-1934] and their cousin Mike Curtis [1909-1934], all of Trepassey, NL. The Guernsey left Trepassey on Dec 4, 1934, and wrecked off Calvert, NL.

See more NL shipwreck songs.


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