Regalis (MacEdward Leach)

See also: The Loss Of The Regalis (Kenneth Peacock)

The tears they rolled o'er cheeks so pale
of mothers and of boys,
Who mourn the loss in St John's town
of many precious lives;
Lost in the Steamship Regalis,
which causes them to weep,
Which now so many brave ones lie
beneath the treach'rous deep.

'Twas near wharf at Bell Isle
the Regalis sailed away,
And she was bound for Sydney,
all on that dismal day;
'Twas the twenty-third of October,
on which that well known ship,
Was followed by the angry waves
all on her special trip.

'Twas near Bay Bulls that awful night,
the sea was raging high,
The fog was thick, the rain fell fast
in torrents from the sky;
'Twas such a night that here on land
the stoutest hearts would scare,
Causing them to offer providence
a grateful hearted prayer.

A mother's heart is breaking
for her blue-eyed sailor b'y,
The salt seaweed entwines his brow
that once she kissed with joy;
A loving wife in anguish weeps,
with orphans at her knee,
Can ne'er behold their father,
now lies sleeping in the deep.

May God, the ruler of the land,
the tempest, and the deep,
Console them in their sorrow
in the hour of bitter grief;
And may they find a happier shore,
most fervently we pray,
God rest the soul of those poor men
who lost their lives that day.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland lament ....####

Collected in 1951 from Mrs Frank Molloy of St Shott's, NL, and published 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.

A variant was also collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1958 from Levi Everett Bennett [1899-?] of St Paul's, NL, and published as The Loss Of The Regalis in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.956-957, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

According to the Northern Shipwrecks Database the SS Regulus was en route to Sydney, Nova Scotia 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 a.m. 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 halfmast. 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 to-day.

"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 songs about NFLD shipwrecks.


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