a course into
The Railway Coastal Museum
Evening Herald did not make reference to a dog in its reporting of the rescue.
Excerpts from the Evening Herald, December 17, 1919:
Wreck of the S.S.
...The particulars to hand so far concerning the loss of the S.S. Ethie
go to show that one of the worst marine tragedies in the history
of of [sic] the country was averted only by the coolness and undaunted
courage of Captain Edward English and the devotion of duty of his
Having rounded the headland he put the ship before the gale and
dashed into the little cove named Martin's Point, putting
her head on into the rocky shore. The ship struck with terrific
force, settled for a minute or two, and the sea made a clean breach
over her stern, sweeping the full length of ship and the next instant
she was lifted bodily and carried the length of herself shoreward,
to portside and lay solidly wedged amongst the rocks...
Capt. English conferred with his crew as to what could next be done
and volunteers were forthcoming to make the attempt to reach the
shore with a line. This was, fortunately, not necessary as the residents
of a settlement nearby, who saw the ship go ashore, hurried to the
scene and appeared on shore inside the ship signifying their readiness
to assist. Lines attached to empty kegs were put out and these driving
quickly ashore the men on land secured the ropes, and by this means
a cable was hauled from the ship, and fastened to the cliff above.
The a boatswain's chair was rigged and the work of rescue was begun.
Women and children were one by one placed in this chair and safely
transferred to the shore by the united efforts and daring of the
seamen and residents. The male passengers followed and finally
The S.S. Ethie,
as painted by Robin Cook
the crew, the
Captain being the last to take his place in the life saving chair
to be hauled ashore.
One child, two years old, was placed in a mailbag, and taken in
the arms of one of the male passengers and safely landed and the
child shows no ill effects of the ordeal...
quoted in William Connors, 2002, By the Next Boat. Johnson Family
Western Star reported about the dog in the December 17,
"A line was fired from
the ship, but got caught up amongst the boulders, so the people
of Martin Point sent out one of their dogs, a very sagacious animal,
to bring it ashore."
report in the Evening Telegram on January 8, 1920, also
claimed a role for the Newfoundland dog (note, however, the differences
in its account from the other two).
"A rope was fastened
to a life buoy and sent ashore. The sea was so rough, however, that
those on the beach could not reach it. Time and again they tried
and failed. Presently, however, a well-trained water dog dashed
out into the waves, seized the buoy in its teeth and finally struggled
ashore with it. This wonderfully sagacious animal is owned by Rueben
Decker, of Martin Point, near where the Ethie now lies."
Above is a modern
day Newfoundland Dog who has been trained in water rescue. Such
work comes naturally to this wonderful breed.
Newfoundland dog at the scene of the Ethie wreck was immortalized
2005 Railway Costal Museum All rights reserved