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The Wreck of the SS Florizel

picture of the SS Florizel

The "SS Florizel, a passenger liner, was the flagship of the Bowring Brothers' Red Cross Line of steamships and one of the first ships in the world specifically designed to navigate icy waters. During its last voyage, from St. John's to Halifax and on to New York, it sunk after striking a reef at Horn Head Point ... Cape Race near Cappahayden, Newfoundland, Canada, with the loss of 173..."

The Florizel left St. John's on 23 February 1918, for Halifax and then on to New York, with 78 passengers and 66 crew. Among the passengers were many prominent St. John's businessmen. Shortly after the vessel left port the weather turned nasty and after nine hours of steaming southward the captain, William J. Martin, assumed that he had rounded Cape Race and consequentially turned westward. However, because of the gale force winds the Florizel had actually traveled just 45 miles and was well short of the Cape. The sea crashing against the rocks at Horn Head Point was white with froth and Captain Martin mistook it for ice and eventually crashed full speed into the rocks. Most of the passengers and crew that survived the initial crash found shelter in the Marconi Shack, the least damaged portion of the ship.

Of the 138 passengers, 44 had survived the initial crash and after 27 hours, the ship struck ground and the last of the passengers and crew were rescued. Medals of bravery were awarded to several crew members of HMS Briton who had responded to the wreck; these were given by the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII, while he was in St. John's in 1919.
(Source: Wikipedia)

Passengers Perished:

First Class
Frederick C. Smythe, 44
James H. Baggs, 40
William F. Butler, 50
Mrs. W. F. Butler, 40
Patrick Laracy, 50
Edgar Froude, 38
James J. McCoubrey, 40
Robert Wright, 45
James Miller, 30
James Daley, 40
Miss Annie Dalton, 33
Miss Mabel Barrett, 23
Thomas McMurdo McNeil, 45
Frank Chown, 19
Fred Snow, 22
Edward Berteau
Jack C. Parsons, 27
Newman Sellars, 20
George Massie, 41
Mrs. Massie, 38
Miss Katherine Massie, 8
William E. Bishop, 38
Charles H. Miller, 42
Captain O. P. Belleveau, 38
George A. Moulton, 33
Master Clarence E. Moulton, 7
F. Gerald P. St. John, 20
William Moore
Michael Connolly, 74
John Connolly, 31
George Parmiter, 25
Captain Joseph Kean, 44
John Shannon Munn, 37
Miss Betty Munn, 3 1/2
William Earle, 42
Michael O’Driscoll, 37
Miss Blanche Beaumont, 11
Miss Evelyn Trenchard, 30

Second Class
Joseph Maloney, 29
Mrs. Mary Maloney, 28
Master John Maloney, 7 months
Patrick J. Fitzpatrick, 42
Andy Power, 24
John Costello, 49
William Guzzwell, 11
Miss Elizabeth Pelley, 29
Peter Guilfoyle, 27
Edward Greening, 36
George Long, 37
R.J. Fowlow, 23
Geo. Puddester, 42
John Lynch, 55
Walter J. Richards, 24
Leonard Nicholls, 31
James Crockwell, 50
Herbert Piercey, 22
James Bartlett, 25
Charles Howell, 24
John Forrest, 23
George E. Stevenson, 53

Officers and Crew Perished
John R. King, Second Officer, Arichat, N.S.
John V. Reader, Chief Engineer, Halifax, N.S., 45
Charles Snow, Second Stewart, St. John’s
Miss Margaret Keough, Stewardess, St. John’s
Fred Guthrie, Second Cook, Liverpool
Joseph McKinnon, Baker, Glasgow
Ramon Rez, Messroom Stewart, Spain.
P. Lynch, Waiter, St. John’s
Gordon Ivany, Waiter, St. John’s
Austin Whitten, Waiter, St John’s
Stan Squires, Waiter, St. John’s
Stan Foley, Waiter, Grey Islands
M. L. Dunphy, Waiter, St. John’s
Thomas Hennebury, Oiler, St. John’s
A. Moody, Butcher, New Hampshire
Geo Crocker, Sailor, St. John’s
William Walters, Sailor, Trinity
Charles Bailey, Sailor, Port Rexton
John Power, Sailor, Paradise, P.B.

Passengers Saved
Lieut. Alexander Ledingham, 30
Ralph Burnham, 23
Joseph Stockley, 22
Major Michael S. Sullivan, 42
John J. Cleary, 27
William Parmiter, 40
John P. Kiely, 32
William Dodd, 22
W. Noah Dauphinee, 36
Archibald E. Gardiner, 32
Albert G. Fagan, 29
Dave Griffiths, 24
Miss Kitty Cantwell, 21
Miss Minnie Denief, 21
Thomas Whelan, 27
G. M. Mullowney
John G. Sparrow, 27

Officers and Crew Saved
Captain William J. Martin, 43
Chief Officer William James, 35
3rd Officer Philip Jackman, 31
2nd Engineer Thomas Lumsden, 35
3rd Engineer Eric Collier, 26
4th Engineer Herbert Taylor, 22
Marconi Operator Cecil Sidney Carter
Asst. Marconi Operator Bernard John Murphy, 24
Bosun Michael F. Power
Carpenter Jacob Pinsent, 32
John Johnston, Pantry Waiter, 22
James Dwyer, Waiter, 22
Joseph Moore, Cook
Fred Roberts, Cook, 27
Edward Timmons, Oiler
John Davis, Oiler
A Hatchard, Sailor
Henry Dodd, Waiter, 21
Alex Fleet, Waiter
William Dooley, Sailor, 34
Joseph Burry, Sailor
Thomas Greene, Sailor
George Curtis, Gunner
Henry Snow, Waiter
Charles Reelis, Waiter
Jose Fernandez, Fireman
Wm. Molloy, Sailor.

Information above from Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia


Newspaper Accounts

Ninety-Two Drowned
Names of Forty-four Florizel Survivors Announced

New York, Feb. 25 -- Seventeen passengers and 27 members of the crew of the Red Cross line steamship Florizel, wrecked near Cape Race, have been taken off by rescue ships. They are the sole survivors out of the 136 on board when the ship struck the rocks. The Florizel carried 77 passengers and a crew of 59 according to official advices received here by Bowering & Company, agents of the line. In these figures are correct the death list would stand at 92. The complete list of survivors made public here tonight follows:

Passengers: Alex Ledingham, Miss. Kittie Cantwell, Ralph Burnham, W. N. Dauphinee, J. P. Kelly, Major Sullivan, William Parminter, Arch Gardner, William Dodd, J. C. Sparrow, Thomas Whalen, David Griffith, Minnie Denieff, A. G. Fagan, G. Maloney, John Cleary and Joseph Slockley.

Crew: Capt. William J. Martin, W. James, P. Jackman, J. Lumsden, Eric Collier, Herbert Taylor, Edwin Timmons, John Davis, fireman (name unknown), J. Pinsent; M. F. Power, Thomas Green, James Burry, M. Malloy, W. Dooley, A. Hatchard, George Curtiss, Jack Johnson, Charles Reelis, James Dwyer, Alex Fleet, Henry Dodd, Henry Snow, J. C. Moore, F. Roberts, Cecil Carter and Bernard Murphy.
Source: "The State" (Columbia, SC) February 26, 1918. Submitted by Dena Whitesell]



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