Will the SS Kyle eventually have to be scuttled?
Herber McGurk’s letter to The Compass May 21, headlined “The SS Kyle deserves better,” brought up a very important subject that needs addressing by the Dunderdale Government, namely the shameful condition of, not only this magnificent historical ship that’s rusting away abandoned in the waters off Harbour Grace, but of many other Newfoundland and Labrador historic sites, buildings, monuments and artifacts.
We live on an island in the North Atlantic that has one of the most incredible histories anyone anywhere will ever study.
We must preserve our tangible pieces of history, not only for tourists to peruse and touch, but for the education and enlightenment of generations to follow.
McGurk’s plea to preserve the Kyle and give it the dignity it deserves is a very touching one.
Keep in mind McGurk is a man who is a master mariner who wrote about working master watch onboard the Kyle and a man who knows and is part of its history, as well as its rich and colourful past.
Personally, I could almost see a tear in his eye as he wrote his touching letter.
Last summer we hosted a couple of friends we met in Florida and one of the highlights of our time together was a trip “around the bay” on the old highway. They couldn’t get over the magnificent scenery, especially the harbours, bays and rugged shorelines.
I decided to drive to Harbour Grace to show them the Amelia Earhart monument. They were amazed at the way the monument was constructed, the tragic history and the incredible setting. They were anxious to take pictures to show friends back home.
Driving along the shore they noticed the SS Kyle sitting in the harbour. It was a total embarrassment for me to explain to them what the old ship was, how it related to our marine history and how it has been left to rust in full view. They were in a state of disbelief.
A few years back I remember the old S.S. Kyle gaily decorated, even freshly painted for the celebrations surrounding Danny Cleary’s return to his hometown with the Stanley Cup.
At that time I hoped it was a fresh start and that interested parties were about to put their heads and their monies together to eventually give the old ship what it deserves. No other action was ever taken. That is disgusting and still makes me angry when we drive by.
To the premier and her government I say: If we don’t listen to the Heber McGurk’s of our province — people that really care — then do the next decent thing and scuttle her in the North Atlantic. At least that will be a loving and suitable resting place for the magnificent old ship.
But that thought causes me to cringe, and I still live in hope. Long live the Kyle.
— Bill Westcott writes from Clarke’s Beach