The Cari­bou Memo­rial

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Editorial - Clay­ton Bil­lard Twin Town His­tory

On Mon­day, Oct. 13, 1947, a gen­eral meet­ing of the Chan­nel Branch of the Great War Vet­er­ans As­so­ci­a­tion ( GWVA) was held in con­nec­tion with the plans for the fifth an­niver­sary of the loss of the S. S. Cari­bou and the un­veil­ing of a newly pur­chased Cari­bou memo­rial.

The Chan­nel branch of the GWVA was first formed in 1928 un­der the pres­i­dency of Mr. Hawker and func­tioned for eight years. It was re-or­ga­nized again in 1945 un­der the pres­i­dency of Capt. David Brinton and was now a very ac­tive branch. Its ju­ris­dic­tion ex­tends from Cape Ray to Cape La Hune with a po­ten­tial mem­ber­ship close to 400 mem­bers.

On Mon­day a large gath­er­ing of vet­er­ans were present in­clud­ing the fol­low­ing of­fi­cers. Capt. David Bren­ton, past pres­i­dent; Joseph W. Stick­land, pres­i­dent; Regi­nald Rose, vice pres­i­dent; Fred. M. Cox, sec­re­tary; Sam Rose, treasurer; Vic­tor Lewellyn Bil­lard, G. Os­mond, John Ralph and Gar­land Butt were all ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers, and Fred. G. Matthews, sec­re­tary Cor­ner Brook Branch.

Fol­low­ing a gen­eral dis­cus­sion, on the un­veil­ing pro­gramme spon­sored by the Chan­nel Memo­rial com­mit­tee, it was de­cided that vet­er­ans of the First and Sec­ond World War would form up in front of the court­house in Chan­nel and pa­rade in a body to the memo­rial site at Port aux Basques to take up their po­si­tion and serve as body­guard for the oc­ca­sion.

At 3 p.m., the next day, Tues., Oct. 14, ex­actly five years af­ter the sink­ing of the S. S. Cari­bou by a Ger­man sub­ma­rine, over 500 res­i­dents of the Twin Towns gath­ered at the foot of Look­out Hill in Port-auxBasques to wit­ness the un­veil­ing and ded­i­ca­tion of the mon­u­ment which had been erected there in mem­ory of those who lost their lives on that fate­ful day.

At 2:30 p.m., the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the var­i­ous Twin Town or­ga­ni­za­tions as­sem­bled in the square be­fore the Chan­nel Post Of­fice and pa­raded to the memo­rial site in Port aux Basques. In­cluded in the pa­rade were de­tach­ments from the Amer­i­can Army at Har­mon Field and the Amer­i­can Coast Guard at Mouse Is­land.

The of­fi­cial un­veil­ing of the memo­rial was con­ducted by the Hon­ourable Her­man W. Quin­ton, Com­mis­sioner for Pub­lic Health and Wel­fare, rep­re­sent­ing His Ex­cel­lency the Gover­nor. Wreaths were laid from the Do­min­ion Com­mand of the G.W.V.A. which was rep­re­sented by Rev­erend T. E. Loder from Cor­ner Brook; St. James Church, Chan­nel; Town Coun­cil of Chan­nel and Port-auxBasques along with memo­rial wreaths from other dig­ni­taries, or­ga­ni­za­tions and rel­a­tives of the vic­tims of the dis­as­ter.

The Rev­erend Ge­orge Martin, gave the prayer of ded­i­ca­tion and other prayers were made by the Rev. Samuel Baggs, the Rev. Fa­ther J. McEl­hin­ney, and Lieut. Monk of the Sal­va­tion Army. The Hymn—”Oh, God, Our Help in Ages Past.” was sung and led by the two church choirs.

Vis­i­tors to the memo­rial ser­vice were loud in their praises of the cit­i­zens of the Twin Towns and the Cari­bou Memo­rial com­mit­tee for their splen­did work in rais­ing funds for the erec­tion of the beau­ti­ful memo­rial, a high stand­ing col­umn con­tain­ing name plates with the statue of a cari­bou on the top.

J. V. Ryan of the New­found­land Rail­way and the Rail­way Em­ploy­ees Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion were due spe­cial com­men­da­tion, for it was largely through their sup­port that this memo­rial was erected.

The loss of the Cari­bou, just 15 miles off Chan­nel Head, with a death toll of 137 men, women and chil­dren was the great­est wartime tragedy af­fect­ing New­found­lan­ders in their home ter­ri­tory. It was fit­ting that the an­niver­sary date of this tragic event should be the day on which this memo­rial to the un­for­tu­nate vic­tims should be un­veiled. Lo­cated at the foot of Look­out Hill, over­look­ing the har­bour of Port-aux- Basques, it can be seen by all who en­ter the port. The beau­ti­ful ceno­taph with its ever burn­ing am­ber light will per­pet­u­ate the mem­ory of those gal­lant men and women who gave their lives.

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