Widow re­calls sink­ing

‘They never sus­pected they would be at­tacked’

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - NEWS -

This ar­ti­cle ap­peared in the Gulf News in a spe­cial in­sert printed Oct. 13, 1992, com­mem­o­rat­ing the 50th an­niver­sary of the sink­ing of the S. S. Cari­bou. Eve­lyn Butt passed away on April 21, 2011.

“I found out just be­fore noon time that day,” Eve­lyn Butt re­called. “I knew some­thing had hap­pened be­cause peo­ple were out on the street ev­ery­where. They were go­ing back and forth, but no­body came where I was.” It was Oct. 14, 1942.

Her hus­band, Hu­bert Cof­fin, was a sailor on the S. S. Cari­bou and his fa­ther, Elias Cof­fin, was bo­son.

Mrs. Butt said the S. S. Cari­bou wasn’t pre­pared for war.

“They didn’t carry any guns or any­thing,” she said, “be­cause they never sus­pected they would be at­tacked.”

The Port aux Basques widow said she never heard her hus­band men­tion any sight­ings of Ger­man U-boats in the gulf. Al­though other ships trav­el­ing back and forth the se­away noted see­ing, “some­thing out there,” Mrs. Butt says the S. S. Cari­bou was al­ways well lit be­cause they had no fear of dam­age.

She sus­pects the en­emy had knowl­edge of the Cari­bou’s cargo be­cause she not only car­ried coal and bal­last, the ves­sel brought ser­vice­men home.

“There were a lot of or­phaned chil­dren left from all the fam­i­lies,” she added. Her only child, Nathan, had just turned a year old on Oct. 3. “I packed him up and moved back home with my fam­ily.”

The Orange Lodge was used to house the bod­ies of those who were found. Un­for­tu­nately, nei­ther Mrs. Butt’s hus­band nor her fa­ther-in-law were among them. Their bod­ies were never found.

Sev­eral years later the young widow mar­ried ser­vice­man Gar­land Butt.


Eve­lyn Butt lost her hus­band and her fa­ther-in-law the night the S. S. Cari­bou was tor­pe­doed.

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