Hon­our­ing Cap­tain Jack­man

The Pilot - - Editorial -

This prov­ince was pop­u­lated be­cause of the wealth of our ocean, so there­fore we are a sea far­ing prov­ince, stuck out in the North At­lantic in one of the harsh­est cli­mates in the world.

The sea has swal­lowed up a lot of our peo­ple in the past 500 years that we have been here. A lot have been res­cued by the hun­dreds of what I call heroes, New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans who have gone be­yond the call of duty, have put them­selves in the face of death to save their fel­low man, with­out a thought of the dan­gers to them­selves.

My favourite hero has al­ways been Cap­tain Bob Bartlett, the feats that he ac­com­plished and the men he saved while get­ting stuck in the ice on a voy­age to the North Pole and how he went and got help and res­cued them with­out los­ing a per­son.

My other hero is Cap­tain William Jack­man of Re­news, whom I found out about much later in life and I guess much by accident.

My only sis­ter, Gwen and her hus­band, Wal­ter Ryan moved to Labrador city in the early years of that town in fact she re­ceived the builders’ award as a per­son who helped build the town.

I vis­ited her on sev­eral oc­ca­sions and al­ways won­dered why the hospi­tal was named Capt. William Jack­man, hav­ing never heard of him be­fore I wasn’t sure what kind of Cap­tain he was.

I watched my sis­ter and her son Shawn Ryan some years later take their last breath in that hospi­tal, both by can­cer; it was by chance I was lis­ten­ing to a doc­u­men­tary on CBC ra­dio about Cap­tain Jack­man and the com­mu­nity of Re­news.

Shortly after that search­ing through a book store, go­ing through the book sec­tion on New­found­land books about the sea (al­ways fas­ci­nated about the sto­ries of the sea) I came across the book Jack­man by El­don Drodge and the rest is his­tory. A fas­ci­nat­ing story of a Sea Cap­tain who did an in­cred­i­ble feat on the Labrador coast at a place called Spot­ted Is­land. On the 9th Oc­to­ber 1867 Cap­tain Jack­man re­peat­edly plunged in the sea dur­ing a hur­ri­cane to the re­lief of the pas­sen­gers and crew of the schooner the sea skip­per, wrecked on the shoals of Spot­ted Is­land and saved the lives of 27 peo­ple. While not many peo­ple know where Spot­ted Is­land is lo­cated, it’s off the com­mu­nity of Black Tickle, this is a com­mu­nity that has been in the news a lot lately be­cause when the cod col­lapsed they had lost their way of pro­vid­ing for their fam­ily and Black Tickle has been in limbo ever since.

Cap­tain Jack­man only got a short time out of life but to me he is my sec­ond choice as a hero. To the peo­ple who are try­ing to get a mon­u­ment for Cap­tain Jack­man, you are do­ing a tremen­dous thing, too of­ten our heroes of the sea are not kept in our minds and we are do­ing an in­jus­tice both to them and our chil­dren who need to be re­minded of our his­tory and the peo­ple who helped us to sur­vive in this harsh and in­hos­pitable but won­der­ful land.

Best of luck on your ef­forts to keep Capt. Jack­man’s name alive, you cer­tainly have my sup­port.

(Ret) Capt. Wil­fred Bartlett Green Bay South wil­f­bartlett@hot­mail.com

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