Remembering a tragedy
New memorial celebrates courage of St. Lawrence and Lawn residents
A monument to the Truxtun and Pollux disaster has been unveiled at Chamber Cove.
ST. LAWRENCE, NL – People made their way to Chamber Cove by bus and ATV while some even looked on from boats Aug. 12 as a new monument was unveiled on the Burin Peninsula.
The memorial stands in the place where the people of St. Lawrence came to the aid of sailors aboard the USS Truxtun after the American navy ship ran aground during a winter storm on Feb. 18, 1942.
A second ship, USS Pollux, suffered the same fate at Lawn Point.
In all, 203 sailors lost their lives that night.
The monument serves as a memorial to the men and women of St. Lawrence, Lawn and the surrounding area who aided in the rescue efforts, as well as the sailor of the two vessels, both those who lost their lives and those who survived the disaster.
The memorial was a joint effort between the St. Lawrence Historical Advisory Committee and the Town of St. Lawrence.
“Our committee had a dream, and that dream was to recognize this historical site...,” said Laurella Stacey, chair of the historical advisory committee.
“We are standing here today because of the hard work and dedication of our committee. Without them, none of this would be possible.”
Stacey also thanked the many volunteers who helped in the placing of the monument, some of whom carried 370 buckets of cement up from Little Salt Cove so it could be used in the construction of the base of the monument.
Before the monument was unveiled, Stacey took the opportunity to talk about the design of the memorial.
“The cross stands tall over the resting place of the USS Truxtun. The wings represent the eagle, the emblem of the U.S.A. From the sea, the shape resembles a ship’s anchor, and viewed from afar the wings resemble two people kneeling at the cross.”
A monument serving as a memorial to the men and women of St. Lawrence, Lawn and the surrounding area during the USS Truxtun and USS Pollux disaster in February 1942, as well as to the sailor of the two vessels, both those who lost their lives and those who survived the disaster, was unveiled Aug. 12 at Chamber Cove. Members of the St. Lawrence Historical Advisory Committee and the Town of St. Lawrence were on hand for the event.
Capt. Bill Sigler, left, of the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and Steven Giegerich, Principal Officer/Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Halifax, N.S., presented St. Lawrence Historical Advisory Committee chair Laurella Stacey with an American flag during the unveiling Aug. 12. The flag was flown over the USS Truxtun (DDG 103), namesake of the ship lost off the Burin Peninsula, on July 15, 2017.
Gus Etchegary, the last surviving rescuer from St. Lawrence, spoke about his memories from Feb. 18, 1942, the morning the USS Truxtun and USS Pollux ran aground off the Burin Peninsula.