We are fortunate to be able to obtain the information from whom this schooner was named – Winnie (Warren) Brown. Mrs. Brown, who was born in 1919, recalled that her father, Albert Warren Sr., had the schooner in 1928 and estimates a period of fours years before that. What she didn’t know was whether her father built the boat or if it was purchased from a previous owner.
In 1934, the Warren family moved to Broad Cove, Placentia Bay. Albert Warren repaired the Winnie that year. He cut a new keel and his daughter, Winnie, now fourteen years old, sewed new sails. Mr. Warren bought most of the other supplies he needed from Freeman Wareham in Spencer’s Cove. Mr. Wareham had just had his first child, a son, named Eric. He asked Mr. Warren if he could add his sons’ name to the boat.
During the time Albert Warren Sr. owned the Winnie and Eric, he fished the Merasheen Banks with a crew of three and made routine trips to St. Pierre for “spullys”
Eric Bolt of Tack’s Beach bought the Winnie and Eric from Albert Warren Sr. in 1942 (approx.) and he fished off Merasheen in her with his father, Samuel Bolt, and one other crew for about twenty five years.
Eric moved to Arnold’s Cove in 1966 as part of the Resettlement Program and two years later, he sold the Winnie and Eric to Nelson Adams of Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Nelson was the great-grandson of Thomas Adams, who came over from Sturminster Newton, Dorset, Great Britain around 1820 and set up a farm at Bordeaux. Nelson's father moved to Montreal but Nelson came back to Bordeaux for summer vacations every year. Nelson used the schooner as a pleasure craft, sailing around Newfoundland and St. Pierre, salmon fishing on the South Coast. He sailed her around the Maritime provinces starting at Richibucto and docking at St. John. The following year, he sailed her south along the eastern seaboard to Maryland. She remained in New Brunswick until she was returned to Arnold’s Cove in the summer of 2007.
The “Lady Anderson” was originally built as a yacht for a lumber merchant in the United States. She was later purchased by the Newfoundland Government to use as a hospital ship that provided medical service to the islands of Placentia Bay and the Southwest coast. Throughout the mid 1900’s the ship serviced to twenty six ports in the Placentia Bay area once a month bringing a doctor to provide medical care as well as emergency transportation to the Argentia hospital. The trip would start at Red Island and go out as far as Port Elizabeth Island.
Every day when the ship stopped in port the deck of the boat would fill with patients that needed medical care. Most days the doctor would see 25 or 30 patients. Some larger ports they could be stopped for a couple of days.
Tuberculosis was an epidemic at that time and they came across cases in which the individuals came on the boat to be treated and ended up in the sanatorium where they would stay for long periods of time before being able to go home.
If the doctor couldn’t do anything more for the patient, they would be brought to Argentia to the hospital.
She was eventually sold to Geoff Sterling of St. John’s and used her as a personal yacht. She was later bought by Guy Earl Company in Carbonear and finally ended up anchored in Wesleyville and she sunk at anchorage and she was blown up to remove her from the area.
The Christmas Seal, previously known as the USCB Shearwater was built in 1943 as a crash rescue boat operating out of Argentia for the United States Army Air Force. The 104 foot vessel was equipped with emergency medical facilities which could accommodate up to twenty-three people. She served the US Armed Forces until 1947, when she was purchased by the Newfoundland and Labrador Tuberculosis Association for $5,000 US and converted into a floating clinic. The vessel had gotten its name from the TB Assoc. sale of Christmas Seals, small stamps which were placed on mail during the Christmas season and used to raise funds and awareness of the lung disease, tuberculosis. The sale of the stamps continued, in an effort to fund the operations of the vessel and its dedicated crew. Tuberculosis was a dreaded, contagious disease which attacked many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. No nook or cranny in our province was spared. From 1947, the Christmas Seal sailed to isolated outports along the coast screening residents for TB, which was the leading cause of death in our province, at the time. Under the command of Captain Peter Troake of Twillingate, the vessel was fitted to provide chest x-rays, test for diabetes and carry out vaccinations for TB and polio (Oh! Those dreaded scratches!). It also provided emergency medical evacuations and circulated general health information to folks all along our coastline. Investment in the Christmas Seal definitely paid off. In 1947 there were 500 deaths caused by TB in our province and just eleven years later, in 1958, it had declined to 64. By 1970, roads around our province had improved greatly and the rate of infection declined. This meant the “Old Girl” wasn’t needed, anymore. After spending nearly a quarter of a century serving the people of our province, the Christmas Seal was sold and later chartered to perform oceanography work, out of Halifax, NS. It was there she performed her last task. During the morning of May 13, 1976 there was an explosion in her engine room. The ship burned and eventually sank. No lives were lost....Just the way the “Old Girl” would have wanted it.
(Photo) The Christmas Seal docked at the old Government Wharf in Arnold’s Cove.
In 1940, Billy Brown of Tack’s Beach started to build a 40-tonne schooner to be propelled by sail and motor for the coasting trade. It was to be called the “Susan and George” however, just before its completion, Mr. Freeman Wareham of Spencer's Cove heard of this boat and sent Captain Alex Rodway to look at her.
As a result, a deal was made and a chequek for $1000 and an old 27 tonne western shore boat (the Polyanthus). Mr. Wareham called the new Boat Ernst Baxter. It was first used as a trader by Mr. Murdock Beck of Swift Current but for most of its life it was a lobster collector around the bay and skippered by Mr. Clev Rodway or Mr. Gordon Rodway from Kingwell.
It spent its last days on the beach in Kingwell.
Built at Shelburne, Nova Scotia in 1941, schooner, 148 gross tons, official number 170668, registered at St. John's, Newfoundland and owned by W.W. Wareham Limited, Harbour Buffett, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland in 1959. Burnt at the wharf at St. Kyran's, Placentia Bay on 23 November, 1966.
The Anna V. Fagan was built for the Fagan Family in St. Mary's in 1935. In 1958 along with Jim Vaters of Spencer's Cove, Philly Pardy Jr. and Philly Pardy Sr. of Port Anne, and Billy Bolt of Tack's Beach, William Brown rebuilt the Anna V. Fagan for H.C.Brown and Sons Ltd. in Tack's Beach. She was enlarged from 35 tons to 50 tons. She was later sold to M.A. Powell in Carbonear in 1967.
Built at Creston, Newfoundland, by T.J. Hodder in 1950, 243 gross tons, wooden fishing schooner, official number 191250, owned by Alberto Wareham Ltd., St. John's, Newfoundland in 1956. Caught fire and sank off Port Royal, Long Island, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland on 13 November 1956 under the command of Capt. Lawrence Walsh.
Built at Collingwood, Ontario in 1960, 460 registered tons, official number 311861, registered at St. John's, Newfoundland and owned by the Ministry of Transport, Ottawa, Ontario. Coastal boat, used mostly in Placentia Bay. Caught fire in Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, March 14, 1984. It was towed out and sunk, June 22, 1984
Ex "Petit Forte"- '61 - Built by Saint John Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, Saint John, New Brunswick, 1961, 1036 gross tons, official number 311873, registered at St. John's, Newfoundland and owned by the Canadian Government (Ministry of Transport) in 1962. She originally operated in Placentia Bay, but subsequently served on Newfoundland's south coast and Labrador's coast. She held 98 passengers but no automobiles. Retired from active service with CN Marine at the end of 1982.
In 1946, Clem Berkshire of Spencer’ s cove decided to get a schooner built and John Pomroy was hired to the do the job. He engaged people at Marystown to cut the timber and purchased the plank and decking at Glovertown. The 52 tonne Bertha Joyce was built at Great Paradise, and launched in August 1947. She was brought from there to Spencers Cove where she was fitted with a 66 horsepower Diesel engine and also fitted with a aForesail, Riding Sail, and Jumbo to help her along. Theis schooner was to be used mostly between St. John’s and communitys of placentia Bay, bringing supplies from St. John’s and taking Sald Cod, Cod oil, mackerel, hering etc. to St. John’s.
On May 6, 1960, the Bertha Joyce became a total loss when she ran into a cliff Northwest of St. Shotts while enroute to St. John’s from Placentia Bay. The incident happened about 3:00 am in dense fog. She did not strike bottome but sailed straight into the cliff. She was backed clear of the face of the cliff but was leaking so badly that she sand within 20 minutes. It was a very calm night however, and the crew had no difficulty in launching the dory and rowing to he beach at St. Shotts. Theere they hired a Taxi to tkke them to St. Jouhns.
Clem purchased the Annetta Lovetta, a 66 tonne vessel built in 1935 from George Bennetof Port Aux Bras. The vessel had been laid up for a couple of years and had to have repairs She was repaired in Spencer’s Cove and when she was rebuilt, the Annetta Lovetta was renamed Bertha Joyce.
Clem would always take a few of the younger men from the area on a trip and many Placentia Bay seafarers today got there first true taste of the sea under the watchful eye of Clem Berkshire.
By the late 1960’s most of the people had left the islands of Placentia Bay due to resettlement.
The Bertha Joyce was used as a collector boat in Placentia Bay. Sold to Harry Wareham of St. John’s c1972.
Later it was purchased by Tom Brewer of Southern Harbour and he changed the name to the Placentia Bay Queen.
Built at Stockton Springs, Maine, 1919, 1109 gross tons, official number 177035, schooner, registered at St. John's, Newfoundland and owned by Alberto Wareham Ltd. of Spencer's Cove, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland in 1947. In June of 1947, under the command of Capt. Alec Rodway, on a voyage from Gibraltar with salt for Newfoundland she ran into a heavy gale and sank about 500 miles off Cape St. Vincent.
Built at Meteghan, Nova Scotia in 1932, registered at St. John's, Newfoundland in 1941, 48 gross tons, official number 158145, owned by Freeman Wareham, Spencer's Cove, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.
In the early 1960’s Billy Brown repaired the Evette a 16 tonne boat in Spencer’s cove for Freeman Wareham. She was built for Alberto Wareham Ltd. In Spencer’s Cove in 1945, by Philly Pardy of Burnt Island (Port Anne).
Built in Essex, Massachusetts in 1919, 270 gross tons, official number 142946, registered at St. John's, Newfoundland #18 in 1920, owned by Isaac Wakely, merchant of Harbour Buffett, Placentia Bay in that same year. By 1924 she was owned by Jeremiah Petite (jr.) of St. John's until 1931. After that she does not appear in the records.
Built at Bar Haven, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, registered at St. John's, 1936 #091, official number 170034, schooner, 31 gross tons, owned by Alberto Wareham , merchant of Harbour Buffett, Placentia Bay at that time.
Billy Brown went across the bay to Woody Island to rebuild a 19 tonne boat for Alex Lockyer that he bought in Clattice Harbour. She was built in St. Anns, Placentia Bay in 1943 for James Flynn. Billy and Timmy Hollett of Tack’s Beach rebuilt the "James and Lucy" that Alex used for many years carrying mail and food supplies around the bay. The "James & Lucy" delivered the mail to thirteen post offices in Placentia Bay, twice a week. The service it provided was commonly referred to as "The Arnold's Cove and Isle Valen water service." This year-round service wasn an important service for the people of Placentia Bay.
Tweedsmuir was built at Milltown, Bay d'Espoir, Newfoundland in 1935, official number 170005, schooner, 49 gross tons, owned by Wilfred W. Wareham of Harbour Buffett in 1937.
The Delroy wasb built at Burnside, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland in 1949, 82 gross tons, and registered at St. John's, Newfoundland. She was owned by Jerry Petite and Sons Limited, English Harbour West, Newfoundland in 1959.
The Delroy caught fire and sank on July 27, 1972 between Merasheen and Arnold's Cove, Placentia Bay. Of the fifteen people on board, nine were lost.
On April 11, 2013, 41 years after the tragedy, Loyola Pomroy, who survived the sinking, and Ray Berkshire, captain of the "Bertha Joyce", were presented with the Canadian Red Cross's Rescuer Award, for their help in saving six lives that night.
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