MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Caribou
Ernest Poole NFLD 1 Tape 17A Track 5
Cape Ray Audio:
Newfoundland Ballad / shipwreck Musical notation available

Come old and young come rich and poor and listen to my song
I hope I won't offend you I will not keep you long
On the fourteenth day of October as you may understand
The Caribou was torpedoed about twenty miles from land

It happened in the morning twas just before daylight
When those poor souls on board of that ship they got an awful fright
Without a word of warning to any of her crew
When they saw it was the fatal end of the S.S. Caribou

Poor helpless children on that ship of which there were fourteen
And men and women besides them all in a terrible scream
To see those cold dark waters to which they all must face
They tried to keep their courage up in such an awful case

Some swum for boats and life rafts whatever they could find
While others in the water to face that cold cold brine
They tried to help each other like all of us would do
And watched the last departure of the S. S. Caribou

That morning here at Channel was one we'll ne'er forget
To see those sickened mothers and orphans cry and fret
To see those widows and sweethearts they cried what shall we do
But she'll never never sail again that good ship Caribou

Male voice: (shouts) HALLELUJAH!

Among the bodies were brought in I can't tell everyone
But sadly I will mention the Captain and his two sons
They were brought in in the evening as soon as they were found
We sent that mother our sympathy from everyone round

The funeral was the largest that ever was known here
To see them lay the bodies down each eye was filled with tears
May God all in his greatness have mercy on them all
And may they all be ready to answer to his call

To tell you all that perished I'm sure I can't tell right
But mostly to a harbour it was a sad as sad plight
And most of her brave hearty crew belonged to Port aux Basques
Who crossed those stormy waters they so many times have passed

To the people of this Island I know you'll understand
What the S.S. Caribou really meant to dear old Newfoundland
She crossed the ocean rough and smooth when in the hours of gloom
But whoever thought the day would come when she would meet her tomb

Now to conclude and finish I done my very best
We'll leave the remains of the Caribou on the bottom for to rest
And write to the Newfoundland Railway we all must bid adieu
And think upon that awful day and the S.S. Caribou


Notes

Sources:

History: Newfoundland song that references an event in World War II on October 14, 1942.

Text notes: A "come all ye" about the torpedo attack on The Caribou, a Newfoundland Railway ferry that crossed from Sydney, NS to Port aux Basques, NL.  

Tune notes: An abba ballad performed in a slow but steady 6/8 meter.

All material on this webpage is copyright © 2004, Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive, Memorial University of Newfoundland. No unauthorized copying or use is permitted. For more information, follow this link.