“Captain William Jackman, A Newfoundland Hero”


"The fierce winds blow among the cliffs Of rugged Labrador." Jackman is on the beach in a snowstorm and hears cries from a wreck on a reef "some hundred fathoms from shore." He swims to the wreck 27 times and rescues all on board.

Supplemental text

Captain William Jackman, A Newfoundland Hero
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

A Newfoundland Hero

As printed in Ryan & Small, Haulin' Rope & Gaff, pp. 29-31. From James
Murphy, Songs of Our Land: Old Home Week Souvenir.

The fierce wind moaned among the cliffs of rugged Labrador,
The wild waves dashed with thund'rous sound against the rock-bound shore;
The snow that dimm'd the noon-day sun fell on the muffled form
Of one who, blest with manhood's strength, defied the raging storm.

Some hundred fathoms from the shore, upon a reef of rock,
A bark had struck, while spars and keel were shivered by the shock.
The jagged point on which she lay had pierced from keel to deck,
And pale with fear the trembling crew were clinging to the wreck.

E'er and anon the crested waves upon her rushed amain,
As if they in their mad career would wrench her planks in twain.
A moment JACKMAN gazed upon this scene of dreadful woe,
Then flung his boots and coat apace upon the drifting snow.

(Stanzas 1, 6, 7 of 21)


The site for the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital in Labrador City states "On October 9, 1867, during the worst storm of the decade, two ships collided. The Loon quickly sank and The Sea Clipper was able to save the passengers and crew of the smaller ship. Soon the strong gales drove the injured ship into a reef near Spotted Island, Labrador. Twenty-seven people on-board were in peril of their lives.

Captain Jackman was visiting the island and as [he] and his host went for an evening walk, they noticed the troubled ship. Few people knew how to swim in that day; however, Jackman was an avid swimmer. He made 27 trips through the cold October waters and each time brought a survivor to shore. The storm had claimed 42 ships and 40 lives; however, all were saved from The Sea Clipper because of the exploits of Captain Jackman."

Greenleaf/Mansfield has the date as October 29, 1866 and notes that Jackman's "health was broken. Queen Victoria sent him a medal." [The _Dictionary of Canadian Biography_ notes that Jackman, born in 1837, died at the age of 39. - RBW]

The October 9, 1867 date is confirmed by Northern Shipwrecks Database 2002. - BS

Historical references

  • Oct 9, 1867 - The Loon/Sea Clipper wreck


  1. Greenleaf/Mansfield 145, "Captain William Jackman, A Newfoundland Hero" (1 text)
  2. Ryan/Small, pp. 29-31, "A Newfoundland Hero" (1 text)
  3. ST GrMa145 (Partial)
  4. Roud #6349
  5. BI, GrMa145


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1904 (Murphy, Songs of Our Land, Old Home Week Souvenir)
Keywords: rescue storm wreck
Found in: Canada(Newf)