“Trinity Bay Tragedy”


The small boats out sealing in Trinity Bay on February 27, 1892, are caught in wind and sleet. Some make shore at Heart's Delight the next morning but most freeze to death.

Supplemental text

Trinity Bay Tragedy
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

As printed in Ryan & Small, Haulin' Rope & Gaff, pp. 33-38. From Leach,
Folk Ballads and Songs of the Lower Labrador Coast.

Ye hardy sons of Newfoundland, that tread life's rugged way,
That know the key of many years, that now have passed away,
Draw near while I relate you an awful tragedy
That did befall our hardy sons down north at Trinity.

I eighteen hundred ninety-two, on February twenty-seven,
The morning broke with brilliant sky, that brightly shone the heavens,
The seas were smooth and tranquil, all nature seemed at rest,
In search of seals our boat soon sped up on the billows' crest.

(9 additional stanzas)


Leach-Labrador reprints a detailed account from D. W. Prowse _History of Newfoundland_ (London, 1896), p. 520.

Heart's Delight is on the northwest corner of the Avalon Peninsula, which is separated from the main body of Newfoundland by Trinity Bay - BS

The extent of this disaster is somewhat unclear. The Northern Shipwrecks Database says 250 men perished. Prowse's account, as cited by Leach, lists a much smaller total: 215 men out sealing, most of whom survived; 24 froze or otherwise died of exposure. - RBW

Historical references

  • Feb 28, 1892 - the Trinity Bay tragedy


  1. Leach-Labrador 71, "Trinity Bay Tragedy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Ryan/Small, pp. 37-38, "Trinity Bay Tragedy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. ST LLab071 (Partial)
  4. Roud #9983
  5. BI, LLab071


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1960 (Leach-Labrador)
Keywords: death fishing sea storm
Found in: Canada(Newf)