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The S.S. Caribou

The moon was bright one starry night, forgotten never shall be
And the lighthouse beam over the ocean gleamed as we set out to sea.
The little lights on the waterfront soon disappeared from view
As we sailed away from that quiet bay on the steamship Caribou

The Caribou was a passenger ship two thousand tons and more.
The crew were men from Newfoundland, mostly from the Western Shore.
On the 14th of October, in 1942,
An enemy sub in the Cabot Straits sank the steamship Caribou.

For many years that gallant ship, Ben Taverner in command
Sailed from a Cape Breton port to the shores of Newfoundland.
Stanley Taverner , the captains son, was first mate on the ship
When she sailed away from Sydney on that last disastrous trip

We walked on deck, my friend and I, around to the starboard side,
We chatted as we strolled along to where the boats were tied.
An uneasy warning filled my mind, I said to my comrade,
"I'm afraid tonight a submarine will attack the Caribou".

I have worked where danger lurks down in those coal mines deep,
And yet that night my troubled mind disturbed me in my sleep.
"If were attacked tonight," I said, "Dear Lord, what shall we do
To save the women and children on the steamship Caribou?".

We were near the shores of Newfoundland when the Caribou was hit
And everything on the starboard side was smashed and torn to bits.
Oh God it was a fearful, terrible thing, I'll never forget the sight
Of people struggling for their lives that dreadful autumn night.

There were people clinging to the rafts, their belts kept them afloat,
While the sinking of the Caribou upset the crowded boats.
They were tossed into the chilly seas all bruised and numb with cold,
And struggling the drifting boat they managed to catch hold

It's always dark before the dawn, the hours seemed long to me
Before the sun dispelled the mist and shone out o'er the sea.
One hundred and thirtyseven souls were lost that dreadful night
And were at rest beneath the waves before the morning light.

All through those long and weary hours a woman clung to me
While I held to the drifting boat at the mercy of the sea.
Before the airships circled round and a steamer reached our side,
The woman I had tried to save from exhaustion and cold she died.

Jim Prosper was the second mate on the steamship Caribou.
The third mate Harold Taverner , son of the captain, too.
When the submarine attacked the ship, and she saw beneath the tide,
The sons of Captain Taverner with their gallant father died.

Tonight thank God I'm safe at home from the perils of he sea,
But the dreadful drama I lived through will all times a memory be.
My deepest heartfelt sympathy goes out this night to you
Whose hearts saddened by the loss of the steamship Caribou.

Proudly today do I tribute pay to my own dear native land,
For the heroes of that dreadful night were men from Newfoundland.
Brave in the hour of danger, to the code of the ocean true,
They died with Captain Taverner on the steamship Caribou.

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