Tales of the Edward VII

Compiled by Wanda (Jennings) Garrett, 2014

Painting of the Edward VII

Painting of the Edward VII

 

According to Robert C. Parson in his book Any Strange News, Captain Wilson Vey of Long Beach and the crew his schooner Edward VII gave assistance to two small boats in a storm during November 1908:
 
In the same storm two small boats from Greenspond were driven off. About twelve o’clock on November 30, the wind there veered suddenly around from south to northeast. The boats were caught out: in one was Joseph and Sydney Young; in the other two brothers, John and Phil Harding.
 
Concern in Greenspond quickly turned to worry and fear, but the next morning, to the delight of everyone in the town, the schooner King Edward VII out of Long Beach, Trinity Bay, appeared. It had flags flying and had two boats in tow. While running for Eastport, Captain Wilson Vey and his crew had inadvertently stumbled upon the Youngs and Hardings and given them assistance. It was generally believed that but for King Edward VII it was unlikely these four men would have ever been seen alive again.

According to The Evening Telegram of 3 December 1933:
Danish schooner “Marine” picked up the crew of nine men from the schooner “Edward VII” which left St. John’s, November 25th, for Long Beach, South West Arm, and for which the S. S. Cape Agulhas has been searching for a week.

According to the full article:

Captain Wilson Vey and crew arrive by Rosalind
 
A thrilling story of the rescue of nine members of the crew of the storm beaten Newfoundland fishing schooner, Edward VII who were picked up by the Danish freighter Maine after drifting for nine days at the mercy of high winds, was told by the survivors when they arrived at Wilmington, North Carolina Wednesday December 13th. The Maine was en route from Hamburg, Germany to Wilmington with a cargo of potash when the rescue was effected at a point about 360 miles E.S.E. off Cape Race.
 
Those rescued were Captain Wilson Vey 35, Daniel Vey 66 mate, James Gosse 66, John Barfitt 47, Llewellyn Barfitt 50, George Smith 39, Edwin Lambert 27, John Brown 21 and Joseph Drover 19 all residents of Random, T.B. the homeport of the schooner Edward VII.
 
Captain Vey’s story
 
Shortly after the Rosalind docked a representative of The Evening Telegram interviewed the members of the ill-fated schooner and from Captain Vey learned the following facts.
 
The Edward VII left here Saturday November 25th with a number of other schooners, she was bound for Trinity Bay and the last they saw of the other schooners was in the vicinity of Baccalieu about 8 o’clock that evening. The schooner continued on her course. A gentle southwest wind prevailed but before they reached the bay the wind veered around to west and increased severely and it became very stormy. The mainsail was reefed and the foresail was taken down and later the crew were forced to haul down the mainsail. The weather became so boisterous that Captain Vey and his associates decided to heave around and run back to the tickle for shelter and try to get in anchorage, but before they made much progress, a squall came and took away the foresail leaving nothing but strips.
 
Failed to reach shelter.
 
After an effort to get under Baccalieu, it was decided to run before the wind east by south. As the night came on heavy winds prevailed and about 3 o’clock Sunday morning a heavy sea broke over the schooner’s stern tearing away the brilworks and part of the stanchion from her stern to the main rigging, also breaking loose five oil drums which were lashed to the brilworks and which were washed off, striking Daniel Vey who was knocked down. These drums also made it dangerous to the man at the wheel. In order to prevent a mishap the heads of the drum were broken in and the contents spilled on the deck.
 
Feed up and under bare poles.
 
As time wore on the wind veered to northwest and at daylight the schooner was iced up, ropes and canvas frozen solid. All Sunday the vessel drifted under bare poles. After a hard struggle the crew managed to host the mainsail and topsail but later the main boom broke in two pieces with the result that the mainsail had to be taken down and under extreme difficulties the crew began to make repairs.
Steamer passed on
 
Some time later the crew sighted a steamer astern and all hands were on deck signaling with flares made of kerosene oil. At first it was thought the steamer was coming towards them but she was steaming in an opposite direction and soon they lost sight of her.
 
The crew despite the fact that they were all hardened to a strenuous life suffered from the extreme cold because of the loss of fuel. The storm also left them without sufficient water.
 
In order to survive the cold they were forced to burn parts of the water logged schooner.
 
Help at last.
 
They drifted in the plight for nine days when on the night of December 3rd about 10:30 o’clock their improvised flare made by burning kerosene was sighted by the third officer Alex G. Meyer of the steamer Maine. Officer Meyer reported to Captain Hansen who immediately ordered the steamer off its course and raced to the Edward VII and later took off Captain Vey and his crew.

The Danish streamer was out of Hamburg, Germany with a load of potash (fertilizer) for North Carolina. After the crew of the Edward VII landed in North Carolina they travelled by bus to New York and then to St. John’s by the passenger ship Rosalind. While in New York they met people from home who read their story in the daily paper. They returned home on Christmas Day.
 
The story of the Edward VII also appears in Survive the Savage Sea by Robert C. Parsons. According to Parsons:
Captain Hausen of the streamer Maine immediately wired Cape Race to inform the families of the men of their rescue. However he could not put into a Newfoundland port and steamed on toward Wilmington. The freighter arrived there on Wednesday, December thirteenth. The Random sailors stayed abaord Maine until the British Consul who was stationed at Sacannahy, Georgia, arrived.
 
The British Consul, responsible for British subjects as Newfoundland at that time was a British colony, arranged transportation to New York to connect with the S.S. Rosalind, bound for Newfoundland. He also obtained extra clothes for the nine destitute sailors who had lost all personal belongings when Edward VII went down.
 
When Rosalind arrived in St. John’s, relatives of the haples mariners were there to greet them. Some of Vey’s crew stayed in Stanford’s Boarding House in St. John’s until a passage was arranged to Random.
 
All in all, it was December 22 before the men again touched foot in St.John’s – twenty-seven days after they first left there in their schooner. NowCaptain Vey and his crew were gong home in a time of little money and food, limited resources, and scant winter supplies. They had survived an ordeal on the ocean and were left with only the clothes on their backs. Vey’s schooner and its cargo representing potentional income and winter supplies lay on the bottom of the Atlnatic about three hundred sixty miles east southeast of Cape Race.