The ROBERT G. CANN Tragedy.


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The ROBERT G. CANN Tragedy.

The SS ROBERT G. CANN was one of the many Cann vessels out of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and well-known in many of the ports of Digby County. On the night of 15 February 1946, in a Northeast blizzard, the Robert G. Cann sprang a leak near Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy.

Taking on water rapidly, the vessel was quickly abandoned by the crew of thirteen, which included one woman, Mrs. Mary Jacquard, stewardess, and wife of cook, Joseph Jacquard. For hours, the crew were storm-tossed in a small lifeboat, exposed to the freezing winds, finally reaching shore on an uninhabited stretch of Digby Neck.

Eleven of the crew died from exposure before reaching shore, including Captain Emery Peters, of Westport, Digby County, then a resident of Yarmouth. Only Captain Arthur Ells, second in command, and crewman Peter Muise, were alive, though Muise was too weak to struggle through the dense woods. Captain Ells found a wood-cutting road and made his way to Lake Midway and the home of Mrs. J. T. Dimock, who called the RCMP at Digby.

Captain Ells and Peter Muise were taken to Digby Hospital by car, but Muise died enroute. Only Captain Ells survived the freezing ordeal.

 

Contributed by John Thurber

Web page by CathyLee Rudolph 08 / 2003

 

 

 

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