The D.J. Thornhill Story

On the fifteenth of January in nineteen forty-three
The D.J. Thornhill left St. John’s, Massachusetts bound was she
With a load of salted codfish and a crew of six brave men
No one knew this schooner would never be seen again

With gale force winds and heavy snow, just four days out to sea
The foresail it was ripped away and she drifted east north east
The hull was leaking badly and to the pumps the men were tied
So they wouldn’t be caught off guard and be swept over the side

The schooner she was badly iced and they tried to pound it free
They tried to keep their ship afloat as they fought the angry sea
The sea water filled the engine and that caused them to fail
And the ocean claimed one dory while the wind took all their sails

On the twenty-third the wind had dropped, twas time to end their trip
They set the schooner all afire and the crew abandoned ship
On the ice the flames were dancing as the steam and smoke clouds soared
In a small fifteen foot dory, six brave men went overboard

All they had was Carnation milk, they ate in frozen clumps
Exhausted from their long ordeal, in the dory each man slumped
Now they rowed for fifty hours in sub-zero temperatures
And their faith kept them going but how much more could they endure

With the dory and their rubber clothes weighted down with frozen spray
The Dundas was a welcome sight when she came along that day
On January twenty-fifth the Corvette took them on board
The D.J. Thornhill had been lost but the crew was safe once more

© Fay Herridge
Published in Downhome Magazine, Jan 1998


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