...AS IF THEY WERE ANGELS

February 18, 1942.

 

Two ships battered and broken on the rugged cliffs of Newfoundland, 203 sailors dead, 186 rescued by the people of two small coastal towns, risking their own lives in the brutal winter storm, to save the American sailors.  While the men pulled the sailors from the angry seas, and up 300 foot cliffs, the women worked to bring them back from the effects of suffocating crude oil, and frost bite. By the end of 24 hours of grueling rescue effort, at 2 remote locations, nearly every rescuer’s family had a sailor in the parlor. My father was among those sailors.

 

It’s a story of disaster and heroism, a steep loss of life, of navigation errors and an investigation that never got it right.

Shooting began on this project in 1988, at the first reunion of rescuers and survivors in Lawn & St. Lawrence. It has continued over many years since, with sons, daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren, for whom keeping the story alive is part of their legacy.  This remains a little known story of one of the worst non-combat disasters in the history of the Navy, and how the human heart can illuminate our humanity, even in our darkest hours.