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Bell Island Submarine Miner
February 1955


General Plant News


We wish to acknowledge receipt of an interesting magazine published in the United States, from former Bell Islander John J. HUNT of Dedham, Massachusetts. Mr. HUNT informed us in a letter received recently, that he and another former Bell Islander, Mike DOBBIN, well remembered as a football star during the 1920's, plan on visiting the Island next summer, to renew old acquaintances.

Anniversary greetings are expended to pensioner
Robert and Mrs. NUGENT of Kelligrews, who were 55 years married on Jan 6th;
George and Mrs. WARREN, on the occasion of their 37th anniversary on Jan 31

The following celebrated wedding anniversaries during the month of January
Ben SEARLE, Slope No. 6, 38 on Jan 5
John CUMMINGS, General Surface Department, 24 years on Jan 5
Ernest H. HIGGINS, No. 3 Slope, 36 years on Jan 14
John GALWAY, No. 4 Slope, 48 years on Jan 9
George Pitts, No. 3 Slope, 35 years on Jan 18
Thomas REES, Electrical Department, 28 on Jan 18
George RIDEOUT, No. 6 Slope, 33 years on Jan 21
Llewellyn MERCER, No. 4 Slope, 21 years on Jan 22
Roy REES, Safety Department, 20 years on Jan 31
Edward SEARLE, 38 years on Jan 31

Alexander Lahey, No. 3 Slope, who had been on the sick list since the Christmas holidays, returned to work on January 31st.

William Cantwell, Traffic Department, also received treatment in the Grace hospital, St. John's, last month. He has now returned home and is feeling much better.

Philip Lahey, No. 4 Slope, entered the General Hospital in St. John's for an operation. A late report indicates that he is doing as well as can be expected.

Ten-year-old Patricia, daughter of Bernard Lahey, No. 6 Slope, entered hospital in St. John's in January for an appendectomy operation.

John Skinner of the Medical Department also entered the Grace hospital for an operation last month.

Robin, the eight-year-old son of Vincent Kent, No. 3 Slope, entered the General hospital in St. John's for treatment last month.

Marie, daughter of Dick Taillon, Chief Purchasing Agent, also entered hospital in St. John's for treatment last month.

Donald Gosse, Mechanical Department, was also in hospital in St. John's in January, he has now returned home.

Frank Pendergast, No. 3 Slope, visited St. John's for surgical treatment in January.

John Reid, Scotia Pier employee, was married on January 5th. We extend congratulations to John and his bride and wish them happiness throughout the years that lie ahead.

We extend sincere sympathy to Mr. E.J. MURPHY, on the death of his mother, Mrs. Helen MURPHY, who passed away at Sydney, N.S., on January 24th, in her 75th year, after a long illness. Also to pensioner Charles and John PEDDLE, on the death of Mrs. Mary PEDDLE, who passed away at St. John's, on January 10th, in her 54th year, after a long illness.

The many friends of Bob BENNETT, Survey Department, who had been confined to his home by illness during the past 5 months, will be glad to know that Bob has recovered his health and is now feeling fine. Bob returned to work on Jan 4th.

Felicitations to the following pensioners on the occasion of their birthdays in January:
William Healey, 73 on the 1st;
Ambrose Drover, 68 on the 3rd;
Chris Saunders, 70 on the 15th;
Charles J. Normore, 70 on the 19th;
Richard Parsons, 86 on the 22nd;
James Cole, 71 on the 26th;
Alfred White, 81 on the 31st;
James Fowler, 76 on the 31st;
and Miss Nellie Forward, former Matron at the Staff House, who also celebrated her birthday in January.

The stork visited the homes of the following employees during the month of January and presented
Joe McDONALD, a son on Jan 7
Harry CRANE, a daughter on Jan 14
James GUSHUES, a daughter on Jan 15
Stan HICKEY, a daughter on Jan 15
Sam BICKFORD, a son on Jan 17
Aiden POWER, a daughter on Jan 25
William JACKMAN, a son on Jan 29
George CANTWELL, a son on Jan 30

The last shipment of coal, which arrived from Sydney by the S.S. "Arthur Cross" in December is being moved from Dominion Pier to the Company's Coal Yard by trucks. Approximately 21,000 tons of coal is consumed annually on Bell Island.

The Norweian ore carrier "Fridtjof Nansen," Captain T. BERGE, Master, which was engaged in the local ore trade since the Spring of 1954, arrived in port on Jan 7. The Captain reported stormy weather during the Atlantic crossing. The vessel completed loading iron ore at Scotia Pier and sailed for a United Kingdom port, arriving there in due course and completing the round trip back to this port early in February to complete the charter for the season.

Captain BERGE, while in port, on behalf of his officers and crew, extended New Year's greetings to the boys at the Scotia loading pier and thanked them for quick loading turns during the season.

The British vessel "Zinnia", Captain IRWIN, master, engaged in the ore carrying trade between this port and the United Kingdom during the past year, returned here for another cargo of ore in Jan. The Captain reported excellent weather during the Atlantic crossing. The voyage was made in seven and a half days, which compares favourably with a good summer run.

Thank you to the following employees for their many years of service, upon their retirement
James RYAN, bon June 24, 1890, 55 years service
William G. PARSONS, born Jul 6, 1887, 54 years service
William F. PARSONS, born Aug 29, 1889, 52 years of service
Michael BURKE, born Feb 18, 1881, 52 years of service
William MURPHY, born Oct 27, 1886,, 50 years of service
Michael McLEAN, born Jan 1888, 50 years of service
Jack SKANES, born Feb 21, 1890, 45 years of service
Nathaniel LODGE born Aug 15, 1889, 45 years of service
William PURCELL, born March 3, 1889, 45 years of service
Arch ROSE, born Dec 10, 1889, 43 years of service


One of Bell Island's well known landmarks, the West Trestle and Loading Tower at Scotia Pier, was finally demolished in January of this year to make way for a new structure of similar design. The trestle, which was built in 1928 was of wooden construction and during its existence millions of tons of iron ore had passed over its steel conveyor buckets which fed the ore into the holds of hundreds of ore carriers. It was built in 1928 and was designed by Mr. John McLeod, who is today Chief Engineer of the Dominion Iron and Steel Limited. Quite a number of people who played a role in its construction are no longer living, among whom are John Connors, Pier Superintendent, William Connors, Foreman, Joe Bendell, Foreman in charge of pile driving, James Brown, Michael Brown, John Dwyer, and Dan Livingston then Construction Superintendent, who passed away recently at Sydney.

Others prominently associated with the project were: J. B. Gilliatt, former Chief Engineer of the Company, who is now retired and resides at Granville Ferry, N.S.; P. T. Murphy, Chief Engineer of Dominion Wabana Ore, Limited; Peter J. Kent, Construction Superintendent, who was Carpenter Foreman at that time; Henry Bickford, retired; Peter Kent, O.B.E., former Electrical Superintendent; and Ananias Rees, former Pier Mechanical Superintendent, retired.

That the trestle withstood the stress and strain of so many years and fulfilled, so completely, the purpose for which it was designed is evidence of a job well done.

Construction of the new trestle and loading tower, which will be a steel and concrete structure, was begun immediately following the demolition of the old landmark. Undoubtedly the many ship's captains, familiar with the port of Wabana, will see a big change at Scotia Pier when shipping resumes in mid-April.


The American troopship "Edmund B. Alexander" arrived at the Bell Island anchorage on January 20th, 1941, and remained there for several days until the ice cleared out of St. John's harbour.

The lake freighter S.S. "Calgadoc" left Sydney, N.S., during October 1937, with 3,000 tons of coal consigned to Wabana. The ship never reached here and it was presumed lost with all on board.

During December 1945, No. 6 Dryhouse and Lamphouse were destroyed by fire. On February 25th, 1946, the company's Machine Shop was completely destroyed by a fire which broke out at 5:30 a.m.

For the second time within eight years, on December 15th, 1946, during a heavy N.W. gale, two ore carriers, the English ships S.S. "Stancourt" and S.S. "Knight Templar," were torn from their moorings and their dragging anchors severed the two power cables, leaving the Island with only the Company's auxiliary power plant to supply the needs of the community. This time repairs were effected from the cable boat "Cyrus Field" and repairs to one cable were completed on December 28th, and to the second on February 28th, 1947.



John Kitchen is the Senior Employee of the Traffic Department. He was born in Harbour Grace, Nfld., on October 29th, 1894, and commenced employment with the Company in 1915. He has over forty years of unbroken service to his credit.




Since the first of the year the following eleven employees of the Dominion Wabana Ore Limited, retired on pension. During their long and faithful service, which in some cases reached and in others exceeded the half-century mark, their valuable contributions to the industry and the community were many and varied. The "Submarine Miner" takes the opportunity to extend to each best wishes for a lengthy retirement filled with health and happiness.

  • Thomas P. Murphy, born September 27th, 1882. Compressorman. 55 years service.
  • James Ryan, born June 24th, 1890. No. 6 Slope. 55 years service.
  • William G. Parsons, born July 6th, 1887. Timber Foreman. 54 years service.
  • William F. Parsons, born August 29th, 1889. No. 3 Slope. 52 years service.
  • Michael Burke, born February 18th, 1881. No. 6 Slope. 52 years service.
  • William Murphy, born October 27th, 1886. Compressorman. 50 years service.
  • Michael McLean, born January 6th, 1888. No. 6 Slope. 50 years service.
  • Jack Skanes, born February 21st, 1890. No. 4 Slope. 45 years service.
  • Nathaniel Lodge, born August 15th, 1889. Mechanical Department. 45 years service.
  • William Purcell, born March 3rd, 1889 Mechanical Department 45 years service.
  • Arch Rose, born December 10th, 1889. No. 6 Slope. 43 years service.


"Reprinted courtesy of The Submarine Miner"
A publication for the employees of the Dominion Wabana Ore Limited.
Any monetary or commercial gain from using this material is
strictly prohibited and subject to legal action.



Page Contributed by: Coleen Murrin-Norcott-Pieczewski

Page Revised by Ivy F. Benoit (July 19, 2003)

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