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Bell Island Submarine Miner
May 1955


General Plant News

Deepest sympathy is expressed to Thomas BUTLER, Electrical Department, on the death of his wife, in her 46th year, on May 8th, after a long illness.

Sympathy is also extended to Leo O’BRIEN, No. 3 Slope, on the death of his brother Allan, in his 60th year, at his home, Three Brooks, New Brunswick, during April

We extend sincere sympathy to Nathan CRANE, Engineering Department, on the death of his brother, William CRANE, who passed away in his 50th year, in a St John’s hospital, on April 20th, after a short illness.

During the month of April we again heard from Mr. G.C. ALLEN, Wiltshire Rd, Thornton Heath, Surrey, England. Mr. ALLEN expressed his sincere thanks for copies of the "Submarine Miner", which he was delighted to receive. He found the contents of our plant Magazine very interesting. A large circle of his friends and acquaintances, to whom the copies were shown, also expressed great interest in the magazine. It was through hearing the transmissions of one of our local amateur radio enthusiasts, Jim BUTLER, VO2b1, that Mr. ALLEN first learned of Bell Island, which was some time previous to hearing of it from CJON, via the "Dosco News" bulletin. Due to a seasonal trend in atmospheric conditions, when reflecting layers form in the upper atmosphere, interfering with North American signals, CJON as not as prominent on Mr. ALLEN’s receiver dial in April as it had been a month earlier.

It was learned recenty that C.H. "Dinty" MOORE, who was employed with the Company during the 1930’s, is at present residing in British Columbia, convalescing from malaria, contracted in Africa. "Dinty" will be remembered by many, as an outstanding hockey player with the Bell Island All-Stars during that period. Many of his old friends here, will no doubt be pleased to hear news of him.

In spite of unfavourable weather conditions during the past month, the stork was on the go as usual and visited the homes of the following employees:
Art BONNELL, a daughter on April 6th
Eddy O’BRIEN, a daughter on April 17th
William CRAIG, a daughter on April 19th
Alphonsus SWEENEY, a daughter on April 24th
Thomas GALWAY, a son on April 21st
Walter BUTLER, a son on April 24th.

Birthday greetings to the following Pensioners, who celebrated the occasion during the month of April:
Michael J. SWEENEY, 75 on April 8th
William PURCELL, 65 on April 12th
Mark GOSSE, 68 on April 16th
Henry PARSONS, 74 on April 26th

Congratulations to "Mac" HARVEY, Mechanical Department, who was married during the month of April. We wish Mr. and Mrs. HARVEY many years of happiness together.

8-year-old Robin, son of Vincent KENT, No. 3 Slope, returned from the Montreal Neurological Institute in April. He is now receiving treatment at the General Hospital in St. John’s

The Dominion Volunteer Fire Brigade held their annual flipper dinner, combined with a ladies night on April 22nd. A large number of guests were invited to the delicious repast and all were loud in their praises of the Firemen’s hospitality and the splendid meal, which was enjoyed by all.

A number of Bell Island children in the age groups of five and six years were vaccinated with Salk vaccine at the Company’s surgery during the last week of April. The vaccine was supplied by the Newfoundland Department of Health.

In April and during the first week of May mainland employees were unable to visit their families, due to the ice blockade. However, on one occasion a number of employees walked across the ice-floe to Portugal Cove and motored to their homes.

Congratulations are extended to the following employees and their wives, who celebrated wedding anniversaries during April:
Mr. and Mrs. Leo FOWLER on April 11th
Mr. and Mrs. James BUTT, on April 23rd
Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd ROSE, who celebrated the occasion last month

Congratulations are extended to the members of the Bell Island Junior All-Star hockey team, on winning the All Newfoundland Junior Championship, by defeating the Grand Falls team, two straight games, in a best of three series in the St. John’s Stadium on April 11th and 12th. The members of the team are as follows:
Coach, Joe BYRNE
Martin CRAIG
Martin POWER
Michael O’TOOLE
Raymond MURPHY

Martin L. FRASER, who was employed here as Chemical Engineer before the First World War, with the Nova Scotia Steel and Coal Company, passed away in April at the Halifax Infirmary, in his 68th year.

Selby WARREN, Engineering Department, is back on the job following several weeks absence while receiving treatment at the General Hospital in St. John’s.

William HUSSEY, Electrical Department, who entered a city hospital for treatment recently, has now returned home and is feeling much improved.

Herbert HARNEY, No. 6 Slope, who spent several weeks in the Grace Hospital, St. John’s, has returned home and is feeling much better.

A number of employees took advantage to obtain some fresh seal meat, where the Artic ice moved in close to Bell Island during April. Seal were reported to have been in fair supply and it was estimated that well over one hundred of them were caught during the pperiod. 16-year-old Michael CONWAY, brought home a live seal one day and kept it on exhibition for several days.

Francis DELAHUNTY and Owen FITZPATRICK, No. 3 Slope, accompanied by Gerald GUY and Ivan RYAN, displayed outstanding courage and endurance on the night of April 6th, by rescuing two boys, 16-year-old Peter QUIGLEY and 12-year-old James DELAHUNTY, off Bell Island, who were adrift on the ice-floe off the north side of Bell Island in Conception Bay. It was necessary to haul a small rowboat more than a mile over dangerous ice to reach the boys. After a 3-hour battle against the ice-floe and unfavourable conditions they successfully completed the rescue.

Corbett PITTS, Timekeeping Department, returned recently from Boston, U.S.A. where he underwent a successful operation in the New England Baptist hospital in that city. He was accompanied by his father, Peter PITTS, Pay Office Department. Corbett is back at work now and feeling fine.

James KENEDY, No. 3 Slope, is at present confined to his home, suffering from rheumatic fever.

George SWAIN and James MERCER who received 3rd degree burns in a flash fire underground in December 1954, are now back on the job.

Peter CANTWELL who also received burns at that time, has not returned to work yet, but is feeling much improved.

Since sympathy is extended to the bereaved relatives of the following employees who died recently:
Pensioner, John Pitts, who passed away at his home, Scotia Ridge, Bell Island, on May 7th, in his 80th year.
Pensioner, Josiah Jones, who passed away at his home on Bell Island, on May 13th, in his 65th year.


On February 17th, 1938, Arctic ice, driven by strong North East winds, began moving into Conception Bay. The temperature was down to zero and heavy snow fell at intervals. While attempting the crossing the "Maneco" became caught in the ice off Portugal Cove, where she remained for three days – passengers on board walked ashore to Portugal Cove. On February 20th, the "Maneco" managed to reach Dominion Pier. By February 23rd the channel between Bell Island and Portugal Cove was completely ice blocked and the low temperatures prevailing made it possible for people to walk across the ice bridge. The mail was brought across on the 23rd. The zero weather continued and by the 28th, horse teams were bringing supplies over the ice bridge to the Island. On April 6th the ice had broken up and the ferries were operating again.


Hydro Electric Power for local mining operations, is conducted to Bell Island by means of two rubber insulated, lead covered and steel armoured submarine cables, laid on the ocean floor between St. Phillips (formerly Broad Cove) and Dominion Pier. Upon arrival at this point, the voltage is controlled and regulated by means of a switchboard located in the old "Power Plant" building, whish is now in reality a Sub-Station from which the controlled power is transmitted to sections of the Plant over two high Tension lines, one of which interconnects to the Scotia and New No. 3 High Tension lines after leaving the Sub-Station.

Hydro Power, for mining operations, was delivered to Bell Island from the mainland for the first time, in 1931. Previous to that electric power for local operations was supplied by two 1250 kilowatt generators, driven by Curtis steam turbines, located in the building presently serving as a substation.

After the Hydro Power supply was obtained from the mainland, the steam plant was operated only on occasions of emergency, such as when something went wrong with the mainland supply. Operation of the steam plant was discontinued entirely in January 1951.

In December 1931, a 2500 kilo-volt-ampere synchronous condenser was installed in the sub-station to maintain steady voltage and power factor.

Two, 2000 kilo-volt-ampere transformers, one for each cable, were installed to handle the first Hydro Power supply.

Over the years, expansion in local mining activity, crated a demand for an increased power supply and in order to deliver the extra electric power needed, a 5000 KVA transformer was added, which increased the capacity of the transformer station at Dominion Pier, to 11,000 kilo-volt amperes. The submarine cables were also re-arranged on the Bell Island side, one to supply the 5000 KAV transformer the other cable supplying the two 3000 KVA transformers.

Even greater expansion in the local mining industry during recent years, with the installation of mechanical equipment, created a demand for a much greater supply of Hydro Electric Power. To cope with this new demand, a third submarine cable has been laid between St. Phillips and Dominion Pier. A transformer having a capacity of 15,000 kilo-volt-amperes is being added to handle the 33,000 volts which the new cable will deliver to the transformer station. This will be transformed to 6,600 volts, which is the transmitting voltage used in local mining operations.


"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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