Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday, A Lost Ship And A Battlefield Far From Home

Well in honour of Tombstone Tuesday I will blog a little about a grave stone in my local cemetery. The grave stone is located in Lakeview Cemetery in Midland, Simcoe County Ontario. It always surprises me the connections to history I find in my cemetery photos. The tombstone in question is not really remarkable in its self. Its just a typical late 19th century grave marker. Just like millions of others in cemeteries all over North America. But the inscription on this stone is what caught my attention. For it brings us into contact with two events right out of the history books. A mysterious lost ship and a great WW1 battle.

The first event would be well known to anyone with an interest in Great Lakes history. The mysterious disappearance of the ship Bannockburn.

The Bannockburn was a 245 foot long, 1,620-ton steel steamer built in 1893 at Middlesborough, Scotland, by Sir Raylton Dix and Company. On November 21st, 1902, the Bannockburn left the Canadian Northern elevator at Port Arthur bound for Midland Ontario on her last trip of the season. She was loaded to the gills with 85,000 bushels of wheat. The ship was sighted on the evening of the 21st steamer Algonquin. She was never seen again. The Bannockburn and her crew of 20 including George Stephens, had vanished.

The second event recorded on this stone is the death of Richard Stephens at the Battle of Cambrai in Oct 1918. Between 26 September and 11 October, Canadian troops advanced twenty-three miles through the heart of the German defences in some of the worst fighting of WW1.

See More Graves In Lakeview Cemetery in Midland

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I found George on the 1901 Census for Midland Ontario. He was a fireman on a boat, so no doubt that was his job on the ship that went down

Name: George Stephens
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Single
Age: 36
Birth Day & Month: 11 Mar
Birth Year: 1865
Birthplace: Ontario
Relation to Head of House: Son
Father's Name: Richard Stephens
Mother's Name: Ruth Stephens
Racial or Tribal Origin: Irish
Nationality: Canadian
Religion: Methodist
Occupation: Fireman Boat
Province: Ontario
District: Simcoe (East/est)
District Number: 113
Sub-District: Midland (Town/Ville)
Sub-District Number: E-3
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members: Name Age
Richard Stephens 63
Ruth Stephens 58
George Stephens 36
Martha Stephens 33
Maggie Stephens 32