I cannot believe my eyes, the great Florizel upon the rocks!
At 7:30 p.m, Saturday, February 23rd, 1918, the S.S Florizel, the most prestigious ship of Bowring's Red Cross Line, departed from the docks at St. Johns harbour, en route to Halifax, and then to New York City. With a load of passengers and an experienced captain at the helm, to some, something seemed different this time.
All of the lost souls...
During the hours of midnight to 5:00 a.m, Captain Martin, despite the impending storm, sailed along the coast from Cape Spear to Cape Race, known as the graveyard of the Atlantic. Throughout the night, the storm intensified and the seas pounded the vessel and its passengers as the crew became befuddled as to why the ship had lost speed, and so, their exact position was unknown.
He was a good man...
Come everyone! The survivors of the Florizel are home!
Around 4:30 a.m, the crew recalled seeing an ice sheet due southwest of their vessel. Lacking the ability to determine otherwise, the crew steamed full speed onto the Renews Rocks off Horn Head, Cappahayden. With her hull torn out and the sea swamping her, many people drowned, both in an attempt to seek shelter on the deck and to find an exit from the interior of the ship.
Although an S.O.S signal had been transmitted, a rescue operation took hours to arrange from St. Johns as the relief ships left through the narrows at 12:45 p.m and never reached the wreck until dusk that evening. Circumstantially, with over 50 people narrowly surviving against the constant seas and sub-zero temperatures, rescue operations never began until after 12:00 a.m Monday. Further souls were lost as the dories of the ships struggled to stay afloat.
After saving 44 souls of the 138 on board, the rescue ships returned to St. Johns hours later. The streets of the city were filled with sorrow as families learned of the lost of their loved ones. Beginning on March 5th, 1918, the Marine Court of Enquiry soon became dumbfounded as to how the disaster occurred. However, it is later revealed that Captain Martin was unaware that Chief Engineer Reader intentionally slowed the Florizel down, thus causing the deaths of almost 100 people.