Earthquake & Tsunami
The 1929 Grand Banks earthquake, also called the Laurentian Slope earthquake and the South Shore Disaster, was a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that occurred on November 18, 1929 in the Atlantic Ocean off the south coast of Newfoundland in the Laurentian Slope Seismic Zone. The earthquake was centred on the edge of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, about 400 kilometres (250 mi) south of the island. It was felt as far away as New York and Montreal.
The quake, along two faults 250 kilometres (160 mi) south of the Burin Peninsula, triggered a large submarine landslide (200 km3 or 48 cu mi). It snapped 12 submarine transatlantic telegraph cables and led to a tsunami that arrived in three waves, each 3 to 4 metres high, that struck the coast at 105 km/h (65 mph) about three hours after the earthquake occurred. The waves travelled at speeds up to 129 km/h (80 mph) at the epicentre; they were recorded as far away as Portugal. The tsunami destroyed many south coastal communities on the Burin Peninsula, killing 28 people and leaving 10,000 more homeless. All means of communication were cut off by the destruction, and relief efforts were further hampered by a blizzard that struck the day after.
It took more than three days before the SS Meigle responded to an SOS signal with doctors, nurses, blankets, and food. Donations from across Newfoundland, Canada, the United States and United Kingdom totalled $250,000.
The late Precilla Willis a resident of Dover was living in Butchers Cove at the time with her mother and father-in-law. She said she was downstairs at the time sitting in her rocking chair. They heard a loud noise, like thunder she recalls, only louder and different. The oven doors on the old wood stove was shaking and the stove started to smoke. she remembers thinking the house was going to be on fire. Her mother-in-law told her the tide was rising higher and no one seemed to know what was happening. She said that they were terrified and didn't know really know what happened until days later because there were no radios or televisions at that time. The water level had risen very high, you could not walk along the beach area.
The late Mrs. Evelyn Collins worked in the Post Office at Hare Bay. She got the news saying there was a tidal wave at Burin on the south coast of Newfoundland.
The Late Ronald Hunt was 9 years old when the earthquake occurred. Mr. Hunt was at Butcher's Cove playing when everything started trembling and then he saw the trees shaking. A pile of wood seven feet high fell down and he was told that people were holding onto the pots on their stove to keep them from falling off. There was a roar in the air that seemed to last for a half an hour and some people thought that Buchan's mine had blown up.
The picture of above is the seventy plus men pulling ashore the Digby B-18 Bomber wreckage. Below are the words these men were singing repeatedly as they were hauling the wreckage ashore.
"Eres to me Jonny Poker for we'll aul an pull togedder
Eres to me Jonny Poker
Dover Plane Crash
On the morning of January 2, 1942, R.C.A.F. Digby B-18 Bomber number 738 departed Gander Airport on a convey patrol mission. About 40 minutes later, one of the Wright Cyclone engines sent vibrations through the plane, causing the propeller to "feather" and the plane began to lose altitude. Two bombs was jettison over the Salt Water Pond in Dover, and the First Officer - D.G.J. Malty had to make an emergency landing in the water near the coastal line.
The plane was extensively damaged but the crew escaped with only slight injuries. When the master switch was turned on, a fire broke out in the cabin. The crew was forced to leave the plane. Fortunately, residents from Dover who had witnessed the crash had already left to look for survivors. Once it was determined that all on board were unharmed in the crash, the residents responded with warm homes and hospitality.
Drenched and shivering in the January air, 6 crewman reached the beach in a dinghy. One of the rescuers, Mr. Nathan Parsons, took the men back to his home by horse and sleigh where his wife, Mrs Mary Parsons, was waiting for his return with the wood stove banked, moose soup and hot tea brewing. The men were given dry clothing while Mrs parsons ironed uniforms. The crewmen were were lifted back to Gander, but only after their Commanding Officer had eaten 2 bowls of Mrs Parsons delicious moose soup.
The Parsons family also played host to 2 of the mechanics who stayed for 17 days while dismantling the wreckage of the plane, the remaining parts can be seen at the Dover Fault Interpretation Center and Lookout.
Many of the older members of the community have great stories to tell regarding the events that occurred that eventful day. The site where the bombs were dropped is now used as a local swimming area by many of the members of the community.