Tragedy at Port Dover
LADS BREAK THROUGH
THE ICE AND LOSE THEIR LIVES.
Charles Edward (Teddie) West, born 13 Mar 1908
John (Jackie) West, born 20 Mar 1911
John Wilfred Miller, born 6 Oct 1908
Neighbors and playmates from infancy
in death not divided.
Port Dover, 11 Feb 1919 -- A
gloom was cast over this community Monday evening of this week when
it became known that three bright little lads of our village had
become victims of the treacherous ice on Lake Erie.
The three lads, in company
with Lindsay Gunton, had gone to the lake to enjoy a short time
Jackie West broke through the
ice which had formed over what had been open water the day before.
Teddie went to his assistance but could not get him out. Johnny
Miller plunged in to render assistance while Lindsay Gunton tried to
attract the attention of some adult by calling as loudly as
The plight of the boys had
been noticed by Capt. John A. Macaulay who ran from Main street to
the lake shore and out on the ice which was firm for a considerable
distance from the shore.
When he reach the newly
formed ice it gave way with him and precipitated him into the water
at a considerable distance from the spot where the boys had now
disappeared from view.
Although too weak to hold his
weight, the ice was still strong enough to resist his efforts to
break it with his fists, and he was forced to climb out on it to a
section would give way beneath him, and repeat the process till over
the spot when the boys had broken through.
Meanwhile help had arrived
and as Mr. Macaulay brought a lad from the bottom to the surface he
would [tie] the end of a line which had been thrown to him fast
around the body of the little fellow who would be hauled
tenderly to firmer ice.
As soon as the third lad's
body had been secured all three were hurried to Dr. Cook's office
where he and Dr. [Toole] assisted by relays of willing workers tried
to resuscitate the lads but their efforts proved unprevailing.
The West boys are the sons of
Mr. and Mrs. Ernest West. Mr. West is on H.M.C.S. [Apprentice] at
present at Halifax and has left for Port Dover but is not expected
that he will be able to reach here before Friday.
Johnnie Miller is the
youngest son of Mrs. Robert J. Miller.
The sympathy of the entire
community goes out to the bereaved ones of both families in this
their hour of affliction.
Captain Macaulay was carried
home and got to bed as soon as possible. It was considerable time
before he began to react from the severe chilling which his brave
deed had entailed. Though still in bed this (Tuesday) evening the
Captain is now thought to be out of danger of any complication
following his prolonged immersion in the icy water.
Some years [ago] the Captain
rescued the crew of a tug which was frozen in the ice on Lake Huron,
off Southampton, by means of a ladder and a boat. The ice was in bad
condition so he would push the ladder out as far as possible, walk
to the end of it and then haul the boat along side. Where there was
open water he would enter the boat and tow the ladder until ice as
again encountered. As the tug lay three miles off shore, the magnitude
of his his task in reaching the tug may be imagined. The return trip
with the rescued crew was not so strenuous.
In November of 1914, Captain
Macaulay rescued the crew of four of the disabled yacht
"Luella" belonging to the Detroit Yacht Club of
Kingsville, only to see [them] arrested as German spies because one
of the party bearing a German name sported a moustache somewhat
resembling that of Kaiser Wilhelm.