Monday, 13 December 2010

The Greatest Great Moment

On Saturday morning well over 200 family historians, a record for a monthly meeting, crowded into the Auditorium at Library and Archives Canada for BIFHSGO's traditional December Great Moments presentations. Family history is thriving in Ottawa.


Program Director Jane Down had selected five presentations for the program which President Glenn Wright augmented with a sixth very short item arising from a recent visit to Newmarket, Ontario.


Each presentation was instructive, entertaining, often both. There wasn't a dud amongst them. The one I enjoyed most was "He Wore His Buttons Well: Discovering the Details of an Epic Rescue at Sea" by Barbara Tose

Barbara's great-uncle, Harry Tose, was the Captain of the Antinoe traversing the Atlantic carrying grain from New York in January 1926. A storm hit that allowed water to penetrate to the grain storage causing it to swell and shift. The Antinoe radioed for assistance, a call answered by the SS President Roosevelt. 

Barbara recounted the saga of the four day rescue during which all the Antinoe crew were saved, but two crew members of the Roosevelt lost their lives, and mentioned the resources she found to fill out the story.
 
One was an epic poem, "The Roosevelt and the Antinoe" by Newfoundland born poet E J Pratt, from which the talk's title was derived. Another information from Captain Harry Tose's grandson, discovered through the BIFHSGO meeting notice posted on the Internet, who she was able to meet during a recent trip to England. I'll leave the others for an article I hope Barbara will write for BIFHSGO's quarterly chronicle, Anglo-Celtic Roots.

Barbara also screened a brief silent newsreel showing the survivors and rescuers on arrival in Britain at the end of the month. A preview version is at http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=24606

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