Back To Wooden Ships of River John Sirdar
  The Sirdar The last ship that was built in River John and operated from the shipyard office was the "Srdar". She was built, owned and operated by C. H. MacLennan. 

The Sirdar was launched in 1899 and carried cargoes to and from European, South American and Carribean ports until she was wrecked by a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico in 1913 a few months before the outbreak of the first World War. 

During most of the voyages of the Sirdar she was in command of Captain Rafuse who reported her to be one of the finest of the many ships he had sailed. It always appeared to by smooth sailing for the Sirdar up to her two last voyages in the winters of 1912 - 1914 when she encountered two hurricanes. One on each voyage. 

On November 13, 1912, the Sirdar sailed from Bridgwater, N. S. with a cargo of lumber boung for Havana, Cuba. The story of this ill fated voyage, taken from the ship's log reads as follows: 

"The vessel encountered heavy storms with a high sea causing her to labor and strain very much and to leak badly. On the 6th of December the Captain was obliged to order that the deck load of lumber be jettisoned. On Decomber 13th, during a heavy gale the top mast and backstays were carried away causing the loss of the top mast with sails and yards attached. The ship continued in heavy weather to the vicinity of Bermuda and on December 30th a tug took her in tow and brought her to anchor in St. George's harbor at 9am an December31, 1912.". 
In Burmuda, complete repairs to the Sirdar were made and a "Certificate of Seaworthiness" was issued on February 5th, 1913, after which she proceeded with her hold cargo of lumber to Havana. 

The last voyage of the Sirdar egan on December 20th, 1913 when she sailed from the Port of Mobile, Alabama bound for Port of Spain, Trinidad with a cargo of pitch pine lumber: 

Wednesday, Dec 24th:This day begins calm, and remained so until 1pm when the wind came from SE and grew stronger through the day. 
4pm: shortened sails, barometer low 
8pm: The wind was blowing a heavy Southwesterly gale, accompanied by high seas. Vessel was laboring heavily, and began making water. 
9pm: The force of the gale still increased, vessel still laboring very heavily and making more water. At this time the vessel hove to. 
10pm: Deck load shifted and vessel filling up. Gale still blowing. 
11pm: Gale still blowing with high seas, vessel laboring heavily and cabin and after - house of vessel flooded and said master with crew had to seek refuge on to of after - house. The remained there until the 26th december when the weather moderated. 

Friday, Dec 26th:Weather somewhat moderated and said master with crew of said vessel threw some of the deck load over, trying to save the vessel and cargo as much as possible, but found it was hopeless to try and save vessel and proceed any further. The said vessel was on the verge of breaking to pieces under the strain, and was giving away aft and absolutely impossible to steer her. 

Sat Dec 27th:The American Schooner "Ruth A. Welles" hove in sight and aid master signalled her for assistance, and she came alongside about 2pm and the only thing that could be done was to abandon said barquetine Sirdar and the said master and crew went aboard the said schooner "Ruth A. Wells" and was landed in Pensacola, Florida on Sunday afternoon, December 28, 1913. 

(Taken from an article by Paul Langille and Sheila Dwyer.) 

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