WEXFORD, 1883 Sunderland, England. Steel package freighter, 270 x 40, Western Steamship Co. Lost in Lake Huron with all hands, 19 men and l woman. Capt. Bruce Cameron, Chief Engineer James Scott. Cargo, steel rails. This vessel along with numerous others were total losses in the Great Storm of 1913 which ravaged the lakes from November 7 through November 9. (Information taken from Telescope Magazine, November 1963, pages 247-253.)
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The wreck of the WEXFORD, one of the eight ships lost in the Great Storm of November 9, 1913, has been located By Captain Robert Wilson of Sarnia and William Humphries of
The location of the ship just north of Goderich Harbor was the culmination of three years of research by Wilson and Humphries which included numerous personal contacts, letters and telephone calls. They have received permission from the federal government under Section X of the Canada Shipping Act and hope to make their first dive as soon as the ice clears which Mr. Humphries optimistically suggested could be the middle of April.
The team of divers on the salvage project are Lawrence Brander, Mike Hughes, Jim MacDonald and William Humphries under the direction of Captain Robert Wilson. Once the
boat has been marked they hope to begin the salvage operation in May. Artifacts from the ship will be going to the Moore Township Museum, the Huron County Pioneer Museum in Goderich and the Knox Presbyterian Church in Goderich.
The WEXFORD has been resting on the bottom of Lake Huron for almost sixty-two years and the diving team is hopeful that artifacts from the wreck will be on display in area museums early this summer.
The steamer WWXFORD was built in 1883 in England and was owned by the Western Steamship Company of Toronto. It was nearly 250 feet in length and had a tonnage capacity of 2104 tons.
The WEXFORD was under the command of Captain Bruce Cameron, 26, of Gollingwood and
was downbound with a load of grain from the Lakehead to Goderich. The WEXFORD's whistle
could be heard as it approached Goderich harbor in the height of the storm but the ship and
crew all vanished.
Captain Bruce Cameron, who had sailed for nearly ten years, was the second son of Captain Alex Cameron. Captain Bruce Cameron had just been married in the spring of 1912 and the WEXFORD was his first command.
Others lost with the ship were chief engineer James Scott, assistant engineer Richard
Loughead, watchman Allan Dobson and Orrin Gordon all of Collingwood. Mr. and Mrs. George
Willmott had taken jobs as stewards aboard the WEXFORD and were planning to return to Bristol, England, at the close of the shipping season.
April 10, 1975
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WEXFORD. Official Canada No. 87342. Of 2104 tons. Built Sutherland, England, 1883 250 x 40 x 16. Disposition -- Wrecked in storm, Lake Huron November 9, 1913
Preliminary List of Canadian Steamships
Inland and Coastal, 1809 to 1930
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WEXFORD SHIPWRECK FOUND AFTER 87 YEARS.
Sarnia. -- One of the great mysteries of the Great Lakes has finally been solved. After 87 years, divers have located the wreck of the WEXFORD, one of a dozen ships that disappeared during a violent storm in November, 1913.
The 82-metre British cargo ship was found sitting on the bottom of Lake Huron, about 11 kilometers offshore between Grand Bend and Bayfield. The ship was discovered by a local salmon fisherman -- not by the American Researcher commissioned by the Committee to search for wrecks in the area.
Donald Chalmers discovered the wreck when his fish-finder detected an anomaly on the bottom of the lake. "This researcher brought in all this expensive equipment and Chalmers found it with a hundred dollar fish-finder," said Tim Cummings, editor of the Goderich Signal Star.
The WEXFORD had almost reached Goderich from Lake Superior carrying a load of grain when the storm hit. Although her whistle was heard through the blinding storm, she was never seen again. Chris Kohl wrote in 'Dive Southwestern Ontario,' "The great storm of 1913 blew for three days, whipping up 11-metre waves. It killed 235 sailors and drove another 25 ships ashore. Of the 12 vessels that sank, all but two wrecks now have been found.
Toronto Daily Star
Wednesday, August 30, 2000