Grace Anderson                                                 SA1974.07.3

The Steamship Vestris  was an American vessel that sailed regularly from New York to the River Plate.  On November 12, 1928 about 200 miles off Hampton Roads Virginia she began listing during a storm and sank with the loss of over 100 people, including all the thirteen child passengers and many of the women. Her sinking had a considerable impact on the International Convention for the Saving of Life at Sea (1929).  Within a week the American country music composer Carson J. Robison produced this song which was recorded  on the Victor 78rpm label.    Gracie’s text is almost identical to the original version.   Roud no. 22428

Bravely she sailed from New York city bound for the land o’er the sea
And on a deck where wives and husbands and children with hearts gay and free.
She sailed on her wake o’er the deep blue ocean, never a thought of fear,
For there on the bridge stood Captain Harry, a sailor for many a year.    [Captain Carey]

Then came a storm that hit the Vestris: wild waves came rolling high
And then in this night a call was sounded, then they knew that death was nigh.
Slowly they sank as the captain waited, hoping his ship he could save,
And then too late he feared, the message, the Vestris was doomed to her grave.

Sad were the cries of men and women, mothers with babes there to die;
Brave men who fought to save their loved ones, lifeboats that sank in the night
Great was the toll of lives that were taken, husbands and wives torn apart,
And many a home with loved ones missing, many a sad broken heart.

There on the bridge stood Captain Harry waiting for death to befall
And so we know that someone blundered, we should forget after all.
For we are all adrift on life’s mighty ocean where each must take as it comes,
And we should learn from this sad story – if we hesitate we are lost.