Newfoundland Adventures: In Air, on Land, at Sea


195 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 1-897174-07-1
DDC 971.8




Reviewed by Melvin Baker

Melvin Baker is an archivist and historian at Memorial University of
Newfoundland, and the co-editor of Dictionary of Newfoundland and
Labrador Biography.


Jack Fitzgerald is Newfoundland’s most prolific writer of popular
history. Newfoundland Adventures comprises mainly pre-Confederation
accounts of, among other things, the province’s shipwrecks, war
heroes, snow storms, marooned trains and crashed airplanes, and heroic
pre-1939 efforts to fly across the Atlantic. The highlights of the
collection are three lengthy articles about a World War II veteran, John
Ford, who was held captive for three years by the Japanese and who was
in Nagasaki when the atomic bomb was dropped on that city in 1945; the
story of the giant squid and the Newfoundlanders, Rev. Moses Harvey
(late 19th century) and Dr. Fred Aldrich (1960s–1990s), who have
studied it; and the American Arctic passenger steam that was lost off
Newfoundland in 1854, resulting in 297 fatalities.

Fitzgerald’s ability to weave an interesting and colourful story is
more pronounced in Newfoundland Disasters. Here he describes such
tragedies as the sinking of the Newfoundland ferry boat Caribou in 1942
by a German submarine; the Knights of Columbus fire in St. John’s that
same year, which claimed 99 lives (including those of many Canadian
servicemen); and a 1947 fire in a St. John’s nursing home.

Both books are well written and have been well received by the general


Fitzgerald, Jack., “Newfoundland Adventures: In Air, on Land, at Sea,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024,