A storytelling masterpiece, Left to Die is Gary Collin’s most ambitious and creative work to date. With new photos and new research revealed, he recalls with stunning clarity what history remembers about the SS Newfoundland sealing disaster of March 1914.
They didn’t die like flies, you know like I’ve heard some reporters say over the years. Oh no, it wasn’t like that at all. The men who died didn’t just drop like flies. There was nothing quick or easy about it. They had frozen feet, and fingers too numb and cramped with the cold to wipe the tears from their eyes.
Cecil Mouland, one of the last living survivors of the SS Newfoundland sealing disaster, told his story to Gary Collins in the fall of 1971 while traveling to St. John’s where the old ice hunter would live out his final days. This book grew from that encounter and stands alone as the defining tale of the men who were left to die on the ice.
The historic convergence of ice, seals, and men in late March 1914 marked the end of Newfoundland’s innocence. Men both young and old left their homes from all over the province that year to pursue the annual seal hunt. Among the vessels that took them to the ice was the Newfoundland, a wooden-walled steamship captained by the famous Captain Westbury Kean. With no wireless aboard the ship, the stage was set for seventy-eight of the men who went over the side and their fates sealed.