Rarely in Canada’s history has there been a story that is as filled with bravery and selflessness as the story of Captain William Jackman. While many Canadian heroes are revered and celebrated, the tale of Captain Jackman is largely untold outside of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Captain William Jackman Heritage Society would like to change that and is working to establish a memorial for the benefit of the public, to capture the historical significance and tell the story of Captain Jackman’s courage in the dramatic rescue of 27 people near Spotted Island, Labrador. Born in Renews, Newfoundland in 1837, William Jackman was a lifelong mariner, commanding sailing vessels for the Bowring Brothers in the last decade of his short life. On October 9, 1867, Captain Jackman anchored in Spotted Island harbour to avoid rough weather. With a fierce storm raging, Jackman took a walk to the headland. What transpired next was what opened the history books for Captain William Jackman. He saw a small fishing schooner being battered along the reef, about 600 feet from shore. Captain Jackman knew the vessel didn’t have much time before those aboard became victims of the treacherous conditions. Throwing off his boots and coat, he plunged into the icy ocean. He battled the rough sea to swim to the boat and made 27 trips to the shore and back, each time with a man or woman on his back. The last person he rescued was a dying woman he refused to leave to a watery grave. Captain Jackman’s daring rescue took a toll on his health. He died at the age of 39 and is storied to have had the largest funeral in St. John’s history. In 1868 the British Royal Humane Society awarded Captain Jackman a Silver Medal (its highest honour). With the passing of the 150th anniversary of his heroic deed, the society would like Canadians to also bestow honor upon one of our greatest heroes. We are raising funds for the construction and maintenance of a memorial in his honor. In order to make this happen, the Captain William Jackman Heritage Society is asking Canadians for donations. Our heritage deserves to be commemorated. This is an opportunity to do that as a community:
- Learn more about Captain Jackman and this project on our Facebook page
- Become a member of the Captain William Jackman Heritage Society by sending us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Donate directly by clicking the Donate Now button or mail a cheque to "Captain William Jackman Heritage Society" P.O. Box 5, Renews, Newfoundland, A0A-3N0.