January 29th, 1930


JANUARY 29, 1930


Capt. Sinclair Baker of Margaretsville and Three Others perish When Steamers Ruby L. and Grace Hankinson Founder Off Digby.

Plunging into seas which were crushing his steamer, the Grace Hankinson, on the rock-fanged reefs off Tiverton, Digby County, Captain Sinclair Baker, of Margaretsville, on Saturday night added his name to that list of heroic sons of this ocean bound province who have sacrificed their lives for others.  Three companions perished when Captain Baker's attempt to carry a life-line to shore failed.  They were swept away when a giant comber tore the pilot house from the hull of the Hankinson and hurled it toward the rocky shore, scarcely two hundred yards away.  Two others on the steamer Ruby L., which the Hankinson had been towing, escaped and made their way to safety in a row-boat while the engineer and firemen on Captain Baker's vessel were saved by fishermen who rigged a line from the shore.

The two little coastal craft were fighting their way through a blinding snow storm and mountainous seas when they piled up on the reef.  They had had a stiff battle with the elements from the time they left Saint John in the morning.  The Hankinson struck first, bow on, followed by the Ruby L., whose side was crushed as she hit the rocks.  Capt. Baker, realizing that his vessel was breaking up, seized a lifeboat and a line.  Leaping overboard he struggled toward shore but the icy seas were too much for him and those on board who had pinned their hopes on their gallant commander saw him disappear and the line swing back and forth in the tumbling waters, gradually slipping under the bow of the vessel where it snapped.  Later the seas tossed up the body of Captain Baker.

Three other members of the crew of the ill-fated Hankinson were washed overboard by a giant comber which threatened to engulf the craft.  These were Captain Bayard Powell, of Plympton and Charles Kennedy and Fred Hill of St. John.

Captain Baker was widely known in Nova Scotia, and particularly along the Bay Shore.  His vessel, the Ruby L., which is the second to bear that name, was built in 1921 at Margaretsville for the Margaretsville Steamship Company.  She was owned by the Eastern Canada Coastal Steamship Company, Saint John, at the time of the tragedy, and in the summer months, while plying between St. John and Margaretsville, made regular stops at Harborville, where his tragic death will be learned with much regret by Captain Baker's many friends.