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Rescuers: Tom Kane and Paddy McCarthy

Black and white archival photograph of a man wearing coveralls to the right of a horse hauling a cart of fish. A biscuit box house, and another building can be seen in the back of photo.

Tom Kane with horse and cart.


After Mass in Renews, Tom Kane and some friends head to the wreck site, where they help gather the bodies. The next day, Tom is among those who go by boat to the Florizel itself. While scouting aboard for salvageable goods, they find the frozen body of Margaret Keough.

A poor neighbour has asked Tom to look for any clothes that he and his family might use. The man finds $45 in the clothing Tom brings him. Uncomfortable with keeping it, he gives the money to the priest (and eventually starves to death).

Audio clip with transcript: Salvaging Clothes for the Poor

Many years later, during a sealing voyage on the Ranger, Tom Kane himself is almost shipwrecked. With him is Phil Jackman, who served as third officer on the Florizel’s last voyage.

Black and white modern photograph of prayer book with black cover and white pages. Cover has IHS inscribed on the front.

Tom Kane’s prayer book.

This is rescuer Tom Kane’s prayer book. Tom learned that the Florizel was on the rocks south of Cappahayden after morning Mass in Renews.

“There was a woman, and she was kneelin’ up in the bunk, and she had the rosary beads in her hand… There wasn’t a mark on her. She just died with the fright, that was all… or froze to death first… Keough was her name, I believe. ‘Twas some sad sight.”

– Tom Kane

Black and white photograph of older man wearing eyeglasses, a baseball cap, a light shirt, and darker pants. Man in standing in field of grass in front of ocean landscape with hills in the background to the right.

Rescuer Paddy McCarthy

“I don’t think I fully realized what lay in store for me because I had never come face to face with so much death before.”

– Paddy McCarthy

Young Paddy McCarthy, 14, also heads south after Mass, wanting to assist those in distress. But all he can do is help lift bodies onto the cart for transport to the railway station. Paddy is tormented by the cruel tricks of chance—knowing that if the Florizel’s course had been only a few feet left or right, the ship would have made it past the reef . . .  and no one would have died.