Battle of Bonne Bay

In June 1937 Captain A.J. Sinclair, in command of the Government Cutter MV Shulamite arrived in Woody Point, Bonne Bay with Newfoundland's chief welfare officer. The official was to meet with local men who were demanding work, in particular, they wanted the government to hire them to build a road from Bonne Bay to the newly emerging business centers of Deer Lake and Corner Brook. Many families were then living on the "dole" (6 cents a day). When the official refused their demands the crowd turned ugly and seized him, taking him captive and holding him in a house near the wharf.

Captain Sinclair, aboard the Shulamite, was made aware of the trouble when the mob turned on the Shulamite and threatened to "haul her ashore" to prevent her from going to Corner Brook, the nearest Newfoundland Ranger station. They gathered on the wharf and untied the Shulamite's lines, passing them over the wharf to men standing on the road. As they tried to swing the vessel's bow around, preparing to haul her onto the beach, Capt. Sinclair made ready the engine and, at his command, when the Shulamite was heading straight at the whaft, ordered "Full Astern!"

>Men skidded over the wharf and off the road onto the beach as the Shulamite made her way astern, a few men tumbled off the wharf into the bay, and a few more, once in the water, refused to let go the lines. They were hauled over the railings, dried out, and kept prisoner until the Shulamite arrived in Corner Book. When she returned with the Rangers the next morning, order was soon restored, the government man freed, and soon on his way to complete his tour, shaken but none the worse for his ordeal.

Criminal charges were never made against the rioters and the Battle of Bonne Bay was written into history, at least in Woody Point.

Some of the crowd greeting the MV Shulamite on her arrival in Woody Point, Bonne Bay, just hours before the Battle of Bonne Bay was engaged.