Names from the Ocean Ranger Disaster

Valentine’s Day is never just Valentine’s Day for me, and I am sure it is true for many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, especially those who were around 25 years ago. It is the day before the anniversary of the Ocean Ranger Disaster. For many of us, February 15th is as recognizable a date as the 14th. Today is the 25th anniversary of the disaster, of the morning when the province woke up to hear the unthinkable, that so many men were lost in one fell swoop. An island used to painful losses at sea or on the ice, suddenly had this new, unprecedented horror. Men lost en masse with no survivors.

I did not know anyone on the Ocean Ranger. My surprise and sadness that day was about the enormity of it while others experienced it on a very singular level, no doubt aware of the hugeness of it all but enveloped in their own personal grief. So how to remember these men 25 years later? Men I did not know.

Well, I took some time to read each name and remember them not as just names or numbers or a part of a famous disaster we remember every year, but as fathers, sons, husbands, brothers, boyfriends, grandsons, uncles, cousins and friends; in terms of missed birthday parties, anniversaries, graduations, and wedding days; as children that would never be born and loves never found; as jokes not told and songs not sung; and as a goodnight kiss missed forever. Maybe you’d like to do the same and take a few minutes to read the names and remember someone you may not have known and the families and friends he left behind.

I am so very sorry for your loss, every one.

Jim Dodd
Derek Escott
Cyril Greene
Derek Holden
Rick Sheppard
Frank Smit
Daniel Conway
Terrance Dwyer
Fred Harnum
Randy Noseworthy
John Pinhorn
Dennis Ryan
William Smith
Woodrow Warford
Tom Hatfield
Arthur Dagg
Kenneth Chafe
Gerald Clarke
Douglas Putt
Gary Crawford
Norman Halliday
Wayne Miller
Gord Mitchell
Perry Morrison
Greg Caines
Wayne Drake
Cliff Kuhl
Robert Wilson
David Chalmers
Robert Howell
Robert Fenez
Jack Jacobson
Robert Madden
George Augot
Nicholas Baldwin
Kenneth Blackmore
Thomas Blevins
David Boutcher
Wade Brinston
Paul Bursey
Norman Dawe
Thomas Donlon
Joseph Burry
Leon Droddy
William Dugas
Domenic Dyke
Andrew Evoy
Randell Ferguson
Ronald Foley
Melvin Freid
Carl Fry
George Grandy
Guy Garbeau
Regineld Gorum
Capt. Clarence Hauss
Ron Heffernan
Gregory Hickey
Robert Hicks
Albert Howell
Harold LeDrew
Robert LeDrew
Michael Maurice
Ralph Melendy
Ken O’Brien
Paschal Joesph O’Neill
George Palmer
Clyde Parsons
Donald Pieroway
Willie Powell
Gerald Power
Donald Rathbun
William Smith
Ted Staplton
Benjamin Kent Thompson
Craig Tilley
Gerald Vaughn
Michael Watkin
Robert Winsor
Stephen Winsor
Robert Arsenault
Darryl Reid
Greg Tiller

Names provided by Memorials Online.

19 thoughts on “Names from the Ocean Ranger Disaster

  1. I just watched a program on the Weather Channel & they interviewed a cook from Nigeria that survived in a large air bubble on the Ocean Ranger. Why is this not mentioned in any of the articles relating to this disaster?

  2. Hi Tina, I think it is very touching what you have done for all the men that were lost on that sad day. My uncle, Guy Garbeau was a diver on the Ocean Ranger. Many thanks again, Kelly R.

  3. my name is mitch black [] and i was a Driller on the Ben Ocean Lancer at the time.
    I sent many hands to the RANGER and received many from her.
    I am now 64 and retired, as a insider for ODECO ,i can say that this disaster still haunts me to this day.
    I still can not even comprehend how such a magnificent, capable,well crewed and well led rig could come to this end.
    When she came out of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries ship yard, she was the most advanced piece of drilling machinery on the planet.
    She [and her entire crew] were lost because of a faulty porthole.
    Is that even possible?
    I know that this ruined many lives.
    But, with respect, it ruined mine to.
    I quit ODECO, and not long after, as a then a highly sought after Dynamic Positioned Drillship toolpusher [Interocean Discover, Discover 511, Discover Seven Seas etc.], I quit the oilfield altogether.
    I really enjoyed my time offshore Newfoundland and working for PetroCanada ,but i never came to terms with this disaster.
    ,mitch black

  4. My cousin Gordon was lost on the Ocean Ranger. I was 11, the age my son is now. Gordon and his brother Robert were like kings when they’d come to visit us (my three sisters and I). They’d tell us amazing stories of their travels to the Middle East, spoil us, make us laugh and wonder. Gordon saved me from drowning one summer, I was caught up in a fast moving current, but he was faster, being a deep sea diver. I remember always hoping they’d find him alive somewhere, I couldn’t believe my hero had drown. You will ALWAYS be my hero, and I will never forget you. I’m still trying to figure out that puzzle the goat man showd you.

  5. Greg Tiller was my cousin. It was sobering to visit the memorial during my last trip to Newfoundland while my grandfather was still living.

  6. Pingback: This Much is True » Blog Archive » How We Remember The Ocean Ranger

  7. My father, George Gandy, was among those lost aboard the Ocean Ranger. His name is sometimes listed wrongly as George Grandy. We plan to visit St. John’s later this year to view the memorial.

  8. Pingback: This Much is True » Blog Archive » Remembering the Men on the Ocean Ranger

  9. My great uncle was a victim to this tragedy. Even though i barely knew him i still loved and missed him. He was Domenic Dyke, if anyone is wondering. I still wonder how something like this could have happened, why they didn’t have life boats or anything that could have spaired their lives and the mourning of others. I know that a lot of others feel the same way as em and probably worse and i think that everything has a reason for happening and i would like to find the reason for this tragedy. But until then, i wish everyone who has to suffer the best of luck to evidentally try to get over teh mourn and live life before you loose it.

  10. I was indeed directly affected. My Uncle was on the Ranger when it went down. He was the fun loving free spirited cook on the rig.

    I was at my Aunt’s house the morning that the call came in. I will never forget that morning and all the heartache that it caused to all of our family. My Uncle Ted (Terrance Dwyer) was never found.

    He always joked and told us that if the Ranger ever sank him and his buddy would climb to the top of the rig. I guess that never happened since it sank sideways.

    My Aunt passed away last year and I think she was looking forward to meeting him again. It was a long a painfull life for her and my cousin.

    I love you and miss you very much. And I do hope you two can finish the life you started together, cause everyhing you left here on earth is taken care off.

  11. The Ocean Ranger Disaster is a tragedy that I will never forget. William Smith was my uncle.

    Thank you for posting this.


  12. I was offered a job on the Ranger, but declined the job when I was accepted at university. I remember coming downstairs on the morning of the disaster and being told the news, I could not stand and just sat on the stairs to keep from falling. For me, Valentine’s Day is not just Valentine’s any more, I guess in the same way that for any Newfoundlander July 1 is not just Canada Day

  13. Hi,

    I knew Tom Hatfield. When I was an undergrad at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., Tom taught me how to thread a film projector for the university film society. We would meet on Sunday afternoon, before the club screening, in the projection room of the theatre. We’d preview each movie, and he’d show me how to splice a break, how to change the tension on the reels to prevent jumping and catching. He wore a woolen tuque, had a great sense of humour, and we watched every film together one Sunday a month, for over a year. I have never forgotten him, or the coverage of this terrible event.

  14. hey this is davin jacobson I was related to jack on of the crew members that died on the ocean ranger i was only 7 when this happened. I never really knew my uncle jack but I read the profil and now i know just a little bit more about that tradic day.and I just wanted to say that who ever but this together is an amazing person.

  15. Thanks Tina.I lost my uncle on The Ranger and it’s nice to know that people remember and still care.I was only 13 but i remember that day always. Bless you George and your coworkers.I will never forget you.Till we meet again… Patty VanDermark

  16. I am one of the ones personally affected by this disaster…. my fatherWilliam A Smith (Canada) was lost on the rig.
    It amazes me how as the years moves on how many people tend to forget about this disaster.
    It also scares me that if we forget what happened we might tend to relive the past and this might happen again. I pray and hope that I will be proven wrong.
    RIP Dad!

  17. Thanks, Steve. Sometimes remembering something sad can make us appreciate things more. I’m glad you pointed that out.

  18. Tina, like you, I didn’t know any of the victims directly. I was 14 when this tragedy happened. I wondered how I would/could post about an event that was tragic, but not affecting me personally. I wondered if I would do it justice. I chose not to try, out of respect. But you nailed it. As I read down through the list, I couldn’t help but wonder if I did know any of them. With many commonly Newfoundland names on the list it is likely that I know folks who were directly affected, that did suffer the loss at a personal level.

    Makes one realize, 25 years later, what we’ve been taking for granted is all a gift. A privilege we must enjoy until it is taken away from us.

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