Remembering the Men on the Ocean Ranger

Four years ago, I wrote a blog post about remembering those lost on the Ocean Ranger. Since then, I have moved my blog to this place but the old one still remains. People still find that post, at the old blog, through search engines and some people have left lovely messages in the comments section. Some have been addressed to me but many end up being addressed to someone lost as a message to them. Every now and then I will get an email letting me know of another comment and it is quite moving to read things from the people who knew and loved someone who was on the Ocean Ranger on that terrible day. I thought maybe you might like to read them and know that these men are not forgotten, not by those who love them and not by thousands and thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and people the world over. Every year on this day, we feel their loss, although surely not as deeply as those who knew and loved them. So, take a moment and remember them today and look at the words of those that are doing the same. If you’d like to read the post that led to the comments, you can find it here on this site or on the original blog site here. (I did not include one comment pointing out that while there were 84 men lost that day, I only listed 82 in my post. I have tried numerous times to find the names that are not included and if you know, please tell me so I can rectify this.) Let’s never forget.

Steve said…

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.

Tracey said…

I am one of the ones personally affected by this disaster…. my father William 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!

Patty said…

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

Anonymous said…

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.

Anonymous said…


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.

Anonymous said…

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

Anonymous Anonymous said…

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

Thank you for posting this.


Annette said…

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.

Tracey said…

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.

Maurie Nord said…

I believe that it was only the day before that I talked to Guy Garbeau at the Bethel Pentecostal church in Rosemount, Montreal. We discussed the dangers of being a diver on an oil rig, but Guy stated that he was not afraid, because if anything happened the Lord would take him home.

Larry Buchinski said…

Many of the young men that lost their lives on the Ocean Ranger were on the Ben Ocean Lancer Drill Ship before they were transferred to the Ranger. But not before making the sail from St. John’s through the Panama Canal to California. I was a driller on the Ben Ocean Lancer and had the privilege and honor of knowing many of these NL men at work and at play. It was their love of “The Rock” that strengthened the love of home for many of us that worked with them. I have made it my duty to pay tribute at the Ocean Ranger Memorial at the front of the Confederation Building each time I am in St. John’s. I do so with respect for the gift I received in true Newfoundland spirit; that of genuine friendship strengthened with a firm handshake. A sad 28th anniversary soon to be. My heartfelt condolences and prayers go to the families of their lost loved ones.

Brother said…

I flew down to nfld to see if they would retrieve my brother’s body and the search finished and they never could. since then i’m always thinking about him .Where ever you are may God be with you .
love you
from Richard

Anonymous said…

I was not born yet when this tragedy took place. I am very familiar with the story however. I am currently a safety advisor for an offshore drilling company. Please all who were affected by the loss of life in this event, be comforted in knowing that lessons have been learned. I personally use this story in training. The loss of all these brave men will never be forgotten. Their deaths have prevented loss of life on other rigs all around the world. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends. Everyone of these men are heros to me. I am safe because they were not, I am alive because they passed, I am full of knowledge because they were not, I am protected by them and I work for them.


Anonymous said…

I’m 46 now and graduated high school in 1981, just in time for the 1980’s recession. High interest rates and unemployment. Being in Alberta, many of my friends were planning to go work on the Ocean Ranger. It sank before they could get there. We still talk about it, but will never forget the tragedy and how close it almost struck us.

Anonymous said…

Thank you for posting this- my uncles Robert and Stephen died on the Ocean Ranger- that Valentine’s Day was Stephen’s 19th birthday. It’s good to know that people remember and care. It always seems so strange to think of it as other people must see it, just a terrible news story, when it was our family’s heartbreak.

Rest in peace, Robert and Stephen

sluggar said…

Tina, I did have someone on the Ocean Ranger, his name was Robert Howell and he was my brother. I always thought everyone would forget about the men on the rig..So I have to tell you it is nice to know that I was wrong…Thank you for thinking of the men and their families as I do every day…

Anonymous said…

I too was young at the time of this tragedy…only 5 years old. I attend college right now with a lady that was engaged to Cyril Greene…they also had a newborn at home…such a promising future to look forward to…I find it hard to understand why these things happen…may they all rest in peace…God bless.

Anonymous said…

to this day i still remember my good friend Wade Brinston. We grew up in Whitbourne NFLD> I moved away with my parents to the United States but would visit Wade when we would return for Vacations. I still miss my friend.
Sincerly, Bruce Gosse

Anonymous said…

my name is Bob Worsham and I worked on the Ranger for a few years starting back when it was in the Baltimore Canyon off New Jersey then made the tow to Ireland. I saw the names of many that I worked with and was very fond of on the list of the departed. Old George Gandy and Tom Blevins and I went back to our Ocean Victory days, others I knew just from the Ranger. I can still see their faces, hear their voices and miss them all. I was lucky enough to have missed that tour in Newfoundland and thank God for it. May God have mercy on all souls lost that terrible night.

Anonymous said…

My father, Tom Blevins, was on the Ocean Ranger when it went down. All these years later, it was nice to see Bob mention my dads name. I remember the accident all too well. Being 7 when it occurred, my memories of the event, the rescue attempts, news reports, and everything that went with it all too vividly. Thanks to all for keeping the memory of these men alive.

Galliehue Blevins

bob worsham said…

Galliehue, you dad was a good friend of mine and I remember him showing me the picture of you that he carried on the rig. Feel free to email me if you want to learn more about our days together.

Anonymous carol said…

michael maurice was my brother in law and my friend.he was a father to two young children , melissa and jason and a husband to jocelyne and a brother to his brothers.

he was silly and fun and a real prankster.he tried different endevors such as professional cooking and hairdressing. He was very good at drawing and being creative . he loved music but he couldn’t sing a note.

he wassn’t always sure of his career paths but he was sure he wanted to be a father and a husband thats how he measured sucsess
I miss him all the time

Lucille said…

It’s been 25 years and we are still all affected by this tragedy. My neice and nephew grew up forever feeling the loss of their dad, Michael Maurice. I am only one of many sisters & brothers-in-law that will miss him forever. Not a day, month or year goes by without him in our thoughts. Thank you, Tina for this tribute to so many men who lost their lives that horrible night. None of them will ever be forgotten.

7 thoughts on “Remembering the Men on the Ocean Ranger

  1. I used to babysit Jason and Melissa for Michael Maurice and Jocelyn. We were there when the kids found out they lost their Dad. It will haunt me for as long as I live. I will never forget Michael – he was very funny and always busy. He and Jocelyn worked hard. I think of the family often.
    (daughter of Rosemary Ommer & Chris Palmer)

  2. To Robert Dagg. Knew your brother, stayed at my place for awhile in Lloydminster. A wonderful lad, couldn’t mix cement worth shit, but he was a great guy. I still think of him and all the others.

  3. my brother donnie pieroway was lost on the rig i feel this lost everyday i was the one who helped him get the job wish i could change time

  4. Tommy Hatfield was my youngest brother – 28 years old and the geologist on board that fateful night, Feb. 15th, 1982. He loved his job and brushed off any worry we had as a family of its dangers. We never found his body. He would have been 59 now and had so many wonderful plans for his life. He had a wife and had built himself a home in Wolfville,NS. He planned to have a passel of kids and wanted to raise Newfoundland/Lab-mix dogs…. A terrible, senseless loss of human life in the prime of their lives, all in the name of “big-oil” money.

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