Photo of the S.S.
S.S. Bruce was a classic Victorian steamer,
elegant and powerful. Built by the
A&J Inglis shipyard on the Clyde River in Scotland, the S.S.
Bruce arrived in St. John's on October 13, 1897, before the
railway from St. John's to Port aux Basques was completed. While the
railway being finished, the S.S. Bruce sailed
weekly from Placentia to North Sydney, Nova Scotia. The first crossing
from Port aux Basques to North Sydney took place on June 30, 1898 and
she returned to Port aux Basques on July 3. The S.S.
Bruce maintained a three times a week service to North
Sydney until March 24, 1911 when the Captain misjudged his position in
heavy ice and snow squalls
and the steamer ran aground on the rocks of Main-a-Dieu near
Louisbourg. Two people drowned in
heavy seas. Service continued with the S.S. Glencoe
and the S.S. Invermore until a new S.S.
Bruce was built and arrived for ferry service in 1912. In
1916, the British Admirality
commandeered the second S.S. Bruce and sold her to
Imperial Russia for war service.
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