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LETTER – Myths and history.

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Dear Editor, People on this coast never called their small boats Rodneys. Here we had flats, scows, punts, row boats; etc. On the east coast of the province everyone called their small boats Rodneys. It has been debated, stated, and written that this practice has no connection with Admiral Rodney, who was sent to Newfoundland to keep some order along the east coast and to collect tariffs. The west coast was not an issue because of the low number of people living there. I discussed this issue with Mr. Henry Gibbons. Besides being the Principal of the Port aux Basques District Vocational School for over 30 years, he was a researcher, a writer and authored articles and books. He was a prominent member and President of the Port Aux Basques Historical Society. He played a significant role in supporting Mr. Wayne Mushrow and his quest to keep the two astrolabes at the Railway Museum, in Port Aux Basques, during the summer months. Kudos to Wayne and Mr. Gibbons. Mr. Gibbons outlined the following to me in April of 1975. “Admiral Rodney was sailing along the coast and happened to anchor off Bay Bulls for the night. Word was sent that there was a time taking place that evening and all the crew were invited. Every person on the ship attended the event, except Admiral Rodney. Of course, the community was upset about “the snub” as they saw it. It did not matter that he might have put his crew first and stayed to protect his ship. The collective judgement was that he was pretty small to have done such a thing. After that, and to this day, small boats on the east coast, are called Rodneys” I am sure that this would be a good starting point for some history sleuth to investigate and verify. In the meantime, I stand by the research as presented.

George Anderson Searston

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