AUDIO Read by Paul Miller
The Grand Bend Women's Institute Tweedsmuir Book gives an account of the storm from the residents' perspective:
Persons living in the neighbourhood of Grand Bend recall that the wind commenced blowing in the afternoon (Sunday) and increased in velocity as the day went on. Snow to a depth of 18 inches. Persons who attended afternoon service at the Presbyterian Church had great difficulty driving home on the Blue Water Highway against the strong wind and snow. Some farmers fearing that their barn roofs would be carried away, spent the evening wiring the purlines to the beams.
The storm continued Monday and Tuesday morning broke clear and bright. Farmers' first thought was to get their cattle home from pasture. Some men living along the lake, realizing the severity of the storm and fearing some boats might have been damaged went to the beach looking for wreckage. The dock at Grand Bend was quite badly damaged and timbers were lying on the flats where the fish shanties are now (1944). Soon evidences of the grim tragedy were revealed as the searchers discovered sailors' bodies frozen stiff and stark.
Soon the extent of the storm damage became known. The "Wexford" was wrecked out from Grand Bend. At Port Franks a boat loaded with liquor was wrecked.
Bodies found on the south side of the main street, on the Lambton side, were taken to Thedford for an inquest and identification while those on the Huron side were taken to Goderich. Mr. Sol Pollock of Grand Bend drove the wagon with hayrack loaded with frozen bodies through The Pinery to Thedford. He described the trip through the winding Pinery road as most gruesome. In all some 300 men lost their lives.