Looking back: 1918 Tidal Wave

Melissa Samms.

As we all know, the Southwest coast is no stranger to strong weather. Fun note: max wind speed I’ve seen was 218 km!

Sometimes it has had severe effects on the landscape and the people. One such occasion was on the 14th of November 1918, when high winds caused a large tidal wave to hit Channel.

According to the Evening Telegram and Evening Advocate from Nov. 16, 1918, winds over 97 miles per hour (156 kph) whipped up a tidal wave that destroyed wharves, stores, stages, and boats. Most of the affected business were not rebuilt, permanently affecting the economy and people of the region.

Minutes from the Society of United Fishermen’s (SUF) Channel lodge showed that two of their members experienced losses as a result of the tidal wave. Emmanuel Bragg lost everything, and Brother Blackmore (first name unknown) lost his boat. Collections were taken up to help them regain their footing and the SUF had benefits they could claim, but such a loss is hard to overcome, if for no other reason than the time it would take to get set up again.

Channel and its people showed the resilience with which they face most difficulty – rebuilt as they could and helped each other along in the meantime.

This particular event is one of those historical tidbits that I couldn’t find much information about while conducting research with the Southwest Coast Historical Society. News from this end of the island didn’t often make it to the ears of journalists back then.

If you have any more information about the Channel Tidal Wave of November 14, 1918, I would love to hear it!

Melissa Samms is a local history enthusiast with their fingers in several pies. They studied at MUNL and CNA before moving back home to Codroy Valley, where they help with community development and project coordination. They can be reached by email at: Melissa.samms@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply