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Remembering Silver King tragedy in Wedgeport, special mass Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.

Silver King memorial in the Wedgeport cemetery.
Silver King memorial in the Wedgeport cemetery.

WEDGEPORT -- A 50th-anniversary commemorative mass will be celebrated Wednesday, Aug. 23, in memory of the six-man crew of Wedgeport fishermen aboard the Silver King who lost their lives the night of Aug. 22-23, 1967. 

The mass will be celebrated by Father Albéni d’Entremont at 7 p.m. in Wedgeport’s Saint Michael Church. It will be followed by a reception at the Wedgeport legion hall.

The Silver King was a herring seiner fishing off Yarmouth the night it was struck by the Ocean Rockswift, a tugboat returning to its home port of Saint John.

The six Silver King crewmembers, with the year of their births in brackets, were: captain Roderick Boudreau (1913), Edgar Boudreau (1919), Stanis Bourque (1915), Camille LeBlanc (1914), Vernon Boudreau (1942) and Ray LeBlanc (1943).

Bob McDowell of New Jersey, who was vacationing in the area at the time, was a passenger aboard the boat that night, as he often was. He was a nephew of Roderick Boudreau and Camille LeBlanc. He was saved from the overturned boat by fishermen cutting a hole in the bow of the hull. He was the only survivor.

When McDowell died in 2003, his three grown children thought that some day they might have the chance to bring his ashes to be buried with the Silver King crew, who were always present in his mind. This will happen Aug. 23 before the commemorative mass, with two of the three children and their mother in attendance. Relatives of the deceased six crewmembers will also be in attendance at the ceremony, to be conducted by Father Albéni d’Entremont.

The widows of the four oldest men who died on the Silver King have since passed away. Julia (Vernon Boudreau) and Margaret (Ray LeBlanc) are still living.

The public is invited to the mass and the reception.

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