Encyclopedia Titanica


The Canadian Government Steamship Montmagny1 was the third of four ships chartered by the White Star Line to search for bodies in the aftermath of the sinking.

The Montmagny was a lighthouse supply and buoy tender, on loan from the Canadian Government and operated by the Canadian Department of Marine and Fisheries. She sailed under the command of Captain Peter Crerar Johnson2 and Capitaine François-Xavier Pouliot.3 Crerar was technically in command while in international waters while Pouliot was the ship's regular home-waters Captain. In reality, they likely worked together throughout the cruise. On board was Rev. Samuel Henry Prince4 from St. Paul's Church, Halifax, Father Patrick McQuillan5 from St. Mary's Basilica, Halifax, as well as John R. Snow, Jr.6, the undertaker who had been on the Mackay-Bennett, and Cecil E. Zink7, an undertaker from Dartmouth.

The Montmagny sailed from Sorel, Quebec to Halifax where she picked up supplies and personnel. She left Halifax on Monday, May 6th to replace the Minia and to continue the search for bodies. Weather again made progress difficult in the disaster area. In spite of the poor conditions, the Montmagny recovered four bodies (Body numbers 326 to 329), one of which was buried at sea. The remaining three bodies were delivered to Louisbourg, Nova Scotia on Monday, May 13th and shipped to Halifax via the Sydney & Louisbourg and Canadian National Railways.

After re-bunkering and obtaining more supplies, Montmagny returned to the scene to search for more bodies. The vessel cruised back and forth as far as the Gulf Stream seeking additional bodies, but the search was fruitless with only small pieces of wood, very scattered, sighted to the east of the disaster site. Montmagny met the Algerine at about 6 p.m. on 19 May 1912 she returned to Halifax on 23 May 1912 and resumed her normal duties with the Canadian government.

As a result of his experiences at sea during the recovery operation, Captain put forward his own theories as to the likely cause of the Titanic disaster.

In 1914 the Montmagny was sunk in a collision with a collier and several women and children were drowned.


  1. Official No.126,457; Built 1909 in Sorel, Québec; length 212.6 ft.; breadth 34.8 ft.; draught 19.5 ft.; registered tonnage 1,269 tons.
  2. Captain Peter Crerar Johnson (21 September 1863 - 3 February 1934) lived at 245 Tower Road, Halifax.
  3. Capitaine François-Xavier Pouliot, lived at St Fean Île d'Oléans, Québec.
  4. Rev. Samuel Henry Prince, priest's assistant, St. Paul's Anglican Church, Grand Parade, Argyle Street, Halifax. Address given as the Grand Central Hotel, 62 Argyle Street, Halifax.
  5. Rev. Patrick McQuillan, curate, St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral, Spring Garden Road, Halifax. Lived next door to the church in the Glebe House, Barrington Street and Spring Garden Road, Halifax.
  6. John R. Snow Jr., undertaker, Snow & Co. Ltd., 90 Argyle Street, Halifax. Lived at 206½ Morris Street, Halifax.
  7. Cecil E. Zink, undertaker, Dartmouth Undertakers, Portland Street, Dartmouth.

Alan Ruffman (1999) Titanic Remembered: The Unsinkable Ship and Halifax. Formac Publishing Company Ltd., Halifax ISBN 0-88780-467-5
Alan Ruffman (2001) Personal Communication. Captains, Clergy and Undertakers on Board the Canadian Vessels which Went to the Titanic Loss Area. 23 July Revision, 2pp.
Alan Ruffman (2001) Personal Communication. Timetable and Details of the Five Trips of Canadian Vessels to the R. M.S. Titanic Loss Area. 23 July revision, 2pp.
John P. Eaton & Charles A. Haas (2000) Titanic: A Journey Through Time.
John P. Eaton & Charles A. Haas (1994) Titanic: Triumph & Tragedy, 2nd ed. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1 85260 493 X

Earl Chapman, USA
Bob Knuckle, Canada
Alan Ruffman, Canada
Garry Shutlak, Canada

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