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What Happened to the Victims of the Regina Cyclone?

What Happened to the Victims of the Regina Cyclone?

· 23 min. read

It had been a long, hot week in Regina the final days of June 1912. And it was looking like June 30th would be just another hot day as well.

But June 30th would be a very different day. While it began like any other hot day, by mid-afternoon the skies filled with clouds, and they began to cool the roasted city. This reprieve brought out people of all ages, and they embraced the hospitable weather. They would spend their time around Wascana Lake swimming, canoeing, or having a picnic, or they would go take their restless dogs for a walk around the neighbourhood, or they would go and visit their friends for a cup of tea. It was the day before Dominion Day, so people were excited about the long weekend. It was a great day to spend outdoors, especially with the weather finally cooperating.

But a storm was brewing south of the city. A massive tornado would touch down near the Kerr Farm, at what is now the Southland Mall. This would later be categorized as an F4 tornado and was spinning at 400km an hour. At those speeds, buildings are either torn apart or thrown around. Like a reverse Midas, anything the cyclone touched would turn to chaos and death.

Andrew Roy would be visiting the Kerr family that weekend, and be set up to stay in the guest house. As the first victim, we can’t be certain if he even knew what was about to happen. We can imagine he heard the wind picking up, but by the time he could react, the building was already being torn into the sky, with him joining the tunnel of swirling debris with it.

There have been countless stories about the Regina Cyclone written over the years, each discussing a different angle of the story – from discussions around the collapsed SaskTel building, to the acting troupe that William Henry Pratt (also known as Boris Karloff) was part of, to the many legends of flying canoes. But, we won’t be discussing those today. If you’re looking for those answers, an excellent read would be Storm of the Century by Sandra Bingaman, created by the University of Regina.

However, Bingaman’s book misses part of the story. While she does cover how many of the victims would meet their ends, she doesn’t discuss what happened to them afterward. That is what I am attempting to do with this article. However, please keep in mind that there are holes in these answers, and I hope one day to fill them all. In the meantime, just know that not all the answers will be satisfactory, and given the time since the tornado ravaged the city, they might always remain that way.

So, with that said, let us discuss the fates of our victims:

City Outskirts and Wascana Park

1. Andrew Roy

Where were they killed: Killed at the Kerr Family farm, at a guest house, near the current site of the Southland Mall.

Where are they buried:  Riverfield Cemetery - Howick, Quebec

Any notable information: Roy would be the first victim of the Regina Cyclone.

Grave of Andrew Roy, Killed in the Regina Cyclone

Image source: Graceti on FindAGrave.com

2. Phillip Steele

Where were they killed: Steele was canoeing in Wascana Lake, but was pulled from the water by the tornado and eventually dropped inside Wascana Park, close to College Avenue.

Where are they buried:  Regina Cemetery - 57-P08-LN (unmarked) - Regina, Saskatchewan

Any notable information: Steele was 11 years old when he died. He was with his friend Bruce Langton in the lake that day. Langton was found elsewhere in the park, supposedly still sitting in the canoe. However, Langton was so shaken that it took him two days to recover enough to identify Steele’s body.

Steele shares a grave with George Craven and Robert Fenwick, but does not have his own headstone. 

3. Vincent H. Smith

Where were they killed: Smith was inside the Regina Boathouse when the storm arrived. He tried to secure the door of the building after it blew open, but the building blew apart instead. He would be found by E. O. Gimson a kilometer away, and described him as “battered beyond recognition”.

Where are they buried:  Regina Cemetery (140-P13-LN) - Regina, Saskatchewan

Grave of Vincent H. Smith, Killed in the Regina Cyclone

Transitional Neighbourhood

4. Catherine McElmoyle

Where were they killed: At the McElmoyle Residence, 2318 15th Avenue. Catherine was right behind her husband Paul as they were getting their children safe in the cellar. After Paul got inside, he turned to help Catherine when she was struck by flying debris and collapsed. Their house would collapse over them as well, and Paul would be unable to get to his wife.

Where are they buried: Regina Cemetery - 137-P15-LC - Regina, Saskatchewan

Grave of Catherine McElmoyle, Killed in the Regina Cyclone

5. Andrew (Nelson) Boyd

Where were they killed: 2202 Lorne Street, at Jack Joseph’s Boarding House. He was pulled from the rubble and hospitalized but would die two days later.

Where are they buried: Regina Cemetery - 76-P12-LN - Regina, Saskatchewan.

Any notable information: He would die alongside James Patrick Coffey.

Grave of Andrew Boyd, Killed in the Regina Cyclone.

6. James Patrick Coffey

Where were they killed: 2202 Lorne Street, at Jack Joseph's Boarding House.

Where are they buried: Unknown.

Any notable information:  He would die alongside Andrew (Nelson) Boyd.

7. Fred Henderson

Where were they killed: 2220 Lorne Street. He was attempting to make his way to the cellar with his father. His father went first, but before Henderson could get in, he was struck by debris. His father reached out and pulled his arms around his son, and felt him take his final breaths. The two men would be covered in collapsing debris from their house.

Where are they buried: Regina Cemetry - 76-P08-LC (unmarked) - Regina, Saskatchewan

Any notable information: His casket was "loaded down" with floral arrangements.

8. Donald Miller Loggie

Where were they killed: 2201 Smith Street. 2200 Block of Smith Street was the most heavily destroyed area of the city, but Loggie would be the only causality. He was discovered in the wreckage of the Loggie house after it exploded.

Where are they buried: Regina Cemetery -  57-P13-LN - Regina, Saskatchewan.

Any notable information: Loggie would be the youngest victim of the Regina Cyclone, being only about six months old.

Grave of Donald Miller Loggie, who was killed in the Regina Cyclone.

9. Ywe Boyuen

Where were they killed: His body was found on the corner of Smith Street and 13th Avenue.

Where are they buried: Unknown - Speers buried them in the cemetery "south of the city". This might have been the Regina Jail and Lunatic Asylum cemetery.

Any notable information: His fellow Chinese men guarded his body but did not touch it until authorities came, believing it was bad luck to touch a dead body. He may have gone under the English name George Boynen.

Downtown

10. (Sarah) Etta Guthrie

Where were they killed: She lived at 2138 Lorne Street with her two sisters, Martha and Mary. Etta was crushed by the falling timbers of the building.

Where are they buried: Regina Cemetery - 139-P17-LN - Regina, Saskatchewan

Any notable information: She would be killed alongside Marjorie Harris.

Grave of the Etta Guthrie and her sisters. Etta was killed in the Regina Cyclone.

11. Marjorie Ellen McKinley Harris aka Mrs. Harris

Where were they killed: 2138 Lorne Street, at the Guthrie Residence.

Where are they buried: Brandon, Manitoba

Any notable information: She was crushed by falling wooden timbers. When found, she was described as being "a terrible sight. Literally smashed to a pulp".

Her grave photo can be found on FindAGrave.com, but is of very poor quality.

12 & 13. Isabelle and Charles McKay

Where were they killed: 1947 Smith Street. They were killed while in the Hodsman house when it collapsed.

Where are they buried: Regina Cemetery - 141-P09-LC (unmarked) - Regina, Saskatchewan

Any notable information: Charles was three years old. They were mother and son.

14. Lawrence Hodsman

Where were they killed: 1947 Smith Street. He was killed in the home his parents owned.

Where are they buried: Regina Cemetery - 140-P21-LN - Regina, Saskatchewan

Any notable information: Hodsman was ten years old.

Grave of Lawrence Hodsman, who was killed in the Regina Cyclone.

15. Arthur Donaldson

Where were they killed: Arthur was crushed in the collapsing veranda of the Hodsman house while trying to seek shelter from the storm.

Where are they buried: Regina Cemetery - 139-P16-LN (unmarked) - Regina, Saskatchewan

Any notable information: Donaldson was out walking his dog when the storm struck, and the dog was blown a block away. Donaldson ran under the veranda of the Hodsman house for safety, but the veranda collapsed and killed him. Eventually, the dog found its way back to the house and waited for the body to be recovered. The dog then tagged along as the body was taken to Speers. Only after the funeral did the dog run off and disappear.

16. Mary Shaw

Where were they killed: She lived at 2320 12th Avenue and was walking through Victoria Park when the cyclone hit. She was struck and killed by flying debris.

Where are they buried: Regina Cemetery - 140-P19-LC - Regina, Saskatchewan

Any notable information: Some stories say she was hit and killed by a flying canoe.

Grave of Mary Shaw, Killed in the Regina Cyclone.

17 & 18. Frank & Bertha Blenkhorn

Where were they killed: Last seen alive in Victoria Park, but their bodies were found crushed between the Methodist Parsonage and the Carnegie Library (current Regina Public Libary building), buried under debris.

Where are they buried: Regina Cemetery - 139-P14-LC (unmarked) - Regina, Saskatchewan. However, they have a headstone for them in Linthorpe, Yorkshire, England. Instead, Frank's brother Bert has his grave there, from when he died in 1918.

Any notable information: The Blenkhorns are famous for their supposed Titanic connection. The legend is that the Blenkhorns missed boarding the RMS Titanic after partying too late the night before following their wedding. Instead, they would come over on a different vessel and come to Regina, only to die three months later.

This story is printed in many newspaper articles, as well as in blogs, podcasts, and books. However, this is not true.

This document shows Frank Blenkhorn's departure from Portland, Maine, and arrival in Liverpool on March 2 (or possibly March 6), 1912. They were aboard the RMS Teutonic. This may have been where the legend that they were aboard the Titanic started. However, all sources I could find pointed towards an article written in the Regina Daily Standard, which included an interview with one of Bertha Blenkhorn's friends, who said that Bertha said they were supposed to be on the Titanic. I inquired with the Saskatchewan Archives about this newspaper article, and they were unable to find it. I believe Bertha was probably just saying that, while planning their wedding and return trip, they discussed going on the RMS Titanic but didn't for some reason, and took a different vessel a month earlier.

Frank Blenkhorn arriving in Liverpool on March 2 or March 6, 1912.

This is their marriage certificate showing that they were married between January and March 1912.

Frank Blenkhorn was married between January and March of 1912, not April.

These documents show their return trip from Liverpool to Halifax, with their final destination marked as Regina, Saskatchewan. This means they would arrive in Halifax on March 28, 1912, two weeks before the RMS Titanic would leave port.

Ship Manifest cover document for the SS Dominican, which sailed from Liverpool to Halifax, arriving on March 28, 1912.

Specific record of the ship manifest from the SS Dominican, showing Blenkhorns name.

As for their grave, they are buried in Regina. This is verified by an article in The Herald (Glasgow), dated July 27, 1912 which contains a letter discussing the funeral, the service, the hymns, the wreaths, and other witnesses to the Regina Cyclone. It also includes a very grainy photo of their house.

The Herald newspaper clipping discussing the funeral of Frank and Bertha Blenkhorn.

Bertha and Frank Blenkhorn would be buried in Regina, but there is also a headstone for them in the Municipal Church burial ground in Linthorpe, Yorkshire, England. Frank's brother-in-law, Bert Blenkhorn, would pass away in Regina in 1918 and would be buried with Frank and Bertha. Bert's headstone only contains his name, but all three Blenkhorns are buried together.

A marker for Frank and Bertha Blenkhorn in the UK, but they are not buried there. The true grave of Frank and Bertha Blenkhorn, in Regina, killed in the Regina Cyclone.

19. Charlie Sand

Where were they killed: 1821 Cornwall Street, at Ma Chang Sing Laundry

Where are they buried: Somewhere in Regina.

Any notable information: He was buried at the same time as Ye Wing. The two men's deaths at the laundry might be the source for the story about the two men who died on the corner of Dewdney Ave and Cornwall Street. It is said that they, along with James Strathdee, haunt Bushwakker Brewpub. However, this location is nowhere near Bushwakkers.

20. Ye Wing

Where were they killed: 1821 Cornwall Street, Ma Chang Sing Laundry

Where are they buried: Somewhere in Regina.

Any notable information: He died and was buried at the same time as Charlie Sand.

21. James Milton Scott

Where were they killed: 2300 11th Avenue

Where are they buried: Cambridge, Waterloo Regional Municipality, Ontario

Grave of James Milton Scott Killed in the Regina Cyclone

Image source: Ross Dickson on FindAGrave.com. Thank you for letting me know about this grave, Jan!

22. Robert Fenwick

Where were they killed: Fenwick was working at the Palace Livery at approximately 2224 South Railway Street, now about the location of the Cornwall Shopping Centre parking lot. He was tending to the horses. Half of the livery would collapse, so Fenwick and his coworkers had to crawl to the other side. Shortly after, the nearby Marshall Boyd block would collapse and the falling bricks would strike and kill Fenwick.

Where are they buried: Regina Cemetery - 57-P08-LS (unmarked) - Regina, Saskatchewan

Any notable information: He shares a grave with Phillip Steele and George Craven.

Railroad

23. John Joseph Bryan

Where were they killed: Tudhope Anderson Warehouse

Where are they buried: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Grave of John Joseph Bryan, Killed in the Regina Cyclone.

Image source: Del Barkley on FindAGrave.com

Here is the location of the Tudhope Anderson Warehouse. Credit goes to Mike G. Adams of the Facebook group Historical Regina.

Map of downtown Regina, circa 1912, with the Tudhope Anderson Warehouse. The destroyed ruins of the Map of downtown Regina, circa 1912, with the Tudhope Anderson Warehouse.. The destroyed ruins of the Map of downtown Regina, circa 1912, with the Tudhope Anderson Warehouse..

24. George B. Craven

Where were they killed: He was found in the Canadian Pacific Railway roundhouse. He was crushed between two railway cars.

Where are they buried: Regina Cemetery - 57-P08-LS - Regina, Saskatchewan

Any notable information: Craven is originally from Auckland, New Zealand. He shares a grave with Phillip Steele and Robert Fenwick.

Grave of George Craven, Killed in the Regina Cyclone.

Warehouse District

25. Laura Smith McDonald

Where were they killed: 1435 Lorne Street. She saw the storm coming and went to close the chicken coop. While outside, she was struck and killed by debris.

Where are they buried: Regina Cemetery - 136-P27-LS - Regina, Saskatchewan

Any notable information: I was unable to find out what happened to the chickens. This seems to be the same address as the McDougalls, but I couldn't find a connection between them.

Grave of Laura Smith McDonald, killed in the Regina Cyclone.

26 & 27. James and Ida McDougall

Where were they killed: 1435 Lorne Street. The McDougalls had four sons, four daughters, and two adults living in the house at the time of the storm. Mrs. McDougall saw the storm coming and grabbed her daughter Ida. They were attempting to flee the house when the building collapsed and pinned them. When rescuers arrived, James and Ida were in critical condition. Ida would die on July 1, 1912, and James would die on July 2, 1912.

Where are they buried: Regina Cemetery - 140-P18-LC - Regina, Saskatchewan

Any notable information: Catherine Barbara McDougall would be hospitalized due to the Regina Cyclone and would succumb to her injuries on December 24, 1912. She is not considered one of the 28 causalities of the Regina Cyclone. She was eight years and one month old.

Grave of Ida, James and Catherine Barbara McDougall, killed in the Regina Cyclone.

28. George Appelby

Where were they killed: At his house on Cornwall Street between 7th and 8th Avenue. He was camping in a tent in his backyard when the storm arrived and tried to get inside before it was too late.

Where are they buried: Regina Cemetery - 144-P07-LS (unmarked) - Regina, Saskatchewan

Any notable information: Appelby's grave contains the headstone of Edward Candy. Candy died before Appelby in 1905. This area of the cemetery was managed by the Sons of England, and for some reason, they put Candy's headstone on Applby's grave. The City of Regina admits this was a mistake made by the Sons of England, but as the Sons of England dissolved during the 1970s, the City of Regina will respect their placement and not move the stone to the correct location.

Grave of Edward Candy, who was not killed in the Regina Cyclone.

There are unfortunately many missing pieces to this story. Where are some of the victims buried? Where is the cemetery "south" of Regina? Why are Appelby and Candy's graves mixed up? I hope to use this article as a working piece that I can add on to as I learn more. If you know something about the Regina Cyclone victims that I didn't mention here, please let me know.

I would also like to mention the article I wrote many years ago, Regina's Night of Horror, which includes a reprint of the Regina Morning Leader's article about that fateful day. If you enjoyed this article, you will probably enjoy that too.

I would also like to mention Regina Cemetery Tours, who did a tour that visited all of these graves during their 2024 cemetery tour season. You can request to see these graves featured in this article via their website.

A handwritten list of all 28 victims can also be found in the basement of Casino Regina during their Union Station tour. However, it appears they discontinued their tours sometime in 2020 and have yet to do them again. I hope one day this list will be in a place for all people to see so these names and stories won't be forgotten.

Regina Cyclone 28 Dead

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What Happened to the Victims of the Regina Cyclone?What Happened to the Victims of the Regina Cyclone?

Categories: Canada, Dark Tourism, History, Regina, Saskatchewan

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