Mayday; May 3, 1934

What does may day mean to you?
The term “Mayday” as a distress signal originated in 1923.
May Day the holiday is celebrated May 1st, for varying reasons.
In some cultures, it is a celebration of Spring and the coming Summer, times when the elements are less threatening.
Not always so, as proven by these excerpts from “Dead Reckoning of the Pacific Graveyard” shipwreck chart by Bill Brooks of NW Limited…History in VogueTM:
“Tokuyo Maru -5/3/1921- Steamer: Unknown fire 60 miles SW of Columbia river; total loss – 8 die”
“Childar -5/3/1934- Norwegian MS: After a remarkable refloat on north Peacock Spit 4 still drown ”
MS Childar wrecked on Peacock Spit in 1934
MS Childar as she appeared in 1934, photo by Marty Bollinger, used by permission
A southwesterly gale drove the 377′ ship onto the treacherous spit, a grim reminder that even in the first days of May, the Pacific Graveyard could turn deadly.
If the MS Childar used a “may day” to call attention to her situation, it did not prevent the loss of four lives on that blustery May day.

As a side note, the wrecked MS Childar was towed to Vancouver and subsequently rebuilt as the Aakre (click for image), and later as the Sovietskaya Latvia (click for image), which was one of five ships used by Stalin’s KGB to move prisoners to the Kolyma Gulag, only accessible by sea. Many prisoners died en route, as conditions were horrible.
“Sovietskaya Latvia was deleted from register in 1967.” (from and thank you to: Norwegian Merchant Fleet 1939-1945)
To purchase a copy of NW Limited’s shipwreck chart, please call 503-338-6056 or email


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