They were loving and pleasant in their lives and in death not long divided.
July 11th, 1874 started out as a sunny day with a moderate wind on Lake Ontario, Canada.These ideal conditions for sailing prompted Robert Henderson and Charles Anderson to launch their thirty foot centreboard sloop named “Foam” from the mooring at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto. The Andersons with five friends (all from prominent Toronto families) headed towards their destination in Niagara-on-the-Lake where they intended to party at the Queen’s Royal Hotel.
A sudden storm with heavy winds directed the yacht to a point where the strong current of the Niagara river merged with lake waters. The sudden turbulence caused a rogue wave to engulf the cabin and cockpit, immediately sinking the Foam, and pulling her down to a watery grave. Search and rescue vessels which were launched the following morning eventually discovered the vessel with five of the young men lying in their bunks.
Burial of the young men took place later at St. Mark’s Cemetery, Niagara-on-the-Lake. A white granite headstone surmounted by a Celtic Cross marks their resting place. The original inscription is almost illegible; “In affectionate remembrance of Robert C. Henderson, J. H. Murray, C. E. Anderson, Weir Anderson, Philips Braddon, C. V. W. Vernon, Vincent H. Taylor; who were lost on 11th July, 1874, by the foundering of the Yacht Foam.”
The memorial stone and seven gravestones are enclosed within a low iron fence. A bronze plaque was erected by the Royal Canadian Yacht .
On the evening of July 11, 1874, the sailing yacht Foam left Toronto headed for Niagara-on-the-Lake. As darkness fell the wind freshened, blowing heavily from the east. Guests of the Queen’s Royal Hotel watched her lights flicker and disappear. Next morning, like and arm reaching to heaven, only the mast of the vessel showed above the breakers on the bar.
A typical centreboarder with light draught and low freeboard, Foam was an older yacht and laboured in the high seas running. Despite the heroic efforts of all her crew all aboard were tragically lost. Here rest seven young yachtsmen from the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, Toronto.
C.E. Anderson, W. Anderson, P. Braddon, R.C. Henderson, J.H. Murray, V.H. Taylor, C. Vernon.
This plaque is placed in fond remembrance by the Royal Canadian Yacht Club and the Anderson family in recognition of “sailors everywhere.”
The accident has been described as one of the greatest tragedies ever to befall the sport of yachting on Lake Ontario. It is interesting to note that salvage crews found five of the young men in their cabins, and yet the plaque states heroic efforts of all her crew. Repeated sightings of the ghostly Foam continue to this day.