It was the fall of 1958. My father and his family still lived in Botwood. Dad was only five, his two brothers and sister were between the ages of 3 and 8. Pop was working as the manager of Irving Oil at the time. There was a story that a few times that fall, a young RCMP officer dropped into their house to see the new kittens they had. It was more to do with the fact that my grandmother’s 19 year old sister was living with them at the time.
His name was Terrence Hoey. At the age of 21 years old and only weeks out of training at Regina he was posted to the RCMP detachment at Botwood. What should have been a safe posting in a quiet seaport town of a couple thousand people changed dramatically when he and another officer responded to a concern at the Harbourview Cafe.
Fred Humber has recently published as book that details the events surrounding that fatal incident that took place in Botwood in early November 1958. The book is part fact and part narrative, no doubt do to the fact that Mr. Humber as a 13 year old was a witness to the events in question.
I had planned on writing an article on this tragedy, especially since talking to my father and uncle about it. But I am glad I didn’t because I could not do the story justice the same way that Fred Humber has, and after reading the book I am sure I would have had the many of the facts wrong. It is not very often a book comes out from anywhere in Central and a wholeheartedly recommend Death at the Harbourview Cafe by Fred Humber to anybody interested in getting a clearer picture of one of the most infamous events in the history of the region.